Rebel Uprising Podcast

Lead Your Profit with Caryn Gillen


When I started my business almost nine years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. I knew that I had amazing expertise in communication. I had passion and curiosity. I knew that I understood marketing from my time in corporate America. But building a business from the ground up? No freaking idea. I went to find experts who would teach me how to build my business the way they had built their business. I wanted the blueprint, the success formula that would minimize my work and also shorten the length of time it took me to have a successful business. 

And guess what? I paid thousands of dollars for it.  Sound familiar? Of course it does. The online business world experts teach you how to recreate their business. They have a successful business, they know how to build that kind of business, so then they say, “Hey, give me tons of money and I'll teach you how to build my business.” However, that is not the type of business that is aligned with you.

And this is the reason why I wanted to have serial entrepreneur Caryn Gillen on today's show. She knows how to build many kinds of businesses without all the cookie cutter bullshit that doesn't work for you and just ends up over-complicating your business.

So a bit about Caryn: she is a life and business coach for coaches who want to bring more them into their business so that they can have more fun and make more money. And whether you’re new to business or a seasoned veteran, I promise that Caryn has some insights for you on how you can lead your profit and build your business in a way that is fun.

Listen in or read through the transcript below:

Resources mentioned in this episode

Caryn's Website
Find Caryn on Instagram
Three Word Rebellion Service and Pricing Guide
What's Your Rebel Roadmap to Exponential Impact and Influence? Quiz

When I started my business almost nine years ago, I had no clue what I was doing. I knew that I had amazing expertise in communication. I had passion and curiosity. I knew that I understood marketing from my time in corporate America. But building a business from the ground up? No freaking idea. I went to find experts who would teach me how to build my business the way they had built their business. I wanted the blueprint, the success formula that would minimize my work and also shorten the length of time it took me to have a successful business. 

And guess what? I paid thousands of dollars for it.  Sound familiar? Of course it does. The online business world experts teach you how to recreate their business. They have a successful business, they know how to build that kind of business, so then they say, “Hey, give me tons of money and I'll teach you how to build my business.” However, that is not the type of business that is aligned with you.

And this is the reason why I wanted to have serial entrepreneur Caryn Gillen on today's show. She knows how to build many kinds of businesses without all the cookie cutter bullshit that doesn't work for you and just ends up over-complicating your business.

So a bit about Caryn: she is a life and business coach for coaches who want to bring more them into their business so that they can have more fun and make more money. And whether you’re new to business or a seasoned veteran, I promise that Caryn has some insights for you on how you can lead your profit and build your business in a way that is fun.

I'll see you on the other side to distill some of my insights and give you some questions to think about.

You’re listening to the Rebel Uprising Podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping passionate business owners become recognized leaders who make more money and impact the world by turning their messy, complicated ideas into thriving thought leadership businesses. I’m your host, Dr. Michelle Mazur. And I’ll be your no-BS guide in the art of building a business that gets noticed.

Each week. I share strategies, tools, and insights on how to turn your complicated ideas into great messaging and solid business structures. Are you ready to create an uprising in your industry? Let’s do this.

Michelle Mazur: Hi, Caryn. Welcome to the Rebel Rising Podcast. I'm so thrilled to have you on the show. 

Caryn Gillen: Thank you. It's really fun to be here. 

MM: So why don't you tell everyone a little bit about you and your business before we dive into the Three Word Rebellion questions. 

CG: Alright. Like you said, my name's Caryn and I'm a life and business coach for life coaches and entrepreneurs. I'm usually just helping them bring more of them to their business and figuring out how can I have more fun being in business and make more money.

MM: Ooh, more fun and make more money. That always sounds like a good thing.

Tell us, what are you rebelling against?

CG: Oh, so many things. 

MM: That's the most popular answer to that question. So many things. 

CG: I think in my business, primarily I'm rebelling against the idea of business being, well, for one, hard, but something that's not what you want in your core value system. So it's not just, “Let's go do business because you're supposed to make a million dollars come hell or high water, no matter how you do it,” but I want to help people grow businesses that match who they are, where they're at, what their lives are like, and what their goals are, no matter what thing they're mentors or marketers or people that they see out in the world have been selling them. 

MM: Yeah. So let's unpack that a little bit more. How do you think we make business hard? Or how have you seen the coaches and entrepreneurs you work with make business hard? 

CG: Again, so many ways. I think it's like for one, if you didn't grow up around entrepreneurs, if you grew up around the people who work for other people, oftentimes there's just this kind of belief system barrier that, like, running your own business is something that other people do. That's not what we do. That's what other people do. Which you always want to watch out for anything that sounds like that, “we are people who.” So that's one way.

And another way is just, like, trying to take what they have seen somebody else do and be successful at and directly apply it to their own business. When the other person was likely successful based on a whole bunch of situations and circumstances that we know nothing about. So we can't really take that cookie cutter idea from our perspective where we are and apply it to the business we have. 

MM: But wait a minute. Isn't that what most people are teaching these days?

CG: I think so. Yeah. One of the things that I am doing probably more than anything in my practice with coaches specifically is teaching them how to build their business for themselves, even if it's different from what their mentor said or their main teacher said or whatever. It's like, yeah, that's all great and that was amazing for that person and that looks incredible on their life. But let's look at what's true for you. When we look backwards at your history, what's come easy to you. Because sometimes trying to have someone else's business is basically signing up for hard as opposed to “How do we create the business that we're here to have?” which is the path of ease. Yes, it can feel a little more scary. It's a little more vulnerable, but it is way easier. 

MM: Why do you think we so easily buy into someone else's business -- their version of what works for them instead of going down and trying to figure out what works for us?

CG: I think that's just like what our brains seem to be designed to do. It's like you see something you want. And the first question is, “Okay, how do I do it?” And then we look outside of ourselves for the how, rather than inside of ourselves for the how. Not, “how did they do it,” but “how am I going to do that? If I'm the person who creates that thing, what's it going to look like for me? What is the first step for me where I am?”

MM: Yeah, it seems like there's this really popular marketing advice that, oh, if you want to do something like you find someone who's already done it and just copy what they did, I've heard that again and again. Like when I first was in my business working with speakers, I would hear that from other speakers, “Find a speaker that you really like and figure out what they did and do what they did!” And I was always like, “Why?!” 

CG: Yeah. And I think that's one of the reasons a lot of people become business coaches is they're like, “I did it this way so I can teach people how to do it. It was so easy,” but if they came up with a way that really worked for them, and they're trying to put people through that filter, they're going to miss out on the power, which is the individual in the business.

The world doesn't need 27 businesses that look just like yours because you made it. The world needs 27 successful businesses that look just like the person who created it because that's what they needed to do for us. 

MM: And I think that's the difference between being someone who really understands business, which you do, versus somebody who has just built their own business.

CG: Yeah, I think so. 

MM: Because I think when you've only just built your own business and you're like, “Okay, this is how business works for me” versus being inside a bunch of different successful businesses. You see that oh my gosh, there's so many different paths. And I think that's the mistake. It's “Oh, I can be a business coach because I've built one successful business” versus thinking, “Oh, I need to build or I need to be inside all different kinds of businesses.”

CG: It's good to have some diverse experience to bring different perspectives to the table for yourself and for your clients.

MM: And something that also caught my attention with your initial answer was talking about having a business that is aligned with your core values. So how do we go about figuring that out? 

CG: I think it's a courageous process. So sometimes we find that out when we do something that's outside of alignment and we have that kind of hangover of a feeling of “Oh, I would've done that differently,” and sometimes there's just this way that we come across, it's so clear and unique to us.

Like for me, I'm always trying to figure out how do I make this easier and are we going to have fun doing it? So for me not to have that in my business, that would be crazy. I'm never going to create a quote unquote “serious business” because I've got no business creating serious businesses.

MM: Have you ever done something that felt like super heavy to you in your business?

CG: Totally. I'm trying to remember a specific instance. Even when I try to apply, like, something that I see from somewhere else, I'm usually doing it from this curious perspective of “let's see what this can do,” which is very different than looking at someone else's business, seeing it, and then applying it and being like, “This is the way I have to do it,” or “this is the way I should do it,” or “if it's going to work, it has to look like this.”

So I think you can do the exact same thing as two different people or two different versions of yourself and have one of them feel very heavy out of alignment and hard and have one of them feel like just a bit of an exploration. 

MM: Yeah. It's that difference between, “Oh, everything's an experiment” versus “Oh my gosh, I've got to make this work.”

CG: Right. I have to do it. Quote unquote. If you're ever thinking you have to do anything, put the brakes on and figure out why you're making up rules about stuff. Cause business, like, most of the time we don't have that many rules. 

MM: We don't know what's going to work. 

CG: Yeah. And anyone who tells you that they do know exactly what's going to work, you definitely want to, like, take a step back and make sure, is this like how I want to be doing this with someone who has so much certainty about something that really is pretty uncertain?

MM: So tell me, what change do you want to create in the world? I 

CG: I want more people to create businesses that serve them and serve their lives, where they actually get to keep more of their money. So I don't want to help people create $100K businesses where $90K goes to Mark Zuckerberg. I want to help people create $87K a year businesses where they get to pay themselves $5K a month and go camping for two weeks in the summer with their family. Like whatever they want to do.

I want to help people do what they actually want to do and create what they actually want to create. And actually bring in the kind of money that they want to for their family and hopefully create some generational wealth along the way. 

MM: So does that mean you think that many people don't know what kind of money they want to create?

CG: I think we just get into the shiny object of “make a $100K” and then once you hit $100K you're like, “that didn't make me feel any different.” You're like, “I guess I need to make a million,” and then you're just chasing the dream versus chasing, like, the actual dream.

MM: Ah. So let's talk a little bit more about chasing the dream versus chasing the actual dream. What do you mean by that? And what's the difference?

CG: The implanted dream versus the aligned dream, would be one way to say it, but it's just what you hear everybody going after. If you hear people talking about making a million dollars or making a hundred thousand dollars enough, you'll just get on board. “I guess that's what we're doing here. We're life coaches. We're all here to make six figures.” Great. But is that true for you or are you here to make seven or are you here to make five?

I want people to do the courageous work of figuring out what they actually really want for them. And doing the math and looking at “what do I want with my life?” And if I do want to have a beach house, what does that mean? How much do I save every month? And if I do want to send my kids to college, what does that mean and what's the best way to do that? So really taking ownership and leading their money, not just hoping that everything will work out. 

MM: Yes. Cause I know when I first went into business, everybody was talking about, “Oh, make a hundred thousand dollars, make a hundred thousand dollars.” And then living in Seattle, Washington, which is expensive, making a hundred thousand dollars really wasn't all that much because after taxes and after paying expenses and your business, it was like, “Okay, that gives me like $50K to work from, and that's not great living in Seattle.”

CG: Yeah. So you clearly needed it to be a little more. I think $250K is the new $100K anyway. 

MM: Cause I think figuring out, like, what your enough is...  

CG: Yeah. And what do you like? What's the thing that will make you sleep really good and make you enjoy your weekends and make you excited to get up on Tuesday morning? What is that stuff?

MM: And those are really good questions. Really, is that some of the work that you do with your clients then? 

CG: Yeah. Even in my consultation calls, when I work with people, I'm like, “Okay, so you want all that, but tell me exactly how does that make your life look different on a random Thursday night, six months from now?” Because I want to know.

We have these big dreams, but what are they really getting after changing? Because there's what money will change to a certain extent, but then there's so much more that will change in your thinking about what you're doing. And that's where we have a lot more fun, I think.

MM: Can you give me an example of that? 

CG: I always talk in weight loss terms because I used to be a weight loss coach, but I'm gonna try to do this with coaches. Okay. So they get on the phone and they've made $50,000 and they're like, “I really just want to do it. I want to be a six-figure coach.”

And I'm like, “Okay, great. So let's say it's January 7th and you just sat down to dinner with your partner and your kid and your dog. What's different there when this goal has been achieved?” And this is where it gets interesting because some people are like, “Oh, really nothing,” which points to the fact that they actually have most of what they want already.

Then there are people who are like, “I'll be in a different flat, in a different part of the city and it will be, whatever it is.” Some people, it's like, “Oh my God, I don't think I want to be married anymore.” It could really show you a lot of different things and there's no wrong answer.

MM: Wow. That's pretty amazing. And all of a sudden, when you think in terms like that, the goal becomes (A) more meaningful, right? 

CG: Yes, absolutely. It's like working towards six figures, especially if you've never made it in your business, you just make up sort of magical thinking about what that means, but this really forces you to look at but what does it actually mean to me?

MM: And for people who aren't motivated by money ( this was always a problem in my business when I first started out). I am not a person who's motivated by money. Like, it's nice. I want enough to feel comfortable and to know all of my bills are paid for, but once all my bills are paid for, there has to be some kind of other motivation there, otherwise why bother?

CG: Yeah. And I have lots of clients where we're either talking in financial terms or we're talking in like, “how many clients have you served” terms. So if you're someone who has trouble with money, I just like to think in client numbers, because they're equally as measurable. They mean the same thing, whether it's $100K serving 20 people or 20 people, and you ended up making $100K, like it's the same math, but it's like, wherever you need to come at it from, what is the thing that motivates you?

MM: Yeah. And I like thinking about it on the people level, because that's more like impact because you can think about the ripple effect, “Oh, I'm actually changing lives.” Whereas money feels like, “meh.”

CG: Totally. So for you, for example, because I've worked with you, it's like doing the work of defining your Three Word Rebellion, putting your stake in the ground. For me, it's already generated, I don't know, a hundred more people on my email list. It might not seem like that much, except for the fact that as much money as I've made over the number of years, my list has never hit 600 people. So that's, it's a pretty big impact. 

MM: And I always love when people tell me they, like, generated a hundred new people from the work we've done for their email list. I like to picture those people in a room. 

CG: Yeah. They don't fit in my house. That's too many. 

MM: Oh, I know a hundred people wouldn't fit in my place either. And it's then you start thinking like, “Oh, that's a lot of people in a room.” And like we've been working together for two months now and I'm like, “Okay, oh, wow.” And so in another two months, let's say you get another hundred or 200 people. Holy crap. That's like a small- or medium-sized wedding venue we're talking about. And so you can start really imagining these people like physical human beings, gathered together and you can start seeing that impact more and more. And for me, like you can hear it in my voice, I'm like, “Oh, that gets me excited!”

CG: Yeah. It's super fun. 

MM: Yeah. Which brings me to, what is your Three Word Rebellion? 

CG: It is “lead your profit.” 

MM: Yes! Which brings me back to something you said earlier, which was about not letting all of your profits go to Mark Zuckerberg.

CG: Sorry, Mark.

MM: So I think this is a good distinction and it might sound super basic. Can you tell everyone what the difference is? 

CG: Yeah. So there's lots of ways to build your business. There's lots of speeds at which you can do it. And one of the ways you could do that is just pour money into the Facebook machine.

So you're going to put money into the Facebook machine. You're going to spend a lot of time becoming good at Facebook ads. Or you're going to hire out an agency and pay them too. And then you're going to get tons of, if you're running ads, you probably have more than a thousand people on your list.

Like I have always pretty much had 300-500 and I make a ton of money. Not because I'm doing the Facebook ad way, because then you're also ending up as a coach with significantly more consults signing up and not showing up.

So that there's a lot of mindset work, I think, to be done on both sides of it. One is “I'm gonna manage my mindset for only having one consult a week versus having twelve and only having one showing up.”

So it's just a very different way. And I think for a business owner to go from zero to $200K using organic marketing, you learn an incredible amount about how to talk about what you do and about who to talk to about what you do and about how to do things like what we're doing right now, having a podcast interview and sharing each other's networks in this way.

I just think there's so much that we can learn that makes everything better for our clients and us finding them faster when we do that in an organic way versus trying to get like the algorithm right and all that stuff. Which is absolutely one way to do it. I think it's fantastic for product business, especially, but service-based business I'm in the “no ads until you're at $200K” camp.

MM: Yeah. And I would definitely agree with that. I think if you are going to, I don't know, launch a book or you have a product-based business then, yeah, do ads. But if you are a service-based business and yet you're not making $200K, then, yeah. You probably don't need ads quite yet

 Maybe you want to experiment because you have a little extra money and you want to do some message testing. Sure. But don't spend thousands of dollars on it because that profit (by profit, she means the money you get to keep it goes into your bank account and you get to do things with it). Whether that's save for retirement or save for a house or go on vacation, that's money that you're keeping. And I think we forget about that because all the marketing we're fed is “Oh, you've got to scale your business.” 

CG: And you totally don't have to. Not everyone needs to scale. There is such a case to be made for one-on-one service providers who stay in one-on-one service providing, and as your impact grows and you get full, you just say, “Hey, I have a wait list” and you start raising your prices. We need all the parts. We don't need everyone to have a group program. We still need one-on-one coaching. I love one-on-one coaching. I don't know if I'll ever not have one-on-one clients. 

MM: Oh yeah. I'm the same way. I think about other ways that I can add capacity or add value to my business, but I know the best way I can help people with their messaging is that one-on-one component. It's powerful. And yeah, maybe I can find someone else who can do what I do, or I can add a copywriting component to add more value to my clients. There's all these different ways you can think about it but there's just something magical that happens with one-on-one work. And it's just been, so, I don't know, crapped on for so long that I do feel like it's this massive rebellious act to be like, “No, I think one-on-one is really valuable and people should keep doing it.”

CG: Yeah. And it doesn't mean there's anything wrong if you love it and you just want to always do it and you only want 12 clients, not 20 or 25. 

MM: If it lights you up, then do it and don't listen to the internet people who are like, “Oh, you're going to be burned out.” No, not if you love it! Why would you be burned out? 

CG: Yeah, that's interesting. You know what we're talking about and then where I'm at this month in my business, like I am launching a program. I am going to do some Facebook retargeting ads to my very warm audience. And I really haven't done those ever other than like an experiment a few years ago.

But, yeah, the reason that I'm in love with doing this course is because then when a client has the same exact problem that I've seen a hundred other clients have, I can say, “I have a resource for you. Go watch this video, do the worksheet.” And we can use our coaching time to actually get to coach. Which is such a fun place to get to create from. I'm tired of seeing all the same things over and over again. And I don't want people to have to pay for me to teach them one-on-one anymore.

MM: Yes. And you can use the time for coaching versus let me teach you this thing.

CG: Here's my business brain over here, but can we coach? Cause that's what I love to do. 

MN: I love it. I love it. So one final question for you. If everyone acted on the change you want to create in the world, what do you think the world would be like?

CG: I think we would be less stressed out.

MM: I think you're right. 

CG: Yeah. the thing that I noticed in my own life, the more financially secure I am, the calmer my nervous system is, the calmer I am. And I'm a parent and I have, I affect a lot of business owners, so people hire me because I'm calm. And part of that is because I'm very clear about what I pay myself.

I've paid myself the same amount every month, since I left my job (I should probably give myself a raise). It's been a company goal for next month. But I'm hitting all of the financial markers I want to hit, even doing it that way. And I know I contribute to my daughter's college fund. I fill out our Roth IRA. We're starting our small business retirement savings. It's not sexy, guys, but it sure feels nice. 

MM: Yeah. And that calm is such a great goal just to know “Oh, all of my bills are covered. I'm putting money away for the future. I'm comfortable. And I don't have to worry.  I'm not living in that state of anxiety.” 

CG: And I think as coaches too, a lot of times we can push ourselves out so far with the problem being, “I know how to coach myself so I can make this okay. I can make it okay. I can self-coach. I can talk to my coach about it.” But you could also back it off a little bit, calm the F down, and, like, just do this at a slightly different pace and having a completely different experience of it. 

MM: I think that's absolutely true. We are recording this interview, like, during the whole, like, COVID financial recession, whatever. And one of the things I did was, like, I backed off a little bit on my growth goals for this year and was just like, “Okay, what is it that I need to make?” And I'm like, “Okay, I'm just going to focus on making that every month.”  And it's been brilliant because I've been surpassing that most months. And I'm just, like, in the state of, “Oh, things are good. I’m good. I'm not worried.” 

CG: And you're winning every month. You get to win. 

MM: Yeah, I'm winning. Every single month after month. And I don't feel stressed. I'm relaxing more. Like I had a conversation with one of my colleagues this morning and she was just like, “I'm so stressed and I'm working super hard and blah, blah, blah, blah.” And I'm like, 
“Oh yeah, I've made rest one of my projects every single week.” But I've readjusted my expectations so I could have that calm in my life. 

CG: Nice job. Not everybody remembers to do that. Because it's hard. Like we get to choose that. You can choose to be freaked out or you can choose to be calm in that situation.

MN: And I think we could all use a little bit more calm. So if we wanted more calm in our life, Caryn, how would we find you? 

CG: you can find me at @caryngillen everywhere. It's or on Instagram. If you're someone who needs to create an opt-in or a freebie, I've got a really great freebie on Instagram, in my link in the bio.

MM: Yes. So I know a lot of you struggle with how to create a freebie, a lead magnet. So go check out Caryn's. And thank you so much for being on the Rebel Uprising Podcast!

CG: Thank you for having me. This was awesome.

What I found most powerful about this episode with Caryn is the permission she gives all of us to have fun in our business and not build our business like anyone else would. And as she said, “The world doesn't need 27 businesses that all look the same. It needs your business.” So let's go about creating your business.

Here are a few questions for you to reflect on from the show.

Question number one: What cookie cutter methods have you tried in the past and what has worked for you? And what didn't work so well?

Answering these questions will help you identify where your strengths are, what you love doing, and what you should 100% absolutely avoid. 

And the second question I have is: Do you need to let go of something in your business that is just not fun for you? And if you do, what is the next step of, of letting it go?

What's fascinating to me is that when I first met Caryn, she had the most tremendous testimonials on her website, but her copy didn't match. I didn't see the connection between the results she was getting for clients and what she was saying on her website. It was confusing. It was a head scratcher. 

And when Caryn got clear on her core message of “lead your profit” and owned her brilliance around helping people build profitable businesses that were fun to run, that's when magic starts to happen.

So if you are like Karen getting great results for your clients, but your messaging doesn't showcase how you actually serve and that's holding you back from marketing and selling more, I would love to work with you in the Three Word Rebellion Messaging Intensive. This is where we create all the messaging your business needs for marketing, sales, and PR for the next three to five years.

So I'd love to help you craft that one-of-a-kind message, your Three Word Rebellion, the client journey that turns people into clients and your signature stories. 

And right now, I only have two spots remaining to work with me this year. So the first step is to go grab the Three Word Rebellion Service and Pricing Guide at And after you download the guide, book a call with me so we can discuss what it would be like to work one-on-one. 

Remember, your business should look like you. Your message should sound like you. And when it does, you'll have more fun running and building that business.

Thank you for listening all the way to the end of the show. Your support means the world to me. Did you know the Rebel Uprising Podcast has a quiz that can help you pinpoint the number one way to build an audience of superfans while staying true to your unique personality? We do. And it’s called What’s Your Rebel Roadmap to Exponential Impact and Influence and you can take it at If you’re loving the podcast, do us a favor and rate and leave us a quick five-star review wherever you listen to your podcasts. It helps more people like you find the show.

Until next week, remember: your ideas matter. And now get back out there and cause an uprising in your industry. You got this.

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