How to Build a Strategic Business Plan

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How to Build a Strategic Business Plan

As a business owner, it’s difficult to do the right work AND guide your company toward its next big initiative.

With Red Direction Business Base Camp, learn how to implement and handle processes to meet your business’s specific needs and better understand your market.

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Starting the conversation:

Each of us has an ultimate goal, and it is important to know what that goal is. Once known, creating the right business strategy, choosing the right priorities, and navigating the difficulties that exist in every business become easier since you know what is nonnegotiable.

It takes time to build, deploy, and gain adoption of your product. Without knowing where – and the reason why – you are going in a particular direction, it’s easy to become discouraged and give up. Listen in as Jess Dewell talks with Melissa Kwan, CEO and co-founder at eWebinar, about the importance of taking all the time needed to define and use your guiding star to navigate growing your business.

Your business has a core driving factor that influences the way people do work in your organization. Three businesses in, Melissa Kwan, CEO and co-founder at eWebinar, discovered that starting a business from what makes you happy accomplishes more than a business that gets you to a finite goal.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guests: Melissa Kwan

What You Will Hear:

The equation for your life was given to you by those that raised you.

Usually we look at happiness as the top of a pyramid, however, it really is the base.

How a successful exit can launch you into what is next for you.

It takes time to design, build, and implement to build a new business. There are no shortcuts.

Design your business to add to what is missing in the world like Melissa Kwan has as the CEO at

Three companies later, Melissa has learned to start from a place of happiness.

Freedom is one of her non-negotiables, facilitates her ability to live the way she wants.

Non-negotiables inform decisions to align choices to your ultimate goal.

Additionally, for the Fast Track Your Business Today Uncut conversation:

Your ultimate goal is your guiding star.

Your goals can change, and it is ok they do (because you change too!).

Navigating through what keeps moving you toward your ultimate goal can be tough sometimes, stick with it.

Do you want to feel good for a moment or now and into the future?

Disconnect and go on vacation. It’s a mental health must.

Constraints in the design help you work more creatively.

It is BOLD to dedicate time to design your business strategy from happiness.

Get started and make a difference in your business with a Growth Framework Reset.

Melissa Kwan Quote - How to Build a Strategic Business Plan



Melissa Kwan 00:00
So many things are happening in the world that I wasn’t a part of. That was a big part of me wanting to move on from that previous company because I just wasn’t happy where I was. And every day that I was there meant a day away from something else that I could be doing.

Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions it can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place. Your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.

Jess Dewell 01:05
Welcome to the Bold Business Podcast. And today we’re talking about life, we’re talking about more than life, we’re talking about how work fits into our life, how that career that makes us able to contribute to the world can also fulfill us when we choose how we choose and what we need to be thinking about. And here’s the deal, part of that is automation. And so before I introduce you to Melissa, what I want to do is I want to make sure that you know you can be listening to this on your favorite listening platform, so head to Red, so that you can listen on Apple or Oh, and of course, they’re all going to escape me now Google, or even Spotify and probably like seven others in addition to that, so you’re not missing out. Plus, that’s where the show notes for this will be. So links and notes about what we are talking about will be in the shorthand to add value to add some depth to what we are going to be talking about today. That’s at Red And don’t forget, don’t forget, another part of that is the Fast Track Your Business program. This is an on-demand and just-in-time program that allows you to focus on growth, actively develop yourself as a leader to get better results, and to find the solutions to facilitate finding those results getting to those results. Now. You know what this means? You know, it’s time for me to introduce you to the webinar, co-founder and CEO, Melissa Kwan, she has spent 12 years in startups. Not only that she has three successful companies without venture capital backing. You know what that means? Many of you are doing that. And you know what that means those of you with venture capital, it’s a different world, yet the problems are similar the challenges and the pressure can be just as mounting. So regardless of where you’re listening from, or what your background is, you know, that one of the things that you can learn from especially in this from somebody who has had successful startups and is successfully in that startup, again, that comes from somebody who’s walked it beginning to end, her previous startup was a real estate tech company, and it was acquired in 2019. So Melissa sees herself as a revenue-driven founder, specializing in sales and business development. Not only that, she is incredibly resourceful, which is one of Red Direction’s, values. And that always catches my attention when people say they’re resourceful, and they actually show us that they are. And you’re going to hear directly from her about that. Not only does she work with less resources overall, that actually allows her to have space and time to automate what she can outsource what she can and inspire talented people to come join her team with a shared focus. All right, Melissa, not only that, I’m gonna let you tell them what you have been doing over the last decade because happiness has actually become a big part of your world. So first, welcome to the show. Second, let’s jump right into this whole concept of we can do it and be happy to.

Melissa Kwan 04:19
Wow, just thank you. That’s quite the introduction to myself and also your show. Thanks for that. I really love being present for all that.

Jess Dewell 04:29
Thank you. Good. I’m glad you know, that’s one of those. If you can’t tell I actually liked doing this. And that’s the thing that really matters. And I think that’s part of the happiness piece too. Right? The idea that we can have that be a core, it doesn’t have to be hot, it can be difficult, and we can still be happy. It could be designed and there could be challenges and we can still have happy.

Melissa Kwan 04:52
Yes, I mean, I definitely agree with that. And it was, I would say a learned skill. Like that’s not That’s not where I started. I’ve been in startups for 12 years, I would say my first two were not started from that place of happiness, not because I didn’t want to write just because I didn’t know that. That had to be the case. And I think a lot of people like me, follow this kind of equation in life, right? Like you go to school, you study what, maybe you want to remain what your parents want to, and then you get a job that fits that education because that’s what you’re supposed to do. And then before you know it, you’re, you’re in this job that if you, if you love it, I think you’ve hit the jackpot. But I would say that we really come to know ourselves, maybe in our late 20s, or in our 30s, right, but the education that we chose was in our teens. And so how can you expect your you know, what makes you happy in your late 20s, in your 30s, to be the same as what made you happy, or what made you think made you happy, and you’re in your 20s, right, or in your early 20s. So So I think a lot of people like imagine this as, as like a triangle, like as a pyramid, where your education is on the bottom, and your career is in the middle. And then you try to find happiness, which I think is will, I think is the reason why a lot of people’s aren’t really happy in, in their lives or in their careers and in our careers are such a big part of our lives. So if what we do is not what gives us energy, then we’re constantly seeking things that make us happy. And maybe that’s a band-aid solution, right? Maybe that’s what we do on the weekends, or after hours with our friends. But imagine, and this is what I had to learn after my last startup was acquired as imagine that pyramid was inverse. Imagine your foundation being happiness. And imagine if you find a career on top of what makes you happy. And then imagine you could go out and seek that knowledge to make your career thought thrive, which is actually a much easier way. Because knowledge can be acquired, right? Whereas what makes you happy is, is really the foundation of who you are. So that’s what I believe, and a life should be. And that’s how I believe like, you can build a life of happiness as if that is your starting point versus where you end up.

Jess Dewell 07:32
So oh, there’s so many things I want to say. And so many things that I want to ask. And it’s easy to say. And here’s the thing, you did it. So let’s start at the end of the acquisition, you did whatever you had to do after the company was acquired. And now you’re out and you have space. And there’s like this nothingness. This nothingness that shows up. And you’re like, well, now what do I do with all this time? I have this time, maybe I’ll travel maybe I’ll do this. What did you do? What the first, what did you do after your last acquisition? Did you take a bubble of time?

Melissa Kwan 08:12
I mean, that’s a great question. The thing I did was I started a third company.

Jess Dewell 08:17
Okay, so you didn’t wait at all? By the way? I think you’re in, you’re in good company. I’m the same. Yeah, I mean, that bubble of time does something nothing. I don’t know what that means.

Melissa Kwan 08:29
I mean, it was also I would have loved to do nothing. Yeah, like I would have loved to retire. And you know, and I can’t say go travel. Because I was already traveling, I was the I mean, I’m still digital nomad thing. And I’m in my fourth year of that. So I was already traveling and enjoy that part of my life. But truthfully, I didn’t sell my company for retirement level of money. Like I sold it for life-changing money. And it was really good for myself with my co-founder. But I couldn’t just go and do nothing. And I didn’t, I knew that whatever I did next would be another five years like that you can, when you start a business, you can be smarter about things. But there’s so many things that like that there are no shortcuts for, especially a technology company like your product can only built be built as fast as time allows as how many people you have. And even then there’s a trial and error, like process that you have to go through the technology. So I knew whatever the next thing was, it was going to be five years and I don’t want to be working for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be working for that long. And also, so many things are happening in the world that I wasn’t a part of. And that was a big part of me, you know, wanting to move on from that previous company because I just wasn’t happy where I was. And I saw old and every day that I was there meant a day away from something else that I could be doing and I That time, I didn’t know what that was yet, but I knew I wasn’t a part of it. So there was an opportunity cost that was costing more than, you know, the value of the company or what, what I was making from it. So it was probably like two months after that company was acquired, I was still working for the previous company, and I got my CEO to sign off on me starting something else that was completely unrelated. So he knew it wasn’t competing. He also knew that if he didn’t let me do this other thing, then I wouldn’t really be be very focused, right? Because I just needed something else for my brain to be creative. And so yeah, to my backer, I starated to [inaudible].

Jess Dewell 10:38
You know, that’s, that’s an incredible thing to recognize in yourself. And I really want to call out and compliment that because, one, and I’m not good at this either. By the way, ah, I think happiness is somehow found its way into my world, in spite of myself. So we. So the accidental happiness factor or the inspite of myself factor is really what the other side of this conversation is. And I think it’s great that what we’re going to be talking, you know, as we’re talking today, the things that are going to develop are going to come from two different lenses, you having a similar one to me in your past and having a new one now, and recognizing I’m somewhere else on that journey. And so I think between the two of us will be able to paint this great picture and share some really good information. And I want to say, I think it’s interesting, and I want to dig into that I knew what I did next would be for at least five years. Now was, is that like a personal litmus test? Or was that a is that part of your by design? I know we’re not to the design part yet. I’m just like, I’m picking up these clues. And I’m curious.

Melissa Kwan 11:48
I mean, I think there is an equation when it comes to technology companies, right? Like there’s a, there’s a branding, you know, there’s a naming of the company, there’s coming up with the concept, there’s wireframing, and then designing the UX and then actually finding people to do all those things. And then actually building the first version and specking it and testing it and then putting it out there and then getting it to the point where somebody will pay for it so Sastre which is like, you know, one of the biggest SAS communities, they also generate a lot of content. I think they’re like, they like Jason Lemkin said, you know, minimum two years. I mean, that’s, that’s if you knew exactly what you’re doing from day one. It took us, I think, a little I think it took us like probably two years, or maybe a little less than that to get to that first version that somebody would pay for. But this is an idea that I thought about for five years as well. Yeah, so a lot of that. And I had a pre like two previous startups, and one that was sold. So I already knew like, where I was headed. Like, there are so many ideas that if you think through, like, if you dig deeper, you realize like, actually, I don’t want to pursue that like, so I’m talking about like ideation to like saying, Yes, this is the thing I’m going to do to like, then branding, and all that stuff, like I would say, usually takes more than two years. And then you have an eye, say five years, because you’ve got the years after that when it goes to market for that to even pay you. Like we’ve been doing this for a little over three years now. Like I don’t pay myself, like every I eat last. So it’s gonna take that long for you to prove that this is going to be a real business, for you to continue paying people to grow this business, and then eventually have profit to pay yourself. So I think that journey is probably you know, four to five years, and we’re in year three for this company right now.

You were listening to the Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited and uncut. And we don’t just stop there. There are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You will also have unlimited access to one, hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often. Two, experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, The Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere. You can access what will become your most versatile tool in your toolkit by going to FastTrackYou Now back to Jess.

Jess Dewell 14:50
So you’re talking about what was missing in the world when you were designing this next company and before we get into happiness and some other things or continue talking about happiness and some other things So what is the webinar?

Melissa Kwan 15:04
A great question. So E webinar is an automated webinars solution. So we save people from doing the same webinar over and over again. So that could be a sales demo sales, pitch, onboarding, training, continuous education. So anything that you might be delivering over and over again, live on Zoom, right now, what we do is we take your perfect picture, perfect video, and we deliver it like the webinar. So you can run it 100 times 1000 times every single month, without actually needing to be there in front of a camera to run that webinar.

Jess Dewell 15:40
You know, I appreciate you really laying that out. Because there are a lot of people that listen to this show that would like it to be slightly more instantaneous than what you’re describing. And even if it’s not, and I’m going to just put in here, even if it’s not a technology company, you do have a roadmap and that time is necessary, there is going to be a required patience for the right things to come together based off of the effort that is put in. And it’s not instantaneous. And so if it’s just an individual going out and just selling a service, and you’re doing a dollars for hours kind of process, this might be a really foreign concept to you. And so I’m gonna say as we’re talking about designing this really listened to what Melissa is saying, and sharing, because there is something more to this and flipping out of that and having a different kind of freedom. So understanding. And so I’m going to stop there, because otherwise I’ll end up on a soapbox, because this is about you, Melissa, and your story. One of the things I’d like to hear from you is when you’re thinking about this, and in this concept of building a company that has a platform that gets users that goes through all of the processes and the iterations. And you’ve done this before, so you know where you’re going. Does that actually make it easier? The third time?

Melissa Kwan 17:07
Um, yes. And I say that because my so my first company morphed into my second company. So even though my second company was incorporated for like, five years, and that’s how long it took for it to sell, the first one morphed into the second one. So the whole journey felt like it was eight years, right? So a lot of that was trial and error. A lot of that was like what is the thing that somebody is willing to put their credit card in for. And I’ll say that we are at like, peak, like expectations right now like our expectations of what something should be and what features it should have, like, just think about the last time you downloaded an app, how many seconds that you give it before you gave up. And that time is only shortening and, and maybe for like business products like b2b products, what we build like that time is a little bit longer. But there’s still this like expectation that it should do all this stuff. So part of the journey of developing this and creating that first version is figuring out like what are like what is the set of features that I’m going to put out there, that someone’s willing to put their credit card out for, it doesn’t mean that I have to have every single feature that my competitor has, in fact, it shouldn’t. However, it should have a set of features, or 10 times feature that 110 times feature that people are going to switch for or people are going to sign up for. And that’s your competitive advantage. So I would say that like coming to this third business, that r&d period is much shorter, right, I no longer like I no longer put out things that like I didn’t have a customer for, right, I was no longer chasing a competitor. Yep. But I was really focusing on what is, what is missing in the status quo, like what is missing in the world. And let’s focus on doing a really good job on that. Like I was really, I was bad at saying no to things. Whereas coming to the webinar, like I knew exactly what to say no to. And that’s really important. Because when you say yes to something, you’re also saying no to something else. So saying no to things is really, I would say more important in building a business than, than saying yes to things. Right? People don’t want to be so convoluted, right? They don’t want a convoluted complicated solution, they want something really simple that achieves a goal that either makes them money, or lowers their cost, right? Because there’s only two ways to get to profitability is to make more revenue or lower cost. So whatever you put out there should achieve, you know, one of those two things. So, so coming into this one, that r&d prereq period was significantly shortened with the experience that I had previously. So in that way, it’s easier but you know, is, you know, putting a product out there and branding IT and marketing and like, get acquiring users and keeping them is that easier? No, in fact, it’s getting exponentially harder because of who we are as a society. Right Like we have like, an even when someone’s your customer, it takes them so little to not become your customer because maybe they got distracted, or maybe they didn’t get started. Or maybe there was another solution that gave them a free thing that they could substitute yours with. Right. So I would say like, that part’s getting harder, but getting to market from ideation has definitely gotten easier.

Jess Dewell 20:24
I like that. I like that differentiation because they are two, they are two very different parts of business and business development. It, would you consider that your biggest learning from your journey so far? Is there something else in that?

Melissa Kwan 20:40
I mean, that, that is a big part of the learning. But what we mentioned earlier about starting from a place of happiness, that that I would say is my biggest learning, right? Like, after my, my company was acquired, like, I kind of had some time to think about, okay, why was I always a little bit frustrated? Like, why was I not able to feel success? What I was supposed to, like, when I closed the big deal, or when we became profitable, or, you know, when we hired a new person and whatnot, when I didn’t have to worry about money anymore. Like, why was I still frustrated? And I realized that I didn’t even really like what I was doing. I didn’t like my customers. I didn’t I didn’t like my industry, I woke up, like from a place of frustration, because I just hated all of it. And I didn’t really understand why. And it’s exactly because, you know, before I started startups, I was in technology. And then I was in real estate. And then I decided to put the two together. So then I had real estate technology companies, but I never loved the industry I never loved you know, I never loved my customers, i There’s no other way to put it. Right? Yeah. And the product that I was putting out there, it was, you know, an open house checking product, right, instead of signing in on a piece of paper, you would check it on an iPad, I was putting out a product that would make real estate agents lives marginally better. And then I was, it wasn’t to me fulfilling. Like, it wasn’t like changing the world in any way or making anyone’s lives better, right in a way that made me feel fulfilled. And then I was selling to an audience that traditionally doesn’t spend money on technology. So there was a lot of support, there was a lot of lift there was it was super hard to get people to adopt the product because that was just an audience that wasn’t used to it. And then I wasn’t venture funded. So it was extremely hard to keep the team going well, while the bizdev it moves really slow. And yes, like we did see, you know, the light at the end of that tunnel eventually, but it was just so hard. Whereas coming into the webinar, it was like I wanted to make a product that was a reflection of me, number one, like what I believed in, which was freedom, like because I was traveling, I really believe that everybody should be able to do that, and have freedom from their business, but also grow it at the same time. So coming into this, I made a list of what my non-negotiables were first. And then I found a business that fit that. And those non-negotiables were the things that made me happy. And I had a bunch of different ideas. And this was the one that you know, I always thought about that stuff, but also checked all the boxes. And now even though things are hard, I know that I’m giving back someone else, like someone their time, some of their freedom. So yeah, it’s hard. But it’s so much more fulfilling. When somebody comes to you and says, because of the webinar, I’m taking my first vacation. Like because of this, I am delaying hiring another salesperson like those stories are so much more fulfilling to me, then what I was doing before, and that’s really my biggest learning.

Jess Dewell 24:02
Talk about this. I feel like you’re a sister from another mother. We’re fine. Because we are finding and by the way, so listeners hear this too. You’re probably like, Hey, she can be my long-lost cousin of some kind. Or that person I passed on the street and I had an eye we had smiled and I had no idea how cool she actually was. Here’s the deal, though. When we have this realization, and you’ve had this realization, and you’ve use, you said before I started my next company, I didn’t know what it was, but I wrote down my non-negotiables. That piece right there. Most of us skip over and then what ends up happening is here I come I’ll tell you this, Melissa and you may have had somebody like me in your past that comes along and says I don’t understand what’s going on here. If you’re so stressed out and you’re pulled in all these directions, what are you going to say no to? We can’t say no to anything. Or we don’t know what we can say no to. And here you have just defined it in one of these biggest learnings. And I also have a problem saying no, I like to say yes, I like to think that somebody thinks that I could contribute to them. And of course, I would like to live up to that, we all do. Yet, it does take away from where we’re going. So when you think about freedom, okay, but I just have to ask, because I know everybody else is going to want to know what draws you to the life of a digital nomad?

Melissa Kwan 25:42
I mean, what doesn’t draw me a question. I would I moved to New York, from Vancouver to grow my previous company, because New York is the real estate capital of the world. And like, you know, anyone who like, it’s so weird, right? New York is the only city where people make a show about real estate agents. And everybody watches it. Right? Like my roommate in New York, my first roommate like his he was a banker, but he loved floor plans, like how was that a hobby. But in New York, like you actually would go to these new sales centers and look at floor plans, because that was what he was interested in. And this was like, you’re very unique to you New York. So I moved there to grow my previous company and real estate tech. And I lived in a house with a few other entrepreneurs, I started a co-living space, back then that’s like a whole other tangent. But it became like the halfway house for people moving to Manhattan. And because it was situated in the middle of Manhattan, we also attracted like a lot of like trust of Koreans and like trust fund babies. And there was like, a lot of there was just a lot of different personalities, the manners that like when you’re the manager of the house. Isn’t that fun? So I started to like we were paying like astronomical rent, like the rent of this place was ridiculous. It was a 3000 square foot five-bedroom house in the middle of Manhattan, like next to Union Square. So anyone that’s been in New York knows that it’s like super expensive. So I was traveling because being in that house sometimes was really frustrating living with four other people with all like Type A personalities. So my partner and I, we would, he was I also met him through the house. He was like my first Airbnb guest. So we would be paying crazy rent for this house, but also escaping and traveling. So one day, I was like, why are we traveling, like paying to travel but also paying for like half this house? Why wouldn’t we just travel and not pay for this house. And the sharing economy has made that super easy. And I’m not talking just Airbnb, I’m talking like communities where people like, don’t like they’re not allowed to Airbnb, but they might like sublet to a friend, or like, Make space, right? The new kind of storage where you don’t need to have a storage locker, you get these boxes, and they bring it back to you. So we looked at all the services that actually made this possible. So and then we just did the math, or like, we could just live in Argentina for a month, and have fun there, instead of paying like six, seven grand a month for, for our place in New York. And also, you know, also do this traveling. So that made it really compelling. And I was always working remote, I didn’t I don’t really believe in like my nine to five and like office spaces and stuff I never have. So it didn’t really make a difference to me. And, you know, we started that four years ago now. And just the experiences that come from that makes it you know, super compelling. And, you know, for people listening, you might think like, but you don’t have a home base like, Yeah, we didn’t have home base for three years, we traveled even on a hand carry. We hated checking luggage because I took time away from, from going like from, from going into something else. Right. So we would just travel on a hand carry, we had like, different spots that we had in the world, whether it be like an office or like our friend’s place. And I just can’t see life any other way. Although a couple years ago, we fell in love with Amsterdam and decided to invest in a place there. So now we do have a home base, but we most of the time we do experiences. So I think the most compelling thing is, is just life. Like because we don’t like I mean he has kids with, with his ex but they’re like young adults now. Going to university. So I think like life has a lot to offer. And we are in a day like in this day and age where it makes it possible. Whereas like in the past it hasn’t. So that in itself is just super compelling.

Jess Dewell 29:41
So freedom all the way through. Absolutely. Yeah. It’s a good definition of freedom and the actions that you’re taking help illustrate what that means to you, Melissa, when you and so we’ve got to know about your webinar because we’re talking about freedom. We’re talking about processes We’re talking about learning, we’re talking about the challenges we’re talking about, that you can design a life that you want. So not only have you started a webinar from a place of happiness, it sounds like one of your non-negotiables was being stuck somewhere, for lack of a better term. And I use the word stuck because that’s a reflection of what I’m hearing from you, that may not be the right word to use to be tied to a specific place, you want it to be able to do all of these things in your work, your livelihood, your passion, your desire to contribute, needed to fit that as well.

Melissa Kwan 30:35
Yeah, I mean, my non-negotiables, even as a kid, right? Like before, my first job has always been, I want to do something with limitless potential. I want to do something that allows me to do it from my desk, no matter where my desk was in the morning. And really, that, that was it like, and if anything, went against that. I would just quit. And you had mentioned why non-negotiables were important, right? And because having that allows you to say yes, and no to things that take you farther, right? Like you, like we talked about saying no to talk about saying yes. But like how do you know how to make a decision if you don’t know whether or not a contributes towards your ultimate goal? So if my like, I don’t think that in life, like, you ever stay in the same place, right? It’s like, does this take me closer or farther than my ultimate goal, it’s not going to be the same. So with every job opportunity, it’s like, okay, well, does it fit those two things or not. And coming into the webinar, there were like layers of things I added on top, right, like things like, and I don’t mean, like non-negotiables can be very broad. They don’t have to be like, of course, very, very specific. So for me, it was, I wanted a product that I could sell through the internet. And what I mean by like, previously, in my, in that company, that software was sold through conferences, like setting up booths going to network being there like in person. So first quarter, I would be on a plane every single week. And I was already one of those people that didn’t do that a lot, a lot of my peers would, would do that a few times a week for half a year. But if you didn’t appear in person, you couldn’t sell that piece of software. So that really infringed on my lifestyle. Yeah, so I wanted coming into this one, if I could start over again, I wanted something bigger, just sell over the internet. And if I wanted to go to an event, if I wanted to go see a customer, I could do that. But I didn’t have to. I wanted to build a company with friends, that was really important to me. So we have some family of friends, founding friends, investors, not VCs, but they’re all like super good friends of ours, like people that we would like to have over for the holidays, people we’ve traveled with like, and my idea of this is if, if and when this becomes successful, we would be able to share our like profits and dividends, and host company retreats where all of our best friends would come. And like that’s the philosophy of the of this company is to build a lifestyle for people that we care about. And that was, you know, one of those non-negotiables. And it was like to do something that like, is meaningful to me. And, you know, Freedom has always been my number one priority. And that’s been reflected in, you know, having remote like having a remote team working remote myself, and also, being a digital nomad, being able to travel anywhere, and also giving our team the opportunity to do that as well. It wasn’t just me, like everybody on our team could do that if they wanted to. And what I also realized is, the idea of freedom is so much more important than the execution of freedom itself. And I say that because nobody on our team has ever taken that privilege. They just knew they could. And because of that they never left. Because of that, we were able to, like keep people and not lose them to somebody like Amazon or Facebook. Right? Because they, they appreciate it and value that freedom, even though they never took it. Isn’t it isn’t that interesting, right? The things that you learn about like just human psychology.

Jess Dewell 34:25
And really what drives us and what we want to be doing and how giving voice to something that we want. And that we find important. Turns out other people that we didn’t realize might like the same thing or feel good about the same thing or fulfill the same way. Turn up. We find the people we’re supposed to be working with that we can make the biggest difference with when we know what those non-negotiables are and why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s what I hear you saying is that a good reflection of that Melissa?

Melissa Kwan 35:01
Yeah, I mean, I think ultimately, like, you can call it freedom or you can call it control. Right? I think, ultimately people want to have control over their lives. And that, I guess, not aspects. But when I talk about like our team, like, what I, what I did, by giving them the freedom to work remotely and travel and work from the road is I also gave them control over their time. There, we don’t have hours like nobody does, as long as the customer comes first, even now, right? Like, you can work on weekends, you don’t have to, and if there’s an, if there’s an issue, we expect you to fix it. Right? Like, if we don’t have sick days, we don’t have vacation days, like so. But because of that, we also attract people that vibe with that, right? We attract people that are super self-motivated, that want to be a part of this thing, that have taken less like salary to join this team because of this culture. Because they just love being part of this. Of course, they have to believe in the product as well. But like, I think giving people control over their life is freedom. Right? Like what, what is freedom to me, right? It’s the, it’s the ability to say yes or no to things, right. It’s being able to get up, like late morning and not start, you know, at 830 or nine, right? It’s to be, it’s the freedom to be where I want to be, right. It’s to say, like, I want to attend a friend’s wedding and not have to apply for holidays. Like that’s, that’s huge. And, and I think it’s becoming almost a trend right now. Like if you don’t have some sort of remote work policy, like you’re not going to be able to retain your talent, or attract new talent. I mean, unless you’re Apple or Facebook and you’re paying like a crazy amount, but even then, you’re gonna have to have some sort of remote work policy because it’s expected especially after what happened in 2020.

Jess Dewell 37:06
Okay, so I have so many things that we’re going to be talking about, you were talking about your the ultimate goal of each and every one of us and yours. You have mentioned about this concept of designing freedom. And I even want to hear how you’re working on your business. And so for those of you who have been joining us this far, take what Melissa has shared, use it, and your next present retreat, and the things you’re working on, and the challenges you’re facing, How can this challenge of flipping it, and putting happiness first, knowing what’s non-negotiable and how does that change how you show up to move your company forward. That’s what you can take away. Everyone else, you know who you are. Fast track your business program people, you go over to your Ture North, and you will hear this uncut program that has already been delivered most likely to your listening device, and has all the resources plus more for the uncut waiting for you.

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