In this re-release of episode 36, I’m bringing you an interview with my very best friend, Robert Hartwell. He is the CEO and Founder of the Broadway Collective, a musical theatre training company that trains the next generation of Broadway performers, and has a super inspiring story of how he became the million-dollar badass he is today.
Robert Hartwell wasn’t always an entrepreneur running an incredible seven-figure company. He has had an incredible career on Broadway and went from performing eight shows per week to running a multi-seven-figure business in a very short period of time. He joins me to share how he built a successful business with barely any money or time to invest and all that he had to overcome to get there.
Tune in this week and hear how Robert wrestled with the decision to give up his prestigious Broadway career and the challenges he overcame to create success in his business. We discuss how he grew his business to multiple seven figures and what it looks like to be committed to your goals. You don't want to miss this inspiring episode!
It's finally here! Order your copy of my new book, We Should All Be Millionaires! Click here for details. When you get it, tag us on Instagram using the hashtag #WSABMbook and let us know what you think!
What You'll Learn from this Episode:
- How Robert started his company and marketed it with minimal resources.
- The importance of surrounding yourself with people you feel aligned with.
- How investing in yourself can lead to incredible things.
- Why, if you really want something, you need to keep going until you achieve it.
- How Robert’s approach to business and entrepreneurship has changed since starting his business.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Check out our new game-changing program, We Should All Be Millionaires: The Club today!
- Want to work with us at Hello Seven? We're hiring!
- Follow me on Instagram – and ask me your million-dollar questions!
- We Should All Be Millionaires: A Woman’s Guide to Earning More, Building Wealth, and Gaining Economic Power
- The Broadway Collective: Website | Facebook | Instagram
- Robert Hartwell: Facebook | Instagram
*** Some of the links shared here are affiliate links – we only serve as affiliates for products we believe in.
Before we dive in, I have an important announcement to make. It has been an amazing, beautiful, hectic whirlwind of a few months for me and my team at Hello Seven. We worked our asses off to launch the book in May. And thanks to you, all of my faithful listeners, readers, and friends in the Hello Seven universe we made it a best seller and it’s having an impact on so many. From the bottom of my heart thank you so much for all of your support.
But to be very honest with y’all mama is tired, okay? I need a break and I believe that rest is a revolutionary practice that all of us, and especially Black women need to reclaim. So I am going to be taking a break from the Hello Seven podcast for a little while. But don’t worry, in July we’ll be re-releasing some of our favorite OG very best episodes and I will be back with a vengeance in the fall.
People try and go to 10 different people to get their solution, to get their answer. And I think, why not work smarter versus harder? Find a person that you resonate with that feels like you already see results in their company, and then align with them.
Welcome to the Hello Seven Podcast. I'm your host, Rachel Rodgers, wife, mother of four children, a lover of Beyoncé, coffee drinker, and afro-wearer, and I just happen to be the CEO of a seven-figure business. I am on a mission to help every woman I meet become a millionaire. If you want to make more money, you are in the right place. Let's get it going.
Well hello there, friends. Get very excited because in today’s episode, I am interviewing my very best friend, Robert Hartwell. Robert is the CEO and founder of The Broadway Collective, which is a musical theatre training company. They train the next generation of Broadway performers. And it’s a seven-figure company.
Robert wasn’t always an entrepreneur running an incredible company. He actually was a Broadway performer. He’s been in shows like Dreamgirls, Memphis, Nice Work if You Can Get it, Cinderella, Motown the Musical, and most recently Hello Dolly, all on Broadway. So yes, he has many, many show credits under his belt. He’s also been an assistant director and a director for various shows as well.
So, he’s had an incredible career on Broadway. And in this episode, Robert is sharing how he went from eight shows per week on Broadway, making around $100,000 a year to running a multi-seven-figure business in a very, very short period of time. He gave up a very prestigious career, and we’ll talk about how he wrestled with that decision. We’ll also talk about his various offers and some of the challenges that he’s had along the way and how he overcame them and how he came to be the Million Dollar Badass that he is today.
Now, this interview was an exclusive interview that I did for my Million Dollar Badass Mastermind. So, I can’t share the whole thing. If you want all of the juicy details and to get the entire 90-minute interview, you need to become a member of Million Dollar Badass. And lucky for you, we are opening registration soon. So, I’ll tell you all about that at the end of this episode.
However, I am going to share the first 30 to 40 minutes. You’ll get some of the juicy bits of this interview and be very, very inspired. So, please enjoy this incredible interview with my dear friend Robert Hartwell.
Rachel: I am so delighted to be sitting here with my very best friend, Robert Hartwell. So, Robert, for those of you who don’t know – you absolutely should – is the owner of The Broadway Collective. So, he has been in many plays with many incredible actors, like Bette Midler and others that I can’t remember, and started is business while doing eight shows a week on Motown the Musical while it was on tour, correct?
Rachel: And eight shows per week, friends, plus rehearsal. That’s what he was doing, and yet he still had time to build this business and has now built it to a million-dollar empire. So, we’re going to unpack all of that. How did it happen? What did you do? When? How? So, it’s going to be great, and there are so many great tips along the way. But one of the things that I think is really essential is, one, you have really high standards for yourself.
You have confidence and believe in what you are trying to create, and I love that you are also scrappy, you know. You know how to cobble shit together. One of my earliest stories that I remember about you, Robert, is when me and Susan both drove down – we didn’t know each other that well at that point. Remember, she drove down from Indiana, I drove down from New Jersey to Nashville, which is a long-ass drive, y’all.
I drove down to Nashville to see Motown the Musical, that Robert was in at the time. And it was a fantastic show. And then, after the show, we all went with Scott Hyatt to some, like, restaurant or bar that was across the street from the theatre and just had a pow-wow with some of the other cast members of the show. And one of the things that you said, you were talking about how you’re doing these events, you’re teaching, I think it was your first workshop. Was the first one in Nashville?
Robert: It was, I think it was like the second or third. I mean, we had just opened, literally just opened.
Rachel: Yes, and that show was happening the next day. So he was in the show on a Saturday night, he was going to be in the show again on Sunday afternoon, but on Sunday morning, he was going to put on this event teaching musical theatre.
Robert: Oh my god, you’re so right because – okay, so that Saturday, I did a 2PM show and an 8PM show. You, Susan, and Scott, and John was there too, right? You all saw the show that night. We went out to dinner after the show. Then you came, like, to the masterclass that next morning. So, I taught from 8AM to 2PM, then did a 3PM show and then did an 8PM show and then flew to the next city.
Rachel: The hustle is real.
Robert: The hustle is real, friends.
Rachel: But one of my favorite things is about sitting in that bar because I was like, “How are you getting people to come to this? How are you getting the word out about this workshop?” Because he basically – I mean, the genius of it was your tour stops were along the way, like the route of the musical, Motown the Musical. You were traveling with it, and so you were like, “I’m just going to show up, and each city we go in, on Sunday mornings, I’m going to teach a workshop,” right?
And I was like, “Well, how are you marketing it? How are you getting people to the workshop?” And you were like – do you remember what you did?
Robert: I remember what I did.
Rachel: Tell them what you did, how you got people there.
Robert: I would go onto – one, I would Google local dance studios, local theatres. I would pay someone on Fivver like $5 an hour to basically scrape all of these lists together for me with people’s phone numbers and email addresses, so any sort of arts organization within a 50-mile radius of where I was doing that class. And so I then had a couple of hundred numbers and a couple of hundred emails and I would get on the phone every single morning and I would call all of these places.
And I would call 100 people and maybe five people would pick up the phone. And maybe one person would commit to then saying, “I’ll tell my students about it.” And then I’d do a follow up email. But, like, that was – oh my god, I’m not going to cry – that was like the beginning of it, you know. How hard do you want it? I did not have money for Facebook ads. I didn’t even know, at that point, as an entrepreneur what Facebook ads truly were.
And so it’s like, what can you do? Because I think so many of us are waiting on, “Well I need to have this, I need to have that…” No, last I checked, I think your cellphone bill is probably paid and you’re probably going to have wi-fi if you’re listening to or watching this. So the power of Google and sheer scrappiness, that’s legit how I started our company.
Rachel: I love it. Such a good story. I was so blown away because you were not like, “I need to download everybody’s opt-in and do 17 online courses and then I’ll make some money.” You were like “Nope, we’re going to do this class on this Sunday. I’m going to email and call everybody in the vicinity and I’m going to try to get as many people there as possible, and then we’re going to do it again.” And just the sheer, like, ingenuity of paying somebody on Fiver to put together the list, that was genius. But that is one of the things that I really wanted to talk about is that you hired people from day one. Like, on day zero, you were hiring people.
Robert: You know what – so you were asking, you said, just a few minutes ago, you were like, “You did this or you do that…” and I truly think the core of it was on aligning with help from the beginning; quality help. And I think what so many entrepreneurs do – and I know that you see this in your business – people try and go to 10 different people to get their solution, to get their answer. And I think, why not work smarter versus harder?
Find a person that you resonate with, that feels like you already see results in their company, and then align with them. So, for me, the first thing was I knew that one, I am a grown adult in New York City, teaching children that I do not know. I knew that there was risk to that and that I needed some sort of legal protection. And so, before I even started doing the masterclasses, I Googled small business lawyers in New York City.
And this gorgeous black woman popped up. Her name happened to be Rachel Rodgers. And I was like, who is she? And I was, like, so – I honestly knew, in that moment, I was like, whatever she is doing, I want to be a part of it. And so, I got on your email list, I started taking in the free content and then eventually, we began to work with each other. But truly, the first thing – and actually, I am not even kidding, this is not a staged moment – I keep it right here beside my desk and I legit, I am four years into business, run a million-dollar company and I still have my copy of Small Business Bodyguard. Look how warn this hoe is. It is so worn.
She’s so worn, but, like, from that, I felt like I had such a foundation of knowing the importance of team and knowing the importance of aligning with help. So although I didn’t have maybe the money for the ad spends or the money for this or that, I was like, “I’m going to hook up with this person and I’m going to figure out how is she doing what she’s doing, because whatever she’s doing is working. And if I just listen and do what she says, I’m going to make some money.” That’s what I did.
Rachel: Hilarious. And then, of course, my Facebook ads, because you must have wound up on my website, my Facebook ads started stalking you and following you around somehow.
Robert: Oh, they started – those ads, Rachel would just show up all the time. And I told my boyfriend at the time, I was like, “Listen, she doesn’t know it but she’s going to be my best friend.” And, like, here we are four years later, legit you are my best friend. Well I meant, use the power of your words, but two, I just think it’s really helpful to align with someone that, one, you believe in what they are doing and they have proven results of what they are doing. It’s one of the best Google searches I have ever done in my life. People ask me all the time, what was the one thing that you did? And I say all the time, “I aligned with a very smart person.” Like, legit.
Rachel: Thank you. Okay, so then you sent me a Facebook message and I ignored you.
Robert: You totally ignored me. I told my boyfriend, I was like, “Okay, so I don’t have any money. I want to work with her.” And he’s like, “Well write her an email.” And so I wrote you a Facebook message.
Rachel: And I was like, “Ain’t nobody got time.”
Robert: But at the end of the day – and now that I look at it, I knew where my intentions were and I knew exactly where I was. But once I found that money for SBB, I had never invested in myself in that way. And at the time, what was it, maybe $500 or $600? You know, back then, that was a lot for me. And to be putting into called online education that I’ve got to teach myself, it was an ouch. But that ouch is what was necessary, you know, because it made me do the work. And I think so many of us, we feel the ouch and then we just run away from the assignment. And you know that I’m a spiritual person and I feel that you just miss your blessing if you feel the ouch and you run away. Like, feel the ouch and do something about it.
Rachel: Exactly. And I think the key is, I actually had this happen today with something big that I’m trying to make happen. And it’s like, everything feels good. You’re like, “I feel so alive. It feels so perfect. I’m so excited. It’s wonderful.” And then you get to that moment where you actually have to leap and take the risk and you’re like, “Never mind. No, my spirit is not feeling it anymore.” It’s like, no, your spirit is just shook, as it should be.
Robert: Yeah, you are just scared. You are legit just scared and it’s so funny. That’s so real. I was just having a conversation with someone on my team yesterday and, like, they got me together so quickly. They were like, “Robert, here’s the thing; facts are not feelings.”
Rachel: That’s what your team said to you?
Robert: Legit, my director of operations was like, “Facts are not feelings. You’re feeling frustrated and you’re feeling tired, but the fact is, the work isn’t done.” And I was like, “You know what, you’re right.”
Rachel: Is this Dallin?
Robert: Of course, it’s Dallin.
Rachel: I love Dallin, oh my god.
Robert: Like, we are going to talk about team, it think it’s so important that you are, as you are, finding people that you are investing in, that they’re also investing in you because you cannot be a CEO out here just thinking that the only thing you can do is pour out and pour out and pour out. You have got to have people in your camp that pour back into you but can also be a mirror and you respect them enough to be able to have an honest conversation that they can be like, “Cool, that’s great, you feel overwhelmed and you feel tired. Great, I honor your feelings. Facts: the work is not done.”
Rachel: Get your ass back to work, in other words.
Robert: Take your ass to work.
Rachel: I love it. I love it. Okay, so let’s go back to where you were beginning. So, you bought Small Business Bodyguard. You set up your business. I remember when you sent me that picture, because the way that we became friends is I actually had a bonus at the time, you got a bonus free call if you bought SBB. So you bought SBB, we did a bonus call, and we get on the phone. And there’s only five or something people on the call, and you were the first one to raise your hand and you were like, “Is this Rachel Rodgers?” And I was like, “Yeah…” And you were like, “Oh my god, Ramone, I’m on with Rachel Rodgers.” I was like, who am I talking to? This is hilarious.
Robert: I remember that like it was yesterday.
Rachel: Me too.
Robert: Legit, at the time, we were on tour in DC, and it was the holidays. It was December. And it was like an early morning webinar. And, you know, you don’t get home from the theatre until midnight. And so Ramone’s, like, trying to watch Christmas movies and I’m like, “I have to go to bed.” And he’s like, “Why?” I’m like, “I have a Rachel Rodgers webinar in the morning and it’s about to be lit.”
And at this point, I mean, he’s been hearing me talk about you for months at this point. And so we get on the webinar and I’m so excited. And you’re talking to me, like, “So does anyone have questions?” I was like, “Yo, I’ve got all the questions.” And when I found out it was you, I legit was like, “Ramone. It’s Rachel; Rachel is on the call.” And Ramone was like so – it was celebrity. Like, we met the Beyoncé of online business.
Rachel: Meanwhile, I’m sitting in my nasty little shoved desk in my tiny, tiny house in Tenafly, New Jersey at the time and I’m like, “I ain’t nobody’s celebrity, but this is hilarious.” And then, after we did that – so, we were kiki-ing on that call for a good 45 minutes, forgot about everybody else that was on the call. I was like, “Let me answer these other people’s questions before they get mad at me.” And so, then we got off that call and you emailed me and you were like, “Yo, I saw you talk about your daughter going to Alvin Ailey. I have friends there. Let’s go to a show together.” And so, we went to a show together. And that was all she wrote, right? We were besties.
Robert: We went to that show at Alvin Ailey and it was just like, whoa. But isn’t that, though, like a moment though? You are sitting in a raped office in Tenafly, New Jersey – but here’s the thing; I think, as entrepreneurs, we get into our hole and you forget who you are for other people out there in these internet spheres because of how you view yourself. How do you see yourself? How do you value yourself? Is this current situation of, like, sitting in this tiny little office, you knew what you had in there?
And I think, sometimes, we need to – one of my other best friends, Kelsey, always says, “Don’t believe the hype.” But legit, if people are telling you, “You are changing my life…” you must believe them. You’re a life-changer, regardless if you are sitting in a cramped office or in your home or in your closet or at WeWork like, you are still doing it. So walk with them like you are.
Rachel: Yes, I totally agree. You’re making things happen and you’re doing something that nobody else – very few people are willing to take the risk of building their own empire, you know. So I think, sometimes, we just get so down about some of the challenges of we’re not where we thought we would be yet, and it’s just like, listen, you’re going to get there because we both have upgraded our homes significantly since we’ve met; both of us.
Robert: We really have. And it’s like, I think that is the most exciting thing too. People always ask, what do you think is important. And I say all of the time, your circle, your people you surround yourself with. Because energy is so real. And if we are only hanging out with people that live in lack or only see lack, your life will be lack. But, like, when I walked in your home the first time and you had just purchased it and we went on that entire journey together, to see a black woman, regardless of the color of your skin, to see a person in a home that an online business made happen, I was like, you can’t tell me this work isn’t powerful if you do it.
Rachel: Hell yes. It’s so funny because I was on the phone with my banker today because there’s something I’m trying to make happen. And I was on the phone with him and he’s like, “But how are you going to pay for it” And I was like, “With my business money.” He was like, “Well, this amount of money, you could do that?” I’m like, “I made that amount of money last month. Yeah I am.” But people don’t believe it. They’re like, how are you printing money over there? Like, people in the real world, they will tell you it’s impossible. They will tell you it’s not doable, but here we are, you know. My bank account says it’s totally doable.
Robert: We need to pull out the receipts.
Rachel: We’ve got some receipts. We’ve got some bank statements for your ass.
Robert: You know what, it’s not just paper. And I think this is the downside of social media and how curated so many of our lives have to be and our emails and our social presence is like, yes there are the receipts, but there are the sleepless nights. There are the mornings where you have to wake up three hours before your kids wake up at seven so that you can get that email out, so that you can grab that tough conversation with that person on your team. It’s just like…
Rachel: You know what I was thinking of, Robert, right now when you just said that? When I stayed at your house – this was one of the first times, when I stayed at the old apartment before you moved to this one. And we stayed up until like three in the morning chopping it up, like, as always. We just know we ain’t getting no sleep when we hang out. And then, in the morning, I’m knocking on your door because we’re supposed to be going to brunch with Susan, remember. She wanted to take us to some fancy-ass lunch, as always…
Robert: As always.
Rachel: It always has to be the most over the top. We’re like, “We’re going to have to get cute for that. We can’t go in our sweats to that place.”
Robert: That is my entire look.
Rachel: Exactly, we need the shades, the boots, the all of it. But anyway, I woke up and you were like, “Let me tell you what happened.” Do you remember, when your whole team was in LA and the event space? Tell them the details of that, just what you woke up to. Because I think it’s important to remember that yes, we have a lot of success. But there is so much shenanigans that you deal with along the way and you’ve just got to handle it, right? You’ve just got to step up to the plate, and that’s what leadership is. You’re going to have stuff thrown at you and you’ve got to just step up because you have to decide in that moment, am I going to let this knock me down, stop me, plateau me, slow me down? Or am I just going to meet this where it’s at and then keep going, you know?
Robert: So, essentially what happened, so we were doing the national tour, but this particular national tour I couldn’t be on because I was currently in a Broadway show. So I was bringing, I think, five members of my team every other weekend out to different cities across the country. And this weekend, they just happened to be in LA, very far away from my black ass.
And so, they are out there. They’re so excited. I think we had like 40 kids sign up. So they go that morning to the studio to go meet the studio owner to let them in, who we paid them our rental fee, we have a signed contract, thank you Small Business Bodyguard. We had all of that stuff in place and there was just nobody there to let them in. like, legit, just nobody there to let them in.
And the phone number that they had, the contact, it’s LA, of course, the hoe didn’t answer the phone. So again, there’s nobody to let them in. and we’ve got 40 kids. But for us, if you have an event and you say you have 40 attendees, you have 40 attendees. I work with kids, so if I say I have 40 attendees, I actually have 120 attendees because it’s their parents and a kid and it’s a whole situation.
So we now have 120 people showing up at this studio and there ain’t nobody there. And it’s like, it’s a Sunday morning in LA, you know. So it’s like, what are you going to do? So I was like – I remember getting on the phone with – we just started calling places, you know. And I think they ended up going into a hotel. They went to a hotel down the street and we just walked the kids down there and it’s like, this is what it’s going to be today. We’re going to be in this ballroom. And I don’t know how we’re going to pay for it, but we’re going to figure it out, you know.
And if you can just come down to, like, when you see the problem, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to stand still or are you just going to go into it? I’m so grateful that, again, we have a team that rolls with the punches, you know, and knows how to get knocked down but, like, get back up. So it’s never ending, you know.
Rachel: Oh, never ending is 100% accurate.
Robert: I think you just learn how to cope and you learn how to actually, Dallin said to me maybe two weeks ago, he said, “You’re different something’s different these past couple of months.” I said, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Your leadership is different. You’re more still. And when problems arise, you’re less reactive and you’re just like, what do we do next? What is our next best course of action?”
Because how you start your business in year one, the hustle that I had in year one, in 2016, there is no way on God’s green Earth – I don’t have the adrenaline to do that. I just don’t. I’m four years in and I just don’t have that on this business, you know, so it has to be a different level of work. But again, I think that comes down to surrounding yourself with wanting good people in your life that are outside of your business. And two, having a team that supports you in your vision.
And I know that a lot of people are like, “Well I don’t have money for a team.” Well, I’m here to let you know, my first team member was $15 an hour and we worked out of, legitimate, my kitchen. I remember I would like scoot my chair back and I would just run into my freezer, you know. I wanted to get food, we had to scoot our desk out of the way. You know, it’s like, what are you going to do? But that was my team. And we did that for two years.
Rachel: Yes, I remember that, when your desk was in the kitchen right across from the fridge.
Robert: You know, it’s like, lunch break, and the only thing you had to do was turn. That’s what it was. But those are the choices that you have to make. You have to be in that cramped office in New Jersey, or you cannot be in this gorgeous office that an interior designer put together for you in a home that you built with your own money.
Rachel: It’s true. You’ve got to be willing to do those parts. Alright, one more story and then I want to talk about, like, how you built your team, what you sell. We’ll get into some of the nitty gritty. Okay, so, when you were talking about the LA shenanigans, that reminded me of France. So, the first ever Made in France that I did, Robert came.
In natural Rachel Rodgers style, I decided to burn down my whole business and fire everybody like a month before my first international retreat. Do you remember that?
Robert: It was actually about two or three weeks before the retreat. I remember being on the phone with you. I was in Naples, Florida when you called me to tell me, “Remember my team that I had yesterday? Yeah, they’re all gone.”
Rachel: Exactly, and don’t worry, team, I will never do that to y’all. But I was in that transition, from transitioning my law practice to this coaching business. And there was all kinds of – I was trying to take my law practice team, like one of my attorneys and my operations manager and kind of put them towards, like, let’s focus on business coaching. This is what we sell now. Or we’re moving in this direction. And they were just so resistant to the change. It wasn’t going to work.
I basically needed to shut down and then rebuild my team. So one person left, I fired the other one, and it was just like, okay, so if we’re losing people, we lost one of our best employees, I was like, “Let’s just burn the whole thing down and start over.” So after that, it was like me and my husband.
My husband was my assistant and oh my god, it was miserable. But anyway, so Made in France, it’s the very first one. We get there and there’s all kinds of shenanigans. You get on a flight on Friday night or Saturday night and you arrive Sunday morning. So you’re just waking up. You’ve slept on the plane, or maybe not. It’s six in the morning and you’re trying to think in French and you’ve got to go get the rental car and I’m waiting for the next couple of people to show up.
Then everybody shows u and we had way too much luggage. Like, it was Robert, the chef that I had hired from Ireland who was coming, and there was one other person, Chelsea, the photographer, who a lot of you guys have met at my retreats. So it was Chelsea and Kevin, her partner, who does videography. So it was like the photographer, the videographer, my assistant, Robert, for the week. He was like, “I’ll come to France and help you out.” I was like, perfect. And then the chef.
So we’re like, great, we’ve got an SUV for France. And we start putting luggage in, all the videographer’s equipment, and we’re like, “Yo, this shit don’t fit.” So we were…
Robert: The equipment did not fit. Their SUV is literally the size of a Fiat.
Rachel: 100%. And so, we have all kinds of ridiculous luggage, because you know Robert and I completely overpacked. The photographer and videographer had all this equipment and the chef had a little tiny bag because she’s European and gets it, you know. So then we were like, we can’t fit everybody, what are we going to do? And so, we wound up, like, I was the only person that didn’t have luggage on my lap.
Robert: We were like, literally, we were going down the highway with luggage – it was miserable. But again, there’s two points of view. You’re going to stand still or are you going to…
Rachel: Get to this damn chateau…
Robert: And like, I hope you didn’t have to use the bathroom because you are out of luck. You are legit, like, no one could move. We were stuck for two hours, like, “Yo, you good? I’m good.”
Rachel: So, I mean, people had luggage under their feet like, shoved up against their calves, and on their, like, only the driver didn’t have luggage. Anyway, so we drive our asses to the chateau. We arrive at the chateau and we’re looking up, like we’re all in tears. Robert is immediately doing videos on Instagram. It was like, we arrived, and the next thing I know, he is on video. And we were all like, “Holy shit, this is amazing.” And so then this older French woman, who’s kind of the property manager, comes in. she speaks no English of course, none.
So, she’s giving us a tour of the chateau, which takes basically an hour and a half because the thing is huge. And we’re asking her questions and she can answer none of them.
Robert: She continued to talk to us in full French the whole time.
Rachel: So, anyway, after we do all of that, then we were like, okay, let’s get in the car we’ve got to go – the chef’s like, “We’ve got to get food. We’ve got people arriving tonight. We’ve got to prep the meal.” And so we go into the little village and everything is closed.
Robert: I forgot. You are so right. It was like the village was like, nope.
Rachel: It was Sunday afternoon. It’s a little tiny village in, like, the French countryside. There was nothing open. I mean, we went to every door and then we went back to the little old French woman. We called the concierge whatever, the property owners, they speak English and they were like, “Yeah, there’s nothing open.” It’s a no.
And so we get in the car and I had to go pick up two clients who decided to take the train, which was like 20 minutes away. They took the train from Paris. We drove 20 minutes. We’re like, we’re going to drive to that little town. It’s a bigger town. They have grocery stores and stuff. We’ll get food there. We get there… nothing was open.
Robert: I totally forgot about that.
Rachel: Oh my god, it was a disaster. So, we found a bakery, we bought all the bread…
Robert: Oh my god, you’re right. There was that one bakery. And so we were like, “Let’s get some croissants and have you got any cheese?” I totally forgot about that.
Rachel: Yes, and then remember, like, my two clients got off of the train and we hadn’t found a solution yet. So we had to go to them and be like, “Okay, so here’s what’s happening.” We were like, there’s no food, we have to find groceries. And they were like, “Okay, we’re down. Let’s do this.” Thank god they were life coaches. They were like, “Oh, this almost feels like you land and it’s like, here’s your challenge.”
Robert: Find food. Like, we have people to feed tonight and everything’s closed.
Rachel: Everything is closed. So they went – you and Julia, remember went to – they were going to hotels and trying to talk the hotel manager into selling them meat…
Robert: Literally, that’s all that was available.
Rachel: We were at it for like a good two hours. But the we found – we kept talking to people and they kept pointing us to other places, even though they were looking at us like we were out of our damn minds. But we eventually – we looked insane, but we found the equivalent of, like, a bodega. And the way that we grocery-shopped in that bodega like it was Costco, everybody was looking at us like we were nuts.
Robert: You know what? I legit have seared that – I had taken that out of my memory. That was so traumatic, but it’s just what you have to do.
Rachel: It’s just what you do. And also, you have to almost enjoy the adventure of it because that memory, it’s hilarious. I’ve talked to those clients about that happening and we did wind up getting a couple of things, enough to make it happen, and then the chef came and she cheffed something up and we had wine and we laughed hysterically over it all week long. But in the moment, I was like, I have made people get on a plane to France and I have nothing to feed them for the next 24 hours.
Robert: But like, legit, that was perfect. If you really look back at it now, you’re just like, that was the best start to that retreat.
Rachel: We were all so bonded after that. We were drinking and talking and people were leaving their husbands. It was amazing.
Robert: Legit, people were having their moment.
Rachel: And it was very productive too. People got a lot of work done as well, so we had a blast.
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