“Make Self-Development And Mindset Work A Priority” Words of Wisdom with Violeta Potter
I had the pleasure of interviewing Violeta Potter. Violeta is the founder and CEO of Violeta Potter Global. She has a vision that having women of color in highest levels of leadership, influence and economic power will lead to racial and gender equality. Through her work as a mindset coach and conversion strategist, guides to elevate their minds, their lives, and legacies. Her collaborative book, Women Who Influence launches on Amazon on March 27, 2018.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born in Mexico and raised in America. I dreamt of taking my family out of the cycle of struggle. But in a country where I felt like an “other,” I didn’t see any clear models of how that would be possible for a Mexican girl who wasn’t sexy enough or talented enough to be the next J. Lo or Salma Hayek.
And in my everyday life, all I had seen for Latinx people like me was the need to work themselves to the bone in low-paying jobs to barely make ends meet. But I wanted to have a happier more fulfilled life than the people I knew. But I didn’t know how to make that happen.
I got stuck in my pursuit of trying to do something greater, so after years of recruiting from Teach for America, I accepted what I considered the worst possible job: being a high-school English teacher.
It was the kind of job that should have been fulfilling. I was serving kids in an often-ignored community (Gary, IN), and as a woman of color who graduated college and made it out of her community, I had a lot to share with them. But I wanted more. I felt called for something greater. Though I had no idea what that was.
A few years in, I took advantage of maternity leave to start researching business ideas and discovered the world of online business. I was intrigued and kept pursuing the idea. So when I decided not to return to work after maternity leave, I started looking for ways to make money while I figured out what my business could be. One search led to another, and I discovered the copywriting and conversion world.
I went all in, and within months was selling copywriting and conversion strategy packages for sales funnels and lead nurturing. I thought this would be my opportunity to serve people who wanted a better life for themselves at a higher level. But along the way, people kept warning me that the people I wanted to serve didn’t have the money to pay me. I still felt a duty to take my family out of struggle, so I let myself be swayed by the fear of not making enough.
Naturally, I started to think that the only way I would make my goals come true was to make lots of money. Which led to the idea that I had to chase big fish clients, and put in more hours. And before I knew I was working so much in a business that didn’t serve the people I wanted to serve, and that I didn’t enjoy. But the worst part was that I wasn’t making enough money, and nothing was changing in my business.
I paused working to reflect on how I had gotten to this place and explore what it was that I wanted out of my life and business. But once I got clear on what I wanted for myself, I realized that I didn’t fully believe that I could have it.
I started questioning myself to find the root of my disbelief, and had a hunch that I would find my answers by looking internally, and going deep. This searching led me to face my insecurities, unpack my baggage, and break down my ideas of who I thought I was, and how I thought the world worked.
I discovered that one of my biggest limiting ideas came from the story of struggle that so many people of color get painted into in this country. Because I had seen this narrative play out as truth in my life, and in the media, I adopted the idea that I too was meant to struggle permanently. With this inward exploration, I healed old wounds and dismantled the limiting narratives that made me subconsciously undermine everything I did. I was a new person.
My life changed completely, and I knew I had to share what I had found. So I refined my process to create the Elevate Framework ™ that I use to guide others to also break down the limiting stories that keep them from realizing their goals and dreams.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
There were a couple of key moments that helped me realize that the answer to changing my narrative was by looking internally. One of those moments was when I encountered Tepsii Thendo, who I refer to as my business doppelganger. I came across here because we were both recommended for a copywriting job. Naturally, I browsed her site and noticed how similar a lot of things were. Both women of color, both have a personable copywriting style, both came into copywriting in a roundabout way and almost by accident, but there was one key difference: she was making far more money than I was and seemed to be working far less. My first thought when I saw that was, there is NO reason for this. There is no reason for my struggle. So I knew right away that there was something far deeper at play.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
There are two things:
The fact that I talk about the experience of being a woman of color sets me apart. Like so many people, I was very afraid of bringing up race and tackling that subject head-on. I was afraid that people would think that I was excluding them, or that I was playing the race card. But I want my child — and all children — to see a world in which race isn’t an issue. And I believe that one of the ways that will happen is by addressing it head on and making sure that historically marginalized people have the tools they need to change their narratives and create more opportunities for themselves.
I’m not afraid to tell my clients that what they’re asking me to do won’t serve them in the long run. I very much care about helping people get the results they want and have turned away potential clients because when they want to give me money for something I know they’re not ready for instead of taking my offer for something that will set them up for success. There are far too many businesses who take people’s money even when they know they will not benefit from their offer. I hate that practice and will never participate in something like that and coach my clients to set that standard for their business as well.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Letting go enough to hire others is a big feat in itself. It’s something that I struggled with, especially when I was just starting and the people who I could afford weren’t as experienced as the people I wanted to hire. But I knew that I needed help if I wanted to grow. So I decided to let go and applied a principle I learned from teaching: Give people the opportunity to rise to your standard. At the end of the day, skills can be taught, but certain traits cannot. I think it’s better to find someone with traits you want, say someone with grit, and a hunger to learn and achieve, then teach them what you want them to know. They’ll grow with you and will love you for giving them room to develop. It’s a win-win.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
We’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child, and lately, I’ve heard that the same concept applies to business. I can attest that it’s true. There is NO possible way that I could name just ONE person when there have been so many who have helped me get where I am today. I’ll honor each of them with a quick mention of their name: Maya Elious, for trusting and believing in me, Joanna Wiebe for teaching me to value myself and helping me see that I could hang with people in my field far more experienced than me, Tarzan Kay for showing me that money blocks are real, Tepsii Thendo for showing me that what I really wanted was possible, Adrienne Dorison for her style of transparency in her coaching and support of her clients, and Kate Butler for guiding me to see the greatness of my calling and purpose.
Of course, I wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of my family. My mother, Concepcion, helped plant the seed that I would do great things in life. My father, Alejandro, taught me how to love learning, remain curious, and retain youthful spirit. My sister, Mayra, for ALWAYS having my back, and stepping up to provide support, however, I need it. And of course, my husband, Matthew, for supporting and believing in me every step of the way and sacrificing the comfort of two full-time incomes so I could chase after my dreams.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Everything I do is to bring more goodness into the world. I care immensely about leaving a legacy for future generations, and part of that is doing work that creates more opportunities for them to live in. My goal in life and my business is to lift others up because I believe that the more fulfilled people are, the more good people will bring into the world, and the more the equality gaps in this country will close. Because I come from an ethnic group that is often marginalized, I feel called to serve others with similarly marginalized experiences. I use my success to help others create similar success for themselves.
I also know that there are so many people who don’t have access to even the most basic of human needs. So my business gives back to Charity: Water and Dress For Success.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Be sure to have a clear vision of what you want for your life and to accomplish in your business. When I started my business, I had nebulous goals and aspirations. I wanted to help people, to be successful, to be influential, to make a bunch of money, and to have time to spend with my son. But there was nothing concrete or specific about those “goals.” Because I never defined them, I didn’t know what accomplishing them would look like, so then I didn’t know which strategies would get me there. I just dove in and started working until I created a business that I hated working in. To avoid this, it’s better to have a picture of where you want to go, so that you can backward plan the strategies that will help you get that specific result. If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know how to get there.
- Focus on the long game instead of trying to hit big milestones from the start. I was so eager to have a highly profitable business that I spent all of my time doing things I thought would bring me money, like creating new offers and promotions. Instead, I should have invested my time in activities that lead to greater success in the long run, like building connections with fellow business owners and establishing relationships with leads and customers. Doing so would have led to more referral business rather than have to constantly chase new clients, and knowing first hand what my customers wanted instead of what I thought they wanted. Business isn’t a race, and it’s better to plant seeds that will become fruitful overtime than constantly hustle to try new things that MIGHT pay off quickly.
- Be strategic about all of your endeavors. There are so many strategies in the online business world. A new one pops up every day, so it’s easy to get distracted by that new strategy. But the truth is that not all strategies are suited to your goals. I tried so many strategies when I first started that I nearly burned out by trying to do so much. And the worst part was that I was doing so much that I didn’t do any one of them well. This one is easy to avoid if you have a clear vision for what you want for your life and your business. If a strategy goes against the lifestyle you want your business to support, that strategy isn’t good for you no matter how appealing the results could be. It’s better to find strategies that will help you build your vision.
- Establish trust with your target audience before trying to sell to them. Since I was eager to make money, I tried selling so many offers and promotions to an audience who barely knew me. And every one of them flopped. But I hadn’t taken the time to establish rapport and earn their trust. Make trust-building and nurturing your priority. When you do, you’ll build a base of loyal fans who are primed to buy because they love what you’re about.
- Make self-development and mindset work a priority. When I started, I thought that sheer will and determination to succeed would bring me the results that I wanted. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. It wasn’t until I looked at my mindset that things changed for me in my business. Some people can create far more success with their sheer will, but eventually everyone plateaus. To get to that next level, everyone has to look inside and deal with the mindset they’ll need to step up. But it’s better to have a practice of self-development and mindset work in place when those moments come because you’re able to get through your blocks more quickly. My recommendation is to not think of self-development and mindset work as a luxury, but a necessity that gets devoted attention on a regular basis.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
The only rules and limits that exist are the ones you place on yourself or let yourself believe. You can go as far as you LET yourself.
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 whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this :-)
There are many greats out there I’d love to have a meal with, like Pat Flynn, Marie Forleo, Gary Vee, and even Oprah. But I’d love to have lunch with anyone who feels called to use their business, money, or platform to address and dismantle the social justice and equality issues that plague our country. (Is that you? Let’s chat! Send me an email to see how we can collaborate email@example.com)