Tara Gooch: From Poverty to Abundance - Entrepreneurship as the Engine of Success - PT 1
In the middle of a pandemic and economic downturn, many people are hesitant to launch a business. However, for some people, this is seen as an opportunity. This really resonated with Tara Gooch and inspired her to launch her own business, Best Branding Solutions.
In the midst of a recession, many people see obstacles instead of opportunities. However, with the right mindset, one can take advantage of the situation.
In this episode, Tara talks about how she decided to get certified as a mindset coach in order to help people grow and develop more effectively. She posits that most of our problems and obstacles are related to our mindset, and that if we believe we can do something, we can.
Tara Gooch: From Poverty to Abundance - Entrepreneurship as the Engine of Success - PT 1
The Power of Mindset in Business:
The Power of a Positive Mindset in Business
The Importance of a Growth Mindset
The Power of a Resourceful Mindset
Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned from My Mother
The Power of a Servant Leader: How One Woman Turned Her Passion Into a Successful Business
The Importance of Graduating Without Debt
Career Navigation Lessons from an Experienced Professional
Tara Gooch on the Importance of Customer Service and Sales in Entrepreneurship
You mentioned that it was really important for you to graduate without debt, and with the exception of your most recent degree at UNC Wilmington, you chose private universities. So was that an intentional decision or was there something else at play where you went the private university route versus the public university route?.
I taught classes as well as personal trained folks on the side. And I was able to, again that entrepreneur mentality, pay my way through school and what. And I really do look at debt like that, especially as a prison, because it just really hinders your growth.
And your phrase was took what she was good at and decided to turn it into a business. I think there is a broadly applicable lesson there. You and I see the world very similarly and I think one of the things, one of the regular conversations that I have with people on my team is that you should be intentional about taking your desk and at whatever point in time it happens to be, and applying a CEO mentality to your desk.
Growing up, getting fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden and being just very resourceful, cooking everything from scratch, homemade, it taught me a lot of lessons that laid a foundation for me as an adult that has helped me do something like start my own business.
A lot of ways to make an impact. So it's insane how mindset kind of plays into that. So you've set the stage pretty well in terms of where you're at.
Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera
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Tara Gooch: From Poverty to Abundance - PT 1
[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: Welcome to today's episode of Cascading Leadership. I am your friendly neighborhood talent strategy nerd, Dr. Jim.
[00:00:06] Dr. Jim: In today's episode, we are going to learn. How you use failure as the engine for success. We're gonna learn how to build trust at scale, and we're gonna learn how to tap into the hidden opportunity economy. The person that is going to guide us through this conversation is our featured guest, Tara Gooch Tara. Welcome to the show. .
[00:00:28] Tara Lafon Gooch: Thank
[00:00:28] Tara Lafon Gooch: you. Thank you. Pleasure to be on the show, first off. And I, hope to really help the audience learn from my just my story, my background and where I came from.
[00:00:39] Tara Lafon Gooch: And hopefully it's inspiring for some people.
[00:00:41] Dr. Jim: Tara, super excited to have you on the show.
[00:00:44] Dr. Jim: I know you and I have connected on LinkedIn and we have conversations back and forth . And every now and then we'll have some shady, weird people that send us messages about Crypto. Crypto, and we're alerting each other about that. So there's, a, there, there's a bit of history there in [00:01:00] that respect.
[00:01:00] Dr. Jim: One of the things that I think is gonna be super valuable for our listening and viewing audience is for you to share with them a little bit about what you're doing now.
[00:01:10] Tara Lafon Gooch: I, am involved in a lot, but I'll focus on best branding, so I'm the CEO of that. And best branding was formed during covid. So during geez, I guess it would've been June of 2020, we started our company and my, husband and I we started it together. And he's a graphic designer by trade and hasn't been involved in graphic design and advertising for about 20 years.
[00:01:35] Tara Lafon Gooch: I recently, as of a year ago completed my mba, so we wanted to, our idea was to take his knowledge of branding and design, visual design and combine it with my love for business. So that's what I'm doing right now. That's my main focus. And it's, for me, it's. It's all about growth and expansion.
[00:01:59] Tara Lafon Gooch: So I'm [00:02:00] always looking for more opportunities how I can help more people with what I'm passionate about, which is personal branding I've also recently gotten to gotten into mindset coaching, growth mindset coaching. And that was a happenstance.
[00:02:15] Tara Lafon Gooch: A client of mine actually came to me and said, I want you to to help me with mindset coaching. I had never done that before, right? So I actually took myself through a program and became a mindset coach. And I did that because an opportunity was presented to me, but I also have just a general love for growth and I know the power.
[00:02:40] Tara Lafon Gooch: That comes with having a strong mindset. It's really everything, especially in business. So having a strong and develop personal brand with best branding solutions, that's my main focus. Helping others do the same. And then as well as helping other people improve their lives with the power [00:03:00] of mindset.
[00:03:00] Dr. Jim: There's a couple things there that, that cut my attention. One was that you launched best branding solutions in the middle of a pandemic. A lot of people don't think of that as the optimal time to launch a business. And my question is what made you decide to launch at that point?
[00:03:20] Dr. Jim: And I think your answer's gonna be particularly relevant because We're two straight quarters of negative gdp. So that means we're in a recession. Depending on how you define it, things are getting redefined all the time. But that's the official definition of recession.
[00:03:36] Dr. Jim: And there might be people that are hedging their plans to launch a business. So what was it that led you to launch a business in the middle of a pandemic and an economic downturn?
[00:03:47] Tara Lafon Gooch: I've, said this before, but I, have a, friend who's a ceo and she's, I've been inspired her by her for years, but recently we've talked and she said something that I'll, never forget.
[00:03:59] Tara Lafon Gooch: [00:04:00] And that's where others, where some see opportunity, others see nothing. So you can look at it as a recession or you can look at it as a method to explore opportunities. We are living in an age where you can get paid to be on YouTube, where you can get paid to for your social media handles.
[00:04:21] Tara Lafon Gooch: Right? There is plenty of opportunity and Stu Heineke book How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed. He talks about that and part of his weed strategy, his methodology is that. If you act like a weed in business you can be recession proof and you can actually even thrive in a recession.
[00:04:44] Tara Lafon Gooch: And again, where some sea obstacles, other sea opportunities. So I saw it as an opportunity. I had nothing to lose by starting the business. I only had something to gain and at the time it was a side hustle. I was still very [00:05:00] much involved in the corporate world as a sales director. So I had nothing to lose by doing it.
[00:05:05] Tara Lafon Gooch: And I figured, you know what, let's try it and see what happens. And I'm so glad I did. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
[00:05:13] Dr. Jim: I've had Stu on my show previously, so I've gotten all his books including how to Grow Your Business like a Weed. And what you say about his mindset is pretty interesting.
[00:05:23] Dr. Jim: It's identify where the gap exists or where the gap could be. And then how do you solve for that based on what you feel like doing.
[00:05:31] Dr. Jim: The other thing that was interesting was that you decided to get into mindset coaching, and I would've argued that you probably shouldn't have spent the money to take the lessons because your personal experience and your business experience equipped you to speak from a practical perspective on on that.
[00:05:51] Dr. Jim: I'm, wondering what was it about that point in time where you felt that, hey, maybe a certification or [00:06:00] training on this would be something I should do
[00:06:02] Tara Lafon Gooch: it wasn't about the piece of paper. It was more of. Again, just growth, right? So for me, I'm an avid learner. I, don't listen to the news. I, it's reading books or audio books all day long.
[00:06:16] Tara Lafon Gooch: And it's just, it's about pushing yourself, right? And if you have the opportunity and the means and desire to do something, do it. It's not gonna hurt anything by getting further educated in something. Certainly. But it's, about more coming up with a strategy, right?
[00:06:34] Tara Lafon Gooch: So while I could potentially talk on it and mentor someone with just my background and credentials alone, it was about putting the pieces of the strategy to really help that person grow long term, even after our sessions would be over. And that's, what it's all about.
[00:06:53] Tara Lafon Gooch: It's. Taking, something like, a growth mindset, but applying it to the rest of your life for [00:07:00] life. And I think when you do that there's, nothing you can't do. It really does come down to mindset for most of anything, most of all of our problems And obstacles or, mindset related.
[00:07:12] Dr. Jim: There's a Yoda reference. Do or do not, there is no try and your ability to do or do not really rest with what's going on between your ears. So if you don't think you can get something done, it's not gonna get done. If you do think that it, can get done.
[00:07:29] Dr. Jim: It can get done. And it's, interesting when I've I've, led teams for, quite a while, and one of the things that I've observed that's been pretty interesting to me is that there seems to be this relationship within certain organizations or in certain team structures where if you have a high amount of tooling that exists within your environment, the mentality oftentimes at the desk level becomes very [00:08:00] rigid.
[00:08:00] Dr. Jim: If, Solution X breaks, I can't get stuff done, and I've always been in startup or accelerating growth environments. And really from a sales perspective, what do those look like? You, might have a passable crm. You'll have some sort of CRM infrastructure, you'll have a phone, the internet, and some basic subscriptions and that's it.
[00:08:21] Dr. Jim: And, obviously email and we, always figured out some, really creative ways to get in front of people, but you look at some other organizations that have a lot of infrastructure in place, one thing goes down and you're like I don't know what to do. The rest of your stuff is still working.
[00:08:36] Dr. Jim: The phone still works, the internet's working. You have a lot of, ways to make an impact. So it's a, it's interesting how mindset kind of plays into that. Absolutely. You've set the stage pretty well in terms of where you're at
[00:08:49] Dr. Jim: so tell us a little bit about the background and growing up and how that's shaped your, vision for yourself as as you were living through that.
[00:08:56] Tara Lafon Gooch: Growing up the youngest of five. We didn't have much, [00:09:00] right? I, remember even as a kid gosh, all of my clothes were hand me downs I don't know if I really remember, like back to school shopping and getting a lot of new stuff. It makes you resourceful. And honestly I, think that was my background and my history growing up, it just, it led to a very resourceful mindset to, again, and maybe that's where I see opportunity, where others see nothingness.
[00:09:27] Tara Lafon Gooch: When, you grow up with a certain level of scarcity and you can it's, again, it's about your mindset. You can take that and say, I'm going to stay right here because this is my comfort zone. This is what I know. Or you can take that and use it as a bridge. To go wherever you want in life.
[00:09:45] Tara Lafon Gooch: And honestly, it's, it starts with self belief. And I always knew in my heart that I was made for more. Maybe it was confidence, but honestly I, just knew that I was [00:10:00] capable of whatever I wanted to achieve. And I sought out to do just that. So growing up, youngest of five with little means hand me downs for as long as I can remember growing up getting fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden and being just very resourceful, cooking everything from scratch, homemade it taught me a lot of lessons that laid a foundation for me as an adult that have helped me.
[00:10:27] Tara Lafon Gooch: Do something like start my own business.
[00:10:29] Dr. Jim: One thing that that you mentioned that I want to dig into it was your phrase. I believed I was made for more. So oftentimes when we've had guests on the show something's triggered that sort of bigger picture.
[00:10:44] Dr. Jim: Is there anything that you can point to as you were growing up that set the trigger in that bigger vision? Because it's very rare that people get that bigger vision just organically.
[00:10:56] Tara Lafon Gooch: So growing up watching my mo wa watching my [00:11:00] mom she's gosh, she's 75. So again, I'm the youngest. My parents are a little older, but yep, she's 75 years old, growing up watching her start her end business. I should say business is She had her own cleaning business
[00:11:15] Tara Lafon Gooch: and she would clean houses and she had a regular clientele that she would work with. And she had a business partner. Growing up and seeing that I think was a really important lesson, especially as a girl growing up, being able to watch your mom start her own business and elevate herself and make the money that she wanted and needed to support her family.
[00:11:39] Tara Lafon Gooch: But then she also catered as well. So my mom is a great cook. She's fabulous. And if anybody ever comes over for dinner, she makes enough for an army, that's for sure. But she catered and she would cater holidays, and that's how it started. Thanksgivings, Christmases for families. And it got us into a [00:12:00] different circle because she would cater for wealthy families.
[00:12:04] Tara Lafon Gooch: And seeing, yes I, while I grew up with little means, I was also exposed, and I think this is really important. I was exposed to what it could look like. So again, working with wealthier families, going in their homes growing up with them, essentially them trusting you, you trusting them. And seeing what it was like to, not have little means and to really live a life of abundance showed me that if it's possible for them, it's possible for anybody.
[00:12:38] Dr. Jim: Your mom had two businesses so that entrepreneurial gene in you, or at least trigger, started really early, but did you ever get an opportunity to ask her why she decided to go out on her own versus just get a paycheck from working somewhere?
[00:12:55] Tara Lafon Gooch: I think there's just more opportunity to go out on your own Jim and more [00:13:00] freedom. She, did not graduate college. She went to the University of Maryland. But it, she did not graduate. I think she maybe had completed a year. In those times, I would say so the early nineties, I don't know if there was as much opportunity.
[00:13:15] Tara Lafon Gooch: Maybe she didn't realize there was opportunity. I'm not sure. But I know my mom, she's. She's, I would call her a very much a servant leader. So she enjoys helping people. She enjoys leading through service. And for her, that translates to cooking. She loves cooking, she loves doing for others. So she took what she loved doing and what she was just good, naturally good at.
[00:13:42] Tara Lafon Gooch: She was she's a mom of five kids, so she knows how to cook for an army. Anyway, so she took what she was naturally good at, naturally gifted at, and applied it to a business where she could make the money she wanted and have the opportunities that probably were [00:14:00] not as presented to her as readily available as possible.
[00:14:04] Dr. Jim: That right there is something that I think I'm gonna call out. And your phrase was, took what she was good at and decided to turn it into a business. I think there is a broadly applicable lesson there. You and I see the world very similarly. And I think one of the things, one of the regular conversations that I have with people on my team is that you should be intentional about taking your desk and at whatever point in time it happens to be and applying a CEO mentality to your desk.
[00:14:38] Dr. Jim: And when I talk about it, it's not worked like ridiculous hours and, all of this sort of stuff. When I say CEO mentality is how many different income streams can I generate from where I'm at right now? And I think your point about, or your mom's point about take what you're good at and figure out how to turn it into a business.
[00:14:57] Dr. Jim: There's tons of application there. You might be. [00:15:00] A writer, you might be a speaker, you might be good with tech, you might be good with any number of things. Like all of us are good with a whole lot of different skills. We just don't look at it that way from the perspective of, okay, how can we monetize that and create a business out of it?
[00:15:16] Dr. Jim: And that's the mindset that I think everybody needs to adopt. The earlier the better. Let's talk a little bit about, okay, now you have a vision for what life could look like.
[00:15:28] Dr. Jim: Walk us through how you attempted to get to that life. What was the path that you took?
[00:15:35] Tara Lafon Gooch: I'm the first person in my family to graduate college to get a four year degree and advanced degree. So I knew, or at least I believed, it's not the path for everyone. But my path at the time was that I wanted to graduate with a degree.
[00:15:50] Tara Lafon Gooch: What I did not want was to graduate with a degree in an exorbitant amount of debt. I knew that would not lead me to financial freedom and [00:16:00] the life really that I was trying to seek. Through college I actually worked my way full-time as a personal trainer. And I had my own book of clientele.
[00:16:10] Tara Lafon Gooch: I taught classes as well as personal trained folks on the side, and I was able to again, that entrepreneur mentality, pay my way through school. And what I graduated with, no debt and I really do look at debt like that, especially as, a prison cuz it just really hinders your growth.
[00:16:33] Tara Lafon Gooch: So that was a little bit of my journey. Just starting it with that entrepreneurship mind of my own and then going into college. But I went from Maryland and completed my four year degree in North Carolina where I live now. So I graduated from the University of Win Gate Wingate University and then eventually got my got certificates from [00:17:00] University of Notre Dame and management as well as Cornell University in financial management.
[00:17:06] Tara Lafon Gooch: And now I have my MBA with a specialization in business analytics.
[00:17:10] Dr. Jim: One of the things that you mentioned when you were talking through your educational journey was it was really important for you to graduate without debt, and that was part of the reason why you had a bunch of different side hustles and you worked through college as well.
[00:17:25] Dr. Jim: You mentioned that it was really important for you to graduate without debt, and with the exception of your most recent degree at UNC Wilmington, you went, you chose private universities.
[00:17:36] Dr. Jim: So was that an intentional decision or was there something else at play where you went the private university route versus the public university route?
[00:17:45] Tara Lafon Gooch: Scholarships.
[00:17:46] Tara Lafon Gooch: There you go. So I did work my way through school full-time, but scholarships paid for I, I don't know the, final percentage, but I was able to get a substantial amount of scholarship money for [00:18:00] my undergraduate specifically. My MBA was paid. Four by my corporate employer. I just was very fortunate.
[00:18:07] Tara Lafon Gooch: But yes, graduated all of that with zero depth.
[00:18:11] Dr. Jim: There's another important sort of career navigation lesson or education navigation lesson is that when you're looking at selecting schools or selecting majors, you should always be looking at how much of this can you get paid for, either through scholarships on a merit basis or whatever.
[00:18:28] Dr. Jim: Whatever you can get, your hands on. But your advanced degrees, if you can get your employer to pay, you should definitely take that. Lbs oldest son. They go back and forth about it and his oldest son doesn't wanna listen. Shocker. About, about getting his employer to pay for his degree.
[00:18:46] Dr. Jim: If you're oriented towards getting advanced degrees, that's something that you should definitely do. So you've gone through this trajectory of, building your credentials. And as you go through your college life [00:19:00] what was the initial path that you took upon graduation?
[00:19:03] Dr. Jim: Did you go the entrepreneur route or did you go the corporate route?
[00:19:06] Tara Lafon Gooch: I wanted to go the corporate route when I graduated college For whatever reason I had that, as in my head, is this is the American dream, right?
[00:19:16] Tara Lafon Gooch: When you graduate college, you've gotta find some corporate job, even if it pays nothing, because you know what, that's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to hustle and prove yourself and get paid nothing. So when I graduated, I got into the corporate world and it was I started at the bottom customer service, which I've always enjoyed working with, customers.
[00:19:42] Tara Lafon Gooch: I, I think it's fantastic, but that's where I started. That's my core. And you don't get paid anything, but you learn so much and gosh. The phone, I always joke the phone's on fire, right? The phone's smoking because my phone would [00:20:00] just literally hang up, be picked up, and that taught me how to cold call that taught me how to deal with an unhappy customer that taught me how to think on the fly.
[00:20:11] Tara Lafon Gooch: That taught me so many things by working in a entry level customer service job that really propelled me into being able to do what I'm doing now. If I were to take it all back, would I have had the same course or would I have started my own business out of college? I don't know. I don't know if I would've had the the confidence out of college to be able to start my own course in the, down the path of entrepreneurship.
[00:20:39] Tara Lafon Gooch: So I think at the time it made sense for me. But that's, where I started. I started with. Customer service and it steadily propelled me to be able to transition into a sales career. And if you're in business, you're in sales. So it doesn't matter what type of business, what industry, what company. If you [00:21:00] are in business, you're in sales in some capacity.
[00:21:02] Tara Lafon Gooch: So because of that, it was able to really help the rest of the trajectory of my career because I was able to understand sales, how to help customers, how to solve problems, and create an experience out of it.
[00:21:17] Dr. Jim: It's interesting that you mentioned that your time in customer service and your time in sales built.
[00:21:24] Dr. Jim: And engine for your future success. What is it about sales and customer service specifically that you feel better prepared you for a life in entrepreneurship versus if you had skipped that and just gone that route right out of right outta college?
[00:21:42] Tara Lafon Gooch: I, feel like if if you can, sell at the corporate level and it is a challenge, right? But if you can sell at that level, you can sell for yourself.
[00:21:53] Tara Lafon Gooch: It's, really not that much of a transition. Being able to sell is a fairly [00:22:00] transferable skill. You can take that anywhere, right? But it's more than that. It's being able to have open conversation with someone, being able to develop a relationship with someone. So yes, it started off as sales and customer service, but it taught me really the foundations of building a relationship.
[00:22:19] Tara Lafon Gooch: And to me that's, the foundation of entrepreneurship. No business, especially a startup business, exists without relationships. You have to have good, strong relationships in with whatever, if it's customers, if it's business partners, if it's investors, or if it's all three. You have to be able to have open communication.
[00:22:41] Tara Lafon Gooch: And strong relationships or otherwise. Otherwise it's just not gonna work. People wanna do business with people they like and trust. And being able to form a relationship with somebody is really a key element to any business. But it's essential if you're an entrepreneur.
[00:22:57] Ethan: Tune in next time for the conclusion of our [00:23:00] conversation with Tara Gooch on Cascading Leadership.