Episode 43: Healing Money Abandonment with Erica Quigley
Erica Quigley is an author, operational, visionary, and consultant who drives organizational and process change. She's an avid proponent of work-life integration.
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Emily: Hello, and welcome back to the M makes money show. I am so thrilled I've got a special guest here today, Erica Quigley, who's an author, operational visionary and consultant who drives organizational and process change. She's an avid proponent of work-life integration and is passionate about helping business owners build their companies with their personal goals in mind. In 2018, after spending years working around the clock, a health scare, which put her in the hospital and on temporary disability catapulted Erica to leave her job. She began building her businesses intentionally around her life with her husband and her two daughters. Erica also enjoys exercising spending time with her family and their pets. Erica, I'm so happy that you're here. Welcome to the show.
Erica: Thank you. Thanks for having me. Yeah, well, this is an especially fun one for me, because you and I have been working together for eight months now. And so it feels like a fun way to sort of showcase our work, and also just spotlight you for all of the incredible transformations that you've had. During that time. It has been something else, I can't believe it's only been eight months, actually, now that you say that I feel like I've been in your world much longer. I know, time is like a wild thing. And actually, I think that's like one of the benefits of coaching. It's something that I've experienced from my coaches, as well as like one word in it, it seems like things actually take a long time. And it doesn't seem like that incredible once we hit new milestones, and then our coach is able to zoom out and be like, hang on. So six months ago, you were worried about this, and you were doing this, and now you're here. And it's like, oh, yeah, wow, I am pretty badass. That is pretty incredible. Yeah, I definitely get that because, you know, I work with like Midmark, low mid-market business owners. And they often have the same things that they say to me, they're like, why is this taking so long? I'm like, hang on, remember six months ago that none of these people were on the team. And you actually didn't like anybody that thinks I've changed quite a bit.
Emily: Yeah. And that's like, it's such a gift that you're able to offer that to your clients because it's just something that as humans, we're really bad at. Like, I used to work in pharmaceutical sales. And I would work with neurologists, and we had medication for Parkinson's disease. And they would say, like, Emily, one of the biggest problems is that our patients have such a bad memory for what things used to be like, you know, there's a procedure for Parkinson's, where it's called a deep brain stimulator. And so it's literally like a medical devices implanted into you. And these nodes are like put into your body. And so it physically stops your body from tremoring. And a doctor said to me that like they had a patient that had like, you know, just a horrible tremor, they did the implantation, they turned on the device. And it was like you could see the tremor just completely stop and the patient's like, I don't feel any different. And it's like, it's an extreme example, but I think it actually points to something that is common in the human experience, which is that we do not do a good job of like perceiving and noticing change and actually appreciating it for what it is.
Erica: Yeah, I think that there's been plenty of times where you've given me that reminder where you've been like Erica, you're having million-dollar problems right now. And do you remember like three months ago, I mean, you probably would never use the word problem. So you remember three months ago when you didn't even think this was possible. So it is very nice to have that type of reminder?
Emily: Totally, yeah, we all need that. And I think it's like all of those like intangibles right around coaching, or even like, you know, if you're going to talk to a new client, you're not going to be like, one of the values I bring is that I'm going to remind you of how far you've come. They'd be like, Okay, that's weird. But it's like it actually is this really cool and tangible thing that happens over time? Well, I'm super excited for you to be able to just kind of share a little bit more about your story, both as it relates to money, but also just like entrepreneurship and the mindset work that you've done. So you kind of mentioned, you know, it was in your bio about 2018. And that health scare that kind of catapulted you into entrepreneurship. So maybe we start there.
Erica: Sure. So my corporate career, first of all, when I grew up, I always thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to always have my own business. And then I think something happens to you when you go to high school, and then you go to college, and then you just get in this routine of like, oh, this is what life is supposed to look like. So you're just like, Okay, I'm graduating college. So I guess it's time to get a job now. And you know, that's what I did. Those entrepreneur dreams, like ended up being left back in high school, and I quickly was able to show value at the organizations I was at get promoted very quickly. I think I was like, 29, when I became a director for the first time, and then my salary exceeded 100,000, by the time I was 30. And you know, that was a big milestone in my world. And I still quickly continued growing from there. But in those years leading up to 2018, I was feeling like entirely unfulfilled. And I had my first child in 2014. And I had my second child in 2016. And after I had my kids, I was beginning to feel like the only purpose in my life was to bring home money for them to be able to live, I'm trying to figure out the right way to explain it to like, as to how sad that situation was where I just felt like I don't have a choice, I have to keep climbing the corporate ladder, and I hate this, and I'm exhausted. But this is what I'm doing for my kids, I have to show them what a strong woman is and what a strong mom is. And even though I hate this, I'll just keep doing it. It was January 1 2018. And everyone's talking about New Year's resolutions, you know, and I said, I think I'll start a business. I think that's my New Year's resolution. Like, I need to figure out something else, where I'm not just so disengaged with my life. So I had that as a resolution, I didn't quite know where to start, I began to look for like a coach, or I didn't know I was looking for a coach at the time, I didn't know what that was. And I began to look for someone to help me. And through like a little chain of events, I ended up finding this guy who helped people who were in corporate discover what they were passionate about. And I began to work with him for a couple months. And the more I worked with him, the more I realized how much light there was outside of the life that I was in. And I began to get more and more I want to say like excited for that. Except it was I was more and more disengaged with my current life, because I saw how much there was a possibility. And I didn't know how I was going to bridge that gap. But during that year, I continue to work around the clock, I was working out of an office that we ended up growing so much it was relocated into the city limits. And so my commute doubled. And then I was traffic and when the kids are growing up, and I feel like I'm missing everything and leaving work before they wake up and coming home after they go to bed. And there was this one particular day in was September 20 2018 that I had just like had it and I was exhausted. And I got to the office that day. And I went to my boss and I was like, Look, this just isn't working for me anymore. And I don't know what I'm going to do. But I know that I'm going to do something else. And I want to figure out how I can make a transition plan while doing this in the best way for the company and also in the best way for myself and he was totally receptive and totally on board. He was like, thanks for being honest. And we had a great conversation. And I left that the office that day feeling really empowered and like okay, this is the first day of the next chapter. And when I got home that night, I had a wave of vertigo that hit me so hard. I was throwing up all night I couldn't see straight like my entire vision was blurred and I ended up having to go to the hospital the next day, I was in the hospital for a week, they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. And it turned out that my lack of sleep and my stress level and everything combined had swollen up something inside my inner ear, which was causing this constant vertigo. So after like they rule out an MRI they rule out they do all these tests and then it's stress-related. I end up going on disability I end up never going back to the office again. Like it was just so weird as if in that moment. My body was like okay, yeah, you're right, you're done and it just shut off. So that was the kind of catapult it was like the universe sports Mi into. Yep, you're ready now?
Emily: Well, to give our listeners a little more context, how much were you sleeping leading up to that
Erica: About 40 minutes a night,
Emily: You would have done some research to try to figure out how to only get like, what was it just enough REM sleep to not hit right. Oh, to not hit REM Yeah.
Erica: I don't want to say function next day because like, we're not really functioning so that I wasn't I don't know, I never hit my REM cycle. So I was still kind of awake. And just like floating through life was pretty bad. Yeah,
Emily: I feel like that's just important. Setting the scene. Like we're not just talking, stress-induced, like long hours at work, raising kids, like you really took it to the edges until your body was like, Yeah, we can't even do like one more day of this.
Erica: Yeah, it was about probably over nine months of 40 minutes.
Emily: You're wild. Okay. So you ended up in the hospital with vertigo, you never go back to the job that you were going to leave anyway. So then what happens next?
Erica: So what happened was, I was super excited to start my business. But I thought that I was going to have a long runway to do that. And so I didn't quite know, what does that mean, what is my business, I knew that I was good at operations and process. But I didn't know how to turn that into something and being the breadwinner of the family couldn't pay my coach anymore, because I had to be cognizant of the fact that now once our savings ran out, I was done. So either I had to replace that somehow. And I was on track that year, to make 175,000 with my base salary, and I was getting a quarterly bonus. So that's what I would have ended up with. If I had been there the whole year, it was a hit to the family. And I don't think I wanted to admit that at first, because I continued on for a few months living life as normal. And even trying to start the business while I was still recovering. Like it wasn't like after a couple of weeks, all of a sudden, I was better. I had therapy. I had called the Stabler rehab, I actually had to cut that off early because I lost my insurance. So there's still times now when I know that is flaring up again. And I just have to be really cognizant of it. Because I don't think I ever even fully let myself heal because things were just so financially scary at the time. And I wasn't sure what to do. I had this idea in my head that like when I started the business that was just to be like, Oh, I replaced a job with a business. And as any entrepreneur can probably tell you, it doesn't quite work like that you have a lot of figuring things out. But you have to do
Emily: Yeah, no, I think you bring up a really good point. Because like making that leap. It's like, even though the skill set is there, it's like we don't know how to sell ourselves. We don't know how to message or market or speak about our services in a way that is interesting to people. We don't know how to set up our offers how to price them properly. And oh, by the way, while we're trying to figure out all of that, it's like any issues you've had of worthiness, who am I to do this? Am I enough? Are people going to like me? Are they going to say yes or no to me any feelings of abandonment that you had as a child or not-enoughness all of this stuff just rears its ugly head in our businesses as entrepreneurs. So it's like, all of a sudden, you're just like, Oh my God, why am I getting off of this discovery call? And I feel like I want to barf. Or I feel like I just want to wrap myself in a blanket and like, go in a dark room, what's going on here? And so entrepreneurship is like a buckle up and get ready for like if you've never expected. So you're like, Yeah, I'm good at operations I can make can save companies a lot of money. And I can create tonnes of efficiencies like boom, go and the universe is like, Yeah, but how do you find the people? How do you tell the story in an interesting way? How do you connect your solution to their problem? How are you going to price your services? What are you going to do when someone says no to that price? How are you going to feel about yourself,
Erica: and all that stuff didn't start to hit me until about I think it was like six or seven months in. And I remember this, I was on a call. I actually was having lunch with the guy. And he wanted me to help him with his business. And I proposed My solution to him. And at the time, I was just trying to raise my price because like, at some point, we can talk about what my first offer was priced at. But I was just beginning to raise my price. And I said, Okay, I can do all of this work for your business. It'll take probably about two weeks to set up these systems and vet out this process, and it'll be $5,000. And he was like, I don't understand $5,000 For what this doesn't seem valuable. And I was like really caught off guard. And then he started to talk to me about like, as a business owner, you need to know how to be a salesperson and this was not a good sales presentation. And for a year after that, like oh, I second-guessed every single thing I said to everybody. I had no idea how to structure I was like Well, I guess I can't do this. I have to find something else to I'm not good at this. All those worthiness things came up. Sure. And he
Emily: It was like, I mean, I don't know the guy, but he probably was trying to be helpful. And there's some truth there. But yeah, it's like
Erica: He was trying to be helpful. Yeah, he was. Yeah. But it hit me not the right way.
Emily: Right. And it's like he maybe didn't know that you would just build up the courage to give a $5,000 price point, right. And I think often when we start as entrepreneurs, one of the ways that we try to circumvent this whole worthiness thing and feelings of rejection and whatever is to price ourselves so low that we think then it's going to be an obvious yes, for everyone. What we don't realize is that low pricing repels certain people as well. And so then it's like, when someone says no, to us at a price that we already thought was like, an obvious yes, it just like puts us into this existential tailspin of like, what am I even doing with my life? Who am I? What value do I bring to the world? It's the irony is you don't need to change your value doesn't mean to change. It's really just like, how you speak about it, and how you price it has a certain aligned audience. And you haven't nailed that yet?
Erica: Absolutely. And if I could go back to that person and be like, don't worry about this situation, right. Now. Of course, you know, that's all part of the Would I be able to price my offer at half a million dollars right now, if I hadn't experienced that and went through everything. After that, I was trying to take a lot of work and work around the clock in two weeks to do something that now is an iterative operational process, that continuous improvement that is being priced at half a million dollars a year right now. Yeah, that's amazing. And the person then would have been like, yeah, right. That's what's gonna happen.
Emily: Right. That version of Erica couldn't have believed that. And I think you touched on something really important, which is the way that our worthiness shows up in our delivery, as well. So it shows up in our pricing, right, often with like, lower pricing than we really want. But then it also shows up in our fulfillment, and that feeling of needing to over-deliver and work around the clock and not have any boundaries. It's like, oh, when do you want to get on a call? And the clients like Sunday night? You're like, Great, yeah, like just no boundaries, let me work around the clock. And that stuff is such an inside job. It's like, we have to decide that our family life is important, we have to decide that we can hold a boundary, we have to decide that our work is worth more and that it doesn't have to be all crammed into a two week period. And so I know that's been a huge part of your evolution. So yeah, I think it would be really fun for you to share some of your evolution of pricing. Because I think at one point you and I did the math, and it was like there were some payment plans happening. And I can't remember what the amount was. But we were laughing about it. It was like $244, or something.
Erica: My first offer was $2,500 for six months of working with somebody where I traveled to their location every other week to work with them for a couple of hours. So what it broke down to was they owed me a monthly payment of $417.
Emily: Yes, that $417 payment. Yes.
Erica: And I will say that I sold that offer two times. And neither of those people worked with me for more than three months because they weren't the right fit or not. And I wasn't the right fit for it either. wasn't showing up energetically the right way. Because I was frustrated that I had to drive 45 minutes. And yeah, there's just a lot of things about it that were not aligning. And I didn't know it was the price at the time. But that was part of it.
Emily: Totally, like the energetic exchange was awesome. So then you feel resentful, or you feel bitter, and the whole thing just ends up being misaligned. Meanwhile, maybe let's talk a little bit about some of the results that you do get for clients, just to put it in the context of like how valuable it is like the work that you're doing.
Erica: So I work with companies to streamline their processes. So some things that one of my early projects that I did as a consultant, worked with a company in Manhattan to do a reorganization of their people and their process. It resulted in saving the company $800,000 a year for two weeks of work. There was a company that I worked with that had a very manual process for it was a sales order fulfillment process and invoicing. So like the order gets processed and shipped and then invoiced so the average time from shipment to invoice was 42 days, it took them to do it. Wow, after we worked together, we got it to 48 hours. So imagine the effect on receivables that has when you're sending invoices within 48 hours instead of a month and a half. Like that's insane.
Emily: Yeah. And I feel like with your work too, it's like those are a couple of tangible examples, and thank you for sharing that because I think sometimes operators and systems and processes can feel almost just jargony. Right. And so those are a couple of tangible examples. And then what I would imagine happened at those organizations also was like more employee retention, more employee satisfaction, like all of these other fringe benefits that happen from people being able to operate more efficiently in their role, people having the right role, understanding what to do, when to do it, where their job stops, and someone else's job begins. There's so many intangibles involved as well. But saving the company $100,000 In two weeks of work, and like just makes the pricing of 417 a month even more laughable. And yet that Erica was brave, like, she really did the work. And she showed up and she was trying so hard. And she was a stepping stone in the becoming a view.
Erica: Absolutely. If I hadn't had those experiences, I think what would have happened? I don't know if this is a good lesson or not. So maybe we can talk about it. But I think what would have happened, if I had been successful right away, oh, this is a block, I can feel it right now. That if I had been successful right away with selling something that large that I don't think I would have energetically matched it yet. And I think it would have made me feel really anxious to have the weight of having to deliver such massive results. And I may not have been able to actually work with a client in that capacity or have the confidence around being able to back up that price. But I don't know you tell me Yeah,
Emily: 100% because again, this goes back to the money shame wound, and just on a live q&a. And I just really listened to that module inside of my money and medicine program. So it's like so fresh for me as well. The thing with the money, Shamoon, it shows up in our pricing, it shows up in our delivery. But the other reason it really repels money is that when money does come in, when we still feel really unworthy of it, it feels so bad, it feels like the weight of the world, you feel completely beholden to that client, you feel like you need to overdeliver out the Yin Yang to somehow make yourself worthy of having received that money, it feels really, really bad on your nervous system. And so it really is kind of your higher self like and the subconscious part of your brain that watching out for your survival. That's saying like, yeah, no, don't do that, right. Because that part of your brain knows if that money comes in like we are not safe, this is not gonna feel good at all. And so even with quantum leaps in our business, it's like it is this fine line of acting as if right price in your offer as though you're already successful, and all of that kind of stuff. But to the extent that it doesn't send your nervous system into a tailspin. And so it's like that $5,000 Like, that was a stretch. And that was like the appropriate amount of stretch, because the part of you that wants to survive was like, no, no, no, we can't we're not ready for a five figure offer yet. We're not ready for multiple five-figure six-figure, what the heck are you even talking about? Crazy Lady?