Better Communication Between You and Your Business Partner With Encore Empire

Are you on this entrepreneurial journey with someone else?

Business owners often ask whether or not I can help them with their specific type of business. Perhaps they’re a business selling a product instead of a service, or they’re in a very unique niche. And while most of the small businesses I work with are solopreneurs, sometimes I see two people who’ve come together as business partners.

Co-CEOs need support, strategies, and systems specifically designed to help them too, because a partnership can open up new communication and work challenges. That’s why today I’ve invited Carmen Reed-Gilkison and Deirdre Harter, the co-CEOs of Encore Empire, to share their perspective on how two people can efficiently work together.

In this episode of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, you’ll hear how they’ve streamlined and upleveled how they communicate in their business. They’ll discuss how they ensure they’re not stepping on the other’s toes or accidentally re-doing the other’s work… and avoid overworking themselves in the process.

On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:

6:06 – Where did the idea come from to form a business partnership and launch Encore Empire? Deirdre and Carmen discuss how they came together.

10:07 – Deirdre and Carmen love working with midlife women looking to launch something new. Why do they focus on this specific group?

16:25 – Where was Encore Empire a year ago when Deirdre and Carmen first joined The CEO Collective? They talk about the changes they’ve made in their business since.

25:19 – Deirdre and Carmen share the biggest takeaway they’ve implemented (and recommend) as business partners from attending the CEO retreats and working within the Collective.

30:30 – What are Deirdre and Carmen most proud of accomplishing in the last year? What’s really made a difference for their business?

Mentioned in Better Communication Between You and Your Business Partner With Encore Empire


Racheal Cook: While the majority of the small businesses that I work with are run by a single CEO, the founder, the business owner, occasionally, we get a new business that applies and it is run by two co-CEOs. Two people have come together as business partners and they are looking for more strategy, systems, and support.

Because while having two individuals running the company can make it much faster and easier because two people are getting things done, it can also open up a whole new set of challenges, a whole new layer of communication challenges, staying on the same page, making sure everybody is really staying in their lane so the business can run as efficiently as possible.

As you can imagine, lots of challenges come up along the way when you have a business partner. That's why I wanted to bring on Carmen and Deirdre of Encore Empire today to talk about how implementing the 90 Day CEO Operating System into their business has helped them to really streamline, has helped them to up-level how they communicate and how they run their businesses together. Let's get into it.

Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.

Hey there, CEOs. Welcome back to another interview in this series all about ending entrepreneurial poverty and hustle culture. If you have been following through the last few weeks here on the podcast, then you've heard me talk about why women entrepreneurs have a lot of odds stacked against them and then the three main levers we can pull to start shifting things in a more sustainable direction.

Well, one of the things that comes up quite often when we are opening the doors to The CEO Collective to help more small business owners make their business more streamlined and more efficient is “Is this going to work for me? Is this actually going to work for my particular business, for the industry that I'm in, for the business model I have? What about if I have a business partner? What if I have a team or don't have a team?” There are always these what-ifs.

I'm sure if you've thought about joining our program or really any program, you've had the same thought. I love doing these interviews because it's a great way for me to share and showcase our incredible clients because we attract such a diversity of industries, such a diversity in business models, a diversity in how people have chosen to market their business, sell their offerings, deliver their offerings, and run their business, have their team in place, how they put all of the pieces together.

This is why I love the frameworks that I use because honestly, they are built on sound long-term business strategies. Once you have the framework of the 90 Day CEO Operating System in place, you have the ability to really tweak and adjust it to fit your exact situation, to really be tailored to your exact business.

We don't believe in one size fits all. We do not believe there is only one marketing strategy, one sales strategy, one way to deliver your products, programs, and services, one way to be the CEO even. In fact, we talk a lot about how everybody brings their own strengths to the table and that will impact all of the other elements.

Today, I'm excited to talk with Carmen Reed-Gilkinson and Deirdre Harter. They are the co-founders of Encore Empire, a business coaching company that specializes in helping women who are in middle age and really getting ready to launch a brand new career as an entrepreneur, as a business owner.

I wanted to talk to them today because when you have a business partner, there's such a different level of strategy, of systems, of support that you need and you need to be able to make sure that as you're running your business, you have these infrastructure pieces in place, you have a solid framework to grow, you have great boundaries in place, you have clarity about who is in charge of what.

Without having this clarity, we tend to see business partners overlap quite a lot where they end up doing the same work as the other person because it wasn't clear. They end up redoing the other person's work. They end up stepping on each other's toes because they will think that they should take over something that the other person was supposed to do.

It really is an opportunity to grow faster because you have twice the manpower or the woman power, but you also have so much more communication that needs to happen, so much more infrastructure that needs to be in place to make sure that you're not having double the manpower but doubling down on each other's work.

Today, I'm so excited to have them join us and share a little bit about their experience coming into The CEO Collective and how working through our process as business partners has made an impact for them.

Hey there, Carmen and Deirdre. I'm so excited you are joining me today. Welcome to Promote Yourself to CEO.

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: Thank you. We are super excited to be here.

Racheal Cook: I invited both of you to come on because it has been so much fun over the last year getting to work with you both, getting to know you both and I think your story is so fantastic about how you got started with Encore Empire. Let's start there. I want to hear from both of you, how did you get started, where did the idea come from to launch a partnership and start Encore Empire?

Deirdre Harter: When the pandemic started, Racheal, my business was coaching people in the e-commerce space and I was an e-commerce merchant. Things had been a little rocky up to that point and I was starting to see the writing on the wall that this was not going to be something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I was really looking at how am I going to pivot my business. I didn't want to coach in a space, in an industry that I was no longer going to be working in because I didn't feel that was in integrity. I was also coming up on my 50th birthday so I think it's that midpoint mid-life thing was happening to me and I'm beginning to question everything and like, “Okay, what do I want the next part of my life to look like?”

I was really starting to go back to what I knew to do. I'm a CPA so I'm like, “Well, I can just do that because it's what I've been doing. I'll just do it for myself, not for somebody else.” But I also knew that that didn't really light me up. I really wanted something bigger, something more, and a way to impact and help others get the freedom that having your own business can provide for you but that so many struggle with.

As I was going through all of this questioning everything, I had signed up for a program that was supposed to be in person but ended up online and I met Carmen. After the event, we took it offline and started meeting, talking, and realizing that gosh, we had the same vision, we were at the same point in our lives, we really wanted the same thing, and neither of us quite knew how to pivot and do what we wanted. But together, we started coming up with all these amazing ideas and so that's how we got started.

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: Yeah. I'll echo the together part because I think Deirdre and I realized we had the same dream. We were wanting to help midlife women, we wanted to give them the empowerment of business, and being able to create the life that they love through business.

For me, Deirdre is a CPA so she had that business knowledge. I came from a corporate marketing background, which was great, I had lots of corporate business knowledge but I have imposter syndrome about the whole “Can I be a business coach?” I thought, “Well, you know a lot but do you know enough?”

I had the whole person certified coach thing going on so I had the mindset. I was really interested in the holistic aspect of helping people and Deirdre was as well and so when we came together, it really was such a nice mesh of her CPA knowledge and expertise matching with my marketing and the whole person certified coach thing that it just really took off.

A lot of people say, “I wish I could find a partner the way that you did,” and we like to say we wish we could tell you how because we didn't plan on it. Neither of us planned on it. We say it was divine intervention because that's really what it feels like.

Racheal Cook: I think that's really important to share because partnerships are not usually an easy road. There's a lot of bumps in the road with a lot of partnerships and I've heard so many horror stories. I think this is one of the reasons why because a lot of partnerships aren't well matched and you both came in with complementary backgrounds and skill sets but a shared vision and also shared values. I think that's a huge part of it too.

Every time I talk to both of you, you're so excited about the work you're doing with women who are starting businesses and this is usually their maybe second or third career. Tell us a little more about what made you excited about women who you're going to work with in Encore Empire who are launching something that might be different from where they started.

Deirdre Harter: We came up really early on with this unofficial tagline of Experience Elevates Everything. The reason we came up with Encore Empire is it's like the encore of our life. It's very much like when you have an encore performance. You're bringing the best of everything that you had before and you're bringing it out.

Midlife is that time and when we're seeing women go down two paths, it was either the path of despair like, “My life is over now,” or they're like, “Oh, now I've got freedom and time and I can do my thing now because I'm not spending all of my time or majority of it serving everybody in my household and everybody else.” The empire part was about not necessarily becoming a billionaire business owner but it was about having control over what it is that you were doing.

Too many women were just doing what I was about to do and saying, “Well, I'll just do what I did before and it's just for myself now.” Basically, they're building a job, not a business. We understood that having your business is really the ticket to freedom and yet it could also be like the biggest ball and chain you've ever attached to yourself if you don't know what you're doing.

All these experts out there, they just figured, “Oh, I'll just learn the business as I go.” But unless you have the background for it, you don't understand the business of business, you understand your expertise. They just say, “Well, I'll figure it out as I go,” but it really is not something that you can do easily, especially not in midlife because we don't have 20 years to figure it all out and make it work by the end of it.

Racheal Cook: Such a good point because I think this is one of those things that it's really easy to underestimate how long it takes to build a sustainable business, and if this is meant to be your second act, you're probably considering leaving a career or pivoting out of something where if you're in your 40s and 50s, you've made great money by then, you've already been doing what you're doing for 20 or 30 years, so it's a big deal to make a pivot and launch something new at that stage.

The stakes are a bit higher because it's not like you're wanting to start from scratch. Most women then are like, “I want to do this and I need to get up to speed quickly so that I can match what I was making. I don't want to have to put off retirement. I don't want to have to take a dip in my lifestyle. I want a business that's going to support those two things so I've got to get there quickly.”

I think that's where hiring someone like y'all with Encore Empire is so helpful because you're collapsing the timeline where other businesses, if they started in their 20s or 30s and they had the decades ahead of them to slow and steadily growth something, y'all are collapsing that down into a shorter timeline to help them get up to speed.

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: That's right. Something you brought to the table earlier is the fact that Deirdre and I have the same values and that's something we help our clients identify as well because what happened with me was a little bit similar with Deirdre. When I was going to create a business, I was like, “Well, I could be a consultant in the same industry that I'm in,” but that just felt flat to me.

I did not want to do that and so I'm like, “Well, how do I take my marketable skills? Because I knew I had them and translate them into something that was going to be something that lights me up in every way that I can imagine.” That's what has to happen and that's where that collapsing of time comes in is you've got to identify your values, why are you starting the business, what is it that you want to get from it, then let's look at that.

We aren't starting from scratch at this point in our life at all because we're bringing all that experience and that's where that Experience Elevates Everything piece comes in. But we like to say we build a business from the inside out because using values and validation, you have to know your values and then you have to validate what you're doing. I know you talk about values and validation as well which is awesome. That's why we align so well with you.

Racheal Cook: I love that. I think this is a different conversation than a lot of the women in entrepreneurship space have had. I think there's this almost like when you hit midlife, people tend to forget that we're in our 40s and 50s and beyond and it definitely can feel like all the attention is put on women entrepreneurs who are younger, who are starting from scratch, and who don't really have a lot of experience to bring to the table to be quite honest, but I think the Experience Elevates Everything is so powerful.

Because the average age of women starting businesses, you guys know me, I'm digging into stats and research all the time, the average age is 44. A 44-year-old woman is drastically different in experience and stage of life, in skills to bring to the table than someone in their 20s or 30s just hands down.

I think this brings up such a different conversation for people and a different set of needs than you'll find in a lot of coaching containers to be honest and a lot of supportive containers, whether it's going to a women-driven container or a co-ed mixed container, the needs are very different.

I think this is why having such a strong point of view and such a strong niche is an asset for you all. We're seeing that because you are attracting those women every single month when you're running your ongoing workshops and training.

When y'all found me, I was so excited to jump on a call with both of you and it was so fun to hear your thoughts and feedback as we jumped on that first initial call because you were coming out of a couple years building this thing. I'd love to hear where were you about a year ago? Because now we're coming up on your one year anniversary in The Collective which is amazing, but where were you as far as the business when you talked with me last August?

Deirdre Harter: We had previously been in another high-ticket coaching program for a year and we were pretty fried from that experience both from the amount of time we had to spend with it because even though it was high-level, high-ticket coaching, it pretty much was a DIY type of situation where we had to get in there and dig and get anything out of it that we needed.

We were burnt by the experience as well. However, one of our values is that you get the expert guidance you need because we walk the talk, whatever we tell our clients is what we do and you need the expert guidance.

After a short little break, we said, “Okay, we need to find someone,” and we've been looking at listening to podcasts and looking around, and what we found is that it was very difficult to find anyone who was actually going to give us the strategy because all of these business coaches who said “We're business coaches” were actually like marketing coaches, they were sales coaches, or they were launch coaches.

That was their main thing but they really weren't going to give us that foundational strategy, be able to look at our business overall, and work with us to give us that. That was one of the things that really attracted us to you is that (a) it was you we got to talk to on the sales call, which that's a rarity. It was passed off to somebody else, which I think we get the whole scaling thing and we all want and need to scale to a certain degree.

We all need team members in support of some sort but it is really a matter of choosing where you're putting your time and I think that was really smart, Racheal, that you get on those sales calls and we do the same exact thing. Then these strategy sessions that you provide have been invaluable to us.

We like to say that when there's a new level, there's a new devil. It's the one you don't know and you don't know what you don't know until you get there and so having your guidance was so important to us. We could tell because we binged all your stuff and we knew that you were the right person for us. I'll let Carmen talk about where we've gone since then.

Racheal Cook: Yes, absolutely.

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: Yeah. Where we were was feeling really good about what we had started and knowing that we needed that guidance to take it to the next level. That was it. It's like we just came out of this experience that Deirdre talked about, we did get something out of that. One of our superpowers is getting the most we can out of any experience we are in, good or bad, we look for the silver lining and we capitalize on it but it wasn't enough.

The person who sold us into that program that we were in previously, she never looked at our business once. When we're in The CEO Collective and we're doing these strategy sessions with you, you're looking at our business. I think what we just loved the most is the whole coaching industry is supposed to be getting that expert objective guidance.

You could look at our business from the outside in and see things that we cannot see because we're in it. That's really what it is. Some of the things that you said, suggested, or whatever we never would have thought of it or it was like we would have thought of it but not to that extent or whatever it was so it's just having the guidance that helps us then make sure that we're getting people in.

Some of the things that we did before or that we've done since we joined is we now have a full-time community manager. She's our lead generation expert. She helps us bring people into our marketing methodology workshop and our Planning For Profit masterclass, and those are things we run. We always were running workshops every eight weeks.

One thing that you taught us and that we've leaned into as well is to have something to promote every month. So we created the Planning For Profit. That makes sense because otherwise, we couldn't do the same scale of our workshop because it is a lot that goes into that so we created a masterclass that's a little bit easier but we always believed in having something to invite people to because that's how they get to know you.

With your guidance, we've been able to implement these add-ons to our framework that help things create the rinse and repeat and make things a lot more seamless. It's been just awesome.

Racheal Cook: I appreciate every single thing you guys have shared. I think this is one of the things I really want more people to just consider in your business, whether or not you ever work with me, is to think about how you want to work with people. Because the fact that I'm so involved is also the reason why I struggled with a lot of how I was told I should scale my business.

I know this is common in a lot of spaces where they're like, “The only way to scale your business is to do an online course, automate everything, hire everybody else. You should be as uninvolved as possible.”

I'm questioning that because there are massive international consulting companies that you are going to have an actual human to talk to and somehow in this world that is talking to solopreneurs, online entrepreneurs, I think they've skipped over that if you're going to have a great business, you have to have people you can actually talk to, who understand what you're trying to do, and then also I just really, really like my clients so I really enjoy getting to know everybody.

I remember the first time you all showed up to the retreat, as soon as you signed up, you came together and did the mastermind day the first day and it's so fun for me to see clients like you who take your business seriously, you're receptive, open, and coachable to feedback but I remember you were trying to get the flywheel going.

Everybody hears me talk about rinse and repeat and you were doing so much of the heavy lifting still because your model is very much run these workshops, run these master classes but there's a lot of social selling, a lot of communicating with people, which is fantastic, I love the high touch approach but Deirdre was like, “I'm spending all day in the DMs. I need some support,” and the first thing you were able to do is start getting some support with that and the flywheel started to turn a little bit.

That was really exciting to see because you took action so incredibly quickly. I think that's a lot of how my experience working with you all has been. You’ve been just so open and receptive to not just my feedback from other members of The Collective, from the team of mentors that we have and taking the piece that you're like, “Yes, we can action this,” and then running with it. It's definitely, as I have watched you all over the last year, been one of your biggest strengths I think.

Deirdre Harter: Yeah. I think that is it. It's the framework that you've given us on those retreats, that 90-day framework, that has been so helpful. I know it's helpful for everyone because I've met a lot of the ladies in The Collective and we've had coffee chats but I think for me and Carmen, it's been especially important because there are two of us and we each have our own areas of responsibility, things that we do, but then of course we have this area where we both do some of the same things as well.

Being able to come together and have that dedicated CEO time, which we do now every single Monday, that has been invaluable for us because before, we were just like going along, keeping our own set of notes, and just throwing things back and forth in our communication channels. This really gave us a framework that streamlined the process.

I know for me, even though we're doing more, I was able to finally space things out enough to where I was not having those 50, 60-hour panic weeks that I used to have because I was getting behind on everything and then I’d have to catch up. It was going back and forth all the time. I've been able to smooth that out quite a bit and that's been so helpful.

Racheal Cook: Yeah. I love when y'all are going on vacation and taking time away and then we get the quick update in our community that one of you is going on vacation, one of you is taking some time away, and I'm just thinking back to you are working all the time and just having some of these systems smoothed out.

But also when you have a framework for how to collaborate as co-CEOs here, it cuts down on so much wasted time and energy when you have a place to land and you have a clear way to communicate your priorities to each other and seeing that has been so great because I think a lot of people wonder, “How do you work with partners? How can partners use this program or how can partners use this framework that we teach?”

I'd love to ask you that, because Deirdre lives, anybody who gets to know her, she's not far from Richmond so she's been able to come here very easily but Carmen's on the complete opposite side of the country. Carmen's flown all the way to Richmond twice but the other retreats she couldn't make, Carmen's been on the screen, the floating head as she's on the laptop listening into everything.

I'd love to hear your top takeaways as partners coming into The CEO Retreat and The CEO Collective, what have been the top things to help this be successful for you both?

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: I think one of the best things that we've gotten from you aside from the strategy is the frameworks like Deirdre mentioned. As she said, now every Monday is our CEO day and we meet. We also believe our whole program is completely high touch. Our clients have access to us five days a week, doesn't matter which program they're in.

We have two different service-level programs but everyone gets that because we believe in access to the expert. That means we also want to scale but we want to retain that part. We have made a promise out into the world at every workshop and everything else that you will always have access to the experts when you're in our program.

That creates the need to have those frameworks that we can follow to get that to go. So on our Monday CEO time, it's not just about planning what's coming up or checking in and touching base with our 90-day plan to see what we're on track, but it's also serving our clients.

Deirdre and I do a really good job of making sure we're all on the same page with our clients. I'm thankful for that every week because we have a learning platform so our clients put answers to questions as they're working through our lessons and we would know what people were saying, we'd catch up with them on their coaching call or whatever, but now every single Monday, we both go through it together so we're always on the same page.

It maybe takes us half an hour to an hour to do that once a week. Whereas before, we would get behind and be like, “Oh, my gosh, we have over a hundred messages.” It's just putting in the framework and the consistency. It's following what you teach and creating that day where we both get together, brainstorm, and bring both our CEO brains to one spot. That's really how a partnership can work and use it.

You can't do it as efficiently if you're both doing your own version. Because we always say there are three entities here: it's me, it's Deirdre, and it's Encore Empire. It's our job as the CEOs of Encore Empire to make Encore Empire grow and so when we're having our CEO date, that's what we're doing. We're working on the third entity that is feeding the whole organism essentially. That's what we do.

Racheal Cook: Absolutely. I think that is so important to put into place because, and this is true whether you have a partner the way that you two work together or even this is like how I work with Amber who's my director of operations, if there are two core people involved in the growing of your business, having a standing time to get on the same page, it makes a massive difference.

I only do a couple of meetings a week that are regular ongoing meetings but this meeting saves us so much back and forth, it saves so much panic of “Did we miss this or did we miss that?” We both come to our meeting with, “Here's what we need to cover. Here's what we need to touch base on. Here's our goal for this time,” and it just saves you so much bandwidth through the rest of the week so that then you can each go and take care of your specific responsibilities and your specific role.

I think you have both done that so well delineating when you're planning. I even see you both do this, as you're planning and setting goals for the quarter, you're like, “Okay, Carmen's responsible for this area, Deirdre's responsible for this area,” you're dividing and conquering the entire plan.

But it's clear that as you've been doing that over the last year, the communication has gotten smoother, the systems have gotten smoother, the rinse and repeat has started to happen for you.

Deirdre Harter: Yeah. That is absolutely correct because before, it was like a lot of interruptions, and they were good interruptions. They needed to happen but when you're using a communication channel, we don't use Slack but we use something similar to that, but it's like messages flying back and forth, which we have to communicate because you have to know about that container of doing it in a specific time.

We even have an agenda, we have our recurring things that we do, so yeah, that process is just completely transformed and it makes all the difference.

Racheal Cook: I love that so much. As we wrap up your first year inside of The Collective, I'd love for you to share what are the things you're most proud of accomplishing in the last year working with us that has made a difference for Encore Empire.

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: I would say it's hiring the team member who has helped so much. Without her, we wouldn't be able to get the people into our program, into our workshops to get them into our program. It's the streamlining. The rinse and repeat, as you say, we are just big fans of rinse and repeat and it's the focus. We have the focus. It's really just narrowing everything down.

Instead of juggling 57 balls, we know what day does this ball have to be done. That is it. Then the invaluable input from the strategy sessions, and like you said, we love those strategy sessions to hear what everyone else is going through as well. We love the fact that we could meet in person at your events.

I wish I could come every single time and I would have been there three times except one time I had COVID, but I would love to be there every time because that too, anyone who is listening who is considering joining The CEO Collective, I highly recommend that you do the in-person retreats because I think it would have been a completely different experience if we didn't do that.

It's just a richer experience by getting to know the gals there, listening to what other people are going through, and seeing how you work with all these different industries that you work with because for us as business coaches, we're not only there as your clients but we're watching you and going, “Awesome the way that she does this,” we can get ideas and it helps us.

You’re modeling something. The way you run your business, it's not exact but it's similar to the way we want to run ours and so that's what we're trying to do. We love that you're in integrity and we want to follow suit. All of that together has optimized what we started.

Racheal Cook: I love that.

Deirdre Harter: Yeah. I think another thing I'm really proud of is the consistency that we've gotten. Now, Carmen and I are both pretty consistent anyway but I have to say, I submitted my weekly progress report every single day, I think it's been 90, I think it was like all three quarters, all of the last three quarters.

Racheal Cook: I think so too. You guys have consistently done the things. Honestly, I feel like that's 80% of the work is showing up consistently and you have done an amazing job with that, with taking the tools we've given you and just running with it.

Deirdre Harter: Yeah. Like I said, because consistency was pretty good but that CEO time and now this is something that we are always harping with our clients on is that it's not optional, you've got to have this planning time. You have to plan. We are shouting from the rooftops to everybody. We did it before we got into The Collective but we're even more so now because we've seen the power of it.

When you have to stop and do your own assessment, it's not just, “What am I going to do?” but it's about, “Let's look back.” The fact that you're all about metrics, and that's another thing that we're super passionate about is the metrics, in fact, one of the things that we've come up with for next quarter based on your inspiration for us is that we've gotten into a program where we're learning how to create our own dashboards in a software and we're going to create these dashboards for ourselves and then we are also going to provide some basic dashboards of metrics for our clients.

It's going to be an add-on that we're adding because you always say we need to be thinking about client delight and so this is our next delight that's coming up.

Racheal Cook: I love that. I always think about things whenever I hear something multiple times, that's when I'm like, “Okay, what do we need to make to make this easier?” Because my job is always to clear the path for you all and give you the resources, the tools, and the systems you need to make things happen faster. I love that you are doing that in your business as well.

This has been so much fun to talk with both of you and to hear a little bit more about how you've taken what we do in The Collective and applied it as a partnership, applied it in your business.

As we wrap up, where is the place people can go learn about what you both do and hear more about Encore Empire? If anything that Carmen and Deirdre have shared today resonates and maybe you're not quite ready for The Collective or you specifically want to work with people who exactly know the situation you're in pivoting into your second or third act midlife, how can they hear more about Encore Empire?

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: Yeah. Our main hub is our website. That's We are both very active on Facebook and Linkedin. We have a free Facebook group that we provide value every week. It is the Empire of Unstoppable Women. We would love people to join us there. Then if you're looking for marketing help, our Marketing Methodology Workshop is run every eight weeks and that's

Racheal Cook: Awesome. We will make sure to link that up. Thank you so much both of you for being here today, for being a part of The Collective for the last year. I am just cheering you on every step of the way.

Carmen Reed-Gilkinson: Thank you.

Deirdre Harter: Thank you so much, Racheal. We are so grateful for you and for all of the ladies in The Collective. That's one last thing I'd love to say is that the community of women is extraordinary, absolutely everyone is, and so supportive. They really embody that collaboration over competition as well as you do. We are forever grateful for it.

Racheal Cook: I love it. Thank you so very much.

Well, there you have it, friends. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. They brought up so many great points about why they joined The CEO Collective and their experience inside of The Collective but I also really enjoyed hearing about the specific strategies that they took and made their business work more smoothly.

That CEO-day strategy is a game changer. If you have a business partner, this is something I highly, highly, highly recommend that you put in place. Otherwise, you're spending the week going back and forth and back and forth. Each time you're interrupted by a notification on your Slack, your email, or whatever messaging tool you're using, it pulls you out of whatever you were focused on.

Each time you get interrupted because you're answering a question or you're trying to troubleshoot something, it takes so much time to get back into the flow and to get your productivity back on track.

This one strategy, if you have a business partner or even if you just have a key person on your team, like in my world, it's Amber Kinny who's my director of operations, if you have a key person on your team who is in charge of a big chunk of your business or is really implementing a lot of things, having this rhythm of every week you know you can sit down, work through all the challenges, troubleshoot things, you can get all the answers at once instead of being interrupted all the time.

I think that one takeaway is going to be such a game-changer for so many business owners who have business partners. I hope you implement that. I really enjoyed this conversation. I hope you did too. I hope if you are getting interested in learning more about The CEO Collective, that you head over to You will get all of the details about what is happening inside of The CEO Collective and how you can become a member.

There is a short application. Once we review your application and yes, we review every single application to make sure that the businesses we are saying yes to, we truly feel are going to profit from what we do inside of The CEO Collective, once we get your application, it'll just take us a couple of days to review it to let if we think you're a fit or not and then we can go on to jumping on a quick call.

I take every single one of those calls. It's actually one of my favorite things, getting to know each of the amazing women who want to become a part of this community, and we take it from there. It's a pretty low-stress situation. It's just a quick application and a quick call if you want to chat directly with me. We will be kicking off this next cohort at the beginning of next month.

You'll also get a ticket to the in-person CEO Retreat that is happening on September 22nd. This is something we absolutely love doing, and like Carmen and Deirdre shared, the in-person retreats have become such a huge part of their experience inside of The CEO Collective.

You don't have to make every single retreat. We always offer a virtual option. However, we are definitely seeing that when people show up to the in-person CEO Retreat, they just have such a next-level experience because now they're deepening these relationships with the other incredible women who are in our community.

You will be able to join every single in-person CEO Retreat as part of joining The CEO Collective. It is included in your membership. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to us at and we look forward to supporting you in any way we can. Another episode is coming up next week. I cannot wait to share it with you.