Stephanie Scheller has worked with 2500 companies in the past 8 years, helping them earn millions of dollars in sales and profits. Combined with her background and education, this experience has enabled Stephanie to help other business lean on the human side of their operations to achieve optimal results. She has worked to help business drive up sales, and “improving marketing and engaging the workforce.”
Through her experiences, Stephanie Scheller also knows the numerous challenges that stand in the way of the small business owner. To help them overcome these challenges, Stephanie founded Grow Disrupt. With bespoke consulting and both physical and virtual sessions, you’ll receive training and knowledge that will help you own “a true business.”
Stephanie Scheller understands the risks small business owners take when they venture on their own. They have invested precious time and resources to start their own enterprise, which is always a gamble. For this gamble, Stephanie believes these small business owners should receive the rewards they deserve.
Through her leadership, Stephanie Scheller has turned Grow Disrupt events into “must-attend” events, collecting rave reviews everywhere. At these sessions, you’ll receive extensive hands-on learning, access to keynote speakers, as well as presenters who can explain the most complex concepts in a way you can easily understand and apply to your own business.
Stephanie Scheller and Grow Disrupt will train small and medium business owners to thrive in their industries by “breaking down each piece of business,’ which will help them connect the importance of the individual parts within the whole.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Stephanie Scheller: Absolutely! So my parents raised us on the Rich Dad Poor Dad books and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but ended up taking a corporate job when my original plan A (owning a barn) didn’t work out. I worked there for three years before starting my own business in May 2014. By the end of August, I’d made more money part time than full time and turned in my two weeks’ notice to walk away & run the business full time.
About 18 months in to building the largest and most active sales training practice in Central Texas, I realized I didn’t want to be a sales trainer and had the joy of going through a transition period where I was still running the business and doing well, but trying to figure out “What I wanted to be when I grew up.” I realized that I wanted to help small business owners, but in a bigger way than I had the knowledge for after just a couple of years of being in business, so I started designing events to bring in experts. I would choose the speakers based on their background, then use my knowledge of psychology and how the entrepreneur’s brain works to help them lay out complex concepts to make them accessible and easy to implement for business owners and sell tickets to those events and that’s what I do now! Empower small business owners with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive personally & professionally!
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Stephanie Scheller: Oh man! Yes! I remember that first December I had my first breakdown. I’d just finished a meeting with a lady who had said she wanted to hire me, but instead turned it into a big sales pitch that I let run on way too long and by the time I left, traffic had picked up and I was frustrated because it was going to take me twice as long to get home and I had hours of work ahead of me before I could go to bed. I was so overworked, so exhausted and so frustrated that I ended up crying so hard that I couldn’t see straight and had to pull over on the side of the road.
I ended up having the sense of mind to get off the road completely and ended up at Barnes and Nobles, absentmindedly browsing the self-help section. I saw this book by Seth Godin called The Dip: When to Quit & When to Stick and I remember thinking that I didn’t even know if I should keep going or quit or if it was going to be worth it “in the end.” I was at this point where I was making great money, but I was so overworked and had this idea in my head that I couldn’t hire any help until I hit this major financial milestone, so I was doing EVERYTHING from sales to marketing to training to finances, everything!
And I ended up buying the book, going home and finally getting a good night sleep and not even reading the book for months! When I finally did pick it up, I had this moment that I really wished I’d picked it up back then because it created awareness for me about the massive pressure I was putting myself under, but also the goals I was going after and how to weigh whether those goals were worth the strain I was putting myself under. Once I got clear on that, I had the realization that some levels of stress aren’t worth it! And when you have that clarity and set the boundary that some things aren’t worth the stress, you actually create the room for greater growth, while being happier!
And hiring people and delegating is WELL worth it for the amount of stress it takes off your plate when it’s done right!
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Stephanie Scheller: I don’t know that I look at our mistakes as “funny” per se….I have fun, but I don’t know that I’m super “funny”, even in retelling those mistakes!
I know I made a LOT of mistakes in sales early on. I took deals I shouldn’t have with clients that I knew were going to be a pain to work with (You can almost always tell with those clients! It’s this gut feeling that says “This person is NOT going to be fun to work with, you’re never going to make them happy…stay away!” and I found myself working WAY too many hours for WAY to little money, which really prohibited me from working on bringing on more and better clients so I could scale.
I also was super short-sighted in sales frequently! When someone didn’t want to buy today, I would get salty on them and I burned a lot of bridges. I shake my head looking back on that Stephanie sometimes!
Basically, I learned that whether the sale comes in today, or tomorrow, I’ll be super grateful for it, and everyone has their reasons for why they do what they do, it’s not up to me to sort all that out. It’s up to me to do enough sales activity to keep the business flowing!
And also, when I’m talking to someone who seems like a lot of work to close and is giving me any of my red flags, RUN away!!!
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.
- How to communicate effectively in any individuals “language”
I am a huge proponent of the DISC communication method. It takes a while to fully integrate it, but it is an extremely accurate tool to understanding how people communicate and how they want to be communicated with. For example, I have one of my team members who is a very high C. I am a high D and I, but a pretty low C. When I first started delegating work to her, I would provide her with my classic short & sweet instructions and expect her to fill in the blanks & take charge of the project. We realized very quickly that she needed more detail from me during the assignment process, and I had to give her space to ask questions so she was fully comfortable understanding what was needed. High D’s aren’t great with questions all the time, so we found a great middle ground and she’s allowed to ask 5 questions, then has to take some action, then can come back with more questions, but 5 is usually all she needs before she can start working and she’s fantastic at finishing the project with extreme detail-driven attention.
- How we are driven & motivate
While DISC is great for understanding your communication style, and the style of your team so you can adjust to meet in the middle as needed so everyone has the information they need to proceed, figuring out what drives someone allows me to do two things:
Assign projects that someone will be excited about working on
Assign a project in a way that appeals to what motivates them
Both of these allow me to have a team that is super excited & driven to complete their tasks in record time and with exceptional quality.
For example, one of my team members is driven very highly by the collection of information. Whenever I can give her an assignment that gives her leeway to do research, she gets super excited. She loves digging into how things work, and why, and what’s working and what isn’t, and figuring out why. She’ll do research on all kinds of ancillary points to see if there is anything extra that we need to evaluate when making a decision and then bring it to me in a nice, neat, concise package to review with suggestions at the bottom (because she knows that’s important to my communication style) and has a blast with those projects. So every time I have a research project that is going to impact the direction of the future of the company, she’s the one I turn to.
- How to recognize your own identity crisis & step away
This one is really hard to do on your own. I mentioned the 5 Whys Exercise earlier, but it’s really critical that the business owner is able to step back and even have that recognition. A few critical points that might indicate you’re dealing with an identity crisis:
- You can never get out out
If there is a role that you swear you don’t want to be involved in (such as client work or directing the company), and you’ve trained your employees to handle it but you find yourself constantly being pulled back into or involved in, there are two options: either you might need to train your employees better, or it’s a sign of Identity Crisis. In many cases, it is a sign of Identity Crisis.
- Your team is never good enough
This sign works hand-in-hand with the first one. If your team never seems competent enough to handle what you’ve given them (even though you’ve invested a ton of time in training them), it’s a likely sign of an Identity Crisis.
- You’re listless
Feeling like you’ve lost purpose and don’t know what to do next can be a sign of several different things (such as a loss of vision or being burnt out, which is a dangerous thing. If you think you’re burnt out, check out my article on how to fix that.), but if you’re feeling this in concert with any of the other signs on this list there’s a good chance it’s part of an Identity Crisis.
- You know what to do next, but…
If you know where to move your business next, but constantly feel pulled back to your old job it’s a good sign you’re dealing with an Identity Crisis. I’ve dealt with this symptom personally, and it often comes to me as a voice that guilt trips you into checking back in on your old job (day-to-day projects) to see how things are going (many times, on your day off). Don’t do it! I can tell you from experience, the job that is being done will never feel good enough and checking in too deeply will push you into the spiral that Driven Crazy is dealing with.
If you find yourself dealing with an identity crisis, I recommend bringing someone in that you trust to call you on the carpet when you fall into the trap of having to do it yourself, who can help you walk through the rule of 5 Whys. We definitely CAN do it ourselves, but it’s hard to be rational and logical and recognize the need when we’re in the midst of the crisis!
- How to set up check-points & proper check-ins with your team to avoid micromanaging
I don’t know why but small business owners have the hardest time with setting up recurring one-on-ones with their team members. Every company I work with, I have to fight to get them to start doing one-on-ones because they feel like they talk to and see their team members daily and it’s a waste of time (after-all, most of us left a corporate job that had a lot of time-wasting-meetings). But once we implement them, the employees are insanely grateful for the feedback as they progress along a project instead of a bunch of feedback at the “end of the project.” And the business owners even admit (usually grudgingly) that it really helps improve the quality of the employees work!
Whenever I’m delegating, I will make sure to clarify when the project is due (and ask if that is enough time), how often we will check in, what check-points I want to be alerted about once they reach them and where I want to be roped in, etc.
When I receive a project update or a first draft, I’m highly focused on highlighting what went well first. Analyzing what I want them to change to determine if this is just Stephanie wanting it “my way” (this isn’t Burger King!) or if it’s truly important to the final quality of the project and then providing feedback in bite-sized increments as much as possible. If there are a LOT of changes, I try and back it out to provide and overview of what needs to be addressed first. I can always get granular later, but if there are structural issues with the SOP my employee is building, getting on them about grammar is just nitpicking this early in the game!
- How to use a project management software
If you’re delegating something that will take some time to complete, one of the easiest ways to see how the project is progressing without finding yourself pulled into a micro-management role or back into the actual work is to use project management software. There are a ton of options, so find the one that works for you. We use Asana and when we’re putting together a new event, I will typically go in and create the appropriate Asana board (usually copying and pasting a checklist of To Do into the board and removing items that aren’t applicable for this event). Then we have a team meeting where I assign each task out along with a deadline. The software will email the team consistently to remind them when it’s due. They put their notes inside the software for easy reference, and it makes it simple for me to see if a project is moving along or not.
A word of warning! This did take work to train my team to actually use the software. Every time I asked for an update, I asked them to go into the software to put the update in there and I would check in “by the end of the week” to see what they noted. I also had to use the software consistently and put my own notes in so they could see the power of it. But once we all were trained on it, it makes delegation a breeze! Now I can add something & assign it out with a deadline and know it will be taken care of without having to have a meeting to discuss.
Jerome Knyszewski: One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft quoted cliche “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?
Stephanie Scheller: I think this is a cliche that was started by someone dealing with an identity crisis who didn’t understand the importance of training a team and how much further it would get you, and how much happier you are, when you have a team and you can focus on doing the things you’re best at in your new role!
When we’re dealing with an identity crisis, no one will ever be able to do it as well as you do it because it’s not identical to how you did it! And we tend to fixate on silly little things that don’t have as big an emphasis on quality as we convince ourselves they do. It’s just how the brain operates!
I had a client lately who was trying to re-insert herself into her business because of a similar mindset. I asked her why she was doing that when she had started working with me specifically because she wanted to step away from the business more and more. Her response was “I don’t want the business to fail!” So I asked her how strong the business was and how well it would be able to weather storms if it constantly relied on her to NOT fail. It caught her off guard and she realized that she was playing up a couple of issues and re-inserting herself in her business unnecessarily. It was a different way of saying “If you want something done right, do it yourself” by reframing it as “I am the only person who can keep this business from failing.” But it was just as dangerous and the moment she stepped back and realized it, you could see her tense shoulders relax, she smiled again and we were able to work through how to empower the team to take charge so she could stay in the backseat and they could keep running the business while she focused on her new venture.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Stephanie Scheller: My goal is to create awareness across the globe about the power of personal choice. When we can get people to internalize their choices, and their results, and understand that they have a LOT of control over their personal life, and they aren’t subject to their thoughts, to the whims of others or their environment, etc, it changes a person. When I realized that I had to stop externalizing what happened in my life and take control over it and take action, it rapidly propelled my life, and my happiness which allows me to live up to the impact I am capable of and I want everyone to experience this!
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!