From topics like the patriarchy and hormone cycles to sunk costs and securing stable income, this episode with Michelle Stevens is a good one.

Michelle Stevens is a self-care advocate for high-passion, low-energy business owners and professionals. She has been navigating the online business world for over 10 years, most recently under the brand My Body My Queen. She loves talking about energy management, life with Type 1 Diabetes and other autoimmune conditions, breaking free of diet culture, and finding ways to sneak movement into our busy days.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • False promises in digital marketing
  • Energy management, self-care, and setting boundaries
  • Patriarchal and societal expectations a female entrepreneur
  • Minimizing business costs
  • How hustle culture impacted Michelle’s mindset and business
  • Working full-time and running a business as a side hustle

Read the full transcript

Michelle Stevens 0:00
We can slow down, we don’t have to show up the same way every single day, we need those periods of rest. It’s literally built into our bodies and our chemistry, you may not be the person that shows up the same way every single day, you may be somebody who’s on more of a monthly pattern, but even our online business world with all of these female entrepreneurs, these women entrepreneurs, that’s not how we approach it.

Meg Casebolt 0:28
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 all together, 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.

Hey, y’all, it’s Meg Casebolt. I am here with Michelle Stephens, we’re gonna have a bit of a different conversation today, it’s gonna touch upon social media, but really be talking more about some of the like false promises in digital marketing. So thank you, Michelle, for being here with me today.

Michelle Stevens 1:30
Hello, hello. Thank you for having me.

Meg Casebolt 1:33
I’ve known Michelle for several years, and we connected last month after a bit of time off because you had some big changes happening in your business, and we were chatting about them. So do you want to kind of share with us what your business? What tense should I use here was is

Michelle Stevens 1:48
going to be using the handle? So my body my queen is the name of my business that I am spoiler alert, shutting down?

Yeah, I think I’m still gonna write. And I’m a millennial. So I have at my body, my queen everywhere. And I still have the same cell phone number from when I was 14. And those are just the ways that people know how to find me. So I’m sticking with it. The message is just going to evolve again, like it’s been evolving.

Meg Casebolt 2:27
So let’s like Rewind one year ago, what was my body May Queen, as a business as a brand. What? What had it evolved into at that point?

Michelle Stevens 2:41
Like, up until one year ago, I was talking about chronic illness and energy management and self care. From that perspective, and a year ago, I was starting to pivot to speaking to online business owners specifically. And some of that has to do with, I always wanted to be speaking to online business owners, I figured that was going to be the person who was going to find me because those were the communities that I was in. But I wasn’t speaking them to them directly. And, you know, some of that was a business decision as well, right? I was investing in so many programs and courses at the premium price points that we talked about. And so the seemingly only way to really start making that back was to speak to people who were used to paying that, that price point for things. When you are B to C, you can’t write it off. Like people can’t just say, oh, I’ll just write it off as a business expense. Right. And the price point is different for traditional b2c, which means it’s more people that you have to work

Meg Casebolt 4:01
with, you have to grow a much bigger audience and a much bigger platform. You know, if you’re just talking to, you know, people with chronic illness or parents or you know, audiences that aren’t necessarily in the business space, then that $20 A month is a difference between groceries or a program versus with business owners. We’re always going like well, what can make me better what can you know, there’s a there’s a certain level of both, like you said, write offs, but also personal development and return on investment that is totally different. So making that shift, especially because you weren’t like so many programs like every time I look at a sales page, I’m like, oh, there’s Michelle. Even this. There’s a testimonial from her. You’re so good at tip mine.

Michelle Stevens 4:52
We will totally fix that. I started to give back and provide testimonials but But I am not alone in being a person who invested in a lot of online courses that I didn’t exactly finish.

Meg Casebolt 5:12
Like 98% of the population who was ever signed up for an online course no shame. Right? So

Michelle Stevens 5:18
if I actually did finish the thing, or got something out of it for any number of reasons, then yeah, provide a testimonial. And we’re talking likely to business owners here. So yeah, having my face there is also a win.

Meg Casebolt 5:36
Absolutely. So how many programs? Do you feel like you are testing out at various points? I know, you’ve said that you’re willing to come out and be like, here’s how many here’s how much I spent. Here’s what my expenses were versus versus profit versus revenue. So talk me through some of those numbers, if you’re cool with that.

Michelle Stevens 5:55
Absolutely. The thing is, is there like countless, right, and the fact that bundles are now so hot right now, it’s even harder to figure out. But what I will say is in this journey of shutting down my business, and, you know, getting out of monthly payments for things, you know, and things that I could cancel, right. And then other people were incredibly understanding with me and have worked with me on payment plans that I already had. So I’ve been keeping tabs in notion on, which is helpful, because otherwise, I wouldn’t realize how much I’ve really done in the last six weeks. Just looking at my Google Calendar alone, I’ll be able to delete eight different calendars that have been shared with me from my sidebar, and some of them are totally expired, like not being used for anything anymore old programs. So there’s this decluttering thing that’s going on to I’ve cancelled with 41 different vendors, holy shit, some of those are Yeah, I know, right? So a lot of people joke about being addicted to online courses, or that sort of thing. The software might be like, five at a time or something like that, right? You’re like, Oh, it’s just $5 here. $5. there that does, it all adds up? Yeah, right. So I’ve cancelled things with 41 different vendors, most of those are business related. Some of them are personal. And that has already saved me 251 transactions for 2023. Damn. Right. And I’m going through some of this. And I’m like, no wonder stuff felt a bit out of control and hard to get a grasp of. So I’ve saved myself 251 transactions in for 2023. So a min This is q1,

Meg Casebolt 7:56
like we’re recording on two days before the end of q1. So in one quarter, so that would have been 1000 transactions this year.

Michelle Stevens 8:02
No, no, no. So I cancelled I started canceling things mid February. Oh, wow. And, and I looked at I have a little column and my notion that’s like, how many payments did I save myself for 2023. And between all of those vendors and things that adds up to 251 transactions that would have gone on my various cards.

Meg Casebolt 8:29
And you couldn’t like they’re all some are personal. Some are business expenses, like,

Michelle Stevens 8:33
yeah, oh, my God. But just like those. I’m looking at things so much differently. Because yeah, it’s not just the monthly charge, even if it’s a monthly versus an annual plan, when you start to really look at okay, like, how much does that add up to? For a whole year? It might seem small, and that monthly amount, but times that by 12? What does that really look like? Is it really worth it? Is it something that I really would have needed them? No, probably not. Right?

Meg Casebolt 9:07
And it’s so easy to spiral, especially when you’re talking about either software, we’re like, well, I use it sometimes. And that’s only $20 a month, $30 a month, right? And then with programs, sometimes their annual, so you don’t even see the renewal coming up until it’s already gone through. Or you’re like oh, well, you know, it’s $37 a month or $97 a month, but I’ll use it for a couple months, then you sort of like forget that it’s there. And there’s so much like upkeep and maintenance that goes into these decisions.

Michelle Stevens 9:38
Yep. Yep. I am thinking about making a notion document to help to share and help other people know opt in. But to help people look at their expenses,

Meg Casebolt 9:51
because you don’t want to have more ConvertKit expenses by people joining your email list.

Michelle Stevens 9:56
Right, right. Like I’m moving to I pay just gotten to a new tier and that was like a milestone for me and my ConvertKit. But now I’m thinking about moving everything to substack. Because, yes, I, I don’t know if I’m going to keep writing is part of the thing. And so does that monthly ConvertKit charge. Makes sense? Does having Elementor renew makes sense? I mean, the good thing is, is I had some, like lifetime licenses for things. So I, I do feel like I don’t have to exit completely. And with what I’ve already shared with people, I know that this is helping.

Meg Casebolt 10:39
I know you and I were talking about like member vault, could you just take everything from your WordPress so that you don’t have to pay for the Pro theme and the plugins and move things over to member vault because you bought a lifetime play in there. And I thought about doing that plus Thrive card, I bought a lifetime plan for that for my payment processing. And it’s like, okay, I can just run everything off of there for free forever now. But then I also like join, do you have new software that plays with it, and I have my Zapier to connect them all, and I have all these things that like, do I need to always have the upgrade? Do I need to always have the fanciest thing? So moving on from just like the software and the transactions? What are you doing now?

Michelle Stevens 11:19
So it was kind of like, all hands on deck, even if that’s only my two hands, right? All 10 fingers, you can cancel everything as fast as I possibly could, which was kind of a race against the next charge. So that was the first layer of it. When or when are these things do? Can I cancel it before the next payment? Some things I have to transfer data. So hey, I’m gonna include another monthly charge. I think I may still keep Canva Pro.

Meg Casebolt 11:53
I mean, it’s just fun to play. It’s pretty rare. It was like you have to go find the stock images and the fonts and like, it’s like five bucks. Like you would use that anyway. That’s I mean, that’s that’s a cup of coffee.

Michelle Stevens 12:05
Yeah. So now, now I’m kind of in the lull of things, I’ve notified my list, I’ve which I got some really supportive responses from other people who are working full time who are looking at things differently, or well,

Meg Casebolt 12:23
let’s pause for a minute, the my buddy Mike queen has always been a side hustle for you, you have a full time job working in academia, you work with students, and then you were thinking I want to build this additional income stream using this skill set hitting a different audience making the best use of your time, you know, diversifying your income streams. So you’re now when you’re making the decision to shut down the business, it is not an end to income, it’s just you’re gonna focus on just living off of your full time salary, versus also hustling all the time to make this additional pot of income. Right?

Michelle Stevens 13:00
Right. Right, I still have the full time job still doing adjunct teaching, which brings in just a little bit more income there. And now I don’t need to be planning around the academic calendar, which makes it a lot less stressful.

Meg Casebolt 13:18
And it’s predictable. You’re like, alright, if I’m teaching X amount of hours or X amount of credits during this semester, here’s how much I’m going to make. Versus I’m going to launch something and I might make $1,000. And I might make $10,000. And then I have to adjust all of my plans based on how well that launch went. And like 2023 is not a good year for online sales. It’s just not every one is down. Because all of us have been doing this for so long. And we’re all so jaded and tired.

Michelle Stevens 13:47
Yeah, yeah. And the burnout is real for all of it. And I was talking about energy management because I see the need for it in our community. And I had just enough energy to pursue this. I really, yeah, exactly. Like I was stretching myself really thin to make it happen. But I have a passion for helping people. I’ve been in this space for over 10 years, and I’ve seen the patterns of things. And talking to people that have chronic illness, but not businesses is one thing, but at the end of the day, it’s still a hurdle to get people to invest in their health.

Meg Casebolt 14:35
That was gonna be my next thing to talk about is like, for those of us who are running b2b businesses, it’s really much easier to sell something that is painkiller, or that is revenue generating. So if you’re like, I’m going to teach you how to run a webinar that will make more sales or I’m gonna give you an email nurture sequence that will instantly make sales like people will glom on to that but some of The urgent but less important options out there are much harder to sell because it’s like, don’t you want to just feel less like shit after. Like, there’s so much value in it, but you have to be so much more self aware as a consumer to recognize the patterns of behavior and the ways that they’re driving your body to feel and the ways that they’re impacting your overall health. And there’s a lot more steps from like, make money to don’t burn out making money, you know.

Michelle Stevens 15:35
And that was always my struggle to because I’m, I’m working a full time job. So I also only have so much space that I can hold for other people. And knowing that, to get to the awareness point that I’ve had with energy management, it’s going to take a lot of space holding for people, it’s not a one and done, like, Yes, I was trying to work a VIP day. But that might be for a person that at a very different level than what I can hold space for. And they actually may benefit from having a health coach by their side of the time, but I still got my full time job. So in in all of us have different things that we are, you know, working around in our schedules for, for me, it’s the full time job and the demands of that. And then also, my partners in healthcare with a schedule that changes all the time and needing to maneuver around that. So, yeah, it, it’s just a juggle.

Meg Casebolt 16:41
It’s such a juggle. And I think also you’re in the work, you were in a really interesting space of like, in order for people to recognize that they want to prevent burnout, they have to have already been through it. And so, like, you’re meeting people at a very difficult time. Yeah, in that customer awareness journey, they have to have been through something that you don’t want them to go through. But it’s so much harder to be preventative and reactive. It’s just a hard, hard space to be in and self care is so neglected, especially by, you know, women people socializes women, people from marginalized communities, people who are primary caretakers of individuals, people who whose needs have not been met. And that to a great extent is who you are trying to reach the people who are socially conditioned not to take care of themselves to always put themselves second or third or last. So getting them to invest in you is just a total mindset shift.

Michelle Stevens 17:40
Yeah, and I still feel like I can help. But if I’m, if I don’t have all of these expenses tied to it, I can just share my journey freely, then there’s less pressure on it. Yeah. And it can inspire whoever it needs to inspire. And like, let me just do that, instead of trying to do another launch and have enough of a ramp up to it. And am I showing up enough for other people in when you were saying, Oh, that was just thinking about our innate response to I’m burned out is typically, like, throw more hustle at it. Yeah. Like, capitalism has

Meg Casebolt 18:25
really messed us up, dude. And we just okay, if you’re drinking game, we’ve now talked about capitalism, but we haven’t gotten it and societal expectations, but we haven’t gotten to patriarchy yet. We haven’t hit the full thing there. It’s common. Always. Oh, my gosh. Well, I think also, there’s something here, like, let’s talk about like, the expectation, not just of you, for your clients, to get them to recognize the need for this, but the ways that the hustle culture impacted your, your mindset of, well, I’ve already spent 10 years working on this, well, I already have all these, you know, all of these things that I’ve invested in all of these programs, all of these networking connections, I can’t give up now, like holding on to that sunk cost was hard. Yeah. And a part of your self identity too. I think a lot of us as entrepreneurs, and as business owners are like, well, I, I that’s who I am not, that’s what I do. So there had to be some sort of like removal of ego from the concept to

Michelle Stevens 19:36
my full time job. I’ve kept boundaries that people are used to know where I close my laptop at the end of the day. They’re not going to hear from me, I don’t have my work email on my cell phone. I’m not going to answer stuff at night. You’re never going to see a timestamp with an evening time and you’re definitely not going to see anything thing for me on the weekend? And yes,

Meg Casebolt 20:02
unless it was, unless that was the only time that you could work but like for a full time job, yeah, hold some boundaries. That’s awesome for you.

Michelle Stevens 20:08
And, and as I say that to my students, when like a group projects coming up, I’m like, if you email me on the weekend, you’re not getting an answer until Monday. If you email me the night before it’s due, you’re not getting an answer until the next morning. And the people who have congratulated me for that are the women. And they’re like, I’m so they’re like, love your boundaries.

Meg Casebolt 20:34
And that’s like, the ultimate compliment. It’s like the I love your shoes of the digital era. Yeah, I’m sure you have great shoes, too.

Michelle Stevens 20:41
You know, sometimes I do. So it’s been good. Like, I’m used to doing that in my full time job, but so much harder with the business. But now that I am not needing to buy something, catch a sale, figure out what’s going on in the business world. There are so many less reasons for me to open up my email in the middle of the day.

Meg Casebolt 21:08
So nice. Yeah,

Michelle Stevens 21:09
yeah. So in January, I was so proud of myself for being able to project things like six months out and being like, Okay, I’m doing this in quarter one, I’m doing this in quarter two. But at the same time, I was so stressed about that, because I knew what my pockets of time where that my job would allow. But if I, you know, fell off at all on that. It was just, it was just gonna not work out. And I was so proud of myself for being able to plan to that extent, but I was so stressed about the fact that I had to think six months out and had everything planned through August,

Meg Casebolt 21:57
in January, in January,

Michelle Stevens 21:59
already planning through August, trying to get everything to work and line up and play nicely together. But in reality, it wasn’t going to like the fact that this realization came in February, was so needed, because I was about to like, Max my credit line again. And that I was about to totally go into burnout. And now, for the next six weeks, they’re going to be like the most intense of my school year graduation admissions, students trying to get summer internships and that sort of thing. And I was going to be like, doing videos for a group program and starting a bundle. And like, I was kidding myself on what my energy was really going to be.

Meg Casebolt 22:51
You were optimistic. So optimistic,

Michelle Stevens 22:53
I’m very good at that. I know, the silver lining, things are always going to be tough with type one diabetes, but it doesn’t mean that they have to be it doesn’t mean that that has to be my baseline to like persevere through every thing. And so, you know, we were let’s just bring the patriarchy in here, right? Like,

Meg Casebolt 23:16
yes, bingo,

Michelle Stevens 23:17
we can slow down, we don’t have to show up the same way every single day. We need those periods of rest. It’s literally built into our bodies and our chemistry. I mean, no matter no matter what we all have to sleep at night to recharge. And you may not be the person that shows up the same way every single day, you may be somebody who’s on more of a monthly pattern, but even our online business world with all of these female entrepreneurs, these women entrepreneurs, that’s not how we approach it.

Meg Casebolt 23:57
And there have been times where people will say, like, oh, that’s Mercury Retrograde, or I’m not in the right like week of my cycle. I’m ovulating that we can shouldn’t do it and they get such slack from it. But it’s like no, you recognize like, things that are maybe not out of your control. But like there are these cycles, there are these seasons happening. And they do impact us and we’ve been told to ignore them and just grind grind, grind. But at a certain point, when you think about lino rise and grind, it’s like you’re literally grinding something down, like, like a bone spur. Like, at first I was thinking like a pepper grinder. Oh, that’s kind of nice, but like, no, it’s, it’s damaging. And you don’t get that back. It’s degenerative.

Michelle Stevens 24:44
Mm hmm. And it takes so much hustle to get to that point. And I was I was trying to not do that because I am not going to burn out to that point. I’ve

Meg Casebolt 24:55
the irony of burning out to that point when you’re teaching people not to burn out to that point would be pretty rough. Yeah. Right. Like, you have the skills, you have the resources, you know, I mean, you have a master’s degree and what things that happen in your body in this situation. But it’s still, there’s still that conditioning.

Michelle Stevens 25:14
Right? I had a near death experience on a hospitalization back in 2014. Because I was trying so hard to be the image of a personal trainer. And to be that image that we have of being a healthy success. And yeah, I was really trying to fight that like image of online business owner, which meant slower growth. And I was okay with that, because I still had the full time job holding me up and keeping everything together and you know, able to make all my payments that I needed to and that sort of thing. But it wasn’t paying off is the sad thing is that. Yeah, even if you’re not, even if you’re not hustling one way with like a business model that is, you know, let’s say premium pricing of some sort of thing, right? You still have to put the energy and to market the thing. And like,

Meg Casebolt 26:11
even if you are making, let’s say, let’s say you’re making, you know, profiting $2,000, a month with a side hustle. So you’re making 24 $25,000 a year from it. I don’t know where you were, but I’m just throwing out numbers here. What else could you be using that time to do? What is the opportunity cost that you’re giving up by giving your nights and weekends to this business? Is it worth that additional income, it might be, and also might not be? Or you could go teach another one class per semester or go for the promotion? You know, I think that we have been told regularly, like, this is the past, and you can make infinite money doing this. But like, nobody actually makes infinite money. That’s not a thing. As we tried to explain to my eight year old, like infinity is not actually a number, buddy.

Michelle Stevens 27:08
But abundance is everywhere.

Meg Casebolt 27:10
Right? And if you don’t believe that your business will be successful, then you’re just in scarcity mindset, and you’re giving up and this is a money block. And it’s like, no, maybe it’s just like freaking capitalism, okay, maybe it’s just these oppressive, oppressive systems in which we are enmeshed and entrenched.

Michelle Stevens 27:28
I mean, thank goodness for my type one diabetes, quite honestly, because I knew I had to keep that full time job for the benefits to be able to pay for my medication and my supplies and all of the other conditions that I also have, like, type one diabetes just happens to be the most expensive of them. Oh, yeah. But I always kept that job, I, the one part of that dream that is sold in MLM, and online business, is that you can work for yourself, you’ll have so much free time, and quit your job because you need to put everything into this. Otherwise, you’re doubting yourself, and thank goodness, I did not, I did not sign on for that part of the dream. And I’ve kept my employment this whole time. Thank goodness, thank goodness, I think I could have really messed myself up.

Meg Casebolt 28:23
And felt stuck in this world, like you can’t call your way out, and especially with MLMs, but also in this digital space, like, people are counting on that dependence. Alright, so you’re shutting down most of it, you’re canceling the ongoing subscriptions, you’re moving email from, you know, ConvertKit to substack, since it’s free, or putting everything on the platforms that you already have the lifetime memberships on. So it’s like, you haven’t just burned everything to the ground, but you’re minimizing costs. You’re, you know, if you’re making sales awesome, but that’s not the goal of all of this. After the like, I don’t want to be like What are you doing next, right, but after the The Purge after the detox, you know, you had mentioned to me about sub sacks. I’m not trying to force you into it. But like, is that like you? Now you can do whatever the hell you want to you can write about something that you want to without going like, is this going to lead to a sale like what comes next when you have the freedom to to follow your gut versus following the money?

Michelle Stevens 29:31
We’ll find out because I have so many notebooks filled with thoughts, like really intricate deep stuff that you know, was not SEO friendly. And that happens a lot of it isn’t. Right and needing to like, I got into this partially for self expression. And in talking with one of my friends, she’s like, it doesn’t really sound like You’re doing that? Because I was always needing to put things through the lens of the brand and the lens of like, is this random? How do I kind of

Meg Casebolt 30:09
have a primary call to action? And how does it lead into my funnel? And what’s the timeline of this customer journey? And all of those pieces?

Michelle Stevens 30:16
Yeah, how do I warm people up to this concept that I’m talking about meeting them where they actually are on things? So I look forward to exploring that freedom. I am mostly done with like the transaction, whatnot, I have a couple more things that I got to move over to something else. But I don’t know. I think in the summer, we’ll see.

Meg Casebolt 30:43
And I think if I think what you just said about like, it started this for self expression, and then it morphed. If you can go back to self expression, and be excited about it again, you can still get the feedback from your audience. And it may turn into something down the road maybe doesn’t have to, but maybe it turned into something where you’re like, Oh, I just wrote like, a year of emails. And it turns out, it’s a book and I’ll put it on Amazon and make passive income from it, I’ll make you know, 100 bucks a month from Amazon, right? Like, it doesn’t always have to be this like grand plan. Sometimes it can just be like, This is what I created. And this is how people are embracing it and what they like, what they want to hear more of. Right. So the

Michelle Stevens 31:27
fact that I had been in this industry for so long was playing into that sunk cost fallacy of I’ve invested so much, like, surely that ROI is right around the corner. For me, I know what I’m doing. I know how these systems work. And it was putting a lot of pressure on things. And now we’ll see like, if something starts to blossom out of me sharing my randomness, of talking about diabetes, of talking about energy management of doing dance videos, whether they be like, pole dancing videos are choreographed jump roping routine, or dancing on roller skates, we’ll see what skills I develop and this time, right, they’re all possible. They’re all things that my ADHD brain started, but did not finish. I love dancing on

Meg Casebolt 32:19
roller skates. I just like I have no longer I’m barely on social media at all. But send me the boxer and the link of the two.

Michelle Stevens 32:29
Happily, and you know, maybe that’s my service to the online business world is just to like, spread joy to all of my former contacts. We’ll see what happens. But I get to be as random as I want to be now. Which is actually super awesome. Because I know I’ve been consistently inconsistent since high school.

Meg Casebolt 32:51
And if you have to put everything through the filter, then there’s so much that’s left out. But if you can just go well, that feels good today. Huh? Totally different vibe. Yeah. I think about like Liz Gilbert’s book, Big Magic where she’s like, you know, she kept a job waitressing. Until Eat, Pray Love came out because she was like, I don’t want the thing that I love to have to support me. I want to be able to love it and enjoy it and not put the pressure on it. And it sounds like you were putting yourself in a bit of a pressure cooker. And now you can go back to just like, I’m going to enjoy it. And if it works, it works. And if it doesn’t, who cares?

Michelle Stevens 33:28
Right? Yep, I absolutely love that book. I should probably go and re listen to it. Yeah, the audiobook was my companion through so many commutes. And, yeah, that was part of the reason that I’m like, no, okay, we’re, we’re keeping the full time job. You know, and so few people talk about that, and maybe don’t share that they’re doing this on the side for whatever reason. But I’m finding that more and more people are actually doing their business as a side hustles in some way, shape, or form. And I wish that I wish that our industry supported that more. Since canceling my business, I appreciate my job a whole lot more. I’m more present at it. Starting the business and being in this world gave me a lot of training and a lot of tools that my job did not so like it’s been this like symbiotic relationship, but I can be I can be more present at my job. No, I’m not trying to fit in zoom calls here and there. I mean, I tried while working for from home for three years, but it was still a lot to juggle and try and make happen. So now instead of trying to fit in business zoom calls in the middle of the day I’m going to be doing like jump rope and my bass notes or doing some strength training on the pole or There’s another thing called Flow rope. Really great if you don’t like jump roping, but you think it’d be cool to like, you know, swirl a rope around you that that’s a really good thing, recommend slash ropes that are cool person to follow. But I get to be with random as I want. And I don’t have to think about whether I get to walk my walk now, of putting even more care and attention towards my fitness and my energy, random bursts of energy throughout the day, and random bursts of fitness or going for a walk while it’s still sunny outside and all of those things. So

Meg Casebolt 35:40
well, that sounds awesome. And I think you’re totally right that like, there’s this vibe of like, well, you still have a full time job and your business isn’t advanced enough. And that’s the goal for everyone. But like, it doesn’t have to be the goal that the goal does not have to be replaced your income, it can be like, do something for fun, like not every choice that you make has to be monetized.

Michelle Stevens 36:02
Yeah, and the thought was like, okay, maybe I can get this to a point that it becomes more passive, that I can get things built to a point where it’s not so much pressure and hustle, but honestly, like, it’s a fallacy to

Meg Casebolt 36:22
as somebody who teaches like how to get consistent traffic by creating it only once, like, then you have to go in and optimize, you have to create more, you have to pay attention to the metrics, you have to know what your competitors are doing. Like there. There’s always ongoing iterations, even passive income has to be maintained. It’s totally a fallacy.

Michelle Stevens 36:41
Write it and now I’m finding even more like, no shade about this at all. I think it’s great, but more people have VAs than I realized. And, you know, we don’t talk about that in the online course sales page. But that’s a necessary thing. Or how how a program would look, if you have no VA or one to two were, that wasn’t the intention of what I wanted. Because like, Okay, I have a full time job. And I have a VA and I have this business like, that seems pretty complicated for me. So was this really gonna work? It’s, yeah, I’m seeing the industry through a totally different lens. Yeah. And I don’t know, did I really want to sign myself up for like, always having this responsibility humming in the background? Maybe maybe not?

Meg Casebolt 37:37
That’s a really good question. Because the dream, the promise is, you know, unlimited income, and much less time and all the freedom, but it also is constant mental load, and financial responsibility, as you have demonstrated, you know,

Michelle Stevens 37:55
and there’s so many different business models that are out there. Like, I mean, there are the people who rely on ads, and rely on, you know, SEO to get people onto those onto those websites, you know, when we’re looking for a banana bread recipe and then have to go through.

Meg Casebolt 38:15
And this is why we went to the zoo today. And did you know about the aquarium and oh, by the way, here’s why bananas are a really good source of potassium, and you’re like, just give me the recipe. We originally

Michelle Stevens 38:24
bought the bundle of bananas because we had like cramps, but then they resolved and so we had all these bananas that went bad.

Meg Casebolt 38:33
And here’s the banana bread for, like Crips post.

Michelle Stevens 38:37
And what did those people have to do? They have to make sure that they’re writing in such a way that like, Google’s gonna find them but also like, pinning to Pinterest which somehow I never went down that rabbit hole of marketing. But

Meg Casebolt 38:50
that was like a one you didn’t I feel like I’ve seen you ever.

Michelle Stevens 38:55
I’m a true millennial in that way. It’s almost like a new social media thing comes out and I gotta like put my flag down and claim my body my queen because Michelle Stevens is definitely taken. But then I learned on Pinterest like Pinterest isn’t even passive, you have to keep repeating things. So it shows up at the top, like, oh my goodness, like

Meg Casebolt 39:20
it’s non stop. It’s non stop. So yeah, now that you are transitioning out, moving everything so that people can still you know, purchase the things but you don’t have to be necessarily involved in little liberty. You don’t have to constantly be promoting. I want to be like, Where can people find you? But maybe we just put your substack link in the show notes and if people want to come check out or well put your Instagram and like where do you want people to hang out with you?

Michelle Stevens 39:46
We’ll definitely put the Instagram and because that’s already

Meg Casebolt 39:49
exists, and it’s already established. Already got

Michelle Stevens 39:52
that? I know it exists. I don’t need a deadline for that. substack we will find out right And yeah, that’s the next phase is like, Okay, how do I address this on Instagram? I actually haven’t heard it on social yet. But hey, I can do a three, six or a nine grid to have that there’s my little business card. So yeah, I play on Instagram still, that’s always been my main spot. So at my body, my queen, and the rest is

Meg Casebolt 40:29
me. But I know what maybe do. TBD, ain’t nothing. TBD.

Michelle Stevens 40:34
all I got for you.

Meg Casebolt 40:37
Guys podcast episode is like TBD with Michelle Stephens. Right.

Michelle Stevens 40:42
My brain still thinks in branding. I’ve already come up with a bunch of ideas of like, what my sub stock subscription would be called, if I even have a subscription for things. Am I going to write a book in the future? I don’t know. I’ve always thought about that. So

Meg Casebolt 41:02
yeah, we’ll see where things go. I think sometimes about like having kids and having them feel like what do you want to be when you grow up? It’s like, well, I don’t. I don’t know what I want to be next year. You know, my five year old told us last year, at the end of the year, they said, What do you want to be when you grow up? And he said, I want to be a red rainbow. I was like, you know,

Michelle Stevens 41:22
what, super?

Meg Casebolt 41:24
Can’t we all just be red rainbows. Like isn’t that what we should aspire to?

Michelle Stevens 41:28
I love it. That so like that’s a gymnastics lesson right there. Right? That’s like mobility. Doing a bridge all in

Meg Casebolt 41:35
red. It’s perfect. Yeah, it’s all about being nimble, being flexible, seeing what happens. Well, thank you, Michelle, for sharing this transition and can’t wait to see what comes up for your next thanks or nothing, or just a blissful nothing.

Michelle Stevens 41:51
And that’s what I’m learning. You know, what do I do with myself? I don’t know. I’ve cuddled my cat more. I’ve gotten a library card. I’m more present.

Meg Casebolt 42:00
Lucy. Well, you know, you can DM me if you want some romance novel recommendations. I would love it. I’ll be like, do you want contemporary or historical or paranormal or monsters like I have so many. Like that conversation? Like Thank you, Michelle. I appreciate it. 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 so 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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