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Real Life Planning Podcast Episode 33: Creating an Entrepreneur Playground

Business Coaching

In Episode 33, I speak with sales coach and entrepreneur Liz Rossilli of Sales Savvy about her co-working event called the Entrepreneur Playground. Later in the episode, we delve into the importance of developing relationships with people to help propel your business growth.

“ Coworking with someone else- there's something about when someone is working, you're more apt to get more work done.” - Liz Rossilli

This week on Real Life Planning Podcast:


What is an “entrepreneur playground”? [00:00:41]


How can you benefit from an entrepreneurial playground environment? [00:03:46]


How does networking and connecting other business people help you? [00:08:17]


How is sales marketing like matchmaking? [00:10:33]


Which book series does Liz highly recommend to entrepreneurs? [00:12:51]

Takeaway Quotes:

“It's not like you have to sell. You just have to share your passion. Share your passion with what you do with as many people as you can.” - Liz Rossilli

“Collaboration creates inspiration.” - Cynthia Meyer

“...everyone says that referrals are the best clients but we can’t all just rely on referrals.” - Liz Rossilli

“It’s the relationships that get results in business.” - Cynthia Meyer

Connect with Cynthia Meyer:

Connect with Liz Rossilli:

TRANSCRIPT for Episode 33

[00:00:06] Cynthia Meyer: So what if small business entrepreneurs had a playground? Where would it be? And what would it be like to go there? On this episode of the Real Life Planning Podcast, episode 33, we're talking with Liz Rossilli who is a sales coach and multi passionate entrepreneur and she has started something really fabulous called the Entrepreneur Playground. She's going to tell us a little about it.

[00:00:29] Liz, welcome. I'm so excited to have you here this morning.

[00:00:33] Liz Rossilli: Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. And it's my first time on a podcast talking about the Entrepreneur Playground. So I'm really excited to talk about it too.

[00:00:41] Cynthia Meyer: So tell us right up front. I love this idea. What is an Entrepreneur Playground?

[00:00:47] Liz Rossilli: It's like a coworking space. We're using a coworking space as our place. We say it's like the playground. When you go, you don't know who's going to show up. You don't know what you're going to do for like to play and to hang out and who you're going to meet. And so it's a place to go get your work done. But when you need a break, you can go and like sit next to someone you don't know or see someone that you maybe haven't seen in a while and the energy and the just that feeling of " Oh my God, I've missed you. I haven't seen you in so long." Or you start talking to someone new and find out you're both have this thing in common and you're trying to grow your businesses and that collaboration happens.

[00:01:26] And just that energy in the room is- we can't get that online now. So we're just trying to do something to bring people together and to get them back out and realizing that you can work and get work done while you're there, but you can also just go and- we usually put a question on the board, too.

[00:01:42] Cynthia Meyer: So getting to this idea of how all these pieces provided what you needed to birth this idea of Entrepreneur Playground, right? If you had one piece of guidance for somebody who was coming to the Entrepreneur Playground for the first time, what would that be?

[00:02:02] Liz Rossilli: I would just say just plan to have fun. Bring your work that you want to get done, but don't come on a day where you have five deadlines and you have to go sit in the corner by yourself. Come on a day where you're open to meeting new people; to getting some work done. We all sit close to each other and then when you- it's okay if you need to ask someone a question. But that you just are looking to just meet new people and just to really get back to the way- I feel like people since COVID are not back the same way they were before.

[00:02:33] My thing is that this is how you're going to grow your business by just once again talking to as many people as you can in an environment knowing- it's easier knowing that everyone there is there for the same reason.

[00:02:45] Cynthia Meyer: So interesting that you and your partners decided to create the Entrepreneur Playground at a coworking space. Coworking in general, how has that benefited you for the times that you've spent in the coworking space?

[00:02:58] Liz Rossilli: Yes. Her name is Allison Rogers. She owns the coworking space I go to and she explains it, that there's something called mirroring. And if someone across from you is doing something, it's going to be easier for you to do it.

[00:03:11] I was with a friend of mine, we were coworking and she pulls out this to do list and I was like, Oh my God, I need a really nice looking list. But while she was working, it made me stay focused on working. And I feel like, all my desk at home here is a mess and distractions, the dogs, the laundry, like the kids. So when I go to a coworking space, it's you sit down at a clean desk. The coworking space, Blush, that I go to, she has extra monitors. So if you're used to having two monitors, you can plug in and...

[00:03:42] Cynthia Meyer: You can plug in...

[00:03:43] Liz Rossilli: Monitors. Yeah. She has amazing coffee; really good coffee and flavored waters. And it's just such a nice, it's really clean and bright in there. Coworking with someone else- there's something about when someone is working, you're more apt to get more work done. 

[00:03:59] Cynthia Meyer: Yeah. Yeah. During the more shutdown parts of COVID, for example, I and some other planners, we did like virtual coworking on Zoom, but that's not the same as sitting quietly next to somebody and just trying to crush it. Yeah.

[00:04:17] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. I think too, where most of us are in business on our own, even if we're part of a team, we're usually alone. And so if something really great happens, having someone sitting across from you, you can be like, Oh my God, just guess what just happened? Someone to share that with is wonderful, too.

[00:04:33] If you had a million dollars, what's one frivolous thing you would do with it?" And people, it was fun to see what people put up on the board. I put that I would get have someone blow dry my hair out for me every day. It's what I would do.

[00:04:45] Cynthia Meyer: That's a lot of blowouts for a million dollars. But as somebody who has a few small businesses- both of us each have a few small businesses and real estate businesses, as well. I'm going to tell you, I see clients all day long on zoom and I don't see people in person that much anymore. And I love it when I see people in person. I'm so extroverted.

[00:05:06] I miss that energy. So I think it's a needed thing. It's a need that you're filling by creating the Entrepreneur Playground and I'm hoping that you can see this idea in other places around the country because collaboration creates inspiration. 

[00:05:22] Liz Rossilli: I totally agree. And I think that, like I said, we were all like, Oh, here's all my to do lists. I can't go, I got to stay and get this stuff done. But sometimes you need to have that play in your business. So not like your day at the spa or whatever, but this is a day to go and put yourself out there.

[00:05:38] Maybe there's someone who's four steps behind you and you can meet them and you can mentor them in just like 20 minute conversation and inspire them to do something and vice versa. Maybe you meet someone who's ahead of you. The first- we've done it twice now. The first one we had a workshop at lunchtime.

[00:05:56] So I found a speaker to come in and talk to the group and it was nice. We moved to another part of the coworking space and had this great lunch. I bring juice boxes with popcorn and fruit snacks. I brought raisins for the healthy people and like all this...

[00:06:10] Cynthia Meyer: You gotta bring goldfish.

[00:06:11] Liz Rossilli: Yeah, I had goldfish. So I go to Target and I buy all these snacks and they're like- I do it with my friend Melissa Ternes and Ryan Ray and she made cute signs that say this is the sandbox area so you can go and collaborate over in the sandbox area and we have snack time. There's just a different energy there than when you're just home and getting the same stuff done.

[00:06:32] Cynthia Meyer: So you're in North Carolina now, but you and I used to be neighbors in Gladstone, New Jersey. And one of the things that I noticed about you when I first met you is that you're a connector, right? You put people together. So you're a connector in your personal and community life. You're a connector in your profession. You're a connector with your clients. Does that resonate with you?

[00:06:55] Liz Rossilli: Oh yeah. People say that for a while I was called like a professional networker. I feel that I am definitely a connector and I love to put the pieces together and I have this- I just did a post recently on LinkedIn about asking if people like digital or paper business cards. And I'm a paper business card person because I might not remember your name, but I'll remember what your card look like. I can visually see it. So then I could be like, I'll meet someone and I'll remember something about you and I'll be- and I'll have to go through all my business cards, but I'll find, and I'll make that connection. That's part of my passion is making those connections and just finding ways to add value and help other people.

[00:07:39] Cynthia Meyer: And you're also, I think, a natural hostess, right? You're a welcomer, right? So if you're in a room with 100 people, you will find the 10 people that don't know anybody and make sure that they know each other. So how has this informed- starting this business that you're currently focusing on now, Sales Savvy?

[00:07:57] Liz Rossilli: Because once again, like I do a lot of networking. On North Carolina, there's a ton of opportunities to network. And so I run a women's empowerment group down here, Big. I have Big going down here. I am part of some other networking groups, but like networking, you show up, you have to feel like you have to share cards and talk to so many people where a coworking day has a different feel because you're in there for a while; you're going to work.

[00:08:23] But for me- for business, it's just like one of those parts of giving back and just feeling like I'm trying to make a difference in my community and there's people that have never done networking before and they show up. It's great for them to like it's overwhelming the amount of people that want to talk to them and learn about their business and so it's just a great way to share your passion.

[00:08:45] And so that helps me because part of sales is getting out there and networking and outreach. So it just helps me to show people like, you don't have to stay home and just be focused on what's your next post online. You can get out there and talk to people and build those- it builds deeper relationships is what it's about.

[00:09:04] Cynthia Meyer: It's the relationships that get results in business. Even if we're selling a product, in my opinion, and that- it's building relationships; your relationships with your customers or your clients. The relationships with other people in your industry, your profession, it's the relationships I think that get results. So keep being a little bit more personal in your day to day business. 

[00:09:25] So how would you work with a client at Sale Savvy? What's a typical situation where somebody comes to you and then how do you try and coach them?

[00:09:33] Liz Rossilli: One of the programs I'm doing now is called the VIP Experience.

[00:09:37] We talk ahead and figure out what their issues are, where they're struggling in their business, where their blocks are. Then we- I plan out a day and we usually do either two and a half hours one day and two and a half hours on the other day or we just do- we crush through four and a half hours of just like sitting down and coming up with action items and working through these issues and doing that in a, like in a one day with then a follow up in a couple of weeks to see how all that implementation is going.

[00:10:06] But usually people just need someone to listen to their- like where they are and to say out loud, if you don't feel comfortable with what you're selling, like whether it's a product or a service, if you can't articulate exactly what it is, then how are you- how is someone else supposed to understand that.

[00:10:24] So we break that down. We go through what the program or the product is. What the pricing is. And then who is, who's your audience? Who is it? You're trying to get to, and how's the best way to reach out to them?

[00:10:36] Cynthia Meyer: I've always thought in my career,  I've always thought of the sales or marketing component to be like matchmaking. So for example, in my financial planning business, I work with real estate investors, and when I have discovery calls with people, they're taking me for a test drive. I'm taking them for a test drive and we're trying to see, am I their person? Am I a good fit? And if I'm not their person, I just refer them to somebody else, right?

[00:11:01] Maybe they don't fit into the niche of people that I best to serve to help, or possibly it's just not a super great personality fit. And then I want them to find their person. Like, just continually making offers, hopefully in an efficient way, till you find your people.

[00:11:16] Every product or service has a group of people that needs it. That they can really benefit from it. 

[00:11:21] Liz Rossilli: Yeah, and I think it's building that- building those relationships, talking to as many people, and you don't have to- it's not like you have to sell. You just have to share your passion.

[00:11:31] That's all you're doing. Share your passion with what you do with as many people as you can, and because the person you're talking to might not be your ideal client or might not be someone who needs your services. But who do they know? And if you've built that relationship, the person you're talking to is going to be like, "You know what? I really want to help Cynthia out. Like who do I know?" And they're going to go out of their way because now you have a relationship with them. So, most of my clients are actually- most of them are local because I do so much and I'm always giving and I'm always trying to help others. So it might not come back today and it might not come back tomorrow, but I believe in the karma of business and that eventually, I do it just because I enjoy it, but that eventually, I get those referrals.

[00:12:16] I sit next to the right person at an event and that person is struggling with their business and we have a call and it's a good fit.

[00:12:24] Cynthia Meyer: I think that's a really good point, Liz. It's something you do naturally for all the years that I've known you. You look at networking or building relationship as a give first, right? How can I help somebody else as opposed to going to an event and seeing how people could help you. And I think it's a really just for anybody who's listening who's maybe struggling a little bit with getting clients or getting customers. So you think when you go to the chamber meeting or the real estate group meeting or whatever, how can I help this other person get what they need? It tends to come back to us, I think.

[00:12:58] Liz Rossilli: Yeah, there's- if I can recommend a book. I've started instead of reading 20 business books in a year, I try to read two to three books a year and then fully implement them and then read them again instead of moving on to the next one because you don't- can't actually take action.

[00:13:13] So my book for this year is, The Go Giver Sells More.

[00:13:17] Cynthia Meyer: I haven't heard of that. Who's that by?

[00:13:19] Liz Rossilli: It's by Bob Burg. I usually have a copy right at my desk. But...

[00:13:22] Cynthia Meyer: That's good. So we'll link to that in the show notes.

[00:13:25] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. There's The Go Giver, which is like a story; a fable. But The Go Giver tells more; is more of like action items. It talks about listening. It talks about always giving. And it's just- I read it and it wasn't like it was new information, but it just validated. I was like...

[00:13:40] Cynthia Meyer: That's you!

[00:13:41] Liz Rossilli: This is what I'm doing! Yeah. So it made me feel like, yeah, this- I don't have to be trying to change the way I sell. Like, this is how I want to sell and how I want to run my business.

[00:13:53] So it was great. So it's Go Giver Sells More and you can read Go Giver because they talk about- it's very short. Go Giver is like- you could read it in an afternoon and it's just a great little story and then Go Givers Sell More it's a great- it's a great action item book.

[00:14:07] Cynthia Meyer: This is a really cool takeaway. I think that you suggested it is because those of us who read, we're constantly reading books with great ideas, right? And just- I love this idea that you have of just picking one or two and saying, okay, I'm going to work this for a year.

[00:14:23] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. Yeah. Same thing. I will say it's the same thing with courses. Don't keep signing up for another class because you don't have time to fully embrace and take in everything that you just learned and using it. So I think it's the same thing with courses, too.

[00:14:41] Cynthia Meyer: Oh, you are so right and on target on that. If you're a reader or a learner we can over consume on course stuff.

[00:14:47] Liz Rossilli: Yes. Yes.

[00:14:48] Cynthia Meyer: That being said, I would love for you to have your own course. Have you been thinking about that?

[00:14:51] Liz Rossilli: I have a membership. I have a membership already.

[00:14:54] Cynthia Meyer: Tell us about that.

[00:14:55] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. Okay. So it's called The Circle of Success and it's just $47 a month because I don't want money or time to get in the way from people being more successful in their business.

[00:15:07] And there are- it's an online course and then we do monthly group calls. Together and to talk about, and everyone can be in a different place, but it's like, what are you struggling with? Or what are your wins this month? And then we just people can go around and talk. But it's bite sized pieces of sales tips. So every week there's just- it would take you probably 10 minutes, if that, every week to just do, just to build on your sales process. And it's a year long program.

[00:15:34] Cynthia Meyer: And you're attracting clients to your business that you can really serve effectively. Talk to us a little bit about your process for your business and how that informs how you teach and coach others.

[00:15:49] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. Do you mean which, what type of clients that I bring in?

[00:15:52] Cynthia Meyer: Or type of client who you can best serve. How you reach out to them, et cetera.

[00:15:57] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. Yeah. So of course everyone says that referrals are the best; make the best clients. But we can't all just rely on referrals. When I was starting my membership, for example, I thought Oh, this is $47. I'm going to have all these people who were in my network- are going to just jump in, and it doesn't, it didn't, doesn't always happen that way. So you have to be like okay, I need to look at this from a different angle. And I started calling the people that in my network that I knew could benefit from this. Like thinking through who's struggling, busy, doing well in their business, but I know that they struggle with the sales aspect and just calling them and having that conversation like, Hey, I just want to call you and just check in and I want to tell you about my membership because I think it could be a good fit for you. And that's how I got most of the people that initially signed up was because I picked up the phone and called. And I was like, look, I'm taking my own advice, my own sales advice about picking up the phone and when I did it, it worked. So, for me, it's about who do I have a good connection with? Who who have I met? Like I do some- I set up vendor events, too. And I go- we have something here called LinkedIn Local, which is put on by a LinkedIn trainer and I sponsor that. So I have a table and get people to come by the booth. And I will say that my best advice, if you do events is that- is the follow up. Like you have to make sure that you get their card or their name and their email and their phone number and everybody's busy. So you can't expect people to oh, we had a great conversation. they're going to call me, right? Or I sent out one email after and then they'll- like people are busy; so you have to continue to follow up. My advice is like I say I would rather have a no than not no. So I'm going to keep calling until they say no and before I'm just sitting there I called them once and they didn't answer. So they're probably not interested because they're probably just busy. Yeah. 

[00:17:53] And interesting to say that you said that you like on the telephone. 

[00:17:57] Get out in the world and pick up the phone because to me, if you send an email, they're not going to hear your passion over the phone.

[00:18:05] If they're interested, but they have a question, they have to then write you back, and then you have to respond, and who knows if they're still in the same mood. But if you, if they, if you call them, and they hear your passion, and then they have an objection or a question, you can handle it right on the phone.

[00:18:22] And so I say the phone is just amazing. And probably your competitors are not using utilizing the phone either. So you could be one up on your competition that way, too. 

[00:18:32] Cynthia Meyer: No, I think so. In fact, two people called into Real Life Planning yesterday when I was- during meetings and my assistant and I have not, we have not called them back yet. So I guess we're going to put that on the schedule today.

[00:18:42] What's the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

[00:18:46] Liz Rossilli: I come from an entrepreneurial family, so I've been an entrepreneur for almost 30 years. My dad was an entrepreneur while I was growing up and always inventing things. He started a company called Cape Cod Polish that my brother still runs. It's a metal polishing cloth. And my brother still runs it in Massachusetts. And my dad, when I graduated college, I joined- we started this company and I ran the office for a while and then I went into sales, but there's no roadmap out there when you're starting a new business. You want to do it your way.

[00:19:15] And so, there were a lot of challenges, a lot of trial and error; a lot of failures. He would always say to me, if it was easy, everyone would do it. And that sticks in my head to this day of whenever I'm really struggling. I think if it was easy, everyone would do it. And that just gets me through to the next point.

[00:19:34] Cynthia Meyer: So looking ahead, say over the next 10 years, if everything works out exactly the way that you wanted it to with your business and with these projects that you've inspired in your business, like your membership and the Entrepreneur Playground, for example, what's that look like?

[00:19:51] Liz Rossilli: I'm just enjoying every day. I say it's about the journey. It's not about the finish line. And for me to get up every day and I do the miracle morning in the morning. So I get up early. I get my workout done and I just look forward to my day. And my kids, my youngest is going to go off to college in a year. And so I'll be an empty nester.

[00:20:11] And for me, it's the first time where I haven't had to have other people with their schedules, like ruling my life. And so my husband...

[00:20:21] Cynthia Meyer: It's like sports parenting.

[00:20:22] Liz Rossilli: Yeah. He's ready to retire where I was the one who had to like, drive them to school and pick them up and do all the things. And so my day was condensed based on their schedules.

[00:20:31] And so, for me, it's just about the excitement of that I can go full force in my business now and just and then I love being an entrepreneur where I can go to the beach when I want to go to the beach. I can go to Italy with him when he has a meeting in Italy and do these things and run my business from wherever I am.

[00:20:49] So I, my 10 year, I hope is that I still am loving whatever it is I'm doing as much as I love it now.

[00:20:56] Cynthia Meyer: Oh, that's so fun. So speaking of the beach, I understand that during COVID you branched out into a new business which is running a vacation rental. Tell us a little bit about that.

[00:21:09] Liz Rossilli: Yes. I grew up on Cape Cod and for the last 25 years, I've missed being on the beach and we've always talked about buying a beach house.

[00:21:19] And then during COVID, I woke up one morning and I said, This is it. I told my husband, I said, we've been talking about this for 20 years, we're buying a beach house now. And it was like at the beginning of COVID, which the market wasn't great. There was a lot of uncertainty and he was like, I don't think this is a good time. Luckily, we bought right before everyone else thought that they- it's a good idea to buy a beach house; which is good. So it was a good investment. And yeah, it's about two and a half hours from me. So I bought it for me, but it's a rental. So we get to rent it out. I have a rental company that does the most of the advertising and getting the people in and out. But I'm enjoying having that and being able to- we're going next week for the week. But it's fun to have something like that, that I know that when I'm ready, I can have it not be a rental and just be for us. But in the meantime, it's nice. We were able to take the money that we have made from the house and renovate the whole kitchen. So you have to come back Cynthia, because now the kitchen is all redone and it's beautiful. 

[00:22:20] We were there in 2021, I think. It was stunning at that time.

[00:22:24] Yeah, so we redid the kitchen and it's the place I can go now where you go and you're just- I feel motivated and inspired there, too. So I love to work on the beach also. And I love to go- down here you can go November, December- anytime a year can still be beautiful. So I love that I can go year round there.

[00:22:42] Cynthia Meyer: You're a Northeasterner, right? How long have you been living in North Carolina? Like eight years?

[00:22:45] Liz Rossilli: Eight years now, but we've left and come back here four times since 94... 96.

[00:22:51] Cynthia Meyer: So you really have lived- most of your adult life. Okay.

[00:22:54] Liz Rossilli: Yeah.

[00:22:54] Cynthia Meyer: In the South, do you find like there are differences in how people do business or did this affect your sales or marketing in a different way, maybe positive or negative?

[00:23:05] Liz Rossilli: I think it's a lot easier here. First of all, there's so many transplants that you don't really- if you meet someone who grew up in North Carolina, it's the rarity now, but I think when people move down here, there is that slower pace.

[00:23:19] You could go to the supermarket and the person in front of you could be talking to the cashier for five minutes; just having a conversation.

[00:23:25] Cynthia Meyer: Which I love. But in New Jersey, people would be like...

[00:23:28] Liz Rossilli: My husband has had some issues with that. A little trouble.

[00:23:32] But I think it's just when you're doing business here, people are more- you might not build the deep connections right away, but people are more open to meeting each other. Where in New Jersey, when I lived there, I felt like people there were a little more closed off. They weren't as used to like new people coming in and just being like, Hi! And there's a lot going on here. A lot of events. So people who are in that networking world. Yeah, it's a lot going on here.

[00:23:57] Cynthia Meyer: Yeah. So you're in the Raleigh, Durham, Cary area, right? Which is just- probably since you moved there, it's probably doubled in size. I would guess.

[00:24:04] Liz Rossilli: It's yeah. Yeah. And we have a lot of pharma down here. A lot of bioscience. A lot of finance. Like everything. And like Apple is coming. They're building a whole campus down- 10 minutes from my house.

[00:24:16] So there's a lot of like business stuff happening here. So it's really easy to go find- if you're looking for something to go find it. But some of the networking events feel a little more, like I said, transactional. Where I'm looking to build relationships because I want to know you to know how- and the question always is, how can I help you?

[00:24:35] That's the first question. So if you're a good listener- the networking, you can do well because people do like to talk about themselves.

[00:24:43] Cynthia Meyer: So Liz, where can we find you online and where can you find information about your firm, Sales Savvy, and also about the Entrepreneur Playgrounds?

[00:24:53] Liz Rossilli: So I'm, LinkedIn is my place to be. I like to post on LinkedIn. So it's just my name, Liz Rossilli on LinkedIn. I do have a website called GetSalessavvy. com. And that lists all my programs. Facebook and Instagram, things like that- I find them- I'm on there, but not as much for business. I find them difficult to control what people see.

[00:25:16] I feel like LinkedIn, if I post something, people are more apt to see it. I feel like on LinkedIn, too, you still need to be yourself because people buy from people. So don't just post like the image of your firm or like a stock photo. Like, they need to see you and get to know who you are, too.

[00:25:33] So I, I'm not, some people are a little, nervous about doing that on LinkedIn, but I just like to do a post or a video and then just hit go before I have a chance to think.

[00:25:43] Cynthia Meyer: Thank you so much for talking to us this morning about all things entrepreneur. And I look forward to seeing you again soon, either the next time you're up here or I'm in North Carolina. And if you're listening, if you found this useful, please go ahead and hit subscribe for notifications of future episodes.

[00:26:03] Thanks very much, Liz.

[00:26:04] Liz Rossilli: Thank you.

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