Stop Trying to Fit Others Molds
Leslie Cason is the owner of Endeavor Virtual Management, a tech and operations management firm serving coaches and consultants throughout the world. After spending more than a decade as an Investigator with the US Department of Justice, Leslie decided to use her love of systems and tech to support women as they build their businesses, grow their income and create the lives they want. Today, she works with women to establish tech and management systems that will allow them to reach their audience and sell their services and products with ease.
Free List of Tech Tools: https://theendeavorfirm.com/store/list-of-tech-tools/
Today you're listening to Leslie Carson of endeavor virtual management as we talk about what it was like for her to leave her safe government job that she didn't like and venture out into the world of entrepreneurship. So let's get right into the rest of that interview. You're listening to steady. She grows where we talk open and honest about what it's really like to start a business. Being a business owner is full of challenges and growth. Each week I interview other business owners about what it took for them to get started and to really take off in their business. I'm your host, Casey Jordan. I'll post lady central and let's get to today's episode. All right. I am super excited to have Leslie on the show today.
She is a dog rescuing native Floridian with a love of break colors, the real Housewives with NYC and all things tech and automation. And she is the owner of endeavor virtual management.
So let's start out in the current moment in time. Tell us a little bit more about yourself and kind of what do you do now and how do you make money as it like coaching or programs? Kind of give us the current view.
So I'm, I own endeavor virtual management, which is we do tech consulting and business management for coaches and consultants. So so we're, we're more the consultant side of things where the, the builders and the people who implement the tech and we are the people who manage the behind the scenes of the, the coach or the consultant so they can be out front doing the work, doing the marketing, you know, we're the, we're the behind the scenes operators that make everything run. Okay. And how did you get into that? So it really was a kind of long exploration process. I've been a, I've been in business in some iteration for three years now. And I kind of through a series of trials and errors kind of figured out what my wheelhouse is, figured out what I'm good at and figured it out, you know, what my skill set is matching and match that with with how I want my business to look and how I want to live ultimately. And so it kind of just, it was an organic process that it all just came together once I really kind of got honest with who I was and what I wanted to do and what I was good at doing. So, yeah, I think that getting honest thing that's a huge stuff is,
And that, that beginning stage of creating the right business for ourselves. Okay. So over the course of that kind of
The first year or so, like this isn't the, the business you envision starting, is it? No, actually when I left I used to work for the government. That was my career. And so when I left the government I started out as a consultant related to that work that I used to do with the government. And so the online space and the online world, I had no idea about any of that. I didn't know what an email funnel was. I didn't know. I'd really never heard of the word coach in the, the way that online businesses use it. It was all totally foreign to me. So when I first started it was just going to be a traditional business in person. I barely had a website. I wasn't focused at all on anything that is traditionally how you do things in the online world.
It was all completely foreign to me and, and I wasn't focused on it and I didn't really care about it. I just wanted a standard regular in person, face to face business. Oh wow. And that's not what happened. Right, exactly. That's interesting. Oh, so did you, do you think it's an advantage to where you're at now that you were so oblivious and like kind of turned off by the online thing? Yeah, I think ultimately everything that I've gone through in the last three years has really been a blessing in disguise. Even the hardest parts of it because I was really against all of the things that I do now. Like having a blog, having an email list, all of that stuff. I was, I was so anti that I was like, that is not going to be, I don't need any of that.
That's not going to be the kind of business that I run. And so it really it wasn't until I B I decided to just be open to whatever came to me, what open to be open to whatever experience was put in front of me that I really started to, things started to gel and I kind of, you know, my business kind of took shape around me and I just kind of responded to the market that I was seeing and to the services that I, that were gaining traction. And so I think I think if I had not gone through all of that in the beginning of really being resistant it was kinda, it was an evolution. You know, it was an evolutionary process. I'd be, I w I started from really resistant to now I'm pretty open to whatever. So it has, it has been an interesting three years. Yeah, it sounds like it. So I think it was probably ties into that resistance. Like what was one of the hardest things starting out? Like were you really fighting kind of evolution towards
An online business or was there something else that was like early on, kind of the toughest?
Okay. Wrap your head around. Yeah, so the, the biggest challenge for me was that I didn't know how to sell. I didn't know how to sell anything. I never, I, I, and I didn't, I had, I feel like creativity is a muscle and I had not exercise that muscle at all. And so when I got into the business and it became, everything was on me, I had to build my own website. I had to do everything myself. I really was, I really had, there was a huge learning curve and I I didn't know how to do any of that stuff. And I'm on top of that. I knew how to do the work really, really well, but I did not know how to sell myself or sell a business or sell a service, even though I knew the audience super well. I, and I, and I totally underestimated that skill. I totally underestimated my ability to, I overestimated my ability to close the deal and I underestimated the need for I'm learning real selling techniques. So that was a huge impediment for me in the very beginning. And I really struggled with that for a long time. Yeah. I think
That's a huge shock that a lot of entrepreneurs hit is like, I know my skill, but then I forgot like all of the things that like when you worked for the government, like they do all the selling, all of the pitching, all the funneling, you just have to do the working. You don't even realize how much they're doing before. Like I said, all of a sudden it's all on you and it's like,
Oh no. Yeah. Yeah. I had never, I had never been responsible really for my own paycheck. I'd never been responsible really for making my own money. Cause I'd always had a job and for that time in the government I had a career. So so to then be responsible for every single part of the business and generating the revenue on top of it. I mean, it just, the, the stress level, the first year was just astronomical, much more so than I expected.
Oh, I bet. I bet. So I have two questions that I don't know which one I want to ask first. Did you just quit the government job and dive into your own company or was this like a transition? Like how did you end up
Here? Yeah, it was a transition. So I knew that I, I, I knew for a long time that I wanted to leave the government. I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. It kind of called to me in a way that I couldn't ignore. And so when I finally decided that I was going to do it I planned for a whole year. So I set a date, I set a date and then a date that I was going to resign. And then for that whole year of 2016 I did my planning, I did my, I set up the infrastructure of the business, the LLC and all of that stuff. I saved as much money as I could. In retrospect, I did not prepare nearly as much as I should have. But I, I really spent that year kind of getting all of my ducks, all of the ducks that I knew how to get into the row. I got those into the road, but it turned out to be so much more that I didn't know. I, I in retrospect, I wish I had done more research. Yeah. Figure out all of the different things that I needed, all of the things I needed to have in place to be able to hit the ground running whenever I could. Finally, you know, start my business.
Right. So you in that year actually didn't take any clients, like you were just building the foundation so that when you made the transition you could dive right into work. Like that was the plan.
Yeah. Yeah. So, so the nature of my job was, and the nature of the business that I started it was a conflict of interest for me to take on clients because I gotcha. Because they were the, they were the people that I was working with on the other side. So I had to be totally separated from the government before I could even think about approaching anybody or offering my services. So so I couldn't do anything and like I didn't even tell anybody. I didn't tell, not even my mother, I didn't tell a single person that I knew that I was going to be doing this. Because I didn't want there to be any kind of any kind of even the appearance of conflict. So I spent that whole year instead getting all of the paperwork done, getting all of the, you know, getting a contract drawn up and all of that stuff. So that when I, when I got out and was able to then tell people I would be prepared.
Right. Wow. That's interesting. Yeah. I guess most people, there's that a lot that I talked to, there's kind of that transition process of like, Oh, I took on a client or two
Here and there, but that, that's definitely an interesting component of kind of that do not compete combat yet. Interesting. Happened to hold, hold tight and not tell anybody. Like, yeah. It it was tough. I mean, I definitely was I was excited to get, I hated that job. Like, Oh, like I can't even explain how much I hated that job. So I was excited to be leaving, but I knew that I just didn't want to. And then I also knew that people would not be super onboard with my leaving and you know, my family wouldn't be super on point. So I was like, I don't want to hear anybody. I don't want to hear. I don't wanna hear anybody on that. I'm just going to do it, you know, because I knew that if, if people were in my face telling me all the reasons why I shouldn't do it, then I was gonna second guess myself.
So I was like, I'm not telling a soul, I'm just gonna jump out there and do it. And then they can just find out when they find out. And that it worked out ultimately for my, I had to do that for my sanity more than anything, you know? So I think sometimes if you don't have a support system behind you, it makes it even harder. I was just going to say, I think that support system can be a double edged sword because like you said, it's easy to let them, especially over the course of a year when you're in a pretty decently paying career position, it'd be so easy to get talked out of taking such a big risk quote unquote. But then also, yeah, that's kind of a, that's a heck of a move to just to keep it to yourself. But I can totally see why.
And I think, you know, that in and of itself, I'm really making those decisions yourself and figuring out what's right for you. Is a, is a good way to go to, yeah, it was a unique situation. It's not one that too many people have to experience cause most people don't, don't go into business related to the job that they did. You know, most people right. Start something totally different. And, and I didn't B, and the only reason that I started, the only reason that I got out of the government and into that consulting career is because I knew the subject matter so well that I knew that there was no learning curve. I didn't have to learn how to do anything. Right. in terms of the work that I did, I had to learn a whole lot in terms of the business, but I, but I had that advantage in that I, there was nothing that I had to learn about the work.
So so it turned out to be a good learning experience. That business is not, I don't do that anymore. Okay. yeah, that, that business, I abandoned that probably six months. Then I was like, no, I don't want to do this. I need to, I need to find something else that I'm good at. So so yeah, it was definitely unique situation. I don't recommend it. I definitely, if you have a support system, if any, if any one person in your life will support you, you need that person, you know, lean on that person, especially in the very beginning because you don't know what you don't know [inaudible] and you're going to encounter things that I encountered, things that I could not even have fathom a even, you know, three, four months before I started that business. Right. Yeah. No, that's, that's a a heck of a lesson learned the hard way, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely the highway, but I think it was the way it had to be because I wouldn't have learned all that I know now and all the, I wouldn't have that foundation now if I hadn't gone through all of that. So I think ultimately, you know, I could have avoided the hard times, but the hard times are ultimately what helped me to really step into what I do now and make it successful. Right. Yeah. I totally get that. I have a couple of businesses before this one and I don't do that anymore. But there were, you could call them a failure. They didn't make any money,
But I learned a huge lesson and how to run a business, how to reach my clients, how to protect myself, all those kinds of things. So it's like, right,
It wouldn't, this business wouldn't work if I hadn't done those businesses. So it's the same way for me. I wouldn't, I wouldn't know half the things that I know now had I not just dove into it and learned. Right.
So how did you do, how did you learn the business side of it since you already had like the, you knew what you were doing in terms of that job. How did, did you take courses? Did you hire a coach? Like how did you learn all of that?
So I'm, I didn't hire anyone in that first year, which I actually looking back, I, I didn't know what a business coach was. I didn't know what any of that was. And so I didn't know that there were people out there who could be hired to help me. And so I didn't hire anyone. It was really just a long series of try this, see if it works. If it doesn't pivot, you know, I was, it was really just a long series of trial and error and researching and and learning as I went. I mean, I, I probably made it way harder on myself than I need. I, I definitely now looking back, I could've made it so much easier. But, you know, I didn't know any of those things, so I mean, it is what it is at this point.
Right, exactly. And you'll probably never forget some of those lessons because you did them the hard way.
Yeah. Yeah. I definitely anytime that I kind of get into a bind or if I feel like I'm you know, going off into left field, I really have that foundation to, to kind of bring me back to the earth and be like, no, we've been through this before. We need to not do this again. So so I definitely, it's the, it's interesting that is the, the worst stuff that happens that you remember the most, but it has, having learned those lessons has prevented a lot of bad things happening now that I, you know, I, so I find it totally invaluable to have gone through all of that though. It was hard when I was going through it.
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Yeah, that's you. You never want to go through it, but that hindsight's 2020 and yeah, you can avoid. You can Dodge all those bullets again, so. Okay, cool. So I'm curious kind of in that, was there a single like turning point for you? You'd said kind of about six months in, you abandoned that first business. Like is that what clicked or kind of why, why the big change?
So I I think ultimately it was really about getting honest with myself about what what my skillset was because I think it's particularly in the online world, there's so much to be said about the kinds of marketing that you have to do. You know, you have to do video, you have to be on Facebook lives, you have to do all of these different things. And and I did not resonate. I don't resonate with a lot of the things that happened in the, in the online world in terms of like everybody's talking about mindset and everybody's talking about you know, it's just not my jam. So I I had to get super honest about who I am and what I wanted to do and what I was really good at that I could do longterm for other people. And it wasn't until I really did that, that and I had a bunch of different iterations of the business before I landed in what I do now.
But, and some of them worked somewhat, you know, but none of them ever felt like, it never really felt like me. I'd always felt like I was trying to fit into this some kind of mold. And so once I decided I'm scrapping all of that, I'm getting rid of all of it and I'm just going to do what I want to do and what I'm good at doing. That's when everything really clicked and everything really kind of solidified and came together in the business that is now endeavor. Virtual management kind of took shape and took off.
That's huge. I think right there, and I've been through some of what you're saying too, is that there's so many. You're supposed to do it this way, you have to do this next. This is how you make money. This is how you reach clients. But like as an introvert, as you know, someone who's shy, like whatever. Like for me, I don't, I'm the same. Like I don't want to do lives. I don't mind video, but you know, some of that kind of stuff is finding what's right for you and scrapping all the rules and doing what feels best. And that is huge.
I find that I show up more and I show up better when it's something that I actually want to do. You know, when it's, when I, when it feels like it's from me and not not from some other source. Like, Oh, I saw this other person doing this and it works, so I think I'm going to try it. You know, I did some of that and it never worked out because it wasn't me. So it wasn't until I decided, you know what I am, I'm only going to do the things that I'm comfortable with. That makes sense to me and that that I feel comfortable doing. That's a, that's what I'm going to do. And, and that has actually been, I wish I had known that strategy three years ago because that's actually been the strategy that works the best.
Right. And it's amazing how much that authenticity comes through. Even online. People can see when you're uncomfortable or not in your zone of genius. Genius. Yeah. That's only we've learned that three years sooner. Of course. So kind of the first year or so, or maybe kind of in the beginning of the business that is now what's, because we've kind of talked about the hard parts of like this learning curve and realizing that you didn't know as much as you needed to know. What's a favorite thing that came out of that early stages? What's a good thing that came out of that?
Oh my goodness. A favorite thing. So I think one, I, I kind of got back to my roots. It's been kind of full circle for me. So I kind of, I learned who I really am and I learned what I'm really capable of doing. And and, and one of the good things that I have experienced is that I'm, I become less of a control freak. You know, I've, I feel like for me, I definitely want to control everything. I want to be able to control the outcomes and it's just not possible in a lot of circumstances. And so I have had to let go of a lot of control around the business and around how things are happening. And it actually has been one of, it's such a, it makes no sense from a logical perspective that the things that seem like they would work the least are the things that work the most.
Like just doing what I want to do letting go of control of my need to control every, everything. Those have been the things that have really, I've grown a lot. I've grown a lot as a person throughout this whole process. And so, you know, there are great things that happen in the business that I think those, that growth potential was not something that I ever expected. Like I thought I was pretty much set when I was, cause I was 35 when I, when I left the government, I thought I was pretty, I'm pretty, I know who I am. But it's been such a learning experience and so I definitely, I think anytime you have the, the chance to grow as a person, you know, it's going to benefit you all around,
Not just in your business. Yeah. I think that's super awesome. I really like that. Yeah. Is that like, just like you said, like that girl outside of the business and realizing the potential there and really embracing that. Very cool. I like that. So in the last three years of business kind of tailing on this, and this could be in [inaudible] your business directly or maybe it's in your personal life based on what you were just saying. Do you have a single biggest win, like kind of your star moment that you're super proud of?
I think keeping it together over the last years, honestly, like, you know, until like, I haven't, I've had wins, I don't, I don't know that I would qualify them as I don't know if I've had a, I don't know what a big wind looks like really. You know, like, because everything is a win to me. Every, every client, every time something good happens it's a win. And, you know, I kind of I frame everything that way. Now if I learn from it, if it, if something goes well no matter what the ultimate outcome of it is, it's a win. So I think, I think that from a business perspective, but just really being able to survive for the last three years with my sanity intact has been the biggest win for me.
I love that. Yeah. I love that outlook to have, everything's a win. Like I, I often look at it from the other side and I talk about [inaudible] nothing's a failure because as long as you learn, learn a lesson from it, there's a short takeaway, some sort of growth from it. It's not a failure cause that implies, you know, a waste of time or a bad thing. But I don't know, maybe I need to work on that, flip that on its head a little bit, you know?
Yeah. Yeah. I try. I try. I'm, it is definitely not my default to go to the positive. It is definitely the, I'm a work in progress in that regard. So it's only been recently I just, I have to make a conscious effort to look at everything from it cause from a positive perspective, cause it's not all going to be great. You know, every day is not going to be great. There are going to be times where it's really going to suck. If one thing goes right in a day, then you know, you can carry that forward and you can, once you learn that, then you can replicate it and you know, it just grows and compounds over time. So, so I really try to look at everything as what you know, whatever it is. If I improve a little bit on something, then that's a win that I can replicate the next day. So you know, it, it's it's taken me a while to get to that place where I can, where I can have that perspective. But I find that, you know, my overall I am better, I'm better in a day if I think about things that way, you know, things just tend to go better.
I love, yeah, I
Think more of us could make that ever end that you pointed out. It's a conscious effort. This is not just your natural state of being. You meet those people who are just happy. Yeah, that's on me. That is definitely not me at all. And I didn't realize how much, not me, it is until I got into this business and started to meet people who who did that, who spawn everything to the positive and you know, could look on the bright side of things. And it was like, well, I should try that because it's, you know, be a negative. There's no good that's going to come with that. So let me, let me just try this positive thing for a while and let's see what happens. And, and it turned out it's turned out to actually be really good.
That's awesome. Yeah. And I think especially in something like running your own business, you know, you're saying how stressful that first year was and how hard the learning curve was. Like, I think that's where you could run yourself out of business as if you only focus on the negative, that you're never going to gain an attraction and you're going to hate going to work every day. And that's the case. You might as well stay in the government job and had a steady or paycheck.
Yeah. Yeah. I think it, you have to love it. You have to love some aspect of it all the time. For me, even, even when the things weren't working, I, I, I dunno why I know this, but I just know that I meant to be an entrepreneur. I, and I don't have any I don't have any evidence for that. Like I don't know where that comes from. I just know it and that's what keeps me going even at the worst times. I think if you're going to start a business, there has to be one thing about that business were about business in general that you just love and that's going to be that you got to hold onto that because that's going to be the thing that propels you forward. Even with that, everything is going really badly.
Yeah. Yup. Agreed. Have you learned to kind of embrace the business side of business, like working on your business instead of just in your business?
Yeah, yeah. That, that's actually it's kind of where I Excel. That's why I have the business management aspect of it because that's, that's the part of business that I'm really good at is the building and the managing. That's where my wheelhouse is. And so I figured, well, since I'm good at that part, I'm just going to spin it into a business and offer it to other people. Other coaches and consultants because you know, there are, it's a, it's, there are a lot of people out there who are not good at that kind of thing. So so that, that's why endeavour exists is because I'm good at that stuff. Perfect. Yeah. Yeah. That's,
If that's where you come to and that's the part that makes sense. And that's the part you can deliver on them. That's the part you should be teaching or doing, you know?
There are a lot of things that I'm not good at, particularly in the online space and I have tried some of them and I know that I'm not good at them. So I, and I think that comes back to the honesty. You know, if you're trying to make something work that's just not working, then you should probably look at what, you know, who you are in relation to that thing. You know, are you really that good at it? You know, is it really something you should be doing? And I've had to do that a couple of times. So so I'm now in a place where I can actually say with confidence, yes, I can do this.
Cool. So on that note then, where we're at today, tell us more specifically about like what does endeavor do? Like what do you, what's if I called you and said I need help, what are you going to, what questions are you going to be answering for me? What are we gonna do together?
Yeah, so there are two facets of the business. The first is tech consulting. So or, and we work exclusively with coaches and consultants. And there are typically four areas that a coach or consultant. So there are four facets, online courses, email marketing client experience in WordPress. So we build out those systems for those four areas. So if you come to us and say, I want an online school, I have some courses I want to sell, we'll be the ones to build it for you and teach how to use it, you know, kinda, you could outsource it to us and we'll do it and handed off.
We would build the platform that's going to host and sell your school. So that the, the client can focus on making the content rather than having to deal with all the backend tech to make it run. And then the other facet of the business is business management where we essentially kind of integrate into the business and take it over in terms of the operations part of it. And that can mean anything from you know, managing inboxes to managing clients, to strategizing, you know, products and services. We've gotten big into YouTube now some clients that do YouTube, so helping to grow YouTube channels. So we kind of integrate into the business and become the behind the scenes operations so that the, the coach, the client can get out front and do the selling and do the, the client work and focused on what they're good at and we take over the rest.
Over the last three years that you're not in the business that you thought you were going to be on, that you started in and just kind of your honesty with all that. So tell us a little bit more, tell us where we can find you, where the best spot is to follow you, how we can learn more about you and endeavor. So our website is the endeavor from.com endeavor virtual management and you can find me Leslie case in on Facebook. That's primarily where I hang out. And if you come over to the website, we have a lot of free stuff that we give away. A lot of free downloads that you could grab to manage your business and your tech. And and schedule a free consult. We're here to talk to you.
I want to touch on a couple of key takeaways that I thought were really worth highlighting. One is how I appreciate how honest she was in underestimating how huge the learning curve is in launching her own business. I think a lot of people dive into entrepreneurship thinking they have a grasp on what they're going to need to do only to end up blindsided by all of the other details they didn't even know about and then they kind of question if they're built to be an entrepreneur. Instead it's like start trial and error, start learning and start working through it. But there is a lot to learn starting out. The second key takeaway that I really loved was her getting really honest with herself and what her skill set was instead of trying to fit the mold and provide services that other people want in a way that other people want.
And the third takeaway was that everything actually is a win and that that was a conscious effort for her to get to that state of being. But there really are no failures in business. As long as you learn something and don't keep repeating the same big, big mistakes, you're on the right check and it's all worth it and it's all a win and it's all part of the learning process and a huge thank you to you for checking out steady. She grows. Be sure to tune in each week. I have a huge list of amazing interviews coming up was inter entrepreneurs in all sorts of industries, all sorts of experiences and all sorts of amazing advice. So please be sure to check in next.
Sweet. Thanks for joining me this week on steady. She grows. Make sure you visit the website, boss lady central.com for all of your show notes and details. If you like what you're hearing, don't forget to subscribe, rate and review us on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever else you're listening to this. And until next week, keep on