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Hello Seven Podcast with Rachel Rodgers | 100 How Creating “FAVORABLE” Environments… HELP WOMEN WIN with Emily Grey

100 Surviving Divorce While Running a 7-Figure Business with Emily Grey

I’m delighted to be sitting down at the ranch with my friend and client Emily Grey, founder of The Flourish Market: an impact-driven clothing and gifts boutique with a big eCommerce presence. Since making her first million four years ago, she’s been helping other women entrepreneurs get started, scale, and grow their own impact-driven businesses through the coaching arm of her business.

Emily started off doing one-on-one coaching, then moved into retreats, and now she offers a six-month mastermind. What Emily has achieved is amazing, but when you hear the backstory behind it and how she gave up everything she owned in her divorce to keep her 7-figure business, your mind will be blown.

Tune in this week to discover how creating favorable environments is what helps women win. Emily and I are discussing the value of impact-driven businesses, everything that keeps entrepreneurial women hidden, why highlighting the things that bring you the most shame will be what sets others free, and how every single one of us can play a role in empowering women all over the world.

You want to reach or exceed seven figures within the next year? We can help get you there! Click here to learn more about The Hello Seven Mastermind. 


Join us every Tuesday at 7pm ET for our Premier Watch Party over on YouTube!

Miss the LIVE Watch Party? Check out Rachel's interview with Emily below!

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • What being an impact-driven brand means to Emily.
  • How Emily helps her clients step into their power, stay there, and be a steward of their power.
  • Where Emily sees entrepreneurs sacrificing their mental health as they build a business they aren’t truly aligned with.
  • Why you don’t need to associate yourself with cis straight white men in order to be successful.
  • Some of the amazing women all over the planet Emily works with who she believes are the real world-class leaders.
  • The one question you should be consistently asking your audience.
  • How dancing with your audience will help you sell out every time.
  • The number-one strategy Emily used to exceed seven figures.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

*** Some of the links shared here are affiliate links – we only serve as affiliates for products we believe in.

Transcript

Emily: But actually, when I dug down deeper I was scared.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And when I work with my clients we have to really work on, well, what are you scared? Because it's fear that keeps us stuck.

Rachel: That's right, right? Because whatever it is that you're afraid of is keeping you small and it's stopping you from making different moves.

Emily: And being in alignment.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I wanted to live out loud. I wanted to step forward into my power. I wanted to stay there and I wanted to steward it well.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Okay?

You want to make more money? You are in the right place. Welcome to the Hello Seven Podcast, that’s seven as in seven figures. I'm your host, Rachel Rodgers. On this show, it’s all about you and your money. We talk about how to maximize your earning potential, how to make better financial decisions, and how to find your million-dollar idea, that genius business idea that’s going to make you a whole lot more money. I’m here to show you how to expand your income and expand your confidence, power, and joy.

If you are a woman, a person of color, a queer person, if you’re a person living with a disability, or you don’t fit the stereotypical image of what a millionaire is “supposed” to look like, this show is for you. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you could be earning a lot more than you currently do. Your journey to wealth starts right here.

Rachel: Hello, hello, and welcome back to the Hello Seven Podcast. I am delighted to be sitting here with my friend and client, Emily Grey of The Flourish Market. Welcome to the podcast, Emily.

Emily: Thanks, Rachel. I'm super stoked to be here.

Rachel: Yes, thank you for coming to my Oprah like set.

Emily: Thank you for having me at the ranch. I apologize in advance for setting off your fire alarm this morning by poking it with my high heeled shoe. But that's how my day started, it’s getting better.

Rachel: Listen, we allow it all here at the ranch.

Emily: Cool, thank you. Thank you. 

Rachel: We're welcoming and forgiving. So tell us a little bit about what you do.

Emily: Thanks for asking. So I'm the founder of The Flourish Market. So we are a clothing and gifts boutique located in Raleigh, North Carolina, just down the road from you. We have a really big E-commerce presence as well.

What sets us apart is all of the 200 plus brands that you'll find on our website and in our store are impact driven. And I know we'll probably dig into that a little bit later.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I've been doing that for seven years. I think in a few weeks we actually celebrate our official seven year anniversary.

Rachel: Amazing.

Emily: Which is wild. In year three we actually hit our million dollars in revenue within that year.

Rachel: Love it.

Emily: And out of that, when I shared that, women started coming to me who wanted to start or scale or grow their own impact driven business, whether it was brick and mortar or coaching or across all industries.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so four years ago I started a coaching arm to my business as well, that looked like one on one, which you don't let me do any more, retreats, and now six month long masterminds.

Rachel: Awesome.

Emily: Yeah.

Rachel: First of all, that is amazing. I think so many product based businesses or retail businesses think that they can't hit seven figures or think that it's going to take forever. So it's such a testament that you did it in three years, and hit multi-million dollar status with your retail store. But then you also did it being very aligned with your values.

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: So tell us what an impact driven brand is. What does that mean to you?

Emily: You know, it's taken me a few years to realize what impact really means to me and to define who likes to work with me and what impact means. So for me, how I would define it is I work with people who want to step into their power.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Stay there, okay? That's hard. Stay there, fight to stay there. And then steward that power really well.

Rachel: Yeah.

Emily: So that to me is impact. So it's, you know, alignment with your values, right? I think that a lot of people I tend to work with from a coaching standpoint, they've hit that six figures, but they've done it through sacrificing their mental health in many cases. Maybe following leaders or coaches or people on stages who they can't tell exactly what it is, but there's something off. 

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: They don't feel in full alignment with that coach or that mentor, and they actually feel a tension. They just don't know how to bridge the gap to that next level, doubling their business or making it to seven figures without sacrificing their mental health, their values, or themselves in the process.

And I have done that. And I want to say that and own that because it's possible. I'm constantly surrounded by women who have done that, but we don't always get the platforms to share. So thank you for giving me the platform.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And I also signed up for your mastermind and want to work with you because that's actually how you lead.

Rachel: Yes. Well thank you for saying that.

Emily: Yeah.

Rachel: I agree. And I think that's such a, I like impact driven brands as a way to describe it. But the idea that you can have a business and still be aligned with your values and still have standards, I mean that's been a theme of a lot of the conversations that I've had on this podcast that are around, you know, I can build a business and say no to these kinds of things, right?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: Or I can build a business that feels aligned with my personal politics, you know, whatever it is. We can have a positive impact on social justice and make money at the same time.

Emily: That's right.

Rachel: Those two things don't need to be mutually exclusive. And I think because we live in a patriarchal society that has built capitalism around white men, right? Straight white men, cis straight white men.

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: Because of that, it's like there's this one idea of how you build a business, which is like the owner wins, the leader wins, and everybody else loses. And I'm like, I don't believe in that actually. I studied mediation in law school and I believe in a win win solution.

Emily: And you model that for us, right? And it's so interesting you bring that up, because The Flourish Market, so just to give a glimpse of a few of the brands that we carry, we have beautiful leather backpacks and bags made in Ethiopia by women who have been stigmatized and kicked out of their small communities because of their HIV or AIDS diagnosis.

Rachel: Wow.

Emily: Well, you watch Mari go, and say, “I'm stepping away from that shame, that is not a knock to me.”

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And she goes out, rounds up her women, her squad, sets them free from their shame. And they're going to make some beautiful leather products, you know?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And that's just one example. Another example is Farina in Pakistan, who we partner with to make our own custom clothing collection. We private label it in our store. She has 51 sewists reporting to her, all of which are men and they're not used to having female leaders there, you know?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And she's even lucky she got to go to school, she'll tell me. And she's 26, she's a breast cancer survivor, watch her go. And so I've had the big privilege of being able to travel the world and see what actual world class leadership looks like.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Okay? It's actually not the cis straight white men on the stages.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: It's not, And, you know, people will never see, the mass amounts of people will never see Mari’s leadership. They'll never see Farina’s leadership and have that high privilege. But I've learned so much from the leadership of the women who are all over the world, also right in my own community who will never be famous, but who are the world class leaders.

Rachel: I love that. And so you carry their products so that when you’re buying something, if you need to buy a backpack or if you want a new dress, right, you can buy something that is going to have a positive impact on society, right?

Emily: That's right, vote with your dollars.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: We need to vote on our ballots, but we need to vote with our dollars, absolutely. When you look at where your money goes, I've been also trying to hold myself accountable. I'm trying to get 80% of where my money goes to go to women owned businesses down to my body wash too. I mean it's a big like breaking opening. And I'm like, “Okay, don't start there. Let's start with one purchase.” Right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I find that with my customers, you know, I really had to make fair trade impact driven brands accessible, cute. It’s like we go and round it up, you know, we curate the collection. Because when people walk into our store, we don't want any pity money. We want them to think things are cute, because here's the deal, there's amazing products out there made by incredible women but it goes back to who holds the power, who's getting the spotlight.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so that's actually what drives me. That's the impact that I think of that I can have. And I watch you lead and you lead like them, and that's why I was so quick to read your book, to join The Club, and then join the mastermind because actually, there's not a ton of examples out there when you reach this level.

Rachel: Yeah.

Emily: And I think that's the glory of the mastermind, right? I was feeling alone, I was feeling stuck, I had some personal things I wanted to accomplish. And at the end of the day I needed, not only an example, but I needed accountability to keep stepping forward into my power and creating more of that impact that I know I'm here to make.

Rachel: Yes. I love it, and I love how passionate you are. I think sometimes it's very hard to, there's so much I want to respond to there. It can be hard to do, like vote with your dollars for example, right?

Emily: Yeah, sure.

Rachel: And so it's beautiful that you've created a whole store where I can walk in there and anything that I buy is going to have a positive impact. So that's just delightful.

Emily: Well and over 400, I think we have over 400 products that are $20 or less. So I always tell customers, you know, for birthday celebrations, anything like that, we have to 2.95 flat rate shipping, okay? And I know not everyone has expendable income for themselves in some seasons or in general. But when you're gifting, you know, buy that $5 shower steamer that was made by that really bomb-ass Black female entrepreneur.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: You know, who's giving part of her proceeds to help fund mental health resources for other Black women. It's so cool what people are up to.

Rachel: It's so true. And the more you get exposed to these stories, like then you start to seek it out and you find more and more people like that.

Emily: That’s right.

Rachel: And I used to think that in order to be in a mastermind or in order to learn business, I had to join these communities that were like almost 90% male, and not just male, but white male and had a tiny, tiny group of people of color. Usually not many queer people, usually not many people of any identity other than an able bodied cis straight white man.

Emily: That’s right.

Rachel: And it's all of that. And so then what I would experience in these retreats is what comes with that sometimes, which is sexist comments, being sexually harassed, being called a house N word at a retreat that I was paying thousands of dollars to be there by a staff member that I paid this company to.

Emily: I believe you.

Rachel: Yes, this is what I had to deal with, racism, sexism, all of that. And I'm like, “Well, I'm going to put it aside because I need to learn these things.”

Emily: Yeah.

Rachel: Because I thought that that was the only place to learn it, right? And then, of course, I learned it and I'm like, “I don't agree with that.” I remember one time I hired this guy because everybody else in the mastermind hired him. And I just wanted my stuff to work, so I was like, “Let me hire him for my Facebook ads.”

And so I get on a call, this is our initial call to talk about the Facebook ads. And he's like, well, he's like talking about my clients like, “Well they don't know anyway, so we'll just trick them by telling them this.” It was like he was just shy of saying that all of my clients were stupid women, right? And we just needed to fool them and take their money. And I was like, get me the hell off of this call.

Emily: And give me a few months and I'm going to play you.

Rachel: Exactly.

Emily: What in the world? My gosh. I believe you, I'm not shocked.

Rachel: Exactly. These are the kinds of conversations that are happening in some of those spaces when you have no diversity, and no inclusion, and no equity even for those who are included. And so I used to think that that was all that there was.

And so you're, you know, I love that you talk about these brands and these different types of leaders. So there's other ways to lead, right? We don't have to do it the way that they did it. We can say we value profit, but we also value having a great workplace. We also value having a diverse and equitable workspace, right? We can also value where we're sourcing our materials from and where we put our money.

Emily: Yes. And what's interesting is as I've watched how they lead and what their lives look like, they have their squad.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Because them, like you, like us, are operating in their countries and their communities within structures that don't promote them.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: It does the opposite, right? It seeks to silence them. It seeks to have them live stuck in their shame, right? And just to keep them quiet and small.

Rachel: And controllable.

Emily: It sounds very familiar, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: This is your lived experience you just described, right? And so what I see them do is they put their squad together and they grow together. I named The Flourish Market The Flourish Market because the definition of flourish is to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way as a result of a favorable environment.

Rachel: I love that.

Emily: Well the last time I checked, when I look out that window, or that door, it’s not a favorable environment for many, for most.

Rachel: Right.

Emily: Unless you're a cis white guy.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Honestly. And so we have to be our own favorable environments.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: We have to do what the leaders behind our brands have been doing forever. And what I find in America is that we have this like pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, I think that we feel shame about whatever it is right? X, Y, and Z that keep us quiet, that keep us hidden. That was my experience. And we have to, we need each other.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: We have to be each other's favorable environment. And I was in a mastermind in 2018 that was awesome. And then I was like, “Okay, I need the next level.” And I did not join a mastermind 2019, 2020, or 2021. And I stayed at around the same level in my business, which financially that's fine. Okay, it's fine. Okay. You know, I have this great life, I maintain really good mental health.

However, what I realized is two things. One, I didn't want to stay there.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: That wasn't the impact that I was looking to make. Things were making me mad when I looked around me. And I want more money to fund politics. I want more money to fund X, Y and Z, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so that was my one realization. And my second realization was I was not actually going to be safe in almost any mastermind I was looking at and was being targeted for. I had people reaching out to me all the time to join their masterminds. And what they didn't know is I was gay. And I found you and I was just praying you would do a mastermind because I was in The Club for quite some time and at the time I wasn't publicly out.

And actually it was so interesting, I was reading back, because I copy and pasted my mastermind application into a Notes app. And I hadn't read it once I submitted it until this morning. And I said, “I really want help with coming out publicly.”

Rachel: Wow.

Emily: Allison, the love of my life is such a big part of my life and I wasn't feeling congruence. And so if you're listening, what's your version of coming out? What's your version of the closet, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Well my friends knew, and my immediate network. My customers did not. And so I found that I was, the patriarchy was affecting me. I was staying stuck. I was staying small. Guys, I'm not meant to stay small, and neither are you, okay? 

And so I joined. And I remember, I'm going to be very emotional because it’s very emotional to me. In June I told, we meet up a couple of times a year, and I looked at the room and I said, “In a few weeks, I'm going to be coming out online. That's my goal. That's my goal for Q3.” And I said my financials and I said, “You know, I think it's going to be good.” But what I wasn't saying was, I'm scared. And I had used the excuse that I'm private.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: But actually, when I dug down deeper, I was scared.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And when I work with my clients, we have to really work on, well, what are you scared of? Because it's fear that keeps us stuck.

Rachel: That's right, right? Whatever it is that you're afraid of is keeping you small and it's stopping you from making different moves.

Emily: And being in alignment.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I wanted to live out loud. I wanted to step forward into my power. I wanted to stay there and I wanted to steward it well.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And I remember looking at you, I made eye contact with you because you're my safe person, right? And you said, without skipping a beat you said, you interrupted me, it was great. I love when you do that. You said, “I believe your business is going to grow.” And everyone around the table was like, yes. And in that moment, I needed someone to remind me of what is true.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Someone who's been there. Our lived experiences are different, right? However, you get it.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: You get it deeply. And so I remember I had like a breakdown. I've never told this story out loud, only my few close friends who were over at my house that night knew. I was having a breakdown in my bathroom, total panic attack.

Rachel: It’s always the bathroom. Why do we choose the bathroom?

Emily: It’s the smallest space with the nastiest floor. Yes, I don’t know, Rachel, it's a good question. It’s the million dollar question.

Rachel: We could have breakdowns in bed, why do we go to the bathroom floor? We deserve better spaces for breakdowns.

Emily: We do. We do. We really do. My partner, Allison, she was there. My friend Suzy, she's a DEI consultant, also gay, she comes in and she's sitting with me and she was like, “Let's talk through what is true.”

And personally I wasn't that scared. I was scared for my business, which employees 22 women. And I was scared of the people behind our products and the impact to them, for many of them we’re their biggest buyer. And just the chain effects downstream. And that would be my fault.

Rachel: Isn't that so interesting? Let's break that down, right?

Emily: Oh boy.

Rachel: Because your store is in the south, right?

Emily: Yes, in a conservative state.

Rachel: Yes, in a conservative state. And you were previously married, right?

Emily: To a man.

Rachel: To a man. And so that's what people know of you, right?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: And you built this store over many years with that sort of identity.

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: And now that's shifting. So I just want to frame for people why this is such, it feels scary. Because it's like people have built a community and a relationship with you and you’re like, “Well have you built a relationship with the real me? Like will you accept all of me or only this version?”

Emily: Will you accept all of me? That's it.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And that truly was a million dollar question that I didn't know the answer to. So in those moments-

Rachel: Wait, wait, wait. And I just want to break down the other piece of this, like you said, right, there are all of these different brands all over the world that you know that your store is having a major impact on certain communities where this is the main place or maybe the biggest place that their products are sold.

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: So if the people stopped coming in because of their, you know, biases, then your folks-

Emily: There's impact elsewhere.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: To a lot of people, right.

Rachel: Yes. But I still, eff those people, okay?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: Still eff them, but okay, keep going.

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: Not the people, obviously not the brands.

Emily: Let’s just be clear, eff them.

Rachel: But I mean the clients who decide that they don't want to shop there anymore because they find out that you're gay. Like no, goodbye.

Emily: Right. And I think everyone goes through a point in their business where we start in one way but we keep stepping forward.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Into who we are, into a fuller identity, right? So I feel like everyone can resonate with that.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And I feel like in that moment, you know, when I was on the bathroom floor crying, snot everywhere, you guys if you’ve been there you know. But my friend, Suzy, looked at me she goes, “Let's focus on what is true.”

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And I looked at her and I said, “Rachel said that she thinks my business will grow.” And my shoulders lowered. And I also knew that I had a commitment from my mastermind members that they would be all up in the Instagram flagging crap and celebrating with me, right? So there was truth. There was protection, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And then there was the celebration.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And I feel like that is, the women leaders I look at, that is what they need in their lives.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And that is what I got in that moment from my mastermind. I pressed post, you bet [inaudible] was up in there, Chelsea was up in there.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: You know, someone was messaging me, “I'm in the comment section, I'm looking out.” You know, three of my friends were, and that's what we need. We need that favorable environment.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: We need that favorable environment and we have to be that for each other. And that's just what I think the beauty of that moment was. Spoiler alert, our business is growing.

Rachel: That’s because Rachel is always right, okay? Remember that.

Emily: She is. She is, you lead with truth and clarity. That's like what I've gotten from working with you. And what's cool, what's really cool, okay, I want to talk about shame a little bit more too because I wanted to mention, you're talking about my story, but what also gave me the permission, I feel like I didn't need but I needed to share that myself out loud was how much you told us about you in your book.

And there was this moment when I was reading your book, it was the chapter where you were talking about walking into the bank with a check that you needed desperately cashed for something for your child. And a white man looked at you and said no. And I don't remember your exact words, but the idea was I will never let a white man control my power, my steps forward again.

Rachel: Never.

Emily: And you released me from so much shame in that moment because actually when I left my marriage I had already built a million dollar business, which was part of the problem, it valued so high that I had to leave behind everything to get my business. So I walked out with my clothes and my books. And my dog, my savings, all of that had to go and I had to start fresh.

Rachel: Your dog?

Emily: I signed my papers, but that was my decision.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I mean it was and it wasn’t. It was my decision of talking to my lawyer and saying this is the only way to get free, the only way to get the signed papers, your business valuation is so high. And I was like, wow, the irony of all of this, right? That to pursue freedom I have to like, yeah.

Rachel: Pay with everything that you own.

Emily: Yes. And so two days later I started hearing about the pandemic. And three days after that my store had to close. My friends Venmo’d me money, I’ve never shared this story out loud. My friends Venmo’d me money for groceries.

Rachel: Wow.

Emily: That was just two years ago. And those are the moments when you can either remember who you are or you can redefine who you are in a negative way.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so for so long I didn't even realize that was a big thing for me until we've really dug into money mindset and working with you. But you released me from that shame in that moment because I was like, “Oh, Rachel has had that moment.”

Rachel: Oh, totally. More than once.

Emily: And look at what she has done, you know? And I found too, this year, that the very things that we feel shame about are actually the things that uniquely position us to set others free.

Rachel: Yep.

Emily: And that's what you do with your business, right? And that's what I want to do with my business, right? And at the end of the day, when I come back to that, that does give me the courage to keep stepping forward. And you said at the first mastermind, you said personal development is what will grow your business. That's what you told us. And I was like, “Well buckle up because I think I have some work to do.”

Rachel: But you're very coachable and you're so willing to do it. And it's true, when you free yourself, you free other people, right?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: And also when you share those stories, like your most shameful moments, the things that embarrass you, the things that you don't want people to know, when you just put it out there, like you feel free.

Emily: Yeah.

Rachel: And trust me, it's not easy. Like I wrote those words down and then they weren't published until a year or so later. And then I remember like a week or two before the book was going to be published I was like, “Oh my God, these people are going to know all my business. What did I write in that book? What did I say? Let me go back, what did I say about my mother?”

Emily: It’s too late now. Too late now, we can’t go back. 

Rachel: Exactly. But then it winds up being the best thing ever because then you're like, “Oh, they feel not alone, and therefore you feel not alone.” And then you've got your squad, then you've got a more positive environment in which to flourish.

Emily: Yes, and the chains of shame are broken shame, I see that with the women all around the world we partner with. It's so powerful and American needs that right now.

Rachel: Yeah, I agree.

Emily: America needs that right now.

Rachel: I totally agree. Lord, I mean, I don't even know where to go from here.

Emily: We're going to pivot because-

Rachel: That was a lot.

Emily: That was a lot so we’re going to pivot that. Like they do on GMA, we're pivoting. It's like a horrible story and they're like, “And now we're switching gears,” and it’s like deals and steals.

Rachel: We should keep all of that If that was perfect.

Emily: Definitely, we’re keeping rolling, we’re keeping rolling.

Rachel: So tell us, like how did you get through the pandemic? Because you were at the top of the pandemic with no money and newly divorced, having sold all your stuff. So how did you make it through that with a retail store and have it continue to flourish?

Emily: One of the things that you harp on so well, it's so impactful for me, is the part about continuing to show up.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Okay, and I have done that and my customers have done that for us.

Rachel: Oh, yes.

Emily: Shout out to my flourish fam.

Rachel: So good.

Emily: I got through the pandemic because they continue to show up for us. And I believe when you have a business and are the type of leader where you do lead in alignment with your values, right, and people can see that.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And they see your authenticity, they see your vulnerability, and they meet you back with theirs.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I feel like especially my initial years of starting a business, I would look around at people making a quick buck and then doubling and tripling their business. And I smelled their BS and I wondered why other people didn't smell their BS, and I would get very angry.

Rachel: Yeah.

Emily: Because it felt like that description of the Facebook ads guy that you were talking about, that was the vibe. And it would make me angry and that would keep me stuck, right? My energy would go there. And so I told myself a long time ago that I wanted to be a woman who did not default to excuses, I wanted to be a woman who defaulted to impact.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: So when the pandemic hit, I'm not only looking at the people, our purchases, that purchases from my customers employee, I'm looking at my customers. They were struggling. We were all struggling. And so reaching out to them, getting on Zooms, I remember going on Instagram and just saying, “Well, this is weird. This is weird.”

Rachel: This is strange.

Emily: Yeah, let's call a spade a spade. And my background is in investment banking. I was a VP of change management and so one of the keys is like you just call it what it is. So I’m like, “Hello, this is weird.” And I asked people to get on Zoom. We've always been a business who has been so in tune with our customers. So honest with them, ask them to not read our story but be co-authors of it with us.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: So I was like, “We need folks.” So we had over 100 women volunteer. I spent my first nights of those first few weeks on Zoom saying, “Okay, what's going on?” Hearing their stressors. And then also saying like, what do you need? And where do those intersect with how we can show up to serve with products, with services, what do you need?

And so it was no longer the Easter dresses that they need, because at least in my neck of the woods no one was showing up in person to an Easter event. So we had those sitting on our racks. But I was like, okay, I'm going to invest $10,000 into new merchandise, right, that I don't have don't have. I don’t have that $10,000 but I know that I can make it back.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Because this is what people need, right? So they told me that what they needed was gifts for healthcare workers, gifts that were $30 or under to like send to their friends really struggling. They needed things for the background of their Zooms.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: They were working from home and they were like, “All of a sudden we don't have enough pajamas or lounge wear.” And I said, “Okay, I can do that.” And I put those orders in. The people we partner with were so happy to receive those orders, we got them in. That's the glory of a small business, we're not an anthropology or a Target that takes months to pivot. I was like, hello, seven days later here we go.

Rachel: Exactly.

Emily: We sold out everything, right? And so that was just it, it was the dance with our customers of how's it going? What do you need? They're like, how's it going? What do you need?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And just that dance together, I actually would not call it a dance. I would say it was a walk through mud together. We were not dancing, at least I wasn't. So it really was listening and listening well. Remembering what our special sauce is and where those two overlap just marching forward.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: One day at a time. We had to take it one day at a time and we did over 100 pop-ups at people's homes.

Rachel: Wow.

Emily: Yes, we took it on the road.

Rachel: So you just packed up your merch?

Emily: Yes. And it was humbling.

Rachel: I love it.

Emily: It was humbling. It was hard work. There was a lot of sweat equity there.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: However, it was a great remembering. A great remembering of what I actually loved about my business.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And it was connecting with people in person. Like hearing what they were going through, the joys, the celebrations, the hardships and, the pandemic didn't stop us from doing that.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: Nothing can stop you from delivering on your business. You have to pivot, you have to get creative, right, you have to stay in alignment. But again, it comes back to like an excuse versus a solution, defaulting to excuses or defaulting to impact.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: You said something this week at our mastermind, you said something like, “People ask me how do I know if it’s going to work?” And you said, “Well, I know it's going to work because I'm not going to give up.”

Rachel: Correct, I'm going to keep going until it works.

Emily: Until it works.

Rachel: Or the wheels fall off, whichever one.

Emily: So that's what we did, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: We just, you know, made it work. And prior to that, you know, I looked at the people I had been frustrated about. Well, for many of them their businesses didn't make it through the pandemic because when you walk through hard things, those genuine relationships are what stay. And actually people could and were smelling the BS.

And we're staring down a potential recession, all these things. It is always, like we talked about whack a mole when you have a business.

Rachel: Yes, what’s the new problem now? Smack.

Emily. But I’ve shifted my thinking to I'm not on defense anymore, just like what is going to come my way? I'm on offense with all the tools and tips I get from working with you with personal development, and just building those muscles like you teach us before we actually even have to use them.

Rachel: Yes, exactly. What you're talking about, getting through a pandemic or even a recession is all true leadership, right? Stepping into that leadership. And then also being in relationship with your customers, that's exactly what we did. We said to our customers, “What do you need right now?”

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: You know, we need people to pay us something since we've lost many of our retainer clients.

Emily: And what is it that you need?

Rachel: Yeah, and what would you like in exchange for that? And so we just came up with a lower cost offer that wound up growing our business wildly. So sometimes, you know, if you go back to the basics, the basics always work. We always want the like, what's the fancy new thing? What's the sexy new thing? What's the strategy?

The strategy is love your people, right? And just keep showing up for them and keep talking to them and asking them what they need. And keep making decisions based on what they need.

Emily: Yes, yes, yes.

Rachel: And that's it, and then be a leader that lives in your values, right? And know that being in your values, sometimes you're giving up a small amount of money, but you're actually earning a lot more. I find that being a values driven business or an impact driven business actually puts you in a position to flourish more, right? Because there's so few, right? They're harder to find.

Emily: True.

Rachel: That genuine honesty and people actually caring about you and showing up and being true to who they are, even if it's going to cost them. That's the stuff that we look for. And we're making more and more decisions as a society based on our values, right?

Emily: I've got all the stats, I teach them in my webinars to my clients. Yes, it's finally trending in economic reports, the ex-investment banker, data driven nerd side of me loves all the data.

Rachel: Yes, well I’m a lawyer so I like evidence for everything.

Emily: Yeah, you’re like “Where are the receipts?” And I’m like, “I've got them. I've got them.” But it is true. For the first time ever, it was 2020, late 2020 when we actually saw this coming in on economic spending reports of people shopping in line with their values.

And just to nerd out for one hot second, I'll give you one stat. But at the beginning of this year, IBM's report was suggesting that 44% of American consumers said that they shop in line with their values now. That was like a negative 100,000,000% prior to the pandemic, official stats. I don't have a receipt for that one, it’s just in my gut.

Rachel: Negative 100,000,000%.

Emily: And then Forester Firm came out and they said they think that percentage will be up to 50% at the end of this year. And so this is a trend. I think I see people hopping on it very quickly. We've seen this in the DEI space too. But I keep coming back to don't look around, stay your course with your customers, don't worry about the foolery out there, okay? And show up and serve your people with your magic special sauce, because time will tell with others.

Rachel: Always. You know why? Because consistency, right? People usually cannot fake it for very long.

Emily: That’s true.

Rachel: It always comes out and then there's like three or four more situations that come out, right? Because this is who they are and this is what they've been doing and there's usually a pattern. And so like you just can't even worry yourself about it. You just have to do what you do and be an example of how it can be different, right?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: And so that's why I keep building Hello Seven and growing it to, you know, my goal is to grow it to $100 million business.

Emily: Let’s go Rachel.

Rachel: Because I can, right?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: I can and I want everybody, especially women, and people of color, and Black people, and queer people, and people with disabilities who are also entrepreneurs, I want them all to know that they can also build a $100 million business, right?

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: You don't have to be a cis straight white man, you don't have to take money from a cis straight white man. You don’t have to do any of those things. It's possible, right? It's just consistency, showing up, and just staying the course and being on a mission.

Emily: Yes.

Rachel: I think when you have a mission you are just so much more committed and like the hard parts you're like, that's okay, we're going to hustle through it because we are on a mission.

Emily: We're on a mission and we're in a favorable environment with other people on a mission. So we are not tempted to step off our base, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: We are reminded of what is true. We are reminded through examples around us that this is possible. Keep going, stay the course in alignment with your values.

Rachel: Exactly, just have your squad, right?

Emily: Have your squad.

Rachel: I'm so glad you're on my squad.

Emily: Me too, me too.

Rachel: So tell us like what's next for you? What's the next thing that you're working on?

Emily: It was so interesting, you said earlier about the returning and the reminder of like what works?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so pre pandemic I was leading retreats for impact driven brand owners. And during the pandemic I switched to online webinars and doing things like that. And to be honest, it felt too hard. It didn't feel right.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so now I've returned.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I've returned to actually what I love because we actually can do that again.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And that is creating incredible in-person experiences through a mastermind. I am the queen of connection. That's what people in my community tell me. I love connecting people and I love creating those favorable environment.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And so I'm so excited, I am doing two to maybe even three masterminds in 2023.

Rachel: I love it.

Emily: They're six months long. I'm looking, I work best with women who have just hit that six figure mark and who they're looking around again, I said it earlier, like they just feel like something's off with other coaches. They can't put their finger on it.

Rachel: Yeah.

Emily: And they also feel like they're running on a hamster wheel that's maybe getting them some small growth, but they're also just like burning the heck out. And I want to share with them the tips and tools, but that personal development, right, within a favorable environment that's going to help them double their business or whatever their goal is for 2023.

So it kicks off with a week in Bali.

Rachel: Oh, I love it.

Emily: Doing adventure. I'm talking sunrise hikes. We are like, it's amazing. Visiting our artists and partners there, so it's truly experiential. I bring in mental health to everything I do. I have licensed therapists who teach within my programs. And then this cohort of 16 is together for six months. I'm so excited.

You know, before it was retreats, and then doing things one on one. Rachel says I can't do that anymore, so don't reach out and ask me. But we truly are better in community right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I’ve seen that over and over again.

Rachel: It’s so true.

Emily: I think we learn best in community because it's not just the learning, in community we get the cojones to do it, to take action in community. So that's what I'm up to. I'm so freaking excited. I actually paid the deposit to the hotel this morning.

Rachel: I love it. Y’all just need to know that this decision was made like yesterday.

Emily: It was, and it’s something I had been doing before, but not in the, I was doing them separately. The international experiences and then the masterminding, right, with business owners. So I'm putting them together because that is truly the special sauce of how I know when you change your location, when you switch it up, when you go on adventures that relate to the personal development principles that I'm teaching you, it truly works. So I'm so, so, so excited. And I know that people can feel so lonely, right?

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And when I go back to what you've given me through this mastermind, truth, girl, you do not hold back with your coaching. You inspire me to be truthful.

Rachel: People will be mad at me sometimes y'all.

Emily: I'm always mad and then I'm always like, “I'm mad because she's right and this is forcing me into that next step that I want to take.”

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: So you've given me that truth. You've given me that protection. You don't need to protect me, but you teach me the tips and tools to protect my mental health.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: To make sure I'm not working outside of alignment, or with other folks, or doing the things that are so popular, the business strategies that you hear everywhere. My business strategies, people learn them and they're like, “We've never heard this before.” I'm like, call me in two weeks, it works. And it does. The case studies are ridiculous, right?

So you've given me that protection and you've given me that joy. My friend Lisa, she's a pastor, she always reminds us that joy, joy is actually a big part of our resistance.

Rachel: I agree.

Emily: And so I always look at my clients and I'm like, who's celebrating with you? Who's marking these moments with you, these personal moments, these financial moments. When we feel like we have to keep moving the goalpost before we celebrate, that doesn't work.

And so having a community, a cohort that can celebrate with you and remind you of the importance of that, with a coach who reminds you of what is true, I think is very important.

Rachel: Yes, I agree.

Emily: Very important who you lend your ear to, your mind to, your soul and heart to. It’s very important, that’s the changing point for good or for bad.

Rachel: Yep.

Emily: That's it. Thank you for teaching me how to lead, holding me accountable to how I lead. I'm very, very, very excited about these masterminds.

Rachel: I love it. And I feel like I just want to say, first of all, you're so coachable. I love that you take action quickly, that's my absolute favorite. But also I love your excitement and enthusiasm for what you're creating. And I want every entrepreneur to feel that way about their business and about their offers. And I think when you live in alignment, that's how you feel.

Emily: That’s how you feel.

Rachel: You’re delighted to show up to work.

Emily: It is how you feel.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: It's how you feel and it goes into other areas of your life as well. You know, I have built my business without sacrificing my values, my mental health, myself in the process. And I think people look at me and they can't figure out the keys to success and they want the, did you use ads for that? Did you take out a loan for that? But it was about the favorable environment I put and kept myself in.

Rachel: Yes, exactly.

Emily: And that's what I'm looking to create.

Rachel: I love it. Yeah, it's all about the squad. Tell people where they can learn more about that new offer that you're creating.

Emily: If you go to themastermindaccelerator.com you are going to see an application form there. You're also going to see a cool resource from me there if you're like, “I still don't know, I need to dive more, I want to hear more about this and get more coaching.”

But you're also going to find a one minute video there. I actually showed it to Rachel and the team before we kicked off this interview, and I said, this is the vibe. And so I want you to go watch that at the least. I want you to go watch that. And it's 59 seconds to be exact, and I really think it's going to bless you.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: And then I love hanging out on the Insta, so I know I'm not supposed to give people two calls to action, but I believe you're smart woman, you can remember this. Okay, so themastermindaccelerator.com. But then you're going to come find me on Instagram, @emilygreyunderway. It's G-R-E-Y. My granny and her twin sister Beulah Grey and Ulah Fae, that’s where I got my name from, Emily Grey Underway, come find me there. If you like pitbulls my pitbull is real cute. But I do walk what I've just told you.

Rachel: Yes.

Emily: I do show up vulnerably. I give resources there, I show the true behind the scenes of running the business. The Good, the bad and the ugly, so come follow me there. Please DM me and let me know you listened to this episode, what you took away. I'd love to engage with you there.

Rachel: Yes, so awesome. I love following you on Instagram because recently you took us on your trip to Pakistan to work on your collection. And you're showing us how they make the patterns and choosing all the bits. And I was like, “Oh my God, my brain. This is intense.”

Emily: It is.

Rachel: It's fascinating. So yes, you are a very interesting person to follow, so everybody should definitely do that.

Emily: Thanks, Rachel.

Rachel: Thank you so much for being here. This was so much fun.

Emily: Thank you for having me. Thank you for leading us all, it's truly very impactful.

Rachel: I appreciate you.

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