Does 2020 have you wondering how on earth to balance it all? Kids home from school, working from home, trying to grow a business. It can be a lot.
We’re going to get into all that and more with today’s guest, Stacy Tuschl. Stacy made a name for herself as an expert in growing small businesses. She started her own business at the age of 18 in her parents’ backyard and turned that company into a multi-million dollar business she still runs today.
In addition to being a Small Business Growth Coach, Stacy is a bestselling author, and founder of the Foot Traffic Formula – helping small businesses around the world get more customers in the door, more profit in their pocket, and more happiness in their homes.
When local area businesses started asking Stacy how she grew her company so rapidly, it sparked the inspiration needed to launch The Foot Traffic Podcast. Her podcast now has over 1 million downloads and is frequently on the top 30 of all marketing on iTunes. She’s interviewed leading experts like Suze Orman, Dave Hollis, Jasmine Star, and Amy Porterfield.
Stacy was named the 2019 Wisconsin Small Business Person of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration. She was featured in Inc. Magazine as one of the top 10 podcasts for moms looking to grow a thriving business and has also been featured in Forbes, Fox Business, Huffington Post and popular podcasts like Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield, Eventual Millionaire, and Social Media Marketing.
Today Stacy is sharing some of her experiences as a business owner, mother, and wife, including bringing her husband home to work in her businesses, balancing work and family during COVID, and finding joy in life.
- What online business owners could learn from brick and mortars
- Why online business owners often have unrealistic expectations
- How to commit to going all-in
- What it’s like to bring your husband home from work
- How to manage business and kids at home during COVID
- Why Stacy defines work-life balance as having joy in life
- Keeping work time separate from family time
- How business and family affect each other
- Why lack of systems causes frustration
It’s an honor to have Stacy on the podcast to share some of the things she’s learned throughout her years as an entrepreneur so far. I think there’s a lot to be learned from her mindset and how she looks at life. We all need to have joy, however that looks for each of us.
I hope each of you takes the time to tune in. This is one you won’t want to miss!
Are you ready to add more income to your business? Find out more at www.betatobiggie.com
Welcome to the Serve Scale Soar podcast, the podcast dedicated to helping service-based entrepreneurs scale their online business to five figure months so they can soar into six figure years, your host, Brandi, is a wife, mom and in less than one year created a six figure business. And now she is spilling all her secrets. So you can too.
Brandi Mowles: Hey, hey, hey, Serve Scale Soar family, oh, my goodness, all I'm so excited because I'm a very special guest today with me and I have Stacy and some of you may have heard her on her podcast, the foot traffic podcast. And I'm so excited to introduce you, but I will let you do the introducing. So, Stacy, tell us about who you are as a person first, because that's really important and then about your business.
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah. So I am born and raised here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My family's been here forever, which is why I still live here. Otherwise I would be long gone. But I have a very, very close family. I have two little girls, Tanner and Tiguan, ages five and seven, married to my husband Kent. He actually just retired from the SWAT team here in Milwaukee and is now working with me and both of my businesses. So it's fine. We have a very close family and it's getting closer with the pandemic and everybody being home and all of that. So, yeah, that's kind of me in a nutshell personally. But I feel like even me personally is such a business person because I grew up in a small business. So my family started a business about 50 years ago in construction so older than me. And I've been growing up in that business. And then when I turned 18 right out of high school, I started teaching dance classes in my parents' backyard. First year we had seventeen kids. Three years in, we had one hundred kids. And because my family is a bit like a business minded family, they were the ones that approached me and said, I feel like you could start selling this. So today I run two performing arts academies here in Milwaukee. We have about a thousand dance and music students that come to us every week. We own both the commercial buildings that the dancers are housed in and about 50 employees. So it's a crazy like journey that I could have ever imagined. But I love every second of it.
Brandi Mowles: I love that. I love it so much. So how did you get into the online space?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah, so I've been doing this now. I've been doing brick and mortar for eight years and I probably I don't even know, maybe ten years ago people started to call me up and say, hey, would you mind taking me to lunch? And I would just kind of pick your brain a little bit. So I would have like the local karate studio came in and asked me questions and then a chocolate shop and my friends, her husband's a doctor and he wanted to open up a medi spa. And I was like, oh, this is so weird. Like, why would a doctor want a dance studio owner? Like, I don't even get this. I just feel like he's smarter than me. And I had all this self doubt and I realized, whoa, they don't really know anything about business and I really do. And it started to gain some confidence. They are a little bit. And then I realize I bet I could teach this online. I bet I could start having another business where I get to talk business, because I said in the beginning, I love business so much like this is me. This is my personal background. This is me doing something fun right now. And that to me just sounded like such a dream job.
Brandi Mowles: I love that. And so you what were brick and mortar? Most of my audience is online service providers, but I feel like there's a lot like so many of us are so focused on learning online techniques and things like that. But I always say, like how brick and mortar is run their business, we could take a lot from that. So what are some of it? I'm totally going sidetrack. That's OK. Let's be talking about. But what are some of the big things that you see that you could take as an online service provider and see that offline service providers are doing and implement in your own business?
Stacy Tuschl: So one of my big pet peeves actually is I think a lot of times the online business owner, they expect so much and they have unrealistic expectations like brick and mortar, the traditional business owners, they understand like you're going to put some time and energy and money into this before you ever turn a profit. We're not expecting overnight success and sometimes the online world, we are right. So I think that the part that the online business owner needs a little bit more of is the resilience of I'm going to commit to this and I'm going to do this. But it might take me one or two or three or four or a few other times. Right. So I think that's a big one is first of all, to spend money before you make money is pretty normal, like a brick and mortar business. We're going to go get a twelve-month lease and commit to a landlord that we're going to keep paying our bills. And he's not saying or you don't say to him, well, I'm only going to pay you if I make money. No, no, no. You're going to spend that money whether or not, you know, if you're going to have that happen, the online world, it's like this, you know, again, unrealistic expectation that I haven't made money yet.
Stacy Tuschl: So I can't invest in you or in this or in a graphic designer or fill in the blank. Right. So I think really just understanding like it isn't that overnight. And if you truly believe in yourself and you truly believe that you have something to give and people are out there that need it, then you should be able to commit to going all in whatever that means, the time, the energy, the money that it may take. Sorry, I feel like I'm going on my own tangent now, but it's like one of those rants that I just have to get out because. I just think people are expecting such immediate, like instant gratification online and we're marketers, we have to remember that we are here to experiment. We are here to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. And here's the thing. It doesn't stick one hundred percent of the time, right? Doesn't mean you're bad. It just means that didn't work. Time to try something new. Time to assess like, oh, they loved that Facebook live. They loved that graphic. Let's do more of what's already working. Right.
Brandi Mowles: Yeah. I love that so many people are so tempted to throw in the towel after like 30, 60 days. And it takes so much more time than that. And I love that you said success doesn't happen overnight because so many times we're looking at people's Instagram highlight reels and not what's actually all that went on before that. Even if they're new to the online space, maybe they have 18 years of running a brick and mortar. It's not overnight success. So I love that. OK, so now I want to transition and talk about family. This is something really important to me, and I love that your husband's now retired. I brought my husband home, so he is full time at home. He does not have anything to do with the business. He is a stay at home dad, but I would love to know, how was that transition of your husband going from working to them being at home?
Stacy Tuschl: It definitely was a transition. He wasn't doing his job because he needed the money. He was doing it because it was his passion. He loved it. He was trying to be a police officer for many, many years, kind of worked his way up in certain different units and things like that. And then was finally on a SWAT team, which he had wanted to be on for so long. So it was more so like he had done all of the things he was ready to come home. But going from the SWAT team to, you know, running my online business with me, running Facebook ads, very different ball game. So we knew that it would be a gamble and we knew it began an experiment. We gave ourselves time to say, if this doesn't work, he can go back. He can try something different. Right. We were experimenting with it. So I think right there is we didn't have the expectation of this is going to be exactly the way we're envisioning it. We're just going to see. So I will say he likes to do a little bit of everything. He doesn't want to sit at a computer all day long because he's never worked on a computer in his life.
Stacy Tuschl: So because I have a few businesses, we have commercial buildings, we have a commercial tenant, we have other things he could be doing. So he's at our studios like fixing things and kind of getting his hands dirty and then he'll come home and run a Facebook ad. Right. So I'm a little bit of everything he's doing, but we're just trying to find our groove. The cool thing is it's been now maybe seven or eight months that he's left. He knows that it was a good decision and he's not going to be going back, which is exciting to know that he will be at home and safe and, you know, just spending more time with us. But, yeah, it's a transition. Like everything. I had role models where my parents worked together and so did my grandparents. So for me, it wasn't a question of can we make this work? It's just finding out the way to make it work. Right. I work with my sister very closely as well. Grew up in a family business, so I know family businesses can work, but they take real work and you have to be willing to learn from each other and compromise.
Brandi Mowles: So I want to know how did that because this question comes up, everyone likes to ask this question. So how did the roles change or stay the same in your house between, like taking care of the kids, doing the laundry, doing the cooking, that kind of stuff?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah. So I think at first we were in a different situation, too, because not only did we have normal stuff, but that he retired at the end of December and then March. The kids are home. Right? So it was like, oh, you're not just going to help me clean, you're at a home school our children, which he did not sign up for. That is not something he doesn't want to be, Mr. Mom. Like, that's not what he wants to do. So that was a little hard. And I think I relied on him a little bit more than normal to be Mr. Mom and a home school and just help me out. But we knew that that was temporary and we'd have to kind of find our groove again. So some things is nice. Like he takes the kids to school every day. That's amazing. But I'm picking them up because I don't want it to be where, like, Dad's doing so much. And all of a sudden I'm like like like kind of like old school, like the working dad that never saw the kids. I don't want to be that person either. So I'm very intentional about. Yeah, I could squeeze in an extra hour at the end of my day, but I'd rather go pick them up from school and have that experience in the car ride home and things like that. So we try to kind of do fifty fifty. He probably does a little bit more than I do because I'm really in my office like getting my work done. But you know, it's been a transition for sure.
Brandi Mowles: Awesome. Awesome. OK, so we've talked about covid hitting and everything and that transition a lot of people's lives. So and then there's this. Now we have to manage kids at home plus like our business. So do you have any tips for people on how to, like, really manage the two?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah. So I'm in a unique situation where my kids did go back to school full time, five days a week in person. I know that that is not everybody's situation. But even with my situation, I'm still on the fence of waiting for the school to, like, text, like we had an outbreak and we're shut down. You know, I'm waiting for those messages. So the best thing you can do is to kind of prepare for that worst situation. Right. Maybe the kids are home or maybe you're still unsure. Your school has been pushed back or whatever that looks like. But what would happen or what would you do if this did? So, one of the things I started to look at was I need to clean up my calendar a little bit, meaning I can't have my normal 20 early, I should say, like January 2020 schedule the way that it was. I know that I need to probably pull a few things off my plate. So I'm getting more selective. I'm getting more selective in what podcasts I come on, you know, back in the day I like, say yes to everybody, like let me get out there. Visibility now. I'm like, no, no, no. They need to have this, this and that. And we need to really be strategic because I don't have a million hours a week to be putting in all these different places. So for me, it's what are my priorities? How many hours do I have to really get that done? And then it's most likely what am I removing off of my plate? And that's not just business, but that's personally, you know, we looked at the kids having extracurricular activities and how much time do we want to be running around and in the car and all of those things, too. So I think there's a lot of removing this year and just getting really crystal clear on your priorities.
Stacy Tuschl: And how has that affected your business? Are you like are you got more joy filled or has it been like I'm missing out on this?
Brandi Mowles: Yeah. So I will say being a business owner for 18 years, I have never been more stressed like that. March till probably June. It was like I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world. I mean, like having my online businesses flourishing. But I'm thinking, oh my goodness, my brick and mortar is going to take me down like they're in shutdown mode right now. Like this could get really bad. Right. So I think it was just a lot of stress in the beginning. But then because I'm scrappy and I'm resourceful and I'm going to figure this out and I hope the people listening are the same way. Right. We will figure this out now. I start it's like, OK, I can see the light, I'm getting closer and I can really start to go, OK, what actually is moving the needle and what isn't? I worked a lot less during covid and we are making way more money than last year. And it just goes to show you that more hours put in doesn't always equal more dollar signs at the end. Right. And we've got to be really clear on what are you doing and how much of this work today actually gave you the output you need it. Right? So now I'm probably working like nine to three Monday through Friday. But again, at any second, these kids could be coming home, hanging out with us all day long. And that will have to change. It will have to adjust. And I'll probably have to cancel half of my calendar. And people will understand because we're in unprecedented times.
Brandi Mowles: And I think what's so great about that is it's not just during these times that I think right now people are saying that they can actually get a lot done in a little bit of time because they have less time. But I remember when I started my business, I had a five month old and I got a lot done when my husband was working all the time and I had her strapped to me and I could conquer the world. And now that he's home and stuff, I find myself spending way more time. And I catch myself. I'm like, I got to cut down on my hours. So now I don't work on Fridays because then that forces me to get in four days and I'm getting more done in four days than I ever did in five. And I'm still like, how did I get everything done when I had a five month old? So it's so funny. And I think a lot of us are realizing, like, we don't need all the time, we just need very concentrated time to get things done.
Stacy Tuschl: Well and not just at concentrated time on the right things. Figuring out like what is actually going to add to your bank account today? What is actually going to give you more joy today? What does that look like?
Brandi Mowles: Yeah, I love that. So a lot of people talk about this work life balance. I have never been a fan of the term work life balance, but I wanted it. I always like to ask my moms, what is your definition of work life balance?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah, I mean, I only I actually used to ask this question the entire first year that I'm a podcast and I interviewed like fifty two people that first year and everybody would answer this so differently. And here's the thing. Honestly, I don't know what I'm striving for and I don't know if it's the word or that's the term. But I just want to have joy in my life. I want to feel good when I'm working and good when I'm with my family. And I don't ever want to feel like I'm in one spot being pulled in the other direction. Right. And if I do that, I just say I've got to pause and I need to go into that other mom mode or I need to go into my business. And sometimes I have to pull myself away from wherever I'm at. But again, it's like I just want to feel good about both situations and not feel like I'm missing things with the kids or missing opportunities in my business. And I think that there is definitely sometimes a temporary sacrifice that you have to make. But you've got to be really careful because the temporary sacrifice can stick around a little too long and you all of a sudden make it a more permanent sacrifice, and it takes a toll on you, the family, your business, you've got to be really careful.
Brandi Mowles: I love that. I think that's an amazing answer. So that's great. And then do you work from home?
Stacy Tuschl: I do. So I've been working from home, actually. My oldest is seven and a half. And when I left my studio on maternity leave, I never went back. So I've been home for seven and a half years.
Brandi Mowles: I love that. So tell me, how do you kind of separate you know, it's easy when your computers at home, your laptops at home. So how do you how do you keep those separate like we just talked about, like not being pulled back and forth. But are you very like in my office? I'm working in the living room. I don't have my laptop or what are some key things? Keep those separated as much as possible.
Stacy Tuschl: I wasn't always like that, but today I am. My computer stays in my office unless I go like on a Saturday and I want to do some online shopping or something fun, not work related, I'll pull it out. But my computer is not to be working out in the bedroom, in my kid's bedroom or in the living room. It's like I'm either in here working or I'm out there enjoying time with my family. And that, I think, is probably one of the best game changers for me versus like being having the computer always there, right?
Brandi Mowles: Yeah, I had to move my whole office to an office so I could really keep up. And that's been so great for me. But I know everyone does it differently, so I love to hear that. So I'm guessing that you are like switch mode is probably when you're going to pick up the kids, is that right?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah. So my husband leaves every day at like eight fifteen. Either have time to finish getting ready or I just jump right in my office and then at three o'clock my alarm goes off and I actually have about a half an hour from when my alarm goes off of like reminder like you've got this transition because if I don't like wrap up and finalize where I've been that day, I feel incomplete or I feel like I should have sent that email. I should have done this to my alarm goes off at 3:00 and I don't schedule anything past three knowing I've got about a 30 minute wrap up. And then what I'll do is I'll quickly like grab like a protein bar or I make a smoothie and I'll use that as a way to, like, recharge and refuel. So when I'm with the kids, I'm not like hungry and cranky and, like, just irritated. I want to feel like ready and refreshed and ready, like pick them up and hang out.
Brandi Mowles: I love that. OK, so how does your business and your family kind of affect one another? Like if business is going good, does that affect your family and vice versa?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah, I think, you know, business, personal, your health, your wealth like bank account. I think it all flows right. I think when somebody is in massive debt, like, of course, that is affecting their energy and the way that they are carrying themselves, if somebody is really, like, not in shape or having stress with their spouse. Right. Those things, it's so it would be so impossible to not carry over in other areas. Right. So I think as much as we want to make sure that I love my work, I love this or I love my family. Right. You want to have that as balanced as possible. So you don't want to just be striving, you know, hitting ten out of ten in some of these areas. You want to be asking yourself, like, how do I get to be more well-rounded knowing it will carry over right. When I'm in the best shape of my life? My bank account usually looks pretty good. Right. And vice versa in other ways like that. So I really want you thinking, like, where are some areas that maybe are weaknesses that I could work on to kind of balance out what is going on. And I bet you you'll see other areas pick up when you start to focus on them.
Brandi Mowles: All of that, because we always say that in my income reports, I reflect on what the previous month happened and family and stuff. And it's I find myself always going towards throwing myself into work when things aren't good at home because work is my ten and now we're finding more balance. And I think that that's something we all typically throw ourselves into our strengths and want to push away the other. So if it's like spending time with your family and taking on a whole bunch extra curricular activities, but then our business suffers, it's really like finding that and knowing how to create like a more even so, I love that so much. So I always like to leave my listeners with some actionable steps. So what action steps would you say to someone right now in these times that like, we don't really know what's going to go on, but we want to make sure that our business is a priority, our family's always number one and how we can really have those two work together.
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah. So the one thing I like to tell people is think about something that frustrates you right now and maybe you can't think of anything but the rest of the day be aware, like, what is that thing? Maybe you realize, like I always forget to prep content for my weekly Facebook lives, so I'm never going live because I never know what to say. Right. Or I I'm always like looking at a pile of dishes in the sink, like for some reason. Right. I'm just always looking at I know. Clean dishes or I have no groceries in the refrigerator. Assess the frustration and then ask yourself like, well, what is this system for it? When do I have it scheduled in my calendar? What does that look like? And I guarantee you, it's the lack of a system that's causing the frustration, right? Maybe you don't know when you typically grocery shop and you're going opening the fridge and then going, oh, shoot, I need a grocery shop versus putting a little trigger in your calendar. Reminder to say time to grocery shop today. Right. Like online grocery shopping or scheduling it in your calendar if you go every Thursday afternoon. Right. Like put it there. So I want you to be thinking about that. All of these frustrations you are having, they can be solved. It can be the last time you have that frustration if you can put a system in a place. And my biggest ways to do that is basically, again, your calendar reminders or scheduling it, putting it there, reserving that time is going to help you the next time. And you won't have that continued problem over and over and over again.
Brandi Mowles: I love that I'm such a systems nerd and I get out of our systems. And so I always say, if it doesn't have a date, it doesn't get done totally. Now, that is like our team motto. It has a date. So I love that. And just going off that, even with things that are not just work related but family, like if you want to do something, you have to plan it out. You have to set those reminders. I'm in the middle of whole 30 and like every meal for the next 30 days when we shop, everything is planned out. So I can't not do it. And that's the one thing is we always set ourselves up for failure because we're not planning for success.
Stacy Tuschl: Totally, and I think the importance of rhythms and routines. Right. Like you didn't forget to brush your teeth this morning because you do it every morning in the morning when you wake up. Right. Like it becomes a habit. So what are some things that could become a habit? So one of the things that we do is like dishwasher gets started at the end of the night and it gets unloaded in the morning while the kids are around, like getting breakfast and things like that. When there's a rhythm, you're not like, wait, who does whose turn is it to do this or when and when should I be doing that? You just know what the rhythm is, right? So start creating more rhythms personally and it'll definitely affect you and your business as well.
Brandi Mowles: I love that so much. So before we end and wrap this up, I love to ask some rapid fire questions. It doesn't have to be the first word, just the first phrase that comes to your mind. Are you ready?
Stacy Tuschl: Yeah.
Brandi Mowles: OK, what is your favorite part of your business?
Stacy Tuschl: The marketing and love marketing.
Brandi Mowles: Marketing. I love Facebook and so on. All of them marketing as well. What software tool can you not live without in your business?
Stacy Tuschl: Monday.com. It is our project management software.
Brandi Mowles: Ok, so all of our listeners are like we but we use clickup so do not go and switch to a different part.
Stacy Tuschl: You want me to do you want me to say something else.
Brandi Mowles: Yeah. No, no, no, no, no. Because you're friends with Rick Mulready and he was on Monday and I got him and I think he said Monday on here and I got him to switch to clickup.
Stacy Tuschl: OK, interesting.
Brandi Mowles: So OK. What's the best conference you've ever been to Virtual or Live?
Stacy Tuschl: I went to his name is Darren Hardy and I went to this two day conference. It was like twenty people, everybody in the room was a millionaire or plus. And just being in a small setting like that with people that were so far ahead of me, I felt like a very small fish was incredible. Like get like be this, be the dumbest person in the room like that by far. Made the event amazing for me.
Brandi Mowles: I love that. And what is the number one book that you recommend someone read?
Stacy Tuschl: Ok, I'm a oh oh oh. I can't. I'm like, which one. I'm going to go with Profit First because I really, really like profit and not even just reading it, like probably finding somebody who can help you implement it in your business, like getting a certified Profit First professional game-changer. I've been in business eighteen years. I have never had as successful of a year as I had until I put profit first into my business. I can't tell you enough.
Brandi Mowles: Yes. And for anyone listening will link up Amber Doggers episode where she talks all about profit. First, we use profit first in our business. My bookkeeper does profit first and it's employees, so it's amazing. Comedy is definitely recommend. Well, Stacy thank you so much. This has been so great. Just to talk about family and not just business for a change, though, I would love for my listeners to be able to connect with you. So where is the best place for them to connect?
Stacy Tuschl: Yes, my podcast is called Foot Traffic Anywhere online you can find me Stacy Tuschl, StacyTuschl.com or like Instagram, all of those places you'll probably have to look up how to spell my name. It's a little confusing, but yes, come join me on Instagram or my podcast is are the best places.
Brandi Mowles: And we'll link up everything on the show notes so they can connect with you. So thank you so much for joining us.
Stacy Tuschl: Thank you so much.
Thanks again for tuning in to the Serve Scale Soar podcast with your host, Brandi, if you loved our podcast. Please be sure to leave a comment or review and be sure to tune in next time.
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Brandi Mowles is the host of the Serve Scale Soar podcast which is a podcast dedicated to helping service-based entrepreneurs scale their online business to five-figure months so they can soar into six-figure years. Brandi is a wife, mom and in less than one year, created a six-figure business. Now she is spilling all her secrets so you can too.