Episode 181 | August 13, 2019

It’s Not About Work-Life Balance with Felecia Hatcher

A Personal Note From Orion

Maintaining a perfect balance between career, family, relationships, and your personal hobbies seem like an impossible task. And in some ways, it is. Although you may have superwoman powers that help you juggle all aspects of your life, you’re still a human. And you need to put yourself and the priorities in your life first, which starts by learning how to say no. 

Yes, you really do have to choose your priorities, and this will require you to be 100% honest with yourself and the things that mean the most to you. Is it having a busy social life? Or is it spending more time on your personal hobbies? Whatever you discover, fully embrace it and get comfortable saying no to everything else. That way, when people ask how you seemingly “do it all” you can confidently say, “I don’t. I do what I love!” 

I often tell my coaching clients that self-care is one of the first things you should focus on if you want to attract your soulmate. But, the idea behind this applies in all aspects of your life. Felecia Hatcher is my guest today, and I am grateful for her time on the show because as you will see, she is very particular about where she spends her time. She has mastered the art of saying “no” to the things that don’t fulfill her, yet still rocks a booming business and a wonderful family. Learn how she seems to ‘do it all’ by tuning in to this episode!



About Today’s Show

Hello and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. This is your host, Orion, and I am proud to present to you, my guest, Felicia Hatcher. She’s on a mission to lead communities across the globe of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech and startup ecosystems. As an author and the co-founder of Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab, Code Fever, and Black Tech Week, she is busy. And one of the aspects of this conversation that I liked a lot beyond becoming an epic expert was how she managed to run her business and also run her family and do so many things while being a mom. It’s admirable that she’s managing to do all that while giving her advice golden. Felicia was featured on NBC Today Show, MSNBC, Forbes, INC, The Cooking Channel, and many, many more. And now without further ado, onto the show.

Hey, Felecia, and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. It’s great to have you here.

Thank you so much, Orion, for having me on the show.

Thank you. Before we start, can you share a little bit about yourself?

Sure. I am based in Florida. For the past five years, I’ve been on a mission to rid communities of innovation desert. I do a lot of work with startups and ecosystem architecture of how communities can be more innovative and better supportive of their entrepreneurs. Specifically, making sure that the startup communities that they’re building are authentically diverse from the beginning.

Okay, cool. Why’d this become your passion?

For a number of reasons. One, I’ve been an entrepreneur for a really long time and not necessarily had the community to support the work that I was doing, just have a community to lean on the good, the bad, and the ugly. That’s one component. I’ve worked with a lot of young people when I first started doing the work that I’m doing, so I have a soft spot for that.

I was a C student in high school. When a guidance counselor told me I’d pretty much never amount to anything, which sucks, it fueled my passion to prove this lady wrong. But it happens to many young people. That also became the fuel behind the work that we’re doing, our young people have really amazing ideas. They’re extremely innovative and with the right resources and the right support, they can flourish. Same thing with our startup founders.

I’m a mom with two kids as well. I’m an author. I am a global transformational and motivational speaker. A lot has fueled all of that work, but most importantly, I just want to make sure that the communities that we’re building are competitive globally and that requires a lot. All of that fuels the work that I do in the tech and innovation space and working with entrepreneurs.

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Being a busy mom, an entrepreneur, and doing all the million things that you do—I went on your website, it’s massive, you do so much. How do you do all of that together?

I’ve done a lot over the course of my career but I have a really amazing team. Between my staff, my husband and I have grown a few businesses together, so he’s definitely my right-hand man. I have a kick-ass executive assistant. Then, I outsource a lot in my life.

It’s so funny because this past week, I went through Chris Ducker’s Your 3 Lists to Freedom. I was going through this process of elimination like “Okay, I’m outsourcing cleaning. I do Instacart.” We outsource all that stuff but there’s still this angst with doing certain things. So I’m just like, “I’m doing another list. What are the things that I hate doing? What are the things that I struggled doing? What are the things I should not be doing at all?” I find myself doing that once every six months or once every year.

You can be a master at outsourcing but then things just creep in when you take on new projects. When you have a new baby like I had last year, and I was just like, “Things are not as simple as I want them to be. What are the things that I’ve started to gather up again that I should not be doing?”

What are some of the things that you are outsourcing right now from your last list?

I outsource cleaning. We have a husband and wife, actually, they come and clean our condo once a week. Completely outsource grocery shopping. Instacart is my friend. We outsource cooking as well. We do it every now and then. My husband and I travel so much and then we have two young kids—a five-year-old and a nine-month-old—that it’s just insanity for us. Then we ended up picking very bad eating habits because Postmates and Uber Eats become your best friend which is not always the healthiest option, so I outsource that as well.

Then I have an executive assistant like I mentioned, that my husband and I share. Her name’s Gloria. She’s awesome. I don’t think I could function without her. Then laundry with Sadiz is another thing that I outsource.

That’s great. Do you have a chef at home?

No. We have a meal prep service that we started using. But before that, it was a pretty hefty bill composed of Uber Eats and Postmates that was getting really crazy. Then we looked at it and we’re just like, “We’re spending way too much money on this and we’re not eating healthy. It would be much cheaper than just have someone come in and meal prep for us every week.”

Oh, that’s great. How did you find the glorious Gloria?

It’s funny because she was referred to me by a really good friend of mine. For maybe about six months, she was following up and I was just like, “I can’t afford this woman, but I need someone.” Then the whole opportunity cost comes in and all the things that are falling by the wayside, contracts that I was starting to lose, sponsors that weren’t getting responded back to, and I just suck at email. I am horrible at email. I finally was just like, “You know what? I’m just going to give this a trial and if I can figure out how to make the money back, I will keep going.”

Have something tangible because once you speak, people would want to take a piece of you home with them.

For the first month, it was just like, “Oh, my God. I don’t know,” and then I paid the second month and by the second month, she actually helped me secure a speaking contract that I had just been trying to figure out because so much stuff was going on. I wasn’t being as responsive as I needed to and I was just like, “Okay, she’s already paid for a few months of herself in this one speaking contract,” and it’s just been amazing.

That’s their zone of genius. It’s not my zone of genius to be as detail-oriented and can be responsive to emails and responsive on the phone. I have to realize that. That’s something that I’ve worked on. I was just like, “That is very much my zone of incompetence.” It’s definitely my zone of incompetence. That has helped a lot. It was a referral from a friend. But they have a company, it’s called Executive Assistants, if anyone is interested. They’re local here but they’re virtual, so they don’t work in our co-working space.

I think I need more help because we have people on our team, my husband and I but it just seems like they have so much on their plate that I need to get an extra person just for me. 

Virtual assistant life is the bomb. I’m in a mastermind group and right now, they’re talking about personal assistants and a house manager which I’m still trying to figure out exactly what a house manager does, but one of the ladies is like, “Get a house manager and they will change your life.” I was like, “Okay. Let me figure that part out.”

What’s a house manager? I feel like a house manager is for somebody with a mansion.

Right. That’s what I was saying. I don’t know if I’m there yet, but essentially, the house manager will manage all of that stuff. Still, the scheduling of this and the grocery of that.

I would like to have a butler. I’d love to have a personal butler, that would be lovely.

Yeah. It sounds really elitist, but then when you really figure out, companies, government agencies, and corporations, they pay a lot of money for my time and the information that I’m going to share with them. I need to be able to show up as my whole self.

You can’t be distracted.

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You can’t be distracted, but then also, you start putting a higher price tag on what you should be spending your time on and the work that you need to output. Going to the grocery store sounds like it’s very easy but when you have two kids, you got to take them out of the car seat and you’re going to break up your day. You’re just like, “I could be home working and someone that’s better equipped for this can do this.” It doesn’t sound as elitist. It’s productivity, it’s enhancing your performance, it’s helping you show up much bigger in the world, and that’s where I want to play. I don’t like any of the domestic stuff.

My husband is perfectly fine with outsourcing. It was so funny. I tell people we’ve been using a cleaning company, we just celebrated our 10-year anniversary two weeks ago, probably for that half of our marriage. Prior to that, that is the thing that we would argue about all the time. You think you’re arguing about something else but it’s like, “No. Where are your socks? Or your pants? Or your underwear?” And then you realize, “All right, we can argue about this, and it ends up turning into something else.” We not only live together but we also work together. It’s very important for us to not have additional stresses on our relationship because we work so closely together.

I tell people, “A cleaning person saved our marriage. I promise you because my husband and I are completely different when it comes to that. And when you add kids to the mix, they are a walking tornado of disaster.” I don’t care how anyone else says that otherwise, they just are.

Do you have boys or girls?

My daughter’s five and then my son is nine months.

Oh, cool. How I do you even with all the help? Kids need so much attention. How do you have work-life harmony?

I’m glad you said that because I don’t believe in work-life balance at all. You have to choose. I choose. There are a lot of things that I say no to and there are three things that I have to prioritize which is my husband, my kids, and freedom—I love to travel. Those are the things that are three priorities. Being a part of social clubs are not my priority. If it happens, it happens, but it’s not. My three priorities have become my non-negotiables. That’s why I say I don’t believe in balance.

You really have to choose, and that requires you to be 110% honest with yourself of, “What are the things that I love to do? What are the things that I don’t love to do? What are the things that if I am spending time doing the things that I completely truly hate to do, that it’s taking away from the things that I absolutely love?”

I really put it in perspective when I had my daughter because she was born prematurely. We spent a lot of time in the hospital with her for the first two years. The other part is, I was just like, “If I go to this meeting or I go to this conference that I don’t want to do, but I said yes because I’m a people pleaser, that time is not spent with my daughter and that’s a time that I can never get back.”

It really put things in perspective because before that, I was really willy-nilly with my time. If you ask Felecia to do something five years ago, it was a yes. A lot of times, I didn’t want to do it, but I personally went to it because I did not want to disappoint this person. Meanwhile, I was literally driving myself into the ground. That’s ultimately what happened.

My daughter was born at six months. I went into labor 3½ months early because I was stressing myself the hell out. I don’t like to go to networking events. If it has networking in the title, you will not see Felecia there. I will only be there because I’ve been paid to speak there because I’m a functioning introvert. But I would force myself to go to these things because somewhere along the line in some book that I read, it was like, “You got to show up and you got to do this.” And I’m just like, “No.” But I go to a lot of conferences because I have an alignment and an affinity to whatever the event is and then the people, we have a commonality. I don’t need to go to another fishbowl business card networking event because I don’t like them.

Tech rules our lives, whether we work in it or not. People just are not using these tools to the best of their ability.

I don’t like them, either. I so don’t like those fake interactions and everybody’s trying to force their services on you. I like real connections with people. I’d rather have a smaller group of people that I connect with that we have a hard connection rather than those artificial interactions.

Of course, and most people hate them, but we force ourselves to go, but that’s it. You want a curated group of people that are either like-minded or there’s some commonality in some interest. There’s no fun in constantly going to the same groups of the same people, but at least you have something in common. If you’re going to Comic-Con, you meet on some level of comics. Then when you get there, you have all different kinds of backgrounds. People are really cool and interesting but you want to be able to connect with people on a human level. I want to get back to that. I forced myself to start saying no to a ton of stuff so that I can get back to that.

I don’t care if a business transaction doesn’t happen today, tomorrow, or five years from now if I could really gel with people. We hear this all the time. Businesses ended up happening anyway as a result of that, but not when you immediately lean into that. It’s superficial, people get turned off, you don’t want to do business with those people because you feel like they only want something. But if you can connect and then be a resource to each other, things really do truly come back to you.

What are some of your hobbies?

Sleep is definitely something I enjoy. I am not one of those entrepreneurs that are like, “I’ll need three hours of sleep.” I need my full eight hours or I cannot function. I love traveling. I’m a big foodie. One of my business partners is a food blogger, so that has been very dangerous to my waistline. But we go on some of the coolest journeys because he doesn’t just review restaurants. He also reviews trap kitchens which are this whole underbelly of a food scene that are in people’s homes. It’s just wild and fun.

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One day we’re at Dwyane Wade’s new restaurant. The next day, we’re eating at this amazing barbecue stand in the parking lot of a strip club. But it’s the best barbeque in Miami. The next day, we’re pulling up with a bus of people to this woman’s garage because she makes the best conch salad in Miami that you just can’t get anything comparable to that unless you go to the Bahamas. That, I spend a lot of time doing.

Reading. I love audiobooks. I’m spending most of my time doing that. Then I just love being by the water. Anything that I can do in the water or by the water makes me extremely happy. At one point, knitting was a big hobby of mine because I just thought it was really cool. I still spend some time doing that.

No, it’s good. That’s great that you’re still doing your hobbies because only when you take care of yourself, you’re able to actually run a great business because when you stress yourself out and you just work all day, you end up doing busy work rather than deep work, and not prioritizing the right things. Just that stress can take a huge toll on you.

It absolutely does.

Let’s go to the next topic I was really excited about talking to you about is how to become an epic expert which you’ve done, you’ve proven, and you’ve been on humongous stages. What are some of your top tips to becoming an expert and what’s an epic expert?

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks

It’s really about increasing your social capital and putting yourself or building a platform that allows you to shine on the best work that you’re doing. There’s a book called The Big Leap. I don’t know if you’ve read it or maybe some people in your audience or your tribe have read it.

I’ve heard of it.

There are four components to figuring out what you are truly meant to be, how to essentially become an epic expert. The four zones are your Zone of Incompetence, your Zone of Competence, your Zone of Excellence, and your Zone of Genius.

Your Zone of Incompetence are things that you absolutely should not ever be doing. You may be doing that because you can’t think that you can afford it or you may do it because it makes a little bit of money, but you have absolutely no skill. You should not be doing this thing. 

Your Zone of Competence are things that you could do, but it’s making you a little bit of money. But that’s not anywhere near where your talents really lie, but it’s just something that you can do.

Your Zone of Excellence is usually where a lot of people stay. You’re making pretty good money doing this, people are coming to you and they’re requesting you, but you’re not the best person in the world at that thing. But you stay in it because it makes you good money and a lot of people get to that point and they just die there. They never move on to their Zone of Genius. 

Your Zone of Genius is the thing that you are extremely qualified to do. You love it, it’s what we all hear people talk about. When you are in that zone, you are the best in the world at this thing that you do and you can command the higher prices. The universe just conspires to bring things together to support you once you officially get to this level.

It’s really truly hard to get to the level of being a Zone of Genius because you have to have some really gut-wrenching conversations with yourself. You have to get really comfortable with saying no to anything that is not that thing because those things are from your Zone of Excellence and your Zone of Incompetence. They seem cool, they are shiny, and they make you some money, but it’s really that whole scarcity as an abundance that we don’t always hear people talk about. If you’re saying yes to the $5000 event, you can’t say yes to the $25,000 event. That’s where you really want to be. That’s your Zone of Genius. But your dates are booked out doing the smaller stuff because you aren’t fully leaning into your Zone of Genius.

Spend a lot of time on hiring good people onto your team because they will help your company to keep going.

All of that to say that’s what epic expert really is. It’s getting the media attention to build your platform and then allowing you to build a company, the service, or what the movement that you want to create in order to truly do your best work and live life full-out. I work with a lot of women and companies bring me in all over the world to talk about this in what does it mean to actually take up as much space as you need to in the world and do it unapologetically. It’s one thing to be an expert, it’s another thing to be an epic expert and really truly lean into the social capital that you’re building and then how you want the world to be shaped.

In the next 5–10 years, what does the world look like 100 years from now based off of the impact that you’re building today? It’s a really hard question. That’s what allows you to work in this space and command the prices that you want because you built that, you’re having the authentic conversations that you want to have, and you’re building the authentic projects, but most importantly, you are also settled with the work that you’re building and what you’re doing. You may not be around to actually see it coming to fruition. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but that is what that means for me and that’s why I built the course and the curriculum around helping people to live in that space as much as possible.

What about the mindset? Before you start doing all that, it looks like your mind needs to be in the right place. A lot of people, even though they’re extremely qualified, suffer from imposter syndrome or that negative little voice in their mind that’s telling them-they’ve done so much already, they have proof, and yet they don’t feel like they’re enough to move forward.

The interesting thing about imposter syndrome is a mindset shift has to happen. The biggest part of the conversation around impostor syndrome that people miss out on is that you need outside validation to get out of impostor syndrome. Too many books and too many resources are like, “You just need to overcome this thing yourself,” but no, the thoughts inside your head telling you that what you’ve done, no matter how much you’ve accomplished, you still are shrinking when you walk into rooms, you’re still not standing up, you’re still not taking up as much space, it’s all in your head.

Yes, you can heal yourself. Yes, you can go to all these gurus. But not at the point where it’s going to really dramatically shift the way that you look at yourself and you do business. You do need outside validation. There are some ways to get that. It’s changing the group that you’re in because sometimes you could be in a group that’s surrounded by people that they remember you as one thing and you completely turn into something else and they will never see you as this new thing, or this new direction, or these new accomplishments that you have. They won’t clap for you. They’ll just be surprised that you keep things happening.

Wake up every morning and do the things that scare you every single day because the world does not benefit from you hiding your badass way. Click To Tweet

Oh, I don’t like those people.

Exactly. No one likes those people, but a lot of us stay around those people because we feel like we need to keep it real. We feel that if we move away from these people, we’re going to be seeing X, Y, and Z, but you have to move into new circles, the conversations are different, the deals are completely different. The way that they could clap for you and clap for themselves is completely different.

A lot of times, we’re in rooms with people that they will never clap for you, they just won’t. They can’t because, within themselves, they’re not confident enough to celebrate someone else because they think by celebrating someone else is taking away from their shine and that’s not the case. Something that I tell people to do is create something called your Epic Shit List. I have a free copy of it on my website. If you go to feleciahatcher.com, the free download section, you could just download one and print it out.

It’s a list that you create. You got to do this thing when you’re happy. You cannot do this thing when you’re upset or just not feeling your best self. You literally write down everything that you’ve ever accomplished. I’m not just talking about speaking at the UN and all of this stuff but when you won the tee ball, a trophy when you were five years old, all of that. You put it in a place where you’re going to see it or where you can quickly reference it when you’re having one of those days when a meeting didn’t go well, your colleague overspoke you, your co-founder did X, Y, and Z, or life has just punched you in the gut because life is going to punch you in the gut over and over again. That’s just the way living on this earth actually is. It’s a reminder of, “Hold your head up high, readjust your crown, this is who you are, and this is always what you’ve done.”

The other part of that is you need to have some “are you kidding me” friends. You’re not going to have a lot of them. I had two, and including my husband, he would make three. They are the friends that allow you to vent for all five seconds and then they’re going to be like, “Are you kidding me? You’ve done X, Y, and Z, you can do this, this, and this.” You need those people. You’re not going to have a lot of them. You may have one. If you’re fortunate enough, you may have two, but you also need those kinds of friends, and most importantly, you need to be that  “are you kidding me” friend to other people.

Those are some of the outside validation stuff that you need. We are accomplishing things more and more but social media will make you always feel like you’re not doing enough.

Yeah. Yesterday’s post is not relevant anymore.

Right. To sum it up, the biggest thing with impostor syndrome is because we all experience it. I experienced it and I still experience it. The other part of that is it doesn’t go away, there’s no magic wand to make impostor syndrome go away. You just get better at realizing that it’s creeping up. Then you know the things and you put the things in practice that make it not stop you from doing those things.

I feel nervous every time I get ready to go on stage because I’m human and I’m getting ready to speak in front of hundreds and thousands of people. Every time you level up, there’s a new level of discomfort. But also, I remind myself like, “No, I’ve done this a hundred times, I’ve done this a few hundred times. I can do this. They’re here to listen, to hear from me. I’m also here to learn from them.” When you tell yourself all these things, then you’re good. I would love to say that it goes away, but I don’t think it ever does. You just get better at recognizing it and dealing with it.

What was your journey like getting on those huge stages and booking those speaking gigs?

It’s been an interesting one. I have been speaking since I was 19 years old in college. I started an educational consulting company. It sounds really sophisticated, but at 19, it was literally like I had won $130,000 in scholarships to go to college as a C student. I did not have great grades. I just realized that I could find all these scholarships that didn’t ask for a GPA, get really creative and lean into the fact that I was really good at writing at one point in my life.

After that, I got bombarded with my mom’s friends and her friends from different community organizations, to come to speak to their students that had similar backgrounds of their parents, that were trying to figure out if college is for their kid. That’s when I really started speaking as being on this platform. I remember the first time that I got paid to speak. It was $125 and you could not have told me that I didn’t win the lotto. I just didn’t know that people were actually paid to speak. I got some media attention early on around winning this big sum of money to go to college and that came from the organizations that essentially awarded me the scholarships. There was a total of 87 scholarships.

That was what first helped me catch this bug. I would do increments of maybe $150, maybe $200. I had a good mentor at the time. His name’s James Amps and he was like, “What is this $25 increment thing that you’re doing?” I was like, “But they’re paying me. I’m so excited.” He was just like, “If you aren’t doing it either increasing increments of either $500 or $1000, you need to stop what you’re doing.” It forced me for the first time to seriously start increasing my rates. That’s what the beginning of that was.

As far as what has helped me get on these platforms, it’s definitely been raising of my social capital, either contributing as a writer or contributing content to publications that align with my message, but they’re also getting a ton of media attention. I ran a food company for seven years before I’m doing all the stuff that I’m doing now. With that, we didn’t have any money. My husband and I started the company after the economic downturn of 2008. We should not have started the company in 2008. We just didn’t know any better and we couldn’t find jobs.

What happened with that was because of that, I had to figure out how to get the media excited about what we’re doing because we had no money to spend on advertising. That’s what also helped. Smaller blogs that most people discount because they’re like, “I just need to get featured on Oprah or OWN and you discount Thrillist and DailyCandy,” which are these massive newsletters back in the day, not just that once they featured you but their audience was extremely responsive. Whatever was featured in that thing, that restaurant was getting bombarded, that product was getting sales out the wazoo. People were extremely responsive to whatever content and whatever they were promoting, and that really helped.

I would read through a list because I like the publication. Most people just don’t ever go to the Contact Us page and type in your thing. You can either type it in like, “Hey, I’m the owner of this,” or type something up and have one of your friends do it for you like, “Hey, I discovered this person or this thing,” but the section is there. If they have a good strong editorial team that’s hunting for these stories, they are hoping that their readers are going to feed them stories of what’s new, cool, and hip. That’s an area of opportunity for you.

The other thing that helped out quite a bit from a media standpoint was HARO. HARO is still around. It’s still a great resource. I don’t think a lot of people are using it the right way. Honestly, the feature that we got on the Today Show was a result of me responding to something on HARO. That was a five-minute segment on the Today Show that equated to about $2 million in the equivalent if I were spending advertising on a five-minute segment at [8:30] AM on the Today Show. They came to Miami and we filmed for way too long.

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They came to you, wow. Oh, my God.

Yeah. It’s 10-hour day of filming that turned into a 5-minute segment, but that became the gift that kept on giving. We got featured on the Today Show, the Cooking Channel, Wall Street Journal Japan, all over the place. That got the phone ringing off the hook for the product that we were selling which are gourmet popsicles and then I leveraged that in the process of building up my speaking career because people were interested in the company, in the product, but then they were also interested in the person that built this thing.

I really used that to leverage and then I wrote a book which also helps or create a course. Either one of those things, that you have this tangible thing because once you speak, people want to take a piece of you home with them. They can’t because I’m only one person and you’re speaking to a few under people, but they can in the form of a book. They can in the form of buying into your platform, or your course, or your membership site. That’s where you really catapult those sales offline, in addition to all the stuff people do online. I get that. All of that is equally important, but there’s a huge play that you could make offline as well that can help feed right into people really supporting you and then leveraging that.

Use the tools that are there as a way to build up your social presence. Then the other part of that is when you speak at conferences, a lot of times, they have media partners. What really enriches the media partnership or sponsorship is the content that relates to engagement or how people can engage at the conference, subject matter expert, thought leadership content. You can let them know like, “Hey, I’m speaking at Razzle-Dazzle Conference,” or whatever. “I see that Telemundo is a sponsor of yours. Here’s an article that I think you can send out to all the attendees of the conference about the 10 ways to really kill it at Razzle-Dazzle Con.”

It’s really brilliant.

But most people don’t do it. If Telemundo decides through their partnership to not take that content on, the conference will. That greater gives you a platform that increases more attendees that are going to come to hear you speak, but you directly just landed in a few hundred or a few thousand people’s inboxes by giving something that they can use. I do that every year at South by Southwest and they use my content all the time. I got featured on MSNBC because of that. I was speaking at a conference, I saw that MSNBC was their top media partnership. I asked them if I could do a segment and they said yes. Sometimes, it’s difficult, but sometimes, it’s just doing the things that most people assume are not possible things for you to do and you just ask.

I love that. You mentioned HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and you said most people don’t use it the right way. What is the right way to use it?

I think most people think that they need to craft these big long press releases and by doing that, you usually end up missing the deadlines. People are on really short deadlines that’s why they’re using HARO, like journalists, bloggers, newscasters, whatever. That’s one thing. Make sure you meet the deadline. The other part is spend enough time to actually answer their questions. Don’t just say, “Hey, this person would be perfect or I would be perfect for this.” “I would be perfect for your audience because of X, Y, and Z,” and that becomes a much better benefit and you usually get a greater return on response rate from them to feature you when you just answer the questions that they asked you to answer.

It may take a little bit more time. I usually respond to HARO when I’m at a stoplight, in a meeting, in the lobby. To be really honest, sometimes, on the toilet. What else are you going to be doing instead of scrolling through Instagram? You might as well try and get some press out of it.

That’s it, keep it really simple, answer their questions, pay attention to the deadlines, and also make sure that you are not just looking for things. This is a really important part. Make sure that you respond to things that are also personally applicable to you. “Hey, we’re looking for someone that sleeps on whatever mattress.” It doesn’t have anything to do with your business, but you sleep on a mattress and so respond to that because when they include the quote from you, they usually include a link to your company or the thing that you’re doing. Most people don’t do that.

My husband and I got featured, actually a really big feature. They again flew out, a photographer and everything for Black Enterprise because they wanted to interview something about personal finance stuff. I was really horrible at money management when my husband and I first got together. My husband was a financial analyst for Target. He was an economics major, a penny pincher to the point. I responded to that purely on our personal side and it ended up being a two-page feature with a full photoshoot spread in Black Enterprise solely because I responded to that. A huge part of that two-page spread talked about our business.

I’ve been ignoring HARO for two years.

Most people do.

Okay, no more. That’s amazing.

Do that. Then the other part, Orion, is if the story doesn’t fit for you, but someone that you know does—this is the part where don’t be a hoarder or greedy and hide information—put other people on. Because most people will do like, “Oh, there’s nothing in here for me. Let me wait until the one that comes out at [5:00].” I got connected and formed a really good relationship with one of the writers from Inc magazine who writes on relationships and entrepreneurship. I responded to something and she was like, “Yeah, it’s not really a good fit.” I was like, “You know what? I have two other friends that I think would honestly be a better fit for this story.” I knew I was reaching, honestly, but I was like, “Man, it’s Inc magazine.” She ended up covering both of them in two different segments.

For a while, every time she was writing a story, she would literally send it to me like, “Hey,  is this a fit for you or anybody that you knew?” That when on for almost two years, but it was because I wasn’t being greedy and I didn’t stop and say, “All right, this thing isn’t for me. I’m not going to put anybody else on,” it became the gift that I kept on giving. There are all these other ways to use HARO and to look at what HARO puts out three times a day that I think people can have a better strategy and essentially get a better return on the time that they’re spending going through it.

Wow, that’s incredible. I also saw that you wrote six or seven books already?

Five and a half. I have the sixth one coming out. It’s on my computer for a while.

You have something about writing a book in 30 days which sounds crazy to me.

Yeah. It’s not crazy if you use tech tools. I work in tech, a lot of us. Tech rules all of our lives whether we work in it or not. People just aren’t using the tools to the best of their ability. What most people are thinking about writing a book, especially within 30 days, is like, “Oh, my God, how am I going to sit down in front of my laptop and click-clack out a 10,000- to 30,000- to 100,000-word book?”

How to Start a Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget by Felecia Hatcher

The simplest thing that you can do is write an outline which shouldn’t take you a lot of time because it’s an easy way to just process the ideas that you have for this book. That’s what I did for my book Start Your Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget. I recorded and got the outline and then I put my headphones on, put a voice recorder on and talked every single chapter into my book. I did not overthink it. I did not self-edit, I just spoke everything into the book.

Or you can use the otter.ai.

Yeah. There are tons.

Yeah, where they’re already transcribing whatever you’re saying.

Right. Dragon Dictation, all of that. Rev Recorder is the one that I like to use because they do a little bit of editing and you can get the timestamps and all of that. They charge a dollar a minute to transcribe. There are all these resources now.

I wrote Start Your Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget about six or seven years ago. The only thing that I really truly had was my voice recorder. Now, there’s all this sophisticated software and still, people aren’t using it. You do that and if it’s not a software that already transcribes, you hire a cheap transcriber.

The cool thing is once you get that back, you literally have your book. It allows this gratification step-by-step that gives you the momentum to continue to move forward. When I coach people about writing books, which I try not to do—it’s not my wheelhouse, I’m just like, “This is how I did it.” I always tell them to actually get the book cover designed first. I use something called 99 Designs that I absolutely love. Something about getting the book cover back really put this thing in perspective like some fire under your butt to really get it going.

What if you can’t find the title? I’m writing a book right now. I am so struggling with the title, it’s not even funny.

The “C” Students Guide to Scholarships by Felecia Hatcher

I think you have some ideas on what the title should be. I like really funny and catchy titles. My book is called Start Your Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget, The “C” Student’s Guide to Scholarships, EPIC Expert, things that if people are seeing the cover of the book on the shelf of Barnes & Noble, they’re going to be like, “Oh, what is this?”

That’s exactly what you want to have. You want it to be something that piques people’s interest and gets them excited. That’s the process when someone is interested in a book. Same thing if they’re buying it on Amazon, which is where most of us are buying our books now, it needs to be able to be exciting enough to pique their interest.

I know, that’s why I’m struggling. I don’t think my titles are exciting enough.

What’s one of your titles? Tell me.

Become an EPIC Expert Course Workbook by Felecia Hatcher

They’re in a list somewhere and it’s going to take a while, but I want to make it right and perfect. I need to make sure that the title is perfect, and people will resonate with that. I think I’m holding myself back.

Crowdsource it then. Put a list together of the titles that you’re excited about and crowdsource it either to a trusted group of friends. I don’t actually really love to do it to a trusted group of friends. You should really do it to a small group of people that are the actual audience because they will respond completely different than your friends. Your friends are like, “Oh my God, you wrote a book. We love all of these…” I was like, “I don’t need you to love me. I need you to pick a title.”

Get a group of 5 or 10 and maybe it’s handpicking some people from your newsletter or your social media and have them just rank these titles like, “Which one piqued your interest? Which one got you the most excited? Which one has you to read more?” Oftentimes, whatever they pick, you’re probably still going to maybe do a marriage of the two or marriage of three of those and put it together, but at least it lets you know what people are responding to.

A lot of people blast it out to all of their social media and that’s an option too, but I think once you go through that process, then you also figure out, “Which one of these speaks to me?” You need that because it’s your book, so you want to be able to wholeheartedly promote this thing and be excited about it, but most importantly, you need a good swath of your target market for the book to tell you what they’re going to respond to.

I love it. In order to do the HARO, the book, then take care of your house, take care of you have a million businesses, your speaking gigs, and on, how do you stay focused?

I would love to say that it’s easy. It’s not. Especially for the past year, I say no to a lot of stuff. It’s funny because people don’t believe me because you do a lot and I’m like, “Yeah, but when you get to the point where you’re known for doing really good work, people immediately come to you to do more of that.”

I say no to a lot. I’ve raised my prices significantly. That also makes me say no to a lot of different things. I’m very particular about how I’m spending my time. I would love to say that there’s some sexier framework for this thing, but that’s just what it has become. Then I have really truly spent a lot of time on hiring really good people onto the team because that is what also helps this machine keep going.

Yeah, without a good team, you just can’t.

Yeah, you just really struggle. You really feel like every project that you’re doing, but I’m the face of some projects. The co-working space that I own with my husband and my other business partner, I may be in the space two days a month. I try and keep office hours there, but running a co-working space is not my Zone of Genius. It’s not even my Zone of Competence. It’s just not.

People would just be like, “Oh, my God. Do you do all these things for me?” I’m not in that space. The Zone of Genius for me was making the deal happen, raising the money, and then evangelizing for that space to happen in the community that it happens. My function is in a fundraising capacity and evangelizing for the brand. Those are the two things. I bring the deals in, I bring the partnerships in, and I bring the sponsorships in.

Then the backside of that is just building the team to make this thing happen so that what we are promising and the impact that we want to have happens. Me making coffee and sweeping floors, seriously? It’s not even on this like I’m above that. I would drive my team crazy if I came in and I tried to sign people up for memberships. That’s not what I’m good at and it would ultimately be to the detriment of the company if I step into things.

That is what a lot of people have to do. You’re wearing hats that you should not be wearing. Your head is too big for the number of hats that you continue to try and put. It just doesn’t work. You have to be really good at that and then you have to charge the right prices to afford the things that you need to afford in order to make those things happen. That has also been the biggest shift over the past few years is just like, “Yeah, you can do this for this amount, but we’re not going to have the results we want to have because I’m undercharging. This is the amount that we need to raise in order to make sure that this project gets off the ground and has the impact that we want to have.”

When you have a conversation with people like that, they get it and they won’t haggle you. But if you think that a little is better than a lot or you accepted a little because you thought a little is better than nothing, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get and you’re constantly going to be in that.

Beautiful. I have so many questions I can ask you. You’re very wise and you have a lot to teach others, but our time is short, unfortunately. How can people connect with you, get your courses, and all that?

The best way is my personal site which is feleciahatcher.com. I’m literally @feleciahatcher on everything. But if anything has sparked your interest, if you want, even some of the free, awesome stuff that I have on my website, or if you want to work together more closely to figure out how to live full out, there are ways for us to work together and it starts with being on my website.

Wonderful. What are your three top tips to living a stellar life?

I love this question. Going back to what we talked about on the podcast, being 110% brutally honest with yourself about what you love and what you do not love, waking up every morning and doing the things that scare you every single day because the world does not benefit from you hiding your badass way. I would say the number three thing to living a stellar life, live by the water, that might just be the island girl in me because my family’s from Jamaica, but living by the water solves 99% of the problems in life. Those would be my three tips for living a really stellar life.

Thank you so much, Felecia. It was a pleasure having you on.

Thank you so much, Orion, for having me on the show.

Thank you, listeners. Remember to be 110% honest with yourself and know what you love. Do the things that are scary every day and live by the water because what’s better than living by the water? This is Orion. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Invest in an amazing team. Find a stellar right-hand person who can help you deal with high-level tasks and maximize your time and effort. 
{✓} Outsource whatever you can, especially time-consuming tasks. You can outsource cleaning services or shopping for groceries. 
{✓} Evaluate the things you love doing, the things you struggle at, and the things you dislike. Commit to focusing on what you love doing, and getting help with everything else.
{✓} Create content that can leverage your authority. It can be in the form of a course, book, or a membership site so that you have something valuable to offer your audience and media companies. 
{✓} Outreach strategically by making sure that the goal is a win-win for both parties. Felecia recommends HARO, a website for reporters looking for stories. 
{✓} Re-evaluate the definition of work-life balance. According to Felecia, you have to choose what your priorities are and be able to show up 100% in those areas of your life. 
{✓} Make time for your interests and hobbies –  It shouldn’t always be about work. Find time to relax, do what you love, and make memories with your loved ones.
{✓} You cannot pour from an empty cup. Practice Self-care so you can refuel yourself and have the energy to put into your goals.    
{✓} Choose your friends wisely. The people you surround yourself with can either be your biggest supporters or a burden that weighs you down. 
{✓} Check out Felecia Hatcher’s website for more amazing resources on how to become an epic expert.

Links and Resources

About Felecia Hatcher

Felecia Hatcher is on a mission to rid communities across the globe of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems, as an Author and the Co-Founder of Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab, Code Fever, and Black Tech Week. She was featured on the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, FORBES, INC, The Cooking Channel, & Grio’s 100 African Americans Making History.

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