Robin decided to stop wasting time doing work that doesn’t matter. Instead, she reached back to her entrepreneurial roots to build her digital marketing business, and she now helps her clients reach their goals and realize their dreams.
If you understand the power of digital marketing, you can do amazing things. Robin works with entrepreneurs to find the right digital marketing magic for their businesses. She starts by developing the strategy and creating the right offers. Then she builds the sales funnels that connect you with qualified leads – who become loyal clients – so you can grow and scale your business!
You can’t change lives by standing still. You must do it together!
Welcome to the Story Therapy Podcast. So I wanted an excuse to have conversation with and do a dig dive look into the stories of entrepreneurs I respect. And that’s exactly what this Story Therapy Podcast is going to be. It’s time spent discovering and learning about the unique, complex and inspiring stories of many different types of creative and ambitious entrepreneurs, business owners, content creators and more. All focus on making an impact and changing the world in small and big ways.
Dallin Nead : At what point in your life did you realize that you had kind of the entrepreneur blood in you?
Robin Carberry : I’m not on of the kids that had lemonade stand or selling girls scout cookies or anything along those lines. That just wasn’t me. When I was a kid in high school, I thought I wanted to be a vet, veterinarian. Like that something I latched on to it, at some point, I was reading some books, written by a vet who lived in– he’s Scottish, but he lived in some place at Great Britain. And the books really spoke to me. And I’ve always loved animals. But you know when we’re little girls we always liked horses and I just thought that’s what I wanted to do. So all through high school I was very geared to getting into Cornell University which had the vet school. And go to school, didn’t have to work really hard, didn’t really know how to study or do any of those things that really help become successful, it was sort of a problem that I could just naturally get– I did my homework but– in any case I got into Cornell and I did what a lot of freshmen do and really cut loose and didn’t attend class in regular basis and didn’t do really well and ended up with D in my freshman year. And I was like, “Well that’s the end of vet school.” Because you have to be at the top of the top of the top. And I realize at that point if I really want to be a vet if that really what was driving me then I would have worked a lot harder. And I would’ve made that happen. So I started in the business program, I turn my stuff around so I was HB+ by the time I was graduated, got out of school and went to work for tech startup and bossed it. And that was all my entry into the tech world and I thought that stuff was really cool so I started in support and ended up managing support group. After 4 years I decided being in the Northeast my whole life and then 4 years in Boston I was like, “I’m done with this now. I’m over it. I can’t deal with it anymore. I’m moving.” So I moved to Riley to work for another startup. And I was there for about 4 years working 78-80 hours a week, getting ready for APO and then my department that I was managing got merged with another department and the manager at that manager took over. So all of sudden I was sort of floating around, I got sent to Cliffland for consulting job for month and I was like, “This is crazy. I’m working my butt off and I’m doing it for somebody else. Why don’t I do this for me instead?” So that’s when I bought the restaurant and moved to a very very small town in Eastern North Carolina. And I worked in the restaurant growing up, I felt like it was not so out of the park for me to be successful and do that and I really enjoyed it for a while. I ended up meeting my husband and getting married which is something I didn’t expect. And it was way more than any hours a week, it was 365, 7 days, 24 hours a day. And that’s when I started to get sick. And I’m sure I had lupus all through my 20’s and just didn’t realize it over time were sort of cycled through being healthy and not too healthy. But I didn’t really think anything of it because I was in my 20’s, I went to the doctor and he said, “Yeah your fine nothing wrong with you.” But when I was in the restaurant and it was all the time and there was no break, there was unrelenting and I just couldn’t get better. I just can not get better. I hurt all the time, I had rash all over my body, my hair was falling out. I knew there was something wrong and nobody could tell me what it was. So I went through a couple years of that but realize that whatever it was, I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. It’s just wasn’t gonna work for me. So finally got the diagnosis of lupus and started into treatment and sold the restaurant. And so while I really love working for myself and being my own boss at that point I needed to back off and do something better that was gonna allow me to take care for myself. And being in a very small town– we weren’t leaving because my husband’s family is from here. He didn’t grow up here but the street he lived on has his last name. So we weren’t leaving. And I said, “Alright, what can I do? I got a college degree, there’s a lot of law firm around here. Maybe get a job at law firm. Why not?” So that was great in the beginning. It allows me to punch in the morning, punch out in the afternoon. I could leave the job there. It was engaging enough it occupied my brain a little bit at least in the beginning and allowed me to get better. To take care of myself. To sort of put my life to this kind of line instead of this kind of line and that was wonderful. And my hair come back, I felt like myself again. I didn’t feel terrible all the time. There was the time where I flares but it was controllable. I had paid time off, vacation, sick leave, all that stuff, insurance. Very stable and steady. But eventually, I just started to think, “What am I doing? What am I doing? This is not creative. I’m helping people but in a very small way.” Nobody really likes to be involved with a law firm. So there just aren’t a lot of positive about it. I mean I know it’s great for some people but it just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t feeling creative. So I started exploring different things to gain what can I do. So I started making clothes and I took a graphic design, started graphic design online degree a person and in that took class on color theory. And that just completely changed the way that I looked at the world. I just couldn’t look at the same way again and I knew at that point, “Okay maybe I’m not going into graphic design but I have to do something that’s creative.” And I want to combine it with something that helps people. So at that point, I started looking for tech job online. Because at that point online was the option. When I sold the restaurant, online was not an option, it was 1994. And so I started to apply for a tech job online. I thought I could go back to startup group and do something– part of something exciting and interesting and add products, whatever that makes a difference in people’s lives. I can really do something to people. And I applied and heard nothing. And I applied and I heard nothing. And every time I didn’t hear anything, it killed me a little bit inside because I felt like that dream of being able to do something different and not spend the rest of my life– not hating my job but I was feeling like I was dying inside and not contributing. I felt that becoming closer to my reality then finding something what’s gonna be. There a lot of tears shed when I came home from work–
Dallin Nead : Where were you working at this point?
Robin Carberry : I’m still at the law firm at this moment.
Dallin Nead : You’re still at law firm. OK.
Robin Carberry : My husband was deciding himself he didn’t know what to do to help me. He couldn’t help me. All he could do just sit there and be hopeless while I just breaking apart into little pieces because I felt trapped. And I was fortunate enough at that point to meet a business coach who– through one of the online job sites where I was seeking employment through. And so I had a call with her and she said, she asked me about my background, what I’ve done and she said, “Well I think you’re–” she said on the wrong direction, “Why don’t you start your own business?” And I was just like, “Umm OK, wow I hadn’t thought about that.” Yeah, I worked for myself, why wouldn’t I try something like that. So that was just about 2 years ago. And I didn’t really know what I could do that was applicable in an online world. So I started out working for a VA type work. Because I know how to organize people, I know how to do spreadsheet, I know how to schedule appointment, I know how to work whatever program you come up with, I can do all that stuff. I can figure stuff out, I can put stuff together. And so, fine, I started down that path. And the very first discovery call I had with somebody he was referred by a friend of mine and he was looking for help scheduling his social media through Hootsuite, he couldn’t figure out how to make it work. And I was like, “OK, yeah. I could probably help you with that. Let’s jump on a call.” So we jumped on a call and I realized his problems wasn’t that he need help posting on Hootsuite, his problem was he didn’t know what his business was. He didn’t know what he was selling, he was doing this and doing that. He was just everywhere. And I was like, “Ok dude, I can help you post your stuff on social media but that’s not really what you need.” What you need to do is decide what your focus is who you are trying to speak to, what it is your offers are, what you’re trying to sell, and then back up to all that, figure all that stuff out then you can start getting on social media promoting yourself. If you just put stuff out there, it’s not gonna mean anything. Nobody’s gonna come because they don’t know what you’re selling.” And he was like, “Wow okay. Yeah, yeah you’re right. I do need to do that. Awesome great, yeah just let me send you a little email to summarize what we talked about and you come back to me.” I got off the phone I was like, “Great I talked myself out of that job, that was awesome.” But I realize than in a back of my mind at least, what I wanted to do was not an online version of what I’ve been doing at the law firm which was scheduling appointment and keeping people organized and writing correspondence for them and doing all those sorts of thing. I really want to help people figure out what it is that they were actually trying to accomplish, what they want to do, what they want to offer and find a way to help them bring that together with the people that they need to speak to and actually get their message out there. And I focused on people– entrepreneurs that are doing things that I think are important, that really help people, I can’t– I don’t really have the skills to do the things directly myself. I’m not a health coach, I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a personal trainer, I’m not a healer, but if I help people for doing those things, then by proxy, I’m helping those other people out there who would benefit by those things.
Dallin Nead : Exactly.
Robin Carberry : So that’s when– so I actually started to move away from VA type role to try and focus more on strategy, helping people, create and building sales funnels, some web design turn in there, but all of it about developing your brand, determining what that actually means, who you want to speak to, what you’re offers are and then building those things on forward. And that’s very much what I did.
Dallin Nead : That was two years ago and through that, you come to the point of now quitting from the law firm right, from that job, now you’re in this full time.
Robin Carberry : Yep.
Dallin Nead : I want to step back a little bit.
Robin Carberry : Ok.
Dallin Nead : Dig a little deeper because you shared some really– I mean just the breadth of experience you have with your career and now bringing all these different pieces of experiences into what you’re doing now. That was incredible. Tell me a little bit more about your biggest struggle, it’s lupus right that you had? For those who don’t know what it is, what is lupus?
Robin Carberry : It’s an autoimmune disease and it manifests differently and just about everybody who has it– I’m very fortunate I have a very mild case so my rheumatologist actually referred to it as a nuisance version, which means that there times when I can’t get out of bed or– I can get out of bed but I just feel like I have a bad case of flu, and I also can’t– I feel like I’m in the fog basically. I can break out, I can get swelling in my joints. It’s my antibodies in my body are attacking my body. Some people have it more serious and their internal organs are compromised, and people died from it. But my understanding from my doctor is you basically have the disease so it’s not for me it gonna be something that’s going to deteriorate into more other serious cases but it’s some– it’s something that for sure can get in the way. Especially if I don’t take care of myself.
Dallin Nead : Oh yeah. Well and you said– it sounded like it played through the most while you’re at the restaurant and working all those hours. In what way– was the fact that you’re just working working working and you needed that rest because of the illness or what caused to you to kind of slow down and really re-evaluate the fact that, ‘I’m spending way too much time here and I’m fatigued, and I’m ill” What was it that finally have the light go off for you realise?
Robin Carberry : That I had to get out of it? I just knew that they’re– I wasn’t giving myself time to rest and recover. I never felt like I never take those days that I needed to just stop. And sort of get worked myself through my flyer to be able to recover. I sort of got like worse and worse and worse and worse. And I knew if I didn’t get out of that cycle, that– I mean I wasn’t– clearly I wasn’t gonna die but I was just gonna be like this weird unhealthy place where I just felt terrible all the time. And that does a number on your brain as well where you just feel awful all the time. Alarm goes off in the morning and you just like, “Oh crap here’s another day of feeling like shit. And here we go.” And there’s no break.
Dallin Nead : Well, it sounds like– one of my friends suffers from depression and obviously there are plenty of differences but he described depression in the same way where in this unique kind of own this like actual physical way it sounds similar to those who get depressed experience. The lack of motivation or drive to wake up in the morning because one it’s just hard of the fact that fear physically limited and two it’s that maybe the motivation the fact that you demotivated because you know if you do this, causing effect, if you do this you know you’re gonna feel it even worse. And that’s what, I mean– wow, I mean I can not relate to those kinds of experiences I’m sure that you felt. And then what do you feel during those hardest times with lupus? What– beyond the– those kinds of symptoms in things you described, what made it difficult in relation to what you’re looking to get out of say, running to restaurant or working all these different jobs? What was that big goal that you’re trying to chase? Along those lines.
Robin Carberry : I’m really at that point I just want to feel better. And I would be resenting–
Dallin Nead : Like a physical feeling? Or just like emotional?
Robin Carberry : All of it.
Dallin Nead : All of it.
Robin Carberry : I started resenting the restaurant because I felt like it was getting in my way of getting better. And that just the downward spiral ended up itself because it affects my relationship with the employees, my relationship with customers, where again, very small town there were people who were part of my life every single day which is something I missed about it I must say. But it was the cycle of just not wanting to be there and not wanting to go there, not wanting to be in that place anymore because I just felt so horrible. It was just a drag every single day to get through it.
Dallin Nead : So it wasn’t necessarily like a burn out so to speak? It was more of just– maybe it’s the full spectrum of health that was maybe–
Robin Carberry : Right.
Dallin Nead : So then around that too, maybe I just want to clarify a little bit more is– so you would say out of everything you do, one of the biggest thing you’re pursuing is health so to speak.
Robin Carberry : Yeah.
Dallin Nead : Health and relationships, physical, spiritual, all those things.
Robin Carberry : Yeah.
Dallin Nead : Yeah
Robin Carberry : And I don’t think that way about it all the time but I have thought about it that way and I think you hit on something there. That part of what I want to do is to help people who are helping people through that sort of journey. And to– in a bigger sense to free people up to do what it is they really want to do that they don’t feel stuck like I feel stuck at the restaurant or I felt stuck at the law firm. Life too short to feel stuck. But whatever happens, to be that you stuck by you know I stuck by my age as well. So I want to help people, my clients who help people with whatever particular issue it is or situation it is that their trying help with, I’m also trying to help my client find that freedom and get out of that stuckness, that maybe they have their own lives. That they sort of like us they haven’t able to quit their full-time job because they’re trying to make their business happen. And they’re feeling stuck by that. If I can help them get out there, and get their message out, and start connecting with clients, then I help them out of that stuck place.
Dallin Nead : I love that because I never– the word health, I usually think of it as more physical like you exercise or you’re not– all those things but health across the spectrum and the fact that basically whether it’s directly or by curiously, client through client for you, I love that you measure a massive part of your impact through how you can impact others through positive and healthy lifestyle across the board. And the fact that it connects back to your personal experiences is something that I love. Because I find kind of the story therapy experience was just you learning more about stories and this happening very recently is you realize the actions that you take or the businesses you built or the things you pursue all relate to your story, your personal experiences. Something that you want, for me I strive for personal connections, I mean a lot of humans do, a lot of us do, but personal connection is incredibly important to me, all my actions lead me to accomplish that and so based on your experiences, work, personal and otherwise, I love seeing the fact that you’re connected to that theme of health with everything you do.
Robin Carberry : Because health is everything.
Dallin Nead : Yeah.
Robin Carberry : If you have those things then physical, mental, whatever it happens to be, if you don’t have those things, and I’ve seen that, that you get into sort of prison or feel like you’re in this prison of not being you. I felt like I wasn’t me anymore. I felt like I was this small ill person. And that wasn’t me. I was always athletic, I was always active, I was doing triathlon, all these things that I used to do I can’t do anymore. Because there were times I could barely walk. And it just felt like I was trapped in the shell that wasn’t me that I didn’t recognize. So it was important for me to get out of that.
Dallin Nead : And breaking out that shell was when you decided to start building your own business? Was that kind of– it sounds like it was really a hot movement when you’re friends suggest that “Why don’t you start your own business?”
Robin Carberry : Yeah it was, it was. Completely. I had to get to a point where I was sort of back together with myself and then figure out what I was gonna do next and that was a journey another self and I mention the whole issue with my age as well. So being trapped for me or walk for me–
Dallin Nead : Was that a block with like a self-imposed block versus yourselves was that something you’re really experienced with your startups and all these rejections that you got.
Robin Carberry : No. It’s something I experience and my friends who’re the coach, she actually works for LinkedIn as well. That’s her day job. She’s also a coach as her gig on the side. And we talked a lot about that and she confirms sort of what I’m feeling and believing that was something that was getting in my way. All you have to do just look at my experience, my background and you add up the numbers. Even if I didn’t– specifically I didn’t put my day graduation from college or anything like that, but it was pretty easy to put things together and the times where I actually got the interview and got speak to somebody and it became clear. So I believed, and I still believed I could do all those jobs, I could probably run rings for a lot of people but a startup culture is not, as a rule, inclined to look at somebody– at that point I was 48, I guess I was 49, I think that you can’t contribute. I mean you’re like washed up and done. And it did get into my own head at that point. I started thinking maybe I’m not capable, maybe I can’t do these things, maybe they’re right. So it wasn’t until we’re back open my eyes to start my own thing, and I was like “Yeah I can do that. Yeah, I can.” And the more I did it with the more proofed, “Oh yes you can do this. Get out of your own way and just do it. Stop hiding and pretending that you’re 30 years old when you’re not.” Take advantage of all the thing that I have to bring to the table, the experience that I have to bring to the table, the confidence I have to bring to the table. The ability to sort of see things in people that they don’t necessarily see themselves. And a lot of it I think you just experience as you go through life. You just get better at those things. And those are the things that I can contribute that maybe somebody younger can’t.
Dallin Nead : 100%. And not seeing perspective too that you have with those who you consult with, clients, and as your own business evolves, you can pull from these unique stories and speak to people who are going through similar experience whether age limitations that they experienced. It’s kind of like self versus society so to speak, that conflict. I mean obviously I haven’t experience that but I have seen that with some my co-workers or family, friends. And I think pulling from your personal experiences, you have an incredible opportunity and you do– already do it to impact others through the stories you share the fact that you can connect. Do you feel like– so during in the restaurant, that was kind of doing your own thing you know building your own business. And you have that passion early on and imagine but it really– it was the time investment, it was the health and all those things that you kind of got laid down a path where it became less of your thing and you became more locked into it. It’s what it sounds like, I kind of feeling–
Robin Carberry : Yeah it’s you know the restaurant business is– I mean most business is hard but restaurant business is challenging. I think more than– most small businesses that startup, I don’t know of the top of my head what percentage it is but it’s like 80% of business failed within the first couple of years. So to keep a restaurant running, like I said it’s a small place, we didn’t have a lot of employees, one person not showing up to work could mean that I was doing everything from taking orders to delivering food to washing dishes, all in one night because one person didn’t show up to work. And the challenges of that sort of things, dealing with that sort of things maybe feel like not I was running my own business but my business is running me, that I just didn’t have– there were so many things that out of my control that it just didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. The place was open and successful and I have people who come up to me and say, “Oh I wish you still had that place.” which is great, that’s wonderful but on the side note every restaurant that– there’s 8 maybe since in the same place that all failed which it tells you how hard it is. But it wasn’t– it wasn’t the creative entrepreneur thing that I thought it might be when I walked into it. Was I trade the experience? No, because I learn so many things that I apply today in my business from bad experience. But I wouldn’t go open another restaurant.
Dallin Nead : That’s my next questions. That’s my next question I’m gonna be–
Robin Carberry : I love to cook. I mean I think that’s fun but in fact my husband a constant– not constantly, but often said to me, “Hey why don’t we open a breakfast spot.” or “Hey I would love to–” Like, “Dude let’s cook in the kitchen. Let’s make our own fun fantastic meal, let’s not do it for pay.”
Dallin Nead : Yeah. Start there. You’ve done that. So then with your business now and how fresh it is yet, it’s fresh but also it’s been many many many many years in the making what is your goal with inspiring and impacting others? How are you doing that?
Robin Carberry : We touched on this a little bit but what I’m trying to help people do is get out of that trap that I can’t do it and helping them find a way that they can do it. That you don’t have to be stuck in something that doesn’t fulfill you because you don’t know how to do something that does. And I ran into that all the time with people. “I want to do this thing but I can’t find client.” or “I don’t know how to market myself.” or “I don’t know how to get up there and do this.” or “I can’t figure this take out.” or “I feel like I have to do all the things and I don’t know how to do any of the things.” So I try to clarify a lot of that so they can actually get out of their own way and do the things that they dream about and connect with the people they want to connect with and help with without staying at all these other things that are distracting them. And keeping them from actually being successful.
Dallin Nead : So kind of what you experienced.
Robin Carberry : Well yeah.
Dallin Nead : It sounds like you applied that same approach to yourself to bring you into that. So do you do that in the form of obviously you spend a lot of time in conversation with people, you build out roadmap for them like a business roadmap this being clarity to all these different ideas that are in the clouds and you kind of bring to and ground them so they have clear direction to take. Okay.
Robin Carberry : That exactly it. And it varies from person to person because different people were stuck in different place and different areas. I talked to somebody just the other day whose very early on in her business and she’s not sure exactly who she even wants to serve. So I can start with something small or to with clients I’m working with now who are getting ready to launch a course to help women deal with infertility online. They are doing it real life in LA but they’re launching an online version of the course and no idea how to market it. They have the course put together, ready to go but they had no list, they had no exposure online, they had a lot of really really wonderful clients who love them and they really have gotten results for but they didn’t know how to translate that in the online world. And I’ve worked with a health coach who’s going from Bought Package For You program, Done For You and she kept trying this and this and this, none of the things are working because she didn’t really have any strategy behind it. She just kept buying things and kept throwing them out there. And expecting something to happen and it never did. So there people all over the place so it was sort of, let’s get together and rope it all in and throw it all on the table and throw out things that don’t work and figure out the things you don’t know about and grab the things that you think might work and put them together into something that looks like a plan and then we figure out how to implement it.
Dallin Nead : So this is something that you do in a kind of strategy role and then you help them implement it through digital marketing strategies and other things.
Robin Carberry : Yes.
Dallin Nead : And then is it something where you’re looking to also do more specific group coach team or masterminding, and things like that as well.
Robbin Carberry : Ultimately that’s what I would like to do. I’m not really talking to people in groups right now who are woman in my age range who don’t know how to have a business online, don’t understand what their skills are, what they might bring to the table, what they had contributed and can they even do it. “It’s a young person’s game and I don’t know the tech and I can’t figure out the tech.” So ultimately yes I’d like to find people like me who are going through very same experience but maybe aren’t as hard-headed as I was about making something happen and show them that they can do it. That they do have things to contribute that they don’t even realize they have to contribute. They don’t have to do everything, that they are people out there that they can hire to do those things. But sort of to break through all those traps they’re setting for themselves and allow them actually to feel like, “Yes at my age I can still do something important and I can contribute, and I’m in the best place in my life that I ever could be to really make contribution.” So that sort of my dream down the road project like I’m talking to people and sort of unofficially coaching them right now but yeah ultimately I would like to do something like that as part of my world.
Dallin Nead : I love that. And incorporating your story all throughout too I feel like, one it’s impacting me on the time we’ve chatted about it, just because I think about how my career, my experience will continue to be navigated and having that guidance, that clarity is something that every single business owner needs. No matter their age. So I love that. Robin I’m so glad you shared all these things with me. Appreciated it.
Robin Carberry : Thank you for talking to me Dallin, it’s been wonderful.
Dallin Nead : It has been really good. So are there any final thought that you want to share around your story?
Robin Carberry : Yeah I would just want to say to people, anybody who’s listening, look, I’ve done this. And you can do it too. I had this road blocks in front of me and with my hard-headedness and my stick-to-it-ness and my figuring things out and relying on other people to help them support me and not to think that I have all the answers whereabouts there aren’t any answers, you just have to find the right people to help you find those answers. And you don’t have to feel like everything is done and over. And you can’t do something else different. That you can’t make contribution. Just whatever limitations happen in front of you. You just got to keep believing and keep dreaming and keep chasing that dream.
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