For Christian female business owners, the prospects of starting a successful venture can be both exciting and intimidating. And while marketing is a huge part of growing a business, it’s much more than just building a social media presence and email list. The key is finding entrepreneurial ideas that are creative, purposeful, and cost-effective. As you know, entrepreneurial ideas abound for the creative Christian female business owner.
*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!
The Retreat at Trinity for Entrepreneurs website: https://dawnbarton.com/entrepreneurship-retreats
Dawn Barton https://dawnbarton.com/
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Online business owners wear many hats and it’s hard to discern which one to wear for the day. But even more difficult is choosing a path and sticking to it. Business decisions are hard, and we want to succeed, not throw money down the drain. Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or have been around the block a while, you will enjoy hearing from our special guests and also get a little peek into my own entrepreneurial world.
With an open mind and a willingness to consider new options, Christian female business owners can discover unique opportunities to thrive in their own authentic way.
Are you a Christian female entrepreneur?
You’re gonna love our series on entrepreneurship running the whole month of February. Dawn Barton left a thirty-year career in sales marketing, including #7 Sales Director in Mary Kay Cosmetics to follow her calling and write. Her first book, Laughing Through the Ugly Cry, became a best-seller, garnering the prestigious ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author of the Year.
Meet Dawn Barton
Stunned to be entering her fifties as a successful author, she was inspired to write her second book, My Midlife Battle Cry, urging women to resist the pull of streaming television algorithms and get excited about redefining the mighty second half.
When she’s not smiling at blank pages pretending to write, Dawn is a speaker giving talks about cancer, joy, female empowerment and direct sales She is the podcast host of Porch Ramblings with Dawn Barton, founder of the Retreats at Trinity. She’s living the sandwich-generation dream with her husband, daughter, parents, mother-in-law, and too many animals to count in Cantonment, FL. Retreat at Trinity https://ruthiegray123–dawnbarton.thrivecart.com/retreat-at-trinity-april-21-23/
Ruthie: Tell us a little bit about what you do, Dawn. Your business retreats, books, there are many facets to your life.
Dawn: There are so many facets to what I do today. If you look on Instagram, says I’m an author but being an author is actually not where my heart is. I love it and I acknowledge that it’s a good piece of work. But my love, my
passion this season of my life is hosting retreats and working with women and entrepreneurs. I come from 30-plus years of sales and marketing, and then I pivoted on a fluke into the world of direct sales. And when I left I was the number seven producer out of 600,000 women.
I left that to follow God’s calling, to write a book. Everybody, I thought I had lost my ever-loving mind. Just left and I wrote a book. That book became a bestseller and it worked out okay. But I’m somebody who’s taken huge leaps of faith, I think again and again. Isn’t that what life’s about?
Today, I would say I’m an author, a retreat host, and just a a lover of women, just empowering them to be everything that can possibly be.
Ruthie: Isn’t it interesting how one step builds on another? We were talking a little bit beforehand about this very thing, how you can connect the dots and the threads in your life and you’ve had lots of interesting experiences and then some. You would have a pivot and would decide to write a best-selling book, et al. So speak to that for just a minute.
Building Entrepreneurial Skills
Dawn: I think sometimes as we go through life, we believe, I know I certainly did when I was in direct sales, and I would be in it until I retired. That is what I was 100% called to do. Then I heard Steven Feick who was interviewing TD Jakes, and he said, sometimes the thing you think you were created to do for the rest of your life is actually what you needed to do for the next season of your life. Entrepreneurial ideas are important.
I needed to do all of those things I have done in the past. The sales, marketing, the failures, all of the things in Mary Kay Cosmetics. Those things came together when launching my book and putting together launch teams for books. I had so much knowledge and expertise in certain areas that I never thought would’ve played into this world of becoming an author. However, it certainly did. I want women to know that. The thing you’re doing right
now, I promise you, God’s gonna use it as you go further in your business. And even if that’s a failure, he’s gonna use it.
Ruthie: I’ve done a lot of similar things. I was in direct sales with Mary Kay too. I didn’t take it quite to the extent that you did, but I was successful at it. I feel like that is one reason why I do what I do today as far as marketing. So those little dots, add up, don’t they?
Dawn: I do think that’s one of the best training grounds. I believe any top-producing person in any direct sales company could be successful in anything. The training and working with people are phenomenal.
Ruthie: So let’s talk about when you first became passionate about entrepreneurship. How did you realize this passion and how did you gain experience?
Dawn: Part of me was born that way, I didn’t realize it until I worked for other people and I realized I would rather work the old saying, “80 hours a week for me than 40 hours a week for somebody else”. I just liked to work for myself. I really prefer to build something myself and to do something myself versus working for a company. It’s just how I was wired, and then some of that is going to work for other people and realizing you’re just not good at working for people.
I think I really got passionate and really fine-tuned the entrepreneurship thing when I worked with women. That was through Mary Kay, but also through things like leading Life Groups.
Testing Leadership Entrepreneurial Ideas
I figured out that I’m a really good leader. Figured out that I’m really bad in the kitchen, but I’m a good leader. I started being able to define what my giftings were as I did that. But working with women definitely came later in life after I figured that one out.
Ruthie: Yeah, you learn as you go. If you take a step and do that thing, then you learn more about yourself than if you just sit around and think maybe I should do this, or maybe I should do that.
Dawn: You go, don’t you? Yeah, absolutely. I think if you can really define the things that you’re good at and embrace that. As women, we’re really bad about acknowledging what we’re good at. Acknowledging where our giftings aren’t is hard too.
Ruthie: Yes. This leads to my next question, which is whether you have to be able to use these entrepreneurial ideas in order to market your business and market yourself. Where did you learn to market?
Dawn: Some of that came from being in the world of sales and marketing, actually doing courses and going through classes and truly educating myself. I don’t think you can ever stop doing that. So first, truly understanding that is a skill and we’re enhancing that skill continually.
Pay Attention to What Works
The second thing is paying attention to what works. For me, what makes me move? Meaning, if I am online and I am shopping and I am doing things, what are the things that make me move? And I pay attention to that. What did they just show me? What did they talk about that made me move? And then also to listen to my own audience on what makes them move.
If you can really focus on what moves the needle for your own audience, it took me a long time to figure out that. One of my greater gifts in marketing is authenticity. As someone who speaks and talks, every time I tried to become like somebody else and tried to do the way they did, it was really bad. When I would go back to being truly me and authentic when marketing, it really worked.
I would say the greatest skills I have in marketing came from, honestly, training retreats. That was not a plug, but that really worked. Doing Sales and Marketing classes like that worked, Companies would send us away to connect and learn. I also read, and I try to look at things. We’re never done learning.
The Entrepreneurial Journey Continues
Ruthie: We’re never done. I was going to say that too. So it’s a combination of you need to know what’s out there. You need to know the current trends, what’s working with marketing and what isn’t, but also parrot with your own authenticity.
Here at Authentic Online Marketing, we are all about being authentic, leaning into our own unique voice, because that’s how you earn people’s trust, right? Is right through just being you, not being someone else or trying to mimic their own patterns.
When Christian female entrepreneurs come to you, what is their biggest hangup about running their own business?
Dawn: I would say marketing’s a huge one. When I think about when I left the world of direct sales and jumped into this world of being an author and not just being an author, but becoming someone who needed to develop a personal brand and the the publisher wanted me to get all of these followers.
I didn’t know what I was doing and I felt so unbelievably alone. I was 49 or 50 years old when this happened. I felt like I was too old. I felt like a racehorse that had been put out to pasture a little bit. And I wish that I had plugged
into communities and I didn’t. And so I felt alone for a long time.
I think one of the biggest things for entrepreneurial women is that you have to plug in somewhere. To a community of like-minded women because we talk about this thing of being a solopreneur, but I don’t think anybody really needs to be solo. I think you have to have a community of people that you can be frustrated with and talk with, bounce ideas off of when you collectively come together with ideas and frustrations, and cheer
each other on beautiful things happen.
Dawn: So that is my number one thing for female entrepreneurs to find a gang of women. And I think that can be coming from being a part of a marketing group or when you join, stuff like that. But it also can be something, this sounds silly, but there are groups and churches that are like entrepreneurs. Just get creative, and fight for yourself really hard because your business depends on it.
Ruthie: We think we don’t really have time in the online world because we have so many tasks. There’s email marketing. There is building a platform, and there are promos but all of that goes so much better when you have
Community Sparks Entrepreneurial Ideas
Dawn: I think my business would’ve built probably six months faster. Had I not been so determined to do every stinking thing on my own and actually just reached out to other women who were in the same position.
Ruthie: I feel like a lot of times writers especially have this hangup because they are so passionate about their words and their books that they know that they need time to really work on it and cultivate their craft so they think they really don’t have time to develop the community or the social aspect
Really, it really works to your advantage because if you network, then that’s like your launch team there. Those are your people, and it’s just a whole other facet that is super important.
The whole point of social media is to be social. And I hear a lot of writers say, I don’t have time to be social because I need to write my book. In other words, you got to have some balance.
Dawn: Which I need. It’s nice to have a BU publisher breathing down your neck saying, “You gotta build a following”.
Ruthie: What would you say, Dawn, are your top three tips for running your own business?
3 Wisdom Proof Entrepreneurial Ideas
Dawn: The tips usually come from where we failed, right?
1. Listen to your gut
Some of my biggest failures went against what my gut was telling me to do, and I did the thing
because I thought it was what I was supposed to do versus what my gut was telling
me to do, and I knew in my heart.
2. Hire help
You cannot be and do all things. And I don’t mean you need a full-time employee. You can hire someone to do the small things. If you wanna focus on your business more and let some of the house stuff go, I’m a big advocate of it.
The third thing is that you need to have a community. You can go a lot further with other people that you’ve linked arms with than you can a lot of times on your own.
Ruthie: Amen to that. There are so many varying tasks aren’t there,
that someone else could do.
Dawn: I happen to be in a season, in my life where I am taking care of my mother a great deal. I just don’t have the bandwidth to be able to do both well. So I have hired someone to come pick up the social media piece because I just can’t do it all. I know that it’s for a season and for a little bit, but my business cannot handle me dropping the ball right now.
Ruthie: Let’s talk a little bit about your retreats. You run retreats at your home, and I just want to hear a little bit more about that. How did that come about and what does that entail?
Dawn: The original retreats came out of a season of completely, totally, and utterly flailing for me. I was 50 years old. My world had dramatically changed from running at 90 miles an hour within Mary Kay cosmetics to a complete halt.
I went into this caretaking role and I felt a little invisible. I felt like the world had forgotten me. I was a little unclear about who I was anymore. All of the things that happened during our midlife come apart, shall we say? That’s how the retreat was born.
Equipping Women with Entrepreneurial Ideas
The most requested thing became entrepreneurial retreats. That was what people wanted for entrepreneurs because that was my background. I decided to launch it!
I’m excited for our next retreat In April, Ruthie, where you will be one of our incredible mentors. The retreat will focus on the whole of the woman, with the foundation on Christianity.
How do we come together? I only allow 15 people at a time, and we have seven mentors, so we have seven experts in their fields. I wanted to bring women together in a place where they can learn from the frustrations I have had over the years in my business.
I wanted to bring together women in an intimate space and introduce somebody from branding, marketing, and sales. I have somebody who, she’s an unbelievable life coach. She’ll just rock your world.
There will be e-commerce and so much more! talking about all those different facets of entrepreneurship but in a really tight, intimate setting.
Ruthie: And really, if you are starting your business, if you’re making it legal or if you’re in the beginning, exploratory stages even. This is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of Dawn. And I think it’s even for the person who’s maybe had their business for a couple of years, and they know that they’re missing those pieces.
Dawn: They have a few of the things going, but they can’t seem to bring it all together in a really solid way. I think that’s what we’ll be able to offer.
Dawn: When I was choosing mentors, I was so convicted about having women that I know are brilliant at what they do but who also are incredible teachers. They know they have the ability to love a woman. There’s a quality needed, they have the ability to love another woman, and God is at the foundation of their business. It will be an incredible time. It’ll be on April 21–23, 2023.
Participants will have access to pristine, gorgeous, crystal-clear beaches. We happen to live on 23 acres and the property is called Trinity. Everything for the retreat is at Trinity. We have horses. We’re very blessed to have a beautiful property, and then everyone spends the night in a hotel. Everything is included in the tickets. So it’s three days of getting away, recharging, pivoting from the place that you are and just leaving passionately on fire and clear on the next step steps of your business.
The Retreats at Trinity for entrepreneurs
Ruthie: Go look at the website and what Dawn has to offer because it’s amazing! It’s an intimate setting where you can get personal feedback. You’re not just going to listen to all of us talk, there is a connection and then you
go do your thing. We’re having an intimate time together.
Dawn: You go home to sleep and then you’re back with me to boost your entrepreneurial ideas. We have it catered the entire time. I believe it’s unique. I’ve gone to 50 million retreats and conferences and all that. One of the things that I always wanted and needed was margin throughout the day to process, but also to sit with the experts and talk things through, “Here are my pain points, please help.”
Ruthie: I can’t wait to read it. Dawn, tell the folks where they can connect with you online. Absolutely. Online. The website is dawnbarton.com https://dawnbarton.com/
And then on Facebook and on Instagram, it’s @DawnRBarton. Okay. And I am the one that answers everything.
I would love to hear from you. So just reach out and connect with me.
Dawn is such a joy-filled personality. Y’all are gonna love getting to know her. I know I have. Can’t wait for this retreat. Now, go to the website. And Dawn, thank you so much for being with us today.
AUTHOR | SPEAKER | JOYOLOGIST
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