Don’t Make It Weird: Authenticity in Network Marketing with Colleen Nichols

February 22, 2024

Hey there, my friend. Welcome back to the Crank It Up podcast. I have such an amazing guest on for you today, my friend Colleen Nichols, you might know her as a no shame sales game.

You might know her as Colleen Nichols on Instagram. And if you know her, you love her. And today, we are digging into what she does on Instagram and really what she does with their business, what she does with their life because she is on a mission to shake up the online sales world.

I’ve been following her for a while, and when I had the opportunity to have a conversation with her and share it on my podcast, I was like, yes. This is an absolute must. I’ve got to share this conversation with you.

Navigating Network Marketing with Integrity

If you know no shame sales game, she actually started that Instagram account completely anonymously and has grown it to tens of thousands of people.

She’s really passionate about reconfiguring, if you will, recalibrating the direct sales market, network marketing, social selling, all of it, and to take the ick out of it to make it accessible to everyone because it has, as she shares today, changed her life.

So listen. Grab your notebook. This is such a great episode. You’re gonna love it, and you’re gonna love Colleen. And sit back. Get ready for this episode with my friend, Colleen Nichols.

Colleen, welcome to the Crank It Up podcast. I mean, we’ve already said we could probably be talking for hours already, and I, you know, found you, air quotes, found you when you started popping up on my Instagram feed.

And you were the person saying the things about network marketing that I wish that I could say, and you were saying them in a much more articulate and to the point way.

You know, like, just pieces about network marketing that I wanted people to believe and to understand and to take into themselves and integrate into who they were.

And there you were on my Instagram feed saying it. And, of course, then I liked it. And then you started, you know, continuing and I’m like… algorithm works.

Like, this woman is awesome. And I feel like we’ve kind of been floating around some of the same circles for a while. We have some of the same mutual friends, and so I’m just thrilled to have you on here.

Colleen:
I’m so excited. Thank you so much. This is gonna be so fun. I know as soon as before we hit record, we’re already, like I was like, we should probably start recording.

Julie:
And, plus, we’re short haired girlies. So I know. I’m really excited. Like, we vibe already. So, you know, no one just comes into this space, like, here we are, and now I’m an expert on talking about network marketing. So where would it be, how would it be? How did we get here?

Colleen:
Here. Oh gosh. I have a lot of trial and error, a bit of delusion, a lot of, you know, just tenacity of doing it. But, I mean, I think it came to be the first failure because when I found success in network marketing finally, I had tried it two different times before and bombed, like failed so badly.

Julie:
Different companies? Different companies. Interesting.

Colleen:
Yeah. And I just, you know, couldn’t make it work. And finally, the third time, it got to a point where I think for me, like, personally, I was in a spot where it had to work. Like, I didn’t have another like, the comfort of, like, oh, if I don’t want to, it’s okay.

Or if I don’t like, I was in a a life spot where I didn’t I didn’t have the luxury of, like, caring if I was uncomfortable. It had to work so I made it work.

Julie:
Isn’t that so interesting how many people have that same story, you know, that this was my moment, then I made that decision. And it really can be anything. It could be network marketing. It can be business and health. It can be your finances. It can be your relationships. It can be your parenting. It really can be anything, but there often is that moment where you think, okay.

Listen. What am I doing here?

Colleen:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s what that was. And it, and then it just kind of was funny because, I guess when anybody again, like you said, whether it’s health and fitness or finances or whatever, once you get into that point and you make the decision that it’s going to work, everything starts clicking into place.

Like, it wasn’t like I went to business school and took social media courses and then was successful at network marketing. I was the same person with really no other added benefits other than, okay, it’s a decision now. Like, this is how it’s gonna go. And I, you know, I thought I had the fear.

I think that a lot of people have, which is like, oh, what if they see me fail? What because you have to do it publicly. Right? It’s not like you can, like, practice behind the scenes and then be great.

And I thought, well, if they’re gonna watch, I might as well just give them a good show. That’s the mental space I was in. I was like, okay, well, let’s just let’s be so good that, like, if they’re gonna watch me and they’re gonna judge me, it’s because I’m good at it.

Julie:
So when you were growing up. You know, when I was growing up, my parents did Amway for a little while. Oh. Yeah. It’s so interesting because, first of all, no one called it network marketing back then.

That’s just not what we called it. And I tell you what, I have nothing but positive experiences and memories from it.

I just remember my parents kind of falling into finding the products and then kind of fell into this, the business opportunity.

And for them, it was a really interesting new way to meet new people, make a little bit of money, and use products that they liked.

They traveled a little bit. They never had aspirations to make it some…. My dad was an engineer. My mom stayed at home. There wasn’t, like, some, I’m gonna make this, you know, replacing it here, whatever.

They had me when they were in their forties. So they were much older when they had me and much older when they kinda found this.

So again, there was no, like, this is gonna be the thing that, you know, creates $1,000,000.

These are some cool people, some positive people, some really great products, and this way we can make some money and, like, we have some cool experiences. And, and it was kind of like that for oh, gosh. I bet when they get married, very young. I bet 10 years. I bet 10 years.

They were and it was just sort of this lovely little, background to my life, but again, it was never felt like network marketing, there was never any weirdness or anything about it, it was just like, well, yes, I’m using this lip gloss because it’s awesome, you know, whatever. Yes. And I just kind of got older, you know, and and moved on to the sort of the next season.

And so when I came into network marketing, all I had was that.

Colleen:
You knew that it was fine. You did.

Julie:
Even though it was very different now, when I came into it, it was very different. But that was my only experience with it, and it wasn’t even called that. Did you have experience with it before you said yes to it?

Colleen:
No. Except for me just trying two other times and failing. Like, it’s so funny because my mom is, like, the complete opposite. Like, she got fired from jobs in high school because, like, she worked at Krispy Kreme, and she was, like, giving away free donuts because she couldn’t possibly, like, sell donuts.

She’s like, oh, you want me to pay for that? Like like, yes. It’s a donut from Christmas. You do have to pay for that. That’s how that works. Or and she just is always like, oh, yeah. Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t sell anything or don’t. And so, no, my mom is not a salesperson. My dad was in, like, you know, retail sales, but nothing like, nothing like network marketing.

They were both very much not that. So it’s weird. It’s weird.

Julie:
Yeah. It is. And it’s also hard to explain to people.

Colleen:
Oh, my God. Easier now because it’s becoming so normal. Like, even if it’s not the traditional network marketing, whether it’s affiliate marketing or somebody’s creating a course or somebody like, people are selling online and, like, it just is less weird now, I think. But the I mean, people make it weird, so we could we could talk for two hours on that.

Julie:
We’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about that too. Okay. So what was your major? Did you go to college? What was your major in college? Like, how did you get to this place?

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Colleen:
Yeah. So my bachelor’s degree is in psychology, and then my master’s degree is in mental health counseling. I feel like I like the people and understanding how the work is kind of my exam. So I’ve never thought that, you know, my degrees would equate to me being on Instagram. But, like, you know

Julie [00:09:18]:
Who does think that?

Colleen:
Yeah. It’s been a weird road to get there, but I definitely mean, I use my degrees and my educational background every single day because that’s what sales is. It’s psychology that understands humans’ behavior.

Julie:
So as you got into network marketing and this became, you know, something that was evidently having a positive effect on your life. Where did the shift come to the calling that I found on social media that isn’t and you could still be building a network marketing business, but it’s really talking about that, but it’s talking more to someone who is in network market almost like this overall network marketing consultant.

I don’t care what business you’re in. I’m just gonna talk to you about network marketing as an overall consultant.

Colleen:
Yes. Kind of like the aunt or the big sister. The best friend like, let’s finish your teeth. Like, let’s fix this. So it happened after I had been, you know, successful network marketing for, like, four years, and, it was during the pandemic. I had my 3rd son on March 16, 2020. So, like, a great time to have a child.

Psych. Just kidding. 0 out of 10 stars recommend. And, we were home. And recently around that time, the company that I was with had been doing their first collaboration with a brand outside of the network marketing space. And it was very exciting.

There’s all this buzz and like, you know, how they’ve put together, like, you know, the bundles for the consultants to but anyway, we were so jazzed. And then, they launched.

It was a and that was, you know, the big thing of, like, billion dollar female founded brand, another billion dollar female founded founded brand. Great. What a match. And within minutes of this being announced on social media, the anti people were flooding the comments.

Like, I’m never going to buy from the not network marketing brand ever again. Like, this is so disappointing. And the backlash was so severe and so quick that this $1,000,000,000 brand pulled out of a collaboration with another $1,000,000,000 brand because of what people are saying on the Internet.

And I was like, to me and my, you know, my friends were in the comment section and, like, crying and upset and mad and all these things.

And to me, it was just like, holy mother. Like, this is a moment that, like, we have to do better. Because I’m not here to convince someone that, like, network market like, it’s not a scam or whatever. I’m here to, like, fix it from the inside out.

Developing “No Shame Sales Game” and Network Marketing Consulting

So let’s act differently so that those people don’t have as much of a leg to stand on when they’re affecting things. So I just started No Shame Sales Game, which is an Instagram account. And it was completely anonymous. Like nobody I didn’t, my face was not tied to it.

My name was not tied to it. Nobody but my husband knew what it was. And it started growing rapidly. Like, I didn’t promote anything. I didn’t do ads. But that’s the beauty of network marketing because people found it and they liked it and they shared it and more people found it and liked it and shared it and it grew. And it’s just a testament to that. So, you know, it got to the point where it’s like, you know, 5,000 followers, 10, 20, 30, 40,000 followers.

And my real life friends were sending me no shame sales game posts being like, have you seen this account? And afterwards

Julie:
They did not know it was you.

Colleen:
No. And I was like Oh,

Julie:
that’s so classic.

Colleen:
Yeah. I’m like, yes. Period. I have seen that. That’s not a lie. And then it got to the point of, like, this sounds just like you. And I’m like, oh, okay. So then I finally was like, hello.

My name’s Colleen, and I’m the one that’s been here for the past couple months. So, hello. And that’s how it came to be. But that was not the plan.

Julie:
So what but when I found you, when you started showing up on my social, that was you where I was there. Yes. It was you. It was you. It was you. Mhmm. So that’s so interesting that there was a whole situation before that was not you.

Okay. So let’s go back to the brand deal and those comments and that mindset for a moment. And given your experience with social media, given your experience with network marketing, given your experience now almost like as a consultant for the network marketing industry, you know, type of situation and the conversations you’ve had and the research that you’ve done.

Can you talk a little bit about what you think? What’s the problem? What is the, and, admittedly, I love what you’re saying with the let’s fix it from the inside out because there is no barrier to entry into network marketing, which means anyone which is a positive and a negative. It’s a positive and a negative.

So I love that, you know, you’re really saying let’s fix it from the inside out, which is a whole other conversation. But in these comments, in this catalyst for you to do more, what do you what’s the problem is? Why were people so upset?

Bridging the gap between real-life personas and online personas

Colleen:
I think they’re so upset because network marketing or MLM, whatever, has such a negative stereotype and I get it. And I think what happened is because the comments, like, the negative comments, I was like, they’re not all the way wrong. Right?

Like, they’re not I’d seen I wasn’t like, they’re stupid. I mean, whatever. But, like, sometimes people do really come off as spammy. Sometimes people really do make false claims. Sometimes people really do hound you. Sometimes people really do call themselves, you know, business owners when they’re actually independent consultants.

Like there’s a lot of things that were happening that were wrong that the anti people kinda had a point. And I was like, you know, it’s not a scam. It’s not all these things, but the stereotypes weren’t all wrong.

So I was like, we need to lock it up a little bit. We need if we are gonna be a profession, then we have to start acting professionally. And having some sort of like guidelines or checks and balances or just somebody saying like, hey, you’re being weird. Like, stop. And I think that’s the beauty of what I’ve been able to do because I’m on, like, I’m on your side.

I’m here to help you. You are being weird.

Julie:
That needs to be a t- shirt right now that we just wear we all wear around going, stop being weird.

Colleen [00:16:18]:
Stop being weird. That’s why the book is titled. Don’t think it’s weird. Like, it’s all, like, they it’s just it was so weird, and I just, in a loving way, was able to, like, kind of tow the line of, like, oh, they’re not all going wrong.

Like, let’s let’s fix this, or have you noticed that when you do this, it kinda sounds like this, or, and I was shocked that people agreed. Like, the people in the industry were like, oh, finally.

Julie:
Yes. That’s how I felt. That’s how I felt when I found it. And I think that’s because…I think the people who are really successful in network marketing.

I don’t know. Because I don’t, I don’t really know I just know me.

I don’t pay attention to really, you know, anything else. But I think the people who are successful in network marketing… so I went back to my parents. You know? They just really loved the products. They really loved the people, and they really loved connecting the products with other people at their core.

Like, I really, really to my bones love what I get to do every single day and wanna figure out how to do it better because I think it makes me a better human. It doesn’t matter what industry that I’m in. I kinda felt the same way when I was teaching high school English.

I think those are the people who tend to be more successful in network marketing. I think we need more of that.

Conversations Around Money in Network Marketing

Colleen:
Yeah. I agree. The yeah. It’s I think but then this is where and I’ve said this before, like, where a lot of companies screw it up is that it’s like, it’s not just that. Here are all the shiny things. Here’s a car you can earn. Here’s a trip you can earn.

In which I earned all of those things. You know, but I was earning them because I was successful and a lot of people get tripped up because they’re like, I want that trip. So I’m gonna go balls to the wall, crazy foaming at the mouth so I can hopefully earn that trip. Mhmm. And so it’s the incentives that are great when you earn them.

And I will run for a care all day long. I love an incentive. But I think that that sometimes takes away from, like, what you’re explaining about your parents.

Like, they like the products. They love talking to people. They love connecting. It wasn’t about the other stuff. I don’t know. So I think that that kind of gets in the way for people sometimes.

Julie:
And don’t you think not to put words in your mouth, but I’ve I this sits on my heart a lot. I think because it’s a female dominated industry. Oh, yes. The industry can play into our culture the generational cultural competition that women have that we are trying. And I think, you know, now really trying to dismantle, disconnect, and undo, it is generational.

And it is so deep that sometimes we don’t even know it. And so that competition is really hard to disconnect from, and sometimes I think the industry can play on that.

Colleen:
Oh, 100%. Yeah. Absolutely. And, again, I agree. I don’t think it’s done with malice.

Julie:
I don’t either. I don’t either.

Negative stereotypes associated with the network marketing

Colleen:
Like you said, generational Yeah. Cultural, and it just easy.

I also think that when you’re talking about, like, female dominated, I’ve said this before too that I think network marketing is so attached because it is a female dominated industry.

And if it was if it was all these men doing this, like, I don’t know, cryptobros. Like, people wouldn’t be as harsh to, like, knock people down. And so, yeah, it all goes back to that competition. And Mhmm. People are like, oh, you know, women support women and empower this.

Colleen:
And I’m like, not really a lot of times because and, yes, in the industry and we all have our friends, but from the outside, if you’re not and you’re seeing people succeed, you’re like, that’s a scam.

I don’t like that you’re experiencing that and I’m not.

Julie [00:20:31]:
Yeah. That’s exactly it. Because we, as women, have issues with women making money that we all have to dismantle and deconstruct and disconnect it. And women who say they don’t have issues with women making money, I think you’re lying to yourself. I think you’re lying to yourself. I just think it’s so deep. It’s so deep.

Colleen [00:20:48]:
I mean, I have had to do so much work surrounding that personally. Because to me, it was, you know, this money is bad or money makes you greedy or money, like and that’s not true. And when I see women making money now, it’s like, hell yes. Yes. We need more women talking about money. They know what’s possible and we need more women making more money so the world could be a different place. But, yeah, I totally agree.

Julie:
So you see these comments and you start this no shame sales game, Instagram account. So obsessed with this whole thing. And so what did your post like, what were you posting when it wasn’t your face? What were you doing then that no one knew it was you?

Colleen:
It was just, these pink and blue text squares that… Just words. Yep. Not reels. Nothing. It was just, you know, I alternated. That was my color scheme. That was all. Then it goes.

Pink blue. Pink blue. That’s it. And it was a free app on my phone, not even Canva. And I just put these kinda like one liners out there, and they spread like wildfire. And, that is how it started. It was very, very basic.

Julie:
So once you started then showing your face Yes. Oh my god. Did it change? Like, what where did we go?

Colleen:
I was certain that it was gonna be dead in the water.

Julie:
Really?

Colleen:
Oh, God. It was not the plan. I was like, I’m just gonna make this little, like, theme account, talk about network marketing the way I wish people were. So it was not the plan.

I was terrified, because people are so mean. Certain that people are gonna be like right. These people can say really mean things about, you know, network marketing or literally anything.

And it’s easier when your face is not damaged. So I was certain that people were gonna be like, ew. Like, I don’t like you or whatever. But it continued to grow. And then from there, to no one’s shock and surprise, once people make a connection with you, it does even better.

And then I was able to create the community aspect of it, like the paid membership. And that’s just kind of how it’s unraveled over the past three years.

Authenticity and Communication in Online Presence

Julie:
So over the past three years, you’ve been focusing and working on this idea of trying to shift network marketing from the inside out. What are some pieces that you learned, or what have you tried to focus on, or what do you primarily work on when you’re saying, well, how do we fix it from the inside out?

Colleen [00:23:44]:
I like the foundation of everything that I do is helping people be human on the Internet. Like, I realized quickly that there is a major gap for most women, but between who they are in real life and how they show up online.

Women can be so awesome and magnetic and have awesome, wonderful, cool ideas. And then they try to translate it to social media and they just get weird. They fumble, they get like a different voice and it just kind of goes up five octaves and they’re like, Hey, Babe, This is such amazeballs.

When in reality, they’re like, screw this, f that, whatever, and there’s a disconnect. So my whole thing has been like, how do we help make that transition seamless? Because if you ran into me in Target tomorrow, there would be no surprises.

You wouldn’t be like, oh, she uses a filter that makes her look different or, oh, she actually has, like, Paris Hilton who has a TV voice and a really deep actual real voice or whatever.

So once you can, like, bridge that gap and you’re that human that people can connect to, you can sell anything. I don’t care what it is. So, and we do that by, you know, I jokingly say, like, I never thought I would teach people how to, like, talk… like adults, I’m teaching adults how to speak. It’s what I do.

It’s just like, when you say this, it sounds like and, again, I think maybe that’s leaning on the psychology piece, but, like, people think about, like, just sometimes a couple words can shift the way that somebody perceives what you’re saying, and that we work a lot on that.

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Julie:
What is something that you see the network marketing industry do that is weird? Now let’s caveat this with every industry that has their own weird things.

I was in the high school industry teacher. There’s weird stuff. I was a group fitness instructor as a master trainer. We weird stuff. Right? So every industry my husband was a college football coach. Are you kidding me? Weird stuff. So weird. Okay.

So every industry has weird stuff. What do you see in this industry that other people view? Like, we think it’s just like this is what we do, and we live in this bubble. But other people viewing us are like, that’s weird.

Colleen [00:27:52]:
What’s cool what’s cool is that because I have what whatever I’ve created on the Internet, I’m able to ask non network marketers what’s weird about so I’ve the conversation has been so long, but, you know, one thing is the, we have always thought when I say we, like the network marketing industry, we’re like, it’s a flex to be like, I’m on vacation and I’m working. I can work from anywhere.

People who are not in network marketing are like, if I’m on vacation, I don’t wanna be working. That’s not a flex. So one of those things is just be like, I can take a break. I don’t like, I can, you know so creating more of a balance, I think a lot of us thought like it was cool. And I did that. I remember being, like, at the beach, like, taking all skincare down by the seashore, like, an idiot.

Julie:
Well, what’s lovely is that you can work from anywhere should you choose to. That’s a piece that’s awesome.

The Importance of Community and Diversity

Colleen:
That’s awesome. But that’s where the people who are successful can have that conversation. And the people who missed the mark are like, I’m on vacation and I’m working and I’m on my phone and people are like, no, thanks.

That’s not vacation. A lot of people have told me that it’s weird how people talk about the community piece, which I find so interesting because a lot of us like, we love our friends here. Like, this is what’s awesome.

People who are not in the industry have always said to me, like, I’m here to, like, make money. I’m not here to, like, join a sorority. And that’s the vibe that a lot of people tend to give off. Not anyone.

Not anytime you talk about community or friends. That’s not what I’m saying. Right? I feel like sometimes it comes off as it’s very much like groupthink. We’re all the same. Come join and be just like us.

Julie:
K. That’s interesting because this is probably gonna ping some people, and I don’t mean it to. I’m just speaking from my own lived experience and, like, what my vibe would be.

You know, I see the pictures sometimes on social media of everyone sort of dressed alike and holding hands at the beach and the backward shots and all of that. And, listen, I was president of my sorority. I was the president of my sorority. I get it.

But when I see that, to their point, I’m a little bit like, I don’t know that I want that as a grown up. But I love walking into a place where there are other like minded humans, where you can talk about goals and dreams and no one thinks you’re weird.

Because you might not have that in your day to day life. So I love that piece. And so when you say that, like, that resonates with me.

Colleen:
Yeah. I mean, that it is. I think and it kinda goes back to, like, the generational stuff, like, groups of women are typically intimidating. So from being a woman coming into a group of already established women, that’s really intimidating.

And so how you just said it and laid it out was I like being surrounded by like minded individuals who where I can talk about my goals and it’s not weird. That’s very different from kumbaya holding hands on the beach.

Julie:
Yeah. That’s true. I hope listeners, I hope you’re taking notes on that because that’s really important to and it’s really important to share what does vibe with you. So if that, you know, if the kumbaya thing does really vibe with you, you should talk about that because you’ll find those people.

Colleen:
100%. And, you know, I’ve had people who are solely in network marketing for the community. They don’t need the money.
They were very lonely.

I was a stay at home mom for many years, and that’s a lonely job. If I didn’t have one friend, I would have lost my mind. So I understand. When I started network marketing, I was a stay at home mom And having that group and that ability to use my brain outside of, like, diapers and nursing and all of those things, like, who is so wonderful.

You have to be able to, to say it like that. You know, 99% of my day, I’m the head snack bitch in charge or I’m watching Paw Patrol or I’m changing a diaper. This is a little sliver where I get to be reminded that I have an adult brain and I can, like, do things. That speaks very differently than, like, I love this community of girl bosses.

Julie:
Yes. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. So, really, you know, as someone in the network marketing space is building whatever they choose to build, really thinking about what it is, what they want, and how they would message that.

Colleen:
Yes. And the other like, one other weird thing that I think about, that we do that’s weird is that there’s a supreme lack of diversity. That bothers me so much. You and I are the diverse ones because we have short hair.

Like and you’re even like, I’m diverse because I have short dark hair. Yes.

Like, people are like, oh, Colleen, the one with dark hair that’s not long. Yes.

The need for more diversity in the network marketing industry

I’m a little bit irritated for your skincare and what, like, what but, like, you so I said, like, but you’re I mean, it’s true. Like, there’s this: it’s a lot of very white Christian women, which have no shade to that.

It’s just hard for other people to see themselves in this space, be it the you know, if their color the color of their skin is different, they, you know, have a different religion or a different sexual orientation.

It just feels difficult to penetrate or find yourself, you know, utilizing yourself in there if everyone kinda looks different than you.

Julie:
You know, that’s so interesting you say that today too. We went downtown Orlando last night and watched the Broadway show in town that was Aladdin. Seen Aladdin a 1000000 times. I love it so much, but I support Broadway and all the things.

And as I was watching that show last night, I was thinking, this is so there is some diversity up here. There are young people sitting in the audience right now seeing themselves on stage that might not be in another show for whatever reason, you know, doesn’t matter, and I was just I was loving that. I’m like, my gosh. Someone’s gonna be inspired watching this because they see themselves.

Colleen:
Yep. Its representation is so important, and it sounds shallow and vapid coming from a white woman. Right. I, I don’t know. And so I’m always hesitant to be like, no. We need more diversity. I’m like, shut up, white girl. Who are you? But, like, I would love it.

And it’s a problem that I would love to see fixed.

Julie [00:34:45]:
I’m on board with that too. This is another piece that, one of my good friends and I talk about a lot because we’re always like, this feels weird. You don’t really see this in other industries. What about conversations around money?

The paycheck, the earnings, the blah blah blah. I will tell you that I have been in the network marketing space since May 2008. That’s when I joined my company, May 2008. So, you know, I joke sometimes, like, you can’t fake it for that long. Like, you’re kinda gonna like it. You can’t really make it for that long.

That amount of time, I have made one social media post that referenced money. And I kinda think that was under a little bit of almost my own pressure, like, maybe I should be doing this.

One, in all that amount of time. Yeah. But there’s a lot of conversation around it. I don’t disagree with some of the points that people are making because it is like, you people wanna become a lawyer because they think they’re gonna make a lot of money as a lawyer. You just know that. Yes. No. Or a doctor or whatever it might be. You know that high school English teachers don’t make any money. Right.

You know you’re going into that for very different reasons. So I understand some of that because how do you know that this could be a viable source of some kind of income for your family without some of that data out there. So I kind of understand that. But, also, again, I think it’s another piece that we make weird. Can you talk about that?

Importance of context in discussions of financial achievements

Colleen:
A 100%. It’s like, even going back to earlier in this conversation, I love when women talk about money. I love it. I think it’s great, but it’s also weird when you just remember making claims for no.

I tell people all the time, like, think about social media like a cocktail party. It’s mixed company. You don’t know everybody. I would never walk into a cocktail party and be like, I made $100,000 this month.

Hey, guys.How’s it going? Like, you just do that. Maybe if you were with your friends or you were having a conversation with everyone and you, like, led up to that and it was like… I talk about the money I make now because it’s and not anyway, the income claims and talking about that, it just comes off as weird because we don’t people don’t know how you make the money.

I think there’s a little there, like, it’s opaque. Right? People are like, oh, I made $20,000 this month. They failed to mention that they have an organization that’s 12 levels deep and that you get paid on that or that you sold x, y, and z. Like

It’s just a lot of, and mystery is not so much so, but, like, it’s not as clear how there’s so many different ways that somebody could make that money. So I think that is why it’s weird. And it’s just I mean, I talked when I first started, we were broke as a joke. And I, you know, I said, like, I am doing this to make $500.

And I found that I was able to recruit better than most people because I was setting the bar so low. I wasn’t vision casting. Yeah. Or your husband.

Like buy a house on Maui. Like, it was like, I’d really like to be able to help with groceries as a state home mom.

Julie:
Yeah. I needed to buy pointe shoes for my daughter.

Colleen:
Exactly. Yeah. And we’re like, oh, I can make that connection for my life. But if somebody’s like, I wanna be a multimillionaire and quit my job. People are like, shut up. It’s not happening for me.

So I think it’s okay to talk about money when there’s context. But when it’s just like, Oh, this was my paycheck for the month.

People like, how the hell? And they don’t they don’t know. So it’s weird sometimes.

Julie:
I also think there’s an interesting mindset. I think, you know, I think even members of my family think this too about network marketing. So, you know, you think of that, traditional pyramid shape, you know, and that whole pyramid scheme, da da da da.

And, you know, I’ll say, well, you know, that’s actually what corporate America looks like.

We are Disney people. I have pixie dust in my veins, so it is what it is. Three of my family members work for the company. And I will often say, you know, say what you will about network marketing, but the CEO of Disney, none of you who work for the company are ever making more than the CEO unless you become the CEO.

However, I could bring someone onto my team and with hard work and time and hustle and, you know, all the things that I have put in over 16 years, they could out earn me.

People have come into this network much later than me, have been in much shorter time than me, and are out earning me because of their work ethic or, you know, or whatever.

And I always think, that doesn’t happen in corporate America. What I’m not understanding is why we think this is bad.

Colleen:
Yeah. Because it’s not normal. It bucks the status quo, basically. Like, you were always and again, not just with money or corporate network marketing, whatever. … the devil you know, the devil you don’t like. It’s always easy to be like, maybe this isn’t the best, but it’s what I know. I know what to expect here. This is right.

And then if somebody comes along with something that’s different, especially as adults, we’re just hardwired to, to react with that different is bad. Like, you know, we kind of lose that curiosity and excitement about things because we’re like, Nope. Sure. It’s like, no thank you.

Anything about, like, you know, we’re talking about having kids earlier. You could, like, look out the window with my kid right now and be like, oh my gosh. Look at the leaves. They’re like, leaves. Look at

Like, you know, they’re just like they’re excited and interested in things. And we just feel like we become less open as we age.

Rethinking Hustle Culture:
“You can work hard and make sacrifices and have discipline and still have downtime. You need to relax and still disconnect and unplug. But to think that you’re gonna build something anywhere with anything without, you know, having to make decisions that don’t always feel great in the moment because you’d rather be taking a nap or spending that money or doing whatever. Like, that’s just part of success is making hard choices.”

— Colleen

Julie:
I think that’s right. And it was interesting when I left teaching high school and kind of I left teaching high school because we were moving a lot. That’s the only reason that I had that we left. My husband’s job was moving us to a lot of places.

So I had left teaching, and we moved to Pennsylvania. And I said, I’m gonna take this year off because I don’t know how long we’re gonna be here. And, frankly, I don’t wanna be here for very long.

Then I also got pregnant with our 3rd daughter accidentally not because I really didn’t wanna go back to teaching high school, but that’s another conversation.

And then after that, I fell into fitness. I fell into teaching group fitness.

What was interesting was that it was very hard for anyone in my family to and, no, in my husband’s family to, like, to know like, because when you’re teaching high school English, what do they do? She’s a high school English teacher, and there’s an immediate definition, context, association, you know exactly what they’re talking about.

But now, well, she teaches fitness classes at the y is okay. Now we’re now that’s odd. And now she’s a master trainer. Now she’s really odd. And now she’s building an online business. Like, what is going on over there?

Colleen:
That’s such a good example. such a good example. Yeah. They know what to expect from an an English teacher or a nurse or a lawyer or a doctor or whatever. Mhmm. Or just not just like stay at home mom. I know what that means.

At home mom and I have, you know, a digital business. People are like, weird. That’s so that’s such a good point. Like, they can’t. It’s hard to create, like, the definitions around it. Mhmm.

Julie [00:42:33]:
And then that’s where it’s imperative on us to decide we don’t care.

Colleen:
We do a whole conversation just about that.

Julie:
That’s where we have to decide we don’t really care. So tell me some things that we in the industry. I’m a person listening to this podcast and, like, listen. I really wanna do something with this business. What can I do to show up as a professional?

To make this not my hobby, but to actually make this something that creates some impact in income for my family and in the world? What can I shift in my own thinking and doing to make that change?

Work and Personal Life Balance for Entrepreneurs

Colleen:
Yeah. I think the first thing is establishing a sense of discipline. Like, it sounds silly, but or kind of like whatever. But just from working with thousands of women at this point in this industry, it’s always the first thing to go. Right?

Like, if the day is busy or the kids get sick or something happens at work or whatever, Oh, I can’t. I can’t do that today. And then that one day turns into two weeks, it turns into a month, whatever. And then it’s like, I’m not good at this.

Julie:
Yep. This business doesn’t work.

Colleen [00:43:41]:
Right. But I’m like, if the same things happen, the day was busy, the kids got sick, whatever, you’d still show up at your, air quotes, real job. Right. So we just decided to create that sense of discipline.

And when I started, I had a 20 month old and a 4 week old, and my husband had just lost his job, and we had to sell our house and all of these it was a shit show. Yeah. It was a dumpster fire. And all I wanted to do at the end of the day was just watch TV because I’m like, I’m tired. I just wanna stop. Like Yes.

But for the 1st 18 months of my business, I was like, I’m just gonna give up TV.

So I did. And then when my kids went to bed, I worked. And that’s really hard for people. People don’t like to hear that because then they’re like, hustle culture. And I’m like, it was 18 months. Like, it’s not forever. I established better, like, what whatever, but you have to establish discipline. This has to be nonnegotiable.

Julie:
Can we just oh my gosh. You have to work hard to create whatever you define as success in need. No one ever said to my husband this is so interesting to me because I’m married to someone who was in a very hyper male, you know, ministry. And first of all, I’ve never asked my husband who was taking care of the kids when he went to an away game.

That’s what we say. Just to know that. But, also, I mean, there’s just so many things that I could say about that. But his job was extremely time intensive. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t go back to teaching high school once we had children. It was extremely time intensive.

And no one questioned the gosh what time would he leave the house on Sunday morning? Well, depending on you know, let’s just say 9 AM 9 AM on Sunday morning to 11 PM on Sunday night because that was film day.

No one said, are you in hustle culture? No. I’m working. I’m doing my job. No one thought anything about the missed stuff at home or any of that because it was a man doing that.

So I find that very interesting that it’s females sometimes who assign. But that also goes back, Colleen, to your point that you made earlier, which I think is really good. The “I’m working on vacation”. Yes. You know?

The challenge of finding a personal balance to avoid burnout

Colleen:
And there’s a balance. There’s a balance. And that’s where I feel like when people say hustle culture, they’re they don’t have balance. You can like, again, let’s take the word hustle out of it. You can work hard and make sacrifices and have discipline and still have downtime. You need to relax and still disconnect and unplug.

But to think that you’re gonna build something anywhere with anything without, you know, having to make decisions that don’t always feel great in the moment because you’d rather be taking a nap or spending that money or doing whatever. Like, that’s just part of success is making hard choices.

And, and, again, it’s not sexing. People don’t like to hear that.

Julie:
You know, I watched my daughter who works corporate in corporate America for Disney plus, and she it’s an an interest it’s a really cool interesting balance as she’s now in, you know, a grown up job and and a grown up person with a pretty big job, really, at 25.

And how there are these seasons when they’re tracking data and doing stuff where she is up at 6 AM on a Saturday and she’s working and because that’s her job.

And then there are the other weekends where she closes her laptop at 5 and it doesn’t open again till Monday morning at 9. Period. End of there’s no end of discussion. That is what it is and she’s like, I’m a better person because of that. And then we then flow into the season where, oh, it’s a new show.

We’re tracking data. And there’s no, like, woe is me. Like, this is just my job. And then when my job is done on Friday this week, I’ll be able to close my laptop, and I’m not opening it till 9 AM on Monday.

And whatever happens, we’ll address that on Monday. I’m like, that is a lesson from corporate America that we, as work from home kind of people, need to embody.

Colleen:
It’s so difficult when you’re working for yourself because it’s hard to make those boundaries. But it is, I mean, I have like, with no shame sales game on Fridays, I don’t I unplug from that at, like, 2 PM on Fridays, and I don’t check DMs. I don’t go over there until Sundays.

Like, I consider that my office, like, Sunday nights after the kids go to bed. But yeah. It’s difficult for people to create those boundaries. It’s so necessary, but also knowing that not every day is the same, like with your daughter.

There are gonna be sprints that you have as an entrepreneur where maybe it’s a new launch or a new product or whatever.

You’re gonna work a little bit more, a little bit harder. Okay? And then when that ends, you’ll relax, and it’s just it’s part of it, but…

Chew me out because I’m telling you to get to work. People are like, it needs to be, like, kumbaya all the time. And I’m like, that’s not

I said it. Amen to that. And like we were talking about earlier, my kids are 8, 7, and 3. And even now we have because my husband is also an entrepreneur. We have conversations with them.

Mommy is working hard right now, and we will play at this time, but mommy’s working hard for x, y, and z. And do they, you know, we talk about it, obviously, in childlike terms, but, like, it’s okay for them to know that you work hard and then you have that balance. But…

Julie:
And it’s also okay for them to know that you love what you do. Yes. That is okay to love what you do. And I think that’s the piece. Sometimes if you love what you do so much, sometimes it is hard to turn it off because you do find a lot of joy from that. 100%. I mean, so that’s listen. I get that. I understand that.

And I say this to myself. Oh, that’s fine. My girls tell me this all the time. Like, you need more in your life, mom. But they’ll message me. They’re like, have you left the house in a couple days? I was like, you know what? I don’t need you checking…

Colleen:
Get out of here. You know, I know it is what you need but you need people in your life that’s kind of, like, pull you out and just be like, come out to dinner. Come leave your house. Yes.

Put on pants, and, like, come out into society. And you’re like, oh, my skin. But, yeah, it’s such a weird balance. And I think when it comes to any sort of entrepreneurship, it’s just, you have to find the flow that works for you, and it’s not gonna look the same for every single person.

But, you need to work hard. You gotta find your balance. You gotta orchestrate your life so you don’t burn out. Yeah. But it’s just weird. Some days, they’ll be in your house for three days. Some days, we’ll be on vacation for two weeks. It’s so it’s a weird place to be.

Confidence in Unconventional Careers and Not Caring About Perceptions

Julie:
Yeah. And even more so since the pandemic with more people going, trying to figure out the balance. You know, it’s like everything’s gone to hell in the hand basket trying to figure it out, and I think that’s just part of being a grown up too. It really is. You know?

We don’t get to say anymore that this industry doesn’t work or this business doesn’t work. Now you can say, unapologetically, I don’t feel like working. 100%. You can say, I don’t feel like building this business.

You can say, I don’t want to do the work required to build this business. Just like you might say, I don’t wanna do the work required to be a world class athlete, or I don’t wanna do the work required to be a lawyer, or whatever you might.

But please say that instead of this business or this industry doesn’t work. You’re doing the industry and this and the business a disservice. But most of all, I think you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re perfectly capable of doing the work, you’re just choosing not to. So just be honest.

Colleen:
Exactly. I would if anyone said to me, I just don’t feel like it, I would be like, I love that. I’m so glad. Like, it’s such a I use that example all the time, you being, like, in the fitness industry. I’m like, I would love to have abs. It’s just not gonna happen because the work will not be put in. The dessert will not be put down. The weights will not be lifted as they should.

Like, it just I know that. I would like it not gonna happen. And that’s fine.

But don’t I wouldn’t say, oh, well, working out doesn’t work. Your nutrition doesn’t, like, do like, it gets that’s all a hoax. No. I just don’t. I just don’t wanna do it, and that’s okay.

Julie:
You know, it’s okay. And it’s also okay in this industry to not want to build a business that brings your spouse home or make a gazillion dollars

Is a second home or is it absolutely okay to do exactly what my parents did. I buy some products, make some income, meet some cool people, and be for the love, be honest about that too.

Colleen:
Yes. I talk about that all the time. Like, your goals don’t have to be quantum leaps in order to be valid and cool. Fine. I would love it if you were like, I’m here because I wanna make $100 a month so I can get my nails done and not have to worry about it out of my real paycheck.

Julie:
I get the most, I think, fired up about it, that is, it’s just like a stab in my heart when I see women playing small. I know. So if you don’t find a love for the business that you’re in or you don’t wanna build that biz that is fine as long it’s not as if it’s not because you’re playing small.

If you’re playing small and you’re scared, and then that’s why you don’t wanna build a business, that’s a whole nother conversation than just… I just don’t love it anymore. You know?

Colleen:
Yeah. And I wish more women would be okay with being scared. And, like, admitting that and then working through it rather than just saying, knowing I’m scared and then, yeah, I’m scared every day. I’m nervous every day.

And I have an anxiety disorder, but everything I do is like, yeah, I’m scared. This is putting myself out there. So I would love to normalize for people who are either new to the industry or thinking about the industry, been in here for a long time.

The people who are successful are also nervous, and are also fearful of the things that they’re doing. We do it anyway. Yes. Through it. Yeah. So, yeah, we’re all scared all the time.

Build and Online Business While Maintaining Human Connections

Julie [00:54:39]:
Well, let’s talk about your book for a moment because you wrote a book. You wrote a book. I did. It’s coming out. That. Yes.

Colleen:
It’s called Don’t Make It Weird. It’s the author’s guide to being human on the Internet because that’s literally all I do. And it’s yeah. It comes out on January 23rd. Oh my gosh. So excited.

People have been able to preorder it for a while now, and now people who, like, preorder it early, it’s getting delivered to them early, and people are, like, texting me and DMing me like, it’s here. And I’m like, oh, this is so scary. Again,

I’m not being scared. I don’t have an appetite because I’m like, I wrote words and there’s no delete button and being more in the world. So, yeah, it’s all about how I, you know, have built these businesses online without the virality or paying for ads or having a big team. Right?

I’ve built it by being a human on the Internet, and I think that that’s what a lot of entrepreneurs are missing.

So it’s how I’ve done that, how they can do that. It’s meant to be kind of a conversation between us about how I did it and how you can do it too. And people liked it so far. So I’m excited.

Julie:
Well, I’m excited for that because who doesn’t need more just being a good human? In the world, on the Internet, in your business, all the time. I love that so much. That is so cool. Where can people find you and where can people work with you if they want to do that too?

Colleen:
Yeah. So they can find me on No Shame Sales Game on Instagram or colleenichols.com. The most common way to work with me is my digital sales growth community. It’s the membership community where we bring in experts to train every month on different topics so that we can produce well rounded self sufficient entrepreneurs out into the world.

So that’s where most people work with me and that’s where you can find me. Shoot me a DM. I’m the only one there. I’d love to chat.

Julie:
So amazing. I’m just so inspired by this journey. I love the work that you’re doing. Thank you for doing it. Thank you for saying all the things that so many people wanna say and for helping us change this industry because it really is life changing. It just is.

Thank you so much for listening to the Crank It Up podcast. If you know a friend who would benefit from this I mean, who wouldn’t? If you know a friend who would benefit from this episode, this conversation around personal growth, will you share this episode with them? I would appreciate it.

Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about personal growth. Let’s get the world, especially women, on an intentional personal growth journey. Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about cranking up your goals, cranking up your dreams, and cranking up your life.

Want more motivation & inspo sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to my Peptalks!

Ready to level up your personal growth & development? Get info on the #1 tool I use on my journey! julievoris.com/growth 

And let’s get connected on Instagram @julievoris and @project100.co

Meet Colleen Nichols

I’m here to normalize being human on the Internet!

Tired of the cringeworthy, salesy tactics that make you want to hide in a hole on a desert island? I feel you. I’m all about taking the ick out of online sales and embracing the art of being a genuine human on the internet.

If you’re a badass woman in the social selling world who’s ready to master the art of sales without compromising your authenticity, you’ve come to the right place. Get ready to ditch the canned scripts, leave the slimy sales techniques behind, and learn how to build meaningful connections that drive real results—all with a side of humor, because life’s too short to take it all too seriously.

Welcome to a community where sales feels more like a conversation and less like a cringe-fest.

Connect with me on Instagram!

Thank you so much for listening to the Crank It Up podcast. If you know a friend who would benefit from this I mean, who wouldn’t? If you know a friend who would benefit from this episode, this conversation around personal growth, will you share this episode with them? I would appreciate it.

Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about personal growth. Let’s get the world, especially women, on an intentional personal growth journey. Let’s get the world, especially women, talking about cranking up your goals, cranking up your dreams, and cranking up your life.

Want more motivation & inspo sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to my Peptalks!

Ready to level up your personal growth & development? Get info on the #1 tool I use on my journey! julievoris.com/growth 

And let’s get connected on Instagram @julievoris and @project100.co

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