Melanie Benson, the host of the Amplify Your Success Podcast, is the Expert-preneur’s Authority Amplifier. She is the author of Rewired for Wealth, co-author of Voices of the 21st Century, and Entrepreneur.com’s Start-Up Guide to Starting an Information Marketing Business, and her success tips are featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Woman’s Day, and Parenting Magazine. Melanie serves on the Women Speaker’s Association Executive Team and is a member of the Association of Transformational Leaders.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in South Phoenix, Arizona in a family of beekeepers. I spent the first 7 years of my life nomadically crossing the desert as my family tended to their bees as one of the Sue Bee Honey suppliers. The entrepreneurial bug was deeply seeded in my soul and I know that as early as 7 years old I was claiming my future destiny as an entrepreneur by hosting bake sales and Jerry Lewis Telethon Carnivals. Even though I pursued the safe route with a Fortune 500 for the first 10 years of my “work-life” I quickly felt out of place and that deep soul memory called me back to entrepreneurship.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I didn’t really understand the difference between intuition and fear for far too long. I was trained to not let fear make my growth decisions but I often misinterpreted the little voice saying “wrong direction” as a fear. Instead of slowing down enough to really unpack my intuitive hits, I often pushed right past that valuable guidance and ended up making a big mess. As I learned to recognize my intuition, I was able to give myself enough space to hear a more aligned path and heed my own wisdom!
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
One of the worst pieces of advice that many mentors give is: Sleep when you are dead. Energy is the entrepreneur’s life force and if you deplete it, it’s very hard to get back. Sleep is how we nurture our creativity and fuel our passion!
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I’ve had quite a few, but the one that was the most difficult happened about 9 years into my business. After a consistent growth surge for the first nine years, the financial world went melted down just as I was taking a growth leap. It had a huge impact on my confidence and my growth. A lot of things “appeared” to fail and fall away. Two years later, I discovered that that period of business growth was a realignment phase. I had been developing offerings that my coaches were excited about but that was not really aligned with my business superpowers. Emerging from that period made me stronger as a business mentor, inspired a brand refresh that better fit my authenticity, and birthed a more aligned set of offerings around visibility and messaging.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
My one key secret to success is collaboration. From hiring help to partnering up with other entrepreneurs to creating visibility opportunities for my colleagues, collaborating with others who serve my ideal clients accelerates business growth and opens doors to new clients that would take YEARS to open on my own.
It started with a business mastermind which led to several prominent speaking opportunities over the years. Today I find relationships on Twitter that lead to media coverage, connections in the podcasting industry that lead to more speaking, and even partners who send me AMAZING clients.
What is your morning routine?
I’m not really a morning person so having a power routine helps me shake off the cloudy thinking. I’m usually up by 6:30 – 7:00 am then I drink a big glass of water to hydrate. Then the dogs are fed and walked before my morning green smoothie and finally my beloved cappuccino (with oat milk.) On mornings I’m not dropping right into speaking or interviews, I’ll squeeze in yoga or a longer walk. I catch up on social media then drop right into the email for 15 minutes then start my calls. I have a boundary to wrap up by 5 pm so my morning has to be productive.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
A habit that took some time to cultivate but now is my lifeline — planning ahead and organizing workflow. This is not my nature (I’m a visionary creative that likes to delegate) but I’ve found that taking time each week to meet with my team, map out priorities and organize upcoming events or projects pays off big time in the productivity and focus for my team. We have a 3 part planning process: Annual growth plan, project plan, and our ongoing visibility plan. Every project gets mapped back to “how will this help us achieve the BIG PICTURE goal for the year?”
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
The three most important strategies to stay on target are 1) stay in my business superpower (it makes money and moves the business forward) 2) time block so I stay in like activities to create momentum and 3) delegate and outsource anything that routinely pulls me into the weeds or out of my business superpower.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Books can be a great inspiration for new thinking and I’m an avid reader (mostly audiobooks lately.) Brene Brown’s Dare To Lead helped me embrace my unique leadership style while Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny helped me uncover a struggle pattern I had at the beginning of my business.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
A quote that I live by came to me back in my Corporate days 30 years ago by W.H. Murray:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to drawback. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”
This quote has been a beacon of light over the years as a reminder to be all in and committed. Anything less provides the opportunity for hesitancy. Knowing that when I’m all in that I’m calling in support and resources that I can’t see at the moment gives me the strength and courage to do BOLD things. I believe that this type of mindset separates out those that WANT success from those who achieve success.