What does it take to be an Entrepreneur? Join us as Pace Smith shares her Entrepreneurial mindset and an inside glance at her journey of becoming a successful Entrepreneur.
Every day, Pace will help someone make a difference. She will help someone find their life’s purpose. She will help someone connect with themself, connect with others, and connect with Spirit. And through this, Pace will be changed. She rests peacefully at night, because she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is living an authentic and meaningful life.
- “Don’t push the river.” ~ Mark Silver
- Pace spent thousands in dollars, time, and energy to create what she thought would be an instant classic. 1000 CD’s showed up in a big box, and Pace pushed the go button. Curious about what happened? **hint** cricket, cricket.
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Pace realized what being an Entrepreneur meant, and this realization propelled her to the current heights she now enjoys.
- Pace is taking off with her partner on a whirlwind tour of the USA. Check out the link below to see when she’ll be in your neighborhood!
Small Business Resources
- MediaWiki: MediaWiki is a free software open source wiki package written in PHP, originally for use on Wikipedia.
Best Business Book
- The Bialy Pimps by Johnny B. Truant
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply delighted to introduce my guest today, Pace Smith. Pace, are you prepared to ignite?
Pace Smith: Yes!
John Lee Dumas: Alright! Every day, Pace will help someone make a difference. She will help someone find their life’s purpose. She will help someone connect with themselves, connect with others and connect with their spirit. Through this, Pace will be changed. She rests peacefully at night because she knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is living an authentic and meaningful life. Wow! I love that.
Pace, I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview of yourself. Why don’t you take it from here and tell us who you are and what you do?
Pace Smith: I am an edgewalker. I’m kind of on the fringes of society, and in some ways on the fringes of the entrepreneur world. I have learned a lot about what it takes to be an edgewalker and be successful, and that is what I like to help others with. Kind of a nonstandard view of what it takes to live an authentic and meaningful life.
John Lee Dumas: I love it! We’re going to use that to transition to our first topic, which is our success. At EntrepreneurOnFire, we love to get the motivational ball rolling every show with a success quote to really get Fire Nation in general pumped for the content that you’re going to share with us. So Pace, what do you have for us today?
Pace Smith: “Don’t push the river.” My mentor and business coach, Mark Silver of Heart of Business says this a lot. It’s a quote about trying to strive for success instead of being in the flow. I see this with entrepreneurs all the time where you try to force success. You have your vision of what you think success is going to look like, but when you try to do that, it’s like pushing a river. It doesn’t work. So what success means to me is more about being in the flow, seeing the way that things are going and working with the river, instead of trying to push the river.
John Lee Dumas: I love that, and for some reason, what popped into my mind was this old tale about this knight full of armor charging to the ocean with his broad sword and just slicing the waves as they were rolling in…
Pace Smith: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Trying to kill the waves, and he just couldn’t realize that the waves will never stop and he was trying to push the river, so to speak. So Pace, I love that quote. Can you give us an example of how you’ve used this quote in your life?
Pace Smith: So when I come up with let’s say a product idea, it’s tempting to say, “Oh, here is this great idea that I have. And now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to impose my will on the universe and I am going to create this thing out of nothing, and then help people and make a bunch of money based on my idea.” That is pushing the river, and I see a whole lot of that mentality in the entrepreneur world.
What I have found to be successful in my life is listen. Figure out which way the river is already flowing, and instead of trying to work against that, work with it. Listen to what our audience is saying and listen to what they’re struggling with and what they need, and then create a product or a service that serves that need instead of trying to impose my will on the universe.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. Such clear cut, specific advice. Super actionable. Listen, we’ll use that to transition to our next topic, which is failure. EntrepreneurOnFire is all about the journey of the entrepreneur. Pace, you’re our spotlighted entrepreneur today so we want to hear about your journey. As with every entrepreneur, we all face failure or an obstacle or a challenge at some point. Just however you want to define that, we all face this at some point. Oftentimes, many times a week, month or a year. Can you take us back to a time when you faced a very difficult challenge or obstacle and how you dealt with that?
Pace Smith: Yes, and it is exactly related to what I was saying about pushing the river. So Kyle and I wrote our first book. It was called “The Usual Error.” It’s a book about communication and relationships. Its subtitle is “34 Reasons We Don’t Understand Each Other and How to Make it Better.” So we wrote this book and it was quite successful. People loved it. We got some great reviews. Then we said, “Alright, well what shall we do next? Let’s do an audio book version of our book.”
So we sat down and got some good recording equipment and recorded it. In the book, we illustrate the principles of communication and relationships by lots of examples. Some of the examples are dialogues. So we got some of our friends to actually act out the dialogues. So high production values. We did the whole shebang. Then we actually got 100 copies of the audio book – it turned out to be a six CD set – printed and mailed to us. So we got this big box full of $1,000.00 worth of merchandise for our first run.
Then we did the big launch. We knew there were a couple of people who had said, “Yes! I definitely want this!” so we thought we had the market covered. Would you like to guess, John, how many copies we sold? [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Yikes! I don’t want to say zero, so I’m going to say two.
Pace Smith: It was zero.
John Lee Dumas: Oh.
Pace Smith: It was exactly zero. Now we did sell two copies of the MP3 only version, but the actual inventory that we bought, zero [Laughs]. So a huge amount of effort and marketing bandwidth completely, completely wasted. So what I learned from that is just because a couple of people say, “Oh, that would be great! I would buy that,” that’s not market research. That doesn’t count. Unless you get their preorders in and the check clears, that does not count as market research. If you only get two people that say this is something I’d like to buy, then expect to sell two [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: I love that, Pace. This is the thing about EntrepreneurOnFire, is that this is about your journey. You’re being so specific and you’re really giving us an insight about what exactly happened because you had these 1,000 CDs. I can picture it, the box in your living room, and then you didn’t sell any. You sold two MP3s of it.
Pace Smith: I still have that box!
John Lee Dumas: You still have the box!
Pace Smith: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Probably as a great lesson/reminder of what to do on future launches. What did you do right after that launch failed?
Pace Smith: Freaked out.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: Doubted that I had what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Commiserated with Kyle, talked about what we did wrong, threw my hands up in the air and was just sort of like, “I thought I had done everything right!” The thing that gives me hope is that now, when I look back, I can say, “Oh yes, that was a dumb mistake,” or just an ignorant mistake because I hadn’t learned enough yet. When I see newbie entrepreneurs doing similar things, I always tell them, “Never do a big thing until you’ve done a medium version of the same thing, and never do a medium thing unless you’ve already done a small version of the same thing.” You got to bootstrap. You got to start small and don’t forge ahead and invest a whole lot of time or money into something until a smaller version of it has been proven.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. We’re going to transition now into the other end of the spectrum. You shared with us some heartache and a failure that you’ve had, but I love the lessons that you’ve learned and how you turned it into a positive, which is definitely an aha moment in and of itself. Just the kind of person you are, I know that you’re always having these little aha moments during the course of every day, week and month, but let’s really pull out one shiny example of an aha moment that you, Pace, had because you just realized how well it’s going to resonate with your audience and how it changed your business.
Pace Smith: Well, I’ll tell the moment of when my business was born. That was a big aha moment for me.
John Lee Dumas: Love it.
Pace Smith: So it was way back in 2006. It was at an event called the Poly Big Fun, which is a camping event for polyamorous people, which is responsible non-monogamy, almost completely unrelated to the actual aha moment, but some interesting, colorful back story there.
John Lee Dumas: I can imagine.
Pace Smith: [Laughs] It was a kind of group run event, so they asked everyone who was attending if they wanted to present about something. So at the time, I was in a triad. So the three of us, me and Kyle and Sarah, were all three married to each other. Now it’s just me and Kyle. Back then, they asked the three of us if we would like to present on something, and we said, “Huh, what do we do all day?” We talk a lot. Is that something people want to hear about? Like we talk about our relationship and we work on relationship stuff. But that’s just kind of like what we do. It’s not that interesting.
We said let’s do a workshop on communication and relationships. We came up some bullet points on stuff that comes up all the time. The first bullet point was the usual error. The usual error is assuming that other people are just like you. It happened that a lot of times when we had a miscommunication, it would turn out, oh, it turns out it was just the usual error. I assumed that you would react the same way I would, and I was wrong.
So we gave this presentation to the group, and throughout the weekend, almost everybody in the audience came up and said, “Thank you. This was incredibly helpful.” In fact, one couple said, “This helped our relationship this weekend from applying the stuff that you taught about communication in relationships.” So that just filled my heart with joy, and I said, “Wow! I am directly helping people. I am teaching something that comes naturally to me.” I know it really well, and people are just lighting up and saying, “Wow! This is really helping me a lot.” At that moment, I knew that I could never go back to doing any sort of work that didn’t fill my heart up like that. That was the turning point for me.
John Lee Dumas: I love it. So Pace, we’re a very actionable type audience, Fire Nation. What were some specific actions that you took following that aha moment that really ended up putting you into the situation that you’re at today?
Pace Smith: The first action that we took is we said, “Alright. Well, let’s do more of the same and get more practice.” So we started giving the same sorts of presentations to other groups, and then we started charging admission for them. Based on the feedback we got then, people said, “You need to write a book,” and then we wrote a book. At each stage of our business, we never really had a long term plan. We just listened to what people wanted, and then did that. So that was the very first action that was taken after that aha moment.
John Lee Dumas: I love it. Pace, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Pace Smith: Not yet [Laughs]. I still don’t feel like I’ve made it.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] That’s great. That’s one thing that we always have this talk about at Fire Nation when this question comes up. So many entrepreneurs answer this question so differently. Some say, “Absolutely not. I’ll never have an I’ve made it moment. That’s just how I am.” Other people say, “I have an I’ve made it moment every single day because I just love the journey, and to me, it’s all about appreciating the small things in life.” Other people say, “Yes, I’ve had one of those before, or maybe two.” At Fire Nation, I really stress the importance of the journey. It’s all about setting goals and having expectations, but once you reach those goals and expectations, you need to take a step back, appreciate the achievement that you’ve so far accomplished, but then look forward and set another goal. Do you do that in your current business?
Pace Smith: Oh yes. All the time. All the time. I’ve been talking about, oh, I don’t have a long term plan, but without a short term plan, you’ll just flail around and do nothing useful. So yes, I think about three to six months is a good amount for me to plan. That’s about as far forward as I can see that’s a useful amount of time where we can get one, maybe two projects done from start to finish, and then it’s the next goal.
The current goal that we are working on is to have our business pay all of the bills. So I’ve been working halftime at my day job as sort of a bootstrapping thing to help pay the bills while we grow our business. As of the time that you are listening to this – and it’s being recorded a little bit in advance – but when you listen to this, I’ll be 100% time working on the Connection Revolution.
John Lee Dumas: Yay!
Pace Smith: Yeah!
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: So that almost feels like I’ve made it, but the next hurdle for me is making sure that we can pay all the bills, instead of dipping into savings. We’re close, but that’s the next goal for us.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! We’re going to use that to transition to the next topic because that’s your current business.
Pace Smith: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: You’re rolling along right now. You’re bootstrapping. You understand the mentality of a lean startup. You know what it takes. You know what it means. What is one thing that’s really exciting you about your business right now?
Pace Smith: Wow! I’m just so excited to be able to double the amount of time I spend on it. That’s going to be amazing! So we are living in an RV. We just sold all of our earthly possessions and we’re now living fulltime in an RV and we’re touring the country. It’s what we call our “Connection Across the Continent Tour.” It’s like a book tour, except we didn’t bother to write a book this time [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: [Laughs] We just said we’ve got too many other things to do. We are touring the country and we’re speaking about following your dreams and how to make that happen instead of it just being a platitude, and telling a bit of our story about how we did it and trying to inspire people in giving us some actionable items, actionable things they can do for how they can make their own dreams into a reality.
So I am really excited. The tour is just starting. We just hit the road recently. That’s the biggest thing I’m really excited about. Getting to actually connect with all of these people whose faces I see on Twitter and Facebook, and getting to actually meet them and give them a big hug and say some really inspiring and hopefully helpful things to help people out.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the closest destination that your tour gets to the state of Maine?
Pace Smith: We may actually go up to Maine.
John Lee Dumas: Yes.
Pace Smith: We’ll definitely be in Massachusetts. I don’t know how far north we’re going, but Kyle loves the cold.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: So we may actually get to Maine.
John Lee Dumas: Well, I’m only an hour-and-a-half north of Boston so you won’t be far, and I highly recommend Portland, Maine as a destination. It’s an extremely small but active city and it’s a lot of fun.
Pace Smith: Cool! We’ll put it on our list.
John Lee Dumas: Alright! So right now, the word “entrepreneur” is a mystery to a lot of people. At EntrepreneurOnFire, we like to pull the curtain back and show our listeners here at Fire Nation that entrepreneurs are really just people too and we have tasks every day that we do day in and day out. Obviously, no two days are identical, but we would love to hear two tasks that do occupy a good portion of your day, day in and day out.
Pace Smith: Oh, let’s see. I do a whole lot of marketing, and what that looks like is like writing guest posts for people, arranging interviews like this one because this helps our business as well. Marketing like writing sales pages, doing outreach to our ambassadors who are people who help us spread the word about our products and services, keeping in touch with past clients. Those are just some of the marketing activities that I do. That takes up a good amount of my day.
Then I actually spend quite a bit of my time coaching. So depending on my client load, that takes up more or less of the day. There’s also a bit of prep work and then post-processing. So yes, coaching, helping people find their path in life, and figure out how they can make it happen.
John Lee Dumas: So what does your full team look like?
Pace Smith: My full team is there’s me and then there’s Kyle, who is my life partner and my business partner. Then we have an assistant, Heidi, who is incredibly helpful and takes care of a whole bunch of the logistical stuff and the administrative things so that we can focus on teaching, coaching and growing our business.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! What is the vision that you have for the future?
Pace Smith: We want to do exactly what we are doing, and more of it [Laughs]. We are totally on track. We’re doing the exact things that we love, and it seems to be helping people. People really resonate with our message and our clients love what we do. When we teach classes, people seem to get a lot out of it. So we just want to continue doing what we’re doing, and spread the same message wider. Go on tour and reach as many people as we can.
John Lee Dumas: Love it! So Pace, we’ve now reached my favorite part of the interview, and that’s the Lightning Round. This is where I provide a series of questions, and you come back at us with some amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Pace Smith: No problem!
John Lee Dumas: Alright. I know it sounds like lightning, but you can really take your time, expound on these answers, and just really get to the meat of the coconut.
Pace Smith: Cool!
John Lee Dumas: What was the number one thing that was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Pace Smith: Oh, I know exactly what that was. That was the lack of a role model that I felt shared my values. When I thought of the word “entrepreneur,” I thought like Donald Trump or like schezy people who would lie or at least kind of bend the truth who only cared about money and success, and that’s it.
The first person that I met who was that role model for me was Mark Silver, who I mentioned earlier. He’s the don’t push the river guy.
John Lee Dumas: Right.
Pace Smith: He ended up becoming my mentor and my business coach because I wanted to learn from someone that I felt had 100% integrity. Since then, I’ve met a whole bunch of other amazing entrepreneurs. I just got stuck in that stereotype of like the corporate world where there are a lot of entrepreneurs who don’t share my values and ethics. So I am thrilled that now I’ve found a community full of people that I really respect and admire.
John Lee Dumas: Yes, and that’s exactly what EntrepreneurOnFire’s goal is, is to show the world – literally the world – that entrepreneurs are people and there’s a lot of great people within this “industry,” and that it’s a very good community when you get into the right areas.
Pace Smith: Right on. Keep up the good work, John!
John Lee Dumas: Thanks, Pace. What’s the best business advice that you ever received?
Pace Smith: Danielle LaPorte once said, “Let it be easy. Let it be fun. Know that when it is fun, you are on the right path.” So I have a tendency to listen to a whole bunch of advice, and then say, “Oh, I’ve got to do this! I’ve got to do all of these stuff. I need to work on SEO. If Google is not finding our website, then everything’s going to be horrible.” Like I would rather eat sticks than work on SEO.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: [Laughs] Like that’s the industry I got out of. Just tech in general. I am just so done with that. So it’s good to remember that there’s more than one way to do business and there is no one right way. So I can focus on the things that are fun, and either find different ways to do things that aren’t. For example, do connection-based marketing instead of search engine optimization, or outsource them if they do absolutely have to get done, like accounting [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: So yes, let it be easy. The best business advice ever.
John Lee Dumas: I love it, and Danielle LaPorte is great. We have her coming up on the show as well. We’re very excited. She’s a fire starter so she fits very nicely along with EntrepreneurOnFire.
Pace Smith: Right on, and she’s one of the ones that I mentioned. One of those great role models who I believe in 100%.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! So Pace, what’s something that’s working for you or your business right now?
Pace Smith: I think that this new direction that we’ve just taken of going on tour and not having a house at all and just being nomads, it’s really putting our money where our mouth is because our audience is edgewalkers, and Kyle and I identify as edgewalkers. We are out there on the edge, doing the things that most people only dream about. Now, we are really living that. We’re practicing what we preach. We’re putting our money where our mouth is. We are really going out there and doing the uncomfortable things, and leaving the day job and following our dreams. So it’s like edge walking plus entrepreneurship equals road tour!
John Lee Dumas: Yeah!
Pace Smith: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] That is great. So Pace, you have been a self-professed tech geek at some point in your life.
Pace Smith: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: You still are very cutting edge. Do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote or something along those lines that you’re just in love with that you can share with Fire Nation?
Pace Smith: Maybe a little geekier than most people like, but I love Our Wiki. So we set up a MediaWiki private wiki, which for the non-geeks is like if you remember seeing Wikipedia, like anyone can edit that. So we created one just for our business so that only our team members can access. It’s a treasure throve repository of information of everything that’s ever been useful to our business. So it was amazing when training our assistant because the answer to every question is, “Look on the wiki. It’s on the wiki. Everything’s on the wiki.”
So I know some people love Basecamp, and Evernote is also good. The thing about that, I don’t think you can make links to other notes. I’m not sure. But yes, if it is not terrifying to you to install MediaWiki on your own server and set up a repository of business knowledge for yourself, that’s the technology tool that I use every single day and swear by.
John Lee Dumas: Love it! Thank you for that.
Pace Smith: Sure.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best business book that you’ve read in the last six months?
Pace Smith: The best business book that I’ve read in the last six months is The Bialy Pimps by Johnny B. Truant. So [Laughs] it’s not a business book.
John Lee Dumas: I love that!
Pace Smith: [Laughs] It’s not a business book at all. It’s a book about a bunch of college punks who [Laughs] work at a bagel deli. The reason that I’m saying it’s the best business book that I’ve read isn’t because there haven’t been amazing business books. There have. But there’s one insight that I got from The Bialy Pimps, which is – okay. Spoiler alert. I have to give a spoiler to explain why I’m saying this so you don’t think I’m completely insane.
John Lee Dumas: Okay. People can just take the next 30 seconds and turn the volume down if they’re really nervous [Laughs].
Pace Smith: Yes. If you don’t want the book to be spoiled. So there’s a point at which the kids learned that the bagel deli is going to be sold and they’re going to be out of a job, no matter what they do. There’s this moment where at first they just bear and they’re like, “Oh crap! This just sucks! There’s nothing we can do.” But then something dawns on them and they say, “You know what this means? We could do anything. We could do anything!” and they just start doing everything. They start doing ridiculous, crazy things. They build a face-kicking machine where the customers can go up and voluntarily have their faces kicked. They’re like, “What do you think the machine does?” [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: [Laughs] In that I felt trapped. I felt like if I strayed from the rails of what I had learned about how to do entrepreneurship right, that we would lose and we would not make enough money and everything would be horrible. But in fact, when I find that I take that advice of we could do anything where I have that feeling and apply that in our business, that amazing things happen.
John Lee Dumas: I love it, and we have Johnny B. Truant coming up on the show. So I will definitely tell him that Pace Smith loved his book and pimped it on my show so he’ll be stoked.
Pace Smith: Right on! Yes.
John Lee Dumas: So Pace, this last question is definitely my favorite, but it’s kind of a tricky one. So you can take your time, digest it, before you come back and answer.
Pace Smith: Sure.
John Lee Dumas: If you woke up tomorrow morning and you still had all the experience, knowledge and money that you currently have today, but everything about your business, including your Our Wiki had completely disappeared, forcing you to start with a clean slate, which many of our listeners find themselves with right now, what would you do?
Pace Smith: No problem! Man! That’s easy. The hardest stuff – I’d say like the most valuable asset that I have in my business, it’s not the wiki. It’s my friendships. It’s my relationships. If I get to keep my friendships and relationships, then I could be back in business in a matter of just a couple of months.
John Lee Dumas: So let’s get specific. What would you do in the next seven days?
Pace Smith: In the next seven days, I would reach out to those amazing people that I am friends with, and I would say, “Holy crap! I just lost everything! Help! What can I do?”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Pace Smith: [Laughs] Then get some really good advice and follow it. What I would probably end up doing is start rebuilding our audience, start rebuilding our list. So I would create a bunch of awesome free stuff. Based on my experience and the knowledge I already have, I already have the ability to create that. Then just give it away. Just give it away to everybody who will listen. Reach out to those friends that I luckily got to keep. Oh man! I’d be screwed if I lost those. I would just give it away to their audiences and say, “Hey! I have this amazing free stuff. Would you like to share it with your people?” and get them to opt in to our list, and then start from there.
John Lee Dumas: Love it, Pace. You’ve given us just some awesome actionable advice for this entire interview, and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Pace Smith: I just want to reiterate, when you’re getting started, start small. You will be wrong. So think of your business as an experiment and approach it with curiosity, and see what happens. Then focus on what works and grow that. Focus on the success and make it even more awesome.
Then a plug. Let’s see. Go to connection-revolution.com. There, you can sign up for our mailing list and get some cool free stuff. You can find out about our road tour and see when we will be coming to an area near you if you live in the United States, and we’re hoping to get to Canada as well. We would love to get to meet you. So we hope you come out and see us.
John Lee Dumas: Great! Well, I will link all those up in the show notes, Pace, so they will have very easy access to it. Fire Nation salutes you. We thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with us, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Pace Smith: Alright! We’ll see you around, John.
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