DTL 017 | Stephanie McLarty

Building Sustainability into Your Business Identity with Stephanie McLarty

Stephanie McLarty is an award-winning entrepreneur and champion of sustainable business. She is the Owner of Refficient, a marketplace for telecom companies to recycle their old equipment. She is also the Owner of Wealth of Family, an educational website helping aspiring mom entrepreneurs develop a business they love. Stephanie shares how you can blend your values, your bigger vision, and sustainability into your business, what it means to take the leap into entrepreneurship, and so much more!

Building Sustainability into Your Business Identity with Stephanie McLarty

Welcome, I have a very special guest that I have the privilege of interviewing today. Her name is Stephanie McLarty. Did I say that right now all of a sudden, thank you, Stephanie. I’m like, wait a minute. I was raising it before we got on the air and did I say it right? McLarty. I love that name so much. Stephanie is an award-winning entrepreneur and champion of sustainable business.

And I’m going to tell you just a little bit more about her before I start quizzing her on everything that she has going on. So, because you guys are going to be so impressed with this woman in 2010. She founded Refficient, did I say that correctly? I love that. It’s really cool. It’s a marketplace for telecom companies to reuse and recycle their old equipment. And as someone who worked at a telecom company, I can tell you there is a lot of old equipment. And her company grew to $1 million in sales by year three, and continues to divert over 150,000 items from landfills every year. Thank you so much for doing that.

And then something wonderful happened. Her daughter arrived in 2017. And Stephanie was especially grateful that entrepreneurship gave her time and flexibility for what matters most. She launched Wealth of Family to teach other moms how to start a business they love and that aligns with their life. And that is you are a woman after my own heart. Stephanie, thank you so much for doing that. So, tell us a little bit about your journey. How did you get that first business started?

Well, it was not something I planned to do. It was something unexpected, as they often are. But I had done an exchange to Europe when I was 16. And that changed my life. And so when I finished university, I decided I wanted to travel and see the world. I gave myself two years to go abroad. And I went to Thailand for six months with Right to Play, which is an organization that helps kids in disadvantaged situations to play in sport. And then I ended up in India for a year that was not planned either and ended up teaching English there, I fell in love, it was a disaster.

And then I came home. And I decided to do a master’s degree. And by that point, I had so much international experience. I thought I would do something in that realm. I did a master’s in peace and conflict transformation in Europe. And because I had traveled so much prior to this, I was essentially broke. So, I decided I would do one semester of my masters. And then I would come home and work and then go back and finish.

And that’s what I did. And the job that I got in between my semesters was at a major telecom company. And I was hired on as an asset recovery technician. I had no idea what asset recovery even meant. But essentially, for about eight months, I wore steel toed boots. And I drove around a red company van. And I went out to the old network sites, and physically pulled out the old equipment and figured out what to do with it. Could it be reused within the company? Could it be resold to someone else for reuse? Should it be recycled? If so where does it go? And keep in mind, I knew nothing about this going into it.

But by the end of those eight months, I had this niche knowledge of telecom infrastructure and what to do with it. So, I did go back and finish my master’s. But I started consulting in this space on the side. And then I launched Refficient in 2010. And I’d seen that there was all this equipment coming out of certain companies. There were other companies that wanted it, but how do you make the matches of who has what needs what? I decided, not that I knew anything about this, that we needed a technology-based solution. So, we literally built a software platform to help us to do this. And then the company grew from there and that’s how I got started.

Stephanie, that is so exciting. Did you have a technology background? Did you know a lot about technology?

No, I don’t. And frankly, still, to this day, I would not say, that’s my key strength. But I was good at seizing opportunity, taking initiative. And because I’m really big reuse, recycler, I’m really passionate about sustainability. That’s what drove me to start this business because it drove me nuts when I saw the wrong thing happening with the equipment. And we think about our computers and our cell phones, and all those personal electronics. But there’s all of this technology that sits behind the scenes, that also goes through upgrading. But what happens to this? So that’s where I ended up focusing, and to this day, have continued to find that niche in that space.

Wow, I love your story on so many levels. So, what I am fascinated by with this one is something that you said, which is, while you were doing that job, you really identified that unique niche, that unique need. And, a lot of times people think that they’re just in their own head in their own house, and something inspirational comes to them. And I find that most of the time, it’s something like what you’re talking about, if you’re doing something else to earn a living, perhaps, or doing something to help someone else, or doing something for whatever reason other than this is my great, brilliant idea I have.

And then your passion, of sustainability, mashed with this knowledge that you gained. And when those two things came together. That’s when you had the big lightbulb moment. So, tell me a little bit about you know, and can you talk about your other business? Because I feel like that is where you help women have that lightbulb moment of their own?

Yeah. So, when I was starting Refficient, you’re right, it married my passion for sustainability. And then I had all of this unique niche knowledge around telecom infrastructure. And there was this business need to match these things two together, so I could actually make money at it. And that’s essentially what I teach to moms who do my course. So, backing up a bit. I’ve done this business now for 10 years.

But when I became a mom, everything changed. And I had this beautiful little redhead girl, her name’s Clara. And I was so thankful that I got to control my time, I got to say, where I spent my time, and I got to bring my daughter with me to work if I needed to. And I loved it, it was an integrated approach to being a mom, and having a business. And so many of my other friends struggled with their own maternity leave. And then they had to go back at some point to a job that they dreaded, like literally, it was dread that they experienced. So, they would ask me for feedback, and ideas for business.

And so I mentored many of my friends to start businesses. And that’s when I realized, you know, there’s a lot of women out there that could use this help. And really, they all have different passions, and they have different strengths. And so how do you put that into a business? I really do encourage these women to look at – What are the things that they love to do? So, the things that doesn’t feel like work, they just naturally do anyways? What are they super good at? What are their strengths, and if they don’t know, I encourage them to go talk to other people and hear what they have to say, because sometimes we can’t.

We don’t know for ourselves, you can’t see what our strengths are, but other people can easily point them out. It’s fascinating and I’m sure that there’s a whole psychology to that. And then to explore those economic opportunities that marry those two things. Because ultimately you have to make money at it, to make it sustainable in the long term otherwise would be a great long-term volunteer job. At some point, probably, for most people will be like, why am I doing this, but it’s the light bulb moments of, wow, like, I’m good at this, I’m really passionate about this. And there’s this gap. I wish this product existed or I wish the service existed or I wish somebody else solved this for me. And that’s usually where the light bulb comes up of, Oh, I see another path forward for myself.

I love that. That is way cool. I agree. And that’s exactly how I started my training and coaching business because I was trying to find virtual assistants to work for me, because my business had grown so big as I was a virtual assistant, and you need to hire subcontractors to complete all the tasks that I had coming in, and I couldn’t find people could who were as good as I wanted them to be at what they did. And so I started training people, much like you, when you started training people that asked you, I started training them. And I actually, like you, did it for free for a little bit. And I’m like, What am I doing? Charge for this? There is huge value.

Yeah. So, in our business and my one business Refficient, we continue to use what we call contractors. We have our core group of staff. And then we bring in outside people for the roles that are either not a full-time role, or they change, or there’s something about them, that is his niche, and we just don’t need them for that full-time. So, like our bookkeeper and social media marketing, and that kind of thing. That’s a great model to, to fill in for those gaps for people.

So, your contractors are the bookkeepers in the social media people, those are your contractors.

And also on the warehouse side, because we have a physical aspect to our business, which is the receiving and the testing of equipment, we have staff. And then when we have projects where we have to test 5000 modems in a week. We’ll bring in people to help us that hacking has actually changed a bit with the pandemic, because we’re trying to limit who physically comes in. But it’s a great model to use when we need that extra help.

Yeah, so talk a little bit more about the specifics, if you don’t mind, of how many or what percentage or whatever numbers you want to share. Contractors versus employees do you have at Refficient, versus Wealth Of Family? And anything else that you want to share about that?

Ya, at Refficient, we have a core team of five for a small company. And then from a contractor standpoint, we have three extra contractors that we use. Some of them are ongoing, and then two of them are ongoing, and one is from time to time. We’re small, but it’s also finding that I found this really nice place of a business where I don’t work that much. I’d like the businesses under control. We can expand as we need to. It’s a comfortable place to be.

You’re running a multimillion dollar business with five, a staff of five. If any of you guys are listening to this, and you didn’t realize that was possible, you’re hearing it right now from Stephanie. And I will tell you, I hear this over and over and over again, in this day and age, you do not have to have a big staff to have a lot of revenue.

No. And I also wanted to point out that I’m 10 years into this business. With any business, there’s that period where you started up where you have to put more time and effort in to get it off the ground and then usually hit that tipping point where you grow more quickly. So now, because of the pandemic and because of the way I’ve set up my business and built it to certain level. I work 12 to 15 hours a week.

That’s it on both businesses or just one of them?

Well on my Refficient business. And not much more on my other one just because I don’t have the time because I have a toddler. And the normal childcare options are not available. So, I’ve had to make do and I realized wow, I actually I don’t work that much either. It’s not something for everyone to expect right away, but you can build your business such that you can create the lifestyle that you want, you can work as much or as little as you want. And I found this really nice place for myself. It’s possible.

Yeah. And you know, that’s why they call these a lifestyle business. Because you can choose the lifestyle you want. And a lot of people fail to realize that part. Because they keep staying busy, just because they think that’s what success looks like. And I congratulate you on not needing that number one, and number two, on setting your business up in a way that you can do that. What tips do you have on how to set your business up when you’re putting that initial time in and getting it all set up, on how to set it up so that you can work 12 to 14 hours a week and still run the big five staff, but multi-million dollar revenue business?

So, I think the key things are figuring out what your core activities are, what the key things are that you need to do, and to focus on that will get your business to the next level. Usually, it’s three things that you really need to focus on. And at least one of them is sales and marketing. But there’s not that many things you have to do, you can get distracted by so many, but figure out what the core activities will be that will move you forward.

And then also think about, what we were talking before, what it is that you’re good at what you enjoy doing. And as much as possible, start outsourcing, letting other people do those things that you don’t love to do, or that are real drag for you to do. One of my things is I’m not so much a detail-oriented person. So, if I get into the weeds, literally my energy drops. And that’s a sign right there that that’s not something that I should be doing, at least not long term. When you can start outsourcing with a virtual assistant, that’s a perfect fit.

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And you might also find that you’re really good at getting in the weeds. You love those details. Well, then you should be doing that for someone else. Right, going back to what are your strengths and focusing on your strengths and focusing on those key things that will move your business forward. That’s the best place to start.

Yeah, that’s great advice.

I was just gonna say to you that for moms, or women in general, that are starting out. And really at any level of business, there’s a tool called a Business Model Canvas, it’s a one-page document that you can fill out and it gets you to really hone in on what are those key things that you need to do. What are the key ways you’re going to make money, the key ways that you’re going to promote yourself or collaborate with others.

And it gets you to really focus on that. And I think that’s a great tool. In place of a business plan, even if you’re asked by someone to do a business plan, like if you’re going to a bank or something, then by all means do it. But if not just focus on this Business Model Canvas, this one-page tool, and that way as things change in your business, then you can update it easily. And it’s a visual reminder of this is what I need to focus on.

Stephanie, that is such great advice. And I’ll tell you, I am in total agreement with you. There are so many people that have come to me and said I really want to start a business. But I know I have to have a business plan in place first. And I’m like, why do you think you have to have a business plan in place? Well, because that’s what everybody does. And I said you don’t have to do what everybody does. Because that’s old school.

That is not what you need. In fact, if you spend the time to really put in place a business plan, number one, you’re not going to know the answer to half the stuff that you have to fill in on that business plan. Because you haven’t done it yet. And if you spend all your time trying to figure out what to fill in on that, you could have gotten your business started and begun earning money.

So, which do you want to do? I love that one-page business model canvas that is a great idea, because that’s really what is needed. And then if down the road, you know, everybody has a business plan. I’m feeling like I’m missing out on a business plan. By all means create it and by then you’ll know all the answers to fill in on the business plan. But by then you’ll probably be like why did I ever think I needed a business plan?

And you know, a year down the road your business might look a little different than when you started and maybe a year later than that, as you know, pivot, especially in this day and age with the pandemic, and things changing. It’s great to write it down, but just be open that things can change.

Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that, because I very much have strong feelings about that as you, as you can tell.

The reality is, too, I think a lot of people think, well, I’m going to go to the bank, I’m going to borrow money and get a business plan. Reality is that most banks won’t even loan to startup businesses, and you have to show your results in order to get a loan, you have to show how you’re making money. So, you’re not doing it for them, because that’s probably a result you’re not going to get right away. Focus on these simpler, smaller steps first, so many things in life can be simplified.

I love that. Yeah, thank you so much for sharing that. So, in your Wealth of Family, where you teach moms how to launch their own businesses, you shared with me that something amazing happened after you started that, and would you share that with our listeners?

I would. I have already mentioned that I’m a big proponent of sustainability. And it’s how I live my life. And in the course, one of the things I encourage the women to do is also follow their values, like what is important to them, right, because if you’re doing something that you’re putting a lot of time and effort into it, to get it off the ground, if it’s not something meaningful to you, if the going gets tough, it’ll be easy to give up.

So, find something that you love, and that is really based on your values. And a really cool thing happened and I didn’t plan for it. But I started to see that out of the businesses coming out of that course. They were inherently environmentally friendly. They were inherently community based. For example, one of the moms is creating a sustainable redesign service. So basically, if you have a room or problem in your house, and you don’t know how to deal with it, but you also don’t necessarily want to renovate it, either. Maybe you don’t have the budget or whatever. She can help you see your problem in a whole new way and use materials, you already have things you already have recycled materials and help you embrace this in a whole new way.

So, it’s really this concept of reuse applied to interior decorating and is really cool. And another mom is doing DIY recipes, not for food, but for skincare and cleaning products and that kind of thing. Another mom is working on building a toy library. So, where you can borrow toys, and then bring them back. And it’s focused on better quality, sustainable materials like wood and all that kind of toys. And as we know, kids have a fairly short attention span, right? They go through toys at different stages. Why own all this stuff when you can borrow them and then take them back and get new toys and stuff?

I love that idea so much. I’m just like, Where do I borrow it? Because I would love to. I know, as an adult, I love toys. And the other thing I love is games, but I like to try a game and see if I really like it. I’d love to borrow a game to see if it’s something I really want to play long term or if it’s just something I want to use for a little while. I don’t know if she’s got games in there, too.  But if she doesn’t, suggest that and then send me the link because I want toys and games.

It’ll be a long way to get it from Canada, but…

Oh darn it. Yeah, not after I moved to Canada!

There’s another really cool thing that happened over the course too and that was embracing family. One of the moms. Her husband is a cartoonist and so she ended up taking his cartoon images and making it into prints and artwork that you can hang in kids rooms. She created an Etsy store online but she also took her son with her and went to local shops and sold a whole bunch of prints into local shops. And I thought it’s so cool to bring your kids, right? Get them involved in that whole process to teach them entrepreneurship at a young age. Right?

That is really cool.

It’s the whole, it’s the power of women. And I say, sometimes because moms having children have a real vested interest in the future, right? They want their future for their kids to look a certain way. But really, it’s the power of women to change the world. Like, I don’t know, that’s just so inspiring. And I just love that that just naturally happened over this course.

Oh, my gosh, that has to be so fulfilling for you.

It is, it’s certainly why I’m doing this and why I’m spending the time on it. And the ripple effect, right? Because all of your stats that show that when women are the ones earning money, they invested in their community, they invested in their families, there’s that ripple effect outward.

And so, so cool on many levels. I truly believe, just like you that the power of women can change the world for the better. We can spread more love, we are the supportive, the lovers, you know, this world has been created primarily by men. Now, I’m not a man basher. You know, I have a husband, I love my husband, I have two sons, and I have five grandkids that are all boys. Believe me, I am not a man basher.

But if you are not happy with the way the world is going right now, and you’re a woman, I really want you to think about stepping up. And stepping up like Stephanie is talking about whether it’s, you know, whatever it is that you’re passionate about passionate about, that can help somebody else in the world that can help your family, you can leave a legacy, you can shape your own destiny, you really can. And when you do that, that ripple effect, Stephanie, that you’re talking about, just keeps going on and on and on. And we as women can change this world for the better. I truly believe it. And I can tell you do, too.

I totally do. And we’re at a time in history, when we need to change the world where we need transformative solutions for the future of our kids and of planet Earth. And yes, and I’m not a man basher, either, and I love my husband and all the men. And it’s not necessarily about women, it’s the qualities of caring more about the long term and security factor, love that kind of thing. That’s what’s important.

And that kind of goes back to what you were talking about with your values. I think there are a lot of people who really don’t think and I was one of them. Back in the corporate world. I never thought about my own values. You know, there were mission statements for the corporation that I was in, I knew what their values were, I knew what they expected of me. But I hadn’t actually thought about my own beliefs and what I valued for myself and my family. So, any tips on how you can begin to identify what your values are?

I think the place to start is to ask yourself, What do you care about? Like what are the things the people that are most important to you, and really just sit with it for a few days and be present. Because I think once you start this inquisitive journey of looking into your values and trying to understand what’s important to you, you’ll see things pop out of the woodwork. That’s just how things go, you’ll start noticing things in you.

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Figure out what it is that’s most meaningful to you that you really couldn’t live without or do without, that’s a place to start, and then start exploring who else is on that same wavelength? What are the organizations or the other businesses that are on that same wavelength? My business Refficient is a certified B Corp. So certified B Corp is a global certification that you can get the B stands for benefit and it’s kind of like the concept of fair trade but applied to business in general. So, yes, you are a for-profit business as a cert certified B Corp. But you voluntarily commit to higher levels of transparency, accountability and performance.

I love that I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Thank you for opening my eyes to this.

So, it’s really interesting. And what I realized, speaking of values is I created Refficient based on my values, it’s weaved into the fabric of the company, how we market how we communicate, and there’s a whole movement across the world that believes in all the same things. And it’s called certified B Corp. And so basically, you commit to not only doing what’s best for your shareholders, but also that of the community, the environment and your employees. It’s not just about profit, it’s about being a good company, being a good citizen of the world.

And to become this, you have to take this questionnaire, I think it’s like 200 questions just to show your performance, what you care about. But also, you have to change your Articles of Incorporation. So, if you’re incorporated to save this, that you will not just take the interest of your shareholder into account, but also the interests of the community, the environment and your employees so that you’re legally binding. Right?

That’s amazing, you’re really committing. I just love that. It’s not just lip service. It’s not just what do they call that green washing or something like?

Correct. It’s not just green washing. And then there’s this whole global movement of redefining what success is in business. You’re part of that. And it’s really a privilege, to be a part of it and to be a part of something bigger and redefining that success. It’s not just about our bottom line, because we know the long-term impact of what just being about a bottom line can do. Like we’re facing that world right now.

Stephanie, could you share that link with me? And I’ll include that in the show notes, the link to learn more about the certification as a B Corp.

Absolutely. I just want to point out, too, because I’m sure many listeners are in the US that in certain states, you can actually choose to incorporate as a benefit corporation. It’s one of your options. We don’t have that option in Canada. But in certain states, it’s not like across the board. You have that option now.

Can you tell? I’ve never even heard of this, literally have never heard of this. So, thank you so much for sharing that. One of the things that I wanted to ask you about, since you have two companies that are really quite different from each other, and you have both contractors and employees, depending on your needs. And now with a pandemic, you have people who used to work in the office that are now working virtual.

So could you talk a little bit about how you’ve been juggling all of that, how you manage all of that you’re obviously doing a great job if you only have to work 12 to 14 hours a week, you have really good employees and contractors who run your business. Any tips that you can share with those of us who are not quite as good at that as you are?

I would say I’ve come to a great place. I’ve learned some things the hard way. First of all, it’s finding great people, I would say every single one of our employees treats the business as if it were their own. As you’re looking to add to your team, in whatever regard, that’s one of the lenses by which to think about people like will they treat this, like it’s their own, and ultimately, that’s what you want, it’s people that you can trust that will deliver that will do the right thing when no one is watching.

And they will contain your costs and all of that as well. So that would be my first tip. And we’ve been moving towards a virtual setup. I’m really proud that three years ago or so we started this movement becoming virtual. We used to have, for example, offices for everyone that had desks, desk phones. And we realize that we’re just using our cell phones. Why do we spend this money to have this hardware sitting here?

So, we started to move away from the physicality of the business and really look at what’s the functional nature of the role. Our warehouse employees, for example, there’s no way that we can get around them really working from home apart from certain tasks. So, they physically come in, but everyone else is an even them in some extent, everyone’s equipped with a laptop and a cell phone. And in order to stay connected, we do a daily huddle. We do this daily huddle at 9:12am. Not 9:10.

What’s the uniqueness of nine? Why so specific? There’s got to be a reason.

There is a reason and that’s because it forces punctuality. Think about it, if someone tells you to show up at nine o’clock, sure, you’ll show up sometime around there, show up at 9:12. Okay, you know that is serious. It forces punctuality and the major of our daily huddle is really to spend maximum 10 minutes, and going over our key activities that we need to do like the main priorities for the day. And that’s it. By forcing that punctuality at 9:12, it sets the tone of what’s our main priorities?

Is there is anything that we need to discuss, like, sometimes there’s something that two of them need to discuss, they’ll do it offline, or ideally, they do it offline. So that helps us to stay connected with each other, even though we’re in different places. And then we do a weekly meeting as well, where we come on video, so we’re only once a week getting on video. But I find especially now, that video is important.

So that’s something we need to do all the time. But you need to leverage technology. We use a lot of chatting through Microsoft Teams. So that’s another thing to think about is what technologies are out there to help you. And the good thing is there’s new technologies coming out all the time. What was available last year at this time might be different than now. There might be more out there.

So those or whatever was out there might have improved.

Exactly, Yeah.

Those are such great tips. I love the huddle at 9:12. And it’s 10 minutes long. Just 10 minutes every day. It’s supposed to be like, have you on there? Does everybody talk? I’m so fascinated by this, I can waste 10 minutes talking and say nothing.

We usually have about one minute, while people are arriving, there’s about one minute of the small talk, and then it’s right to business. And, and we’ll call each other out on it to like, oh, you’re getting into the weeds. So that’s another thing is creating the space, everybody is accountable and are there to call each other out.

That concept I learned in a book, which is a fantastic book, and it’s still one of my best recommendations for business books, and that is Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. It’s all about what made John D. Rockefeller so successful. And yes, he was around 100 years ago. But the principles are timeless. And it’s not a new book.

Yeah, I remembered seeing that book, I have to go back and check that out. Because that is a great suggestion. And my team and I meet once a week for 30 minutes. And we’ve just started doing this. And it’s just my C level Team. There are four of us. And we haven’t made it to just 30 minutes yet. But I am going to implement this idea of calling each other out because I believe I’m the biggest problem in the group. And if I tell them to call me out, oh, they’re gonna love that!

You need to set the expectation as well. Like, we’re gonna talk about whatever, five main things or whatever that is for you. So, the expectations are clear.

And, I set the expectation that we’re going to get this done in 30 minutes. And then we look at the time we’re like, oh, my gosh, we’re already three minutes past and we have this one more thing we have to talk about. I love it. I’m going to do it, and I’m going to get that book. Thank you so much for that tip, and you seem like a really kind person, Stephanie.

And I mean that in a really good way. Because when I think about the kind of business that you’ve built, telecom is very heavily a male industry. And you have really jumped in there, and you have done this with very small staff, you’ve built a huge business. But yet I can tell that you’re kind, and you’re not running roughshod over people, like so many times happens in the business world. So how do you stay there? How do you stay kind and generous? And what other what are your values?

Kindness is one of them for sure.

I really picked up on it.

To be honest, one of the things I was doing just before recording this podcast was writing handwritten notes to the customers that I would have gone to physically visit this year. And instead, we’re including gift cards for them to take their staff out for coffee or go get coffee, or whatever. And just saying like, we’re sorry, we can’t meet you this year.

So, is it Tim Morton? The National coffee chain, right? When we lived in Canada, we were so fascinated by this Tim Mortons thing. And then, when we came back to the US, we were like, they’re starting to open here. It’s so exciting!

It’s not like it’s the greatest coffee around. But you know, it’s our little a lot of doughnuts.

That’s what really excited my husband was how many doughnuts they had? Yeah, he’s a big donut fan.

Yes, they do. And so you know, it’s the things that goes back to what’s important to me, and what kind of business would I be proud to run. And, in my space and Telecom, it is very male dominated. I can’t think of another female business owner. There are some in the US. But in terms of my peers that I talked with on a regular basis, it’s not. But I’ve come to realize that’s also my advantage. Right?

I don’t have to operate like others, I can do what’s authentic to me. And hence why we send handwritten cards. And at Christmas time, we usually send postcards that made the seed paper so you can plant the cards after they’re done with them grow flowers or herbs, you know, things like that, because I just think that’s cool. And it’s different, and it resonates with people.

That is so on brand for you.

Yeah. So, use the things that are important to you and leverage them. Because chances are, they’re what makes you unique anyway. And a little lesson I learned is when you’re growing up, and you just want to fit in. And like you just want to be like everybody else. Ironically, it’s the things that make you stand apart things that are different about you, that will be your true gems in life that can really, you know, whether to creativity, or like or look or whatever. Those are the things that can really help you to thrive in life. Ironic.

It is. Yes, absolutely agree with you. When you are helping women to launch their own businesses? Have you ever run into this is something I run into a lot, which is why I named the podcast Dare to Leap. Do you ever run into women who are afraid to take that leap?

Well, that is a rhetorical question. I mean, yes, I think on some level, and at some point, we all struggle with that. That dare of leaping of getting outside of our comfort zone and being afraid. And every so often it rears up for me. And there’s two things that I’ve learned throughout my life and throughout my business journey. One is and there’s a really powerful image and I’ll send you the link to this if you don’t already. Third, you have your comfort zone, and then you have where the magic happens.

We all struggle with that dare of leaping, and of being afraid. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet

The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. So, whatever it is that you want to do in life, it will require you to get out of your comfort zone. It will require you to face the fears and be brave and to leap and get out of your comfort zone. Whenever I feel nervous about something to me, it’s actually an indicator that I’m getting outside of my comfort zone. And it’s a good thing. And so I can be afraid, I can be nervous and take action. Because I think we think, Oh, I’m nervous. I’m afraid. I can’t take action, but you can be nervous and take action, you can be afraid.

That’s called courage. Yeah.

Yeah. So that’s one thing. And the other thing that I’ve learned in my life is that I was afraid of failing at something because I confused failing and being a failure. I thought, if I failed at something, I was a failure, to fail at something or to not have it work out or whatever it is that you call it, that’s just a verb, to fail. Being a failure is taking on all the personal crap of whatever that like convoluted feelings are that hold you back.

And you don’t need to take that on. You can fail at something and not be a failure, you can have something that workout and not be a failure. You don’t have to take that on. Don’t take it personally. And so as soon as I saw that, failing at something is really just a verb, just like it is to win at something, then it’s like, Okay, well, I can go for it. That doesn’t hold me back anymore.

I love that. That is a great way to look at that. Thank you so much for sharing that. Stephanie, I could talk to you all day long. If someone’s listening to this, and they’re like, wow, I want to know more about what Stephanie has to offer. I want to get to know her better, I want to become part of her community, whatever that is, can you tell people the best way to get in touch with you to learn more about you?

Yeah, the best way to get in touch with me is to go to wealthoffamily.com. And you can connect with me there. And there’s also a whole bunch of free resources on there for figuring out a business to start, like finding your passion through a whole resource library. You can they can participate in that as well.

Fabulous, I will put a link to that in the show notes. Because resources are always a good thing. I’m guessing somewhere, you might also have some inspirational quotes hanging out, do you some inspiration on Facebook or anywhere in your, you know, on Wealth of Family or anywhere? You just seem like the kind of person that would have inspirational quotes.

I think there’s an inspirational quote that I said on my page.

OK, good. I just thought maybe like Facebook business page or LinkedIn or something like that.

Ah, I’m working on it.

Okay, so there’s something new for you? Because I just see, do you like inspirational quotes?

I do.

I really see you as that person that likes it. There you go. Pinterest. Yes. Okay, cool. Here’s why you are inspiring me, I know you are inspiring the listeners. And I would love to have, I’m very serious here. I would love to have some quotes from you. Some of your words of wisdom that you just shared here, made into memes. If you don’t do it, I’m gonna do it.

And I will let you know I will tag you in the quotes that I have made. I do this all the time. I do when somebody inspires me. I’m like, wanna listen to someone take these little quotes that they’ve said, and then I have my social media graphic artists person, create them into memes for me? And, and I because I don’t want to forget. So, you can tell I’m really an inspiration. Ah, so you don’t have to worry about it. See, this is you guys. This is how she works 12 to 14 hours a week is she doesn’t take on somebody else’s burden. Like I was just trying to put that monkey on her back and she’s like, Yeah, no, no.

But this is the power of virtual assistants, right getting people to do the right thing.

Exactly. Yeah, you’re on my gravy guy. Hey, listen to that one. grab those inspirational quotes out of their make memes. I look forward to seeing them. That’s all I have to do. Done. That’s the way it should.


Well, Stephanie, I just have enjoyed this time together so much. I feel like I have gotten so much out of this. And I know everybody listening to this has. I look forward to stalking you online myself. And I mean, that literally, I will be following you. You never know, after COVID is over, I may have a reason to take a trip to Canada, because I would love to do that. And in fact, I have quite a few colleagues that I already know in Ontario. I’m pretty sure I can make that happen as a business trip.

I would love it. I would love to meet you in person once COVID is over. Yes, that would be wonderful. And keep up the great work that you’re doing as well. I mean, you’re the one that’s inspiring people and pulling this all together and engaging people and training them. I love it.

Thanks. Well, back to something that you said, to bring us full circle, which was when you really focus on those things that you really enjoy, and let go of those things that you really don’t enjoy, then you have more time. This podcast is a result of that. Because I had been thinking about doing a podcast for a very long time, and I just didn’t know how I would have the time to do it. Because I’m like, it’ll probably be a pain in the butt.

And it’ll take me a lot of time, and I won’t want to do it. So, I had a million reasons why. And then my team did a reorg. And my time got freed up a lot. And I said, You know, I think I’m gonna try this podcast thing. And I can tell you, I love it. And why I ever thought I wouldn’t I don’t know. So, thank you so much for the greatest of this new journey.

I am honored to be here. And I think you’ve got this little gem you’ve got going on here. So, thank you.

Thank you. And just so you guys all know, she does have a course for moms. Do you know that? Do you have a name for your course?

Well, the old name was not very sexy – How to Launch a Thriving Business That Fits Your Life For Moms. And it was clear. I like clear, but it’s not sexy. I’ll probably be naming it before we launch again.

Okay, so all right. Here’s what I’m excited about. I’m excited that we know what it is we we’ve got the clear one, and I can’t wait to hear this sexy one. So Refficient. That is a memorable one. That’s a sexy one. Right?

Yeah. It means to be efficient with resources and efficient. It’s so yes, it’s wonderful.

Thank you. So, all you have to do is come up with one that good for your course for moms on how to launch their own businesses.

No pressure. Oh, my goodness.

All right, Stephanie. Thank you so much.

About Stephanie McLarty

DTL 017 | Stephanie McLarty

Stephanie is an award-winning entrepreneur and champion of sustainable corporate practices.

In 2010, Stephanie founded REfficient, a transactional marketplace to buy new, never-used, refurbished and used equipment from sustainable sources. This “triple-win” model provides large Telecom and AV companies a trusted and efficient solution for deriving value from surplus inventory, while offering buyers reliable, often new equipment at savings of 20-70% over traditional sources. This innovative new green model benefits everyone by reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency.

Stephanie has led the growth of the technology-based company to a customer base spanning 4 continents that have diverted over 2M pounds from landfill using REfficient. Previous to REfficient, she worked for over 5 years in asset recovery and reverse logistics, first for a major telecom company and then as part of the consulting company she co-founded.

Stephanie is an accomplished speaker and regular guest lecturer on topics related to eco-entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility, women in business, international standardization and mobilizing young professionals. She is a frequent media commentator, having appeared in/on national media such as the Globe & Mail, CBC and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Stephanie is highly involved in the community, sitting on the boards of the Canadian National Committee for IEC, Wildlife Preservation Canada and the McMaster Alumni Association. She holds a H.B.Arts.Sc (Arts & Science) from McMaster University and a MA from the University of Innsbruck, Austria.

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