CBNationI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM897- Founder Runs a Boutique PR Firm

Podcast Interview with Molly Schoneveld

Molly Schoneveld is the founder of The Storied Group, a boutique PR firm based in Los Angeles. Over the course of her career, she has worked with A-list talent, interior designers, and hospitality clients like the world-renowned wellness resort Golden Door.

  • CEO Hack: Book – Clockwork
  • CEO Nugget: Have a solid opinion no matter what circumstance you're in
  • CEO Defined: You never stop learning

Website: https://www.thestoriedgroup.com/

Blog: www.thesoughtafter.com

IG: @thestoriedgroup
IG personal: @Molly.Schoneveld


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Transcription

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00:20 – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

00:43 – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Molly Schoneveld of the Storied Group. Molly, it's awesome to have you on the show.

00:49 – Molly Schoneveld

Thank you so much for having me.

00:50 – Gresham Harkless:

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Molly so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Molly is the founder of the Storied Group, a boutique PR firm based in Los Angeles. Over the course of her career, she has worked with A-list talent, interior designers, and hospitality clients like the world renowned wellness resort, Golden Door. Molly, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

01:12 – Molly Schoneveld

I am ready.

01:13 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome, well, let's do it then. So to kind of kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on what I call your CEO story and we'll let you get started with your business.

01:20 – Molly Schoneveld

Sure. So I started my business in 2008, which is kind of crazy because that was obviously the recession. But I was young and dumb and like, you know, I didn't really know what that meant. But my I had a business partner at the time and she and I worked for the largest entertainment PR firm at the time, PMK, and we just kind of decided over AOL Instant Messenger, that's how long ago it was, to start our business.

And the great thing about a service-based business generally is that if you're starting that, you're pretty much profitable from day one because you don't have to have capital to make something. And so we just kept our expenses extremely low from the beginning and it just kind of grew from there. So I've been business for a while.

02:04 – Gresham Harkless

Nice. Well, I definitely appreciate that. And I think that's a real, you know, big thing about making sure you can keep your expenses as low as possible. But you being able to have that experience and be able to provide that kind of the I guess the the intellectual capital you have is within the work that you did, you've done, so you're able to kind of provide that and serve the clients through that.

02:23 -Molly Schoneveld

Yeah, and I think that a lot of people around that same time sort of got the same idea because when you're working for a big PR firm, whether it's an entertainment, like I was servicing celebrities or other big clients, you kind of start to question like, why am I working for someone else? Because really each office kind of operated as its own entity. And so if you really wanted to make money, you kind of had to go out on your own. So obviously, obviously, there's a reason why you would want to work for someone versus running a business because it's very different. And not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

But having that background and already basically doing the job. I mean, it was pretty seamless for the 2 of us to partner up. We sat next to each other at our company. So we kind of came up the same way and had the same ideas of what we wanted to create. And so actually it's been about 3 or 4 years ago, I took over the business from her. So I no longer have a partner. She had her husband transferred to Dallas and she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. So I rebranded my firm from the SWPR shop to the story group, which is a whole other lesson in itself rebranding a business.

03:31 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, it always looks, it sounds a lot easier than just creating a little new logo, maybe getting a domain name, but it's a lot more involved in doing that rebranding, that pivot. But I know I absolutely love that. It's so funny when I started my business, I think someone just said, oh, you're just young. And it's sometimes that naivete that allows you to kind of keep going because if you knew what you were kind of doing you probably would say there's no way I would ever want to do anything like this.

03:53 -Molly Schoneveld

100% don't you wish you could go back and capture that like naivete because I feel like you get to be my age and you're just like so jaded. You haven't been told enough.

04:06 – Gresham Harkless

Exactly.

04:08 – Molly Schoneveld

And that's what's so great about it.

04:10 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. But it's so funny because a lot of times when you have that the energy that gusto, whatever you might call it, or are quantified as a lot of times, that's what allows a lot of the innovations to happen because a lot of times people are jaded, they never ever try anything, but you wanna have that balance. You wanna be able to make sure that you're making calculated decisions but at the same time have that energy to make the world into what you want it to be.

04:30 – Molly Schoneveld
So true.

04:32 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I know we touched on it a little bit. I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. Could you take us through what you're doing at the story group and how you serve the clients you work with?

04:39 – Molly Schoneveld

Yeah, so I mean, obviously COVID has changed my business dramatically. I had the best year ever in business last year And we were really going after more hospitality clients because as you mentioned, I represent the world renowned Golden Door and that's been such a pleasure. I mean, when it got re-bought and went back under private ownership, my team was hired And it's just been such a joy. And I thought, oh my gosh, I want more of that. It was not something that I ever really considered before because my background was much more personal publicity.

But what I found is that our sweet spot is really at the intersection of entertainment and lifestyle. So we work a lot with, you know, like for example, interior designers who also have a dream to be on television, or maybe they already are on television, or other experts. I worked with Chris Powell for a million years and he had the show Extreme Weight Loss, or Allie Fenatowski, who was on The Bachelorette and had a dream to really work at E. Like that was her dream and we helped make that happen. And then she created a lifestyle brand from there. And so that's really been my joy.

And I think that because it's so personal and because that was my background, I really shy away from more corporate clients because it seems so less personal to me. And entertainment in itself is a very casual business. I don't think I've ever had to wear anything other than jeans at any of the jobs that I've ever had working for major companies. And so I found that I really do like the casualness of entertainment and golden door definitely because they have kind of an entertainment intersection as well because it's a lot of our job is bringing celebrities down to the property. So it all kind of works hand in hand.

06:23 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, it all kind of gets to what I think, even in the corporate businesses, sometimes we forget that human aspect, but it sounds like that is the foundation of what it is that you do.

06:34 – Molly Schoneveld

No, for sure. And we launched a hotel last year in the year before it was kind of a longer process. And I enjoyed it, but it definitely lacked that personal connection. And was just a very different thing for me. And so I think I learned from that that I do. I really love working one-on-one and I work with, you know, with big companies. I mean, when a big talent agency Abrams artist agency got purchased, they hired me to help with the acquisition and all of the communication and all of that. But my relationship was really with the new chairman. And so he and I worked on one. And even though it's a corporate client, I was able to really develop a relationship with him and kind of help carry his vision forward, at least in a public-facing way.

07:20 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, no, I'm glad you gave that example because it sounds like, and definitely correct me if I'm wrong, it's the, I guess the way or the brand maybe by which the business has, If it has that personal touch, it sounds like that's a great fit for you. Or maybe if they want to develop more of that personal touch, sounds like that's a great opportunity for you. Absolutely.

07:39 – Molly Schoneveld

Yeah. I mean, we used to kind of joke in the personal publicity world that having a new business meeting was much like going on a first date because I mean, there are a lot of great publicists, but you kind of have to find the one that you personally jive with, because they're the ones that are gonna help, it is a personal thing. It's not corporate in the work that I'm doing.

07:59 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. No, I love that. And so would you consider that to be what I call your secret sauce, the thing you feel kind of sets you apart? Is it that ability to be able to not just, I guess, create and have that first date, so to speak, but also to be able to present that to the public so people know about the personal aspect of the business?

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08:14 – Molly Schoneveld

It is, But I would say more than that my secret sauce is the fact that I tell clients what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. And I think that that has meant that I've had clients for years. I mean, COVID happened and it's funny, not funny, funny in a sad way, that 2 of my clients got divorced during COVID and it affected their businesses. And so we had to take a pause with PR. But prior to that, I mean, I have clients that come in on and off retainer, but I have clients that I've worked with from the very beginning. And I feel like that says a lot when you have that longevity with your business I mean, it's meant that I don't have a lot of turnover.

So I kind of I sometimes still panic when I'm like, oh my god I need to sign a new client because I've been so lucky that I tend to have the same clients for a very long time, but I think it is because they know that I'm gonna tell them the truth. And obviously, I'm tactful and sometimes you have to be careful and delicate about it, but they trust me. And I think more than anything with the business, Trust is just everything.

09:17 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. Especially in this day and age where you're hearing, you need to do this or you need to do that. And everybody's telling you what isn't honestly the truth to be able to have somebody in your corner, so to speak, that will tell you exactly what you need to hear. It's so important as a business owner because you wanna, there's so many things that you have to juggle and worry about you don't want to necessarily worry about that aspect as well.

09:35 – Molly Schoneveld

Yeah for sure.

09:36 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. and I wanted to switch gears a little bit and then I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have but What's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

09:47 – Molly Schoneveld:

This book is right here, Clockwork. This book is a book that I refer back to all the time. And it's something that I'm gonna dive back into in January because my background was PR. It was not being an entrepreneur and being a CEO. And quite frankly, I did not treat myself like a CEO until I lost my business partner. And at that point, that's when I really started diving into learning and reading everything I could get my hands on and trying new things. And I really didn't have great systems for my team.

And I didn't know who I needed to hire next. And so clockwork helped me understand if you're building a team, that if you're training your team to just ask you for every single answer, you're never going to get out of the doing. And so it was a huge eye-opener. And it was also something that I could actually implement with my team. So I brought this book to work and sat down with my team. And I said, let me explain this to you and this is how we're gonna do it. And everybody kind of tracked what they were doing and how much time they were spending on tasks.

And it, I mean, it really did change my business. And that's when I started getting really big growth. And it's something, and like, obviously I've mentioned with COVID, I mean, my business has suffered with COVID, like so many other businesses. And this year, I think has been a lot about survival. But in 2021, I'm bringing this book back. It is this book in the bookstore brand, I would say, are the 2 books that have really had tangible things that I've been able to implement immediately.

Like I would read a chapter and like take, you know, furiously taking notes and like, and like making a change right then. It was not a book that just kind of like I think a lot of business books, you read them and you're like, well, I'm not quite sure how this applies or it helps with your mindset, but this is 1 of those books that you literally can read a chapter and make a change.

11:42 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I want to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine you might tell your younger business self.

11:52 – Molly Schoneveld

I actually asked my team what they thought about this and they responded that I always say to have an opinion And it's something that I learned working for Brian Grazer, who's the Academy Award-winning producer of A Beautiful Mind and A Million Other Things that you've watched and loved, I'm sure. But that was my first job. And he really, he was so good at figuring out what you were good at, but above all, he wanted you to have an opinion, even if it was wrong. And I think that's true, even when you're working with clients as a CEO because that's when the trust develops. You know, it's like people want answers, you know? And it's like, even if they don't agree with you, I think you'll be much more respected if you come with a solid opinion, no matter what circumstance you're in.

12:44 – Gresham Harkless

Nice, well, Absolutely appreciate that. And now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Molly, what does being a CEO mean to you?

12:54 – Molly Schoneveld

For me, it means that you never stop learning. There was such a huge shift for me when I actually was like, you know what? I am the CEO of this business and it may not, you know, employ 45,000 people, but I'm still the CEO of the people who are working for me. And I really, I take that so seriously and I never think that I have all the answers. And so I'm listening to podcasts all the time and reading books and like just trying to get better. I mean, I would just say that, yeah, you have to really, you have to always be learning.

13:30 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Molly truly appreciate that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best they can get an overview and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

13:43 – Molly Schoneveld:

Yeah, sure. So You can find me on Instagram @Molly.Schoneveld or my company at the Story Group. We're on other social media platforms, but I think it's best that you just pick 1. So that's my other little tidbit. Don't feel like you have to be in all the places all the time, master 1. It can be a huge time suck. So yeah. And then obviously my website is thestorygroup.com and then I have a blog where I blog about business and then other just fun things, hotels and things like that. It's called The Sought After and it's thesoughtafter.com.

14:15 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Molly. We will have the links and information in the show notes. And I appreciate that last, you know, tidbit and word of wisdom. I think so many times you can get overextended by trying to do everything and be everything. If you laser focus and can find out what your zone of genius is, the thing you're going to do and be better than anybody else, especially related to social media, allows you that opportunity to really blossom and grow.

14:34 – Molly Schoneveld

So I will say one more thing. I'm sorry to go for it.

14:35 – Gresham Harkless

No, go for it.

14:36 – Molly Schoneveld

It popped into my head about the social media thing. So something that I've really learned this year that I've gotten super clear on is that most of my business does not come from Instagram. I like it, but there was a long time when I felt like I was losing the game because I was not getting referred, like I wasn't getting business that way. So I think that it's important for you to be really clear with how you get business and put some focus and energy there rather than where you think you should be and where you think you should be getting business. And it was a huge eye-opener that really just happened like last week.

And one of my employees, the same employee who likes to tell me how it is, has been telling me this for years. She's like, you're just getting caught up in this whole Instagram like you have to be killing it at Instagram to be winning at life. And it's just simply not true. Like most of my business comes through referrals, at least my most lucrative long-term business. So I would just encourage you to do the same deep dive to see if where you're spending your time, see if I'm bringing it back to clockwork, is where you're spending the most time having the most impact on your bottom line.

15:39 – Gresham Harkless

Yeah, and again, we will have, you know, your links and information and show notes, but I appreciate you for drilling down on that because I think so many times we need people around us as you know you said so well that tell us exactly how it is not how we want it to be and a lot of times it's for the sake of our business to be able to build and grow to understand that and not get caught up in what you know might be sexy or what we feel is the new thing to be able to grow our business. We really want to look at those things and be able to double down on those things that actually move the needle forward. So I appreciate you again, Molly.

16:08 – Molly Schoneveld

Thank you so much. This was a pleasure.

16:11 – Gresham Harkless

I appreciate it. A pleasure. It was all ours. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

16:14 – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

00:20 - Intro

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

00:43 - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Molly Schoneveld of the Storied Group. Molly, it's awesome to have you on the show.

00:49 - Molly Schoneveld

Thank you so much for having me.

00:50 - Gresham Harkless: No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Molly so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Molly is the founder of the Storied Group, a boutique PR firm based in Los Angeles. Over the course of her career, she has worked with A-list talent, interior designers, and hospitality clients like the world renowned wellness resort, Golden Door. Molly, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

01:12 - Molly Schoneveld

I am ready.

01:13 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome, well, let's do it then. So to kind of kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on what I call your CEO story and we'll let you get started with your business.

01:20 - Molly Schoneveld

Sure. So I started my business in 2008, which is kind of crazy because that was obviously the recession. But I was young and dumb and like, you know, I didn't really know what that meant. But my I had a business partner at the time and she and I worked for the largest entertainment PR firm at the time, PMK, and we just kind of decided over AOL Instant Messenger, that's how long ago it was, to start our business. And the great thing about a service-based business generally is that if you're starting that, you're pretty much profitable from day one because you don't have to have capital to make something. And so we just kept our expenses extremely low from the beginning and it just kind of grew from there. So I've been business for a while.

02:04 - Gresham Harkless

Nice. Well, I definitely appreciate that. And I think that's a real, you know, big thing about making sure you can keep your expenses as low as possible. But you being able to have that experience and be able to provide that kind of the I guess the the intellectual capital you have is within the work that you did, you've done, so you're able to kind of provide that and serve the clients through that.

02:23 -Molly Schoneveld

Yeah, and I think that a lot of people around that same time sort of got the same idea because when you're working for a big PR firm, whether it's an entertainment, like I was servicing celebrities or other big clients, you kind of start to question like, why am I working for someone else? Because really each office kind of operated as its own entity. And so if you really wanted to make money, you kind of had to go out on your own. So obviously, obviously, there's a reason why you would want to work for someone versus running a business because it's very different. And not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

But having that background and already basically doing the job. I mean, it was pretty seamless for the 2 of us to partner up. We sat next to each other at our company. So we kind of came up the same way and had the same ideas of what we wanted to create. And so actually it's been about 3 or 4 years ago, I took over the business from her. So I no longer have a partner. She had her husband transferred to Dallas and she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. So I rebranded my firm from the SWPR shop to the story group, which is a whole other lesson in itself rebranding a business.

03:31 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, it always looks, it sounds a lot easier than just creating a little new logo, maybe getting a domain name, but it's a lot more involved in doing that rebranding, that pivot. But I know I absolutely love that. It's so funny when I started my business, I think someone just said, oh, you're just young. And it's sometimes that naivete that allows you to kind of keep going because if you knew what you were kind of doing you probably would say there's no way I would ever want to do anything like this.

03:53 -Molly Schoneveld

100% don't you wish you could go back and capture that like naivete because I feel like you get to be my age and you're just like so jaded. You haven't been told enough.

04:06 - Gresham Harkless

Exactly.

04:08 - Molly Schoneveld

And that's what's so great about it.

04:10 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. But it's so funny because a lot of times when you have that the energy that gusto, whatever you might call it, or are quantified as a lot of times, that's what allows a lot of the innovations to happen because a lot of times people are jaded, they never ever try anything, but you wanna have that balance. You wanna be able to make sure that you're making calculated decisions but at the same time have that energy to make the world into what you want it to be.

04:30 - Molly Schoneveld

So true.

04:32 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I know we touched on it a little bit. I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. Could you take us through what you're doing at the story group and how you serve the clients you work with?

04:39 - Molly Schoneveld

Yeah, so I mean, obviously COVID has changed my business dramatically. I had the best year ever in business last year And we were really going after more hospitality clients because as you mentioned, I represent the world renowned Golden Door and that's been such a pleasure. I mean, when it got re-bought and went back under private ownership, my team was hired And it's just been such a joy. And I thought, oh my gosh, I want more of that. And it was not something that I ever really considered before because my background was much more personal publicity.

But what I found is that our sweet spot is really at the intersection of entertainment and lifestyle. So we work a lot with, you know, like for example, interior designers who also have a dream to be on television, or maybe they already are on television, or other experts. I worked with Chris Powell for a million years and he had the show Extreme Weight Loss, or Allie Fenatowski, who was on The Bachelorette and had a dream to really work at E. Like that was her dream and we helped make that happen. And then she created a lifestyle brand from there. And so that's really been my joy.

And I think that because it's so personal and because that was my background, I really shy away from more corporate clients because it seems so less personal to me. And entertainment in itself is a very casual business. I don't think I've ever had to wear anything other than jeans at any of the jobs that I've ever had working for major companies. And so I found that I really do like the casualness of entertainment and golden door definitely because they have kind of an entertainment intersection as well because it's a lot of our job is bringing celebrities down to the property. So it all kind of works hand in hand. 

06:23 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, it all kind of gets to what I think, even in the corporate businesses, sometimes we forget that human aspect, but it sounds like that is the foundation of what it is that you do.

06:34 - Molly Schoneveld

No, for sure. And we launched a hotel last year in the year before it was kind of a longer process. And I enjoyed it, but it definitely lacked that personal connection. And was just a very different thing for me. And so I think I learned from that that I do. I really love working one-on-one and I work with, you know, with big companies. I mean, when a big talent agency Abrams artist agency got purchased, they hired me to help with the acquisition and all of the communication and all of that. But my relationship was really with the new chairman. And so he and I worked on one. And even though it's a corporate client, I was able to really develop a relationship with him and kind of help carry his vision forward, at least in a public facing way.

07:20 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, no, I'm glad you gave that example because it sounds like, and definitely correct me if I'm wrong, it's the, I guess the way or the brand maybe by which the business has, If it has that personal touch, it sounds like that's a great fit for you. Or maybe if they want to develop more of that personal touch, sounds like that's a great opportunity that you, you. Absolutely.

07:39 - Molly Schoneveld

Yeah. I mean, we used to kind of joke in the personal publicity world that having a new business meeting was much like going on a first date because I mean, there are a lot of great publicists, but you kind of have to find the one that you personally jive with, because they're the ones that are gonna help, it is a personal thing. It's not corporate in the work that I'm doing.

07:59 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. No, I love that. And so would you consider that to be what I call your secret sauce, the thing you feel kind of sets you apart? Is it that ability to be able to not just, I guess, create and have that first date, so to speak, but also to be able to present that to the public so people know about the personal aspect of the business?

08:14 - Molly Schoneveld

It is, But I would say more than that my secret sauce is the fact that I tell clients what they need to hear and not what they want to hear. And I think that that has meant that I've had clients for years. I mean, COVID happened and it's funny, not funny, funny in a sad way, that 2 of my clients got divorced during COVID and it affected their businesses. And so we had to take a pause with PR. But prior to that, I mean, I have clients that come in on and off retainer, but I have clients that I've worked with from the very beginning. And I feel like that says a lot when you have that longevity with with your business I mean, it's meant that I don't have a lot of turnover.

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So I kind of I sometimes still panic when I'm like, oh my god I need to sign a new client because I've been so lucky that I tend to have the same clients for a very long time, but I think it is because they know that I'm gonna tell them the truth. And obviously, I'm tactful and sometimes you have to be careful and delicate about it, but they trust me. And I think more than anything with the business, Trust is just everything.

09:17 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. Especially in this day and age where you're hearing, you need to do this or you need to do that. And everybody's telling you what isn't honestly the truth to be able to have somebody in your corner, so to speak, that will tell you exactly what you need to hear. It's so important as a business owner because you wanna, there's so many things that you have to juggle and worry about you don't want to necessarily worry about that aspect as well.

09:35 - Molly Schoneveld

Yeah for sure.

09:36 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. and I wanted to switch gears a little bit and then I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have but What's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

09:47 - Molly Schoneveld: This book is right here, Clockwork. This book is a book that I refer back to all the time. And it's something that I'm gonna dive back into in January because my background was PR. It was not being an entrepreneur and being a CEO. And quite frankly, I did not treat myself like a CEO until I lost my business partner. And at that point, that's when I really started diving into learning and reading everything I could get my hands on and trying new things. And I really didn't have great systems for my team.

And I didn't know who I needed to hire next. And so clockwork helped me understand if you're building a team, that if you're training your team to just ask you for every single answer, you're never going to get out of the doing. And so it was a huge eye-opener. And it was also something that I could actually implement with my team. So I brought this book to work and sat down with my team. And I said, let me explain this to you and this is how we're gonna do it. And everybody kind of tracked what they were doing and how much time they were spending on tasks.

And it, I mean, it really did change my business. And that's when I started getting really big growth. And it's something, and like, obviously I've mentioned with COVID, I mean, my business has suffered with COVID, like so many other businesses. And this year, I think has been a lot about survival. But in 2021, I'm bringing this book back. It is this book in the bookstore brand, I would say, are the 2 books that have really had tangible things that I've been able to implement immediately.

Like I would read a chapter and like take, you know, furiously taking notes and like, and like making a change right then. It was not a book that just kind of like I think a lot of business books, you read them and you're like, well, I'm not quite sure how this applies or it helps with your mindset, but this is 1 of those books that you literally can read a chapter and make a change.

11:42 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I want to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, and this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine you might tell your younger business self.

11:52 - Molly Schoneveld

I actually asked my team what they thought about this and they responded that I always say to have an opinion And it's something that I learned working for Brian Grazer, who's the Academy Award-winning producer of A Beautiful Mind and A Million Other Things that you've watched and loved, I'm sure. But that was my first job. And he really, he was so good at figuring out what you were good at, but above all, he wanted you to have an opinion, even if it was wrong. And I think that's true, even when you're working with clients as a CEO because that's when the trust develops. You know, it's like people want answers, you know? And it's like, even if they don't agree with you, I think you'll be much more respected if you come with a solid opinion, no matter what circumstance you're in.

12:44 - Gresham Harkless

Nice, well, Absolutely appreciate that. And now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Molly, what does being a CEO mean to you?

12:54 - Molly Schoneveld

For me, it means that you never stop learning. There was such a huge shift for me when I actually was like, you know what? I am the CEO of this business and it may not, you know, employ 45,000 people, but I'm still the CEO of the people who are working for me. And I really, I take that so seriously and I never think that I have all the answers. And so I'm listening to podcasts all the time and reading books and like just trying to get better. I mean, I would just say that, yeah, you have to really, you have to always be learning.

13:30 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Molly truly appreciate that definition and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best they can get an overview and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on. 

13:43 - Molly Schoneveld: Yeah, sure. So You can find me on Instagram @Molly.Schoneveld or my company at the Story Group. We're on other social media platforms, but I think it's best that you just pick 1. So that's my other little tidbit. Don't feel like you have to be in all the places all the time, master 1. It can be a huge time suck. So yeah. And then obviously my website is thestorygroup.com and then I have a blog where I blog about business and then other just fun things, hotels and things like that. It's called The Sought After and it's thesoughtafter.com.

14:15 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Molly. We will have the links and information in the show notes. And I appreciate that last, you know, tidbit and word of wisdom. I think so many times you can get overextended by trying to do everything and be everything. If you laser focus and can find out what your zone of genius is, the thing you're going to do and be better than anybody else, especially related to social media, allows you that opportunity to really blossom and grow.

14:34 - Molly Schoneveld

So I will say one more thing. I'm sorry to go for it.

14:35 - Gresham Harkless

No, go for it. 

14:36 - Molly Schoneveld

It popped into my head about the social media thing. So something that I've really learned this year that I've gotten super clear on is that most of my business does not come from Instagram. I like it, but there was a long time when I felt like I was losing the game because I was not getting referred, like I wasn't getting business that way. So I think that it's important for you to be really clear with how you get business and put some focus and energy there rather than where you think you should be and where you think you should be getting business. And it was a huge eye-opener that really just happened like last week.

And one of my employees, the same employee who likes to tell me how it is, has been telling me this for years. She's like, you're just getting caught up in this whole Instagram like you have to be killing it at Instagram to be winning at life. And it's just simply not true. Like most of my business comes through referrals, at least my most lucrative long-term business. So I would just encourage you to do the same deep dive to see if where you're spending your time, see if I'm bringing it back to clockwork, is where you're spending the most time having the most impact on your bottom line.

15:39 - Gresham Harkless

Yeah, and again, we will have, you know, your links and information and show notes, but I appreciate you for drilling down on that because I think so many times we need people around us as you know you said so well that tell us exactly how it is not how we want it to be and a lot of times it's for the sake of our business to be able to build and grow to understand that and not get caught up in what you know might be sexy or what we feel is the new thing to be able to grow our business. We really want to look at those things and be able to double down on those things that actually move the needle forward. So I appreciate you again, Molly.

16:08 - Molly Schoneveld

Thank you so much. This was a pleasure.

16:11 - Gresham Harkless

I appreciate it. A pleasure. It was all ours. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

16:14 - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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