Grow Your Network

Grow Your Network

Shannon Bowling

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Grow Your Network

Grow their network and find a mentor or a coach who can really help guide you. There is no way I would be where I am today had I not worked super hard to find people who had the type of lifestyle, that had the type of businesses that I wanted. And I hunted them down and pursued them and I worked hard to build really great relationships with a handful of really successful entrepreneurs. And that has made all the difference for me in terms of opportunities that have opened up, having them give me advice, giving them space to call me on my blind spots and on areas that I need to work in.


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The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

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grow their network and find a mentor or a coach who can really help guide you um there's no way i would be where i am today had i net not worked super hard to find people that have the type of lifestyle that have the type of businesses that i wanted and and i hunted them down and i pursued them and i worked hard to build really great relationships with with a handful of really successful entrepreneurs and that's made all the difference for me in terms of opportunities that i've opened up um having them give me advice help help you know giving them space to call me out on my blind spots and on areas that i need to work hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that has built several businesses in the seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with a patent and trademark just go to and grab some time with us now today we have another great guest on the episode and shannon bowling um and shanna or shannon i want to say i was going to say shadow that i i got shattered um came um in her own words came from a bit of a dysfunctional family um was uh but also got er with that upbringing got into coaching uh i think coaching uh surfed or surfing with friends i remember something with surfing because she'll get into it i have uh something with coaching and surfing and uh she never wanted or never saw her working uh a corporate job so just uh never also never saw herself getting married and then got into doing i think some acting when she was around 10 years old and got into call or got into college pursued acting in theater and i think it was communication for a period of time and started working on online business and did that for a period of time and also met a fiance so never thought she'd get married saw herself get married but did get get married and scaled her business moved uh moved over to coaching and then became more active on linkedin and now she's married with her husband and they're working to manage business grow or get a house get kids and all the all the fun things as we do so with that as much as i may have messed up on the surfing which i'm still not positive if i got right but welcome to the podcast thank you thank you so much um that was so fun to just kind of sum up the last decade for me and i actually have never surfed before but somehow in my notes i had surfy get there and i'm like i don't remember a surfy but i have it in there so some reason i apparently i thought of surfing what i thought of you yeah alternate universe or something or maybe this means i need to get into it that's right maybe maybe that will be your next career you'll be a professional surfer you never know you honestly never know i would never have expected to be where i am today you had asked me a decade ago so maybe with that as an introduction let's jump into it so we kind of talked a little bit about your family about growing up about you know acting and different things but maybe kind of walk us through your bit of your journey certainly yeah thank you so much for having me on today and hopefully i can just make an impact and help inspire um some of the next wave of people who want to start their first business or get into the startup space um so as you surmised uh so well it's so fun um i had came from kind of a dysfunctional family i ended up moving out when i was 16. um really had no stability didn't have much of a foundation um and because of that didn't think i'd live quote unquote normal life of getting married and having a traditional job i just didn't want to perpetuate the dysfunction that i experienced so as a lot of artists i think um come from i figured i would use that dysfunction and channel it into something productive in the arts and so i really really loved um breaking apart the psyche of a character and bringing it to life and moving the audience um and i thought that's what i was supposed to do i thought that's how i was supposed to use some of the the challenges that i experienced for the greater good but when i was in college and did a lot of networking with very successful actors and other artists just just actually really realized i wanted more out of life i never thought i'd get married i never thought i wanted the average life but i i really wanted more of a holistic type of success um but with that said um because i had just so many um constant challenges and influctuating fluctuations growing up didn't see myself in the corporate space so through process of elimination realized being an entrepreneur would probably be the best route for me if i could make that work where i could build businesses um successfully enough where i could manage my schedule and have some flexibility not be stuck in a corporate space for the long haul and maybe one question so you you said hey i don't see myself being a corporate person it's not it doesn't fit my personality isn't for me and i certainly get that took me a little bit longer to realize that but i i certainly arrived at a similar conclusion but when you decided when you made kind of realize that about yourself or kind of figured out that's not what i want to do did you when you started out entrepreneur did you still try and do the acting did you or you know did you try and mess those together or did you get to the end of you know college and say hey acting's not for me i you know it wasn't work or how did that kind of interplay with the acting kind of that desire versus the entrepreneur desire yeah well it was actually through my first year of college i just feel like i hit a really big rock bottom um where i had gone through so much trauma and i was kind of making some bad decisions with the environments that i was in i was partying a lot i was in some unhealthy relationships and and acting just perpetuated a lot of that for me because i was constantly re using bad memories in the past to be able to bring emotions on the stage and so i just realized if i continued on that path i would also be an unhealthy person in so many other areas of my life so i was just at a really weird crossroads of what do i do because i thought i was going to go down this path i've invested a decade into this area and so i just did a lot of soul searching a lot of praying and actually a friend of mine gave me a book by tony robbins called um unleash the giant within and it had some really big paradigm shifts it was actually the first pma positive mental attitude book i ever read and he just shared something that contradicted conventional wisdom which was what most people do to live a quote-unquote good life is they find something that they love and and they they do it as a career but then they don't really think about the ramifications of how that career path will affect their lifestyle you said what people who who really live exceptional extraordinary lives do is they figure out what they want their life to look like and then they work backwards and they find the right vehicles they find the right strategies so hearing that thought process is what made me open-minded to consider anything outside of the traditional corporate space or the art scene no one in my life ever said hey you would make a fantastic entrepreneur it was and so i never ever thought i would go that route so i was so open after that book and i remember i was just like praying i'm like there has to be something there's got to be more in life and so i did a ton of in-person networking and that's where i started to meet entrepreneurs and the way they live the way they spoke their passion for life clicked and like okay these are the kind of people who live the way i want to live now i just got to figure out what kind of business i can do that is realistic as a college student so that was how i went from you know going to theater realizing that was an unhealthy spot career path for me to go in and reading a book that helped open my mind up to other opportunities and i did a lot of networking when i started um exploring entrepreneurship i was looking for things that i could do that wouldn't come at a lot of risk that could be fairly flexible just since i had very limited capital as an 18 year old kid and a lot of people advised me to start in the e-commerce space and do a lot of different things online because that wouldn't require the same level of overhead or capital one sorry to dive in so you said 18 so now we had because you went to college and i maybe you didn't finish or you did i don't i didn't don't remember that we talked about it but he did theater communications i assume you i think you said you got a degree in that right i did yes so did you but then you said 18 which is you know you wanted to kind of so did you kind of start the online businesses as you were doing your degree exactly so i was um so i went to school for theater for that freshman year i ended up switching my major to communications um because i i just didn't have any security or anything i could fall back on i felt like i needed to graduate just to make sure if my businesses didn't work i at least could fall back on a degree so i was going to school full-time i was taking 21 credits i was working 50 hours a week i had three or four jobs at a given time to pay the bills and then i was also learning how to run a couple businesses and um and and my sophomore year of college really realized i had to get honest about where i was investing my time so unfortunately i just realized theater wasn't going to be an option for me i was also i'd founded two student orgs i was running cross-country so i had to really clear my schedule to focus on the most important things so those next three years were pretty wild not a lot of sleep um but i think really helped propel me forward in the future because i was willing to make some of those those decisions of delayed gratification early on no and and i think that makes complete sense and you know i think that i i i if you know my perspective and dev or devin's advice or what it's worth is i always think is it's beneficial for people whatever you're going to do in business whether it's you know even if you were an actor if you're in communications you're doing your own startup working for others is to get some of that real world or practical experience while you're in college as opposed to waiting to graduate and then doing it because you're never gonna you're gonna have to get it one way or the other and if you do while you're in college you can then start to see how the things you're learning in school match up with that so i think it's cool that as you were going through switching majors getting into communications you're also saying how can i start to kind of develop that with the startup or business you know within this poor college students type of funding but still not letting that be you know something that holds you back certainly i think it all comes down to your mindset of just being solution oriented and i think if you're someone who's outcome focused you can figure out how to make anything work um i didn't think and gradually my capacity grew over time where i could handle that type of workload um that happened overnight so you know i had graced myself i was okay that maybe i couldn't do as much as i wanted initially with balancing everything over time i could i could grow my threshold in my capacity but i realized even though i was young i was never getting younger and i had so much catch up to do in life um that i would take me a couple additional years of getting those skill sets just to you know get to where most people were at because of a lot of the poor mindset that i had coming into college so i think um a lot of people say they don't have enough time to start a business or capital or resources and i just say that's because that's what you're deciding if you're solution oriented and creative there's people who've overcome really crazy situations and and you can too as long as you're willing to to lean in and be uh flexible no and i think i think that's i absolutely agree with that so now once you so you graduated if i remember now you graduated from college and you went you kind of continued to do the e-commerce kind of side hustle but then you also went and kind of did work that traditional finance job for a period of time is that right yep so i always liked more moderate approach to entrepreneurship i wanted to scale my businesses but sometimes i see people start a business and then maybe they have a lot of revenue or fast growth but fast growth kind of scares me sometimes because it doesn't always mean it's really rooted in something that's stable for the long term or the foundation isn't in place um so i personally believe if you have the ability um and if you're dependent on your business supporting your finances take a more moderate approach unless you have family and business who can really guide you so i believed i'm going to work for five years or so in the corporate space so that there's no pressure on my businesses to prematurely perform at a certain rate also gave me the ability to make smarter business decisions get better automating and scaling a lot of my processes and i used that those you know five or six years in the corporate space to grow my skill sets clear my debt my husband i both went to private colleges we were not advised wisely to maybe consider some cheaper higher ed expenses so we had six figures of debt coming out of college um so you know we we used my corporate salary to pay that off um and and use our business incomes to just help boost our savings and give me more options down the road so for me it served me very well to have that corporate experience and i worked as a banker which i think also served well in in business if you are gonna have a nine to five outside of your businesses choose a business or a career or um an industry that might help support your business maybe it's learning about finance maybe it's going the accounting route but i think you can be somewhat strategic with your corporate career to support some skill set development in your businesses no and i think that completely makes sense and i you know now one question i was getting almost kind of following up to that is so you did that financing for kind of fight you know working in the fight you know typical job or a finance job for about five years but then if i remember kind of in our conversation he said you know kind of jumped over full time to what was your business and kind of made that leap and it was that kind of did you take that as hey it's financially secure enough i'm making enough of an income that it makes sense or was it finally just i've had enough of the finance job and i just want to jump over or is hey you know other motivations or how did you kind of you know kind of in that context make the the switch from doing it as a side hustle to doing it more as a full time yeah there's a lot that goes into that so i just like to think of i always like to kind of zoom out and think about what are what's my ultimate goal what's my ultimate focuses in life and that allows me just to make more logical decisions we all like to think we're logical decision makers but we tend to be very emotional decision makers and so really rooting myself and and how all of my decisions will help support me get to my long-term goals has helped me make less emotional decisions i would have quit my job so many years sooner if i if i let my emotions make my decisions for me so when when we were consciously trying to determine um for me to step out of my corporate career we were looking at kind of the full picture first is just our initial finances uh we wanted to be debt-free we wanted to have plenty of cash reserves where there was no stress on um our home team financial situation i didn't want my husband to have any pressure on his corporate career he has a very great job makes very good income but i didn't want there to be any pressure on him with his job so i could run my businesses and i wanted to almost act as if our businesses couldn't perform and we were just dependent on my husband's salary and our savings that we would be fine so kind of our philosophy is we didn't want me to leave my job until we had essentially a full life year's worth of living expenses and savings that we could more easily get into we wanted him to have a very secure job and then also for my businesses to be performing where it's plenty more than my corporate salary so that there's some opportunity cost that worked in my favor of not working because i i could at that point manage doing all of those things just the nature of the ways that i built my businesses um and the other element is i started to do more coaching um that's what i was going to say because you you moved over you did your business you didn't make you know you had enough of that savings you decided to jump over but then it sounds like as you got to e-commerce you also moved into coaching so how did you kind of what caused that transition or how did you get into coaching and do you kind of run them side by side and in parallel or how did you kind of manage all of that i do yeah it's just so cool to see how things um kind of work out because i don't know if i would have believed i would have been capable to have been a coach several years ago but there were some people in my life that got to know me that just started to ask for coaching or ask for guidance because especially in this economy and just how unstable the job world the job market is more and more people are looking to start something of their own just to secure their finances much less actually just because they want to be a business owner so coaching came as kind of a byproduct of people asking me for my advice i'm like oh i guess i could monetize this um another thing that helped kind of create this storm where it made sense for me to start a coaching business wasn't just that interest but also i had started to do um some networking on linkedin so i hadn't a lot of business owners today are realizing linkedin is such a hot space to be on and build a brand around and i had just created a profile on linkedin about three years ago just because i felt like i should have one and slowly started to create some content build a brand build a network and from that it started to explode and now i've just met so many people through it where even more people have started to reach out to ask for coaching as kind of a byproduct of the content that i share so a lot of it just kind of came as as a result of i think some of the results that i've had in life and i found it's just the most rewarding thing i can do is just pay forward mindsets and thought processes and skills especially since i've had so many amazing mentors and coaches in my life uh people that i've networked with over the years so now i manage them kind of side by side and my goal is um we plan to start family by house do the whole shebang in a couple years um is for me to to do all those things while we start a family fairly flexibly so that um i can be home with my kids which was my my big dream when i started my businesses was i wanted to be able to give my kids the life that i kind of wanted and i want to give them really great opportunities no and i think that you know i i think that it is great how you've kind of set up your business in the one sense it provides you some of that freedom to not you know as opposed to a normal corporate job you can kind of manage and do the things the way you want to and then also as your as your situation evolves as you look at a family having kids you know going or getting your house and all those things it gives you that flexibility which is i think a lot of times what drives a lot of entrepreneurs and people to do that is hey why don't i want to capture my own ship and two i want to have the flexibility to do it the way i want to do it so i think that it sounds like throughout your journey it's taken to a good place so you can accomplish a lot of those goals thanks and and it looks pretty now but i can assure you it wasn't always pretty along the way especially the first couple years of just unlearning so many bad employee mindsets and having to relearn so many entrepreneurial type thought processes well that probably takes us to where i always ask two questions at the end so that sets it up perfectly so maybe we'll jump to those now which is my first question i always ask is you know within your journey what was your worst business decision and what did you learn from it yeah i think my worst business decision in hindsight obviously heinz science always 20 20 is i wish i would have done more to create a brand online i think so many entrepreneurs today relate to that so i wish i would have done more to build that network to create content um i mean i've done so much the last couple years i'm very proud of and excited about but i wish i would have done more because i'm sure it could have just escalated things that much quicker so if people aren't building a brand online building a network i would highly recommend that's what's needed to be competitive in in the business world in the 21st century all right no i think that that's something good to learn from and always as you mentioned hindsight's always 20 20 but it also provides a good perspective of hey we can learn as we look back and reflect we cannot just have made those mistakes but figure out how to make or become better from them so now we'll jump to the second question which is if you're talking you know you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them i recommend for them to grow their network and find a mentor or a coach who can really help guide you um there's no way i would be where i am today had i net not worked super hard to find people that had the type of lifestyle that had the type of businesses that i wanted and and i hunted them down i pursued them and i worked hard to build really great relationships with with a handful of really successful entrepreneurs and that's made all the difference for me in terms of opportunities that have opened up um having them give me advice help help you know giving them space to call me out on my blind spots and on areas that i need to work in so if you are looking to start a business i would say find someone who can help you who can be a coach and an advocate you'll save yourself tremendous time heartache and resources no and i think that's a great advice i mean and mentors can come for in a lot of shapes and forms right sometimes you know sometimes i think people always look at mentors as it has to be a close friend or somebody that i know sometimes it's somebody even sometimes i found i have mentors that you know are close to individuals i you know have a good relationship with i also look sometimes in afar of hey you know as an example i like dave ramsey and he you know works on the finance stuff um but he he provides a mentorship not from the sense i've ever chatted with him or known him but more from the sense i can look at him say how's he do business how's he been successful how can i emulate that or learn from what he's doing and so i think even as you're looking at mentors it doesn't always have to be someone that you said now some it's great to have those that you can sit down with face to face chat you know run ideas pass and i think that you can look and say there are multiple different mentors and try and soak in that knowledge from different individuals however what however that might be absolutely and i think in addition to that a lot of times people go to their friends or their family or those closest to them for advice and i actually think that's one of the biggest mistakes people just make in general is they care about you they love you they genuinely want to help you but if they don't actually have the results or the expertise they might not be the best person for people to get your advice from so like you said go to the experts whether it's having that one-on-one relationship with mentors and coaches or you know getting uh advice from books kayla and i my husband kayla and i are huge uh fans of dave ramsey we actually just finished a couple books of his the last couple months um so we've taken so much advice from people like him so a lot of resources books a lot of resources with people you can get one-on-one coaching from but be mindful of good intended people who want to you know give you advice advice is free opinions are free um great doesn't mean it always makes sense to take it yeah and so just out of curiosity have you ever read entree leadership which is one of dave ramsey's books no i haven't read that stuff to put that on my list you have to put that on your that's one of my favorite books so just because you mentioned it it's kind of the the mixture between entrepreneurship and leadership so it's just it's one book that i enjoy of his um but i liked also what you said because i think families oftentimes either you can have two different possible negatives on family one is that they'll never want to hurt your feelings so they'll never tell you the truth or they'll tell you the truth so much that because they're your family that you know it'll dash any dreams that you have even if it could have been a good idea to a good possibility because they're too brutally honest so either kind of get one extreme or the other but i think about finding that balance is the good spot to be well as we wrap up as people are wanting to reach out to you they're wanting to use your coaching service or wanting to find out more about your ecommerce platform they're wanting to you know be a customer or client your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to connect up with you of course well i'm always down to meet my new best friend and obviously help people best way for people to reach me is on linkedin and they can finally canon bowling all right well i definitely encourage people to reach out to on linkedin and uh make sure to connect up and get or utilize some of the knowledge that you've accumulated so well thank you for coming on the podcast it's been a pleasure now for all of you listeners um if you have your own journey to tell feel free to reach out to us at invented and apply to be on the podcast if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you get notifications as all of our awesome episodes come out and last but not least if you ever need help with patents or trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller ip law by going to and grabbing some time to chat with us thank you again shannon it's been a pleasure it's been fun and uh good luck with the next leg of your journey thank you pleasure is all mine and appreciate the chance to share take care take care hey if you enjoyed this episode of the inventive journey make sure to go and check out startups magazine they're an awesome magazine and podcast centered over in the uk and if the magazine is a digital and print magazine where they focus on tech startups and entrepreneurs and they also have a focus on female founders and women in tech so if you want to check out their magazine neither digital or print it's startups magazine startups with an s and you can also look up their podcast which is called the serial entrepreneur so go check them out they're awesome and definitely if you like this episode you'll like them English (auto-generated) All Podcasts Sales Related From Miller IP Law Recently uploaded

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