Infectious smile and personality? Well, we must be talking about Rochelle Veturis Coles. My relationship with Rochelle goes back about 5 years and it's been fun as we reminisced about all we have been through together including us both being recognized as a "Twitter Powerhouse" by the Huffington Post. As the CEO of Sister Act Media, Rochelle brings her passion to the table by helping clients recognize the power of content marketing. Her past and even her future will be sure to light a fire inside you for some serious inspiration. Give Rochelle a follow and shout-out on Twitter!
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?
When I was in my second year of college, I started my own business—a competitive all-star cheer team, for junior high-age girls. The experience was a memorable one. It was a wonderful opportunity to put my skills as a choreographer to use, while recruiting Haley Veturis (@HaleyVeturis) as a stunt coach and youngest sister Chelsey Veturis (@ChelseyVeturis) as a team member. The process of starting the business, getting a business license, fictitious business name, recruiting team members, finding rehearsal space, music editors and uniform manufacturers (before it was easy to find these resources via Yelp or Google), all whiling managing 17 girls—and their parents—in addition to a busy competition schedule. Oh, and did I mention that most of these girls were new to dance, cheer, and tumbling?
This was one of many examples in my life of where insurmountable odds brought out the best in me. There were some incredibly challenging times, especially in dealing with teenage girls—and their emotions—and then their parents defending their emotions, when I was only 19 years old, myself. I learned a lot about leadership, and dealing with people in emotionally charged situations—and how to do it gracefully, diffusing hurt feelings and being able to move forward in peace and productivity. The highs definitely outweigh the lows, as I look back. Winning competitions, seeing my team outgrow their routine after three performances—so we went back to the drawing board and gave them something harder.
I run into girls all the time who were a part of this experience and they always, always rave about what a wonderful time they had and all the great memories. When you know you’ve impacted young lives in a positive way it is truly humbling. I didn’t realize at the time how much of an influence I had on these young women; and how they were watching everything I did. One of the girls actually named her daughter after me. How sweet is that?
WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?
In the cheer team example above? I took a ton of risks. I remember, when printing out the waivers for the girls to participate, there was a line on there about me not being liable for any injuries including death! Uh, yes. Some brilliant lawyer slipped that line in. But that’s when you realize, people were trusting me with the lives of their daughters—huge risk, huge responsibility.
A huge risk I recently took was not returning to my corporate job after the birth of my daughter, Kennedy (who is turning two this week, unbelievably). This may sound like an often-heard story but when it’s your life—and livelihood—on the line, this “big leap” takes on a whole new significance. My husband is starting his own business, simultaneously, to add more risk to the situation. We never saw ourselves here but let me tell you, we wouldn’t have it any other way. The character development that has taken place in the last 23 months has far outweighed the past five and one-half years—and that’s saying a lot because at my corporate job I was the first one to have the position, so I built and created the department from scratch.
It’s really quite true that you learn and grown more when you’re uncomfortable than when you’re “coasting.” And if we’re really honest with ourselves “coasting” is a pretty vegetative state—and for someone like me, who thrives on new challenges and insurmountable odds, I knew that wasn’t God’s best for my life.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU?
My bank account, haha. No but really—cash flow is a concept every business owner has a love-hate relationship with. But when you take risks, putting money on the line (often, all you have), is necessary. It takes money to run a business but I look at it this way, I’m “betting on us,” on the success of our company, when we invest in the business.
My business partner (and sister) Chelsey and I have really learned how lean we can run things. Like in life, it’s amazing all of the “stuff” you think you need that you really don’t, to get by. And you don’t learn these lessons unless you go through a bit of a financial famine—but again, can I just underscore, what a blessing this time has been?
Even personally, I’ve been purging our house for the last two years—purging my closet for just about that long, too. Selling things, getting rid of things, donating things—making space in my life for magic to happen. It has been so freeing and so liberating—and I am truly realizing how little money it takes to satisfy our actual needs. This skill comes in handy as you’re back in your season of “plenty.” Money doesn’t get spent on meaningless crap any longer.
LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU?
I’ve always made my biggest income leaps by moving jobs. For me, that’s how it’s gone with the exception of my last corporate job (and that’s a cool story, best saved for another post). While, ultimately, I moved jobs in order to make more money—the opportunities that come from moving out of one comfort zone into the unknown were where the true riches came. Each time I did this, I had the same pattern. I’d take the leap, then the job was seemingly pulled from my grasp (really, I’d have job offers be frozen, or weird stuff like that and it was scary—very, very scary), finances would dwindle, and then, when I was truly humbled, God would open the door again. I’d learn new (and highly valuable) skills, meet new people (often, lifelong connections), get to experience a different side of the communications industry, and then, this cycle would repeat all over again—each time, taking me somewhere new, exciting and different.
This last “leap” I made, was similar to the pattern but very different in many ways. Mainly because the stakes have never been so high—I never had a husband and child relying on me when I made these big moves. Leaving the safety of a great corporate job (at a company I loved), to embark on my own and start a business with my sister has been THE turning point of my life—kicked off by an even bigger turning point, becoming a mother.
One of our clients likes to say that she, “nurtures women as they birth themselves.” A lot of women don’t realize that this is going on while they’re pregnant, and in the early days of motherhood. You are reborn into a brand new phase of your life—everything is different. For me this shift was very transparent but a lot of women don’t realize this huge movement has happened, they try to go back to their old lives of before they were moms, and wonder why there’s such a disconnect, why it’s not working the way it did before. You are not the same person. And to not honor this new person by trying to fit them into your “old” mold was something that every fiber in my body fought—I just couldn’t do it. Moving ahead into the unknown was far easier (for me) than going back, in an old direction I knew deep down was not for me any longer.
WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
It’s in God’s hands — especially, when you become a mom, you realize how little control you have over anything. You have no control over what you’re going to have, boy or girl, and nothing you can do or say will change that. You have no control over when your baby comes—or how they will come (easy labor, hard labor, long or short). And then, when that precious newborn is in your arms you realize it’s only by God’s grace that they’re breathing. I thank you God every morning when my daughter wakes up—that, right there, is a huge gift.
Let go and let God — this one goes with the advice, above. But the more I’ve learned to surrender my own way of doing things—my own (what I think are) “brilliant” ideas and simply “let go,” things come together so much better. And easily. In fact, just last week, things were coming together so easily and beautifully that I almost thought something was wrong—doing business in this new way takes some getting used to but like you’ve heard, “His burden is light.” It’s absolutely the truth—and the “truth will set you free.”
Words really do build your reality — not in a supernatural way, in a very practical way. Words can build or they can tear down—encouragement and honoring other people’s gifts and abilities is something I don’t see a lot of, or I see people doing it for selfish gain (which, to me, is so very wrong). Having high integrity with what you say, what you write, what you do and say behind closed doors, means more than all of the public praise and accolades put together. As a business owner in today’s marketplace, integrity is what will set you apart. Don’t let yourself be beat down by negative thoughts—that “pusher” voice is not the voice of God—you tell it to leave you, immediately, in Jesus’ name and be careful of what you allow into that precious brain of yours. Our brains are incredible and powerful—with the ability to create, inspire, problem solve. I think most people don’t value how sacred their own brain is—how sharp and diligent it is, and what a huge gift it is. If you treat (and guard) your own brain like the treasure that it is, you will fully see it’s potential realized.
There have been so many. I’m not perfect, and I never will be. But what I have learned to do is not repeat the same mistake twice. Well, as best I can. The common theme of all of my mistakes is not listening to my owner inner voice—my compass—intuition. When I override what is deep inside, that’s where I get myself into trouble.
And I think there’s nothing wrong with going back to people—either face to face or picking up the phone (that is, after you’ve dusted the cobwebs off of it)—apologize or being really real about what you did or said that you wish you didn’t. Asking for forgiveness goes a long way—truly, it makes more of an impression on people than what you realize. And like I mentioned, above, your integrity is really all you have. And you won’t realize how valuable—or important—it is, until someone or something or some situation calls it in to question.