Our Best & Worst Business Decisions with Lianne Kim



One thing Lianne firmly believes she’s done right since the beginning happens to be what she preaches the most: she’s built her business around her life, and not the other way around. She’s always had entrepreneurial inklings, but it wasn’t until after having her 2 kids, a full time job and 2 glorious years of maternity leave that she really gave entrepreneurship a go. She felt like her day job was the thing holding her back, so her husband was all in- as long as it wasn’t at the expense of the great life balance they had. She was very conscious about what she wanted to build, and how many hours she wanted to work but sometimes you can start something and it takes on a life of its own! Before you know it, you realize, “Crap- I’m married to this business and I don’t even like it anymore! How did I get here?!”

That happened to her to an extent, but the goal was ALWAYS family/LIFE first, and business second… which was the driving factor for her in writing her book, Building a Joyful Business. They’re good at the balance, but there are still moments where it gets out of alignment.

If you intend for your business to fit into your life, there are certain decisions you have to make early on to make sure you stay on that path.

For me, I’d say the right thing has always been hiring a coach. Thinking back to when my business was still just an expensive hobby - which it was for many years - nothing changed until I hired a coach. I was in my late 20’s making $92k/year as a divisional manager, which I was happy about! But there was constant pressure and stress, and it didn’t feel like my own and it wasn’t authentic all the time. I hired a business coach and he helped me double my income within 2 years. What’s crazy is I learned that changing companies actually allowed me to make more money, because it taught me to be specific with what I needed to be making.
The second thing was realizing I needed to hire a branding coach. I was missing a few key pieces from my business, and the things she taught me are what actually started making money at this. Lastly, the year we worked with Rick Mulready was our first 7-figure year! Every time I work with a coach, I’m at my best. It’s easy to get into a negative headspace and protect our ego, but I’ve always found that when I have a coach telling me what I’m doing well and what to focus MORE on, or they’re shifting my perspective, I want to work even harder both for them and for myself.

It’s the secret every time: hire a coach. Find somebody you really connect and vibe with. The rest of it will just happen and somehow it comes together.

Lianne’s story and mine are very similar, because we both hired Rick Mulready as a coach. Looking back, Lianne says she agrees about hiring a coach and one thing she’d do differently is hire a coach sooner. Something she hears a lot from her customers is, “I thought I had to get to a magical, elusive “success” in my business to be worthy of hiring a coach.” It can be hard to spend a big chunk of money early on if you don’t know what your return on investment will be! She resisted doing that for a while. Now, she thinks she waited longer than she should have, but she doesn’t like the word “regret” because she believes every choice brings us where we are, which is exactly where we’re supposed to be. Looking back, however, she agrees there would’ve been less struggle and hustle if she’d hired a coach sooner.

It’s tempting to be thrifty, and perhaps being raised to think mindfulness of spending is very smart. VERY quickly in business, however, you learn that you have to spend money to make money! The thing Lianne is noticing the return on investment now is in her team. Back in the day, she was alone until she had the courage to invest in a virtual assistant who grew their business a bit. Now there are 10 people and everyone is committed to their goals and good at their craft! If Lianne could impart any wisdom, it’s to get really good at finding great talent and when you find them, treat them like gold. In her early days, she admits she didn’t value some people enough. She wasn’t good at articulating what she wanted them to deliver, and didn’t show them enough appreciation. Now, it’s a very big part of what they do- they make sure they love on both their customers AND their team. Coaches are great, but most coaches or consultants don’t work IN your business… they’re advising from the outside in and you’ve got a team who’s supposed to perform from the inside out. She thinks of some of her team members as partners because they bring so much genius to the table and they’re truly in it with her. Something she’d do differently now is hire sooner, and KEEP HIRING. Don’t wait so long between them.

It’s so true! I think hiring can be some of the toughest investments to make, but as the leader of your business, if you’re not doing those “top 5%” activities, then who’s growing your business? Not you- your plate is full!

As much as Lianne loves business and is great at it, part of her reserves brainpower for her family. She’s worked on switching the business part of her brain off when her kids come through the door at 5:30, even though it’s hard sometimes. She’s officially 10 years into raising kids now, and she feels that “mom guilt” is one of the hardest things for mom entrepreneurs. Most messaging says it’s impossible to be great in both business and motherhood, and she’s on a mission to fight that. For me, hearing Coco yelling “mama” from the other room has definitely been hard. In the beginning, one of the most important things for me was being there if Coco needed me. I’d put down what I was doing when it came to naptime and help out, but releasing that guilt was very freeing. Looking back, I think a lot of this connects to our childhoods. There were things I appreciated about my parents, and things that were hard. We traveled a lot because they were very free, which I have great memories of! Other bars were harder to grasp, like them being pulled in different directions having 4 kids, and not being able to sit and watch my skating practices. Seeing other parents there watching their kids made it hard, so I don’t want to be tied down during those events so I can be there for Coco. It’s a childhood wound I’m trying to heal for myself AND my own kids!

We do this without even realizing it as parents. Lianne pointed out that we ARE trying to heal our childhood and give our children the best possible experience. Her mom didn’t work for most of her growing up years, but her dad had the big career and by the end of it he was miserable. He had an hour and a half commute each way to a downtown office where he was underappreciated. He said, “Kid, you gotta do what you love. Life is short, you gotta do what you love.” When she wrote her book, Building a Joyful Business, she decided to dedicate it to her parents because she knew her dad might not be around for the next one, and she was right. He passed away a couple of months ago.

“Life is short and if we’re not having any fun, what the hell is it all for?”
Lianne said.

That’s why she’s passionate about women finding what they love. If that's a day job, GREAT! If that’s working part time, volunteering at school, fine! We wait SO long to feel worthy enough to create the life of our dreams and it’s a shame. We’re wasting our most precious and non-renewable resource, which is time. It took her till the age of 40 when she decided she was “ready enough” and good enough to quit her job and start her own business. In some ways she’d start sooner, but in other ways she recognizes that she might not have been emotionally ready to take the leap before her two years of paid maternity leave that’s so coveted in Canada. She needed to check certain things off and feel like she had a foundation before starting, and frankly she might be in a totally different business if she’d started 10 years earlier. Her passion now is helping moms grow successful entrepreneurial businesses.

Sometimes you don’t know how the dots will connect, but they all do someday! I also see a clear thread woven through everything I’ve done, where I was at one point and where I am now. I was working a 9-5, trying to get my business going and if Amy Porterfield would’ve said “Here’s your business in a box so you don’t have to figure it all out,” I would’ve given her all my money to help get me going! I wouldn’t be the person I am now without my past, and the opportunities I’ve had.

Lianne knows what it’s like to not feel valued not only in compensation, but how little someone cared if she had time off with her kid. When she still had 1 child, she couldn’t work from home and they wouldn’t allow it. No one cared if her day started at 6am and didn’t end until she put her kid to bed and collapsed on the couch after running all day. SHe was one of the first people in her company to get pregnant, so she paved the way for future generations after she left. She told them exactly what she thought and they changed a lot of their policies. Value has become an important part of how they treat both their team and their customers. In the early days of business, there’s SO much to learn and execute and she wasn’t strong in the compassion area. Now, they understand value and showing people how much they’re loved even before they become customers. They’ve had customers stick around for 5 years, which is unheard of in the online world!

Lianne decided to write her book in the early days of Covid, when she was coaching these entrepreneur moms who suddenly had their kids at home, and were in tears on their coaching calls because they thought they’d have to say goodbye to their businesses. She’d coached them to build their businesses in a certain way, but it was no longer bringing them joy! She wrote the book to bring everything together in a quick, easy-to-consume way to help people avoid that place and build something they enjoy from day one. Women tell her they want to feel more fulfilled, more themselves and like they’re making an impact and spending their days wisely.

The book is a roadmap to tie this all together. It’s a 240-page guide for how to build a fantastic entrepreneurial business around your unique gifts and talents, so you’re not swimming upstream. She talks a lot about how to have dream clients so your business feels effortless and joyful.

The best part? She wants our listeners and readers - YOU - to have a free copy!

To get your copy of Building a Joyful Business, go to liannekim.com/book and use the promo code “SOCIAL” if you’re ordering one copy. All you’ll pay is shipping!

(I’ve read her book and written a review! One thing I loved was how tangible everything felt! It was SO easy to understand and implement!)  

Key Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Nobody ever got rich being thrifty. It’s not the key to success. The key is investing in things that have a 10-fold or more return.
  • No matter what stage in life you’re at, you’re never too advanced and it’s never too late to do work like this.


Lianne’s Instagram Handle: @liannekimcoach 
Lianne’s book, Building a Joyful Business:

Don’t forget….. If you loved this episode, screenshot it and share it to your IG stories and tag me @theashleyshaw.  I would love to connect with you!

About the author 

Ashley Shaw

Employee account created by MemberMouse

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