The Power of Pivoting with Melissa Camilleri - EP 009

pleasure & profits podcast Dec 26, 2023

 

In this episode, I share a conversation with my friend and colleague Melissa Camilleri, co-founder of Stand for the And Education Company and the Prosper Network. 

Melissa shares her journey from being a high school English teacher to starting her own jewelry business, and eventually pivoting to Stand for the And, where she and her business partner Angela Greaser help entrepreneurs build a legacy of impact & income with high-quality courses & programs.

We discuss the importance of purpose and impact in business, the power of pivoting and how authentic and genuine networking can help you build your community and your business. We also discuss the value of creating a business that fits your lifestyle and the importance of taking breaks, slowing down and reflecting in order to align your actions with your values.

 

Listen as we discuss how: 

  • Purpose and impact are essential in business
  • Pivoting is a natural part of entrepreneurship and can lead to new opportunities and growth
  • Taking breaks and slowing down is crucial for maintaining mental and emotional well-being
  • Networking and building relationships with like-minded individuals can open doors and create new opportunities in business
  • Reflection is crucial for entrepreneurs to align their actions with their values and prioritize what matters most
  • Taking time to reflect and make necessary changes can lead to a business that fits your lifestyle and brings fulfillment 

 

Episode Chapters

00:00 - Introduction and Background

01:38 - Starting a Business with Purpose

06:11 - The Importance of Pivoting

07:27 - The Power of Education and Learning

11:13 - The Reality of Entrepreneurship

13:19 - Taking Breaks and Slowing Down

19:48 - Transitioning from Compliment to Stand for the And

23:57 - Creating Space for What Matters

27:51 - The Power of Networking and Community

39:57 - The Prosper Network: Growing Together

44:08 - Creating a Community for Entrepreneurs

45:33 - The Importance of Reflection

 

You can connect with Melissa and learn more about her work at:
 

https://standfortheand.com

https://standfortheand.com/the-prosper-network

https://www.instagram.com/standfortheand/

https://www.instagram.com/melissa.camilleri/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissacamilleri/

 

If you’re ready to have a deeper conversation about how to maximize impact, profit and pleasure in your business and life, you can schedule a time to connect with me right here >>> 

Did this message resonate with you? If you are enjoying the show, it would mean so much to me if you would take a few minutes to leave a review. Reviews like yours help podcasters like me get my podcast into the ears of more people. Thank you in advance for taking a minute to share your kind words. Rate this podcast right here: https://ratethispodcast.com/satisfaction 

 


 

Episode Transcript

 

Rachel (00:04.111)

Hello and welcome to Pleasure and Profits. I'm so excited to bring you an awesome guest today. My friend, Melissa Camilleri. Melissa is the co-founder of Stand for the And education company and the Prosper Network with over 20 years as a credentialed educator and a professional leader in training and development and decades in e-commerce digital marketing.

Melissa guides business owners to maximize their impact and their income with one to many offers. Over the last five years alone, she and her business partner, Angela Greaser, have helped their clients generate over $56 million in revenue. That's incredible. Through courses, programs, and other offerings, she's a mom of three very young kids who I've met on many work calls and married to the love of her life. She homeschools and lives in Northern California. Welcome to the podcast, Melissa.

 

Melissa Camilleri (01:05.654)

Gosh, I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me and congratulations on this new one. Yeah, this is amazing.

 

Rachel (01:09.915)

Thank you so much. It's a conversation you and I have had together many times as peers, as collaborators, as fellow contractors working and supporting other people in their businesses. This conversation of how do we all do this in a way that feels really good and is profitable. And I think our work is so aligned in our mission.

And I really, one of the things I love about what you bring to the table is this education curriculum background that is so applicable to the industry that we're in that so few people have. And so we will get into that for sure as we talk about Stand For The And. But I would love for you to start, I know Stand For The And isn't where your entrepreneur origin started.

And so I would love to hear where you started first, and then we'll go from there.

 

Melissa Camilleri (02:12.498)

Okay, so way back when it was 2011 and I was actually a high school English teacher that was working primarily with underserved kids, kids who came from traditionally marginalized communities, mostly economic, racial, et cetera. So my job was to support them socially, financially, academically to get them prepared for a post-secondary, or yeah, post-secondary, whatever they wanted to do. 

And many of these kids had all the potential in the world and yet not a lot of the resources, and that really spoke to my heart. So one day I had one of my students come to me and said, Miss, I did everything you told me to do. I studied, I got the grades, I got the test scores, I got into the places that you said that I could get into and I don't have enough financial aid. And so I'm not going. And now what? And I had been with these kids for four years, like all four of their high school years, and that was breaking my heart. And so I thought, what could I do? What could I do to possibly help these students? Well, around the same time I was making jewelry, it wasn't very good. It was actually pretty subpar when it comes to design. I'm not gonna lie.

But I had a story and I had a vision that I could sell this jewelry potentially to some of the parents of the high school girls at the school up the street, the ones who had the money. And I could use the proceeds as a fundraiser for scholarships for my students. And that little idea became a brand called Compliment. 

And Compliment was a small gifts brand. It started with rings and then it grew into like a many different product categories. And for 10 years I ran that. It was my first baby. It honestly was the training ground of learning marketing and being an online business owner and how to network outside of my industry because all of my contacts were in education at the time. 

And so having this story of the scholarship and the proceeds and you know where the money was going to. We helped 13 girls go to college from my local area here in Northern California which is something I will always be like it's token me up right now just thinking about it. I'm so proud of that of that business and what we were able to do in the community and the lives that we touched through the products and what I learned from running that business was a few really key components that have carried with me throughout my entrepreneurial journey despite the pivots. And one was what gets people to buy things. That was a huge, huge lesson. 

And the second one is how we can use what our God-given gifts are in any arena because it was a major transition from education into the business world and I thought, I am not like, I'm swimming in this way different pond. I don't have the same skills as everybody else. Nobody really wants to talk to me. I'm a dorky old English teacher from a small town and I was like in the room with people who are like from Manhattan and they have like big fancy businesses, you know? And what I learned was a lot of people don't know the things that I know. And that was so empowering and a really important lesson for how I figured out how to pivot into something, well out of something that I loved but wasn't serving me. 

I think that's a good point for what our conversation is here. And then into something that I also really love that is able to also serve my lifestyle and what I value and care about in this season of my life. Because what ended up happening with Compliment is that it was very, very successful and also I had to walk away from it. I had to shut it down because in the last two years of its existence I had two kids back to back, 13 months apart. And my priorities drastically shifted and the way I had built that business was not be the kind of parent that I wanted to be. And so that kind of gave me a kick in the pants to make some different choices. And I grieved that hard and it was best in my life.

 

Rachel (07:03.007)

I want to talk about that. But I want to go back to a couple of things that I think are really key and what you just said. One is that you started with a purpose, an impact that you wanted to have, right? Like you had a mission that this business is going to have a specific impact to help people. And, and I think that's so beautiful. And I think that's true of so many people.

In at least in my circles, it feels like everybody who's there is there because they're really passionate and hurtful and they want to improve people's lives and they want to make the world a better place. And they want to have that direct impact. And then the second thing you said is that I think so important and it's actually really representative. I think of a lot of the people that you teach and you work with now is that you started a business and you from a career transition, you started it from, I don't know anything about entrepreneurship and I'm gonna learn along the way. And I think that's true for a lot of people in the online business space for sure. You know, coaches, creatives, that there's a, people start with a passion and then learning the entrepreneurship part, learning the marketing and the business is, it takes time, you know, to get there and you invested that time in that business. And then you took everything you learned from that business and applied it to the next business, which I think is a story that happens frequently but is rarely told.

 

Melissa Camilleri (08:38.838)

And rarely celebrated when I, having gone through this now a couple of times, it is so, can I say a mild swear word here? It's so fast. Okay. When I see somebody who has gone all in on something and pivots and is also successful, I'm like, dang, that's incredible. And I actually now perceive that as so much more inspirational than the person who seemingly has just ridden a wave, you know, in one direction. Because it takes so much more courage to pivot. It really does. And it's really hard. And it is so worth it if it is the right choice for you. 

And so it's not like, I don't know, when you and I first met, we had this conversation, I remember, about how fast the world of entrepreneurship feels like it needs to go. Where it's like, I was, do you remember that conversation? It was like, gosh, everything needs to be turned over. Like yesterday, deadlines have to be like, you know, 24 hour turn. And it's so hard on your nervous system. And I remember one day being like, I just don't want to actually work like that. I wanna work hard. But I don't wanna work in this like frenetic, constantly unregulated space cause that just does not work for how I have to live in my own health and sanity. And so looking at other people's success, I think has been such a mind game, because when you're new, you're like, oh, I want to be where they are. And then you dig a little deeper and you're like.

I don't know, they actually don't have the things in their life that I really value, and maybe that isn't my same path, and I don't need to compare my timeline to anybody else's timeline, because what's going on right now in my life is actually pretty darn amazing, and I'm cool right here, you know?

 

Rachel (10:44.395)

Yeah, I think that's a really important point is first of all, that what we see other people doing or what we perceive them having or experiencing is just a very small piece of the picture that we're able to see from a distance. You and I have both worked behind the scenes and supported a lot of people in their process.

No, but I have yet to see a beautiful, aligned, clean, perfect, happy, you know, 24-7. It's like, that's not reality. And the part that we see online is like just such a tiny piece of what's actually happening. Right. And I'm not saying that in like a derogatory way. It's like this is reality is everybody goes through seasons where they like work really hard to put something out in the world and then go, oh, shit.

I don't want to do that way. Now I'm going to back it up and I'm going to pivot and I'm going to do something a little bit different and I'm going to find the way that works for me. And if you don't do that, I think it's a quick path to burnout.

 

Melissa Camilleri (11:55.522)

For sure. I mean, I burnt out of my teaching career, because like that was just, yeah, I burnt out of the first one. And then, I mean, truthfully, I burnt out of compliment too, because of the way that I had built it. It was the only way I knew how to do things. And my priorities were one thing, and it was fine while it was fine. And then other things happened in my life, and it wasn't sustainable. And so the wisdom that comes with sticking with this lifestyle is so tremendous because now I see, oh, I could build anything that I want in any way that I want and I can still figure it out. That is the most empowered way of being and it took a very long time to get here. I mean, I'm, this is, I'm going into my 13th year of working for myself and it's taken about this long.

It's a place of being like, okay, I can figure out what my pace is, I can figure out what my values are, and I can align every other thing around that and still make plenty of money, still make plenty of profit. In fact, I'm far more profitable now than I ever was and I'm working far less, which is also something that comes with wisdom.

 

Rachel (13:19.299)

Yeah, for sure. Something to celebrate. And I do want to talk about the transition. But I also just want to touch on this, this thing you just said about, about like gaining the wisdom and, and sticking with it and not so often I think we have this idea of like when something doesn't work, that it's a failure. And I think it's so important to recognize that was a step on your path. You could not have left teaching and started an online business coaching people in educational programs the way you are now without having learned all the things that you learned in that 10-year period. Right?

 

Melissa Camilleri (14:09.234)

100% and I actually think that mindset of not like I just don't really believe in failure at all It's like only if you quit and even then it's like well, that was your choice. So I think that actually comes from my teaching background because we give grades. It's like did you pass or did you fail and I actually never and parents would sometimes be mad at me because I didn't give failing grades unless there was no work done. Like unless there was a no show, then they wouldn't be able to pass. But like if somebody had the effort, then it was my job to support that effort and keep it going. And so I just don't even think, I released that pressure off myself many, many years ago where it's like, oh, this doesn't even exist. I can just choose something new. Nothing is permanent. And that is so freeing.

 

Rachel (15:03.674)

Yeah.

And then I've seen also you bring this idea, like you talked about not wanting to work in a way that's frenetic, which you and I have discussed many times. And I think one of the beautiful things that you do with your work is that you very well set up the parameters for your clients, that this is how this works. 

You're so skilled at the curriculum design supporting people in creating something that's really of a high quality. And that doesn't happen in two weeks or three weeks. Right. And I remember when we met the first time we started working together. I mean, when I started an online business, which was about 14 years ago, it wasn't in the Shopify space. It was in the holistic health and wellness space. It was a lot of people teaching online courses and especially like wellness courses and things. And there was this really strong, pervading philosophy that you sell it first and then you build it on the fly. That just always felt wrong to me. It never felt good. But then I spent so many years supporting and working in that way where it was like, we have a deadline, we got to go, we got to get fast. 

I have the capability of doing that, but it doesn't feel good. And so when the first time we met and we started to talk about your process and you were like, oh no, we'll spend five months building out the thing. It was just such a breath of fresh air to say, this doesn't have to happen in three weeks. If you want this to be done well, then here's how you do it. You take your time, you figure out the goals, you build it carefully, and you create something that's really of high quality.

 

Melissa Camilleri (16:59.006)

Yes, but I will say it's yes and because I don't want to, I really dance the line between it's an either or thing. So I have on many occasions built like just the framework of something and sold it before everything was ready. However, it wasn't completely built on the fly. It was like I had a blueprint, right? I just didn't necessarily record all the modules in advance. And we do teach our clients to mindfully and thoughtfully and, you know, like judiciously and diagnostically, all the adverbs, test the market ahead of when they go to launch something because 14 years, I would say up until honestly 2021, digital marketing up until about a little bit post pandemic or after everything went down, still, but as things are starting to open up, it was, just get something out there, get people behind the paywall, and we'll figure it out once we're there. 

And I don't actually believe in that. But I do think that there's a happy medium of how you can mindfully create something. And then when you launch it comes before the whole thing is completed. But you know where you're going. You have this roadmap that's very clear and intentional for the results that you wanna get for your people. And it does take time. And it takes time, maybe not that first one, but we never just launch one time ever. It's like testing, right? And this thing, that's a whole different conversation, probably.

 

Rachel (18:57.271)

Yeah, yeah, I mean, yeah, for sure. The process of iteration is so critical. Yeah.

 

Melissa Camilleri (19:04.234)

Yeah. And fooling fast is, um, I don't like the term failure, but that concept of like, let's put it out there. Let's see how it goes. We've given it our best shot and then we're going to get feedback. And it's not like, Oh my gosh, my thing failed. So therefore I'm a failure. It's like, okay, I gave him my best shot. Let's see what the feedback is. Let's take that into consideration, rework it, reiterate, put it out again. I mean, that's how any big business does things. Why not be the same in our industry? You know.

 

Rachel (19:34.115)

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let's go back and talk about this transition from compliment to stand for the end. What happened and how did that come about and where are you at with it now?

 

Melissa Camilleri (19:48.302)

Okay, so it's actually really good timing because this just popped up in my memories on Instagram. I was getting ready prior to Black Friday, which if you've ever been in the retail space, you know that this holiday shopping weekend, at the time it was accounting for between 35% and 40% of our yearly revenue in these four or five days. And that is so intense. 

That's so much pressure and the first couple years I was doing Compliment, I was like, oh my gosh, this is amazing, you know? And then you start getting year to year data and you're looking at, okay, well, can we do different? What can we do better? And so this was about, I think my seventh or eighth, I think it was my eighth Black Friday, Cyber Monday event. And I had two kids. My youngest at the time was like six months, seven months.

And my mom snapped a picture of me prepping for Black Friday, sitting on her couch. My laptop was open, and my kids were crawling all over me. And she's like, oh, look how cute. This is a moment in time. And I saw that picture. And later that night, I just stared at it, and I was weeping. And I'm like, this is not what I want. It makes me cry just to think about it. I love the holidays normally, like I usually do. And in that season, I began to dread the holidays. I began to dread like, how am I supposed to make the holidays magical for my children if all I'm doing is packing and shipping and getting everybody else's gifts out and I didn't have time to shop for myself?

Not for my things, but for my people. I was so overrun with making everybody else's holidays magical for all of the hundreds and thousands of people who were ordering from us. And so grateful, it did give me a different kind of freedom than I had from teaching, but that was the big kick in the pants. I was like, okay, I need to do something different. And I was in a mastermind at the time, and I told my colleagues, I'm like, I don't think I can do this anymore. I think I'm going to shut it down. And one of my girlfriends, she said, what if you just push pause? Because this is like, you love compliment. It's part of your soul. And it was true. I mean, it still is true. And so I decided I was going to push pause.

So I took that January off and just laid low in any orders that were coming in we fulfilled, but I didn't do any like big marketing campaigns. And I Mother's Day was our second biggest holiday. So I did a little bit for that. And then as we were going through the summer, I made the decision I'm going to opt out of all marketing at anything during the holiday season. And I'm going to prioritize putting all of the events that I wanna do with my children, like going to see Christmas lights and reading stories and doing our little advent calendars and all the things that I wanted to do. I was gonna put that on my calendar first. I'm just gonna see what happens. And of course, sales were way lower than they were here before, but I was so much happier. 

I was like, okay, something's gotta give. So early, so that was, I opted out the holiday season of 2019, and then spring of 2020, January, I decided I'm gonna shut it down. And I will fulfill, I know, that's a God thing. 100% it's a God thing because then when everything shut down in March of 2020, all of my friends who are still in retail are like, oh my God, we cannot survive. And if I was still in that in that cycle of like, how am I going to, okay, how do we meet our revenue goal? And whatever that would have killed me. I know it like where I was emotionally and, you know, like I had postpartum depression and anxiety and like it just was a would have been too perfect of a storm. And so when COVID happened.

And I say this with so much sensitivity because it was such a hard time for so many other people for us in my business and our family. It was a blessing because everything shut down So it was it was actually helpful for my ego to ease into this pivot because everybody had to pivot And that allowed me the time to let go of the ego you know, stuff that I was still holding onto, like, well, what will people think of me? Will they think that I wasn't successful? Will they think that, like, who cares? Nobody was even paying attention to me. They had all their bigger fish to fry in their own lives, you know? But our ego can get in the way of making these big pivots, and it was such a gift to be like, okay, cool. Everybody's pivoting right now, so this is a perfect time.

I'm just going to be for a second. And I started working behind the scenes a little bit more in other people's programs. And really, I didn't market myself. I just leaned into the relationships that I have built over the years and said, this is what I'm doing. And it was very shortly there. I think we met early 2021 or late 2020. What year was it?

 

Rachel (26:00.219)

I was just thinking, I feel like that's right about when we met, might have been right towards the end of 2021. Yeah, somewhere end of 2020, somewhere in that window. Yeah.

 

Melissa Camilleri (26:10.67)

So it was such a blessing in disguise in so many ways. And then what ended up coming out of COVID was that my husband's job, he's the one with like the steady job. But I built Compliments Single. So like I understand what it's like to not have another income that you have to rely on and really like you're reliant on yourself to make something happen for you and for your team. But then I got a husband and all the kids. I need a husband.

He has this stable, like he has the benefits. So he's like, you have this opportunity. Like I still had to bring in an income, but I didn't have to swing for the fences for a few months. And that was the gift of time that I needed to figure out, okay, where am I gonna go next? And that's when you and I met and that's when kind of stand for the end, started to emerge and it came out of Angela and I sharing, Angela's my co-founder.

And we kept on passing back and forth clients because she does growth strategy and I do the instructional design.

Oftentimes courses are a part of entrepreneurs growth during thought leadership, you know, often has courses or group programs. And so we were working together and she boxed me one day and said, do you wanna start a podcast? And I was like, yeah, sure. And that podcast turned into a full-blown agency that is going three years strong. And we were profitable like literally out of the gate, which was amazing. And it felt like, ah, aha, this is what alignment feels like.

 

Rachel (27:51.587)

Yes.

 

Melissa Camilleri (27:52.8)

This is what I have been running toward, or, you know, like this feeling that...

 

Rachel (27:59.067)

That's what you've been seeking, right? It's the thing you've been looking for. Yeah.

 

Melissa Camilleri (28:03.674)

Yes, now things are just coming at us so much more simply with so much more ease. And it's not like we don't work hard. We have nights where we stay up late or we're like really on deadline or whatever. But the general flow of our day is so different. And a huge part of that is taking on a business partner, which both of us, and I speak on behalf of both of us for sure, we never, ever thought we would take on a business partner ever. Never.

 

Rachel (28:29.783)

That's interesting. Yeah.

 

Melissa Camilleri (28:31.702)

And what has come out of this is like, okay, in this season, she also is a mom, she also homeschools. It is the thing that is really allowing us this wonderful flexibility of time to be able to prioritize the things that we value in addition to our business. Yeah, so that's it.

 

Rachel (28:53.399)

Yeah, I love that. There's something that you said that I think is really key. And I don't know. Maybe you know this. But you spoke over it so quickly that I was like, does she know that she did that? Because it's a conversation I have all the time with clients, which is we have this feeling like I can't stop, I can't slow down.

And we will put ourselves like often I'll be coaching clients and I'm saying to them, you need to take a break. You need to let some things go. You need to trust it's going to work out like this. You know, that's what you need to create for yourself is space in order to restore your nervous system, to be able to think clearly, to be able to make better decisions and to be able to move forward in a more powerful way. And people have so much resistance to this. And I know I have too many times and what happens if you don't choose it, is it happens to you, correct? And then what happens is you survive. 

So this thing that your mind, your body is telling you, there's no way I can slow down. I would not survive that. And then it's forced upon you. And not only do you survive, you come out the other side in a much better position. And I think back to the number of times on my path where I've hit a point where it was like, I need to take a break. I'm going to choose to take a break. I'm going to slow down. I'm going to pause. I'm going to let some things go and not take on anything new for just a little while. And every time, my brain is like, you can't do that. You can't afford to do that. You can't. What's going to happen? And every single time, it works out for the best. I think that's a really important message for women in particular, but for anybody with a business to understand.

 

Melissa Camilleri (30:47.374)

Yeah, and you know, like I've been talking about this inside of one of our programs with some clients is that for people to change anything, it's usually 3Ds or a B. And it's divorce, death, diagnosis, or a birth. I don't know very many other things that will absolutely interrupt, I guess a P, a pandemic that could also, now I didn't think of that one, but there's something has to happen to interrupt you go, go going. And for a lot of entrepreneurs that I know, it's blowing out their adrenals. It's like they get a diagnosis, some sort of chronic illness that they cannot get out of bed or a mental health breakdown or something. So that would fall under like, you know, you're a health score diagnosis or a diagnosis of somebody else where you become their primary caretaker or somebody dies and you have to reevaluate everything. And honestly, prior to every one of my pivots, there has been that. Leaving teaching, it was divorce and death over the course of 90 days. I had three people die and I went through a divorce.

And then I was like, okay, something has to change. I gotta do something else. And then when I had to transition from Compliment into Stand for the And, it was two births, like back to back, my two sons. And then even more so, we ended up having a mini pivot inside of Stanford the And, where we were primarily focused on client work and we said, OK, in this season we have to reduce the amount of client work and increase the amount of people that we're serving in our group programs to allow us more time flexibility. Because I had another kid at 43 years old that I didn't I wasn't planning for that. And that but I'm so happy that happened because it made us look at how we were working and how we can work better to serve our lives in a way that we can still provide excellent quality work, work that we love to do, work that comes easily to us, and make sure our clients are all happy and everybody's getting paid, and we're not going crazy. We're not beating ourselves down into the ground because we also have lives to live. This is our one life. So it's, yeah, the three Ds and a B.

 

Rachel (34:07.247)

And a P. And now a P.

 

Melissa Camilleri (34:09.797)

And now it has really been making me think a lot about what motivates people to change. Because otherwise we just keep on going.

 

Rachel (34:16.184)

Yeah, there is a, we do keep going until one of those things happens or until enough of those things happen that you recognize the pattern for yourself and you start to go, oh wait, I'm starting to feel that way. What can I do now to like dial things back before I hit that breaking point? And I think that learning is where it's like, it's a maturing and it's what you're talking about. Like you couldn't have gotten where you are. It took you 14 years or 13 years, right?

Same thing, it's like I had to learn all these lessons along the way in order to be able to get to this place where now I can recognize what is a strong yes, a hell yes, a fuck yes, like I'm all in, and what's a, oh, my ego's telling me to sign that contract, but there's some part of me that knows that it's gonna be too much, that our values aren't aligned, whatever, and the end result of that is burnout is, you know, resentment is kind of all of those things that happen when a business relationship, whether that's person to person business relationship within your business, with your clients or with the business itself is out of balance.

 

Melissa Camilleri (35:33.902)

100%. We recently, actually it's probably like six months ago now, but we had a consult call with a potential client that was going to be an extraordinarily large contract. It's not like we couldn't have used the money. It would have been a real game changer in that quarter. However, we know enough now to be like, okay, there's too many things that we are, I don't wanna call them red flags to like, it's not to vilify anybody, but just looking at the work that would have been involved and what that would have required us to do. So it's like contractual red flags where we're like, you know what, our piece and our, our just maintaining a regulated nervous system, the two of us as partners even, within our work is our primary goal more than it is the money. That we know that the money is going to come and that we must stay in this like centered place and that this potential contract would have thrown us out of that.

And so we said no, and it was a scary no, because the ego wants to be like, heck yeah, that's gonna smash our revenue goals. And I'm learning that and trusting that when you say no to something, you're saying yes to other things and vice versa. When you say yes to something, you're saying no to other things. So when we said no to that, we were saying yes to opening the doors to a more aligned way of bringing in the same amount of revenue and then like.

And this happens literally all of the time. Like you were saying, when you decide to do the rest, sparks of ideas come or clients come in like you never saw coming or like, hey, would you want to do this? And it's like the perfect project. And that's exactly what happened. We had a couple people that we have been just dying to work with knock on the door and say, hey, we'd like, and it's like, okay, yeah, we can totally take this on, but we couldn't have done it had we said yes to the other one.

 

Rachel (37:44.503)

Yeah, that's beautiful and a great segway into what you're doing now and also a callback to how we met, how we got connected. So it is, it's a great story. You and I, I was looking for someone to do curriculum design to help a client develop a program and I was asking around to my network, who do you know, who do you know, like who can help with this?

And I asked a woman who was a contractor that I worked with, you know, on a couple of clients, an advertiser, you know, marketing contractor. And she said, well, I don't know anybody, but I'm in this networking group, this Facebook group, and I'll put it in there and see if anybody knows someone. So she posts in the Facebook group, and then somebody else, not even you, saw the post, tagged you in it.

 

Melissa Camilleri (38:41.556)

Yeah.

 

Rachel (38:42.691)

This person who didn't even know you connected me with you, but it was just because you were all you were in this like this group of networked connected women and you and I ended up on the phone and we just like hit it off. It was like, oh my God, how have we not known each other all this time? It was perfect. I know.

 

Melissa Camilleri (39:02.418)

Like that was such an awesome connection because we talk about we're not just business friends like we talk about life stuff all the time now what a blessing that was.

 

Rachel (39:11.907)

Yeah. I forget that we've never met in person. That is weird. All these years later and all these long boxers. And so what I think is really important there is this power of community, of networking, of relationships, and surrounding yourself with like-minded people with similar values who are committed to the same level of excellence as you and all of that. And so you and Angela have created something new, which I'm a member of, which I think is really brilliant. And I've already made some really fantastic connections there just in a few weeks. And so would love for you to share how that came to be and what your mission is.

 

Melissa Camilleri (39:57.17)

Yeah, so when Angela and I started Stand For The And, there was, you know, we had this whole list of people who we had worked with in the past, but for me, primarily, many of the people that I was connected to were from e-commerce. They weren't service providers. Now we were sort of switching markets with who we were serving in Stand For The And. And so I felt like, okay, I need to do something to get into some different rooms. And so I started looking for networks.

There's lots of networks for beginners, like for baby businesses. That's amazing and I was part of those for many years. And then there's some networks like high-end masterminds for people who are like, you know, killing it in seven, eight-figure businesses. But for this like very established, profitable, been at this for quite some time, middle business owner.

There weren't very many networks for us. And so Angela and I were like, okay, we know a lot of very amazing people who all need to know each other. What if we started this? Well, Angela is the growth strategist for Sherry Solata. Sherry Solata is the last executive producer for the Oprah show and the former co-president of the OWN network in Harpo Studios, which is just fabulous. She's connected to a million people. And so she said, oh,I would love to have something like that inside of the network that I have. 

And she runs a personal development membership model called the support system and it's incredible. And she has like all the big names. I mean, she's had Deepak Chopra come in, she's had Dr. Shafali and Martha Beck, and she just had Chris Carr come in. So like, you know, big name people with thought leadership in the thought leadership circles come in. So she said, well, we don't have anything like for professional development and professional networking. So why don't you guys create this network within my network? And we're like, okay, that's amazing. And Sheri is so lovely and so generous. And so we co-founded this network together just, I mean, like a month ago, a month and a half ago. Like six weeks ago, it was brand new, but it has already grown. We're nearly to 200 participants already, and it's incredible women who are established business owners, and our core philosophy is generosity, reciprocity, and expansion. 

And so everyone who has been joining is there for those core reasons, that they understand that the way to, or maybe they don't, it's not that this is the only way to grow a business, but the way that they want to grow their business is by connecting person to person and creating a really strong referral network. And there's countless times in my business where somebody has introduced me to somebody else that's open, just like the most incredible doors. It's the way that you and I met. It's the way that I met Angela, my co-founder and started a whole agency with her. We were introduced by a mutual friend.

It's the way that Angela ended up as Sherry's growth strategist and it gets us into rooms that like, I mean, I'm a high school English teacher by trade. How do I know? Fancy people! Like, I'm just not that fancy of a person, right? But networking and approaching relationships from a place of generosity has always, always paid off in dividends. And so this Prosper Network is a place to grow together with other like-minded women, primarily for women. I don't think we would turn away a man, but everything is geared to women.

You would have to be really down for that, which is fine. And I'm so glad to hear that you're already making really fabulous connections. I'm blown away by the women who have raised their hand already to say that they want to be a part of this. And I know it's only going to grow from here. So if you're listening, we'd love to have you. 

 

Rachel (44:08.927)

Yeah, it really is a fantastic group. And you did, you recognized that there was a gap. You were looking for something for yourself. And you said, oh, there's just not that much out here for us in the middle. And so yeah, I do think it serves a really large community that has been neglected. Somewhere between I'm starting a business, And I have tens of thousands of dollars to invest in high level mastermind. There's this massive group of people who are like, I want to network, I want to be with like-minded people. And I want it to be authentic and genuine. And you really have created something beautiful. So congratulations on that.

 

Melissa Camilleri (44:54.478)

Thank you so much. Thank you. I'm so, when I saw that you joined, I was like, oh yay. This is gonna be so awesome. More time to hang out.

 

Rachel (45:03.607)

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. If you had one piece of advice to give our listeners about how to stay in this or how to work their way into this state of designing a business that really fits their lifestyle, what would be the one thing you would share with them?

 

Melissa Camilleri (45:28.318)

Oh my gosh, I would say make time to reflect, which I think many entrepreneurs don't do. We're often onto the next thing, onto the next thing. If even if it's one day a month to sit down and look at, look at your calendar, look and see what was taking up your time and are the things that are taking up your time aligning with your values. And if they are great, you're probably feeling amazing. And if they aren't, then what needs to change? What needs to take priority on your calendar in order for you to start feeling like you are prioritizing the things that you value the most? I think that there is so much benefit in reflection and we just don't do enough of it. And I think that's why, Rachel, you're in business. Because you ask people these hard questions to reflect on some of the things that we might not be aware of when we're just in the grind and going in the day to day, but to stop and reflect is I think the most important skill. Wow. I'm proud of you.

 

Rachel (46:32.891)

Amazing. Thank you so much. Thank you for being here Melissa, and thank you all for listening. I will see you on the next episode. Until then, I'm wishing you even more pleasure and profits. Take care.

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