Bringing a People First Approach To Business with Vanessa Farino

Bringing a People First Approach To Business with Vanessa Farino

Bringing a People First Approach to Business with Vanessa Farino

Today, we’re fortunate to sit down with Vanessa Farino, the award-winning Latina business strategist who’s disrupting the entrepreneurial landscape with her unique approach to business coaching and community building.

What if you could revolutionize your trajectory from the corporate world to launching your own venture? Well, Vanessa is here to show you the path. Her incredible journey from being a receptionist in the corporate world to founding six companies is a testament to her unyielding determination and resilience.

She highlights the importance of honoring our roots and the sacrifices of our ancestors, providing a perspective that is both inspiring and thought-provoking.

Vanessa’s digital platform, the CEO Circle, is more than just a community; it’s a vibrant ecosystem where female founders can thrive and create generational wealth. With her emphasis on creating human experiences and showcasing diverse representation, Vanessa has redefined the coaching experience.

She doesn’t believe in the label ‘side hustle’ and her personalized coaching style emphasizes market research, team building and impactful relationships with clients. She reveals how, through simplifying business and focusing on alignment with values, you too can make a lasting impact.

The conversation takes a deeper turn as we explore the necessity of setting up people for success, regardless of their profession, and treating them with respect and kindness.

Vanessa candidly shares her own experiences, emphasizing the importance of having difficult conversations and recognizing people’s contributions. She also imparts her wisdom on setting boundaries and expectations with clients and the importance of resilience in entrepreneurship. So, tune in and let Vanessa’s insights and tips motivate you to take your entrepreneurial journey to the next level.

She doesn’t believe in the label ‘side hustle’ and her personalized coaching style emphasizes market research, team building and impactful relationships with clients. She reveals how, through simplifying business and focusing on alignment with values, you too can make a lasting impact.

The conversation takes a deeper turn as we explore the necessity of setting up people for success, regardless of their profession, and treating them with respect and kindness.

Vanessa candidly shares her own experiences, emphasizing the importance of having difficult conversations and recognizing people’s contributions. She also imparts her wisdom on setting boundaries and expectations with clients and the importance of resilience in entrepreneurship. So, tune in and let Vanessa’s insights and tips motivate you to take your entrepreneurial journey to the next level.

Highlights you won’t want to miss:
  • [0:04:56] Transitioning From Corporate to Entrepreneurship
  • [0:20:34] Creating a Thriving Community
  • [0:25:01] The Importance of Personalized Business Coaching
  • [0:39:51] Building Partnerships and Healing Wounds
  • [0:48:00] Business and Personal Growth Challenges
  • [0:59:39] Thank You for Supporting the Podcast

Click here to read the full transcript ‣‣‣

Emily: Hey, everybody, welcome back to the podcast. As you can tell by the inflection in my voice, I’m very excited. It’s the hardest thing. This is the hardest thing to do like literally stay grounded when my energy is like bouncing like a ball, like I’m just like I feel like maybe like a firework is the more appropriate analogy.

I am joined today by my dear friend Vanessa Farino. I’ve known Vanessa for a number of years. I’d probably have to really look back at exactly how many we know each other. And I invited Vanessa here today because, number one, she is a flippin powerhouse and she has a lot of amazing gifts to share with listeners. But number two, I feel like her story is also part of everybody’s entrepreneurial journey. Like when we made that decision to leave one thing and start another thing.

But the one thing that I just absolutely love and adore, totally admire about Vanessa is no matter what she does, she goes 100% all out and she is like the most unfathomable person I have ever known. And I am saying that with like, the most love, like she’s like, I’m going to do this. And you’re like, Holy what? Like she just pulls off stuff. You’re like, how did you even do that? And you always surprise me. It’s like, whoa.

And so she’s definitely someone to watch out for. She’s the most innovative. She is a leader through and through. So I’m so excited to stop talking and hand over the mic to you so that you can introduce yourself. Vanessa, warm welcome.

Vanessa: Thank you. My name is Vanessa Farino and I am a business strategist who is an award-winning Latina who is here to ignite female founders to create generational wealth, but also impact their communities.

Emily: So let’s tell everybody, where did you start your career? How did you become this strategist? Because, you know, I’ve seen you from being in the corporate world and like just you climb the ladder.

I mean, you did the thing. You climbed the ladder to the top and then you’re like, you know what? No, thanks. I’m actually not going to do this and I’m going to change the world this way. So I would love for you to share that story a little bit.

Vanessa: Absolutely. So I started my career as a receptionist, then a financial assistant office manager, legal assistant. I mean, I worked in so many different areas and industries, but ultimately for the past 15 years, working from the receptionist all the way to chief of staff roles here in downtown Boston at Tech Startup Companies.

I’ve done things as, you know, investor relations, fundraising, you name it. Start company culture, revamped branding, marketing, product and sales launches. Culture is really big to me, really important humans. I love humans and people, they matter so much. And ultimately through that process of working under CEOs who are entrepreneurs and them guiding me and, you know, igniting my entrepreneurial skills as well. I have also founded six companies between a brick and mortar service based and product based, which have also led me to my awards, 30 under 30 and 40 under 40.

Emily: I want to get on some of those awards, run because I’m too late for the 30, under 30 or 40 under 44. Common 50 under 50, let’s do that!

Vanessa: Yes!

Emily: Well, and I know from just being friends, you know, you’ve had some people who’ve you worked with that are such like you always do. They’re such a human. Like I love how you say that, all of that. You know that had heart and soul and people mattered, wellness and legacy mattered in such a big way.

And I remember some of the last folks that you had worked with in a bigger capacity really had an impact on sparking at within you and really saw the spark inside of you. Then they knew, okay, she’s somebody different, she’s not like the rest. And you were able to do some really cool collaborations.

Vanessa: Yes, absolutely. And I have to share in vulnerability, though things have not been like, wheeew,  you know, do the whole process. Everything’s beautiful and cheery belonging to the corporate world. While I have absolutely enjoyed my journey and process, there have also been the people who are like, you’re weird, you’re the black sheep here because you are just not a person who’s a 9 to 5. And I’m like, well, my life is a 24/7 cycle and I evolve as a human and you do too. Please do not shame me. Leave me alone as I’m doing great things.

But ultimately, through the process, we have been able to collaborate. We’ve done summits, I’ve done retreats, I’ve done accelerator programs for our business. And ultimately, it had come down to right. When you’re in business, you think you’re going to go help X amount of people through the transition. Probably very early on your first couple of years, you realize why people need you. And then through that process, you make the decision that you are going to serve Z. Right?

You have boundaries and all of the things. And through that process it has ultimately been working with Millennial Woman who have a corporate experience, who understand what it takes to really climb the corporate ladder, who have skill sets, but also understand that there is a different side of humanity that we have yet to explore and evolve and be grateful to our ancestors for the sacrifices that they have made for us to have the privilege to say, Wow, I’m a human, I am creative, I am a creative human, and I have the opportunity to do X, Y, and Z because I do have talents and I get to evolve. And it doesn’t matter what age you are because you know it’s art, really.And I believe that our ages, the energy that we put out there. Yeah, my grandma, she’s 80 something years old and she is the most youthful person I have yet to meet.

Emily: She is. Also well, and I think also making these different choices. It is an opportunity, but it’s also we how privileged are we that we can decide, oh, well, I want to leave my corporate job and do my own thing. What a joy that is. But also, it’s a huge risk to be able to take that leap.

And a lot of cases, you know, we enter the workforce because we want safety and security. And I know especially this week and last week, it’s been coming up a lot with me as well as my community around safety and security. I don’t know what’s happening in the stars. I got to go talk with those people, but it’s like it’s bringing all of our stuff up to the surface to look at the old stories and to, you know, do get some healing around them so that we can propel forward, so we can help other people through those issues as well, of course. So I would love if you could share, you know, when you were realizing I mean, you had already started some startups while you were still in corporate, you had to make those shifts.

Things were already kind of working in their place. When you decided to finally like that last, that last little thing that set you off, it were like, no, I’m good. We’re done with this. And you decided to step away from corporate. Can you take us through that decision-making process? Because I know a lot of folks who are in corporate or who have a side hustle kind of going like these kinds of two things are working for me. How do you make that transition?

Vanessa: Yeah, absolutely. So I think there’s multiple aspects to the conversation. Number one is having the realization of where did you learn and understand as a child growing up with self-value? Where does it come from? So in our society, we are taught that, you know, your value comes from having a traditional life where you find a career. One, we’re not allowed to have multiple and you take that career and you be the best at the best. And being the best of the best is considered climbing up the ladder.

So the second conversation, it’s but what actually do you like doing? And you don’t know until you try all the things and realize all the things you don’t like. And you have to continue in my belief, you have to continue to try things as a human because we’re put on this planet and we are just so privileged to be here on Mother Earth. And she’s providing us with all of these possible opportunities to create and exist in all of the things. So to bring that in a full circle, having the conversation with yourself and saying, Is the corporate ladder fulfilling?

And most of us human beings where we are today, in this day and age will saWe’ve were taught to feel and molded into that. It is fulfilling and I will get thousand percent 90% of my life, I was like, I love my corporate career, I love it, I love it, I love it. I love it because I did enjoy it because I was dealing with humans and I love humans and I was helping. And as humans, we want to help. But then it came to the realization, but actually, you’ve become so good and mastered all of the things that you find the self-value through that cycle. Great.

Now let’s push that aside and see do you actually enjoy it? And the answer was I do not, because my whole life in my corporate career as an awakening recently, I share in vulnerability. I knew I didn’t fit in these rooms, but I was fighting to be in these rooms because I knew I looked different as a Latina woman. And I was mostly 20 years of an age gap difference from the people that were here. While I was very grateful for the opportunities because it’s not very common that you have CEO white male-dominated industries pulling a chair for a young Latina woman.

I thought, where are my peers? How can I support to get them? Let me show them that it’s possible. Let me break the barriers and doors. In reality, we don’t need to break down barriers. We don’t need to break the ceiling. We don’t need to climb the ladder. We don’t need anything to exist. And that was the real the hardest realization for me to actually overcome and understand. I’ve heard so many times people say, breathing is enough, your existence is enough. And I’m like, that sounds crazy. It doesn’t make sense. I have to be some way give back to have self-worth and self-doubt. So having that realization is very important. And how do you do that?

You only can do that, in my opinion, by meeting yourself in deeper levels emotionally, and that could be through methodologies, whether that’s meditation or walking or therapy, whatever it is that you choose. But being very intentional in saying, I’m trying to be myself in the deepest level I have yet thus too.

It’s going to be painful, but I’m willing to go there because not only am I going to heal myself, you are genuinely going to feel yourself in your DNA within your cells change. You’re going to have unique conversations with your family members or friends, and then all of a sudden you’re like, What just happened? And then you’re like, I’m breaking generational traumas and all these. But then more of to a different person.

But it is absolutely with gratitude that I look at any obstacle that comes through my path, which I understand will happen for the rest of my life. I look at the obstacles. I’m grateful for the obstacle that you’re here because you’re here to teach me something. And I’m no longer going to approach it with resistance. If anything, you’re here to teach me something. And when there’s an obstacle, the slower pace, it’s like methodical, right? It’s like the slower pace that I go that doesn’t necessarily mean sit in your room and just staring at the wall all day, it could. But overall, I’m going on around.

Emily: Like this, no, I like this. My audience are full of people who this is their language so you’re speaking to them. And also, I think there’s something you highlighted around breaking down barriers. Like I don’t have to break down barriers. I don’t have to do all this stuff to prove that I am worthy, that I’m not contributing. And, you know, to your point, too, around corporate, we do find value in it.

You know, I remember, you know, even though I was doing massage on the side of my corporate 9 to 5 job as an executive assistant, this high-level bank in this prestigious like, well sector, you know there was some kind of itch and scratched which was the safety and security. But I felt like I had sort of like made it somehow that I was wearing this like pencil skirt and these high heels I felt like important somehow. And there was something to that that I was like not quite getting elsewhere. And I think that’s what kept me there. But after a certain while, you’re like, Who do I think I really am? And I used to make a joke around some of the people within the organization that, you know, they would say things like, Do you know who I think I am? Because it’s like, within this world, everyone knows who you are. But if you step outside this building and this company, no one knows who you are.

And so when we come back to being human and wanting to go into deeper depths of ourselves, like really identifying like who am I and what am I here to do? And like, what you’re talking about is this depth of healing and overcoming obstacles because you truly know your purpose. You truly know what you’re designed to do, and there’s nothing and no one who can stop you from living that truth. It’s like a bell when it rings. You can’t unring it.

And, you know, I think that’s also something I’ve always loved and admired about you when it comes to opening doors for other people. You know, you’ve had networking organizations and I even see you doing it now. It’s like you’re opening doors for people to collaborate, to connect, to open up new connections, opportunities for like beyond this. And I was saying to before we started recording, you know, I was looking at some old photos with my kids last night, and I see this album from like probably five years ago, and you put together this like cruise.

And I’m like, okay, first of all, I’m going to Boston that’s scary. Second of all, I’m going to be with said, that’s not scary, okay? I’m going to be with a whole bunch of strangers on a cruise, okay? Like it was like all these different things that kind of pushed me. And I remember making some beautiful connections there, of course, like dancing with you and your mom and like, and having so much fun. But like, you always create these containers and there’s like, this catalyst, like you genuinely love connecting people. You genuinely want the best for people and you’ve always done that. And you just started this was it called CEO Circle?

Vanessa: Yes.

Emily: Okay, so and so maybe I’m jumping around a little bit here, but I feel it’s like it’s that next level that’s that next iteration. Now it’s this is a digital platform. You’re opening this group. So CEO Circle popped up and you opened it. And within how many hours, there’s like almost 100 people in it.

Vanessa: Yes, within less than 24 hours, we have hundred members join, which shows us that people are craving this. And you can totally say, oh, just another community or another acts, that’s fine. But for the people who make the decision to step into that door, I take 1,000% responsibility as a host of a community, of experience, of an event, of a container, of working with people, whatever that is. And I think that’s very important when you decide and say, I need support. Human, humans, there is data scientifically, we are not meant to be alone. And that’s okay because I respect that there are times where I’m much more introverted than when I feel extroverted, which by the way, I’m actually someone who is an introvert at heart. But I chose to be a community leader, and with that responsibility comes being an extrovert.

So making sure that when I am creating experiences, whether they are online or they are in person, that I know what it feels like to say, I’m going somewhere and I have to get dressed up, I have to commute, I have to get there, and I probably won’t meet anybody and there’s going to be a billion people and I just want to be home doing X, Y, and Z. There is no shame in that. But I can tell you guaranteed and Emily has a testimonial right here that when you do come to one of these experiences, it is an experience because from the moment that you get to the door, you are going to find me. Or for a moment when you join CEO Circle within like 5 minutes, I’m in your chat, I’m like, hi, it’s me. It’s nice to meet you, thank you for being here. If you need anything, let me know. I really create human experiences. And that’s why it’s very important because I know people need that. They need the extra TLC, and it comes so naturally for me to be able to be that nurture type of person. So, yeah…

Emily: Yeah, I mean, and I’ve been in countless groups that you’ve hosted, you know, whether it be like the cruise or like, let’s just go get like tacos somewhere or I’m going to go to your mom’s birthday party. And by the way, everybody on your table’s only speaking Spanish. I’m like, I’ll just work on my Spanish right now real quick. And, you know, like you still are able to foster community in no matter what the angle is.

So I am positive that CEO Circle is it’s, it’s I feel like it’s one of those innately sexy offers that like we’re hungry for we’re thirsty for our soul is craving. And I know you attract like-minded people. And so I can definitely say, well, I know it started off with 100 people, but I know where it’s going. Like, I know what Vanessa’s capable of. You don’t even know what’s but because I know you dream big, you think big, you have a global hunger, this desire and this hunger inside of you, which I totally adore.

Vanessa: Yeah. And I think also to add to that, it’s not just creating the experiences, but making sure that there’s representation of different colors and voices in these rooms, whether they are digital or they are in person. That for me is key because for most of my life I was the only person and that is fine if that works for other other companies, there is no shame.

But in my world that does not exist, right? That does not exist. And we want people to feel represented in any possible way. So to anybody who does work with me, come to an event or participate in any way, that is how you matter, because you are taking up space. And while we can say we can hear so many people, share your voice, share your story, you take up space. It’s the physical aspect of doing and also energetically taking that responsibility of, I know I can do this because I deserve and just see what happens. Magic happens.

Emily: Yeah, it does. And I’m glad that you’re creating these spaces, so grateful. So when you stepped away from corporate and you started to coach people and I was sort of say you were saying you’ve been really loving doing some of the one on one work, when you get to kind of get into people’s business, stir things up, shifted around.

You had a really cool experience that you share with me before we started recording. I’m like, Oh my God, oh my God, we need to stop talking and start recording because you shared a client who wanted who is from a corporate background, sort of have like a side hustle. I’ll let you explain it better than me.

Vanessa: Yeah, absolutely. So with all due respect, I tell anybody who has and a possible business idea. Respectfully, don’t call your business idea a side hustle. So I tell people, if you have a business idea and you intentionally, truly believe in it, do your due diligence as if you were going to buy a home, right?  You do your market research. You understand where you stand in the market. You’re not just like, I’m going to sell water bottles just because my neighbor said they’re cute, right?

And you’re like, I understand where I’m positioned in the market. I understand how I can make money. I understand how it’s important for me to step into multiple roles. I understand the responsibility that it takes to be a business owner.

Do not call your business a side hustle. I don’t care if you work in it five or 10 hours a week because I’m going to tell you that these C-level people are involved in a shitload of non-profits organization boards. They don’t call their corporate CEO titles side hustles. Also, it goes back to value because the number of hours that you work does not equate to the value of side or full-time. So I always say if you have a business, say it’s a business. And if it is your main priority, such as mine is right now, it’s your main priority.

And I think I went into a rant that I didn’t even answer your question, but I remember. I got it. So the last two years, we are celebrating our two-year anniversary this summer.

Emily: My gosh. Congratulations!

Vanessa: And previously before this year we were doing we a.k.a I.

Emily: Yes

Vanessa: me and my team. I was doing accelerator programs and bringing people through all the different possible departments and buckets in their business to do x, y, z. With that being said, I set the intention this year because I was craving it. I was craving that one on one, whereas I was telling you like, I really want to do some major strategy with clients one on one and be able to roll my sleeves up, roll my sleeves up and get dirty with them. But let’s get dirty, Let’s have fun. Business should be fun. Yes, there are aspects that possibly could be a little more tense than others, but I have this one particular client that I’m so grateful for because she was the one who sparked the interest of working with clients one on one.

I started working with her last February. She was doing $300 a month. She came from a corporate hedge fund background and now she’s over 10K months consistently for the last six months. And now we are working a plan to hit 20K. And you know, she’s not locally based in Massachusetts. I fly to see her quarterly.

We have a beautiful relationship and it’s spread the word to get referrals and other clients and the potential and right now at the current moment, it is something that is very rewarding to me where I am ultimately sort of that chief operating officer for my clients, where anything that comes up strategy, we’re like, okay, you know, let’s talk about it.

Let’s provide solutions. There’s nothing more than I love. Then when people bring me spaghetti and they’re like, make it work, fix it. And I’m like, okay, that sounds so fun. And they’re like, I truly believe business should be simplified. I’m the person also manifesting generator. I don’t think anything is impossible. Brilliant.

Emily: Yeah I’m also MG as well.

Vanessa: Yes I know 🙂

Emily: And I think it’s great especially for manifesting generators that we can have our hands in different things and it doesn’t make us bored. And what I’ve learned about myself is that when I started my online business, I was like, I’m going to do this next week. I’m going to do this next week and I’m going to do that. And then over time I realize I really love these few things and I’m going to deliver in this way. So here is a funnel that I can throw all of these creative ideas into. So I’m never bored, but it’s always like one thing instead of like a smorgasbord of like so many different options.

And I love that you can be a COO in other people’s businesses. And for somebody who has just hired my first COO, it’s like, I can’t describe it. It’s not the same as it was. She and I also have a very unique, very special like deep relationship together personally. And I think that really helps. And for me, that’s important to me. For some people, they might be like, it’s work, so keep it at that level. And I can’t, I fall in love with people.

Vanessa: That’s MG. I know. I don’t know that we can.

Emily: You’re in and I love you. Let’s put a ring on it. The end.

Vanessa: Yes 🙂

Emily: But I think what’s what’s so unique about having COO and if you’re helping people out at that level, you have to get personal.

You have to get into it because, you know, you might see that plate of spaghetti, you know, like I don’t even know what’s going on, but you’re going to find at the baseline when you cleared the deck and you’re like, okay, let’s start from the beginning. You’re going to find the stuff that’s hidden beneath the surface. Why? Why is it a spaghetti in the first place? And why are we doing these things to distract us from the real thing that should be over here. And by the way, you are massively underpricing yourself. And this is the direction you say you want to go, but you’re doing all these things.

So, it’s so great to be able to have somebody who’s got that strategic thinking brain who can sort through the mess and who can say, here’s call them one, two and three. You’re doing these two things at the end. It’s like, oh my gosh.

For me as a CEO and as a creative thinker and as manifesting generator, when I have my she makes me a punch list every week. Like we have our goals, we have our weekly meetings, we have our biweekly team meetings, and every single day I’m like, Oh, I’m like a golden retriever. Oh, I’m so excited. I have this idea. And she’s like, go put it on the ideas meeting form. I’m like, right, go to the ideas meeting board, you know, and I have a place where I can put those things, but I have my short list that she gives me. Like this is just, just stay in the lines, follow this… Well, but it makes such a huge difference.

And I can say that like my load, the load that I’m carrying, it gets so much lighter. So that makes it easier for me to serve at my highest level. And when I’m serving at my highest level and I am more tapped into my joy and my fun and I can take off time and I can go play and I can get facials in the middle of the day and like, go have a lunch day with a friend, and Vanessa, you know, it’s like, oh my gosh, that energy is so yummy. It just changes everything.

So, of course, she’s now making more money. Of course she is. And so you are like this sole magic sauce in her business. So you love seeing people one on one or do you love working with groups? Do you like both? How so?

Vanessa: For the for the remainder of the year, actually, for all of the year, I’ve committed to only work one on one with people. Do have experiences that we are doing live in person as well, but particularly working with one on one. I so happen to have my clients be a lot of on the East Coast. So while I say when we start working together, I cannot promise that you’ll see me in person, but I can also promise I love to travel and then all of a sudden I’m in their face within 30 days and I build and cultivate the relationships with them. Because if if they’re asking, this is where I see the vision. This is what I ask them. What is your story of origin as a human? Because that is important, right? And then also, what is it that you want to accomplish? What are your weaknesses? And you have to create that recipe as that person, right as that guy, right?

The COO for people and building that relationship with people is hard, especially if it’s virtual. So for me, the human connection is 1,000% important and it also continues to help me learn how to continue to lead with empathy and compassion. But also I’m all about tough love. My clients know that that I’m like, you told me you want to be here and give them the data that you’re giving me. Right now. We’re going in the wrong direction. Rerouting, rerouting.

And like you said, for your COO, it’s making sure that you are on track for what you envision, for what you see, but also, most importantly, challenge you to get uncomfortable in your comfort zone. But holding their hand and saying you are safe, it is okay, you are loved. And I’m here through this process to go through any battle with you because I’m amazing and you’re amazing. You know, we’re going to get through it. And that’s exactly what has happened with most of my clients.

Emily: Right. And having somebody say that to you because usually we’re like a little island all up on our own. And maybe there are some team members that look up to us and depend on us to delegate tasks. And suddenly there’s a CEO who can be that intermediary and who can be like, Listen, Beau, I got you.

You’re not going to fall down today. It’s like, you’re right. I believe in myself. Like I need that extra little boost. And I think as leaders, we need somebody who can be there. And, you know, I have an amazing network of wonderful friends who are enormously successful entrepreneurs in their own right, and it’s not their business to be in my business. I tell them what I tell them. They tell me what they and we can support each other, of course, and work through different issues. But when someone is like their sleeves rolled up like yours, you’re like, I know what’s happening.

Vanessa: There’s an area of vulnerability and trust. And just areas of life that you’re meeting this person as a relationship, right? We have romantic relationships and this is a business relationship.

So it’s very important that you are feeling seen, heard, understood, but also that you trust to this person and allowing to put your wall down in your boundaries, that this person will also have the best interest for you to call you out in certain scenarios and situations and or if you’re not acting upon possible opportunities that are out there for you like, girlfriend what are you doing?

And yes, there’s a difference between having your entrepreneur friends because they will only know certain aspects of life of your business as well. But when you have that person who’s really dedicated to you, it’s very important in which I have been working on with Human Design because it changed my life back so many years ago. And I thought to myself to understand my clients in a deeper level, right, in a way that I can really able to move things around for them, but also clarity on how we can build trust together. It is something that energetic wise. I like to tap in briefly with them and say these are some of the possibilities for you. Please allow me to step into this energetic space for you. And of course, by any means, if you think that I’m overstepping, say something, I’m going to overstep more.

Emily: Yeah, I’ll keep going. 😀 I’ll just keep on going.

Vanessa: This is what you hired me for.

Emily: But I think it’s so valuable. And I mean, this is also the thing is, like, we can look at back to the beginning the conversation of like, trying different things to know what you like. You know, you had to walk through that path to get the experience and the confidence in yourself and your skillset to get to where you are today, where you can walk in and be somebody’s COO.

Vanessa: Absolutely. So it’s so interesting. And to me, I’m like, Gosh, I’m so grateful for all of the other businesses that I had one started and created and made successful and put my ego aside and closed them down when I no longer felt aligned with them while in society. And my clients at the time thought I was crazy, like literally crazy. Why would you do that? At the minimum, sell your business? And to me it did not feel of integrity to do so.

I look back now, understanding myself have been a business owner in so many different facets and so many brick and mortar service based and product base understanding, e-commerce, understanding different industries and like all of the different scenarios.

Now, finally with Creative CEO, I’m like, I no longer have to open up all of these businesses because I can support with strategy to all of these female founders in unlimited ways.

And I would have not found so much joy and also so much way to give back to people. If I didn’t go through all of that and to me, I was like pulling my hair, Oh my gosh, you got 2500 orders. This should be the best thing ever. But there’s like, I need to find a warehouse, I need to do this, I need to that. And so there’s just so many different things. I look back and I’m like, I understand why. And allowing our ego and putting aside that we don’t need to understand everything point blank. Just be in the present moment.

Emily: Yeah, I love what you said about authenticity as well. You kind of slip that in there, so back check, My COO Amanda, has worked for a number of pretty big brands herself as well. She has been a health startup… she’s a certified health coach. So she’s had her own business and she’s done some other things. And when we first kind of came together, it was just a project basis. She was helping me with my certification, all the back-end stuff. I was like, here’s what it’s going to be. How do you do all of these things? You know, it was like, I’m channeling the program and here’s how it’s going to look. I have no idea how to make A,D,B.

So she was part of that birthing process with me and I told her when we first start work, I said, if this program goes the way I think it’s going to go, I’m probably going to fall in love with you and I’m probably going to want to like take this to the next level. I’m just letting you know upfront. And, you know, I thought it was funny until she realized it was literally what I meant. I mean what I say.

But through the process of getting to know each other, what came to the surface also for her was this lack of integrity, lack of authenticity from people that she previously worked with and kind of the scars that it left behind for her. And so when we started working together, you know, and like every day I’m like, you are amazing. I love you. I can’t believe I’m like crying because I’m like, this never would be possible with you. We’re having graduations and I’m crying. All the students are crying like, this is all thanks to Amanda.

And she’s like, Oh my God, like, I’m getting credit for something that I, you know, like there’s a lot of wounds that are previous wounds, but that as we build these partnerships, whether it’s a long term or short term, like you got to look at those as well. And I know in my own personal relationship with Amanda, we both are helping each other heal some really deep wounds that we’ve previously been through. And like for me, it’s the safety. I’m here. I got you. You’re not alone. Like I go take a break Emily, I got this.

And then for her, it’s like, you know, your voice matters, your work matters. I want to recognize you publicly. I want to cheer you on and acknowledge your contributions. And I’m not going to blame you and point the finger if something goes wrong like all of that. So I wonder how that plays into your role and with the companies that you’ve been involved with, with like past icky situations, let’s just say.

Vanessa: Yeah. So I think at least when it comes to my corporate life, there will always be the if they never say anything. Nothing’s wrong and nothing ever was said. So there’s always the whole self-worth the self-value.

And I found so much joy and things that came out of owning my business. And I’m like, Oh, I actually got a compliment from a client and that is so wonderful. I made their day or we help them do this or we did that. But I think ultimately also side note to add to this, just because we’re on the topic is that whether you are in corporate or you have your business, it is your full responsibility to set up the person for success, whether they are part-time, full-time contractor, day person, whatever they are your sole responsibility.

So many people have said, particularly who own their own businesses, this person didn’t work out in my first question is, but did you set them up for success? And they will say, Oh, but, oh, but they’re the expert. Okay, do you have a job description? Is there static expectations? You sit with them on their first day. Did you go through that training? Do you have a manual? Do you do, do you? And they’re like, No. And I’m not here to shame you. I’m here just to shed awareness that you are hiring a human with feelings, right? That comes with these scars and bruises and past situations just as yourself. Because we are not more and they are not less and vice versa. And treating everything with a people first approach.

And when working with people, it’s quite interesting how I’m learning to volume up my voice in scenarios because I would see things when politics, what happen in corporate and injustice happened. Unfortunately, you have to not be the problematic employee and put your head down. Then I’ve been in situations where I was the problematic employee when I was saying this is unfairness, or it’s actually even against the handbook that you wrote as the employer.

But ultimately as a business owner, you have the rules set from clear, right? The slate is right in front of you, white and black. And you have the opportunity to do people at first an understanding that your client’s journey is very important and not necessarily that things, things that are automated are great because they take time off of our you know, they give us time back. But also importantly, it’s like, well, how are you actually going to connect with clients in a different way if you’re automating X?

And I do understand that that might not necessarily feel comfortable for many people because they might not energetically want to associate themselves with people in different areas and aspects. And that’s fine if you don’t feel inclined to own a business that is wonderful, if that doesn’t feel aligned for you. But if you do feel that you are inspired to even just try, do so.

Because if you talk to anybody who is in their late ages, which life is not promised to any of us, but if they’re in their late season ages, you will always hear the number one advice that they say never have doubts. Like, you know, always try something. The what-ifs are the things that are going to be the most regretful. So if we are truly living in our way of the best life that we can possibly have, not just for ourselves, but for our ancestors, I do think that matters. All of our decisions do reflect to all of them is just if you have an idea, we’ve heard this so many times, it’s for a freakin reason. Just ACT – because you will never get criticized by the people who are doers. The people who are going to criticize you are the people who don’t DO. And that is okay.

Emily: Amen. Your mic drop moment, yas! 😀 you will never get criticized by the doers. I agree. I agree.

And I think it’s hard, you know, I was doing some journaling last week because I had a particularly challenging week. And I was like, you know what? When I started doing this helping the world thing, you know, I had this mission and I didn’t know that we weren’t just going to be BFFs from the moment you met me and started to follow me on Instagram to, you know, eternity, that there are people who are going to come into your business just like friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And I saw people, you know, change from when they started programs to when they finished them, and some people didn’t finish that. And it’s like, what?

So now that my eyes are wide open, I can tell, you know, if I’ve got 50 people in a program, we’re not going to leave 50 people at the end of it, probably not even 50 in the middle of it if we’re really being honest.

And that’s just human nature. And so part of me, I was like journaling about, So why am I doing this? Like, I know I’m here to make an impact on millions of practitioners. And I also know it by human nature. Not everyone is going to walk the walk.

Vaness: Right.

Emily: And I can’t force that on anybody. And there are going to be people, which in the case was last week, who don’t do the work, don’t meet the requirements, but still blame me for everything. You know, they’ll blame their peers. Well, they had it easier than me. And your requirements are too rigorous. You know, it’s like, well, you signed up for it. You know, it’s like, it’s like, so what? What? Why am I doing this? Somebody like a glutton for punishment.

So I’m sure, like, I know you are a humanitarian at heart, but you must also come into contact with some really difficult situations as well where maybe like me last week, like questioning, like what am I actually trying to do,  thus it doesn’t mean I don’t want to help, like what is going on? Have you seen some of those sort of scenarios?

Vanessa: Yeah. So it was absolutely the first year in business for Creative CEO where I was still testing the waters, right? As I mentioned at the beginning, I thought I was going to help X, Y was coming through the door and I was like, Hold on. Not sure that either one. Like, we need a combination, a little bit of both. And the recipe was for Z, Z as the client. But ultimately I decided that before I have any clients start working with me and have a human conversation and I say this is how I work.

You are a great, like I don’t care if it takes me 50 hours a week to have this conversation with them, you need to understand I’m not going to do the work for you. I’m here to teach you. I’m here to strategize with you. I’m here to get dirty with you.

But if I’m going to do more work than you and be more obsessed with the vision of your business, we are not aligned and I have it in my contract, I have it in white and black, I have the conversation in person. And if you check my client success stories on the website. Every single client of mine has – I’ve helped thus far 32 female founders, and they all say you have to put in the work to be able to see the fruition.

And let me tell you, the hard work is freaking fun. Yes, we might pull our hair every few days in the month, but there’s nothing wrong with that. And I will tell my clients if there’s a moment, I feel like you’re going through a moment of resistance. I do think that this is personal. We will reschedule. And the boundaries in the beginning, and I know how hard that can be because people will point and I know that first-year people did point. Okay. Thank you. I hope you have a wonderful day and goodbye.

Emily: Yeah.

Vanessa: And it sucks because what they’re not realizing is that their actions are affecting other humans. And that’s not cool. But, yes, we have to continue to walk the walk. And I love that you brought that up, because I have seen also many times where things are not led through the leaders, through a people-first approach. And that actually brought me to therapy and first year.

Through my market research because I went down a very dark hole not wanting to be associated in the industry, not even wanting to step into this and knowing I am brilliant at it because I found resentment in between what I had found at work in my lifetime and also still seeing it in this industry where we are to support business owners.

And I’m like, but wait a minute, aren’t we here to help women succeed in life? And if we are not leaders walking the walk because it doesn’t take rocket science to find this information that’s very open in the public. And then it’s like, Well, what am I doing? I’m now the black sheep in this industry that I want to walk the walk. And what is the purpose?

Because ultimately we are mirroring in this space that we are trying to step into for the future of the world. What was the previous of the world? Just a new facade and beautiful marketing and just wrapped up with all of this cute stuff. I’m like, that kind of defeats the purpose of existing and of evolving. I appreciate you bringing that up because I do think that is something that I had struggled so much with as a business owner. So if there’s anybody who is listening.

I find that that lesson for me was the beginning of self-worth and any situation that is triggering to you that is deeply painful and or questionable for you keep going in that direction until it’s not painful anymore. And it could take years because it did take me almost two years to heal in that way. But it’s going to be the best thing that you can do for yourself and for your clients. And it’s going to show.

Emily: Amen.

Vanessa: Nothing else has to be done or said or even confronted with other people.

Emily: Yeah. Amen. I think that’s the hard part about being a disruptor. If you’re saying, you know, that’s really unethical or that’s not cool, this is the direction I’m taking. I’m taking the high road and I’m taking it with integrity and with heart.

And I love your people-first approach, you know, with this certification, I’ve been seeing a lot of that come up for for me because the bar, especially for practitioner has been set so low that there’s just such a huge leap to say, how do you show professionally and with integrity and really shine without doing these weird, sleazy things that these business only people are trying to teach me? It doesn’t translate in transformational healing work. What do I do? And then they get into this like lost, confused state.

And now you said the term black sheep a couple of times, I have said that I actually have been working with a hypnotherapist who is going to be on the podcast any day now for whenever it airs. Maybe it’s already here by the time this comes out.

But one of the things I was working on was saying that about me by myself, about being the black sheep of my family and about being kind of like this black sheep, almost like in the industry that I’m at, because I’m not just like the psychic and the energy healer. And I’m not just the business strategist. I’m this unicorn that’s sort of like middle-of-the-road of both.

And so she introduced the term that I’ve been using, thankfully, and hypnosis around being the unicorn of my industry, of being the unicorn in my family is like we are sparkly still. And, you know, I think it’s a good thing that you stand out in that way. And I’m glad that you got to do the deeper work to realize your own worthiness and that and, you know, I think it’s also really important that we we do get those triggers. We get triggered by people, by them being sleazy or them being too shiny or them being in a bathtub of $100 bills.

Vanessa: I can’t even tell you I have been someone who has reported a professional to the US. I know that there’s like some sort of big like federal. They took my money paid in full, nothing. I got nothing out of them.

So for anybody who’s also listening before you hire someone. Look at their credentials. Not just their marketing, because they could be nice people and that’s great, right? Like, for example, Emily has such an experience. Like, I met her back, I think 2014, 2015. You are the one who sparked me onto this like, journey. I feel like I was in space and I’m like, this is so cool. We’re going to do wonderful things in life.

And then Emily was like, you do know that you have a rocket ship right next to you that you can jump on to at any given point and just go anywhere with it, right? And you were that person, right? Not only did you change my life, but you are someone who was so educated, so human. First forward approach, not afraid to be the black sheep with love and power.

So, find yourself interviewing that person as if you are interviewing at a corporate world, because you will find that it’s important to really understand what your expectations are as anybody working with someone, right? But then also, when you do find someone who’s truly aligned from your human levels, but also for your business levels, as is Emily, you’re going to feel 100% at the end of whatever existing business relationship that you have with that person ultimately.

And I do think that there are ten situations that we just need to keep walking the walk. Because I will tell you, I keep tabs as I continue to do market research in the industry and trends for the people. Back in 2019, 80% of those businesses no longer exist and or have pivoted 700 times. There’s no shame in that.

Emily: Yeah.

Vanessa: Yeah, but you know, it’s important because at the end of the day. When people are going to say, Oh, but who is that Emily? or who is the Vanessa? We are consistent with our word no matter what it is that we are tapped in or excited about.

Emily: Amen.

Vanessa: It’s important.

Emily: Amen. Well, I love this conversation. We didn’t know exactly where it was going,

Vanessa: I know 🙂

Emily: And here we are, and I feel like you’ve dropped some, like, awesome truth bombs. And I also love how we can kind of go from sharing background stories to how do we evolve as a human, how do we evolve as a business. How do we show up with people first? And I think, you know, these leadership qualities are foundational. So it’s really great that we got to kind of touch on them a little bit.

So, you know, I love you and I would love for people who are listening. If you resonated with Vanessa, her energy, you know, you could use a COO in your business. You could even just be part of a community of like minded people if you resonated with her words and her energy. I would absolutely love for you to go check her out.

Of course, I probably should have mentioned this early, I’ll say in the intro, but take a screenshot of this episode if you’re listening to it on your phone, tag us over on Instagram. You’re @vanessafarino,  I’m @emilyaarons. You just tag us and say, hey, I love the episode. This is what really stood out to me. Or just like, just give us some hearts or something. But, you know, we are both such like people, people that we love getting DMS and we love when you tag us in your stuff and just keep spreading the word.

If this episode was helpful for you in any way, share it with a friend. You know, pay it forward. Tell somebody you know that you love and say, Hey, listen, I love this part right here, when Vanessa said that, you got to go listen to it. So Vanessa, let people know how they can find you, how they can work with you and what they can do to keep this party going.

Vanessa: Yeah. So to all the black sheep out there like Emily and I, please do connect with me. I love the human conversation. My Instagram is @vanessafarino.

Emily: Great. So, everybody, thank you so much for being here. It is, as you know, one of my favorite places to connect with you. We are 400 plus, plus, plus episodes in. And I can tell you, when I started this thing, I was nervous and I said, Is anybody going to even listen to this?

And here we are four and a half years later. And it’s one of my happiest, my most pleasurable, most joyful experiences I get to bring to you. If you feel the same and you’re loving the podcast, please go ahead and on your favorite listening platform, leave a kind review. You can always give a shout-out to Vanessa. A lot of you know, hey, I love that episode, by the way, Vanessa, you’re awesome, but thank you for listening as always. It is such a joy to be able to do this work. And thank you for being here, as always. Thank you, Vanessa, for being here. We love you all.

Vanessa: Thank you!

I’m bringing back my most popular workshop “How To Clear Your Money Blocks”
on August 9th at 1:00 pm est. Click the button below to register for FREE!

In This Training, You Will Discover…

  • The #1 mistake coaches and healers are making (that’s costing you time and money)
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About Vanessa

Vanessa Farino is a public speaker, community leader, and business strategist. She’s an award-winning multi-passionate Latina entrepreneur named by Boston Business Journal’s “40 under 40” and El Mundo Boston’s “30 under 30”. She was featured in the documentary “Still Working 9 to 5” based on the movie “Working 9 to 5.” The film examines the 40-year evolution of gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace since the 1980s.

You can find her here:

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