Making Something From Nothing: Melissa Bauknight Of The Ripple Connection On How To Go From Idea To Launch
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Learn to manage your thoughts: Being an entrepreneur is an emotional rollercoaster and isn’t for the faint of heart. When I began, I had no idea what it actually took to start, run, and scale a company. I have had more moments of extreme joy and equal numbers of tears as I’ve navigated entrepreneurship. It’s the most profound personal growth journey you’ll ever go on! If you can begin to notice your thoughts, question them, and replace them with more empowering ones, that will even out the volatility and self-inflicted stress that can result from the rollercoaster.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Bauknight
Melissa Bauknight is a multi-passionate entrepreneur, adventurer, mother, wife, and a Business and Life Coach. As a collegiate athlete, she graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Finance and has since earned an applicable PhD in Life. She garnered over 15 years of sales and business development experience in the corporate world working across 6 states and consistently performing in the top 10% of her peers. She is the CEO and Founder at The Ripple Connection coaching over 1,000 women in sales, mindset, and life alignment. She is a living example of her own body of work and is a vision holder for other women to confidently take the leap to make the difference they know they’re here to make.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I grew up in the suburbs of Toledo Ohio with what some might call a white picket fence life. My parents were very loving and wanted the best for me. Regardless of how lovely my parents are, however, I have found that I get to do A LOT of unlearning my conditioning in my adult life to truly live a life that’s an authentic representation of ME. This isn’t a knock on my parents it’s just part of the human experience of finding yourself.
My parents had high expectations of me, although they say that I put those expectations on myself…. which came first the chicken or the egg?? I did what any “good little girl” would do — I learned how to achieve like a boss and got trained to earn my worth through my good grades and athletic prowess. None of us knew that was happening at the time, of course, and after years of personal development in my 30s, it’s quite clear why I struggled with anxiety for decades. I learned how to become a perfectionist and to be afraid of disappointing anyone. I learned how to mould myself into what other people expected of me and to feel like my desires were somehow wrong.
Through this lifetime of love and achievement, I took away some very valuable lessons. I learned that I could do anything I set my mind to, the value of sticking with my commitments and I became very confident in my learning capabilities and athletic abilities. I learned how to fight for myself and my dreams and never give up on myself!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step” Lao Tzu
When I was 25 I moved from Tampa Florida, where I had gone to college, to Denver Colorado. Moving to Colorado had been my dream since I visited on a softball trip when I was 16. The mountains were love at first sight. I quit my well-paying job in the mortgage industry, pulled out some savings, and loaded up everything I owned into a moving van. My best friend and I drove 30+ hours to my new home where I didn’t really know anyone. I had found a random roommate on Craigslist and hoped that we would at least get along well enough to buy me some time to find out where I wanted to live.
As I was getting to know the area where I lived, I went into the boutique shop and found a bracelet. On the bracelet, it said, “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step”. I stared at that bracelet as if it summed up my entire journey in one quote. To me, it meant that if we are willing to take the first step the rest of “the how” will reveal itself. We don’t have to know the ending before we begin, we just have to be willing to start. I had no idea that I would become best friends with that random roommate, that her future husband would marry me and my future husband, that I would give birth to my first son in that same random house and that I would find my true home.
But I was willing to take the first step to find out……
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I love the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. When I first watched it I was in college and had never travelled abroad. I watched the movie in awe of this brave woman who was willing to leave everything behind that wasn’t working to find herself and follow her dreams of moving to Italy. It felt like an adult version of my 18-year-old story. I had left the comfort of my childhood home and everyone I knew to go play softball 18 hours away in Tampa Florida. I was finding myself for the first time and learning how to live life outside of the bubble. Her bravery felt like my bravery. This is a film I’ve continued to revisit over the last 20 years whenever I need a reminder to take big chances and go for my dreams….and to trust that everything will work out exactly as it’s supposed to.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?
What I have found is people often get stopped by the fear of their idea before they even begin to give it life. They might think “who am I to……” or “I could never make money by….” Or “I’m afraid I’ll fail” — or any of the other untrue limiting beliefs that we let rule our lives.
They let that soul whisper die inside of them.
My best advice is to listen to that soul whisper and tell someone you trust about it. Then go find someone who’s doing a version of what you dream and let them be an example of this dream being possible for you. I call these people the vision holders. They are the ones who remind us to believe in ourselves when we start to waver. The ones who show us what’s possible for us by their journey. The more you can surround yourself with other people who are making their idea a reality, the more you will discover courage in yourself to take the next step. After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…..just start!
Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?
If that’s truly the concern, then a simple google search will let you know if it exists. I would push back and invite them to look deeper at that thought because that’s their fear of talking. I think it’s an excuse not to try. There are countless coffee shops, athletic apparel companies, types of cars, life coaches, cosmetic brands, etc. There’s room for EVERYONE. Nobody has ever created something in the exact way you will because nobody else is you. Believe in yourself enough to break through the fearful excuse of “someone else has done this” and give your individual genius have a chance to shine through.
For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.
I can’t speak to the manufacturing process but I can speak to bringing an idea to life and getting support in the process. My idea came to me at a personal growth conference 7 years ago. I spoke out loud “I want every woman to have a voice”. 2 months later I created a conference for women called Create Your Ripple to help them discover what their unique gift was and how to pay it forward in the world. It was a trial to see if this idea was something that I inspired me, brought me joy, and energized me.
It all starts with an idea or as I like to call it, a desire. Once you have your idea, I suggest creating a vision for this idea. Let yourself dream about what could be possible if you decide to act on it. Breathe life into it and trust that it came to you specifically for a reason.
From there, find a few people who have done something similar and ask to interview them. These conversations will give you real-world examples of what the creation process entails, what’s possible for you, and what the behind the scenes reality is of doing that type of work. For example, I used to think I wanted to open a coffee shop until I interviewed 3 coffee shop owners. The lack of freedom in their schedule was the opposite of my core value of having time and location flexibility so I sat that idea down for someone else to pick up.
Making sure your career is aligned with your core values is the 4th step. I suggest getting clear on your core values and the lifestyle you wish to create. If your idea is aligned with that, keep moving forward.
Finally, find a coach or mentor to guide you and plug into a community of people on a similar path They will help you see your blind spots, execute more effectively, move through your limiting beliefs, and create your idea with more ease.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?
- Learn to manage your thoughts: Being an entrepreneur is an emotional rollercoaster and isn’t for the faint of heart. When I began, I had no idea what it actually took to start, run, and scale a company. I have had more moments of extreme joy and equal numbers of tears as I’ve navigated entrepreneurship. It’s the most profound personal growth journey you’ll ever go on! If you can begin to notice your thoughts, question them, and replace them with more empowering ones, that will even out the volatility and self-inflicted stress that can result from the rollercoaster.
- Hire people early. One of my favourite sayings is “just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should”. When you start a business you get to wear A LOT of hats. As a business coach, I have been the head of marketing, sales, operations, finance, and anything everything else you can think of. When I hired my first virtual assistant it was both terrifying and a breath of fresh air. Now I have one that works full time for me and a marketing agency supporting my strategy and implementation. I’m never fully ready when I hire someone but it’s what keeps me running my business with excitement and joy rather than overwhelm and exhaustion. Hire someone to get you out of your business and into your zone of genius before you feel ready.
- Don’t sacrifice yourself. If I could shout this from the rooftops every second of my life I would…well I kind of do in my business lol. If you value joy, ease, and happiness, you have got to prioritize yourself and your own needs. It does not work to make sure everyone else is taken care of besides yourself. You can be proactive about this or you will find out the hard way. It takes intention to ensure you don’t work yourself into exhaustion. I highly suggest doing blocking blank space every day for creativity, spontaneity, and nothingness. I also recommend doing something loving for yourself daily as a non-negotiable.
- Success will not happen overnight. When we look at other people and their success, there tends to be this immediate bizarre idea that it happened overnight or it was somehow easy for them. I have yet to see that be true. Great things take time and so will your idea. I like to compare bringing an idea to life like birth. It needs time and space to grow and develop and a lot of the process is outside of your control. Don’t force or push. Be patient and give your creativity time to breathe otherwise you’ll stifle it.
- Trust and believe on repeat. Let go of the idea that you have to or that you can control everything. That is a fast-pass to anxiety. As someone who personally lived with anxiety for decades, I realize that letting go of the grip takes time and intentionality. I know that might be triggering for some but control is toxic. Elizabeth Gilbert says “You’re afraid to surrender because you don’t want to lose control, but you never had control all you had was anxiety”. Learning to trust yourself, that the path will continue to reveal itself, and that you’ve got what it takes to stick with it through the hard times are paramount to you finding success in your way. Remember success isn’t all about objective outcomes. Consider that how it feels is more important than what’s accomplished!
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
I don’t believe in doing anything alone. I always suggest hiring a coach or consultant to guide you in the process. I believe that it’s one of the most important steps. I have worked with countless coaches and consultants over the past 7 years and wouldn’t be where I am without each one of them. It’s one thing to get a good strategy to launch a product or idea, but the strategy is never enough. I think it’s 20% strategy and 80% mindset. Finding someone who can help you get out of your way will be the best investment you ever make.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Everything I do through my business is designed to make the world a better place. I believe that changing the world begins by healing ourselves. By learning to embrace our most authentic expression, the difference you make naturally ripples out into the world. I help women align their soul with their work so the work they create is meaningful and honours who they are at their core. The women learn to live with intention, to find love, kindness and compassion for themselves and therefore they can offer it to others. They meet their pain with love and each of their healing is healing for everyone.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Imagine women having all the time in the world doing what they love, having enough free time to do them, being with their families and earning good money at the same time. As a soul whisperer, I ignite heart-led female leaders to embody their purpose and bravely design a business and life on THEIR terms! One of the ways in which I do this is by creating a signature path for women to bring their dream business to life. I ensure that the work you do is in alignment with who you are. My purpose is to help women break free of the conditioning that keeps them fearful of following their dreams while creating an abundance of everything — money, flexibility, impact, and time for yourself.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
If I could sit down and have a private meal with Brene Brown, I would be complete! She is one of the first women that permitted me to be myself. I read Daring Greatly years ago and it was like a lightbulb went off in my heart. I didn’t grow up with a healthy dialogue or understanding of shame and Brene’s research-backed authentic approach to shame made me feel safe enough to look at mine. I have gone on to read every one of her books, watched her Ted Talk many times, and follow her on social media and the more I know about her, the more I respect her. She is a living example of the power of vulnerably sharing our mess, that we can show up in our authenticity and be loved for it, and that being brave is the access to making the difference that I know I’m here to make. If given the chance to meet her, I would be curious about what she would say to women who know they are made for more but are feeling more scared than brave.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.