You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 57.
Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here is your host, Tobi Fairley.
Friends, I have a treat for you today. We’re continuing in all of my new interviews for this year, so sort of every other week I’m bringing you a fun conversation I’m having with some of my favorite peeps. And today, you get to hear me chat with one of my buddies, who lives right here in Little Rock where I do, and her name is Rebekah Fowlkes.
So if you don’t know Rebekah from Instagram, you should go check her out. She is adorable. She’s in multilevel marketing, she is a powerhouse, really good at putting herself out on social media. That’s one of her specialties and we talk all about that. We talk about how she’s so good at connecting with others and how you can do that too.
We talk about balancing motherhood with work because she’s got three kiddos at home, and a husband, and she’s so good also at making time for them and really getting all the good stuff and the important stuff in life mixed in with her work. I mean, I just – people ask me how I do it all but I look at her and I’m like, how in the world do you do it all?
So sit back, relax, and enjoy my fun conversation with my buddy Rebekah Fowlkes.
Tobi: I am so excited Rebekah that you’re here, I’m so excited to welcome you to The Design You Podcast. Thanks for being here today.
Rebekah: This is so fun. I’m so excited to be on here with you, Tobi.
Tobi: Well, one of the things we have in common is we rarely are at a loss for words, either of us, so this should not be a problem for us to have a conversation. The reason that I wanted you to come on the podcast, there’s multiple reasons, but I’m just so inspired regularly by your ability to just put yourself out into the world.
And I know that’s something that so many people struggle with and are envious of and it just comes so, so naturally to you, and you’re young and you’re savvy and you just don’t let any of that hold you back. The youngness or the inexperience or anything. You just leap, and I love that about you.
Rebekah: I’m sure there’s pros and cons to that. But yeah, I think part of it is Facebook came out the summer after my senior year of high school, so in 2004 I was getting ready to go to the University of Arkansas and this new Facebook thing came out there. So I’ve almost grown up on social media, so it was just normal to put yourself out there and to post what you’re doing and so I’m sure there was – I’m thankful that it was not as popular as it was – you had to have a .edu email address back in those days, and…
Tobi: Not everybody was watching all of your early fails on Facebook.
Rebekah: That’s right, and they weren’t pictures. You’d have a profile picture but not lots of pictures. And so I think that just kind of – I’ve always been extroverted and kind of an open book because I am so high connector that I know that vulnerability and authenticity lead to relatability and connection. And so I want that from people, that just drives me. And so I’ve been willing – I’ll put myself out there looking for real people to connect with, and so I think that’s kind of a driver for me.
Tobi: I love that. So I recently had one of my other best friends, Denise McGaha on and she’s really great, like you, on Instagram stories and in the social media world, and it’s the same motivation. She’s also an extrovert, which doesn’t mean introverts can’t do this. In fact, the beauty of it is that what you both have said to me is that it looks like it’s just all this outward stuff, but really what you’re looking for is those more intimate relationships, that connection one on one with people.
But I love that that you’ve both said the same thing, that that’s your motivator. Well, we’ll get into that more in a minute, but let’s tell people a little bit about you and where you come from because you have been in the network marketing field for a little while and with everything else you do, you’re just a powerhouse there and you’ve risen to the top of your company.
Rebekah: That’s so nice.
Tobi: Well, it’s so true. I mean, I’m not – I am tooting your horn but it’s really true, and I think…
Rebekah: But it means extra.
Tobi: Well yeah, but that’s why I want to bring this conversation here to my listeners because it’s so interesting to look from the outside at people, whether it’s me or you or my friend Denise I was talking about or others that are super successful in their field and think, well those people have an it factor, or those people, they have something I don’t have, and that’s why I love to bring these real conversations here.
So tell us about your path, who you work for, what you’ve done, what that’s kind of looked like. Give us a little background and then we’ll kind of dig into some more of the details of it.
Rebekah: Well, like I said, I’ve been on social media for the last 14, 15 years, and just connecting with people. And I started kind of thinking I literally, I went to a college preparatory high school and I joke that when I did what do you want to be when you grow up day, I came covered in baby dolls. In backpacks and diaper bags and a moomoo, and the professor or the teachers did not find that as humorous and amusing as I did, but it’s true.
I just wanted to be a mom when I grew up, but I did always have just a drive to want to do things and to make money, and to be successful. I just wanted to do it and be a mom too. And so as I had children early, I had three in three years, and then once I was a little bit kind of getting them out of diapers, I wanted to do something and I thought, well I’ve got this platform, I’ve got people that are listening to me on social media, and I just thought network marketing looked like a good idea.
And so I sought out in my early 20s Arbonne, a company here, and my sister and I did that for a couple years, and I was moderately successful. But I – actually I got pregnant with the third baby and it was a party company, which was hard to do when you had a lot of littles. And so…
Tobi: Meaning you had to have people in your home to have the party or whatever.
Rebekah: Right. At home parties. I’d go to their houses and I was running products around town and stuff, but I mean honestly, for a young mom, if you are high connector, there’s a big draw to that because you’re out of the house and out of the diapers and you are making money. So there was a part of that that I really did – I loved. And it made me fall in love with network marketing.
I loved the people, I loved the energy, I loved that you’re helping people, whether it’s to make money or getting in products that they really can benefit from. And I just loved that aspect of it. And a big theme in network marketing is personal development, and so people are encouraging you to better yourself and it’s a team atmosphere where you’re cheering people on and I thrive in those environments.
And so fast forward, I loved my experience there and it made me think, I can’t do this right this second, but in a few years, I’m going to pick it back up. And so I kind of would keep my eye out for companies and when Plexus came on the scene, I knew that it was health and wellness, which to me is just the best space to be in, and their compensation plan was different and I kind of researched that. And I thought okay, I’m going to jump in here.
And I don’t have any kind of medical degree or any kind of science background, and so to be in a gut health world was a little daunting, but because I just was willing to kind of like you said, leap into it and go I’m willing to earn as I learn, to kind of fail forward, and I was excited about it. I knew network marketing worked, I knew I had family and friends on the products, there were so many testimonies that I thought I’m just going to tell people about that.
So it took me about a year and a half to get to the top of the company and I’ve had a top performing team for the last several years. I think we did over six million in sales last year with my personal organization and we – that’s a lot of probiotics and vitamins. And it’s just a fun environment. I love that the network marketing space too, there’s always – it’s sales, which is a lot of sales companies where there’s always incentives and trips and so that’s motivation that there’s always a carrot to chase after.
But it’s also a way for people that are just everyday people to build something that’s sustainable and just really cool for your family, all from home. I don’t even think – maybe it was my first year I think it took me about a year to start making six figures, and up until then, I don’t even think I had a laptop. I used it all from my cellphone.
So you can – it’s just for everyday people. And that part of it I love, and so I’m just a big fan of network marketing and the industry as a whole when it’s done well. And I know that we’ve all seen people that maybe you’ve been spammed or someone sent you a message or – but there’s always people in industries that are doing things in a way that we don’t like.
And it’s easy – I remember I went to real estate school a couple years ago just for fun and the guy said, “Real estate is the easiest thing to get into, but the hardest thing to stay in,” and I feel like network marketing is super similar. It’s always easy to – I think it’s $40 to start a Plexus business, so lots of people can jump in, but it is – you do have to do self-development and be willing to learn from mistakes and learn from mistakes kind of in front of your friends because you’re putting stuff out there on social media or connecting with people because you’re marketing to your personal network.
And so that can take some thick skin, and some humility, and some kind of gumption to go okay, I messed up here, but that doesn’t mean this is a failure, that I’m a failure, I’m going to keep going. And I have messed up more times than I can count, I have sent spammy messages, I’ve been told no by my friends, all those things. But I just was willing to go okay, that doesn’t work, but what does? And where am I seeing movement and what’s working for other people that are successful in this?
And if you can be a copycat, you can do this. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Network marketing’s been around for forever. So it’s not difficult or it’s a simple business. It’s just kind of hard to stay in it when it’s kind of a roller coaster.
Tobi: Yeah, there’s a couple of things I want to touch on there that you talked about. So it’s fascinating what you said about real estate and network marketing is true for both of the fields I’m in really too, interior design and also the whole life coaching sphere. And I remember when I was getting trained on life coaching and the person I mentored under Brooke Castillo said, you know, the thing about life coaching is there’s basically no barrier to entry, which is what you’re saying, you can just set up shop, it’s not regulated.
The design industry, if you have an interior design degree is a little bit regulated but so many people are just decorators that are in the industry, which is – I’m not saying anything negative. Most people that hire me don’t care anything about my degree, they just want a decorator. And so similarly, very low barrier to entry, and I think that that is so confusing I guess sometimes to people because you see people that are successful, you’re looking at the people at the top of their game, you’re not very realistic about what they’re doing to be there.
And so what happens is you end up like with any of those fields, a handful of people who are making the multiple six figures or more in their business and then kind of everybody else sort of lives in the $20,000 to $50,000 income range, and constantly wonder what the problem is. And you and I have talked about this previously that the difference is really whether you are all in and running your business like a business, or if you’re thinking this is sort of a thing that can be a side gig or a get rich quick scheme or a I can do it in my spare time.
So talk a little bit about that because you know, you really can see the difference in your industry and maybe sometimes even with people that are listening that are interior designers, it’s easier to see it when we’re not too close to it. So I want to hear about the difference in those who treat network marketing as a business and those who either on purpose or accidentally don’t and they’re wondering what the problem is.
Rebekah: One thing I’ll say – there’s always advantages that different people have coming into this. So maybe you came in with a huge following and you were already an influencer, or maybe you had a lot of credibility because we’ve got doctors and nurses that really – or pharmacists that really understand ingredients and people are going to listen to you.
Or there’s always a con to someone else saying well that’s their pro. So maybe someone thinks that a stay at home mom has tons and tons of time, but I tell you what, it’s my people that almost start this in the nooks and the crannies of their day that do the best because they’re used to having to manage their time well and their priorities, where stay at home moms, a lot of times have so much freedom that they can’t – a lot of times, not always – to structure I’m going to work this.
Like, I’m going to sit here and I’m going to do these – there’s just a few income-producing activities that you can really do, telling people about your products and telling people about your business. And it’s people that want to reach out, kind of look at their social media, how am I marketing this, educating themselves on their products, and treating it like a business.
In my business, I feel like there’s a little bit of this maybe I’ve got a lottery hand in their hand and they’re going to say oh, can I just sign up one rock star that’s going to go, if I can just find myself an Instagram influencer or something, then I’m set and I’m going to ride into the sunset on this free seat, whatever.
And that is not the truth. It is a business, and a hard part of network marketing or just something that you really have to delve into is just interpersonal relationships because you’re leading a volunteer army. And so what – some people may be that influencer like I talked about and so they are great at signing people up to do this because those people want to do what they’re doing, but they won’t develop them as leaders and they’re not going to encourage them and build like in them and train them.
And so then those people under them are saying well, I don’t have the connections that you do and so I can’t do this and they fall off. So it’s kind of a revolving door and no one actually turns into a leader and I mean, there’s so much that goes into where I do confidence and being secure in myself is a strength of mine, and I just had a great upbringing and a dad that just poured life into me.
And so even walking through lots of fires in my adult life, I just can fall back on who I heard that I was by someone that loved and cared about me for years and years and years, and I have a really strong healthy mindset. And I realize, that’s not necessarily the norm. And so women with insecurity or comparison or have been wounded by all kinds of different things in their past, well then it gets really hard to put yourself out there.
I mean, there’s fear of failure and then there’s fear of success, and there’s fear of – I mean, just fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, and if you’re someone that can’t reach down and breathe life into people and say look, let me tell you who you are and let me tell you where your strengths are because the cool thing about network marketing is you don’t have to be good at everything because you’re on a team.
So you can use this person’s strong understanding of the products, and you can use this person’s graphic design skills to make graphics for you. All these different things, you just need to kind of double down on where is your strength zone and you’ll attract people, and you just work in that. And I love John Addison, he said at one point, “The best you’ll ever be at a weakness is average, but the best you can be at your strengths is extraordinary.”
And so when you really focus on what you’re good at, you’re going to attract a tribe. And so that self-awareness and the humility to realize I don’t have to be good at everything, I’m not going to be great at that, but maybe you bring people into your team that are good at your weaknesses and then you’re able to kind of all work together in this really cool and just exciting environment starts to form and it’s a really cool place to be.
Tobi: I love that, and it reminds me of a couple things. It reminds me in some ways of my coaching program because a lot of designers and creatives I work with work by themselves and we don’t have that benefit of the team like you’re talking about, but when you come into something like a coaching program like I’ve created, then you have that kind of option of leaning on other people’s strengths, so I love that.
And even just thinking about people who do start to build a team of employees, which is a very difficult thing to do, but as you’re saying, I mean, I’m such a huge proponent of leaning into your strengths, and I heard that years ago too. I was at a conference years ago and I heard someone say don’t try to make your – like if you were thinking about your strengths and your weaknesses like grades in school, they would say don’t try to make your Ds or your Cs an A. Try to make your As an A+ and let somebody else handle everything else.
And that was so profound to me because like you’re saying, you’re going to spend so much more energy and waste so much more energy trying to make yourself good at something that you’re not good at, whereas if you would just spend all your time in your strength, making the most money you can, you can hire all that other stuff done or like, in your instance, having people on the team that do that for you.
One of the other things I love about you that we have in common so much is that we love personal development and I’ve watched you just as a friend and kind of as a sort of a internet stalker, as we all feel like we are, voyeur, I’ve watched you already at such a young age, which was so true for me too, to go through a lot of elective training.
I remember seeing you to go to a John Maxwell conference and I know that you speak at a ton of the Plexus conferences and people call upon you to be a leader and in those roles, and you spend a lot of time reading and in personal development. What does that look like, or what kind of advice do you have for people to get there?
Because for me, that’s where I get a lot of my confidence. I’m like you, I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful family foundation, but so much of my confidence comes from me pouring myself into learning about different things. So is that true for you too?
Rebekah: I’m just a constant consumer of information, and I mean, honestly I’ll have to tell myself, I think I’ve even talked to you about this, that I’ll sometimes get so full of content that I go okay, you’re not allowed to listen to any podcasts, or read any books for like a week. You just need to think about what have you consumed.
Tobi: And implement it because you do take action on it, and that’s the difference between some people who just consume and never take action, right?
Rebekah: Yes. I had a friend stay at a conference she was speaking at recently and I saw her quote where she said are you a personal growth glutton? Are you just taking it all in and then not putting anything into action? And how sad. In the afternoons a lot of times I work out with my husband we’re at the club and he’s lifting weights and he’s listening to music or whatever he’s listening to, and I’m listening to podcasts.
And I tell you what, it is so interesting. He’s always there like why are you on your phone again? I’m like, I’m taking notes, and I get all these great ideas because I’m like, endorphins and then I’m listening to great information, and I mean, I don’t want to rely on my own strength and my own brain. I love that we have all this access to amazing powerhouse in any arena where I want to be the best version of myself.
I get so annoyed at all the like, t-shirts that are all like, I’m a hot mess and I’m caffeinated, I just can’t live without caffeine, and I don’t even know. Just flop it on the floor. I’m like no, we are strong women that are intelligent. I don’t understand the continuum of either we’re these strong women in business that are doing big things or we’re a hot mess that – I mean, we’re just surviving on caffeine and wine.
Which I love both of those things, but I’m like no. I want to do things and I want to talk to people that have vision and strategy and think about things differently than I do. I just think that’s so interesting to hear different perspectives and it just – when I follow people like you, Tobi, and people, I’m listening to all these different podcasts and reading books about people that are go-getters, it makes me want to do that too.
I’m like no, I’m not content just kind of settling into where I am. I want to move onto the next, what else can I do? So whether that makes me successful in fitness or in you know what, I can start doing a little bit more with my nutrition or with my goals or investing in my kids more, whatever that is, I want to go out swinging.
I know I can’t do it all but I want to go out trying really hard to be – even from that study that we did together, whatever that I’m choosing to be, to manage in my domain. So whatever I say, these are the most important things to me, which for me, it’s my family and it’s my career and it’s my relationships. And those things, I want to do really, really well, and my health. Whether it’s my mental health, my physical health, my emotional health, my spiritual health, all that, those are my most important things.
And I think when you say this is what I’m going to go all in with, this is what I’m going to do, it makes it really easy to say no to a lot of other things. And personal development just gives you, like you said, that confidence and kind of that authority that it’s not just kind of little old me saying well maybe I need to do this but people are empowering you to go yes, you can. You can say no to hard things, you can do big things. You’re not a hot mess. You’re super, super capable of doing big things, and I need that.
Tobi: I love that and I agree with you. I think sometimes it’s so easy to give up and even though society in some ways and our culture pushes us to be great, in so many more ways I think it gives us a lot of excuses just to chalk it up to that’s not my fault or it’s okay to check out or you can’t do everything. And you can’t do everything, which is what you were just talking about, but you can do a whole, whole lot, and I love your outlook on that.
It’s the same one that I have. Very optimistic, very driven, focused, with priorities in place. And I think there’s a couple of things you said in there. Well, one thing I wanted to mention before I move on because it was so funny, I saw on your Instagram this week you said something like, I hope Google doesn’t go away because I only actually know like six or seven things.
And I was like, isn’t that the truth? But kind of in the sort of vein or topic you were talking on a second ago, that’s the beauty of having at our fingertips all of these other masters and courses and content and things that we don’t have to know everything. But I think some of the other stuff you were just talking about leads me to one of the things that I wanted to talk about with you today, and that is the whole idea of balancing motherhood and network marketing and being a wife.
And obviously, if people follow you or start to follow you because of this podcast and see your world on Instagram, it’s very clear that your children and your husband are a huge priority for you. But then also you’re telling us all the other things that you do and that are important like your health and all that, and I think so many people do give up because they’re just like, there’s no way I can focus on all of that stuff.
But you’re clearly doing it, you’re clearly doing it. So how do you do that and how are you keeping those balls in the air? And is it harder than it looks or are you just showing us the highlight reel accidentally happens so often on social media or are you just really good at saying no to a lot of other stuff?
Rebekah: Well, probably a mix. I’m not someone that typically – I will share here’s how I overcame an obstacle, but I’m not going to say hey, I’m in a fight with my husband and we might break up over this.
Tobi: Me either.
Rebekah: So I went through a divorce a few years ago, about a year after I started my Plexus business and I wanted the stay at home mom life and family is just so important to me and I tried to make a lot of hurdles that were going on in there work for about 10 years. And just realized, you know what, this reoccurring things are not going to go away.
And just for my mental health and my kids and just where I wanted my kids to see what a family looks like, I went through a divorce. And before that and now, my family is my pillar, and not even just my husband and my kids, but my mom and my sisters and I just value those deep real relationships.
And so is life all gravy over here? No, there’s lots of real hard there. But when it comes to my business, the cool thing, like you were saying the laptop life, I can do a lot in small chunks of my day. So what has been the most – I mean, I totally eat Chick-fil-A sometimes…
Tobi: Me too.
Rebekah: Yeah, Cheetos or whatever, that I do prioritize fitness because I just feel like that’s self-care. It’s me taking care of myself and I am able to do that and it’s not – I don’t like to work out. No part of me is ever like yes. I love people that say that and my brain does not compute that they love that. I never like it until it’s over.
But I believe in taking care of myself and being strong for my family, but what it kind of boils down to is I had asked my family where do you need me, where – my shareholders. Where is it the most important for me to be? And so for my kids, they want me at their activities, and so I am all in at those ball games all weekend and I love it.
And when I pick up my kids from school, I never have my phone on. I am dialed in for those – I get them home, I’m talking to them about their day, I’m getting them a snack, and I’m very present there. And then something that is really important to my house is they want me to rub their backs at night. I go in there and that’s where they kind of have those intimate conversations with me and I want to be real in for that.
My kids are all school age so eight to three, I can get a lot accomplished. I can get a lot accomplished. And my husband, he wants me to sit down and watch shows with him at night without my phone in my hand. And so that’s what I do because do I want to – he was gone for a few months on a work trip last year and I literally do not think I turned the TV on one time.
I do not have any time for TV. I don’t want to watch TV, but because it’s important to him, that is important to me. And so just making – I think if you’re really present in those times where – to let your people know hey, you’re important to me, and work on those relationships, then they know that.
So my job is really important to me but the cool thing about what I do and what a lot of – I’m sure a lot of your listeners are self-employed is you get to decide what your calendar looks like. And so I’m just good with saying – and there have been seasons where nothing’s in balance and we’re literally eating takeout every night and I am dialed into working really hard.
But I also have conversations with my family and say listen, I have got to do this x, y, z thing, the next three weeks are going to be crazy. I will be in there to scratch your backs at night, but Eli’s taking you to school in the morning and this is what this – all that. So it’s just kind of prioritizing what are the most important things.
I mean, you know I’ve kind of been working on a new business venture lately and when I was kind of mapping out my day, Eli looked at me and said, “I don’t think you have time to work out right now.” Well, it was because I was trying to work out in the morning, and I know that my energy zone is the highest, I’m the most productive in the mornings.
And so I was trying to work out basically nine to 11, he goes, “You can’t do that right now. You need to drop it.” And so I ended up picking it back up and doing it 4:30 in the afternoon and I told myself I just can’t work out at night but you know what, I got in the habit and now that’s when I work out.
So it’s just kind of having some self-awareness. If you’re willing to say this is when I’m the most productive, you can get a ton done in two or three hours. You can. And so if you can put that into your day and you’ve got your social media silence, you’re not doing anything, you are really dialed into what you are doing, we’re capable of really a lot. It’s just being really productive with that.
Tobi: And there’s so many nuggets in what you just said and we are so much alike and every time we talk I realize how much alike we are. But there’s so much that I think is so important that I just kind of want to point out there. So when I struggled the most with work-life balance with my family, I had a belief that it was 50% work and 50% family. Or even 100, 100, which that math doesn’t add up.
And so I even was – at one point, working with a therapist and she basically helped me understand like, exactly what you just said, which is so much wisdom, especially again, I always say what a young whippersnapper you are and I mean, you are in your 30s, you’re not 12. But it’s so impressive to me that you have this awareness because what she helped me understand is literally, one or two really focused hours with them is really kind of all they might want from you in a day.
They want their own time too and they have other stuff to do, but if they know that you’re there and all in for one or two key hours, then all the rest of that time is yours. And so many moms and so many small business owners spend the whole day feeling guilty like they’re supposed to be doing family stuff while they’re working.
So it’s this constant battle of when I’m working, I feel like I should be with my family, when I’m with my family I feel like I should be working. And I think a lot of them also – even though you said, which is so true, that as a small business owner or if you’re creating that laptop life as you referred to, which we talk about a lot, meaning you’re not tied to a physical business, you can work from anywhere.
But still, so many people don’t really believe they’re in charge of their schedule. They believe their clients run their schedule or their employees run their schedule or their kids run their schedule, and we actually can take complete charge of that. So I think that was such a great nugget to point out too, really both of those things.
There was one other thing that I was trying to think – I should have written it down. I was keeping it on my fingers. I was like, what was the other thing she said. Oh, the working out. So I agree, and I’ve done the same thing this year. So I’ve always been up and down. I’ve always worked out, but I’ve struggled sometimes to keep my weight or my health in check because of my working.
And I am like you, I don’t love – I mean, my energy in the morning is high and I get up early, but I want to spend that on work. And so like you, I shifted and I’m working out – it’s not in the afternoon always like you, I kind of do two days a week, I go to a trainer and it’s literally in the middle of the day, like 11am. And then for my new Peloton that I have at home, it’s in the afternoon, late afternoon, like what you’re saying.
And so I know studies show that people who exercise in the morning are most consistent because they don’t have interruptions and that sort of thing, but like you, I really have the self-awareness to say I enjoy working out more later when I have a different kind of energy and I’ve gotten all of those to-do list things off my mind.
So I think all of that is – there just was so much wisdom in what you were talking about and you’re basically just saying you design your life in the way that you hit your priorities, your family’s priorities, and you get it all in, and that’s how you balance it. But it’s not like it has to be 100% in any given place, at any given time.
Rebekah: No, and I loved what you said. It’s more about the quality of the time that you’re spending with your people versus the quantity. If you have a really great conversation on the way to and from school, I mean, I just saw a little meme the other day and if you’re a mom with little kids, this just meant something to me. It said, “Kids don’t know how to say hey, I need attention and I’m struggling. Instead they just say play with me or watch me.”
My kids love for me to go outside and watch them shoot baskets or whatever they’re doing. And just to kind of recognize they’re not going to come and say hey, I’m needing some love, I’m needing some attention, but they just kind of need your time. And it always – this is kind of a side thing, but whenever I see people that are constantly posting like, I can work from anywhere, so they’re working at the beach or they’re working when they’re with their family, all that says to me is that you’re always working.
And so if I was someone that was wanting to – I mean, in my job, join your team or say do I want to do that business as well, and I see that you’re always working, that’s not appealing to me because I don’t want that lifestyle. Right now, do I think that I can probably be more successful at Plexus if I devoted more time to it? I do. But I love the life that I’ve created and I want to enjoy that and I want to enjoy my family and I don’t want them to say I hate your job and I hate this and that because it always takes you away from me.
And sometimes I make family goals with my kids. I’m like, if I hit this goal, we’re going to do this, and they kind of have buy in with that too. There was a contest a couple years ago where our convention or retreat something was in Orlando, so I said if I hit this goal, we’re going to go to Disneyworld for two days. Well, they were like, “Are you working today mom? What are you doing? What are you doing in there?”
Tobi: You don’t have time to be scratching our back, get to work.
Rebekah: That’s right. Get back in there. So I mean, I just thing bringing your family in, if we say that the reason why we’re working so hard is for our family but we’re not putting them as a priority, well, that’s really conflicting to our people.
Tobi: And I lived that for so many years. Accidentally. You’re like, accidentally saying mommy has to work and I’ll sit here next to you but I’ll be on my computer the whole time, which – there’s a difference in time and attention, and that’s just time together, but what they really need is attention so often, and that’s with anybody.
If you don’t even have kids, that’s with your significant other or your friends or whoever your relationships are, we all need that. And I remember one time – I’ve told this story before – but it was such a mom – we have so many mom failures. One of my favorite mom success moments was when about two years ago, which you probably heard this when we were in a Bible study together.
But Ellison was talking to one of her best friends and the friend was saying that her stepdad is a workaholic, and I was listening to them talk. And she’s like, oh my gosh, my stepdad is a workaholic, which she had clearly heard from her mom or something with that term. And Ellison goes, “Oh, my mom used to be one of those.” And I was like yes, she used to be. You noticed. She’s not anymore.
So that was like, one of my – but that’s what – the people in your life and yourself, your self-care, I mean, if you have nobody and you’re single, you still need that attention on the things that matter, and I think that’s what you’re really saying, which is so great.
Rebekah: Well, and if you don’t take that time, you kind of can’t reflect and say now, what am I doing? Because if you’re always full steam ahead, you’re not turning back to go I need to make sure I still like where I’m going. Does this still make sense?
Tobi: If you’re in the trenches all the time essentially, you can’t ever see the 40,000-foot view.
Rebekah: That’s right. So I think it’s just really important for relationships and for yourself to make sure that there’s margin in your day to just take a breath.
Tobi: I love what you’re inferring too is that it’s okay if you’re going down one path because this happened so often and I know it’s happening with tons of people in the design and in other creative industries right now as the industry changes, it’s totally okay if you started down one path and you thought you were going to like it and you don’t anymore, to go a different direction.
Rebekah: Oh yeah. Your action will always bring clarity, and so when you’re kind of moving and then you go okay, this is getting me here, is this still my goal? What is it that I’m liking about this? Where are my pain points with this? Do I want to shift and pivot over here? So you have to do that.
Tobi: I think when you don’t, you end up quitting, which is sort of the throwing the baby out with the bath water instead of just doing what I call measure and adjust. So even you saying well, I was in one network marketing company, but then I pivoted not out of the industry but to a different company that had different benefits and different reasons, yeah, I think that’s so great.
Okay well let’s talk before we wrap up about social media because that’s one of your strengths for sure, and I love how it’s just so easy for you to put yourself out in the world in a very real and authentic way, and you and I have talked about really just the opportunity that we have these days to become really a microinfluencer, if you want to call it that, or an influencer of your own people, your own tribe.
So it’s not like we have to become – thank goodness – Kim Kardashian to make our – or Gary V or Tony Robbins or Oprah to make a difference. We actually have this platform now, which is so beautiful and a lot of people are so scared of it, but it’s so – it puts at our fingertips the ability to change lives, to serve people, to build businesses.
So tell us about how you approach that. I know you said social media always come naturally for you because you’ve grown up on it and I get that, but I still think there’s some thinking, there’s some mindset behind the way you use it to really influence other people in a positive way.
Rebekah: I love social media because it’s social. And so you’re connecting with people and like you said, you’re – I mean, I’m inspired by people on social media all the time, or I’m entertained because they’re making me laugh, or I love all the feels that come along with social media. But I think when you realize that you have value to add and you start working in your strength zone, to put yourself out there, you build a community.
And so what’s interesting is like you said, we have so much access to so many amazing trainers and podcasts and books, there’s no shortage of content out there. There’s just – and honestly, there’s really nothing new under the sun. It’s just all repackaged a little bit differently, depending on the speaker or the author or whatever.
And so because now – we used to have to go to conferences or to events to receive this content because we didn’t have all this information, what people really want is a community. And so they’re looking for people that say – and my favorite kind of content to consume is when I really probably already knew something in my head, it was like a subconscious competence.
Like I kind of knew something but I wasn’t really sure of the why behind and the something just makes sense in my head because of how it’s presented to me. And so I love when people – you don’t have to have some super profound revolutionary idea that no one’s ever had before to share a thought because you’re just not going to do that.
But if there’s something that’s encouraged you or has taught you how to do something, I go back to friends and mentors and authors or podcasts because they’re people that gave me a value. And so when you’re on there and you’re sharing – I mean, I tell people all the time, I’m like I don’t have anything interesting to share on social media, and I’m like, there are people out there that are dying to know better ways to keep their stainless clear, or their baseboards clean, how to organize – look at Marie Kondo or whatever that all of a sudden that’s just revolutionizing the way people organize.
If it matters to you, it matters to other people too, and so often what I see is that when something is a strength for someone, you just kind of naively assume that it’s innate and a strength for everyone. But that is not true. You just are really great at it and you’re kind of almost leaving it on the floor and going oh, that’s no big deal.
Tobi: Yeah, take it for granted, everybody knows that, which you’re exactly right.
Rebekah: And so if you’re just willing to start putting yourself out there and that takes being brave and being vulnerable about putting yourself out there because you’re wondering, you start caring about vanity, metrics, or are people going to like this or whatever, and the truth is – and Tobi, I think I’ve heard you say this, maybe in one of your courses that I’ve taken, but if people start unfollowing you, that is okay.
That is good because you’re pushing away the people that would never buy from you, would never align with you and your message, and you’re making room, you kind of put your stake in the ground to say this is who I am and that is going to attract this tribe that you don’t have to worry about performing for people. You’re just continuing to show more of who you are and what you’re learning and what you’re thinking.
And so you get this tribe that is like, couture for you. Custom tribe that is totally just tracking with you, and so you don’t have to do anything. You just get to be yourself, and I love thinking that we’re – I know that we’re all designed with strengths and gifts and abilities. I actually saw and I know so many of your listeners are designers so you’ll probably appreciate this, but at our corporate headquarters, I was walking through the graphic design unit one day and I saw on someone’s desk they had this sign and it said, “They’re not just details. They’re part of the design.”
And I loved that and I love knowing all those little kind of nuances and tiny little things about you that someone might think is a quirk or something. Those are part of your design and there’s something really cool about you that you can use to add value to other people and it means so much to me when someone messages me and says when you said this little thing, it just meant the world to me and it said this or did that.
Or when people come up to me, the number one thing people say to me is, “I feel like I just know you,” because I just share stuff all the time and they’re probably right. They probably do because I’m not trying to create an identity or a personality online. I’m just being myself and it’s just brought people that connect with that.
And when you just kind of decide, you know what, I’m just going to be myself, you’re going to find people that say the same thing and that you had the same impact on. And just be confident in that, to kind of step out and say you be you and it’s going to do something big.
Tobi: Well, and one of the things – just kind of to touch on before we wrap up is that I think in that kind of realness and authenticity, then the selling sort of takes care of itself because I think network marketing for sure is one of the easiest industries to see when someone’s really trying to sell you on something and when they’re not.
But also as I help move creatives and designers into this idea of having products or services or at least their marketing online, it can feel sales-y, and it does if you’re just pushing something. If you’re just finding 10 people to send a Facebook message to and say have you bought Plexus before, they’re going to be like, here she comes again, this is the umpteenth person to ask me that.
But I don’t ever feel that – we’ve been friends for a long time and you have never sent me a blanket email or Facebook message to say do you want to try my product. But you just talk about how much you love the products you sell, what the benefits are, the things that they’ve done for people, what they’ve done for you, and you’re literally jus talking about that as part of who you are on your social and on these places, and I love that because I think that’s what people are looking for.
Nobody wants to be pushed into anything, but if they can see that it actually made a difference for you and you can show them why and how, but you’re not trying to be sales-y, you have an abundant mindset, if they’re meant to buy from me they will, that kind of thing, and yeah, of course you call them to action because I mean, that’s just proven sales strategy.
Like hey, buy this thing if you want it, but I love that and is there any other comment or tip that you want to mention about that because I can see that so clearly with what you do and a few other people that I know that are really good about that, and I think that’s the difference in feeling kind of like that snake oil salesman no matter what industry you’re in, and actually building relationships where people are interested to try the products and get results, and then it kind of takes care of itself.
Rebekah: Well, it just makes me think that everyone wants to buy but no one wants to be sold to. So when you’re developing your brand and just because I know so many of yours, the people that are listening are creatives, then what you want to know is your brand is not Tobi Fairley Interior Design. That’s not your brand. Your brand is Tobi Fairley.
And so you have all these different facets of your brand and if you’re a creative, you’re the same way. Your brand is not your company. That’s just one facet of who you are. And so when you’re someone that is creative, well then you’re showing all aspects of beauty and home and ways that that alignment and caring about the beauty in your home, well then you’re also caring about the beauty that’s in your heart or things that you’re noticing, or maybe you also kind of care about putting together different cool outfits or different things.
Tobi: Cooking or things for your kids or the way you work out, or all of that stuff.
Rebekah: Absolutely. And so if I’m in health and wellness, my brand isn’t Plexus, but my brand is health, and so I think of physical and mental and spiritual health or my nutrition or exercise. Those are all different facets of that, and Plexus just weaves into that because I know the products work and I know that they helped me, and so I take them every day.
And that would be the same thing for people that are selling their design, and so then they’re showing another form of your brand would be social proofing. So it’s showing other people socially, whether it’s your – showing clients their houses or things that it made them feel once you helped them and connected with them or empowering people because now they’ve got this space that works for them and so they’re confident and they’re able to accomplish more.
All those different things are part of your brand because – and that’s a way that you can add value to people without selling. And so you’re marketing your brand and your industry, then you’ve got your personal brand that you’re kind of showing people a piece of you so that they can kind of see you know what, I like that Tobi person, I see her, I can tell she does things with excellence, I want to work with her.
So that then you earn their respect when you come with a call to action and you say here are these products I’ve been talking about, they’re on sale for 15% off this weekend, shoot me a message about that, whatever, then they kind of expect the sale because you’ve earned the right. It’s not just buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, that Gary V’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, you’re giving, and you’re giving, and you’re giving, so then you can take.
But any time that you’re asking for a sale or asking for someone’s business, that’s a take and so you just want to make sure that you’re giving way more content to connect and add value to your clients before you ask for that.
Tobi: I love that and again, like you just said earlier, sometimes you just hear something differently when people share and I’ve heard all of that before, I know all of that, but I love how you just said because you’ve already been giving, giving, giving, building the relationship, then you’ve earned the right to ask for something in return. That is so genius.
I think that is the perfect place for us to end. This has been so amazing. We could talk for three hours, of course, I know we could. And every time I have a guest on, I’m like, gosh, I only bring people on that just inspire me and amaze me and I always promise to have everybody back, so definitely think we need to have another conversation and go deeper, and we’ll see what kind of feedback we get.
But just again, thank you so much. So much wisdom for being just a young mom and I just really, really appreciate you sharing so many nuggets and so many deeper than nuggets, like foundational tools and truths and gosh, I learned so much from you today myself, so thank you so much for being here.
Rebekah: Thanks for having me on, Tobi, so fun.
Tobi: You’re so welcome. Okay, well I will talk to you again soon and we’ll make a date for podcast Tobi Rebekah number two.
Rebekah: Sounds good.
So I hope you really loved that fun conversation just like I feel about all my guests, which is why I hand select them because I know they’re full of just what I call nuggets and really just good actionable steps that you can really put to work in your own life. I know there were a ton in there today with Rebekah and if you struggle with putting yourself out on social media, I hope you’ll take her tips and you’ll join us out in the land of Instagram for sure.
And if you do, let me or Rebekah know that you heard her on The Design You Podcast because we would love to hear from you and chat with you, so send us direct messages, DMs on the Instagram stories as I call them because we can’t wait to hear from you and thank you so much for listening today.
I’ll be back next week with another podcast that’s straight from me. Some of my advice, and then the following week we’ll get back to another great conversation with one of my friends that I can’t wait for you to hear about soon. See you next time. Bye friends.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Design You Podcast. And if you’d like even more support for designing a business and a life that you love, then check out my exclusive monthly coaching program Design You at tobifairley.com.