Episode #27: Listener Q&A

In today’s episode, we’re answering more of your questions that you’ve asked via Instagram! We’ll finish the show off with a weekly actionable tip.

Diane Sanfilippo: When we go to a car dealership with a broken down car, is like we are desperate in that moment. And so, we’re like; we have to make that thing happen. But if you’re just not desperate for it; if you don’t need that sale then you’re not going to come off as pushy. You have to believe that you don’t need that one sale. And in order to believe that, you need to be talking to a lot more people. You need to be in front of a lot more people.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo: In today’s episode, we’re tackling listener Q&A. These questions have all been submitted via our Instagram, over at The Driven Podcast, so if you’re not already following head over to Instagram and follow us at The Driven Podcast.


  1. What’s on my plate [1:20]
  2. Shop Talk: Multi-platform posting [18:08]
  3. Online group platform [23:53]
  4. Taxes when you’re small [25:40]
  5. Podcast platform [28:49]
  6. Selling food product [31:01]
  7. Initial working capital [35:46]
  8. Genuine selling [48:21]
  9. Tip of The Week: Review on iTunes [56:25]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:20]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Cassy, what’s going on over in the great state of Texas?

Cassy Joy: Well, Diane can see. I have my mike wrapped around my head, strung from ear to ear. I’m wearing iPhone headphones, if you can imagine, and then you take one of the little bars or the bands and you just let it rest on your chin. So that’s what I’m doing right now. I feel very fancy.

Ok, so {laughs}. What? You love it?

Diane Sanfilippo: You look fancy. I feel like it’s an SNL character.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: But we’re trying to test it and see what works. This is all…

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: This will all be a distant memory one day when you’re in a very professional podcasting booth in your office and I’m still just at my desk in my house. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Totally. So things that are going on right now; so we’re photographing book three, and it’s going by so much faster, Diane, than we thought it would. I had scheduled; I don’t know if I really told you; but I had scheduled almost six weeks’ worth of photographing for this book based on the amount of content that we were going to do. Because, I just; when it comes to building projects, we definitely have a lot on our plate. Fed and Fit takes on an aggressive amount of work, and I do personally, as well. But I feel like the way that you manage good feelings around that, right, and everybody staying healthy and happy, is to provide plenty of time to execute on them. They’re still very strenuous schedules, but I like to provide plenty of time. I like to err on the side of schedule too much time than not enough.

So I had scheduled six weeks, and built our entire schedule around it. And it turns out we can do it in essentially three weeks total. And it’s not a stretch. It’s very reasonable. And it’s just so exciting that we just; I don’t know. It’s just so nice. You know when you’re ahead, that feeling of being ahead; gosh, there’s nothing quite like it. And even though you’re working really, really hard, it’s such a moral victory for the entire team, you know. All the Fed and Fit folks working so hard Kristen Kilpatrick, the photographer, everybody.

It’s a wild season right now, personally. My hours are scheduled really tightly. There’s a lot going on to be able to really finish this book in time; finish writing it and photographing it and editing it in time to turn into the publisher with enough time for them to get feedback back and forth with me before baby is here. Building the maternity leave. Chasing all the other things that we’re doing. And so I’m at that point now where I will spend 2 hours in a week or so detailing out my week. Like, I have these three hours; what are the tasks that I need to do. For example, we’re recording on a Friday just as scheduled. My entire week next week down to the T of what I need to accomplish in order to break all these things apart. And I love that. I know that probably doesn’t work for everybody, that kind of expectation on your time, and that kind of very detailed to-do list. And the week does feel very solidified already. But I actually really, really like it because I find that I’m able to shift into an even higher gear and move much faster if I know exactly what I need to do next. And so giving that mental energy ahead of time to plan my hours like that and be very diligent.

I mean, I set alarms on my phone. If I sit down and I say; I’ve got 3 hours to write and I need to accomplish these six things in that time, then I’m going to set a ding halfway through; am I halfway through? And if I’m not, I need to speed things up. Right? Then I set another ding at the end, and book is closed. I move on to the next task. The time blocking strategy, right? And it just really works for me in these crazy busy seasons. And I would be lying if I didn’t say I love it! I really do. I love it. I thrive in this environment.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s awesome. I mean, most of the time I resist against anything like that. I want to look at my calendar and have nothing on it. Like, a day where there’s no appointments is my favorite day. But at the same time, when I’m on a deadline and when I’ve had, you know, books that are like; okay we’ve got to back it up to this date so that it can release. And here are all these other things I want to do and they all have times that they have to be done. I’ve definitely been way more regimented about; here’s the day that this has to get done. And you know, I have to turn this in by this time. And I’m at a coffee shop to get it done without the distractions. Or it’s like; I can’t close my computer; I can’t get up to pee until I finish this page, you know? That kind of thing. So I feel you on that.

I think there’s a lot of different ways that people can be productive and I’m sure over time we’re going to talk about so many different ways to on this show. Because there is no one size fits all. And I’m sure for you too, there are days where you’re like; please don’t tell me how to schedule every hour. And then there’s times when that’s the answer. Like, that is the best answer to so many struggles. So, I mean I hear you. And I think when you know what the tasks are that need to get done, that is always such a relief. Like a mental energy emotional drain of; what do I need to do. So once you know what needs to get done, and you know yourself well enough, as you do, to know; here’s how much time I need to allot for it. I think that’s just a fantastic strategy to be like; here’s what I have to do.

Because we can obviously spin out for so long on so many of these tasks. We were talking before the show {laughs}. We always forget to hit record a little early. But we were just talking before the show how sometimes we have these grand ideas of how huge a project will be and how detailed and all of these things we’re going to do. And then we realize; ok, I have six more days to get it done. What is; I wouldn’t say minimum viable product, because I don’t know that that’s the type of thing that we typically put out. But kind of, to our standards, right? What actually needs to get done versus the pie in the sky dream that I had for a couple of months when it was just in my head. And now that it’s on paper, here’s what’s actually going to get done.

But yeah, that sounds awesome. And with the book; it sounds like the perfect symphony of; there are more people helping who are there doing a great job and so it is happening much faster and isn’t that so amazing. That’s what happens when there are more people in the room who are experts at what they do, that it’s going to take way less time. That’s amazing.

Cassy Joy: Totally. Kristen, the photographer, said a couple of times to Amber, who is leading the charge in the kitchen. She’s essentially the project manager for executing those cooking days while I’m sort of leading styling and then also making note as we go on modifications. And Kristen said the Amber; wow, you could be a professional chef project manager.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} She’s like; I kind of am.

Cassy Joy: She is though. But she is. That’s kind of what she does.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: And she’s a professional.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. She’s like; yes, hi. Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Yep, that’s what I do. Yep, that’s my job. Anyway. It is. It is really neat. And you know what; I’m still, even though all this is so great and wonderful and feel so much easier, Diane, I’m still pinch me grateful that I hustled and was solo for book one that it was. I joked; I was like, Fed and Fit took two years off of my life, and Cook Once, Eat All Week took a year and a half off of my life and half a year off of Amber’s life. And I want us to walk out of books three as a  collective team feeling enriched and like we’ve really; we were able to do that work and not like we have to go zone out on a beach for a week to recover afterwards. But I’m still grateful for those experiences, because I wouldn’t know how good we have it now if I didn’t have it then. And I wouldn’t be so appreciative at the end of every day. Like; wow, can you believe we did all that? And I still have the energy to be a pleasant person for my husband and my daughter. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: That is a gift few understand while writing a book, for sure. Yeah, I hear you. That is the beauty of doing that so many times. I think there were probably a lot of multiple time mothers who would say the same. Even though each kid is different. Each project is different. You just get a little better each time. And I definitely have that experience writing books, as well. Not ever having such a wonderful {laughing} set of helpers, if I ever did it again maybe I would look into that. That sounds like a good plan. That sounds wise.

Cassy Joy: It’s really nice.

Diane Sanfilippo: I always feel like whatever you are doing in your life and business, like, you’re X years younger but you’re also like way more years ahead in terms of like professionalism and doing things just better than I did at your age. And I’m like; oh Cassy, she just has this all figured out. {laughs} I stumbled through all this stuff.

Cassy Joy: It’s all an illusion. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it.

Cassy Joy: My goodness. I love it. Tell me what’s going on.

Diane Sanfilippo: So huge news. So exciting. I know I already sent it to you to peak at. But we finally have a new logo; I’m saying the logo mark is done. So essentially like the icon part of a new logo for Balanced Bites. I’ve been dreaming about doing this for so long. You know, I used to work as a graphic designer and an art director. Let me tell you; I am a really great art director. I’m not a great designer. I can’t just whip something up out of nothing. I’m not the one who’s pulling together every mood board. But I’m like; you show me what you start with and I’ll tell you how to make it excellent or tell you how to make it fit the vision. And I feel like it’s been such a beautiful process with the design firm that I hired. The firm’s name is Aeolidia. I found them through Lisa Congdon’s website. Obviously all the design on her site is her own art, but they redid her website, which is a Shopify site, and I wanted to work with a firm that if we decided to move forward, if I liked the work they did with the logo, that I’d have a company that could really work with Shopify, which is what we have both of our shopping site on. Our meals and our spices websites. So super excited. The artist designer that we’ve been working with for the icon has just been great. I really enjoy working with him. So we’re moving on to figuring out colors and just deciding on that. And then a typeface.

What’s interesting is that all of our packaging for our spices is already done for the year. Right; we don’t make our inventory in the moment because we have to order spices from different countries and they come from all over the world. So that’s something that all that inventory is actually set as we roll into the new year. So I’ve already got all of that. All of that’s done. But looking at what we’re doing with meals, this logo is going to be appearing throughout all of the work that we have. We’ll have boxes that are branded. We’ll have an insert into the box. The whole unboxing experience will be so much better. And so we’ll be able to do that there. But the crossover is that, you know, the labels on the jars and on our bags is going to need to be somewhat consistent, right with what we’re doing with this new logo. So I think what we’re going to do is actually keep a typeface that’s fairly similar to what we have now. Which, I’m OK with. It’s going to be a pretty clean, just a clean classic looking font. But I’m just excited about the mark. And you guys will see it soon. We’ll roll it out soon. But it has; I don’t know, it just has a lot of fun to it, I think, and really starts to put some personality with the brand that we’ve not had there before.

Cassy Joy: I am so excited about it! Can I interrupt you? I mean, I won’t give anything away, but it is such a good looking. I told Diane; I said it’s friendly, it makes me want to learn more about the brand, even if I had no idea what it was, it would stop me if I were walking in the grocery store. I’d be like; what’s that?

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, that’s so good.

Cassy Joy: It really would.

Diane Sanfilippo: Thank you.

Cassy Joy: I’m really excited for it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Thank you. I’m really excited too. And one thing that I nodded to in an Instagram story not that long ago is; you know, a cool thing about this is, it’s not something I think I ever would have conceptualized. Like, the way that this company built a mood board for us with this one; they had one logo that I just; it wasn’t a logo, it was just a piece of art that was done for, I believe it was for a restaurant in Kansas City, actually. And it was just a little inspo clip. When you put together a mood board, you’re like; here’s different colors and styles and things that we’ve seen. And it’s not to be like, we’re going to make it look like this. It’s just let’s look at this conceptually.

If you look at these two things next to each other, they don’t look anything alike. But there’s an inspiration that that really kind of set us forward on. I don’t know; it just came to be, and I was like; great. I love it.

You know, a big thing I had to let go of too is this feeling of; if we brand with this icon, I don’t have to take it to the grave. {laughs} I’m really serious about branding to the point where I’ve not had much actual; like much of a logo, right? There’s a feeling of branding to everything I do. People know my photos by my fingernails, right? Or you know if something is from Balanced Bites because of the bright colors of the jars or certain fonts that we’re using. And all of that really is branding. Branding is not just about a logo. But, we haven’t had the strong iconic logo for forever. So I’m really excited about that.

And I’ll talk more about it when we roll it out. Maybe we’ll do an episode where I kind of talk through and we’ll show on the web site some of the process that happened. But anyway. So there’s that. What else? Just a couple other little notes.

I’m in the process of making some really big decisions about what I’m going to do with the meals business. It’s going to remain as it is, but I’ve just been sitting with deciding whether or not I want to tackle the retail route. And I’ve not, to this point, I’ve been like; I don’t know, I don’t think so, I don’t really know if it’s that’s a thing I should do. And I’ve now come to a decision that I think I actually have to attempt it and see what happens. Because the folks that I’m working with and partnered with and what I think I’m capable of in terms of moving people from their house to a store to actually buy a thing. Like, I typically just vastly undervalue my ability to mobilize anybody. I just don’t think I’m that important, right? But when I look at what’s out there in the grocery store, I’m like; actually, I think I can get people to the grocery store. I actually think I can.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. I think you have.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} You know what I mean?

Cassy Joy: You’ve been doing it for years.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know. And when I ask people, what are the brands you love. I’m like; I know they’re buying that at the grocery store. I know they’re not just ordering it from that company online. Which, it’s a little different, right, when its products that don’t have to be shipped a certain way or whatever. But anyway. So, you know, if I’m really real with myself I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. And also, like who else? Who else is going to do this? If I don’t do it with the people that I’m partnered with who can actually execute this with me and make it happen. So, you know, it’s this constant battle between impostor syndrome and then what I call imposer syndrome, which is the flip side of impostor syndrome. It’s like where we impose limitations on other people. And am I imposing limitations on myself, just because either it’s not been done or I haven’t done it before. And I think that; I don’t know. I think maybe it hasn’t been done very successfully before because I haven’t done it. I don’t know. Why don’t I just give it a whirl? So we’ll see what happens. We’ll see.

Cassy Joy: That’s so exciting.

2.  Shop Talk: Multi-platform posting [18:08]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. And today we wanted to do a one-off listener of impromptu Q&A with y’all. So we asked over on the Driven Podcast on Instagram in stories. So if you missed it, that’s a good place to watch and just make sure you’re following The Driven Podcast over on Instagram. Because every once in a while, we’ll do a call for questions. And we got some really good ones for this episode.

So, let’s see. Do you want me to just pick one? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Let’s just dive in. We’ll do a little ping-pong. Maybe we’ll deep dive on some. Maybe we’ll rapid fire a little bit on some. And yeah. Land somewhere good.

Cassy Joy: Ok. I think this is going to be a pretty quick answer, if I know you and I like I think I do. So Love Living Low Sugar asks, “I post to Instagram all the time. It’s linked with my Facebook. But how often should I be posting on Facebook?” Do you have any insight, Diane? {laughing} Diane’s doing the, you answer it, look. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: You take it first. I want to hear what you have to say.

Cassy Joy: OK. My thought is; I think really quickly. Well, first what I wanted to tell you was; bleh. If you’re happy on Instagram., I say pick a platform and get really good at it. Instagram is definitely my platform. That does not mean that Facebook, which I feel like I virtually ignore, doesn’t mean that it’s not driving a good amount of traffic to my website. I looked at my 2019 stats that Amber Golden, our managing editor, put together. I am not this organized. And of all of our social traffic; that includes Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, {laughs} what are others? Twitter, {laughs} which I haven’t logged into in probably a year. Just people posting and things like that; traffic driven. Facebook still represented 15% of our referral traffic from social media.

So there are people there, there are people who are using that platform and that is their preferred platform. So I would say know your audience. If you know that your people are on Instagram, and you only really have the bandwidth to support building content on Instagram, well then focus there and don’t worry about how often you should be posting on Facebook. You can auto post to Facebook and call it a day.

Now, if you know that your audience is, let’s say, slightly more mature and of a generation; let’s say they’re in their 50s and 60s. That generation is probably on Facebook more so than they are on Instagram. Then I would encourage you consider creating some content specific for Facebook that’s more conversational, and you’re really going to get involved in the comments, and you’re going to maybe post some videos and link to other people’s work. Other company’s work on Facebook. That’s a really good utility there. But don’t feel like you have to create original content for all these platforms if you don’t have a really compelling audience split. Does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think that does make sense. And I think if you’re doing an autopost; it says she’s got them connected. So if you’re doing an autopost from Instagram to Facebook, I think there are some things that you might post to Instagram that you won’t post to Facebook.

So here’s a delineation that I tend to make. I tend to not have things go from Instagram to Facebook on the feed. So my stories right now are just automatically connected. So if they go, they go. But for the feed posts, I don’t tend to send over to Facebook things that are a little more; mm, that require that people are a little more connected with me. Does that make sense? I kind of know that my people. My real, die-hard people.

First of all, the real die-hard people are everywhere. There are 10 to 20 people; I see their names on Instagram, on Facebook, they’re opening my emails, they’re everywhere. But, if I’m not sure how somebody who doesn’t know me that well will receive the information, I don’t usually send it to Facebook. Most people who are asking these questions are probably not posting very controversial things. But, for example, more social justice issues that I might want to post about on Instagram as part of the mix of the content that I like to share an educate on. I’m probably not going to share that also on Facebook, because it just tends to be a way more heated political environment that I’m also not going to be babysitting the post to make sure that it’s all going ok.

So that’s the way that I delineate. If it’s a recipe, if it’s a nutrition tip, if it’s a product that I found, that kind of thing, I will always post it to both. And it doesn’t get as much traction on Facebook; I just don’t live in that space as much. But you know; a handful of people are going to see it. People can share it, to Cassy’s point. Different groups of folks are looking at things in different places.

And I do think that linking to posts, linking to articles, is definitely something that you want to be able to do on Facebook, as well. Because all of you who don’t have the ability to do a swipe up on Instagram, you have the ability to link on Facebook. So you can do something where it’s an autopost where you’ve got the URL in a caption on Instagram, which doesn’t really make sense because it’s not clickable or tappable from Instagram. But if it’s there on Facebook, it’s going to pull that link. So I think that’s a reasonable thing to do, to have it send over there. Or, make the post totally separately and format it appropriately. But those are a couple of ways that I kind of determine how I’m posting to each.

3. Online group platform [23:53]

Cassy Joy: Great advice. Ok, this is such a clever name. Her handle is Anna-cestral. Get it?

Diane Sanfilippo: Cute. I get it.

Cassy Joy: Because it’s ancestral. But her name is Anna. {laughing} Annacestral_Health asks, “Is there a better opt-in than private Facebook groups for an online program?” And although a private Facebook group is actually exactly where I think tanked originally as a beta group the Fed and Fit project many, many moons ago. We eventually graduated onto a couple of different programs. Thinkific is one, worth looking into. Kajabe is another, I know Diane, you said you’re using Kajabe.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, we use Kajabe for both the Balanced Bites Master Class and our 21-Day Sugar Detox coaches’ program. So we use it for our bigger, more robust programs. We were using it; we have the 21-Day Sugar Detox as an online program for a while. We recently sort of archived and retired that as an online program. But the Coaches’ program and our more in-depth educational series type of content, that all lives in Kajabe. And it’s the new version. We were using Kajabe six-plus years ago on a very old version of their platform, as well. I think the new one is very robust.

And then Teachable is the other one. I had used that previously for, I think the Master Class might have originally been on Teachable, and then we moved it over to new Kajabe. That one’s pretty robust. But we still have Facebook groups for conversation. But the modules and the logging in and all of that, the downloads, that in depth content really lives essentially behind the paywall; behind the login. It’s not just in the Facebook group.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

4. Taxes when you’re small [25:40]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, the next question; from Sierra, “What’s the best app to deal with taxes when you are small.” And she put small in all caps, so I think that means really small. Even though visually it’s bigger because it’s all caps. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} I mean, Diane and I were kind of chatting about this before the show. This is one of those things, it was probably one of the very first things that I ever outsourced because I’m definitely not an expert in tax law. And even when, y’all, I was making no money. Like negative money, really. When an accountant sat down and looked at all of my books, and I was freaking out because I was like; I’m sure I missed a deadline or a form somewhere. And the tax police are going to come load me up and take me away! {laughing} I was talking to my husband about this, having essentially a mental breakdown over it. And he was like; Cassy, you made no money. You are not who they’re coming after {laughing}.

Anyway, I don’t mean to say that that’s your situation. But I’m just saying that even in that season, I still needed someone external, a professional, who this is their job to look at those things to give me peace of mind.

Diane is nodding her head along.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: I just really feel like that’s something to do. Now, if you have; maybe if you do contact a tax professional and you explain your circumstances a little bit more, and you say; I genuinely grossed $500 last year. They can help guide you. They can say; well, you don’t need my services, you could use XYZ. But I would ask them.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. When you’re really, really small, there’s probably just a few things you need to do and you can usually file it right along with kind of whatever you’re just claiming that as on your social security number just as a sole proprietor. There’s nothing too crazy that needs to happen. But absolutely, if you’re serious about your business, even when you’re not making money, I definitely feel like hiring someone. It’s not going to be that expensive when you don’t have that much to really give them to do.

But I would for sure find someone that you like, that you trust, that can work with you as you grow your business. Because you’re probably going to need their help for other things, as well, when you do get to a point where you’re growing and you need to fill out paperwork to either become an LLC or an SCorp or all of that. So I definitely, that is even before I think having any sort of assistant; I mean, I’ve always had somebody help with my taxes. Because once you get beyond kind of what your dad can help you fill out; whoever it is that you know. For me it was my dad. But once you get beyond that; you don’t want to mess around with it, I think. And better to start and form a relationship with someone that you trust when things are really, really small so that you can kind of grow along the way.

I find having a tax professional that I really, really trust is a major comfort. Between the actual CPA and the bookkeeper, just knowing they’re going to be able to make sure all those things are done properly. It’s just a really big reassurance.

5. Podcast platform [28:49]

Cassy Joy: Ok. Dr. Danny Homer asks, “What platform do you record your podcast on?”

Diane Sanfilippo: Ohh!

Cassy Joy: This one right here? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Well this here show. So we record it two different ways. We record it into QuickTime, which is just a local recording on each of our computers. And the reason we do that is we’re obviously chatting and looking at each other through the internet. And if we rely on internet audio, there’s always a chance that the connection will be spotty or imperfect. So we record each of our own audio separately. That’s also ideal, I think, for someone who is producing or editing your audio. Whether that’s you or someone else.

Because I will often mute myself in the chat that I’m having with Cassy on the computer, but my audio recording doesn’t mute me when I’m doing that. So I’m clearing my throat, or I’m coughing, or I’m taking a drink. Or dogs are barking. Who knows what. So when your audio is separate then somebody can turn down or mute the audio on one track and keep it up on the other. So that’s definitely a recommendation that I make to anybody who is doing a podcast where either you’re interviewing someone or you cohost a show, is always having a local recording and not relying on the internet for it. I think that’s really helpful.

We also call each other on Zoom so that we can see each other. I think a show is better when you can see each other. Ideally, because you just; {laughs} like Cassy was saying before; Diane is nodding along. You have visual cues to just make a conversation much more normal than when you can’t see each other.

But we also have that record to a cloud so that we always have that back up. And every now and then we need it. Every now and then. So if the sound quality on the show changes sometimes; sometimes something went wrong with the QuickTime recording. You know; technology breaks sometimes. So I always recommend having two ways to record.

And then the platform that we host it on is LibSyn.com. But that’s how we record it. We record through QuickTime and also through Zoom.

6. Selling food product [31:01]

Cassy Joy: Ok, next question. Sunny Rays asks, “Where do I start with selling my food product?” You’re definitely the gal to answer. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, this is one of the questions where we were just kind of chatting; we should have folks DM instead of fill in the box, because I feel like there’s so much more that we need to know about this. But, I’ll give this two different avenues. If you have a food product that is fresh, it’s going to be really different than if you’re selling something that’s not fresh. I’m assuming she’s not dealing with something cold or frozen; something perishable in that way. I’m just going to jump to that assumption. Because I think, for some reason, I feel like you’d need to have more of this understanding if you’re going to even consider selling something cold. But maybe not. Maybe that’s just me jumping to conclusions.

I would recommend selling directly through a website. Walking around your local neighborhood; what are the small independent stores. Even some grocery stores that are bigger chains often have the availability to sell local products in different ways. But farmer’s markets are probably one of the best ways to sell a food product that you are just starting out with. You really want to grow some kind of fan base, and a following, and people who love the products. People who can say what they think of it and give you testimonials and take pictures and share about what you’re doing on Instagram.

I noticed the nail technician that I used to go to in New Jersey when I lived there; she got something called Poppy Sauce. It looks like this green peppery delicious sauce. She’s putting it on chicken, mixing it in a salad, and that just looks like a totally local food product. But they’ve got an Instagram account. I don’t know where she’s buying it from them. But that’s a local food product. Like I saw her posting about it, and that’s awesome. But that’s something that they’re probably selling it just locally and sharing the word that way.

So that’s kind of how I would start. In San Francisco, we have this thing called Good Eggs that I’ve been using. It’s a local grocery delivery, and they sell national brands. But they also, this one sausage brand that I purchase from them called Hailey’s Sausage; it doesn’t even have a nutrition label on it. And I was like; um, hello. Can I get some information? This person probably doesn’t have USDA approval yet. So there are ways to have kind of a small organization where you can sell things before you have all of those approvals. And if you’re not selling at retail, you don’t always need all those approvals.

So for example with meals, we don’t have all of those same approvals that we have to go through because we’re not selling it at retail. There’s not a UPC on it. It’s not scannable at retail. So it’s a totally different set up. Of course, everything is serve safe and all of that. But when I get the spices certified organic, that’s a whole different process. I have to go through USDA approvals. And it takes time, and money, and all of that.

So it kind of depends on what the product is, how legit you need to be with it. What kind of nutritonals you’re putting on it. And who you really want to sell it to. But I think the absolute best way to start selling is in person, at farmer’s markets, at street fairs. My friends and I used to buy; we used to call him the dip guy. I don’t know what his brand was, but we called him the dip guy. And essentially now, when I look at my spices; I’m like, I’m basically the dip guy now. {laughing}

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Because we would buy; it was like garlic dip, onion dip, all these little packets he would staple into a pamphlet. And we would just buy them at a street fair. You would open the packet into a cup of sour cream or whatever it was, so that’s where we buy it. So street fairs, farmer’s markets, all of that. I mean, I was street fair queen. I sold jewelry for many years at street fairs. So that’s kind of what I’m thinking.

And beyond that, you do need to have a website. I love Shopify for any size of selling online. I think it’s great, and I would definitely make sure that you set something up so that if people do buy from you at a one-off event, they have a way to come back and shop again. And the other big recommendation, which is a total tangent regarding things like live events, street fairs, etc.; you have to, have to, have to have a notebook on your table to collect email addresses so you can email people and be like; hey, I have special offers. I have an email list, I can send you where I’m going to be and you can buy it on the website. So that’s probably the best way to start out with a food product.

7. Initial working capital [35:46]

Cassy Joy: Love it. Ok. Ashley Renee.XO asks; “How can you create working capital in the beginning; also known as the crawl stage?” So I have a couple of notes here. I’m just thinking about; if I think about the breadth of all of my friends who are entrepreneurs who had to have working capital at the very beginning; a lot of them went to friends and family, right. If they knew they needed; let’s say you know you need $10,000 to get your business up and running. Genuinely, that’s really what you need. Usually if you have some sort of a physical product, then friends and family; it’s a place to go. Those folks become your investors and you can set up whatever terms works for y’all.

If I think back to my mom and dad, when they started their business. Their architectural engineering firm, I was a freshman in college, and they had two more girls heading to college right away. And it was just such a really; I’m still so impressed that they were as bold as they were to make this move. And of course, it all worked out. But they cashed in; I’m not saying this is advice. Formal advice. But what they did is they cashed in their 401K to pay the core 7 people that came over to help them start this business. And some of them didn’t take salaries for 6 months, because they really believed in what they were taking. And the rest of them that were younger; had small kids at home, they paid out of whatever their savings were. And then 18 months later they turned a profit and paid themselves back in that way.

Myself personally, I lived just way below my means for a long time. For years. I used my salary from the job that I had; my J-O-B, to fund Fed and Fit. My dream job. Right? And I held onto that because I never wanted to put; at that point, I wanted to let Fed and Fit become what it was going to become and really nurture it and really give it the space and me the space to figure out; how can I create this unique thing that really genuinely helps people. And I think if I were in a rush to monetize too early, because I needed it to monetize, I would have made decisions that were hasty and would have derailed probably my trajectory a little bit. So I kept that J-O-B for a very long time and used that to; and for a very long time I mean probably 3.5 years of Fed and Fit working both of those. Towards the end, definitely both of them full time.

And then my last note here would be to; you can craft reliable income streams that are a part of your business, but are not necessarily your core business product that can support it financially. So another example that I can personally talk about is for example Beautycounter. In Fed and Fit world, when I’m talking to my team about it, we view Beautycounter as affiliate stream income. For me, when I’m looking at my profit and loss statement; my P&L, Beautycounter income looks to same to me as say Amazon income. This is a brand that I do not own. That I’m recommending. That I’m providing links to. And I’m earning income off of.

Now, of course, Beautycounter is a much more complicated business model than what I just described. It’s not an affiliate program. But because I was able to build something with that; build a revenue stream with this other business that I love and it’s a huge part of what I do now, I was able to then; this is when I was still full time Fed and Fit, but I needed to launch into the next stratosphere. I needed to really invest in my business again. But I didn’t want to take on investments. I didn’t want to take on other people’s money at that stage. I wanted to be able to do it myself, for whatever reason. Who knows what that means about me.

So it wasn’t until I was able to build a reliable monthly income stream through this other revenue generator that I was able to invest and launch myself. So you could always think of it that way. Maybe if you need; I don’t know exactly your business or your perspective that you’re writing from. But consider other ways that you can have an income stream that supports financially your business, but it doesn’t have to be what you do. Beautycounter is not what I do. It’s not what Diane does. But it has definitely helped at least in Fed and Fit world. It’s helped me get into a really secure plateau so that my team can build and dig in and move on to the next one. We build Fed and Fit products that solidify that plateau and then we move on.

Diane Sanfilippo: 100%. I will definitely echo the living beneath your means. Because that’s the number one path to creating that capital, as you are growing a business, selling anything. If you’re actually selling a product or a service, then great. You’re started. You’re doing it. Money is coming back in. So if you’re not able to…

Well, here’s the other thing that people get a little confused about is profit. Just because you don’t have profit doesn’t mean that you don’t have some working capital. Because let’s just say that you’re creating something that costs you $5 to create, you’re selling it for $10. That $5 difference is still coming in as; it’s essentially profit. Whether or not it’s profit above your expenses, that’s another story. So managing your expenses personally and professionally is, I think, the absolute best way.

I’ve heard Gary Vaynerchuk talk about this, where he talks about building a business. This is different types of businesses. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot with building Balanced Bites. People are like; what do you want to do? Do you want to build something you’re going to sell? Or not? And I was like; if I build something thinking I’m going to sell it, the mindset I would have is perhaps not the same as the mindset I have right now, and the way that I always approach business, which is much like what Cassy is saying. Where; I’m building something slowly that’s sustainable that becomes profitable on its own. And that’s just as alluring, if not more so, than a business that just has all this market share but a whole lot of debt. {laughs} So it’s like; what are you building?

I know that might be a little bit more in the weeds than this person is thinking at the moment, but for sure. Taking things really slowly and keeping your J-O-B. We joke, and we spell it out like that, because it’s like; yeah, we currently have these jobs that we do with our businesses. But the J-O-B is the thing that you do, you go there, your heart is not really in it. And you’re probably really good at it. And you’re probably making some good money at it. Or maybe not. But I think an entrepreneur who is smart and is willing to bet on themselves but is not risky in a bad way.

There’s risk, there’s a safe bet and there’s a less safe bet. And I think it’s unsafe to have huge expenses. To have a family. To be paying all these bills. And to just quit your job because you have a dream. {laughs} Like; no, no. We need to be responsible with what we’re doing. So much like Cassy, Beautycounter is an amazing part of my life and it is a big part of revenue that comes in to me and my company and helping to fund. It’s essentially also helping to fund my dream. To fund what I’m building with Balanced Bites. It’s a great relief to have this stream of revenue that comes in that I’m then funneling into building this other thing.

So I think that that is; and essentially, no it’s not a J-O-B, it’s something I really choose, and I love, and I am really passionate about. So it feels like a side hustle in a good way. And I love it. And it’s great. But like Cassy said; that’s not building my dream. My dream is over here. But I don’t need to not have that somewhere. Because someone else has a loan. Right? So maybe you have this side hustle, or maybe you still have your job instead of having a loan. The other way to go would be to maybe not have the job and to get a loan. I’m with Cassy; I don’t want to owe anybody anything. I don’t even like having a mortgage, but I was not going to pay cash for my house here in San Francisco because that was just not in the cards. But I don’t like the idea of owing anyone anything.

So I think you have to, as we’ve talked about the last several episodes. You have to know yourself really well. What’s more comfortable for you? Do you know that if you had more time but you paid back this loan every month? And it was; yeah, you’re paying interest or whatever. Is that more comfortable for you, getting an actual small business loan? Is that the way for you to go? Maybe. Maybe that’s better for you than keeping your job and moonlighting with what you’re building. I think there are multiple paths. But I would say the absolute number one thing is to lower your overhead no matter what that is. At home or with the business. Constantly lowering your costs is critical. And you are not going out for dinner. You’re eating ground beef. I’m telling you the story of when I started. You’re eating ground beef and lettuce boats with hot sauce and if avocado is on sale, because it’s expensive.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Avocado is expensive.

Diane Sanfilippo: But literally I ate ground beef and chicken quarter legs or whatever I was eating. Whatever was on sale, that was it. I did not go out with my friends. I didn’t take a vacation for I don’t know how many years. By the time I took one, I was like; oh my gosh, I cannot remember the last time I went anywhere except New Jersey and back to San Francisco.

So, move to a less expensive place and all of those things. All of that is part of entrepreneurship that people; if you’re not an entrepreneur, then you’re not willing to give up those comforts in the moment. I think if you’re an entrepreneur, like your parents were willing to say; you know what? I’m willing to risk. And again, don’t be risky, stupid risky. But if you’re like, no this is the thing. I have to try it.

Cassy Joy: When you’re at that point where you’re like; I have to do this. I have to do this. I got rid of my apartment. I moved in with my parents. I stopped eating out. I essentially deleted my social activities. Now, I was in my mid-20s, so that was a totally different life stage than I’m at now. And I had that flexibility. I stopped buying clothes. I was dating Austin, and I remember boo-hooing to him, because {laughs}.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Oh gosh.

Cassy Joy: My sisters; they are incredible women in their own right. They have such great fashion sense. And they’ve always been ahead of me. They’re a little younger. I’ve always felt like they taught me how to do my hair and my makeup. And they would show up with these cool new sweaters or these new booties. And I was like; I haven’t bought myself…

Diane Sanfilippo: The 3 in you lamented every day.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} I did. I did. It sounds so trite out loud, but it just; that represented to me the decision that I was making to invest in myself. And I was like; there’s no question. There’s no question here whether or not I’m going to do this. It doesn’t mean that it’s not easy. But there was no question.

Diane Sanfilippo: I remember my friends would host a game night at different people’s apartments. And I could never host it because I lived in a studio, and I couldn’t have 6 or 8 people come over. Because at most, basically one other person. It was a two-person max capacity place. And a cat. So that was for me the thing. Where looking at what it was that I was constantly feeling inadequate about. It was like; all these people could invite over so many others. And that seems crazy too. But you know, that was it. You have to just downsize. You have to be willing to not care what other people think. Because they don’t know what your dream is. They don’t know. {laughs} What’s your dream?

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Just here quoting Pretty Woman, don’t mind me.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh.

8. Genuine selling [48:21]

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok I think this will be our last question for this week. Skis Raja, I’m guessing, asks, “Do you have tips for recruitment and selling while staying genuine?” And in parenthesis; “Not pushy.” What do you say?

Cassy Joy: So, there are two things that I want you to keep in mind. If you are in a business where you’re trying to sell something. Or you’re in a business like a direct retail, for example, like Beautycounter, and you’re motivated to build a team and recruit people and also sell product and set an example for your team. You need to believe in what you’re actually selling. Right? Whether that’s the product or the business opportunity. When you come across as pushy and smarmy, or not genuine; that happens when you don’t actually believe in the product. So if you believe in the product, and you believe in the business opportunity as a product, you will not come across as pushy. Right? Or you won’t come across as disingenuine. You will come across as very genuine.

Now, how do you make sure that you don’t cross the line into pushy? You detach yourself from the outcome. You say; here’s a think. Ok, so let’s say for example. And we’ve all been there before. We’ve all had, let’s say a restaurant that just opened up in town and we want to recommend it to our friends. And we say; oh my gosh, you have to go try this place. They have the best kale salad and the best flourless chocolate cake. You need to go. Right? Do you actually care if they make a reservation or not? Are you following up with them days, and days, and days after? Like; did you go? Did you make that reservation? You might ask them because you’re interested because you really think they might enjoy it.

That’s the difference here between being pushy in sales. Because you’re genuinely recommending this thing. Or; oh, you need new yoga pants? You have got to try these yoga pants. Diane sold me; do you know how many pairs of these Align Lululemon pants you’ve sold me?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: I own like 10 of them because I’m also pregnant and they’re very comfortable. But if you’re like; oh you need yoga pants? You have to try these. I remember Diane would be like; look, they’re just so comfortable and they’re stretchy like this, and she showed them to me. She sold me those pants. But she was not attached to the outcome of whether or not I bought them. Ok so she was not a pushy person in that moment.

So as long as you just think about the fact that you’re recommending things that you genuinely love. Whether it’s the product; y’all. This face cream is changing my life. It’s incredible. And if you need an incredible face cream, you need this face cream. Or, this business opportunity has changed my life, and if you’re looking for something like that this just might be the thing that fits that piece or that missing piece. Fills that hole. Whatever it is. It just might be the financial provider you’re looking for. The community you’re looking for. The business outlet. The meaningful work that you’ve been looking for. Right?

But you’re not necessarily attached. You don’t feel like; if they don’t join or they don’t buy it, then I’m doing this wrong. Right? You have to detach yourself a little bit from the outcome. Because when you follow up with them, it needs to be from a genuine interest for them, not a genuine interest for yourself. Does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally. I have a few notes I was jotting down because I was like; yep. Mm-hmm. With you. Here, here. In order to not be pushy, it can’t be about you. So this is part of what you were saying with the not being attached. It can’t be about you. And you can’t be relying on this person to make a purchase for the success of what you’re doing. And I think what happens is; people get way to hyperfocused on one or a few people. And you need to be talking to a lot more people. Especially if those few people you were relying on are close to you and you’re trying not to be pushy and push them away. So in order to feel less attached to the outcome, a big part of that is not relying on this type of business from day one for all of your income. And we talked about that just a moment ago.

But I think what happens is; people get desperate for the money and desperate to make a sale. And anybody can smell desperation. You kind of have to be the person who is going to the car dealership, and is like; I can walk away from this. I don’t need to buy this thing. This is the thing that I learned years ago {laughs} in consumer studies. But, you know what happens when we go to a car dealership with a broken down car; we are desperate in that moment. So we have to make that thing happen.

But if you’re just not desperate for it. If you don’t need that sale, then you’re not going to come off as pushy. You have to believe that you don’t need that one sale. And in order to believe that, you need to be talking to a lot more people. You need to be in front of a lot more people. So that was kind of that note; not to be desperate. Talk to way more people.

You need to be really consistent. And I think you need to be focused. So, what that also means is; building trust so that then when you talk about something. Here’s one example that drives me freaking nuts. And I don’t think Cassy does this {laughs}. I’m just going to put it out there.

Cassy Joy: Great.

Diane Sanfilippo: But when a food blogger is like; this is the best guacamole you’ll ever have; it will change your life. It’s life changing.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, there are so many people that I’ve seen say; this cookie recipe is life changing about 10 different cookies. And I’m like; well I don’t believe any of those will be life changing, because you just said that two weeks ago about a different cookie. So if you’re saying that about multiple face creams. Multiple kinds of makeup, whatever it is. If you’re constantly acting overly excited about everything, who can believe that? You can’t love everything. You have to have standards. {laughs} You have to have something that you don’t like.

So you can’t just be a yes gal. You have to have something where you’re like; here are my standards. Here’s what I love. Here’s what I don’t love. Be really honest about what it is; where you draw the line. And have consistency in talking about things. Because when you’re not consistent, it’s when you only hop on and talk about something, whether it’s social media or texting your friend. If you’re only talking to them when there’s some kind of sale or promotion. Or you’re only talking about Beautycounter because XYZ, whatever your business is. If you don’t talk about it all the time, then when you do talk about it, people feel like you’re trying to sell it rather than it just being part of your life, part of the conversation all the time.

So here’s an example. And obviously it’s different when you have a lot of people following you versus you’re just talking to your friends, your family, maybe a small social media following. But not every time I talk about Beautycounter am I like; oh, here’s this one product that you might really love. Email me if you want to check it out. Or add a swipe up link. Sometimes I’m just literally like; here’s my mask for today. Or whatever. And there’s no call to action.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right? because I’m just telling you what I’m doing. This is just part of my life. I think we need to have parts of our lives where there’s actually not a call to action. And what happens instead is somebody asks. We’re together. We’re on a tour. And I’m like; Cassy, where did you get that necklace? Right?

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m just with you. And I like you, and it looks cute, and I want to know about it. Or I’m like; that eyeshadow is so pretty.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: That is so fetch, where did you get it? Right? And sometimes I think that confidence and all of that. That does, again, comes with; start your business. Start your side hustle. Do what you’re going to do. Care about it. Talk to a lot of people about it. But don’t care so much that if you don’t sell to that one person, it is make or break for your whole life. That’s just now how you want to be in a position to sell anything.

9. Tip of The Week: Review on iTunes [56:25]

Cassy Joy: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Maybe you’ll move our business forward? I don’t know. Our tip this week is to go review the Driven Podcast on iTunes. We have not made this really strong push to have y’all share what you’re taking away, what you’re loving. Maybe what you want to hear more of. We would love to hear it. Go drop us a review. You can leave a star rating and just tell us everything. Tell us when you listen, who you’re sharing it with. We would love to see all of your reviews come through over on iTunes.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week; we will cover more burning business topics. Don’t forget; hop into iTunes, leave us a review. It really helps new listeners to find the show. We’ll see you next week.