Transcript: 4 Unsexy Skills That Have Made Me a Better Entrepreneur & Leader

January 11, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “I tend to overcompensate in this area. I tend to blame myself for almost everything. It's something I'm working out in therapy. It sounds like an issue I have, right? But I’ll tend to blame myself before I’ll blame anyone else, like, beat myself up. So be careful. You don't want to go to that extreme like I've done. But you also want to be very aware that if something continues not to work in your business, look inward and say, ‘How could I change my communication style? How could I be maybe more clear? How could I change the strategy so that this could work for us versus thinking that it's everybody else's fault?’” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: Well, hey, there. Amy, here. Before we dive into the show today, we have some exciting news. As of this month, Online Marketing Made Easy is officially part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. Something we love about the HubSpot Podcast Network is all of the inspiring shows that are dedicated to helping professionals learn and grow, especially online entrepreneurs. If you love our show and want to check out other shows like us, we definitely recommend checking out the Goal Digger Podcast and My First Million. Check out all of these shows and more at 

AMY: Hey, there, friend. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I hope you are having a wonderful week. And today we're talking about unsexy traits, those traits that you absolutely need to develop and strengthen as an entrepreneur, but they're not always the most fun things to talk about. Like, when I think about fun in my business, I think about launching and webinars and email marketing and messaging and branding and all that cool stuff. I don't think necessarily about these traits, although these traits that I'm going to unpack for you today, they're absolutely necessary in the growth and in the scaling of your business, and they have definitely helped me along the way. I've gotten stronger in each of these as the years go by. So I'm going to quickly share them with you because this is a shorty episode. I'm in, I'm out as quickly as possible, but giving you immense value. That's what these episodes are about.  

So, if you know somebody who's trying to build their online business, maybe they're just getting started, or maybe even they've hit a rough patch and they're like, “How am I going to make this all work?” introduce them to this podcast, please. I know that I can serve them, and I would love to help as many entrepreneurs as possible build a business they absolutely love.  

So, let's get into these unsexy traits that are absolutely necessary to grow and strengthen. Here we go.  

First up, effective communication skills. And here's the thing. I've always felt like I was a good communicator, and maybe you feel the same as well. However, what I realized after I read the book Radical Candor—go pick it up. Highly recommend. It's like a must read as an entrepreneur who's building and leading a business. Radical Candor—and when I picked up this book, I realized, “Oh, I'm a great communicator, except when it comes to speaking up.”  

And so what I've done in the past is I've shielded myself from having really uncomfortable conversations. I don't like to give negative feedback. Heck, I still don't like to give negative feedback. And here's why. Here's how I justify it. I have a really amazing team. My team, they are in it. Their hearts are in it. They work their buns off. So when something doesn't go right, when somebody has messed up, I've always, in the past, felt bad to bring it up because I thought, “They’re working so hard, and I don't want to kick them while they're down. They know they've messed up. I don't want to speak up. I don't want to make this more awkward. I don't want to shine a light on the negativity.” But then here's the thing. When I wouldn't speak up, I would feel resentful moving forward. And that resentment then turned into the next time something didn't happen as it should have, when something didn't work out. I'm like, “No worries. I'll just take it over,” or I kind of just start to discount the person, like they're probably not right for the team anymore. They're not, probably, if I go to an extreme, if it gets to the point, like they're probably not right for the team or this isn't a good fit anymore. This is me in the past, just for the record.  

So, how I fix that is that I've started to have the hard conversations, radical candor. When something doesn't work out as planned, I use the Radical Candor model—I won't give it all away. I want you to go listen to the book—to communicate to somebody about how this didn't work out as planned and what my expectations are and what I'd like to see in the future. But I do it in a way that my team respects my opinion, they feel respected by me, and we have this open communication.  

Now, one thing that was really clear after I started to do this is that my team members know they can trust me more, and trust is everything as a leader, right? And so if they know I'm going to speak up when I feel something needs to be fixed, didn't go as planned, I want to see somebody up level on what they're doing, if they can trust that I will speak up, then they know that if I have something to say, I'll say it, meaning have you ever had a boss or a coworker that you're like, “Are they mad at me, or am I doing a good job, or what are they thinking? I'm kind of walking on eggshells”? No, no, no. I don't want any of that in my business. So I want to respect and appreciate my employees, and one way I do that is have those awkward, hard conversations with them when needed so that we always have that trust. So read the book Radical Candor 

All right. Next up is your ability to leverage. Now back in my Tony Robbins days, we always talked about leveraging something, not delegating something. And there's actually a difference. When you leverage something, you still have a pulse on that project. You're just not doing everything that needs to be done to get it done. So this has served me well because when I used to delegate in the past, it was, like, out of sight, out of mind, and then when something came up that it wasn't working properly or we had a problem, I felt really out of the loop. Whereas leveraging is choosing who you want to collaborate with on this project, giving them the responsibility—they can own it—but they're still doing regular check-ins with you so you know the project is moving forward as planned.  

So to make this more tangible for you, for me, I do monthly calls with each person individually on my leadership team because I manage everybody on my leadership team. So once a month, we're getting together; they're keeping me informed about how specific projects are moving forward. If I need a weekly touchpoint and not a monthly, then they're going to put it into Asana. “Hey, Amy. Here's your weekly update to how this project's going,” boom. We're good. We don't do a lot of meetings in my business. We used to do a lot more meetings, but when you move to a four-day work week, meetings suck up a lot of your implementation time. So we'll communicate in a more efficient way via, let's say, Asana tasks, then always getting on a Zoom call.  

But I will say that leveraging different projects and different aspects of the business, if you are a small business like me, it can bring up some fear. The other day, I was talking to Michael Hyatt about some changes that I've had on my team, and I lost a key team member, and I told him, I said, “I don't know everything that she does. She runs a really well-oiled machine. She's been with me for years, so there's a lot of things that she's done that she's made her own and made it work for her. I don’t know all those details. And I felt like maybe I had done something wrong.” And he reminded me, “You're not supposed to know everything that an employee does. And as long as you have strong SOPs”—standard operating procedures, which I do in my business—”then somebody can step in. Especially someone that has skills and is established in that role, they could step in and they could figure it out.”  

You have to know your vision as a leader. You need to know where the team is going, where the company is going, and how you're going to get there. But you don't need to know all the specific details and action items that it's going to take to get you there. And if you have strong SOPs—how people do their job—that's going to create less fear in you.  

Okay. The third unsexy trait—and this one's really unsexy—be willing to admit when you're wrong. Be willing to admit when you're wrong. Now, most people are like, “Oh, no, no, I do.” But do you really? Do you find yourself talking about what other people are doing wrong or how things are not working on your team because of other people versus looking in the mirror? If you are the CEO or the owner or both of your business, then you've got to look in the mirror, my friend, because at the end of the day, you are responsible. So be willing to admit when you're wrong. I have to tell you, I have to admit something, I tend to overcompensate in this area. I tend to blame myself for almost everything. It's something I'm working out in therapy. It sounds like an issue I have, right? But I’ll tend to blame myself before I’ll blame anyone else, like, beat myself up. So be careful. You don't want to go to that extreme like I've done. But you also want to be very aware that if something continues not to work in your business, look inward and say, “How could I change my communication style? How could I be maybe more clear? How could I change the strategy so that this could work for us versus thinking that it's everybody else's fault?” And I really do think when your team sees you take responsibility for, let's say, not hitting goals or not being able to do something that you all were working toward, I think they'll have more respect for you.  

Now, that doesn't mean that you have to, then, say that it's nobody else's responsibility. It's just that at the end of the day, you're driving the ship. And so allowing people to see you step into that role of, look, we instead of you. So if I said, “Look, we didn't hit our goal,” and maybe it was a specific project a team member was working on, I didn't say, “You didn't hit your goal.” I said, “We didn't hit our goal, and we've got to come up with a solution. What do you think we should do in order to make sure that we do hit it?” I use a lot of we versus you or I, and I think that makes a big difference.  

Okay. Lastly, you've got to be a proactive planner. This trait is always looking ahead and tapping into strategies that will get you to where you want to go. So you want to be strategic. So we could say a strategic planner or a proactive planner. Proactive planner might seem a little bit like I'm using the same word twice. Like, of course, you're planning because you're proactive, but hear me out. A proactive planner is somebody that's looking ahead, let's say, six months or a year, and you're planning out your promotions, you're looking at how you're going to make revenue and where you're going to make this revenue and when you're going to make this revenue way in advance. Doesn’t mean that you can't change things as you go, but it's one thing to plan a launch two, three months in advance. I'm talking about six months, one year, three year. Right now, I'm putting together a three-year plan for my business.  

And this is a total side note, but I want to share something with you. I've always felt stressed about planning three years in advance or five years. One time I was at a mastermind event, around a bunch of people I didn't know. And this guy was like, “What's your ten-year vision for your company?” I don't know. Ten years? I'm trying to get through today. That felt very overwhelming, and I felt like he was judging me. He wasn't, for the record. This is my own issues. But so five years, ten years, that does feel a little much for me.  

But I recently sat down, and I said, “Okay. What if you just did a three-year vision that you shared with your leadership team and then the leadership team could share with their individual departments?” And three years, that's what I'm talking about being a proactive planner. This is where you're looking at how could we scale the business? Where are we weak right now that over the next few years we work towards strengthening these things? because you can dream bigger when you're planning three years in advance, because if you wanted to add some technology to your business, or maybe you wanted to build a leadership team and you don't have one right now, you have time over three years. You could say, “Okay. In one year, I'm going to hire my first director. In two years, I’m going to add two more directors. And in three years, we’re going to have a fully fleshed-out leadership team,” something like that.  

So if you plan out more in advance, you won't feel so pressured to make things happen right away. You can dream bigger, and you could slow down and think about how you might want to get there. So I'm all about planning in advance,  

And I will say one thing that's allowed us or helped us do this is EOS, entrepreneur operating systems. It's in the book Rocket Fuel. But EOS is an entire company in it of itself. I highly recommend you check it out, but it has allowed us to put together quarterly goals and yearly goals and big milestones to work toward.  

All right, my friend. I hope you loved this Shorty episode and found it valuable. Please do share it with a friend if you think somebody else could get some value from this as well. And if you love what you're hearing, be sure to follow Online Marketing Made Easy on your favorite listening platform and leave me a review. I would love to hear from you. Reading reviews literally lights me up.  

All right, my friends. I'll see you on Thursday, where I do longer episodes, usually step by step or strategies to help you with your campaigns and your launches and email marketing and all that good stuff. So I'll see you on Thursday. Bye for now. 

Around this time of year, we start thinking about what matters most, and I ask this for my business as well. What truly matters? I often think about the impact I have on my community and my customers. If you find yourself feeling the same way, you also might find yourself asking how you can help strengthen those relationships between your customers and your community. With a suite of new purpose-built tools, a HubSpot CRM platform can help you build, maintain, and grow your customer relationships like never before. Custom surveys easily captures feedback unique to your business, shares insights with your teams, and helps you grow your understanding of how your customers really feel, meaning healthy conversations about what matters and less about what doesn't. And payment tools, like native payment links and recurring payments that directly embed in HubSpot's tools and emails, means seamless delivery and easy payment collection. Learn more about how a HubSpot CRM platform can help you build, maintain, and grow your customer relationships at 

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