Smart Work Story - Shelisa Demuth - Business Owner

Shelisa Demuth knew early on that the traditional corporate American career path just wasn’t for her. The Minnesota based business owner has been working semi-remotely for two years, but the pandemic pushed her to reevaluate business goals and offerings. Taking a new approach to building out services with the “build once, sell twice” mindset (inspired by Jack Butcher), she successfully services clients, a majority of which are on the east coast, even though she’s located in the midwest.

How would you say work changed for you in the last year?

As a founder that was previously getting on planes to meet with clients, the last year really put an end to that routine and shook up the format that I work in. So I actually changed the format of the whole company, and we pivoted as a result of the pandemic after reevaluating what we offer and how we can continue to reach and serve clients, given how all industries have been impacted by the pandemic.

How do you stay motivated to do your best work?

I always put myself through all of our programs first, so the positioning and alignment work that we do,  I make sure to go ahead and make myself patient zero. Doing that really helps me determine my own values and what matters to me and the life I’m creating as a business owner, a community leader, and a single parent to my daughter who is watching and taking in everything I do. Having my goals in mind and really having that framework for the life I want to live regardless of where and how keeps me motivated, because I've always got a jumping off point.

How do you balance your work life with the rest of your life?

Automate. I automate as much as possible and work within strategic partnerships. I understand that as a business owner, you're not responsible for it all even if there aren’t people buzzing around you in an office. There are still ways to disperse things, and strategic partnerships allow you to find people whose values align with yours, so they can get excited about what you’re doing and you can get excited about them and establish those relationships has been key to making this all work and having the balance to turn it off and be present for the rest of life.

Is there anything in particular that you love about working remotely.

Yeah. I own my time. I left corporate America and I’ve worked only for myself or privately for companies for the last 8 years. I’ve never liked the feeling of obligation that comes with being tied to someone else's space and someone else's environment. I outgrew that eight years ago and I've never looked back, because how and where we spend our time and who we spend it with reality determines the direction of our life.

Is there anything you don’t like or find challenging about working remotely, and how do you deal with that?

No. There’s nothing I don’t like about remote work and I choose the challenges. I can go back to take a corporate job or work for someone else tomorrow, there’s nothing barring me from reentering the workforce. But I would much rather be challenged and create my own reality than be working for someone and something that can get diluted when it gets very large.

What personal strengths have you been tapping into more with all the changes you've experienced this last year?

Resilience, resourcefulness, purpose and intentionality. I got rid of a lot of tools like software and even relationships that weren’t serving what I’m working toward. More than anything, I’ve been tapping into the power of mind and community.

What does mindfulness mean to you in the age of remote work?

Empathy. We’ve collectively experienced a mass trauma, and I believe that it’s made us more resilient, but also more empathetic.

How good are you at asking for help?

Excellent. I wasn’t always that way, I will say it’s a skill that I’ve acquired in the last six months. As I championed community and started letting people in and delegating, the weight of all of the things that are required in order to make this lifestyle work became less.

What skills do you think are necessary to be a successful remote worker?

Communication and the courage to ask for what you need and what you want. And self-care or self-prioritization. Focusing on these three qualities have really allowed me to show up.

What do you think it means to be emotionally available or aware, and how important is that to your overall well being?

I don’t think I like the word emotionally available. For me I think being emotionally available requires someone to be centred enough to be aware. I think we show up differently when we are emotionally aware (or available), it just means that you’ve prioritized what’s charging those emotions, and that’s made a big difference for me so it’s definitely important.

Many of us have been focused on adapting our hard skills and expertise to this new world of work, but how have your soft skills adapted and changed in the last year?

I think because I’ve been able to edit my influences, my soft skills that were strong before are much stronger and louder now. And that’s really what I lead with now,  so where my training and experience was leading, now it’s my soft skills that lead. That’s what differentiates me and it's’ the actual certifications and affiliations and partnerships and all of the other things that come along with that are just extra.

How do you make smart work?

I’ll take a quote from Jack Butcher which goes along the lines of, “build once and sell twice”. That’s really what I’ve been focusing on. Before, everything was about being bespoke and custom and fitting for the client. Now it’s about building intentionally and making something you can improve upon instead of rebuilding it over and over. Being deliberate about how I’ve tailored my experience and skill set and how I present myself allows me to attract the right people, which makes working together effortless for both of us.

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