From Corporate Management to Self-Employed

Trish CarrHello, everybody, and welcome to Hello Hump Day. I hope that you are halfway to your goal for the week. Today we are interviewing Miss Trish Carr, the fabulous Trish Carr, and I’m going to go ahead and read her bio.

She has been an acclaimed sales expert for over three-plus decades. Trish combines proven sales strategies with the latest behavioral science resulting in a simple formula that gets past the pitfalls of selling. Man, we would all love to get past those pitfalls.

Since her early years, she has been a number one best-selling author, business mentor, and award-winning international speaker. She has worked to be the change by stepping up, speaking out, and leading women’s equality and human rights. She is the co-founder of Women’s Prosperity Network, a global movement of women coming together to be a massive force for positive change through our projects, products, and services. Welcome, Trish.

Trish: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. I love talking about this subject.

Dotty: I have known you for almost a year now. Maybe a little over a year. I have always wondered; I’m assuming you did not start where you are right now.  I’m curious, how did you start? What was your journey to self-employment?

Trish: Well, that’s a great question. Let me tell you, I worked clerical jobs when I was younger, right out of school. And when I moved from New York to Florida, I wanted to get a position where I could be secure. I did, I landed the job of a lifetime, I got a job at the phone company—people who work for the phone company, just like people who work for the government. You don’t need to get another job; you can move within that organization and transfer to other states; it was the perfect, great job. So that’s why it was the job of a lifetime. It was the job I wanted; I wanted to have a corporate job that gave me the opportunity for mobility. And that’s what it did for me.

I, you know, I don’t know whether it was luck or preparation or the intersection of those two things. But I moved up the corporate ladder every couple of years; I changed job titles and job positions. So I never got bored doing what I was doing.

Dotty: You probably built your skill sets doing that too.

Trish: Absolutely.  I was so lucky that I was a natural leader, as people say. Now, you may say I’m a natural leader, I might call myself controlling, and I have to be in charge of everything, right. I think that’s the way my husband looks at it anyway. But I knew I wasn’t going to be somebody who took orders all the time. I was made to create the changes, you know, so I moved up. What I did was I became a union representative.

Dotty: Oh?

Trish: Yes. I was always selected for some leadership role within the company, you know, “Lead this group,” or “Lead this initiative.” But I wanted to facilitate change. As you mentioned in my bio, I’m a changemaker. My sister calls me a rebel. My moniker is the Results Revolutionary because I’m all about changing it up and shaking things up. So I wanted to effect change. And I decided that the union was the right way to go. So I became a vice president of the Union. I was well respected within the block. The company respected me because it was the company in the Union.

Honestly, at some point, I realized that if I wanted to affect real change, doing it from the outside was not the most effective approach — I had to be on the inside to affect the change I wanted to see. It’s so funny because when I told my boss, I said, “Can we talk about some management positions?” He was like, “I’m so glad you said that. I’ve been waiting for you to tell me that. You have great leadership skills; you’re just a little skewed in your thinking. Like we need to make you think like a company person.” So luckily, you know, they were like open arms, “Come on, Trish, we want you to lead.”

But what happened in the ’90s?

So I was with this company for about 15 years, and what happened in the 1990s was there was a massive downsizing in all corporations. The way that At&T had to do their layoffs was unfortunate. Unfortunately, many people do not like conflict. Because people don’t like confrontation, many managers simply rated people as satisfactory or above satisfactory. So they couldn’t look at results and say, “Oh, well, you’re in the bottom. So you have to go.” Because everybody looked good.
So they created a rating system that created terrible results, and people were laid off. I was fortunate. I was rated in the top tier, of course. I knew I would be.

I had lots of mentors, but lots of people were laid off, and it was unfortunate because people who thought they were doing great jobs all this time finally find out that, “Well, you’re not pulling your weight. I know you’ve been here 15 years, but sorry, you’re the one that has to go.” So not only did people have to leave, but they had to leave with the worst feeling, you know, “Oh my gosh, I’m a piece of junk, who knew?”

I didn’t want to stay around the environment that was left. What was left were people covering up, trying to hold their jobs, everybody being political. Most of my mentors – the people who respected me – the people who moved me up. Were gone, and I didn’t like what was happening.

I was not seen as a big fish anymore. Truthfully, I became just a number, and when they move people around in jobs, they just looked at what I did before, and they put me where they thought I wanted to go, and it wasn’t. So I left.

Dotty: It was no longer a good fit and the perfect job.

Trish: No, it wasn’t; it became quite the opposite. So when I left – and this happens for so many people,  you have this job where you’re getting a paycheck every week, and you’re secure. Luckily, I was in sales, so I knew how to sell and influence. I was also on the stage all the time with a microphone. So I developed my influence skills and everything I’ve done since I owe to that career, no question. But there I was, in the mid-’90s, not sure what I wanted to do, so I tried a bunch of different things.

I think that’s one of the things most of us don’t do enough of. My husband had a job, so money was coming in. They also gave me what was called at the time a golden parachute, like, “Here, leave, and here’s some money.” So they gave me lots of money to leave — they even paid my health insurance for three years after I left.

Dotty: Wow.

Trish: I know. So they made it easy for me to get out of there.

Dotty: Does that still happen with big companies?

Trish: No, not anymore. But then it was, it was pretty much the norm if you were a high-level manager, and I was at that point. They gave us a nice amount of money to go. I read a book. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I read a book, and it was called, You Can Do Anything You Want: If You Only Knew What it Was.

Dotty: That’s a great title.

Trish: It’s a great title, and it was a great book. What she (the author) recommended was — and this is advice for everybody — even if you’re working, dabble in the things you think you want to do if you’re going to break out on your own.

So I did radio commercials. I had friends on the radio so that I could do radio commercials. I wanted to do voiceover acting.

I love animals, so I wanted to work with animals. I volunteered at a shelter and found I didn’t want to work with animals because I didn’t want to clean out cages. I don’t want to deal with barking dogs. I love them, but I don’t want to care for them like that.

I volunteered at the museum because I love history. I just did all the things I loved, and I lucked out. People surround me, and I think that the biggest thing that I can suggest to anyone who wants to do something, start their own business, be a single shingle — as my friend Charlie calls it — is to be surrounded by people who support you, know you, love you care about you, and understand you. People who are going to say, “You go, girl! You can do this, girl!” Not people who are going to see you fall and say, “Oh, maybe you should go back and get a job again.”

Dotty: So that may not be family.

Trish: Right. A lot of times, it’s not family. Often, it’s people who are doing what you’re doing.  I was a trainer for corporations. I would do all kinds of training, technical training, sales training, and what they call soft skills training. It’s now called EQ, or intelligence quotient on how to deal with people, how to manage difficult conversations, how to move people to be productive. So that’s the first thing I did.

But the biggest thing is that no matter what, I always had people who had my back and understood me and never said, you should get a job. I find that, like me, when I first started doing my own thing, my friends were my old friends, my friends from my job. My friends thought that nirvana is having a paycheck for the rest of your life and working for a company that can tell you to do whatever they want you to do whenever they want you to do it. They don’t get it. It’s not that they don’t love you; it’s simply they don’t understand the thinking it takes to be an entrepreneur — to be on your own — to be responsible for your income.

Dotty: They’ve never been there.

Trish: Right. You know, there’s that old story about the crabs in the crab pot, and all the crabs are at the bottom, and one of them tries to climb out. The other crabs will jump and pull that crab back down.

It’s not that they don’t care about you; it’s just that they think they’re doing the best for you. So surrounding yourself with like-minded and, more importantly, like-spirited people is the number one suggestion I have for people.

I did a lot of different things. I trained at corporate, and then I got sick of that because I felt like I was doing what I was doing before. Then I got into real estate investing.

Dotty: Was that fun?

Trish: Oh my gosh, I had such a great time. I had a mentor who invited me simply to help him with the leads. So I would meet the homeowner. I would talk to the homeowner. I would connect them with him, and he would close the deal. I would get a piece of that. I would get paid just for bringing them in.

Then I get a percentage on whatever the foreclosure, or sometimes if it were probate, I would get a piece of that. So I again, because of the people in my life, because I was surrounded by people, because I know relationships are everything, I had people that I could go to, who offered me positions.

You know, the first thing is you have to shine. You have to be somebody who shows up. You have to be somebody who is there to serve other people. They will think of you first when it’s time. So I was invited to do that. And it was fun, fun, fun until the bubble burst back in 2008. In 2008 we all went into recession, you remember, right?

Dotty: Yes, I do remember.

Trish: You also were unhappy in your job? When was that that you left your job?

Dotty: You know I couldn’t tell you what year it was. It was about 17 or 18 years ago or so.

Trish: That was the beginning of the 2000s.

Dotty: Yeah, it was time for me. My daughter was just getting into first grade, and I knew she would be one of these sports, extracurricular activity kind of gals.

I wanted to attend everything without asking permission. That was one big driving point.

Trish: Yeah, but it’s scary, isn’t it? Like when you give up that paycheck that you’re getting every week?

Dotty: Yes. It’s terrifying. When I did my giant leap, I did have another person who was paying the bills. About three months after I quit my job and went 100% self-employed, it was with the idea of having extra money for vacations, our retirements, and that kind of thing. Well, he lost his job. I never did get another paying-the-bills type of job, so I had to pivot quickly. That’s a big word these days.

Quickly pivot into being the person that paid all the bills. So it was a giant leap of faith and very scary.

Trish: Yeah, I know the feeling. I got divorced during this time that I was spreading my entrepreneurial wings. So same thing for me. It was a little scary because even though his income was not anywhere near mine when I was incorporated, it was still steady money.

But I got divorced because it was the right thing for me. I made a choice. I knew that was something that I had to do. And that was part of the impetus of creating the Women’s Prosperity Network in 2008.

Dotty: Really?

Trish: Yes. Because in 2008, when the recession hit, many people that I knew that were in jobs were no longer in positions. Just like now with the pandemic and what happened to people — they got laid off. I saw so many women who wanted to do something on their own, like the hairdresser who wants to start her own business knows a lot about cutting hair but doesn’t know how to run a business. Right?

Dotty: Oh, yeah.

Trish: There are two different skill sets.  I watched numbers; I paid attention: I looked at the data. I was projecting and forecasting and doing all those things you do in business.

I didn’t have all the skills to be a business person, either. But many women around me wanted to do different things. I also had friends burnt out in their jobs: Nurses, in particular, burnt out in their careers, and in corporate, burnt out. But the first thing they thought of was getting another job. It’s like, “No, you don’t have to do that.”

The other issue that I ran into about my divorce was I had money in the bank. I knew how to earn money. Worst case, I could get a job because I had networked enough. But how many women I knew did not have my choice, but they had to stay in an unhappy marriage. They had to remain feeling less than. They had to wait.

Dotty: They were trapped.

Trish: Exactly. So two things were going on. What happened was I didn’t like going networking. It had such a sickening feeling for me. I’m not shy.

Dotty: I was going to say, and you’re great with people.

Trish: Thank you. I could walk into a room, and I could meet people, and I could make friends, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t like when I said to someone, “Hi, I’m Trish Carr!” and I put my hand out. I said, “And you are?” and instead of speaking to me, they would take their business card and hand me their business card. I’m like, “Why don’t you talk to me?”

Dotty: I hate that.

Trish: Me too. I would walk into a room, and there would be a little group of four over here and a tiny group of three over here. I said, you know, “If this is a challenge for me, what’s it like for every other woman who doesn’t even have nearly the confidence that I have?” Right?

Dotty: It was tough when I was trying to do it.

Trish: Yeah, how do you weasel your way in without feeling pushy, right? That’s the last thing we want to feel. Then the other thing was the way I saw people selling — it was very male energy. You know. I felt like everybody I talked to wanted to be an infomercial.

I wanted to create a comfortable network that felt good, warm and inviting. I wanted to show other women, mainly because that’s my work my whole life: I’ve been moving the needle forward for women’s equality.

I wanted to show women that you can have a business. You can take what you love doing and turn it into your income. I also liked the women who were stuck in relationships to have options. So it was all of that coming together, and lucky for me, I have two amazing sisters – blood sisters – who also wanted to do that with me, so we teamed together to create it, and I have to tell you that having partners makes things a lot easier. You know, you can share the work, share the challenges, and share the joy.

Dotty: …and the skill sets.

Trish: Absolutely. We all bring excellent skills to the table, and we fill in for each other. If I don’t have something – my sister Susan will have it. My sister Nancy will have it if Susan doesn’t have it. Creating relationships and partnering with people is a great way to create something. Here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be your sister. It could be a friend; it could be someone you admire, someone you know, someone you know who will be there for you. You can always find common ground to create whatever you want to make. So that’s kind of how it all happened in a 20-minute nutshell.

Dotty: A couple of things came to mind as you talked, and I’ll bring up the last one that came to mind. First, you were talking about partnering up with people. I know in the past when I tried to partner up with somebody just on one little project, not something big, like a business, things would fall apart very quickly. For me, it was generally the expectations weren’t laid out clearly.

What advice do you have along the lines of actually making a partnership work or even choosing the right type of person to partner with in the beginning?

Trish: Yes. I know exactly what you mean. There’s a lot of things to do. You are right; expectations are the most significant thing. Most of the time we go into it, we’re very excited about it. Everybody’s onboard, and then we hit a hiccup. The thing is, you’ve got to have in writing who’s doing what, who’s responsible for what, right down to the generation of revenue. Because if one person is doing all the revenue generation, the others will feel bad that they’re not contributing. The person who’s doing the revenue generation will resent them because they’re not doing it. So it’s really about setting expectations, like you said, Dotty.

Then the intangible, but it is very tangible, is that we like to say we have a ten relationship. So on a scale of one to 10, our relationship is a 10. Individually and together. That means that if we have a conflict, we handle it right then and there. We speak our minds with tact and love. We don’t makeup stories about what we think somebody might be doing or not doing. We ask, and we communicate.

I know that communication is the answer to everything. But some people don’t even get what communication is. Communication is you see something; you say something. Not you see something, think about it, wonder, and get more excited about it. Then finally, when you talk about it, you’re exploding. That’s not what it is. How you handle those things are also agreements you have in the beginning.

Dotty: So you have that all written out.

Trish: Yes, as much as you can. Even you know, at Women’s Prosperity Network. When we first started, we wanted to create networking and masterminding in a way for women to share best practices for networking. Still, we have grown into a complete-fledged education and mentoring business. We have all of the tools you need to succeed in business. If we don’t, we have a network of people we can refer you to, like you, Dotty, who can do a bang-up job on websites and make sure that everything’s working. That’s key: you have great partners, not just who you work with and have agreements with, but partners that make other differences that you can’t make.

Dotty: Strategic partners.

Trish: Correct. That also helped us grow. But you know, the thing is that no matter where you are if you think you want to start your business, or you’re in a business, and you want to know how to make it grow, I invite you to connect with Women’s Prosperity because that’s what we’re about. We show you how to create partnerships and strategic alliances for small and big projects. How to develop affiliates, people who love what you do so much that they’re singing your praises and helping you fill your client list.

Dotty: Yes. I am thrilled that I joined the Women’s Prosperity Network. It’s been a great year and a half. As far as growing my business and whenever I’ve got a question, you guys seem to have the answer.

Trish: Well, I don’t have to know all the answers because I can find somebody who does. And that’s key; you don’t have to have all the answers. That’s something that holds us back from starting our businesses. We feel like, well, “What are people going to learn from me?” Remember that a five-year-old can teach a three-year-old how to tie their shoes; you don’t have to know everything; you just have to know a little bit more than the people in front of the people you’re working with.

So starting your business is about trial and error. The more mistakes you make, the better you get because you learn from every mistake. One of the biggest things is to expand your network – the people you know – your connections, your resources. That happens by networking.

Networking happens in a lot of ways. When you go to a workshop, you’re networking with the people there. When you are out in the grocery store, you can meet people. There are places that you can go to. Then there’s traditional networking. So one of the things we do, especially now in this age of virtual networking, where people are doing it on Zoom, on other platforms…there’s a nuance to being able to effectively network.

I have a gift for everybody to network and maximize their virtual connections. Because connections are everything, so you can go to There, you’ll see how you maximize your virtual networking because you want to be with the right people. You’re not always going to make it the first time. Like we’ve worked with partners that we thought were the right partners, and it didn’t work out. But we learned along the way.

Dotty: I can attest to that too.

Trish: Right? We’ve had people where it fell apart. “Okay, it fell apart. What can we do differently next time?”

Dotty: Yep, it’s all a learning curve.

I just wanted to affirm that you said you don’t have to know everything. When I first started my business, I began before social media was a big thing. It was back when MySpace was out there, so a long time ago. I was one of these people, “Social media. What’s that? Why do I have to it?” blah, blah, blah. Like I hear people saying now. My thought was, “If I’m two weeks ahead of the person I’m teaching, I’m golden.”

Trish: Yep. That’s exactly right.

Dotty: And that’s what I did. I learned and stayed ahead of the people I was teaching. I did little training on how to do something and create a following from people two weeks behind me.

Trish: Yeah, that’s all you need to do.

Dotty: Many pearls of wisdom in there. For next week, we will be visiting with Terri Lynn Phillips. Oh, that will be super exciting as well.