We live in a very busy world that it becomes so easy to lose ourselves in our work. It is time to come back to ourselves and reinvent life the way we have always wanted. In this episode, Sheila Mac, the author of Boot Straps & Bra Straps, offers valuable insights on finding that balance between business and personal life. With her BOOTS Formula, she talks about how to bounce back and take action after hitting rock bottom. Sheila then delves into maintaining balance in one’s personal life while pursuing financial freedom. She offers strategies for prioritizing spending and making conscious choices that align with long-term financial goals while enjoying a fulfilling social life. Tune in to this episode to gain valuable insights from Sheila’s personal and professional experiences and learn how to apply the BOOTS Formula to overcome setbacks, achieve financial stability, and find a renewed purpose in life.
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The BOOTS Formula: Reinventing The Life You’ve Always Wanted With Sheila Mac
We’re so excited that we have another amazing guest. Let me tell you about my special guest, Sheila Mac. She is a respected Motivational Speaker, Business Coach, and Author with over twenty years of experience as a Consultant. She is known as The Reboot Specialist. How many of us need some rebooting? I can tell you I do. I can tell you many of my clients too, and my entire audience probably needs a reboot.
I always say, “When your computer is full and you got all these apps open, what happens?” Think about your brain. When you have all this stuff going on and you have all these things, personal business in your brain, and you don’t start closing the cycles. I always say you have to close the cycles. When you don’t close the cycles, what happens? Your brain shuts down just like your computer shuts down.
It starts running slowly. It gets tired. It’s not at its operative speed. It’s not productive and efficient. It’s the same thing with our computer. You need a reboot specialist. Do you have her, ladies and gentlemen? Sheila hosts The Sheila Mac Show and she’s featured on NBC’s KCAA Radio, on-demand television, and major podcast channels. She’s here in this episode. Her work has gained recognition from CNBC, CBS, Fox News, Yahoo Finance, and other media outlets.
She has a bestselling book, Boot Straps & Bra Straps. We’re going to dig a little bit into her book to find out what is Boot Straps & Bra Straps all about. It’s a great title. Also, she serves as a guide for improving the lives of people, business owners, professionals, and everyone. It improves the lives and the lives of our busy entrepreneurs. Sheila, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to have you here and let’s dig in.
Thank you for having me as a guest in this episode.
You’re welcome. I’m glad you could come on. I know that you’re busy between my schedule and your schedule. Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a treat. Let’s talk a little bit about your journey. I always like to start with my guest’s journey because we all started from somewhere. What you see as Sheila Mac now is probably not the Sheila Mac as a little girl. I know, Sheila, you’ve faced some significant adversities in your life, as many of us have. However, you’ve faced some significant ones, which you managed to overcome and build a very successful career. Tell us a little bit about your journey.
As a young girl, I was with my grandparents mostly and in and out of homeless and foster care. I emancipated at fifteen and a half. I went ahead and started college early. I graduated high school early. By the time I was eighteen, I worked at JPL in the engineering department in programming. On the weekends, I went ahead and worked at the swap meet, selling things that I bought on sale at the storage and different auctions and garage sales. After that, I realized I was making more money doing that. I was able to invest in my first triplex at nineteen. By 23 years old, I started department gift stores that were 5,000 square feet. My first store, I leased. I paid rent, and I didn’t like paying $5,000 a month. That’s a lot of money.
How old were you at that time?
By then, I was 23.
All my readers, if you have any 23-year-olds laying on your couch, your kids, get them off the couch. Any 23-year-old reader saying, “I can’t do it. I don’t know how to become an entrepreneur,” you read it from Sheila Mac herself at 23.
My heart was to give back to the community. I did start an open-source learning program for at-risk youth. I worked with the government for the Job Training Partnership Act, and I had over 200 young adults go through my training program, learning every aspect of working at a store. From there, they would graduate, get a letter of recommendation, and they would go on to get good shop-paying jobs because no one wanted to hire these kids when they started.
They were my heart project, and with that, my store grew. I started consulting before I knew it was called consulting. The other store owners wanted to know how I was making so much more money than they were and what I was doing. The next thing you know, when it was finally time, I started buying my other retail businesses, the actual store frontages. When I bought them, that’s when I got into real estate because all the other store owners wanted to also own their building and it made sense.
That’s how I transitioned into real estate. However, I was consulting as well and I didn’t even know what it was called. I was so young. That’s what I was doing. I had a great time and years later, I had the stores for seventeen years. I ended up doing an Exit Rich strategy like in your book. I was able to sell out and because I had purchased the buildings, I also was able to rent those out. They were fully paid for. Therefore, I was able to get passive income and stop working many hours a day, which was a wonderful treat.
To unpack your story a little bit, you were raised by your grandparents and at foster homes. Why was that?
They weren’t all that well. At one point, my mother returned and told me to go out on my own. There was abuse going on at home. I was safer out there. I was still going to school full-time. I was the class president, a cheerleader, and I was homeless.
Your grandparents were ill and your mom came back. Your mom wasn’t a big part of your life.
She was on and off and there was a lot of abuse in the home overall, mostly with her and not with me and then I’d end up getting hit in the middle. They beat my mother up a lot. For my safety, she wanted me to go and I negotiated staying at different friends’ homes. Sometimes I was out all night awake in Hollywood and Southern California. You could do that back then pretty safely. I was still going to school and getting good grades.
Years later, at thirteen and a half, I found out there was this foster care and I went into a group home. From ten and a half to thirteen and a half, I was out on my own. I did work for a program called Junior Careers, selling candies door to door at the sports stadium. That was how I ended up paying for things and then I stayed at different friends’ homes.
In foster care, I went to a beautiful home called David & Margaret Home in La Verne, California. It was a group home and there I had a wonderful experience. I ended up knocking on the door of the people that bought the old orphanage. These were the Westin Whipples. It was Pamela Westin Whipple. I got to see her do her architecture for the Westin Hotels. It was Carter in the Carter White House and he also was the artist that did the dragon in The NeverEnding Story.
They bought the old orphanage. I knocked on their door. It was probably the first week in foster care. I said, “I want to be your personal assistant.” They hired me and they trained me in so many different things. They made it into an art gallery, the whole place they had purchased. I helped with the art gallery and events. They were teaching me. I was their apprentice. I learned a lot about business. They were so kind to me and very wonderful.
Are they paying a little bit of a lower rate?
They didn’t pay me anything.
Let’s make that point very clear because I have a lot of people that come into Seiler Tucker and want to make a tremendous amount of money right off the bat with zero experience and think they’re worth it. You can’t validate why they’re worth it. I always tell people, “If you want to learn, you go into a company as an intern. They may be charging less, so you can be a sponge and soak it all up and know everything.” I get a lot of those candidates that want to get overpaid for lack of experience.
I got to stay at their home at the mansion on the weekends. I had a special pass with David and Margaret. I had permission. They went through whatever paperwork they needed to. They were where I went for my home passes and I had a nice room. They gave me clothes here and there and nice things because I had a dress up for the events. They took care of me very well in that respect. It was all training and learning how to earn money.
One time, somebody had given me dental equipment for art. I had to figure out how to convert that into money for them. There were so many different business deals that I was involved with and learned from this beautiful couple. That was such a gift. They later separated. They got divorced and moved away. That was when I was fifteen. At that point, I decided I wanted to be famous. I got in line at this Janice Patterson talent agency and there were hundreds of young girls in line. It was for the Dove commercial and I was chosen.
Were you a Dove girl?
No, I wasn’t and this is why I was emancipated. I didn’t even have a portfolio. I didn’t know what a portfolio was. I just had good skin and I looked the part that they wanted. I didn’t get the Dove girl commercial and the reason was my grandparents were still my legal guardians. With that, they would have to sign for me to have permission to go ahead and do that commercial and they didn’t want to sign for whatever reason. They hadn’t sent a card, a hello, or a goodbye. There was nothing in all those years.
I said, “They’re not helping me. I will emancipate so that I don’t miss any other opportunities.” That’s why I emancipated at fifteen. I got my high school diploma early. I started college right away at fifteen and a half. They put me in a different place. They sent me to camp because they said, “You’re emancipated. We want to make room for these other people. We’re going to transfer you. Do you want to go to the hall or do you want to go to camp?”
I had been working and going to school with good grades. I was very different. I was like, “Camp sounds fun.” This was a camp for bad kids that had hurt other children or done something very bad. I’m in camp and they kept me there for six months. At fifteen and a half is when I finally graduated. I started emancipation at fifteen and it took six months and I thought, “What else?”
Who took you to camp?
It was part of foster care. I was in the system. It was the system’s idea for emancipation. I’m in the camp with the bad kids, but it was a beautiful experience because I got to learn who these kids are, what their stories were, what caused them to do the crazy things they did, and what was going on. I felt it was an important part of my experience in life and to know people. It gave me a lot of compassion. It did motivate me to later when I had the gift stores work with the at-risk youth and be able to create that training program to help them get back on track.
That’s an amazing story. There is even more to unpack, but we can’t do it in a one-hour show. However, the question that comes to the top of my mind is, “Where did you find your strength? Where did you find your motivation?” It’s because there are children that are raised in very good homes with families and they do nothing with their life. They don’t contribute to society or even those who have had bad upbringings, challenging upbringings, or neighborhoods. Where do you find that strength? Where do you find that power and passion? Why did you end up so different from that background where so many don’t? They are on the street and in jail.
I feel like maybe I was an old soul. I was around grandparents and their friends. I had so many extended family grandparents and they were teaching me these incredible values. I remember my grandmother sitting around having tea with a large group of women and they would come together once or twice a week from the neighborhood. They would go ahead and talk about their stories and their difficult situations.
How one of my neighbors had escaped from a concentration camp and another one had escaped from Iran when they changed power. They had nothing and they came to this country and all those different stories. They were very multicultural because we’re in the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. You have people from everywhere and their stories. There was one lady from Greece and how who had to start over and had the most popular Greek restaurant. I said, “I’m going to have my own story one day,” and that’s part of life. Things are going to happen.
However, you’re an anomaly because there are more people who don’t succeed that have had challenging backgrounds and childhoods than people who do succeed. What is that key ingredient that you think people need to get past or surpass? To not let their past define them and control the rest of their life. To not blame everybody else for their mistakes. What is that one key ingredient or is a one key ingredient?
I think the key ingredient is ownership. When you own your piece of the problem or your part in changing it, then at that point, that’s when you are in charge. If you blame others, “My parents did this. This happened.” Things happen in life, but if I blame those circumstances for what I’m creating in my life every day, then who has control over my life? Me or those circumstances?When you own your piece of the problem or your part in changing it, then at that point, that's when you are in charge. Click To Tweet
That’s right. I was like, “You have to take your power and your life back and decide that this is how you’re going to reinvent your life if you’ve gone through a tough situation.” Being able to be in the girls’ home and then in the mansion with these incredible people at their art gallery, it was like, “Which world do I want to live in?”
It’s almost like you can go back now, Sheila, and ask yourself. The victim always asks themselves, “Why does this happen to me? Why did this happen to me?” You can look at all the blessings that came out of you being in that foster home and say, “If this didn’t happen, if my mom was more involved, if this happened, if that happened or that happened, I would’ve never met this person. I would’ve never had this. I would’ve never had this great life.” Tony Robbins says the same thing. “Why does this happen to me and not to me?” People have to get out of that victim mentality. I need to transition your journey into where you are now. How have those experiences influenced your approach to business and your work with your clients?
I think it’s because of my experience. I have a lot of different work experience, life experience, and compassion. I’m able to read between the lines a lot of time and working with businesses and business owners especially, you have times where the business is running them. When I finish helping with that business side of things, the other things show up. The husband or wife comes in and says, “I’m being ignored,” or, “We have no relationship anymore,” or, “The kids,” or whatever’s going on because they were only running the business that was running them.
That’s a very common situation that happens. I then get to do the other side of coaching and help work those things out because the whole reason we work isn’t to work until we die. It’s so that we can bless our relationships, help our children, elders, and loved ones, or pay for our puppies in whatever they need. It’s not just to work. We love helping our clients, but if we’re not getting any benefit and it’s burning us out, what’s the point?
That’s where business owners have to learn to work on their business, not in it. Employees need to learn how to leave their baggage at home and be focused so they can be more efficient and productive. When I do get home, they can have a better quality of life. I lost my husband and I’m balancing work and being a single mom now and still having fun. I’m pretty good at balancing, but it is something that entrepreneurs have to focus on. Let’s talk about the BOOTS Formula. Do you have a Bra Formula too, or just the BOOTS?
It’s the BOOTS Formula with Boot Straps & Bra Straps. It’s the formula to get from rock bottom back into action in any situation. Later on in life, I had purchased a home. I did travel with the Tony group and had a blast for about seven years, mostly living off all my properties and passive income. I was able to learn more strategic intervention and consulting and just have a blast. I brought my kids with me on some of the tours. We had so much fun.
I had finally decided, “I’m tired of traveling full-time. Let me buy a home.” I bought a beautiful home in Ventura and about a month after, I had redesigned it. We had barely moved in, the house burned down with the big Ventura fire, the California fire. We lost the house, the car, and the cat. My daughter ended up having to go somewhere else for school and not live with me for a while and go to the dorms. I was upset about that.
Was it one of the wildfires that spread in California?
No. It was the Thomas Fire which was part of the electrical system that went bad. It took years to get that taken care of.
How did you bounce back from that?
I had a little rental home. It was a prefab home that I paid pennies for $35,000 and I was getting $6,000 to $8,000 a month renting out this little prefab home on Woolsey Canyon. I was a Superhost. I stayed in the 400-square-foot utility closet that had a bathroom. I was staying there. I didn’t want to go to the shelter and take up space. I had a place. One of my kids loaned me a car that was driving almost sideways. It had an alignment issue.
My son owed more on that car than it was worth. I had to pay money to get out of it. The brakes didn’t work so I had to have it repaired. I fixed it up as nicely as I could and rented other cars to show my clients in real estate working at Keller Williams Beverly Hills. I was renting nice cars, but then I had the sideways driving. It had a rolling-down window with a handle. It was not the best car. I made it the best I could. I jumped up and down on my rebounder, out on the yoga deck up at that little house, and had a blast.
You changed your mindset and you got out of the victim mentality.
That’s right. I had gratitude and I said, “I’m going to put all this training to the test. Let me see if I can get out of this and rebuild my life,” and that’s exactly what happened.
How has the system helped your clients succeed in business?
It is something that we always start with because they need to get back to basics. It’s who you’re being and all you’re doing. Are you being run by your business or are you in charge of the business? The next thing is the order of operations. You have to see what’s first and next, and go from that. You also have to have your orientation as to where you are on the map. You can’t say you’re making tons of money if you’re not or if you’re losing money or if everything is great in your business and your whole life is falling apart.
We do that to understand the orientation. We do the order of operations and then it’s a lot about mindset. The S is stepping into all that you need to do. Taking those action steps to make the change could take 3 months or 6 months. It’s usually not immediate because you’re taking small steps each day.
We have a coaching program called The Road to Exit Rich and I always say that you can’t improve the business unless you improve the owner. It’s going to be stuck if the owner is stuck. I have partners in other businesses and I always work on the owner or the partners first so we can get those businesses unstuck so we can call it a business. It’s because if the owner has a mindset like in the case of one of my companies that, “I’m stuck here. I’m never going to exit for millions like I want.”
It’s because her story is always, “People want to get paid by the hour. They want their paycheck every week. They want to work for the dollar. They live paycheck to paycheck.” I said, “Here are some books we need to read to get them on that mindset.” She goes, “But I think that way too.” I said, “There’s a problem.” If you’ll never change the owner of the business, we can change the owner.
We’ve got some comments. Coach Kenny said, “This is great information and story. It’s a fabulous story.” Matt asked, “What are some of the key strategies you recommend for individuals aiming to create generational wealth, especially for those who are starting out in their careers or business?”
For that, I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is to invest properly. For me, it was real estate. When you have a business, it was one big thing. If you have a storefront on your site there or instead of having the fancy home first, go ahead and have a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. Start getting the cashflow to pay for your mortgage. Pay that off and then buy the next one. There’s also the 1031 Exchange, which is once you start having investment properties, you don’t have to pay capital gains and you can size up and build up as you go.
It starts with building your credit and using business credit. If you’re in business, use your business credit. Don’t use your personal credit because that will give you a lot more leverage. For my storefronts, I used some business credit in order to make my down payments. I paid my buildings off in 3 to 5 years. That was my goal. That gave me the income.
There was a lot in that answer. Let’s unpack some of that. Number one, you don’t want to use your personal credit for business because now you’ve pierced your corporate veil. If you can avoid signing personal guarantees and avoid using your personal money for business, you avoid piercing that veil. You don’t want to pierce that company veil because then, you open up your personal estate to lawsuits. You have to be very careful with that.
It’s like what Robert Kiyosaki said in Rich Dad Poor Dad, “Don’t go out there and buy an expensive home, car or boat. Take that money and buy cash-producing properties.” Come see us at Seiler Tucker. We have lots and lots of cash-producing properties, but you want to go out there and invest that money in different things. People used to do it in the vending machines and now, people are doing it in the machines where you fill up your battery-operated cars.
There are lots of things that are cash-producing revenue sources that you can invest in. You then take that money and invest it into a home. The Rich Dad Poor Dad is still an incredible book to read. Stephan says, “How can professionals overcome obstacles and break the glass ceiling in their careers and what mindset or approach should they adopt?”
Add value in a good way and be different in a good way. That’s the important part.
There are so many people that are different in a bad con way. There are a lot of cons out there, so we have to be careful.
Tune in to Jay Abraham. He has some wonderful marketing ideas for cross-collaboration in different fields. That’s like being creative in a good way to create new clients and business-to-business also. He does that so incredibly well. I highly recommend watching some of his YouTube as well.
I love Jay Abraham. I know him. I will tell you, when you’re listening to Jay Abraham, get ready to drink out of a fire hose because it’s that fast and that powerful. I’ve never heard anybody speak as profoundly and as quickly as he does. He has a tremendous amount of experience. Kimberly says, “What are your key strategies for getting out of debt and starting to build a nest egg?”
You can only cut so much, and right now, with inflation, there’s not a lot left to cut sometimes when I’m working with a new client. It may be that you have to roll up your sleeves and do a second job or create a side business that’s going to bring you some extra income. You need to have more than one stream of income, especially in this crazy economy. Even if you have a successful business, start getting something else coming in from somewhere because that’s going to help you to get ahead.
If you just have a career or a business and you’re not getting that extra or backup, then it’s a little difficult when you’re starting out to get out of debt. If you do have a business, once you start having some success, look into the business credit instead of using your personal credit. I don’t know how many small businesses that I’ve worked with have never even heard of business credit. They mortgage their house to buy for their retail store. I was like, “What are you doing?”
The businesses that I coach into the Exit Rich strategies or partner with, one company I partnered with was husband and wife. They were working 12 hours, 14 hours a day with one employee. They had no business credit. She mortgaged her home and was about to get a divorce and about to lose their family home. I came in and invested money along with another partner. We save their family home and save their marriage.
It’s very important to have that business credit. Also, I’ll piggyback onto that, Sheila. It’s important for business owners to have multiple streams of revenue. In my book, we talk about the 6 P’s, the second P being product and I will always say, “This is why restaurants got destroyed during COVID is because they have one way to get paid.” You either go in and dine or you take food to go. Where’s the retail end of the business? Where’s maybe the cooking classes of the business?
There are so many different synergistic opportunities in every single industry. Business owners should look at and even go outside your industry. Look at other industries and what they are doing. What are some of the revenue streams that could still be congruent to your business? It’s because I always say, “You shouldn’t add revenue streams unless they’re congruent.” You don’t want to own a restaurant and then go own a landscape company. You could own maybe a food distribution company because that’s more synergistic.
I always say Sheila, a business owner should have 4 to 7 profit centers in their business all the time. It’s the same thing with employees. There’s a way for them to build wealth too. They can build wealth through their employment. If there are opportunities, we make sure there are commissions, bonuses, stocks, and all these different things that we are working towards.
Also, they can go and take some of those bonuses or commissions and invest them into passive income, so then she can have multiple revenue streams. Hayden says, “What practical steps can someone take today to start their journey towards financial freedom? How can one balance the pursuit of financial independence by maintaining a fulfilling social life?” I think we’d already said a bunch of that. Do you have anything to add?
Yes. The other thing is somehow to connect your social life with your business. It’s not that you’re a salesperson. When I’m in Beverly Hills, we go out seven days a week. There’s always something to do in Beverly Hills. It’s networking and business, but it’s not to sell to each other. It’s just that you’re networking with different people. With my stores, the people would be like, “I want to do what you are doing. How did you buy this property? What did you do?”Connect your social life with your business. Click To Tweet
It’s like, “I happen to be an agent and I happen to walk people through the steps of going from beginning to going ahead and building a portfolio that way.” That’s something I do, but it just comes up in conversation. You can be social that way. I don’t drink. I don’t go out to play. I’ll dance around if we’re at a fun place with music or whatever but I am there to network with people that are aligned and that have the same values as I do. Most of them are building and creating incredible things.
That’s fun. It doesn’t feel like work to you. You have to find what their balance is and there are so many different chapters, organizations, and groups to network. We’re in New Orleans. There are lots of things to network here. There are so many different things that you can do and balance work and balance networking. You can work with your owners, too, and make sure you’re getting compensated for your efforts as well. You bring in some new business and you’re compensated for that.
I’ve always found it very easy to balance my business with my social life. Going to fundraisers, different committees, different nonprofits, and different charity charitable events. For me, that’s all fun. They have a band. They have dancing. They have this and that. It’s very social. To me, it’s pretty connected, but everybody has to find their own, I believe. With business success, one of my questions is, what do you believe are the key factors that contribute to the success of a business and how do these factors align with the principles you teach in your consulting work?
I think that the most important thing in running my stores, all the businesses, and working with my clients now are everybody’s royalty. All the clients and my employees are all royalty to me. It doesn’t matter if somebody would walk in and does not spend a penny at my stores. That was my rule.
Are they all what? They’re all royalty.
Everybody is treated equally and fairly. I would not treat a client or somebody buying their first-time little home any different than somebody buying an $18 million property. To me, everybody needs to be treated with honor, respect, and full focus. It’s when you train your employees to also treat all the clients that way and you also honor and treat your employees in a way where they can give feedback.Everybody needs to be treated with honor, with respect, and with your full focus. Click To Tweet
We had wonderful times where we’d have our lunches or breakfast and everybody would get to contribute. There were no mistakes. What idea do you have? Maybe we should do a new display. Maybe there’s a different way. How do we work with this client? What do we need? You would be surprised. Some of the people that I hired in, I didn’t realize they were very creative and they could do beautiful displays.
However, if I kept them in their job and I didn’t listen to what their whole person, then I would miss a beautiful opportunity. Those displays sold 100 times more than my displays prior. That kind of thing is being opened and being connected to the people in your life. It’s people first. Richard Branson believes that too. He always says that, and I think that it’s the key.
I think it’s important not to judge a book by its cover because there are stories after stories when multi-billionaires walk into a car dealership, store, bank, or this or that and they’re treated unfairly. They are pretty much neglected. The salesperson, in many cases, will say, “Let me put you with this person,” and walk away. There was a recent story about a billionaire walking into a car dealership and they completely ignored him.
He went to another car dealership and bought a car. They treated him much better. He came back and said, “Let me tell you who I am now. Let me tell you what I bought.” It’s like Pretty Woman. Do you remember the scene in Pretty Woman? “Do you work on commissions?” It’s a big mistake or a huge mistake. You can never judge a book by its cover. I agree 1,000% that everybody should be treated fairly and like royalty. Let’s talk a little bit about leadership. As a leadership coach, what core qualities do you believe are essential for successful leadership in this day’s dynamic and ever-challenging business environment? Also, not only challenging but changing.
Yes, it is changing. The most important thing I’ve found in leadership is making it fun. That sounds crazy. If it’s a boring meeting, if it’s an OSHA safety training meeting, which is about as boring as it gets. If you can bring a little bit of fun in, involvement, and get people to not just sit and listen but to be able to respond and make it a game. Make it fun. The people looking forward to going to work, to be on the team, and to be connected.
When you create leadership within each other in the group, you’re not just the only leader. Everybody is involved. That involvement is not just sitting there and listening to somebody tell you what to do. You are becoming involved in it and making it fun. It’s not only putting food on the table at a meeting. It’s getting people involved and creating time for synergistic relationships and discussions so that people are looking forward to going to work. Where it’s a fun part of the day instead of, “I’m working to get this money,” and then I’m going to go have fun. Bring that back and you can make a lot more money when people are happy and having fun.
Also, when people are learning, because a lot of times it’s not always about the money. When you ask people what their top five priorities are in a new position, money is usually number 4 or number 5. Right up there is the ability to learn and grow with the company. Usually, that’s at the top. One thing that we started incorporating, again, and we used to do this all the time. A lot of business owners have great habits that they get away from.
They did great stuff that they stopped doing. One of the things we bought back is the book. We pick a book that we’re going to read per month. Everybody reads it and comments on it. Everybody gives their ideas. We have worksheets with it and then we figure out how they can incorporate it in their life so they can become wealthy, get back to their community, and serve on other boards. Matt asks, “With your diverse educational background, how to have these different fields, such as business marketing and Montessori teaching.” Did you do Montessori teaching?
I did. I adopted three children and have three of my own because I had this diverse group of children in my life. Some of them came to the home and they needed different learning styles. I went ahead and got my degree in Montessori Teaching. At that point, my stores were already self-running. I did check in with that, but I went and became a Montessori teacher to get the children all into the private Montessori schools they needed to catch up. I was there teaching. I was there to be mom and to know who the friends are, what are they doing, and what do they need?
The pay was nothing but the reason I was there was to be with my children. The biggest part was the private school let all the children in for free because I was a teacher there. I was making more of a bonus because it was $35,000 per kid at this particular school. That’s a lot with six. I don’t care how much you’re making. That was a blessing. It was only a couple of years that my children were in that program and I worked in that because I wanted to be with my children, but they got really caught up and then they were able to go back into traditional school. That was something that was for my children.
You are fascinating. I didn’t even know that about you. Kudos to Matt there because I didn’t know and I would’ve never asked that question. Also, real estate and consulting. How has all of that contributed to your approach to business coaching?
Whatever business you’re in, marketing is the most important part. Whether you’re a real estate agent and you’re marketing to get clients and leads or whether you have a business. Even if you are working at a business and you want to improve and maybe market yourself to get a better-paying job at another company, it’s all marketing. No matter what you want to do, you’re marketing. If you write a book, you’ve got to market the book. If you have a movie, you’ve got to market it. That is the most important thing that I’ve learned over the years is sales and marketing. Also, if you market correctly, it practically sells itself.
Look how many people create inventions and never go to the market. They end up with all those adventures in a box. I did not know that you’d adopted three children.
Yes. I had one child and then I was told, “You can’t have any more children.” I said, “I came from this foster care and there’s so many children that need adoption. I’ll sign up.” The next thing you know, I adopted three and then I had the surprise where I had my last two children biological and I was like, “Doctor, excuse me. I thought you told me this was an impossibility. Now, there’s two more.” I say it’s a soul contract that they were part of the family and that was designed that way. I believe that. It’s been a wonderful experience and a way to learn about it.
All of this with six kids. How old’s the youngest?
My youngest is sadly the one that passed away. He passed away in 2019 when he was 22. He had a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White. Since he was in fifth grade, we had diagnosed that and he fell asleep and didn’t wake up. That was hard for us. I dedicated my book to my son Michael’s memory and that was probably the hardest of all the things in my life. That was the hardest ever and I’m not alone.
I’m with a group of moms that I do a free program with and we meet once a week and talk about the process. It is something that sometimes you have to go through. My daughter’s now the youngest living and she is 27 now. She is getting her degree in Psychology. She did a mentorship with me, learning with Cloe Madanes. It was a private mentorship with Chloe for nine months in a small group. She got high recommendations from Cloe and she is studying Psychology. She’s now a case worker and finishing her degrees in licensing still.
You are quite extraordinary. The more you talk, the more I learn and the more I find out about you. Work-life integration. I think we’ve already talked about this. You emphasized the importance of integrating career and life. It’s like you did with the Montessori schools. You want to be near your children, so you got a degree as a Montessori teacher. Can you give us some really practical advice on how busy entrepreneurs and business professionals can achieve a healthy work-life balance?
I think we already talked about that where you got to social functions and that you’re networking and that’s good for you. I do the same thing and that’s good for me. I also plan my time in my office now that I’m a single mom, accordingly to what I have to get done in my daughter’s life and spending quality time with my daughter. Do you have any other tips on that?
I had an entire section in my department stores. Remember, I had five that were devoted to knowledge and games and my kids ordered the merchandise. They would come on the weekends and show people how they were learning while they were playing games. All the parents and grandparents would buy. My children were learning about business. I involved them in a lot of what I did and they were having fun.
They didn’t even know they were working and we’d make it a game and a challenge. They all know a lot about business and went into management roles when they get got their first jobs at eighteen because they already knew how to run a business. I felt that that education was far better than the school education in that area, at least. It has blessed them and we’ve always been very open and honest. We had great talks.
Every night, we have a phone call now, but when they were little, it used to be obviously our reading circle and then we’d have a talking time. We would share about our day. To know what your kids are doing these days and what’s going on. Are they having problems or peer pressure? What’s happening? Also, to have open discussions from a young age so that when you get to the tough things that happen, they can still have open discussions with you because that’s normal.
I agree. It’s so fun to play with your kids. I have tickle games. We play horsey games and all kinds of different games because play is so important in a child’s life. Also, teaching them entrepreneurial skills and teaching them about money when they’re very little, but I like to incorporate that play with some hands-on experience about going to the bank and this is what we do. This is what mommy does. My mommy sells companies and stuff like that, but I think it’s imperative to incorporate play and some parents don’t understand that or get that or comprehend that.
Also, talking about incorporating play as grownups, whether it’s a relationship.
You got to have to play even in the workspace.
If you love to go play sports or horseback riding or swimming, don’t ever stop that because even as a parent, your children need to see you having fun. If you like to sing or dance, whatever it is, bring your family along or have them involved and let them see you having fun too. It’s not all about work.
My daughter and I play tennis every Saturday. I was going to do horseback riding with her, but it scares me to be up on that horse and fall, but everything else, I do with her. Even some gymnastics, I do with her. Seth has a question. “As a new homeowner, how can I strategically use my home to invest in other properties? What advice would you give to those considering real estate investment for the first time?”
As a new homeowner, first of all, is your house serving you or are you serving your house? Are you still in debt service or have you paid that off? Where are you with the house? It’s because there are different options. If you have enough equity, you can use that working with certain mortgage companies and go ahead and start a second investment. That would be at least a few doors. A duplex, triplex, or fourplex is much better than single-family homes for cashflow.
You can even buy a duplex. Live in one of them and then have the rest coming in as income paying for your home.
That’s better, but if you need to have that home because you have kids and elders or whoever’s in there that you’re caring for and you need that space, then the other tenants will qualify as part of your qualifying to get the mortgage. If you are renting out three units and living in one when you buy for yourself, if you’re able to do that, you’re not only going to need your job salary or your business income. You’ll be able to use the income from those rents of the other two or three units as part of your qualification to get that loan to get into that duplex, triplex, or fourplex up to the four units.
That’s a wonderful strategy. In fact, my daughter’s saving up to do that now. It’s her first place. We’re looking at triplexes and fourplexes now so she can live in one unit, qualify as a first-time home buyer with her income as a case worker, and then also the income of the renters that have already been in there is going to qualify her and she’ll be able to build equity instead of paying somebody rent.
Are you still in retail?
To a certain extent. I work with a lot of small retailers here and there because I had a lot of success in retail. I don’t do it full-time.
However, it’s changed dramatically, right?
For all those retail brick-and-mortar businesses, what advice do you have for them because I know they’re reading too?
If you still have a retail store that people go to, this is a time. Having diversification and being able to cross-promote is so important. I worked with restaurants nearby and they would provide the tea and the little samples. We would send them like a certificate and they would go have a dinner or another day and we would do that kind of thing.
I also worked with a lot of musicians. On the weekends, we had a musician come in and play nice music at the store and stay open, connecting to the other stores and restaurants, especially if you are a retail store and you’ve got restaurants open. I stayed open until 10:00 and 11:00 PM. All the other stores would close at 5:00 or 6:00.
Leave the money on the table. They like to have a cocktail. They like to shop.
I was the young upstart. Most people were double my age or close to that. They were like, “Who’s this young upstart? Who does she think she is?” I had my first store and all my stores were next to restaurants. I would collaborate with the restaurants. I would promote them and they would promote me. I’d have the little band playing and I’d have different people.
Sometimes it would be somebody presenting a product in the store and making it interesting so that it’s more of a community event or something to go to. I had books. I had a reading section. It depends on what you sell. Maybe if it’s clothing, you have a fashion show or some kind of event that’s regular events that’s more than just, “I’m going to go buy something.” You then become part of the community and you’re giving that.
People love to get back to the community. Most people do. You have to be different. You have to set yourself apart from everybody else and create an experience, especially since this younger generation now is looking for more of an experience than they are for looking to just buy something. The more you can create an experience and connect with the community. If it’s also a nonprofit organization, the more successful and relevant that retailer could be. I believe that you have to have a strong eCommerce presence too. Even if you are brick-and-mortar, you have to have a strong eCommerce presence.
Yes, and reach out. I had cruise ships and my top-selling fragrance was Crabtree & Evelyn. We outsold the mall and its own stores. We’d get trips to London. For that particular section, the cruise ships bought from us and we were the ones that connected. I also was able to source all kinds of merchandise. My first store was in Montrose, California and there’s all the entertainment industry.
There are so many opportunities all around us, don’t you think, Sheila? I think a lot of people are walking around in their own zone or in their fog. When in your fog, it’s foggy and they don’t see all the opportunities around them. Some of the entrepreneurs see too many opportunities and we’re like “Squirrel,” and we have to try to focus.
Kimberly asked, “How do you recommend business leaders and parents navigate through times of personal crisis while also trying to manage their business?” We talked a little bit about your huge personal crisis. My crisis with losing my husband and how did you navigate and manage your business and run your companies? I can tell you how I did it, but go ahead. I want to hear you.
Fortunately, during those times, I had already built systems. I trained my employees and had things in check, so if I needed to not be present for a little bit, things were still running quite well. You can create systems and have things automated but be able to check. Also, this is important for business. Whether you have a crisis or not just so you can go have fun.
Life is going to happen. We’re going to have different seasons in life. We’re going to have losses. We’re going to have a divorce or marriage or new babies. Whatever it is, it’s going to happen in life. If you live long enough, you get all those. When you set up your systems properly, the more you can systematize without being a system. That’s going to help so that you have that leeway. Also, train your employees so that they’re able to step in for you. I lost my original store manager, Lori, a year ago. We have been friends for all that time. I met her when I was 23 and she was probably in her early 50s when she started working for me. She is like, “I can’t believe I have a 23-year-old boss.” She was incredible as a manager.
I got her from Nordstrom. She was a manager at the store, but she had a degree in Social Work. She helped with my at-risk youth kids and she was perfect. She was great at sales and great at working with my kids. Whenever something came up and I needed to be with my family, she would take over and that was perfect because she was trained to do everything I did.
Also, you have to have those systems and processes in order. You have to have good people. You have to have self-awareness and you have to have those systems and be able to separate what has happened when you also are in business. That’s employees, that’s business owners and that’s everybody. You got to be able to try to separate and departmentalize that while you are at work, while you’re running your business, and while you’re an employee, etc. Do you agree with that?
Yes. I lost my father when I had my gift stores and he was very young. I would take the grieving off, put it down for a moment, and work. I think it was work therapy and then I would be able to go grieve on my own time, but I needed the break from grieving to be with other people to work and have a sense of normalcy. It was part of my healing process. If I had nothing to do all day, that would’ve been bad for me. It was healthier that way. That’s another thing.
You have to be strong and tough enough. You got to be able to know this isn’t good for you to grieve all day. I’m going to say with my husband passing, I’ve never cried in the workplace. I never bought my grieving here. I, too, need the distraction because sometimes, a minute before I got here, right after this happened, I would do my grieving. I would do my crying and then I leave.
I do my grieving and do my crying, but I don’t do it here. This is my break from grieving and everybody has to be able to separate their personal from their business or their personal from their job. It’s very important. One thing that Hayden asked on a different note and I know we’re all over the place, but I love these questions that are coming in. “Could you share a few examples of how you treat your clients like royalty?”
With my at-risk youth that was working with me that I was training, we had the 20-pound camcorder to film and I would turn everything in to the government to show my training. We would go on field trips to the mall and I would have them go buy something at a store. I would say, “Did you see how that employee treated you like dirt? Now, let’s go to Nordstrom’s.”
Let’s go to one of the top stores where they treat everybody well. They package everything beautifully and they carry the bag around to the other side. They give it to you in a certain way and they thank you. It doesn’t matter if you spent a few bucks or a whole bunch. I said, “That’s what I want. How did you feel differently?”
That was how I did my training in real life. I was working with the younger people that needed that and I had fun. It was a fun outing, but they got it. They got it real fast when somebody didn’t treat them right. It came down to even the music and the environment based on your client. We had clients that were most probably 50-plus. We played classic music and we played fun music that was from their time. The kids wanted to listen to their music, and I said, “We don’t ever do that here.” I might listen to that. I was their age. I wasn’t that much older. I listened to the fun music and go to the concert still, but you’re honoring what your client needs and what’s going to facilitate their comfort.
It’s about their needs, not yours. It’s important to figure out what those needs are very quickly. I always call it creating the wow experience. I’ll give you a couple of examples of the wow experience. Dr. Nido Qubein sits on the board of La-Z-Boy and the Great Harvest Bread Company. He sits on a bunch of different boards and he is the president of High Point University. He came to this country not speaking any English and went to high school. He taught himself how to speak English on index cards. However, as the president of High Point University, he has a Director of Wow and a Director of Unwow.
When students come, he does an intake. He asks them, “What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite drink? What’s your favorite hobby? What’s your favorite book? What is your favorite music, etc.? He’s got a list of all their favorites because unwows will happen, but how do you respond to those unwows? It’s because you should never react, you should respond.
As an example, one of the students was very upset because the shower was broken and wanted to take a shower before they went to class. Within an hour, the handyman was there fixing the shower. Before he even came back to his dorm because I knew his class schedule, they had that huge basket with all of his favorite things.
The boys were stealing underwear and bras in the girls’ washer and dryer. They went and put a little GPS or whatever you want to call it. Every time the washer or the dryer is done, they get notified and can remove their laundry right away before the boys steal the girls’ personal belongings. He is the Director of Wow and the Director of Unwow.
I’ll give you one wow for me, and this is when you got out of your way, Hayden, to create these wow experiences. I was headed to a conference in Los Angeles and I’m from Long Beach, California. I told my husband, “I forgot my business cards. I’m speaking in front of a thousand people.” The driver from the limo company said, “How many business cards do you need?” I said, “Probably about 1,000 to 1,500.” He’s like, “When do you need them by?” I said, “Tomorrow morning.” He says, “You’ll have them tonight.” We shipped over everything needed. He delivered those to my hotel. He delivered 2,000 and then charged me a penny.
That’s how you treat clients like royalty. This has been a great interview. I think I got to most of the questions. If I skipped over some, my apologies, but we can’t keep Sheila Mac forever. She’s got more wows to create. Sheila, before we leave, tell us about Boot Straps & Bra Straps. It’s an interesting name for a book. How’d you come up with that title?
My first job was at two and a half when I went to live with my grandparents. They had a clothing manufacturing company. They did Catalina Sportswear and El Capitan. I would go into the factory at 2 and 3 years old every day and there were 200 employees and grandma made bras and swimsuits. Very famous people wore swimsuits in the entertainment industry.
When I finally got to school, I think it was first grade, I told my teacher, “You really could use a new bra.” I sold the teacher a new bra. She had a conference with grandma and the next day, she came in with a new bra. That’s the bra straps and boot straps are bootstrapping and rebuilding your life. I had to bring in the bra. The bra’s on the cover.
It goes into that story and different stories, not just about my life but the clients that I’ve worked with. It’s about life and all the different seasons that we go through in life. We do have careers, finances, and business, but there’s also grieving or getting over a situation where you’re going through grief. There are relationships.
There’s a relationship with your parents as elders and there’s also the relationship with your young adult children who your relationship shifts and how to have those important conversations. It has lots of activities and ways to help you. The last chapter is where you lifestyle design and that’s where you’re reinventing your life after whatever situation happened and how to get back on track. This time, you’re reinventing the life that you’ve always wanted on your terms and that’s the whole point of the book.
Where can people get Boot Straps & Bra Straps?
Where can people listen to The Sheila Mac Show?
You can listen on NBC’s KCAA Radio. If you go to KCAARadio.com, my show is on daily for the morning commute and then Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 PM as well.
You are phenomenal. You are extraordinary. I love getting to interview you and find out all about Sheila Mac. I’m sure there’s a lot more we haven’t unpack. Any last-minute and good golden nuggets that you can leave for other business entrepreneurs or people going through grief? Is there anything that you want to leave with our readers?
When I went through my tough times in life, I created this mantra after the house fire. It was, “In all I’m doing, it’s who I am being and it’s whether I’m walking my puppy or working with clients, cleaning my house, having fun with family and friends. It’s how I’m showing up that will create the outcomes that I desire.” That’s the first B in the BOOTS Formula. It’s how you’re showing up and how you need to show up to get the results that you desire.In all I'm doing, it's who I am being. It's how I'm showing up that will create the outcomes that I desire. Click To Tweet
With that, what’s next for you?
I am working with many clients and I do lead online training programs for real estate agents who have never invested. They’re great agents per se, but they haven’t invested. I teach them how to invest and I’ve been doing that for about years now full-time with different agencies. I am now creating a mastermind course where I teach everyday people how to start from their first investment or if you’re moving on to multiple investments and how to start building that passive income through property investments as part of your business exit strategy in life.
I can’t wait to be on your show, Sheila.
Yes, thank you. You’ll be on very soon. I look forward to having you as a guest. Thank you.
You are a wonderful and fabulous guest. A lot of words of wisdom on so many different things, on career, on balance, on getting past grief or any other trauma that you’ve had in your life. Also, how Sheila grew up and became her own power and didn’t live in the past. She created her own future. She was a producer of her own movie. She was a director and a producer, and she is 1,000% enjoying her outcome. I know she is.
Sheila, thank you. Thanks to all my guests for joining and reading another episode of the show. I know you’ve enjoyed Sheila Mac as much as I’ve done. Make sure you go out and purchase her book. Make sure you go out and listen to her show. I’ll be on soon. In addition to that, I know you love this content. Go and share it with your network.
Go share it with your social media followers. Go and share it with anybody you know that’s grieving or that’s gone through trauma or that’s trying to get past their past and become their future. Share it with everybody that you know. The more people we can help, the better our world becomes. I’ll see you next Wednesday on another episode of the show.
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