Erika Tebbens is a Growth Strategist for visionary entrepreneurs, leaders, and changemakers who are looking to make their mark doing things differently –– and leave a legacy of positive impact.

She provides growth consulting and training through her company, Erika Tebbens Consulting; her podcast: Sell it, Sister!; and through being a featured speaker on podcasts and for communities such as The Tory Burch Foundation and Honeybook/Rising Tide.

She’s also the author of You’ve Got This!: A Counterintuitive Guide to Powerful, Inevitable Changemaking

In today’s episode, Erika and I talk about her new book which focuses on how you can make a difference in the world without sacrificing who you are and what you care about. Erika also gives us a behind-the-scenes look at her book-writing and self-publishing process.

Read the full transcript

Erika Tebbens  0:00  
We usually don’t stay stagnant with one thing forever and ever and ever. And it can be really helpful and advantageous to like, have a blueprint, like a structure to follow of like, okay, if I am going to change things up, like what’s a more supportive way I can look at doing that if I’m going to change something that I’m already doing in a big way, or I’m going to like change something in my life, or I’m going to create change in this other way. Like, where what is like the best, most sustainable way that I can engage with that.

Meg Casebolt  0:36  
You’re listening to social slowdown, a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lipsync send to cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Hello, and welcome to the social slowdown podcast. I am Meg Casebolt, your host and I am joined today by a second time guest Eric Gibbons last time we talked for so long, we just split it up into two different episodes. So no surprise that I would have you back. Thank you for being here, Eric.

Erika Tebbens  1:39  
Thank you for having me back. I’m so excited to be here.

Meg Casebolt  1:43  
And specifically, I reached out to you because I just bought your new book. And I wanted to talk about how your new book like came to fruition and also how it fits into your marketing strategy and how you’re promoting it. And I just I’m so fascinated by the journey that you’ve been on with us. So tell us first like your business in case people missed that initial initial initial I facilitate. And then we’ll then we’ll move into the book talk.

Erika Tebbens  2:11  
Yeah, yeah. So I do growth strategy and sales coaching for established entrepreneurs who are beyond the basics and ready to grow without compromising who they are, what they care about, or having a totally unsustainable work life balance. So I’m really big into sustainable strategic values aligned to business growth. So that is what I do in, in my consulting business.

Meg Casebolt  2:42  
And how do people work with you? Mostly one on one, do you have group coaching program?

Erika Tebbens  2:46  
Yeah, so both so one to one, either in longer term, ongoing coaching, or short, strategic intensives, like around sales and marketing plans or creating and like launching a new offer, I help people strategize that. And then I also have a group program called rebellious success, which as of recording this, the fifth cohort actually started yesterday. So I love that I love doing group programs. So yeah,

Meg Casebolt  3:16  
I feel like you just learned so much from other people in group programs, like if you’re getting feedback from one person, but you really do get a chance to like see how other businesses work?

Erika Tebbens  3:25  
Yes, yes, i That’s why I personally really love joining group programs a lot of the time unless, again, like unless it’s like a VIP day or something where I’m like, I just need to bust out one thing with like, one person or if it’s something like super personal, like life coaching, then it would be private, but like otherwise, I really, really, really love group programs because of that, like, I learned so much from other people. I form relationships, like it grows my own network, and it’s great.

Meg Casebolt  3:55  
Absolutely. So tell me about the book that you just did you self published or were you traditional, you were self published, right? self published? Yes.

Erika Tebbens  4:03  

Meg Casebolt  4:04  
Okay. So my verb is tell me about the book you published.

Erika Tebbens  4:08  
So my book is called you’ve got this a counterintuitive guide to powerful inevitable change making and what’s absolutely hilarious is I like have to my brain wants to scramble the tagline so I like I always have to look at it like it knows the words but always wants to change the order. I don’t know why. But um, yes, that’s so the that’s the book. It actually explains in there like the the you’ve got this. I always knew it would be that but credit to Rachel Allen to helping who was my developmental editor who, you know, helped me with the tagline but I have a little blurb in the beginning. That is about where that title came from. And it was when I was testifying before members of Congress but yeah, I self published it and self funded it through my using my my business revenue as a way to help fund that process and was not cheap, but I do not regret hiring the experts that I did. It was such a, it was such a smart move. But yeah, it’s not a business book. I mean, if you’re in business, or you want to start a business, you could totally apply it to that. But it really came out of the fact that, like, I’ve done all these different things that didn’t really feel that, like miraculous. But other people would always be like, Wow, that’s so inspiring. Or I could never do that. And I’m like, you, but you literally could though, like you just think you can’t. And so I realized that I needed to, like explain to people what I did, and how I did it with also without like burning out in the process, because like, you know, you and I are we’re go getters, we hang out with a lot of go getters. And so for folks like us, it can feel like if I’m going to do something big if I’m going to help bring about change in the world, that’s going to be really depleting and exhausting, and like, almost impossible. And I’m here to tell you that that is not the case.

Meg Casebolt  6:08  
Right? There’s this feeling of like, go bigger, go home. And if you can’t do everything, then it’s not worth it to do anything. You know, you can’t be president then Why run for office versus like, no run for office for like, the local county judge with

Erika Tebbens  6:22  
a village judge. Judge even smaller. Yeah, that and like, that’s exactly it is like, every I feel like, I feel like for ambitious people. It’s like, well, I have to be Oprah or I worry, it doesn’t count. Right? And it’s like, no, there’s like a lot of other things that you can do. And also, it’s just, it’s, I feel like it’s a it’s very timely with how the world is like, it was one of those things where it took about a year of planning and like sitting with it and everything, and then two years of writing it. So three years total, but it was I wrote it during like the pandemic. So it just felt very timely to be like, Okay, this needs to come out. Now, when the world feels like it’s both on fire and underwater at the same time. Like it. I just need to make this happen.

Meg Casebolt  7:21  
I’m just gonna say when you feel like the world is on fire, like the world is a dumpster fire. What can you do? Like you can’t you can’t put out all the dumpster fires in the world, but maybe you can just look at my closest dumpster.

Erika Tebbens  7:33  
Yeah, yeah. Good. Neighborhood. Yeah, good. You only ever had dumpster fire. Yeah, and I really, and I also, like, how it dovetails with into my business, because as I said, I already work with people who, like, they are ambitious, they have had success in their business, they’re ready to take it to the next level, they want to do it with a lot of intentionality. And they are not here to just like build this empire necessarily for the sake of doing it, they, they, they want their work to leave a legacy of meaningful impact, right, they want to do something good in the world with their, their work, rather than just be like, see how much money I can make and like, show it off on the gram. It’s those aren’t necessarily my people, like they’re not they are people who want to feel at the end of the day, like their work had a purpose and paid them well in the process too. But also, you know, was, like, really move the needle forward on something important to them.

Meg Casebolt  8:48  
Yeah, and being able to say I contributed to something greater than just, you know, my little slice of the pie, I’m a part of a larger movement or community also seemed like a theme that was running through the book also.

Erika Tebbens  9:02  
Yeah, so I feel like it’s, you know, a lot of the people that I love working with, and I geek out about supporting and also just like being friends with and community with myself are usually the entrepreneurs who are like, they’ve seen an issue in their industry, like they kind of look and they see the status quo of their industry, and are like, Yeah, I don’t think it has to be that way. And I actually have a lot of ideas around how we can do it differently. So you know, people who are those like thought leaders visionaries, changemakers unto themselves, even like, I’ll use this podcast as an example right to be like, the status quo says that you have to be on social media 24/7 In order to be marketing effectively to grow your business. and you’re like, No, I actually don’t think that that’s the case. And I have some other beliefs and I’m going to share those with, you know, whoever, whoever wants to be receptive to them, right. And rather than just like kind of throwing your hands up in the air and being like, I guess this just as the way it is. So I really like, I really like working with folks that have that mentality. And I think that there are a lot of people outside of the world of entrepreneurship. Who, amongst their communities, or their, like, intersections that they belong to and, and everything that are like, Yeah, this is the status quo. And I’m, and I’m sick of it, and I’m gonna do something about it. Yeah, well,

Meg Casebolt  10:45  
the word that comes to mind when you say this is like the disruptors.

Erika Tebbens  10:49  
Yeah, I hate that, like Silicon Valley Tech bros have taken that word and like made it gross. Because that really is Yeah, it’s like disruptors and like innovators, totally.

Meg Casebolt  10:58  
Innovators was the other word that was coming to mind disruptors and innovators, people who are willing to say like, the status quo isn’t working, what can we do instead? And to Oh, my God, I love it. Now we’re gonna get all like buzzword of like thinking outside the box and like, come up with new fresh solutions.

Erika Tebbens  11:14  
Energy Max Energy.

Meg Casebolt  11:19  
versity is, I believe it’s an ancient boat. It’s not ancient, it’s a large wooden boat. No, I think I think that’s a really interesting, like, cross section of a population. You know, a lot of the times, especially when we talk about who are we marketing to, we think about specific demographic trends, you know, people who are in this industry, or this geographic location, or they are, you know, Perry menopausal women, or dads with, you know, single dads, you know, like, there are all these demographic factors that we try to narrow selves down into in order to find our people into specialized but when finding really interesting about your target audience for this is that it’s very psychographic. It’s not this new book for entrepreneurs, or this is a book for, you know, aging parents, or this is a book for people in Michigan, but it’s like, no, this is a book for for people who see a problem and want to find a way to change the problem.

Erika Tebbens  12:19  
Yes, absolutely. who and who are almost like, like, have a little bit of the that, like, Audacity to be like, I think that it like, this might not work, but I’m willing to try, right? Like, I’m willing to, like, give it a shot. Right. And I think that that is that like, that is actually like really essential. I mean, you know, just from the world of business, like sometimes you just, you just gotta try something and be like, I hope it works. But like, who knows, like, I won’t know until I do it. And I think that a lot of times when I would hear people say to me, like, especially when I was doing roller derby, people would be like, Oh, that’s so cool. Like, it seems so fun, I could never do it. And I get that, like, legitimately there are reasons that some people would not be able to do like roller like, who like, wouldn’t actually be able to, like physically do it or they like truly don’t have the time or they don’t have the resources or whatever. Um, but like, I came to

Meg Casebolt  13:25  
your roller derby matches, and I looked at my then boyfriend, and I was like, I have done too much physical therapy on my ankles to even attempt to do I can’t even I can’t even roller skate in a straight line. And like, I would just destroy my ankles. But I was so impressed that you

Erika Tebbens  13:45  
write and see like, that’s a perfect perfect example. Like I get like, there are legitimate reasons why roller derby would not be the thing for everyone. But a lot of times they’re like this would be coming from people where I’m link Yeah, but you like you could though like and I like almost like what I felt like I was hearing them say was like, I don’t believe I can or like I don’t believe that I can do it perfectly. Or like really really well. So therefore like I’m not even going to try it as like a fun just like leisure activity like I was never good. I think I’ve been saying the book like I was never like truly good. I was not on the A level team. I was nowhere close to it like and that is not self deprecating, like that is just legit. But I’m really glad that I did it because it was so much fun and like I learned a lot it was like challenging in a really good way I like learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. I met great friends that I’m like still friends with to this day. Like there was so much more to it than like oh I I went and I got really freaking good. And like we won a championship or something like that. Never, it never happened. And I think that sometimes it can be really hard for people to sit with the like, I might go after this thing. And it will never actually, like, work or be great or whatever, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

Meg Casebolt  15:21  
And like, I will not become the best at this. Therefore, I will not try like there’s Barry’s wrong. I mean, like, neuro scientifically, there’s a very strong aversion to making changes, but especially the fear of failure will often prompt you to not even try anything. And that’s why like, it’s so important for us as entrepreneurs and as people to embrace a beginner mentality on things even when you don’t I mean, like, you know, I have an eight year old. Just so crazy that he’s eight, right? Wait, does that mean your kids 18? Then I can’t Okay, we’re gonna talk about this afterwards. Like, they this might have gotten guys my son’s due date was her son’s birthday. So we like, anyway. So he’s eight, and we just put him into martial arts. And he’s like, below white belt level, you know, like he is, yeah, as beginner as you can be. And he walks out the class. And he’s like, I didn’t get it. And we’re like, no, of course you do. But like, how could you know, if you don’t know? Even so young, there’s this feeling of like, if I don’t get it, right, the first time that I’m failing, versus every time you get better every time you get better. And like, just like me, he also has ADHD. So our big thing is like, but you paid attention, right? Like you were able to focus. And when you tuned out, you were able to tune yourself back in. And that’s just as important. The trying is more important to us than, you know, oh, I got all the moves. Correct. And I said the right, I can count to 10 and Japanese, like, I don’t care about any of that. Yeah. And I feel like we tell our kids that but then we had a point. As adults, as you know, grown ups in society where we feel like we have had to figure everything out and success should be inevitable. Otherwise, why bother?

Erika Tebbens  17:18  
Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s especially hard if, you know, it’s like, with entrepreneurs, like we are creative people, we have lots of ideas, we want to try lots of different things. And so, you know, there’s like plenty of people who are entrepreneurs, and then they’re like, Okay, well, I’m gonna go try to do this other thing, right? Like, I’m gonna go, I am gonna go run for office, or I am gonna go start this organization, or do you know, like, whatever the heck it is, right? And so I and I, but I feel like it can be kind of like, in that same vein, it’s like a blessing and a curse, right? Because like, we have all these ideas, and we know that, like, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot professionally. But it can also feel really weird then to be like, Oh, I’m going outside my comfort zone, and I’m going to try this other thing. And like, I don’t exactly know how that is gonna go. And I might fail. And if I fail, you know, in air quotes, if I like, fail publicly, like, what, what will people will people think that that means like, that I’m this way in my business to where like, I think it has these like, ripple, like, you know, it’s like, I don’t actually think that other people think that of us, I think we get in our own heads to make it. Something that it’s, it’s not right. And so I but I think that like, it is a perfect book for entrepreneurs, specifically, because we usually don’t stay stagnant with one thing forever and ever and ever. And it can be it can be really helpful and advantageous to like, have a blueprint, like a structure to follow of like, okay, if I am going to change things up, like what’s a more supportive way I can look at doing that if I’m going to change something that I’m already doing in a big way, or I’m gonna, like, change something in my life or I’m gonna create change in this other way. Like, where what is like the best, most sustainable way that I can, like engage with that.

Meg Casebolt  19:31  
I love that. And I love that like approach to it of I don’t have to change everything overnight. How can I change it so that way it continues to work for me long term?

Erika Tebbens  19:40  
Yeah, exactly. Oh, I

Meg Casebolt  19:42  
was gonna say I want to talk about kind of how this fits in with your business and supports the personal brand that you’re creating, you know, the the thought leadership that you’ve put into the book that isn’t necessarily strictly speaking to entrepreneurs, but can speak to them as part of this isn’t My approach to life and this is what I’m going to bring to you as a coach. Like, how how do these two like overlapping parts of the Venn diagram of Erica Tobin’s work together?

Erika Tebbens  20:11  
Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. Um, so a few things, interestingly enough, once I got to the end of the book, and like looking backwards over all the parts and pieces, like, of the framework is, it’s very much the thought process that I apply to business growth too. So like, the whole, like, why it’s like a counter intuitive guide to powerful, inevitable, inevitable change making is because instead of looking to the external first and being like, Okay, I want that, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s like, Okay, start it, like it needs to start from within, right? Because you and I both know, like, if somebody’s like, I want to half a million dollar a year business, there’s like 11, D kajillion. Ways that a person could make that happen, right? But it’s really important to find the right way for the person running the business. Otherwise, who cares? If you get to that number, if you’re freaking miserable, and like, you don’t want to keep going in that way, then like, it’s not, it’s not great, like you didn’t get there in a way that ultimately like is the best way for you. So it’s really important to think about all of those other things first, right? How do you want your life to look like are you? Are you somebody who wants to be that digital nomad? Or you want the complete opposite of that life? Right? Or a million other factors? Do you want to manage a large team? Or a really lean team? Right? Or like, you know, there’s so many other questions that we can ask ourselves when it comes to growth of like, how we want our lives to look or like how we want that to possibly happen. And I think it’s really important to think about, like, what kind of life and like our days and our weeks and our months and our year, so what are we aiming for? And also, like, who are we? How do we like to show up? Right? Like, if somebody is like, I freaking hate talking, well, having a podcast, not the right fit, right? Like, that’s not going to be the right fit. We really got us currently. But like, you know, it’s like, it’s like getting to all of those things. And rather than like, wishing you were different, or any, like anything like that, just just like owning it being like, No, these are my strengths. This is what I truly don’t love. And like, this is how I want my life to look, this is what I care about all of that stuff, and then make the plan off of that, rather than trying to be like, well, so and so did it that way. So I should probably just do it that way, as well. So I think very much like that is my approach to business growth is like, great, you got yourself here. And like, I know you want to get there. But also like, let’s make sure we do it in the best way possible for you so that you don’t hate life when you do get there. And that it’s also like simple like to make it the most simple it can be for you along the way. And then on the other side of that, so I feel like my approach to both is very similar. But on the other side is, I really want to this is what I’m actually like working on in q1 and then also throughout the rest of the year is like refining some of my own positioning and messaging to really just strictly work with those folks who are the innovators, the thought leaders, the disruptors, the change makers, the visionary, you know, like whatever label like we want to call ourselves, but to like, exclusively work with them to help them have their work have a larger impact without depleting them in the process. So how can they get in front of more of the people who need to hear the message? How can we get them to take action, whatever that action that desired action is, like all of those things like that is really where my heart is, like I want I want to be working with people who have big bold visions and want big bold lives and whatever that looks like for them and to really be like a thought partner and like strategic advisor around that and then also later in the year move more into like paid speaking and workshops and things around the book. So really moving it moving my business forward in those directions.

Meg Casebolt  24:54  
Yeah, I think that’s all and that was gonna be my next question. You sort of like seated the question for me is The use of the book in order to get more clients or build more brand awareness for yourself, you know, you sort of at the end said, I could use this to build workshops, I could use this framework for speaking opportunities. I’m curious to hear like, you just launched the book. So people maybe haven’t had a chance to read it by the time they’re getting to you now. But I’d be curious to know if you’ve already had people say, like, I found your podcast, I read your book. Now I’m ready to work with you. Like if it’s almost seeding the conversation of working together, or if you want to use it in order to build like a larger platform, the framework like where do you see the vision of the book guiding you?

Erika Tebbens  25:40  
Yeah. Oh, I love that. So as of recording this, the second podcast, I was on talking about the book airs like today, which is I did, I did one other interview, but it’s like a, it’s a brand new podcast. So I know that, you know, doesn’t quite have the audience. But the one that is coming out today is on my friend Natalie Miller’s mind, which re podcast and like that has, like a substantial listenership. And so I am curious to see what will like, you know, people who don’t yet know me, like, how that changes in the months to come as people listen to that episode. But also, I really view it as more of like a stepping stone, to me having a greater impact beyond just the online micro business space. But really being able to work with like, organizations, or companies with progressive values, like different things like that, where it’s actually like, a larger team that is moving a mission forward are trying to get their change making mission out there more broadly. And then coming in as a strategic partner to be like, Okay, how can we, you know, do some like communication strategy and engagement strategy, and like all of that, to actually have it get to more people and be like, really, really potent? That is, what I’m excited about is to, like, Yeah, I think it would be really, really awesome. If you know, somebody came across it, and then they’re like, Yeah, I have this business, I do consider myself a change maker, I would love to partner with you to help me grow my business. Absolutely. But also, I think, just to like, have have the ability to go out and to like, teach and spread the message to areas outside of the industry that I’m currently working in.

Meg Casebolt  27:46  
I love that, especially because books are such a low cost way to engage with somebody’s intellectual property. Yes, if people want to work with you one on one, it’s going to be 1000s of dollars, if they want to join your group program, it’s going to be a time consideration plus, you know, a monetary investment. And then, you know, if they, they can still listen to your podcast, but it’s not structured in a way that they can get all the information in a concise format. But with a book, it’s like, this is the core, this is the core messaging that I’m talking about right now. And you can get it in, you know, 150 200 pages, and then figure out if you want to branch out, but it’s like 10 bucks to get all that value packed information in a way that is easily digestible. You know, it’s probably, you know, you’ve probably told the stories on social media 1000 times, but they’re sort of disparate, there’s not a narrative pulling it together. And so for, you know, 1020 bucks, people can have that little piece of you without needing to pay the 1000s of dollars for that one to one or one to many support.

Erika Tebbens  28:46  
Yeah, exactly. And I think too, it’s like, especially for the fact that I have a b2b business, like as of now I have a b2b business. I don’t have a b2c business. So I don’t have any programs or anything that are like, Oh, you want to run for the school board? Like, let me coach you like, there is no way I mean, I suppose of you, if you like, message me, and you’re like, I’m gonna pay you a lot of money, I would talk about it, you know, but like, it’s not like I have some like B to C program, or course or anything that is like, you know, a higher touch way to get my guidance around, things like that. So instead, it’s like, yeah, you can you can get the book, you can go through it, it’s a quick read. It’s very actionable. And then you can start to make that plan for yourself and start to do that work. So I feel like it’s it’s also a way for me to reach people that I otherwise wouldn’t be marketing to, or set like selling anything to honestly.

Meg Casebolt  29:49  
And to have an impact beyond just this, like kind of entrepreneurial space to be able to be found, you know, on Amazon to reach a larger audience. It’s an Important part of change making as a goal, even without book like to be able to make change, you have to impact more. Not you don’t have to have a larger audience, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Erika Tebbens  30:12  
Yeah, and I think too, it’s like, I talk a lot in the book about like, there’s no right or wrong way to make change, right. Again, like, it doesn’t have to be grandiose, it can be on a really small scale. And so, we need all of those non entrepreneurs who also have their thing that they want to do to have like a templates, you know, or like a, like some structure around, like, here’s how you can go about doing that. Right. Like, if you are, I don’t know, like, if in your town, actually, like, a good friend of mine from high school. She lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, and like, their town doesn’t do glass recycling for some reason. So she and her two young daughters, like just started this, like super casual side business where they got plastic bins, and they like, posted on their local Facebook group. And they started this glass recycling company, and they’re gonna go around, like every two weeks, like, people pay them, they drop off the bins, and then like, they’re going to collect the the glass and then go take it and recycle it. And like, for her, it’s not really like, Oh, this is gonna I like my husband, I are gonna quit our jobs, and it’s gonna be the family business. It’s not that it’s like a way to show their girls like, Hey, this is like we’re helping out in the community, we’re providing something that isn’t here, you can keep the money as like, put it in your savings account, or like, whatever. Like it’s teaching them financial skills. Like, it’s, it’s all of those other things. It’s not really like, you know, big E entrepreneurship, but it is like, it’s a small cool thing that they are doing. And like, that matters, too. And it’s really, like, it’s nice to be able to be like, Okay, what is the thing they’re going to do, because I know my friend, like, has a lot of things she cares about, and a lot of ways that she could potentially make change. But like, at this moment in her life, she cannot tackle all of them. But like, she can help get the glass recycled in her town. So I think there’s, there’s that, like, it makes me feel really good to be able to, like, provide that guidance for folks who are working outside of the realm of entrepreneurship. And also, like, for me, you know, it’s like, it feels a little weird to be like, I’m, I’m a thought leader, right? Like that field. But I am, right, like this is this is like, it’s my thought leadership. Like, it’s how and so it feels nice to, like you said not have that live in a bunch of different little places. Like it feels really nice to have it be cohesive to be like, this is something I really deeply believe in. And if you believe in it, too, like I encourage you to check it out.

Meg Casebolt  33:04  
There’s something like, it’s not like a book is finite or final in any way. But there’s something about putting it hitting publish on something that you can’t just take back immediately. I mean, actually, yeah, quickly, self publishing. But you know, it’s like, you can get a print copy of it, it can be tangible in a way that a blog post or a podcast or an Instagram post, like, it doesn’t have that same gravitas. It doesn’t have that same. You know, yes, anyone can be a published author, but it still took you two freakin years to sit down and write 100,000 words that matter to you. It wasn’t off the cuff. It wasn’t Oh, let me go on, you know, tick tock and just talk about something and see if it goes viral, right. Like, there was a lot of thought that goes into it. And then you can use that. And I talked about this a lot with like waterfall content, where now you have this book as a thought leadership, asset, intellectual property, that’s low cost, but high value, and you can pull excerpts from it and talk about it on social media, you can sell it through the podcast, like it can be an introduction to you on the channels that aren’t as formal but aren’t as you know, high need or high investment because like you said, like you paid for it. You spent time on it. Like this is a labor of love. But now you can utilize it in so many other ways as a thought leadership asset long

Erika Tebbens  34:27  
term. Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And, and I think that like, for me, at least internally, it it was having the big part of the process was like, having the courage to own my thought leadership and be like, yeah, no, I like this actually matters and I’m going to make sure it’s really good. And that it like can be out there in the world. And I think that for entrepreneurs who have that thought leadership in their work? It isn’t. It is a different feeling from just being like, I have this thought leadership and I believe in it. And I’m gonna write like a five part blog post series. Still totally rad suit, like super valid. It’s that’s a great starting place. But there is definitely like, it definitely feels different when you’re like, Oh, I actually believe in this so much that I put it into a frickin book. And like, I want to be known as like the go to person for this type of thought leadership like that was when it was done and it was out there and like you said, like, you can’t just hit like, unpublished ticket that like I was like, Oh, it’s this is real, like I am I am really changemaking personnel like this is a little bit bananas. Like I it’s, it’s we I have put a ring on it is official. Like

Meg Casebolt  35:57  
I sometimes I even like to think about, you know, you said like, it’s bigger than a blog post is bigger than a social post. I’ve been working on a book and it’s like, it’s almost like the things that I’ve been creating. Over the past eight years, the blog post, the podcast episodes, the social posts, like all the content, all of them are like chapters that I’m building into something greater. So it doesn’t mean that I have to sit down and write something totally from scratch. It’s like the thought leadership evolves and the content evolves. And then a book is just like a finite look at or, you know, a formal look at what’s that? What is it that I’ve been talking about all this time? What is this? What is this podcast anyway? And how can I make it something that feels more easily digestible? Yeah, instead of just like raw ingredients, I feel like like our content to a great extent is raw ingredients in a book then turns it into like a meal. I don’t know. Maybe that’s not it. Yeah,

Erika Tebbens  36:53  
like a cake. Like a like a like big beautiful, like birthday cake. Yes, exactly. Like, I had, like two important things going into it. Because I tell a lot of personal stories in the book of things I’ve done. And I didn’t want it to be the Erica show. Like that was crucial. I did not want it to be the Erica show. And to write because like I, I’m a mom, I have a business, I got stuff, you know, like, I love my leisure time. It couldn’t take over my life, right? Like I needed I first I gave myself plenty of time to do it. But also like it needed to kind of be based off of what would be easy enough for me to get out there, right? Like meaning like, I’m not going to be doing hardcore research and pulling in, like, in depth case studies or scientific like No, no, no like this. It just had to be kind of like you said, like, looking back over what you’ve already created, or what you’ve already like, been thinking about and believing in and talking about. And like leveraging that to make it as simple of a process as possible, while also making it something that I’m really proud of, because I know me and like if it feels way too much like homework, I’m not

Meg Casebolt  38:12  
saying like, I’m a business owner, I’m a mom, I want to have my leisure time, what I thought you were going to say is like I needed my writing window to fit into all these other things instead of taking over. And like you and I met in Saratoga Springs. And I think about people who do like artists residencies, like there’s a huge artists community where you can like get a grant and go live in a house by yourself. And it’s like very much like Walden Pond, and you’re just going in and you’re writing and writing and writing for like 10 hours a day. And you come up with this magnum opus, right. And I think a lot of people feel like that is what writing an authorship should be is like, you know, and it doesn’t even have to be like an official grant, you know, artists residency or whatever, although I would, I would take it. But sometimes it’s like, well, I need to book myself a hotel room for a weekend to crank out half the bed. Like, that’s not the approach. i It’s like, what can I take from my life? But it’s, it’s this living, breathing life that then goes into the stories, it’s, you know, I think that some people feel like it has to be, you are setting yourself apart in order to be an author, but I love your approach of like, this is my life and I’m infusing it into the book.

Erika Tebbens  39:23  
Yes. Oh, yeah. No, I never. I never went away or did like, there was a moment where I thought I will like thought about it. But again, it was also wonky, because it was like pandemic.

Meg Casebolt  39:34  
And I think knowing your strengths, right, like our friend, Becky, I think quarterly. She’s just like, I go get a hotel room. I lay in a tub, I think for a while and then I write for a day. And I’m just like, that’s awesome. But I don’t need that isolation in my own brain space. You know, like knowing again, knowing your strengths, knowing your brain knowing what works for you makes a huge difference.

Erika Tebbens  39:53  
Totally. And I literally would just not even not even every weekend. Definitely not every weekend. But like, often when I would do it would be so like Mondays are my CEO days. So sometimes I would write a little bit because like I don’t really have calls. Same thing was like Fridays I usually like, don’t have calls like I’m just wrapping stuff up for the week, sometimes I would do that. But like, often it would just be like, you know, a Saturday or Sunday morning, I’d get my coffee, I’d make my breakfast. And then I would sit in like we have like a separate little like room with a smaller couch. So just be kind of like away from the rest of my family. And like I just sit there with my laptop and my my notes and my outline and like be Click Clack in a way and like not for nothing like now now that it’s like done. It’s out and stuff. I’m like, oh, a lot of the stuff I was like nervous about. I’m like, it seems really silly in hindsight,

Meg Casebolt  40:54  
which is often the case, which is often the case when you’re going through something you have that impostor syndrome, but then you publish it and you’re like, well, nobody had a problem with that at all.

Erika Tebbens  41:03  
Right? And like it was, you’ll, you’ll appreciate this. I was also writing it during the time of the like, Rachel Hollis melt down debacle, like social media, whatever. And so I was adamant. Like, I was so scared that it was going to have like that vibe of like, anyone can do it. And there’s no obstacles and like, whatever. But it’s like, no, they’re very real. Like, they’re there’s real shit like we do. You know, we got real shit that happens. And so like, I was so paranoid, that like, somebody was gonna read it and be like, that was my vibe. And so I was like, No, you know, like, I definitely like a dress it like it. It again, as I said, in hindsight, I’m like, I can’t believe I was worried about that. Because there’s so much in it that is literally like, you know, systemic injustice exists. And like, you know, you might have young babies right now, when some of this might not be possible. Like, I was really in my head. So even when I was typing, it wasn’t like, it was a lot of times it was like this emotional battle. And I would just be like, can we do half a chapter today? Can we just promise ourselves like, we will do half a chapter and then like, that’s it when close the laptop and like, and that’s why I had to give myself like, all that time because like, emotionally, I could only do it in like little bits and pieces, like 10 days and a cabin in the woods in Maine, I would have been either. Totally, you’re crazy. I wouldn’t have been able to write that whole time it was

Meg Casebolt  42:46  
another book. But knowing what you know now about what you went through? Would you write another book? I’m not telling you that you have to because like this is still freshly published, but like the process, would you do it again?

Erika Tebbens  42:55  
Oh, for sure. I absolutely, I absolutely would. And now that I’ve gone through that, like, emotional slog of like, what, again, like we were talking about the beginning. So first time I’d ever done it. So I was like, I don’t know, it might speak in our mindset for sure. Yeah. Beginner mindset, right?

Meg Casebolt  43:14  
Well, that’s why you have to start the next book, the next book has to start with what I wrote my first book. Exactly. And I had to get over that fear of rejection and of, you know, being cancelled, or, you know, or sounding away and, or sounding like I’m out of integrity. Like, there’s so much that probably came up for you writing it, but that can then be used for the next whatever messaging is for the next book, you know,

Erika Tebbens  43:39  
completely completely, and I think it’s just it’s that thing of like, now that I’ve done it, then I’m like, oh, like, that wasn’t so bad. Like, I think it’s like Hollywood, or something. You’re like, I don’t know what this is gonna be like, right? Like, it’s tough. Yeah, you’re like, I can read. I can, like, read all of the like, books and like, whatever. But like, you don’t know it until you actually like, have the kid right? And then you’re like, Oh, okay. Like, then you have the actual like, experience of like, whatever, you know, whatever that is, it could be same thing with like, moving somewhere. Like, if you’ve never lived out of anywhere of like, where you live, it feels really scary. And then you do it, and then you get used to it. You’re like, oh, this wasn’t like I could probably move somewhere else. It’s not that bad, right? And so now I definitely am like, oh, yeah, in hindsight, like, I feel, I actually do feel like whatever next book I write, I could do 10 days in a cabin and whatever, no. And I would, and it would be a totally different experience. But like, I had to sit in the experience of being a beginner all over again. And, you know, and it’s hard. It’s hard every time I always like, I kind of always live by like when when people would always say like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’ve done that. I could never do that. I always like to, not to, like minimize myself, but just to remind other people like it’s sort of like that Georgia O’Keeffe quote of like the I’ve been terrified every day of my life, but that I’ve never like allowed that to stop me. Something like that. I know I’m butchering it. I am freaking out constantly internally, like, I am anxious. I’m worried. I’m like, it’s, it’s a mess. But I just,

Meg Casebolt  45:26  
I don’t let it stop you. I don’t let it stop me. Right. Like that’s about like, when you and I first first met years ago, it was because both of our husbands were in the Navy. And like my husband, yours was a surface guy, mine was a Submariner. And people would say, like, I cannot believe I cannot believe that you lived on a submarine for three months at a time, and you didn’t see the sun. And what he always says to that is, you can get used to anything, you can get over anything. And that’s sort of like one of our household mantras is like, things look hard, and people are gonna tell you that things are hard, but you can get used to anything. You know,

Erika Tebbens  46:02  
it’s true. That’s people would say that too, with like, Chris being deployed, like, I could never do that. Or how do you do that? I’m like, cuz I have no, if you there’s, you know, like, with the pandemic, how do you live through a pandemic? I don’t you live through a pandemic, you do figure it out? Because you have to figure it out. Right, like, that’s the way and so yeah, it’s like, it’s like, it’s challenging. But I feel like, it’s, it’s important for me to say that to people, again, not to minimize what I’ve done what I’ve done, because I’m very, very proud of what I’ve done. But I think a lot of times, people imagine that we must just be like, made of stronger stuff, or like,

Meg Casebolt  46:44  
Oh, yes. And I’m here Wonder Woman. And it’s like, no, I’m just a regular person that is, like, slightly less risk averse. But

Erika Tebbens  46:52  
yeah, like, I’m like, I’m super normal. Like, I just, it was like, a lot of the stuff I’ve done, literally somebody like speaking before Congress, running for office, whatever. People asked me to do it. And I thought about it. And I was like, Okay, sure. What’s the worst that could happen? Like, really? What’s the worst that could happen? I will not know the outcome until I say yes. And just like, go for it. And you know what, like, also, I didn’t win my race. And what I want to go testify about is still not fixed. It’s so like, I can’t it’s, I wouldn’t even call these like a traditional success. It’s not like, wow, look at that. And then like, everything was perfect. It’s like, no, like, you could call them both failures. But also, like, I choose not to see it that way. I’m, yeah.

Meg Casebolt  47:49  
Yeah. And at the end of the day, you did something that most people don’t. And you can be optimistic about that and proud of yourself. All right, let’s wrap this up. I will absolutely include a link to your website and to the, you know, the ways that people can buy this book will include all of those links in the show notes. So if people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to be in touch?

Erika Tebbens  48:10  
Yeah, so I would say, Erica is my website. And if you go to Eric, forward slash book, that you can actually download the first chapter of the book for free. And you can also order it right there. Or you can just search for it on Amazon. It’s available internationally as well. But if you want to be less formal than my website, I hang out mostly on Instagram. So I’m over there, Erica, Kevin’s consulting and all right, slide into my DMs and say hi.

Meg Casebolt  48:41  
Well, thank you so much, Eric. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list. You never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media Talk to you then.

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