Welcome to the Steve Jobs based Join Up Dots business coaching podcast with Dana Malstaff
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Introducing Dana Malstaff
My guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview is the CEO and Founder of Boss Mom Dana Malstaff.
She is a mother, author, business strategist, podcaster, blind spot reducer, and movement maker.
She is the author of Boss Mom: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Business & Nurturing Your Family Like a Pro.
With over 9,000 students in various courses and over 10 years of experience in content creation, community building, and business strategy, she grew the Boss Mom brand into a six figure business in less than a year.
But was this always a success that was on the cards?
Did she go through the same struggles, guilt and burnout that most new entrepreneurs find themselves in as there fledgling business grows.
Well certainly the life of a thriving entrepreneur certainly didn’t seem on the cards.
So she pursued her education both in Dijon in France and the Indiana University where she studied Broadcast Journalism.
Instead upon completing her studies, she entered employment with the Lowdendal Group, and Quantum Of Health.
But it wasn’t until she quit her job and got pregnant that the first dots of what has become today’s mission really raised themselves.
How The Dots Joined Up For Dana
Why would you build a business, whilst supporting a new baby?
How do you build a business, whilst being a wife, lover, friend, best friend, and all the other hats that ladies wear nowadays?
With the “Why can’t we have our cake and eat it” ideology, Boss Mom was created to do two things.
First, to help dramatically shift the mindset of ladies across the world in how they see themselves.
Then in your role as a mother, entrepreneur, wife, daughter, friend and more.
An epic shift that will allow them to see how they can be amazing in each of these roles without sacrificing the others.
And second, to guide them through a new way of thinking about how they integrate their family life with their entrepreneurial life.
Giving a plan that can be implemented that will make her clients world feel a little easier.
So would she say that she was a reluctant entrepreneur or one that was always waiting to go out and blaze big across the world?
And what would be the biggest learning she has gained from growing a business from scratch?
Well lets find out as bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Dana Malstaff
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Dana Malstaff such as:
How how she created a business that she loves and wakes up every morning, due to the people that she has hired or work with.,
Why Dana believes that accepting the rough times in one life, is a great way of finding the things that you truly love. You need the crap to really heighten your focus on the gold.
How you should never do things in your life that mean you are losing money. Delegate as much as you can, so you can earn the big stuff.
Why it’s a great idea to get drunk in a pub, with a recorder and ask the big questions in life. You will be astonished to see how much truth comes out when you listen back to it all.
Products By Dana Malstaff
How To Connect With Dana Malstaff
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Dana Malstaff Interview
When we’re young we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:25]
Good morning to you everywhere across the world Hope you’re having a good one a sweaty today in the United Kingdom. I say this a lot by I sit in a recording studio and I’m I can’t have any air conditioning on because you get you get that sort of nasty noise like your wife sitting on the spin cycle is not good. It’s not good. So I am really really sweaty today but I’m hopefully it’s going to be appealing to all you ladies out there as this lady is going to be appealing to not only ladies, but men as well because she is somebody who has got her own kind of spark about her instantly come across when I first started to get acting with her. She’s the CEO and founder of a boss mom. She is a mother author, business strategist. podcaster blind spot producer and movement maker. She’s the author of boss mom The Ultimate Guide to raising a business and nurturing your family like a pro. And with over 9000 students in various courses and over 10 years of experience in content creation, community building and business strategy. She grew the Bosman brand into a six figure business in less than a year ago her but was always a success. It was on the cards or did she go through the same struggles guilt and burnout but most new entrepreneurs find themselves in as their fledgling business grows. Well, certainly, the life of a thriving entrepreneur certainly didn’t seem on the cards. she pursued her education both in Dijon in France and the Indiana University where she studied broadcast German law can’t even say it that long study broadcast journalism instead upon completing her studies, and she entered employment with the loud Dell group and quantum of health but it wasn’t until she quit her job and got pregnant. That the first thoughts of what has been coming today’s mission really raised themselves how to build a business while supporting a new baby how to build a business whilst being a wife, lover friend, best friend and all the other hats that ladies wear nowadays. And with the Why can’t we have our cake and eat it ideology? Boss Man was created to do two things first, to help dramatically shift the mindset of ladies across the world and how they see themselves and your role as a mother, entrepreneur, wife, daughter, friend and more. And an epic shift that will allow them to see how they can be amazing in each of these roles without sacrificing the others. And secondly to guide them through a new way of thinking about how they integrate their family life with their entrepreneurial life giving a plan that can be implemented that will make her clients world bill a little easier. So what she said that she was a reluctant entrepreneur or one that was always waiting to go out and blaze big across the world. And what will be the biggest learning she’s gained from growing a business from scratch? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start joining up doubts with the one and only Donna Moustafa. Good morning, Donna. How are you?
Dana Malstaff [3:02]
I am great. Thanks for having me on. I’m so excited. You made me such an awesome.
David Ralph [3:07]
Well, you are pretty awesome, because you’re the only person I’ve ever met Scott banana as a middle name. And that that excites me greatly. I don’t know why it does. But anybody that’s got through in their name, connect with me because that’s what I want in my life. I want fruity people and you are as fruity as
Dana Malstaff [3:24]
well my mom actually told me my name is bananas. Not actually banana. But that would be kind of fun. If it was, it would be it would be great. It would be great. So
David Ralph [3:32]
what is your middle name?
Dana Malstaff [3:33]
But Lee, which is funny I I remember my my maiden name was Parker. So I remember coming back through visiting, you know, Europe coming back through from customs and my maiden name was Danny Parker and the woman was like, sound like a country singer. like Oh, thanks. That’s not what I pursued though. I definitely pursued a much different route in life.
David Ralph [3:54]
Well, you have but can you give us a bit of the country trying can Did you burst into song after a couple of years? He’s a boy.
Dana Malstaff [4:02]
I do but it’s usually Disney songs and not country.
David Ralph [4:05]
Let it go Let it go. But you do that with Tanya.
Dana Malstaff [4:10]
I do I do. And actually my daughter just got a whole dress up. So we but we’re in Tijuana right now. So we do it. There’s a lot more. A lot more like tribal singing in our house? I think so.
David Ralph [4:23]
So in your house. Obviously, you’ve got the boss mom brain. But is it a brand that really did find you? Because it seems like it You seem like American Mom, you seem like the kind of person that I see on these High School Musical films. It’s you Was it a brand that was always going to be with you?
Dana Malstaff [4:42]
It was no it was not. It was, Oh man, I quit my job to start my own business. And in that night, we went out to drink and celebrate and everybody bought me shots of tequila. And I got home and got
David Ralph [4:59]
always lie that
Dana Malstaff [5:01]
it always happens like that. So literally the day I quit my job. I can see the baby. So my husband’s always like that is way too much information to people. But we’re all adults here. You know, I mean, we pretty much know how they’re made. So yeah, like I didn’t get married, you know, just to have a roommate. So we Yeah, I basically became a mom and an entrepreneur at the same exact time. No idea how to do either one. But I’m a go getter so you know, just dove in, and you just feel really guilty. It’s it’s really hard to be a mom and an entrepreneur at the same time. Like, it’s really hard to not feel bad about dividing your attention and figuring out what your priorities aren’t. Honestly, sometimes babies are a pain in the butt. And they’re not fun. And they’re exhausting and getting to know them as hard. And it’s like being forced into a relationship with somebody. And and, and so you feel bad, you feel bad about it. And I didn’t want to feel bad about it. But I did. And we ended up moving out to San Diego to be with near my family. And at that time, I met up with a group of people that were in we became a mastermind together. One was a book coach and the book coach said, Hey, if anybody wants to write a book, and I was like, Oh my god, of course, I want to write a book. And we sat down, I was like, I’m gonna write a book about content strategy. And it’s going to be awesome and amazing. And we sat down, and everything on my mind mapping was about mom guilt. And so we basically that’s, that’s how I figured it out was like, Well, I guess I better write a book about mom guilt, and not feeling guilty and how important it is for us to do what we love and not have our children be the center of the universe. Like because we want to we love them enough. But then they can’t be the center of the universe, you have to do things for you like you were a total human being before you had babies. And so you should be a human being after you have babies. And it just passion of mine.
David Ralph [6:50]
Yeah, I think so. And I can honestly say you’re the first person I’ve ever met, where I always say when my son came along, I felt like I was babysitting for the first six weeks. And if somebody had rung on the door and said, we’re here to pick him up, I would have gone thank God he go go back. Because it is it is like being forced into a relationship. It’s very, very strange when you suddenly get this little pink thing, vomiting all over you. And you’ve got to instantly feel like you love it. And you don’t you don’t need just that’s why a little purple alien when my daughter, my daughter come out. I’ve got five You see, I’ve got five and two grandchildren. Oh my
Dana Malstaff [7:22]
gosh, that makes sense to me. Yeah, I can’t even like I’ve got to and that was, you know, that’s, that’s it. That’s enough. And I i’ve joked before, you know, in an interview where I like I question my decision life decisions all the time. You know, it’s one of those things where people were like, Oh, the third one was an accident, I would never, I would never give them up. Like I would always want them in my life. But they were an accident. You know, like, we feel bad about that we feel bad about admitting that the things in our life are hard. And some days, we kind of just loved those days when you could sleep in whenever you wanted. And travel whenever you want to do whatever you want the same things for your business. Like the days when you didn’t have to worry about you making sure that the money came in, and how the businesses run and paying people and doing all those things like for you not to have to worry about that. There’s the that freedom feels great. But all the things that you actually care about, are challenging, because that’s what makes life dynamic. And so I encourage us to live dynamic life lives and then just not worry about like crying on the bathroom floor. Sometimes, like everybody does it. Like even if you have a completely boring life, you’re going to cry in the bathroom force, you might as well cry in the bathroom for about something meaningful.
David Ralph [8:34]
Now I always go to somewhere soft, the bathroom floor isn’t soft at all. Why? Why? Why do people do it there, go on a sofa
Unknown Speaker [8:42]
Dana Malstaff [8:43]
we’d like to hide? I like to do it in the shower, the bath so nobody can actually see you crying. And that way you can really ugly cry
David Ralph [8:50]
covered up with water. Yeah, I know what you’re saying. So what is it about women that invite there’s so many weird things about women. But when it comes to actual balancing a life and a job or a baby in a job, men don’t have this guilt, we just go, oh, I’ve got to go off to work. And somebody else deals with it. But women seem to even sort of half term and school holidays and stuff is my wife running around going, who’s going to look after the children and I’m thinking, I don’t really care, to be honest, you know, Mo looked after himself for years.
Dana Malstaff [9:20]
Yeah, I like to blame hormones. I think they’re evil. And I think I think we’re purposely built that way. Because we we want to make sure our children stay alive. Like it’s built into us to make sure that they’re alive, even when they’re a pain in the butt. And so we it’s like, ingrained. And there’s these hormones that like ping you when you stop caring about something and you’re like, that’s it I’m going to give up, I’m not gonna care about it. And then this little hormone, like a little hormone ninja creeps into your brain is like, Oh, you’ve got to be empathetic, and you’ve got to care. And you’ve got to love everybody. By the way, manage everything and micromanage everything to if you don’t, nobody else will and your children will die a fiery death. And like that’s, that’s how you feel. And we just can’t help it like we artists are there are very few women that can help it like we can’t help it. We call it nurturing. But it’s really crazy. Like, it’s been crazy. We can’t help it. We’re crazy. And just own it. Just own your crazy and work with it. leverage your crazy and and everything will be fine.
David Ralph [10:24]
So So which one of your kids don’t you like them? What’s your favorite?
Dana Malstaff [10:31]
So um, so it’s actually hilarious. I did an episode on my podcast that was about how to manage your business, your home, like your business, and I am great at managing my business and my home is a hot mess. But my co host she’s got it all figured out from a home perspective. And I had said if my kids were employees, I would have fired my daughter A long time ago, because the first 18 months of her life were like, a pain in my butt. She cried. She was fussy. She wasn’t very lovey. She didn’t really want to cuddle with us. I was like what like here, Dad, you take care of her and I’m going to cuddle with my adorable, snuggly, you know, just awesome wants to kiss me all the time son who’s four are going to be four soon. And yeah, so my son was an absolute preference. And now my daughter is just turned two and she’s turned like a frickin adorable. She turned adorable. And she’s cuddly and lovey, and this personality is awesome. And now my son starting to kind of grow up and not and he’s adorable, but just he’s not as like cute and cuddly. And so those I just I feel like it’s going to bounce back and forth. But for a while there like I considered giving my daughter back,
David Ralph [11:34]
a won’t bounce back and forth. I tell you what happens. I’ve got four girls and a boy. And the boy just fades basically normal for his entire life. He’s He’s fine. But you Your daughter is a princess at the beginning, when she turns into mega princess and you can’t you just want to eat her. And then she hits about 1211 sometime, and she’s a cow overnight. And that that runs for the next 15 years. until we find some drunk boy in a bar somewhere and lives in a bedsit. And and that’s that’s what you aim for. As a father, you aim for getting your daughters out with somebody to get them off your hands because they may turn nasty door slamming, you don’t understand. You don’t understand. And I didn’t really down and I’ve been three four times now and I still don’t understand.
Dana Malstaff [12:23]
That’s like I was actually a really good kid. I’m like best friends with my parents. I listen to everything they said, because I thought it was easier to listen to them than to try and make my own. Like, try it on my own. Then I figured if it didn’t work, I could just blame them. And just turns out they’re pretty smart. So I was actually a really good kid. And I was one of those people that I didn’t want to like if I didn’t skip school because I was so nervous. I’d get caught that I wouldn’t enjoy it anyway. So I just went to school and like did the work and I like working working makes me feel like creating things makes me feel fulfilled. So I you know, I don’t know I like school. I like work. I’m a so I someone hoping my daughter turns out just like me.
David Ralph [13:03]
You can’t say that he was a good kid. Nobody can say they was a good kid is like serial killers always gets told that they were great neighbors. Oh, he was the perfect neighbor who was really quiet. And you can’t you can’t say say about yourself. I’m gonna
Unknown Speaker [13:18]
be houses dad, well see how,
David Ralph [13:20]
yeah, you’ll you’ll be fine. So So let’s talk about the brand. Ben. So you’ve grown this business. And what is flourishing about it is you’ve tapped into a kind of a emotional market. I looked at this and I thought this is genius, is not about actual business skills. As such, it’s about the whole package is about empowering ladies and realize that they can have their cake and eat it. Well, what kind of came first with you? Was it the? Let’s get structured? Ladies, let’s get something in plan to make the house easier and many bread into a business or? or How did it all come together?
Dana Malstaff [13:53]
Oh god, no, no, I’m a horrible home manager. And basically, I’m not meant to be a stay at home mom, I’m not even meant to be around my kids for more than like six hours max at a time. I’m a girl, I’m great in business. So what happened is I, I gave women permission like like the boss mom brand is about giving you permission to do whatever the heck works for you. Like it’s it’s about getting women to see that it doesn’t matter what your brand of crazy is, it’s works for you. And we should always continually reach out and have a community and support to find other women that are kind of in our same kind of realm of crazy in certain areas to give us support and ideas about what works didn’t work for them. But you’re fine the way you are like you’re fine, whatever your little idiosyncrasies are, they’re fine. And whatever you’re feeling guilty, about a million other people are feeling guilty about that same thing. And my mom would say, which makes you not very special. So stop worrying about it so much. So when I created this community where I gave women permission, and they could take the worry off that plate of feeling bad about who they are, how they were parenting, or how they were trying to start a business or dividing their attention or, or how they’re being a wife or him or any of those things. And and that worry, I took that worry away, it frees up a lot of time and space. And there, once I freed that up for them, then I could go by the way, I’ve got all these really great tools for you, that you can pay me for, that helps you actually run your business helps you save time helps you time manage helps you be productive helps you actually, you know create products and services and sell them and do all these different things and create your own movement and create your own this and that. And and it what it is, is I I realized what the gap was for my demographic like
David Ralph [15:45]
Donna banana, right, let’s slow you down here. Because what intrigues me with this moment in your life is you’re saying I gave them permission. Now that’s a very confident bold statement to make. And the majority of people would go, who am I to give permission? I’m just Donna banana, I don’t deserve to get permission. How did you sort of overcome that? Because that must have been a big mindset shift you went through at that stage.
Dana Malstaff [16:09]
Now I’m a very confident person. I don’t I don’t it doesn’t bother me to give permission. No, I mean, I honestly I, I was so I’m, I forget my kids lunch, I’m going to go to Vegas for the weekend. And my you know, I’m flying with my husband, my parents are watching my kids at the first time we’re going to be away. And I forget my kids lunch and I’m my mom’s gonna take me to the airport. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, I must be the only mom ever to forget my kids lunch. And my mom said How arrogant of you to think that you’re the only mom to ever forget your kids lunch. And it dawned on me. And this was after I’d started the boss mom brand. But I think that’s what it really solidified for me. And what what prompted me to write our second book that just came out, which is the Confessions of a boss mom book. And it and it made like it it’s solidified for me why we have this brand. And why I feel so proud confident in this. And giving these women this permission is is that I have I have a mom and I have a community that gives me that confidence. Like I have the space that people have given me and the permission that people have given me that I know it works, that I know that if you can just let those things go and know that if you can just get past that worry that there is these beautiful, wonderful, productive, awesome things on the other side. And that’s what gives me confidence to go. You guys have permission, believe me, like I’ve seen the other side, it looks great. You all should come over, we can party there. And so I feel confident because other people gave me that confidence.
David Ralph [17:41]
Now you are very open to save at home, you’re a bit of a screw up great in business, but actually she at home is a bit all over the shop.
Unknown Speaker [17:49]
And your improvement, I’d like to call it
David Ralph [17:51]
Okay, I’d like to see a screw up from this side of the pond. And as I’m the host of the show, you got to go with it. So it does that sort of grow up finding that honesty, because you’re not trying to be the perfect person. You’re not trying to be somebody that is almost unreachable. The fact that you’re saying that I do this very well. But I don’t do that very well. But hey, it doesn’t matter, as that being a real sort of super talent.
Dana Malstaff [18:16]
Yeah, absolutely. The whole like, quote, unquote, being a real person. I mean, they’ve tested it time and time again, just from a business perspective, it converts better, like if you if you put a video up on your site, and it’s beautifully, perfectly amazing, wonderfully curated nine times out of 10, it actually converts worse than a video that you aren’t perfect in like you in the intro to this particular episode, you know, said you tried to say broadcast journalism, you’re like, man, I can’t even say that. That’s that that’s real, like people want real people. We want to hang out with people that where we go out like you shouldn’t have drinks and get drunk together and not hang out with people where you feel uncomfortable doing that. So yeah, it absolutely helps for me to be a real person. But also I run my business by getting my community to help me make decisions about my business. So if I’m not honest about the things that aren’t working, then how am I supposed to go to my community and say, What should I do next? Like what do you guys wouldn’t want here like this wasn’t working? Why didn’t it work? If I’m not being honest, and being secretive about that, then I can’t get help from my community and getting help from my community helps create buzz, it helps create engagement and helps create this feeling like they’re part of something bigger. So that boss mom isn’t just run by me, it’s, it’s really run by the whole community. And they help build it in a way that makes sense for them. And because I structure it that way, people buy a lot more my stuff, powerful stuff
David Ralph [19:38]
as all these words that we’re going to hear now and then we’re going to delve back into your story Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey [19:43]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [20:09]
And did you really love what you’re doing? Is it your Fang?
Dana Malstaff [20:15]
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. But but not boss mom, not. Not the things not the title was not the brand. Honestly, that could all be completely different. And I would still love it what I figured out what I love has to do a lot more with behavior. So like the you know Jim Carrey talking about being a comedian, being a comedian, being an accountant are two completely different personality types. One is my husband who likes to sit in front of a spreadsheet and analyze things, right. And a comedian loves to take life and learn from life and, and work with, you know what, what you’re given and melded into different things and constantly change those things. That’s what I figured out I love to create, I love to see the product of my creation, I love to be around. I’m a true extrovert. I love to be around people. I love to get people excited, because that excites me. And so boss, mom could be something completely different. But as long as those elements are in my business, then I know that I’m I’m going to love it and anything that I don’t love doing, and I sit and I notice it’s something that doesn’t get checked off on my list and doesn’t get checked off on my list. And I go, why am I not doing it? And who could I give it to so that I know it gets done, but I’m not doing it. So I’m a massive delegator.
David Ralph [21:25]
I Are you a bossy person as well. Because I think deep down I think deep down that you actually like the directing of traffic you’d like to be central to to these people’s lives.
Dana Malstaff [21:37]
Oh, I I’m not a bossy person. But I absolutely love to help people make decisions. I call I tell people that I give, you know, give decision support. So they can have decision confidence. Like that’s a phrase I use often. And I yes. So I love it. I don’t want to be bossy, but I am not. I tell people I’m not a coach. I’m a strategist. I’m not here to give you space. So you can figure out the answer, I actually want to give you the answer, and then help you accomplish the things that we’re talking about. And that’s a big differentiator that I make for myself. But I’m not bossy in the sense that I force people, I really love the phrase that I don’t demand respect, I command respect. And I do that in a way of letting people have a voice. And then pulling all that I you know, content ideas together, and then giving them the best recommendation I have and then helping them fulfill that recommendation by giving them the tools and the support they need to to execute.
David Ralph [22:32]
Did you think businesses do sort of she grow around you, the starting point is an idea. But actually the real business sort of falls into place just naturally from what you’re doing. But I’ll give you an example. I run join up dots three days a month, that’s all I do. And the other time I don’t allow people to connect with me, I don’t have a mobile phone. I don’t check emails, I don’t do anything. And people keep saying to me, how are you doing is how are you running this business? I say I’ll put certain strategies in that means only the good people, but I really want to speak to get through to me. And Ben is more valuable because I do this, how I can’t do that. And I’m starting to think, Blimey, I’ve got another business here. So many people out there are desperate to find a way of restricting the flow through to them. But making sure that the profitable nuggets of gold come through. But I wouldn’t have got there without the first bit. It’s kind of led me into this part where I can see that two different businesses. Do you actually have to start just doing something before the real gold comes to you? Do you think?
Dana Malstaff [23:34]
Yeah, but I think it’s I think some of it is just the discovery of self right? Like the the ask the question of do you love what you do? Yeah, but not always, like I had to do a bunch of crap I didn’t like and didn’t enjoy to discover what I did, like, and I and that’s in all areas of my life. Like I thought it would be really sexy to take fencing, so that I could like, take the mask off and wave my hair about and it would be very attractive. It turns out you get real sweaty hundred hair. And there’s nothing attractive about fencing. Don’t like fencing. But I love whitewater rafting. And I love you know, I loved archery. And so we’re I’m a very experiential person, I believe that testing and experimenting is the fruit of life. So I’ve done a ton of crap in business that I totally hated, some of which I was really good at and still hated. And then I stopped doing it. And so for me, it’s not about oh, I have to do this to make money. There’s, there’s a ton of money in the world, if you want to make money, you can make money. And I think your people’s relationship with money is the hard part, they think I have to be available to in order for people to find value. And they have, they don’t realize that money and time are not mutually inclusive. Like, like, if you are valuable, it’s not because you’re giving an hour and somebody that thinks they need to get an hour of your time in order to for you to be valuable to the money they’re paying, then you’re not hanging out with the right people. Because that’s just not the way that people make a lot of money, think the value is different meditation I give you the value is how I change your life. And I can change that in two minutes. And it would be worth however much you paid me and you want to be with the people that realize that. And I think that’s that’s the disconnect that people have is that they think that the more they have to give more to equate to value. And it’s because they don’t understand what their value is. And the more they can find that out and get confident in that then yeah, totally unplug. And if you only have to be there for three days, we and I actually totally agree with you. Like, let’s only let the people in, that are really going to be the right people. And that’s in all areas of your life, like stop hanging out with people that suck and only hang out with people that are going to get you and you can have great inside jokes, and you can, you know, have fun together. And those those are the people you hang out with. As an astonishing turn around. Suddenly, within three years, I went from being in the corporate gig to now going, oh, let’s walk along the beach on a Monday morning just because we fancy doing it, you know, and I I’m only now after years, I’m to the point now I’m separating my corporate gig from the gig I created. It was nine days, seven days a week paying event I created this join up dots which was seven days a week. And I kind of couldn’t justify my free time. It’s what I did, I went off to work and I went off to this office or I went off to my recording studio is only now but I’ve accepted what you’re saying. Which is true that that journey that that progression of upscaling. And knowledge means that my time is so much more valuable. But I don’t actually have to be there nine hours a day. It’s very interesting when it comes together for you. Yeah, absolutely. And I and you have to come to this, this space in your brain. Where and I love the idea that you said we’re going to get into pub and we’re going to you know, the idea of this podcast is we’re in a pub, and we’re, you know, totally wasted. And we’re just having fun conversations. Because that’s where like your real issues come out, like go get wasted with somebody that’s a work colleague, or like somebody leave it to not like a I call them proximity mentors, somebody that’s maybe in a similar space that is you in your business, and you can learn from each other. And just just get wasted and start having the conversation of why you think you have to work all the time. And why you think you have to create some other type of why you think you have to do all of these things. And it’ll come out like, Oh, well, I have this way that I was taught about money, or I’m scared that if this happens, then this will happen. And, and then and then you can record it like you would do for this podcast and listen back to it and how dumb those things are. And I don’t mean dumb, like you’re dumb. I mean, the things we’re scared about are dumb. Like they’re these totally unimportant things that just that we’re scared about, but other people don’t really care about. And we make them these big things that end up being walls in front of us. And the more that we just realize that they’re kind of not necessary, then that’s when you wake up in the morning and you realize, Oh, I could just do whatever I want. And and then people will begin to see the reality that I make for my life. And it all be good.
David Ralph [28:07]
But of course you could end up drinking too much with these people and then waking up pregnant, and then forgetting some kids lunch, and it’s a spiral, you’re on a spiral. He knows where it’s gonna take you.
Dana Malstaff [28:18]
That’s true. Although I’d like to think that my kids are the reason boss mom came about. So uh, so it was all it was all predestined Anyway, I’m sure. But yeah, I’m one of those people to that I don’t regret anything. So if I woke up next to somebody, I’d be like, Oh, well, how can I make this lemonade be figured out from there.
David Ralph [28:40]
I’ll tell you what is lucky. I’m a professional podcaster. Because if I wasn’t as focused on that sweaty image of you taking your mask off and flicking your hair back, I wouldn’t be able to think of the next question. It stuck with me so much. When you said that I thought to myself, Oh my god, I’m actually recording a podcast I should I should
Dana Malstaff [28:59]
track that I wanted it to be I really did. I wanted it to be really cool. And it was way less cool. But I thought it was gonna be I can make sweaty women very attractive. I tell you, it doesn’t.
David Ralph [29:10]
It really doesn’t take a lie. It’s kind of my super skill. So when you’re actually building your business, and there’s certain levels that you have in a business, where you think to yourself, this is it, I’ve done it, this is brilliant. This is fantastic. This is everything I want. And then a little bit later, you get a little bit bored. Or you think now actually, I could do this, I could do that. What do you do in those interim times? Do you just sort of relax and enjoy that you’ve created something? Or are you constantly on the go all the time looking for the next stage?
Dana Malstaff [29:39]
Oh, I’m one of those people that is wants to take over the world. Like, actually, I want to just google the world.
David Ralph [29:49]
So I saw you’re not bossy. You say you’re not bossy, but you want to take over the world
Dana Malstaff [29:54]
in a really inclusive kind of way. Okay, okay.
David Ralph [29:58]
Just a few.
Dana Malstaff [30:00]
Fi know, my team actually jokes about it. Because I’m like, as soon as this projects done, we’re all going to take a break. And they’re like, you know, that’s not going to happen, right? And it’s so true. We were like we were as we were finishing, like not even have everything done, but just finished writing the second book, I was like, I already have my idea for the third book, okay, we need to start that next month. And they’re like, seriously, because I don’t I just have too many ideas. And I love I love to work like I it’s not it’s not one of my big things about boss mom is I don’t want my kids thinking work as a negative word. I think work is important. I think work teaches us about ourselves. It gives us a sense of purpose, it gets a sense of fulfillment, and interest and excitement and growth. And I I love to create things. And so I don’t like the times when I feel bad or like things aren’t working. It’s because something I built I feel I don’t feel confident about a highlight built it or I don’t feel confident about the process or someone came back and said they didn’t like what I built. And I get that moment of like, somebody didn’t like what I had. And then I and then I get over and I move on. So So those times a disjointed in this or when I feel bad. But I know I mean, I build all day long. I don’t think I’ll ever stop building things. I just may stop building things for boss mom at some point. And you know, like, we’re going to launch boss, dad and I just launched the podcast with my dad about storytelling. And we’re going to you know, who knows who knows what I’ll do. But I don’t think I’ll ever stop building stuff. It’s too much fun. And you should have gone with boss baby.
David Ralph [31:27]
Because there’s a film out there already. You can just walk straight into that one. And it’s out there everywhere. Branding everywhere. Plus baby be perfect. I know. Now what what you did also with your site that I was amazed at when I went over there, your team are kind of rock stars. There’s names that I actually recognize now people out there listening probably won’t. But I used to be very into the solo person you and I used to listen to dawn Mars Dawn mars.com. Now she’s. Yeah, she’s. Yeah, absolutely. And soda printer was the first time my boys actually ended up on a podcast, which was episode eight, I think with him on there. And how did you get these people? Are they part of your team? Do you pay them? Because it seems to me that you’re channeling traffic in a brilliant way here. But obviously, I can’t imagine that you’re paying all of them.
Dana Malstaff [32:19]
I’m paying all of them. I do. I’m a big believer in paying people. Yeah, I know Don and I are actually sheet kids call her aunt Don. So Don, I are we do we actually physically pay each other for for things. She builds all my funnels. I help a lot with content strategy, but we pay each other because that’s what people who have businesses do. But she’s a really close friend of mine. I Michael Neil’s awesome. I’ve actually, when I was on his podcast, we recorded I got to be a you know, I was at his house, like I get to go we play he plays drums. And so there’s a speakeasy downtown in San Diego, where he goes, and we, you know, go drinking, watch him play drums with the band and everything, which is totally fun. So he’s a great guy. But you they’re all I told you, I was a big believer in a team, my husband told me if there’s something that you’re doing, and you could pay somebody less than you would make in that hour to get whatever it is done, then you’re losing money in your business. So every time I sit down to do something, I can’t be the CEO of my business, if I’m doing things that are wasting money, and I consider me doing things that are below my pay grade to be wasting money. So why why do them and that’s I would rather be delegating, approving and what I call the being the Go West person, I set the direction. I am the I am the captain of the ship, I have to make sure we’re going in the right way. And if something’s going wrong, I am the one who’s right there to make sure it gets fixed. And we work on it everything but everybody else is the one that makes the ship actually go. And if I don’t build it that way, then I honestly think I’m just going to add more work. And it makes it harder to be successful. So yeah, all those people and every time I need something, or I’ll have somebody come to me, and they’ll be like, Dad, I don’t really like doing this anymore. Like I don’t really want to write show notes anymore. I’m like, Okay, well, you don’t want to write show. You have to find the person and interview people to find me the right person to write the show notes, I need to understand what that cost is going to be. And if I’m going to keep you on for the same amount that I’m paying you now what are you going to do to fill that time that’s going to help us make money in this business? What’s the ROI on keeping you for those same hours if you’re going to give that up. And I empower my team to to make those decisions. So they’re always doing things they love. But but making sure that they have to own handing that off and understanding that everybody even though nobody is full time in my business, everybody is technically a consultant that I pay within my team, they all consider themselves to be massively bonded to the boss mom brand, they would lay down and you know, in front of a train for us. And I would do the same for them. And they are building. They’re helping me build this business like they actually care about this business growing.
David Ralph [34:55]
So who was the first member of staff? Because that’s a leap of faith, isn’t it? When you start reading in your own business, you’re getting a certain amount of money and most people will be bending over backwards to do everything before you think I hang on. I need support here who was the first one?
Dana Malstaff [35:09]
So Daniel Roberts is now my online business. So my IBM when I wrote the first boss mom book, I knew hands down the way I wanted to grow the brand is visibility. My I’m a broadcast journalism major, I love to talk, I’m a total extrovert. I’m a Gemini. So I’m, I talk a lot. And I so I hired her for a couple hours a week to promote me to podcasts, and just get me on podcasts. And then she and she was actually one of the pre readers to my book, I didn’t even know she did VA work. And then so she started doing that. And then she started doing more and more and more to help me, you know, organize from a VA perspective, my business now she manages my email and my calendar and is literally my other half like, I’m going to go speak at a conference. I bring her with me. I’m up at Starbucks, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to talk about. And they’re like, What did she like? And I’m like, I look up and someone behind me. She goes, she would like a grand different whole latte and oatmeal to go, please. And I was like, Oh, well, thanks, Danielle. She, she just knows she’s like, The Devil Wears Prada. She just knows my brain. And that started from a couple hours, a like a couple hours a week. And now she’s almost full time for me. So and and honestly, she’s pregnant with her fourth baby. So most of my girls don’t want full full time. And so it works out perfect. Because I can give them all the hours they want and need without necessarily having full time people on my staff. I tell you what I should
David Ralph [36:37]
I should have moved to San Diego, everyone’s having sex all the time. That’s that’s that’s all that’s happening.
Dana Malstaff [36:42]
He lives in Wisconsin, actually.
David Ralph [36:44]
I’m not going there. It’s too cold. I’m not going there. It will just look smaller, which is not good. I’m not gonna go anywhere like that. Right. Okay. So when you got your first member of staff, and she’s now your Devil Wears Prada, she’s really sort of your right hand, man, woman, whatever. When did you realize that you actually had the business that you wanted, and it wasn’t just you playing around?
Dana Malstaff [37:09]
Oh, I still don’t have the business that I want. We’re probably a couple years away from it being the Empire I intended it to be. But But I think when I. So there’s, there’s a flow of systems that I think a good business has, and about. And we’ve only been in business for like a boss Mom, I started, I started being a content strategist that didn’t really have a brand, you know, several years ago, but about a year and a half ago when boss mom came about. But about six months ago, there was just this beautiful symbiotic flow of my team, where you know, Kelsey, who does my content strategy with me, we inbox her back and forth my ideas for this course. And then she would draw them on a piece of paper and upload them into Trello. And I would say yes, this is what I like and don’t like, and then she makes those changes. And then she gets to Laila who does all my design, and Laila would mock it up and make it beautiful, we would do that flow, and then we’d finish that and then nj would write my emails for what has to go out. And Natalie, who’s my project manager would make sure everybody’s doing what they’re doing. And we’re going to hit deadlines. And all these things just started happening. And everybody in my team started working together and doing their part in a way that was really efficient. And I was like, Oh, this is, this feels so good. Good. Like, where I’m actually making more money, because everybody is doing what they do so well, that it’s we’ve got this beautiful flow. And it was just like a nice time that like ebb and flow, and it was serene and beautiful. And then of course, will be like, let’s try this new thing. And then there’s a wrench that’s thrown in there. And then we’ve all got to figure that out. But to me the systems, if you can get systems that work so that everybody’s doing their things together, and and they’re playing their part. And everybody, you the less I have to worry that somebody is doing their job, and I can trust that they’re doing it well, because we’ve worked that out. I just feel so good.
David Ralph [38:58]
I can imagine it does I these words, these words make me feel good every single day. And they created the whole theme of what has become join up dots so let’s hear them again Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs [39:09]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [39:43]
So what do you trust in Donna?
Dana Malstaff [39:46]
What do I What do I trust that I trust that I’m going to that I trust that I’m resilient.
And I trust that I’m not married to my, my failures, I guess I’m not even married to my successes, to be honest. I think the that whole idea of connecting the dots, there are a lot of tiny dots that are in the middle. But we don’t worry about those. Like I worry about the big dots. Like I worry about my milestones I worry about what my end in mind is, as Stephen Covey would say, like I if I’m looking back at the dots that are connecting, I don’t I don’t look at every dot. Right. So I love it. Because anything that what I love about I don’t know who’s who talked or who said that. But, but I love that, that any you can make a connection between anything. And so I can decide looking back or looking forward. Which doctor the ones that I want to pay attention to and the outliers I could I just ignore because those don’t matter as much. It’s the big dots that matter. So to me, it’s not just about connecting the dots, it’s about the sun the size of the dots.
David Ralph [40:56]
It always is it always is yes. And wait, what was the real big dot out of everything? When you look back on it? What was the real big dot that really got you to where you are today?
Dana Malstaff [41:08]
Well, you know, I’d like to say Oh, having my children and getting married and writing my book and all that stuff. But honestly, I was at a conference, a bad conference. Actually, it was one of those ones where just everybody selling something. And I was there with a good friend of mine who’s a recent recent good friend. And my business was not it boss mom was born yet. I was having a bit of a hard time. And I went in a one guy who’s in the military. I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember what his business was. He got up on stage and he said that you two are entrepreneurs we pursue a lot of things like we do a lot of things because we can be okay are pretty good at a lot of things. And he goes which you have to decide is you have to figure out the thing that comes really easy to you that nobody understands how you can do it so well so fast. That’s the thing you’re going to make money on. And I went home and I still couldn’t figure it out. So I just helped my friend with her business actually left the conference earlier. And I helped her with her business. And in the midst of that she’s like oh, my God, Danna, you are a brainstorming genius. And I love the way you think I don’t even understand how you see all the parts of my business coming together in this way. She’s like your frickin content strategist like that’s, that’s what you are like you this is your space, you need to be doing this. I went home I got on Facebook, I went to group as I’m going to take three people to help you build your content strategy. For the next six months, I had like seven people get on three of the people I gave for free, I was able to sell it to several of the others. Two of the three people that I did for free came on for clients. And all of a sudden I was a content strategist. And that’s what changed my it was someone that told me Hey, that thing where you’re just doing a bunch of stuff, maybe that’s not the right way. Like just because you can doesn’t mean you should do it just comes so naturally to you. And you feel really good about that. And you get paid way more. So it takes me 15 minutes to do what some people take months and that commands a pretty good living.
David Ralph [43:00]
I can see that I can see that. And as I’m scrolling up and down I’m looking at images of you is very attractive lady but is it easy, good makeup? Because how do you not look terrible? Every single photo going up and down?
Unknown Speaker [43:14]
I love it. How about look? How
David Ralph [43:18]
have you seen me? Have you seen me recently? I’ve aged these like dog years since I started doing this. I lost my youthful looks. But you’re looking younger and younger like Benjamin Button. How’s it? How’s it manageable?
Dana Malstaff [43:33]
Well, there’s probably a couple things. One, I live in San Diego. But what’s beautiful and wonderful all the time. I laugh a lot. I think laughter is really good for your health. So I try and laugh as much as humanly possible. I try to take as little as I can seriously like I try not to take is like I try not to bog myself down and distress as much as possible, which doesn’t always happen to have a lot of things, health issues going along in my family, which makes it tough, but I’m good lighting. Good. You know, I don’t know drinking hydrating. And some some days I’m not sure that I do look so good. But I also got blessed. My mom’s 510 was super long legs. And she’s beautiful and wonderful and completely natural. My mom never wore makeup. She still doesn’t. And she worked in a salon when she was 16 with this beautiful gorgeous down to her but dirty blonde hair. And they convinced her to bleach it and it ruined her hair and she was like Danna, if the only thing you ever listened to before, is do not dye your hair ever like for me and I’ve never dyed my hair. So I have I’m just a very natural person. And I think the fact that I haven’t tried to be something I’m not allows me to have more fun and I’m not like a little kid. I feel like I’m being silly makes you young.
David Ralph [44:50]
I think so I agree with you totally. I’m gonna be more silly as I possibly can. And it is a weird thing when you when you become your natural self, your tribe grows you the people that like you really like you and the people that think you in idiot just go on their own way. I think it’s that that allowing the gold to come to you again, isn’t it?
Dana Malstaff [45:08]
Yeah, I think people have to think you’re an idiot. Like there’s no there’ll be no balance in the universe. I think like volcanoes would start to erupt and like earthquakes start to happen if you don’t like the matrix. And they said, Hey, we created the matrix where everybody was happy and everybody connected and and we rejected the system. Because pain and challenge and discomfort and judgment, like makes us feel like light is real. And so that’s I mean, I have to expect it, there’s no way I can have people that love me truly for who I am without having people on the other side who don’t get me and think I’m dumb. Like those are it’s just the yin and the yang. And I just don’t give a crap about the other people because they love somebody else. And somebody else loves them. And it’s all a you know, interconnected weave of liking and disliking. And, you know, it’s like the dots, I’m going to choose to focus on the dots that make feel good about myself, as opposed to the dots that made me feel like crap.
David Ralph [46:05]
Right Stuff great stuff, right? This is the end of the show. Now this is the part that I’ve been leading up to a week over sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Donna, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because we’re going to play the theme. And when it fades up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [46:37]
Dana Malstaff [46:50]
Hey, lady, how’s it going? So you look kinda down. You know, I think I feel like I just saw you dating a guy and you pretended to like wrestling for like three months. You don’t like wrestling? Why would you ever pretend to like wrestling? You did it? Because he was cute, didn’t you? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s much easier to find people that you actually like to hang out with and that you don’t have to break up with, whether their boyfriends or friends or colleagues or clients. If you just find people you’d actually like to hang out with. You find people that you know, you’re not faking who you are, because you think you’ve got to like what they like and for in order for them to like you. You don’t have to do that. Because that boy, you broke up with him a couple months later. And then you cried about it. And then he cried about it. And then he tried to get you back and then you watched wrestling again and pretend you like Twin Peaks. And why would you do that you don’t need to do that. Just be more yourself like what you like. And when you start doing more of that you’re going to find the people that you have the best inside jokes with ever that lasts for years and years and years and years. And those are the people that make you feel good about yourself good about who you are and what you’re doing. And that’s where success comes from is really enjoying waking up and being around the people you are do more of that my love and life will be gravy.
David Ralph [48:13]
Right style but what was the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Dana Malstaff [48:18]
Yeah, so boss dash mom calm is our site and that way you can get to our awesome Facebook group, we just hit 20,000 you can get to our boss calm podcast. From there, you can get my awesome Trello training which teaches you how to be more productive and time manage, you can get all of our all of our stuff, including my new book, The Confessions of a boss my book that came out which I’m super pumped about. But yet we have a brand new boss mom sites of boss dash mom calm. Samantha Johnston from Neapolitan creative did it and she’s genius. And it just it makes me so incredibly happy. So just go there to check it out whether you like me or not, because, because then you can see how beautiful Her work is.
David Ralph [48:55]
And we will have over links on the show notes. Thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. Please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures down on a banana. Thank you so much.
Dana Malstaff [49:11]
Well, thanks It was a blast.
David Ralph [49:15]
Now you have it, someone who’s just willing to be themselves enjoy themselves create a business that works for them and their clients. She’s not hiding behind anything. I think she’s probably the closest to what I would want you guys to have that authenticity of being yourself loving your life and creating whatever you want and you really can do it you really can do it. And she said if you find something that you can do really quickly and really professionally there’s value there so just take it forward, try and find your clients and you will be you’ll be doing well course you will. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of join up dots I really enjoyed that one up or she was great. And we’ll speak again so
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the bridge self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.