For the full show notes and access to resources mentioned in this episode visit https://www.easyscaling.com/blog/episode23
This episode is part of our mini-series all about failure. Tune in as we discuss how our guests approach failure, the biggest fails they’ve experienced, what they learned, the support they tap into to get through failure and more…
In this episode, we’re talking with Liz Wilcox. The Fresh Princess of Email Marketing, Liz Wilcox is an Email Strategist and Keynote Speaker showing small businesses how to build online relationships + make real money with emails. She’s best known for selling a blog, turning a $9 offer into multiple six-figures (without ads), and helping you untangle the email “knot” with pop culture references. She loves the 90s, headbands, and the beach.
What comes to mind when Liz hears the word failure:
Knowledge. "It's not failing, it's just moving you on a different path with more knowledge" cliche but true.
Connect with Jordan Schanda King:
Connect with this week’s guest
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Mini series - Failure | Cutting your losses with Liz Wilcox
Jordan: Hello. Hello. You are listening to our mini-series all about failure. We're diving into how folks approach failure, the failures that they have experienced, what they've learned from them, how they've gotten support through them, and all kinds of other juicy topics. So let's get to it.
Alrighty. In this episode, I'm chatting with Liz Wilcox. Liz calls herself the fresh princess of email marketing, which I think is amazing and hysterical. She is an email strategist and keynote speaker showing small businesses how to build online relationships and make real money with emails,. Who doesn't want that?
she's best known for selling a blog and turning a $9 offer into a multi-six figure without ads business and helping you untangle the email, not with lots of pop culture references. She loves the nineties. She loves headbands and she loves the beach. I mean, come on. That is the most epic bio ever.
she's got a lot of spunk, which I'm adlibbing now. We dive really deep into failure, and we don't go the typical route as some of these other episodes about failure. We talk about business partnerships a lot, which is kinda a unique thing that not everybody has dealt with or experienced, and both of us have dealt with and experienced that. So we dive into that. We dive into how to cut your losses, and when to cut your losses.
Jordan: Lessons learned and all the things. So I hope you enjoy this conversation.
Hello. Hello everyone. Welcome, Liz. I'm excited to have you.
Liz: Thank you. I'm so excited to chat today. Yes,
Jordan: we're stoked to talk about failure. It's gonna be super fun.
Woohoo, . Gotta love it. Turn it up. well, I mean, we all know, we all know about failure. I think that. , I'm like ripping off Tim Ferris a little bit with this series here on failure. but I think it's really important and, and I think it gets talked about some, but not enough. And so that's what we're gonna try to do is normalize failure a little bit and talk through how to actually get through it.
So let's start with your biggest failure, like let's just rip the bandaid and go all in. Yeah,
Liz: so Jordan was super professional and had me fill out a form, and on the form I talked about, I had a business with some partners and. We were trying to sell the business and we said, okay, we're gonna do one last big launch.
And this business was in the digital summit space. So we were, you know, we're gonna put on this summit one last time and if we can get it to the six figure mark, which we were really close in previous years, then we'll be able to sell it for so much more. Cuz we took off, in 2020 hashtag pandemic, right?
so we had to prove that it could work, post. and it didn't go the way that we thought it would, but I also wanted to, but I don't think that's my biggest failure. Honestly. I think my biggest failure was in my first business, I've had three, was in my RV business. I, I started off as an RV travel blogger.
Liz: I honestly, guys, I did anything and everything I could to make money. And in it, in doing so, I really lost who Liz Wilcox was. I, and of course, I mean, if you look at me or you hear me right now, if you've, you know, if you Google me, you'll be like, oh my gosh, that Liz can only just be Liz. Which in a sense is true.
I'm always Liz Wilcox, you know? But in this RV travel business, my, the majority of my customers were men in their. I don't know if you can tell by my voice, but I am not a man in my sixties. Okay. Like right now you can't see me. But I'm wearing a Britney Spear shirt. I have these like leopard print earrings I got on Etsy or whatever I have in sync in the background.
And that was not the Liz Wilcox that these men knew. Of course, they knew the spunky loud, kind of loud mouth, you know, unafraid, relentless, Liz Wilcox. But there were a lot of parts of me that I, I allowed to get lost. There were things that I wanted to talk about that I didn't talk about, cuz I thought, this isn't, you know, this isn't what my ideal client wants to hear.
Liz: And even my very first book was a book about. guys. . I actually hate talking about poop even right now. Like this is part of my story. So it is what it is. Like I wanna take a tongue scraper and like scrape my tongue. Cause I mean, that's part of my story and a lot of people love it, but like, deep down in my gut, I'm like, Ugh, why did I lean so hard into literal shit guys?
why? And, and honestly no joke, Jordan and friends, like. Started getting recognized at campgrounds as the RV poop lady. I have a master's degree in leadership. Do you know how annoying and like sad that was for Liz Wilcox to be walking across the camp, like trying to just go to the shower in the campground and be like, oh my gosh.
You're that poop lady, and I'm like, Ugh, I spent a lot of money on a master's degree and this is my life. And so I think honestly, my, my really, my biggest failure was leaning into, you know, chasing the money, I guess. And I don't regret, I honestly, guys, I was poor. I really wanted to travel the country. I really wanted to make it work.
And I. , you know, as much as sex sells, shit sells too. And I, and I knew that because I am smart and so I really leaned hard into that. and also like I took on a lot of partnerships. Like even that book, I didn't write it myself. I had a lot of partners, you know, everybody wrote a chapter. My digital summit business, I brought in three partners.
And on that idea, Wildly popular, digital course I paid my now ex-husband to create the content for. And so I think really my biggest failure was, you know, chasing the money and relying on other people to get me where I wanted to
Jordan: go. Mm mm Okay. Well there's a lot of ways we can go. I love all of this cuz you just listed I think three of your biggest failures.
yeah, sorry. One of them's gotta win
Liz: also, not just do one thing, .
Jordan: That's okay. I, I get that. and it's interesting cuz I, I can relate to a lot of what you're, what you're saying. My first business, I also don't feel very aligned with, and I've talked about this some on the podcast
Jordan: so for a very similar reason as you, my, my ideal client, my target audience for my first business was not me. It was high school students and then parents of high school students. So I wasn't a high school student at the time anymore and I couldn't even really remember what that was like. And then I obviously wasn't a parent of a high school student cuz I was like 23 years old.
So it makes it. In my opinion, for me it made it like a total slog to try to like sell to people that you don't understand. and I, I vowed that I would never start another business that was selling to people that wasn't me, because it's just, it's hard. It's hard. And. , like you said, you can't always be like your totally authentic self.
And I think that's part of it. But the other thing is it, it, it just feels harder. I think it, it feels less aligned to try to deeply understand and sell to people that are going through things that you don't understand.
Liz: Yeah. And I think with me it was just, I felt like I had to dumb myself down. Like people were only paying attention to.
cuz I was a sort of clown in my industry, , and I mean, that made me money. And at the time I needed money. And so like, is this a failure that I regret? Absolutely not. I learned a ton and I made the money that I needed to propel me to the next stage of life and business. but looking back, it is very like, cringe.
Liz: You know, like one eye open, like, oh no, I did that. Like if you google me, you know, you can find it. And it's like, oh gosh. but yeah, for me it's. Even in my business now, I, I have a lot of people that aren't me. You know, like in my membership I have a rabbi and a nun. I don't even go to church guys, , you heard it here first, but it is me in that we're all trying to collectively, you know, learn this one thing, get better at this one thing where I think in my last business it was more of like, Attention seeking.
Attention grabbing. And I'm a very punchy person and I do love attention. I'm not gonna lie about that, but it was a very desperate thing. Versus now it's just, you know, more, I'm happy to find people that like the same things as me. Yeah.
Jordan: Does that make sense? yes. A thousand percent and. It makes me think a lot about social media, which I don't know if we wanna go too far down this rabbit hole, but, when my approach to social media is very much like I'm gonna do literally only like what I wanna do,
And I wish people were like saying like that, that's how you could use it because, I think there it, okay. I like watching reels. I love watching reels, and I think you can like very easily tell when someone's doing a reel that they're like really aligned with how they're doing their real, and they're like dancing and they look cool and like it's very effortless for them versus when someone's doing a reel and you're like,
They hate what they're doing right now. Like they're doing it cuz they have to like you can, you can tell, and I think it's partly because we all know what that feels like to be doing something that isn't authentically you like it. That's where the cringe comes in. Like I don't cringe at every person dancing on Instagram, but there are some people that I cringe when I see them dancing on Instagram cuz I can tell that they freaking hate it.
Liz: Right, or it's just not even their zone, right? Like social media should be used the way the social media is, you know, the way it's intended. Instagram now with the reels, it's like, maybe your thing is Facebook baby. Maybe you're better at making comments than making reels. Right? And so just using, you know, using the platform the way it's supposed to be used.
And if you don't actually like that, then finding a platform that makes sense for you and it's more aligned, with your values and what you're good at. And just energetically for sure. Great
Jordan: point. Yeah. So. Like I promised, gone down a rabbit hole, which I wasn't supposed to do, but we're gonna try to get it back on track here.
So we've talked about your biggest failures, which I think are great. I also can relate because this is my third business. So we have a lot of parallels here. This is my third business and my first two businesses. Were also both partnerships. So this is my first, solo venture. And it's by far my favorite.
And I loved my co-founders and actually ended on really good terms with them. But it's so much, I will say there's pros and cons to. Being a lone Wolf CEO versus a co-founder. And I think it's, it can be really like comforting to have a co-founder and someone who you can bounce ideas off of somebody who is your partner, somebody who, has a stake in decision making.
It doesn't all fall on you. Like there's some very, I think, Very tangible, comforting benefits to that. and just like practical, being able to spread the workload and things like that. But there's, there's also something way easier with being the only person who has a say , you know?
Liz: Yeah. With my partnership, we used to all say, you know,
Cause we, there were actually four of us. Oh wow. It was, yeah, it was like a girl group. Okay. And so we used to say, oh, we're all Beyonces, you know, none of us is Michelle . Mm-hmm . We all have our strengths and we all are, you know, that person, you know, that stands up and isn't afraid to say what we think, you know, what direction we should go.
but at the end of the day, you know, I was running these two businesses simultaneously. And while the partnership, because it was, yeah, we were all bouncing ideas off of each other. We were using each other as momentum. That business grew a lot faster and made a lot more money. But when I had to split the cash, it was making just as much money as, you know, the solo thing over here,
Jordan: you know?
Yep. Yep. For sure, for sure. Yeah. That's something that people sometimes don't realize that you actually have to make double if there's
Liz: two of you. Right. And we had to make, and we had four times cuz we, we were all 25%, even Steven. and so it was like, this would be a, that's one of the reasons we decided to sell it.
It's like this is a very viable option for one or two people. Yeah. When you split it four ways, it does. You know, we, it was true for all of us, our other business. Doing just the same, and I'm putting all this effort, you know, is it worth it type of thing. Yeah,
Jordan: for sure. All right. So let's talk about actually moving through some of these failures and the things that you've learned.
So maybe let's start with learnings. what stands out as some of the things that you've learned through one or any of these big failure?
number one, go with your gut always. And number two, like know when to cut your loss. Like a, for me, you know, very cliche, Tim Ferriss, whoever the hell says it, you know, like nothing's a failure, right?
Liz: It's all about what you learn from it. And so for me it was, you know, learning to follow my gut, learn to trust in myself, and know when to cut my losses. No. And that's failure in life and in business, right? Like a, a relationship a lot. I have this conversation a lot about how we're taught, how to get into relationships, but we're never taught how to get out.
Right? That's the same with a business or a course launch or any, any bit of your business, like we're all taught how to do it, but we're not really taught how to get out, and so really, Tuning into yourself, being able to look at your data, and know when to cut your losses. Know when to say when, which of course sometimes you can only know through experience, through making that mistake.
Having that failure. But I think the only failure is when you keep doing it over and over. Like I created that book. I had partners that went, okay, I created the digital summit. Had partners that went really. until it didn't. the course with my ex, you know, that went really well until it didn't. And honestly, you know, I sold that first business, the course, the ebook, everything.
I got bought out of that second company when we realized, oh, this didn't, this didn't work, the way we thought. and honestly, I got bought out and. Semi unbeknownst to me, they sold the company within like a week or two after I got bought out. And so I can look at that as, oh, I, if I would've held out, I, you know, I would've had a piece of that cash too.
Liz: But for me it was energetically I had to get out. I could, I loved these people and I didn't want there to be any hard feeling. and at the end of the day, my other business was making more money than I needed, so I was like, I would rather. Have this, you know, keep my relationship intact. And, you know, like, Jordan said, you know, leave on good graces, then spend one more second in this business.
Please just pay me and leave me alone . but it wouldn't ha that wouldn't have happened if I hadn't learned through that fam those previous failure. Know when to cut my losses. Know when to say, when, when to say, okay, Liz is at capacity and if she tries to push herself any harder, like think it's gonna hit the fan.
You know what I'm saying? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And so like even today, like, yeah, they sold the business. I have no idea what they sold the business for. The business was my idea. I can feel good about that because I did what was best for me. I. I have to get out of this right now before it consumes me or hurts my relationships or hurts people I care about.
yeah. So the big, the big answer to that is just really truly knowing when to cut your losses, when to say when for yourself, for your business, and for anybody else that's affected.
Jordan: Yeah, I love it. And man, there is no easy way to shortcut this in my opinion. And. I, I mean, if, if you know how to shortcut it, like please tell me the answer.
But for me, what it's looked like is constant experimentation and constant practice. And then you finally are like, oh, I can recognize this and this is when I need to change my mind and this is how I wanna do it. And this is like, what's gonna feel good in an integrity. And, you know, it can, it can range from like, I, I think it can range from just like, generally changing your mind in your business about things, about decisions that you've made or offers that you put out there, or, even firing clients that aren't a good fit.
And I talk about all of that stuff all the time on the podcast. that kind of changing your mind I think is absolutely critical. But I think it can also range all the way up to some of these really big things that you just can't know how to do well until you're in it. So, like, what it makes me think of is, Like I said, I've been in two business partnerships.
Neither of them did I preemptively write a plan. Like everybody says, when you get into a business partnership, you have to figure out what, well, what's gonna happen when it, it's gonna terminate. Like how, what's gonna be the dissolution plan, right? Like everybody says that. . Nobody does it. I mean, maybe some people do it in like these smaller businesses.
I definitely didn't do it in either of mine because when you're in the exciting phase of like creating a business and creating a partnership, the last thing you wanna do is slow down and be like, okay, well now let's talk about what happens if we decide we don't wanna do this anymore. And you, I think it's hard to even do it, period.
Like how do you know how to write something like that and put parameters on something like that if you've never. Gone through it at all. and so I, if I was gonna get into a business partnership now having have, I've had two under my belt, I would write something like that, but I don't even know if I went back to either of those, if I would even be able to do it in the moment.
Like, you almost have to go through it, learn what it's like, and then you can, you can adjust moving forward, you know?
Liz: Yeah. With my partnership. Like Jordan, we just went, oh yeah, this is an idea. Let's do it together so we can actually get it done, type of thing. And that worked well for the first year. And the second year it went really sour for a couple people.
And that's when, again, to Jordan's point, like we went through it, it was like, I mean, I don't think I'm at liberty to give the details, but somebody didn't wanna give somebody else money and we thought, oh, this is. Explode or implode, right? Like, we've got to figure if we want to continue this partnership, you know, we have to set up these parameters because doing it all willy-nilly when you're actually making cash, sometimes can go a sour.
And so, yeah, we had to go through it, so to speak and realize, okay, we just failed, but this is. This actually is a viable business idea. So if we do wanna move forward, you know, we should probably hire a lawyer for all of the you. Xs and os types of things, whatever you wanna say. And so we actually did hire a lawyer, and created job titles and responsibilities, but I mean, it took a long time and it took us going through the nasty.
and I'm really proud of us for, you know, four Beyonces. To say like, Hey, we just had a blowout. Are we gonna keep the group together? Right. Beyonce and Kelly, they kicked those two girls out. , you know, we were able to keep the original four . Right. and so that was something that I think all of us are really proud of.
Liz: You know, even though, you know, we don't. We don't have a partnership anymore. When I was able to say, Hey, I wanna back out, it was because we had gone through that huge failure together. It was a very, pretty much seamless, like, okay, well this is what your contract says that, you know, you have a part of, here's how you can exit out.
You know, we were able to hire a lawyer. He was able to come in and see what we already have, and there was an exit plan for. Me, you know, already I just signed the contract and was out. But yeah, with any type of failure, you know, you don't know what the heck, you don't know exactly. And so unfortunately, sometimes you just gotta go through it to have any sort
Jordan: of knowledge.
Yeah, for sure. Big and small. Big and small failures, I think. and like I said, we, I've talked a lot about firing clients, and I know that sounds like really negative partying ways with clients. And I just think that that, that comes up for me a lot when I think about failures, because it feels like something that's so much in my control of like being able to pick the right people to work with.
And I sometimes feel a lot of responsibility for having maybe. Not effectively communicated or like, that's just kind of my natural tendency is to like break, try to break down like, okay, what could I, what could I have done differently? realistically, sometimes the answer isn't, isn't necessarily gonna be found there.
I think there's just, by the nature of of having a a business, there's gonna be situations that are gonna happen when you have to part ways with clients. But I can tell you. That has been a fantastic practice. Obviously don't go practicing failure with like a bunch of business partnerships, but there's little things in your business that you can practice.
learning from failures. I feel like parting ways with clients is a big one and it's something that you get better at firing the clients and you get better at not taking the clients that on that you need to fire to begin with. so that feels like a really tangible tank. Can you think of any other like smaller failures that people can maybe.
Jordan: Break down and
Liz: learn from. Yeah. Yeah. Going back to your social media example, you know, if you're doing the TikTok thing right, or the Instagram thing, you're making the reels and you're not seeing results, you know? Tuning in. What could, what could I have done differently? It's like, well, maybe not be here in the first place.
Right? Just the same as what could I have done differently with the, client? Well maybe say no in the first place, right? You kind of, once you experience that you, you know, you don't see the traction you need to be seeing on social thinking, what could I be, what could I be doing differently? Sometimes it's, oh, spend my energy elsewhere, you know?
Maybe I am just not good at Instagram reels. Maybe I should start an email list, or maybe my Facebook group simply, I don't have enough of a community yet. Maybe I should do some more podcast episodes and you know, more networking so I can get a bigger community that will actually engage on Facebook.
Right. Being able to pinpoint exactly, you know, and sit with yourself and be honest about why. Your Instagram or your Facebook or your TikTok isn't doing the things people say they can do. And then, usually it's just an answer of, you know, where am I spending time? Like, am I spending my energy on the right things, just the same as clients or partnerships.
It's like when I, when I knew I needed to exit that partnership, that business, I. I cannot exert one more percent of energy on this. I have to get out. And it was that question of, you know, what is a better time spend for me? And that usually answers all my questions for me.
Jordan: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. That's great. I love this, this, Just like experimental frame on pretty much everything in business.
And I think, you know, social media offers clients, whatever it is, your marketing strategy. It could be anything. and I think you can really get curious on every little individual thing that you're doing in your business. And so, like for me on social media, I'm not gonna dance on reels. I don't typically have time to even like speak face to camera for the most part.
So like for me, my thing is my podcast, but I, I do like being visible on Instagram and I used to hate it until I figured out that I could do it however the hell I wanted to, which is for me showing up on stories and. I actually totally changed my approach to reels recently, which is that I don't do, I don't do face to camera reels.
I don't do me doing like trending audio related anything. One, because it's not authentic. Two, because it sounds like a total waste of my time and I don't wanna do it. but what I did instead, because I do know that reels are important on, I. is when I had my photo shoot done. I hired a videographer to come do B roll of me for half the day and all of that B roll, all of that video is being used as the background for my reels.
So it's still me and then it's text overlaid on top of it and like, It performs just as well or better than any of my other reels that I had tried to do in the past that I hated. So I think there's, there's ways that you can get around it too and hack the system a little bit for, to still be engaged if you decide that that's the platform, but do it in a way that is gonna be authentic to you.
Liz: Yeah, I love that. For me, I always ask myself two questions, when I, when I make decisions in my personal or my business. I say, what would this look like if it was easy? And sometimes that answer is impossible, right? Oh, I hire someone, I just wouldn't do it. You know, like sometimes it's like, okay, well Liz, you kind of got to anyway, so I always ask myself the follow up question, what would this look like if it was fun? and fun for me is not fun for Jordan, is not fun for you, right? Like I love, I freaking love the trending audios. I dominate those like I did, I think I did like a 92nd one of like a Seinfeld episode. It took me like an hour to make, but it was so fun and it was easy for me.
It was like those things, like looking at an audio or listening to an audio and figuring out how I can make it for my niche, like that's very simple. Super fun for me. I don't do it as often enough. Like I wish I could only, like, if I could only do that every single day, that would be so fun for me. but obviously Jordan would say, oh, well I'll just hire a videographer, , and I'll put text over it.
That's easy and fun. Boom. Done, right? So it's gonna look different, you know, for your capability, capacity, creativity, what the hell you wanna do in the first place. But always asking myself those questions, especially after a failure of, you know, okay, well what's a good time spent on my energy here? Right?
It's like, okay, well what? What is easy? What is. And that helps guide me so, so much.
Jordan: Yeah. Oh, that's great. That's probably a good place to end. anything else you think we know need to know about failure? Any other nuggets?
you don't, I don't think you need it, but if you do, like, here's the permission slip to just.
Liz: You know, be okay with failure and not be afraid of it, cuz everybody does it. and the more you do it, the more you learn about yourself and the more you grow and the more you rise above whatever circumstance you're trying to rise above right now.
Jordan: Mm, perfect. Beautiful. Love it. Well thank you. This was super fun.
I know it's gonna be valuable. and I appreciate it.
Liz: Thanks for coming. Yeah, thank you. And get out there and fail