114. Leverage Your Core Strength with Michelle Mazur

October 17, 2019

He said, 'You have all of this knowledge about communication and you’re not doing anything with it. Put what you know out into the world because it’s not doing any good in your head.”


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A side hustle leveraging your core strength is a huge advantage because the learning curve for starting a business is going to take up your time and energy.

Dr. Michelle Mazur’s side hustle story began not from a place of intention. She wasn’t looking to start a side project. But then a friend lobbed an interesting question to which she didn’t have a good answer. He followed it with a suggestion for her to do something about it, and Michelle went, “Why not?”

Michelle’s side gig story is a return to her first love and undoubtedly, her core strength – communications. She loved this field enough to get a Ph.D. on it. But the role she was on at that time didn’t really scratch the itch. And this side project? Well, it hit the spot perfectly.

And when someone called her after she posted a rant and inquired about hiring her, that was the start of a side consulting business. This was the seed that grew and paved the way for her ditching Corporate America to go all-in on her own consulting practice.

Today, Michelle runs Communication Rebel where she helps change-making business owners, entrepreneurs and speakers become thought-leaders. She is the author of three books, including the recently released book, “3-Word Rebellion” and the host of the Rebel Rising Podcast.

In this episode, Michelle shared not only how this side hustle got started. But the joys and challenges of transitioning from corporate employment to self-employment. We talk behind-the-scenes about things like how starting over with a new identity makes us question our strengths initially, pricing our services for the first time and how money mindset helps or sometimes gets in the way of things.

Highlights of Episode 114

  • The side-project that started Michelle Mazur’s side hustle
  • Some of the challenges she faced when transitioning from corporate employment to self-employment, including money-mindset blocks
  • How she developed her approach to marketing and selling her services in a way that feels aligned with who she is
  • Why developing your “three-word” message can help you create and initiate change


Mentioned in this episode

A few highlights from this conversation:

My friend asked, “Do you love market research?” It was okay. I’m an academic so research is fine. It’s a job. It pays pretty well. And he said, “You have all of this knowledge about communication, speaking, and persuasion and you’re not doing anything with it. Put what you know about communication out into the world because it’s not doing any good in your head.” And I thought he was right.” So about two months later, I started a blog.

I wrote this super ranty blog post about how not to be a motivational speaker. And this man contacted me. It had “How not to be a motivational speaker” on the subject line. I thought, “Oh man, I’m gonna get yelled at.” I opened the email and it said, “Michelle, this is amazing. I love what you’re saying here. I love your perspective. It’s so fresh. I just parted ways with my speaking coach and I need some help. Could I hire you?”

Within a year of my first client, I started talking to my husband about building this out as a business. It took about a year and all the personal development work that gets you out of that employee mindset. I had to do a lot of personal growth work and money mindset work to get to the point where I felt comfortable leaving corporate.

Making money and sales were initially scary because I was really never in a position where I had to make and ask for the sale. Sure, you might have to negotiate your salary, but I’ve never priced my work. I quickly realized I’ve got to be proactive.

Saying things like, “Price what you’re worth” isn’t helpful. When I was coming into the business, yes, I didn’t have a lot of business experience, but I was coming in with 20 years of communication experience and a Ph.D. And yet, I didn’t feel secure enough to price my services like the expert that I am. “Oh, well, I don’t have testimonials like these other people have testimonials,” as if the first 20 years of your experience no longer exists. And that’s just not true.

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I just want to figure out how to put a box around a text. I used to be able to do this via CSS or html.

I guess I have to figure it out now. I’m hoping this isn’t going to create bloated websites that take forever to load.


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