Mandy Hougas is the owner of Girl Sweat, a Tennessee sports-themed sales and business training company. She helps entrepreneurs harness their unique gifts so their business can grow.
Mandy is also no stranger to athletic competition. She’s been knocking down barriers from obsessive compulsive disorder since age 9, with sports as her saving grace, and has recovered from challenges that sideline most.
Needless to say, she’s continuously reinvented herself over her 20+ years playing the game of sales and marketing, in youth sports coaching, and in entrepreneurship. She has become a purpose-driven woman who faithfully teaches others to Speak Boldly and have fun. Because life is too short not to.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- What got Mandy started
- Mandy’s biggest failure—and what did she learned from that experience
- A common myth about Mandy’s job or field of expertise
- One lesson Mandy’s job has taught her that everyone should learn at some point in their life
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: Welcome to the High Velocity radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon and you guys are in for a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Girl Sweat LLC. Ms. Mandy Hougas. How are you?
Mandy Hougas: I’m good. I’m good. How are you, Stone?
Stone Payton: I am doing well and have really been looking forward to this conversation. I got a ton of questions. I know we’re not going to get to them all, but maybe a good place to start would be if you could articulate for me and for the benefit of our listeners, mission, purpose. What what are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks?
Mandy Hougas: Oh, man. Well, you know how a lot of people, they have this bright idea that just shines and they’re like, Hmm, I just don’t know how to get it out into the world and attract clients and close business. You know, I don’t know if it’s valuable. Like, I don’t know. Well, we offer training and coaching to help female entrepreneurs actually package up and describe what they do in a way that brings customers to them. And then we help them deliver that message and close business so that they can just go on and add value either to the world with their services and their product, or just bring in extra money for their family.
Stone Payton: Well, what compelled you, if I might ask, to focus in on serving the females.
Mandy Hougas: With with entrepreneurs? I have worked with male entrepreneurs as well with female entrepreneurs. I feel like there is what I’ve noticed. Actually, there are a few pieces of like the identity work that I can relate to and resonate with, and I’ve gone through a bunch of I’ve overcome certain things. So I see in them pieces of transition that I can help them actually get through faster than if they were left to their own devices.
Stone Payton: Well, it must be it has to be incredibly rewarding work. What what do you enjoy the most about it? What’s the most rewarding for you at this point?
Mandy Hougas: Oh, man, I love seeing a woman who’s got this, like, really cool idea. She wants to help, let’s say, you know, start. She wants to help kids and she wants to start a business around it. Um, the look in her eyes like that sparkle that shines. You can see when someone is just, you know, they’re, they’re, you know, got goosebumps because they’re doing what they’re called to do. They’ve got a purpose behind their passion and then they’re bringing that to fruition. They’re showing up in front of other people, allowing them to participate in this thing that they’ve built, which is pretty beautiful, if I could say that.
Stone Payton: Yeah, yeah. You must sleep really well at night, not only from the energy expenditure, but just knowing the good work you’re doing and the level of impact that you’re having.
Mandy Hougas: Well, yeah. And I love how when you have good people building good businesses and serving other good people, I mean, that’s how a community is built, I believe. And if we have good people, you know, doing good in the community, we’re going to have a better kind of community. And my grandpa always used to say, you know, if you’re going to invest or what did you say? If you want to improve your community, you have to invest in your community. And he did not mean just with money.
Stone Payton: Yeah. All right. I got to know the backstory. How in the world did you find yourself in this role, doing this kind of work, serving these kind of people? What My guess is my instincts are it wasn’t a direct path. It was probably.
Mandy Hougas: No, absolutely not. I don’t know that any entrepreneur’s path is very straight. Maybe there are. And they’re the lucky ones. Right. But but but I feel fortunate that every challenge that I’ve come up against, even since the age like, way back when, um, I’ve just overcome different things in my life, like OCD and eating disorders and leaning on, you know, alcohol when I was older because I had gone into sports and didn’t know that it was OCD, that was kind of like pulling at me. Um, so what I learned was like, we can overcome anything. We can really overcome anything. It doesn’t matter if, you know, if you’re not in the ground yet, you still got a chance. So I said, If I can do this then and I can start businesses. When I was 17, I was doing like this baked goods business. I put my mom to work in the kitchen, not on purpose. I just said she made the best stuff. So it wasn’t like I was making her do labor. My dad was a shop teacher, so he did manufacturing kind of work. So I said, Okay, dad, can you build the little like whatever it was stand? And then I had a couple other wrestlers sell the baked goods, so I gave them the. A script to sell had done the marketing and drew up all the designs and said, Let’s put it right in front where the location everybody’s coming in off the bus. And it was, you know, a successful business. You know, making $98 from selling quarter baked goods and was like, I think I got something here. So just kind of kept doing it.
Stone Payton: I think I know the answer to this because you mentioned an athletic background, but I’m going to ask anyway. Did you have the benefit of one or more mentors along the way as you made transition from athletics or as you kind of found yourself in one of these, you know, down periods when you had some of these challenges?
Mandy Hougas: 100%. I don’t think anybody goes through life saying like, oh, I’m the hero in my own story because we’re not. We need guides. We need people around us to help us become that. And my my first mentor, I think well, my dad was definitely a mentor of mine and my mom. Both of them were teachers. So I got a lot of lessons of like, you always want to be learning no matter how old you are. Continuous learning is is important. It keeps your mind right. It keeps your soul right. And you get to learn stuff that people don’t always, you know, take the time to go and check out, which is kind of cool. And you have some cool stories at a party, right? Um, and they always taught me, you know, keep my head up. And they always taught me, you know, you know, focus. And, you know, sometimes you’ll have to deviate, but that then you adapt, right? And so it’s that sport background, that sport kind of mentality. I had a coach who had kind of ingrained that in me when I was young, and then as I got to corporate or I went out into the world, I was working for a CEO of a company, I had no idea what I was doing, like I had no clue what I was doing in an engineering software company.
Mandy Hougas: But they promised that, Don’t worry, we know that you’re going to be good at this. And so I took the training, I did the things and did really well, but my mentor was the CEO because he allowed me at 27 years old to sit there and ask him as many questions as I wanted about business, because one day I wanted to build my own and I wanted to know how does operations work? Where does the money get made? How do you make sure that you have money next year? Like what is the revenue goals? How do you set those? Like how do you do partnerships? All the negotiation stuff. And he just was very patient with me and he just walked me through it. And he also had a very, like, kind of quirky personality, too. And we just vibed, I think is the word kids use now nowadays, but as like a mentor and a mentee relationship. So that was really nice to have as I was moving forward.
Stone Payton: So do you find yourself now that you’ve been at this a while in your work, running into some consistent and repeating, I don’t know, what would you call them? Misbeliefs preconceived notions, myths even about your work and about how it’s going to go or what got people there? Do you run into some of the same patterns?
Mandy Hougas: Yeah, great question. So I do a lot of sales and marketing coaching mostly sales, but marketing has become digital marketing, which is kind of sales in itself. You can click and buy and, you know, get people interested. They can do it without even talking to someone. But what I’ve noticed is that everyone seems to have a bad taste in their mouth with sales. And I wonder, because I think there are business owners that are like, of course we need sales, Like, duh. But there’s a lot of people who don’t love having that conversation and bringing guiding someone down the customer buying journey where they’re a lead coming from marketing, hey, they might have interest where they’re then become a prospect because of how you engaged with them, how you spoke to them, the conversation that you had and how you connected the problem that they’re having or discovered what that was and saying, Hey, I think I got something that’s a fit. But then also not being pushy, not being, you know, not pulling the wool over their eyes or trying to, like, bait and switch them. It’s really just being honest with them. I think I can solve your problem and here’s how and here’s how it can benefit. And for me, it just was simple. And I love that part because other people are like, Oh, it’s that simple. I’m like, Yeah, you’re selling to your kids when they’re trying to get them to eat broccoli. Like you’re everybody is selling consistently and pitching either themselves for a job or pitching an idea that they want, like their husband or wife. Hey, let’s go to this Cheekwood. It sounds really cool. And guess what? They have beer on tap. They don’t really I don’t really know. I’ve never been. But you know, if I want to bring my boyfriend along, I want to entice him to want to go, you know?
Stone Payton: Right, Right. So let’s talk a little bit about the work, if we could. Let’s dive into that a little bit. I’m particularly interested in what happens in the early going, the early stages of someone coming to you and they want to get something off the ground or maybe they’ve they’re having some success and they’re trying to take it to the next level. What does that the or the early part of an engagement cycle, if those are the right words, what does that look like?
Mandy Hougas: Yeah, So we actually excavate a little bit so we understand who they are as a person because that’s really. Important, especially if you’re a solopreneur. A lot of your time and your energy is going to be in that business. So if your values aren’t being aren’t in alignment with what you’re trying to do, then there’s a there’s a mismatch. And that’s going to cause a lot of trouble down the road because you might feel insignificant. You might not feel you might feel like an imposter. You might not feel like you’re worthy because you’ve gone down a path that’s really not you. And so it might need to like align those things. And we do that through messaging. We do a lot of it through messaging. What’s the problem that your person really wants to solve, Your ideal person, the ideal target audience? And once we understand that problem deeply, it’s usually a problem that that person who’s, you know, if they’re a coach or a consultant or service based business they’ve had in the past because they found a problem that they could solve and now they want to offer a solution up to the market. So I see that we have to dig through that a lot so that what are the problems that your ideal customer face? How do we solve it? What’s the plan to solve it? What happens if you don’t solve it? What happens if you do? And then how do you actually ask them for a sale? What’s the call to action? So walking them through that process is actually takes the majority of the first couple of sessions just to get them used to even thinking in that format.
Mandy Hougas: Problem solution and the plan. I love Don Miller. He writes the storybrand and has business made simple. I love, love, love. Don Miller Um, I. So some of the tools that he provides are free online and so we’ll bring that into the coaching as well and then I can help guide them through that part. Um, the next part is typically we go into their strategy and their planning. So like how do they plan on hitting objectives that they might have say they got financial goals or profit goals or revenue goals like how do we work and reverse engineer that so that we can say each day I’m doing the right things every day to get me where I want to be up there. So then we make that plan or we make the strategy. We do what they like to do. They don’t have to be on Instagram. They don’t have to be on social media if they don’t want to. There are we can adapt. There are other ways to bring in revenue and then we build out the execution plan and then we practice on the delivery and the messaging when they’re out and about at networking events or if they’re on social media, how they structure what they’re trying to say is very clear and concise.
Stone Payton: It’s very refreshing for me for whatever that is. The you use the phrase reverse engineering and then and then backing it up as opposed to and I have run into people who just want to sell the thing, you know, the execution piece over here. And without that, you know, maybe I don’t have the foundation, the expertise, the frame of reference to understand why we’re getting there, much less contribute to any or help coauthor any of the how right now. I love that. I love that. That’s a marvelous frame. So when it comes to this whole sales and marketing thing, do you find yourself eating a lot of your own cooking? You know, like a lot of the stuff you’re telling them or are you at a point now maybe where it’s just all referral based and word of mouth, or do you have some structure and some rigor and some discipline around how you how you meet your market?
Mandy Hougas: Yeah, absolutely. So I set my plan up early on and I did it in a lean way where it’s not going through every single piece as if I was going to pitch it to an investor because I said, okay, I have a framework. I know that this is what I want to attain, obtain at the end of the year, 12 months. And so I said, okay, so I got the basics down. If I get too over micromanaged for me, my style, it gets a little bit too rigid and then my creativity somehow just kind of like gets stuck inside. So I found a balance there for my style. Yeah, Yeah.
Stone Payton: So I wanted to ask you to I’m going to switch gears on you for just a moment here, and then I want to circle back to some of your earlier years. But I’m curious, I don’t know when and where you would ever find the time, but I’m going to ask anyway about hobbies, passions, interests outside the scope of your work. Do you do you sort of separate periodically and get over here in another lane and go pursue something else for a little bit?
Mandy Hougas: Yes, I do. So, uh, but this is a God thing. It was. Absolutely. I met a woman, a friend of mine, uh, we met at a networking event and I just said, Yeah, let’s sit and have coffee. So we sat and had coffee and she was struggling with some of the messaging in her business. So I helped her out with that just because it felt right, like it didn’t feel like I needed to charge money for it. I was just doing it because I believed it was the right time for it. And out of that, she had referred me to a group called Tennessee Voices because I love to speak on mental health and wellbeing and I love doing it for student athletes, for young adults, for audiences of all ages. But athletes and young adults are really important. And youth, youth. So like middle school grade school, I think they call it grade school now. I don’t know what Grade school, middle school, high school and in college, the university athletes, because I believe that if we pour into them the way that we wished we were poured into or that we were poured into and we saw some success, I believe that they’re going to be more effective for themselves and their families. They’re going to be more hopefully happier when they get older. Hopefully they’ll learn. At the moment, they need to make a really big decision that they have two options. They don’t have one option, they have two, and they get to decide what path they want to go down and they get to be aware of that. So I love speaking for Tennessee Voices and do an outreach work for them. Um, and then just spoke at Cumberland University on Thursday for I think 400 of their athletes. So that was I’m so grateful for that. I hope one kid out of there just helps one kid, you know, face something that they didn’t think they could face.
Stone Payton: So student athletes, they have all the challenges all of us have. But I would think, too, I think you mentioned the term identity earlier on in the conversation, I suspect I don’t know. I did play high school ball, but I made the team because I had a car, you know, that wasn’t my identity. And I could get the good, the good athletes to and from practice. But, you know, my my for me, my identity wasn’t wrapped up in being an athlete. But I would think the people who really excelled like a couple of my very good friends when they when they made the transition and maybe did not go professional or got out of school, that’s they probably have that whole thing going on, too. In addition to the same challenges and opportunities all the rest of us do. Right?
Mandy Hougas: 100% in the transition because I think this is just I started when I was 12 and I by no means were played for Pat Summitt or anything, but that was my dream, right? Like go WNBA. And so I worked for it. But um, I think the, the achievement kind of mentality for a lot of student athletes, kind of it’s, it’s like a blessing and a curse at the same time because you have to manage like your, your self care, you have to manage your mind and you have to manage your physical body. And while you’re going through, I think sports and you’ve got classes, you’ve got boyfriends, girlfriends, you’ve got drama outside of the court or the field or wherever you’re playing on. Like you have so much pressure outside of you expecting things from you that I can just imagine because I knew how it felt for me and it was all coming from inside of me. It was all from like OCD and those thoughts. But these kids nowadays, they have all that pressure stacked upon them. And I think being able to manage that, even if they’re university athletes, even if they’re, um, uh, professional athletes, like that’s a, that you got to manage it. You got to understand that it’s going to be a pressurized. You got to understand, hey, now is the time that I have to really pay attention to what I’m listening to, what I’m reading, what, who I’m surrounding myself with, the things I’m allowing to influence my thoughts and my emotions. And that is, I think, one thing that all athletes have to deal with and all people have to deal with. It just is more pressurized and high achieving, high performance kind of roles.
Stone Payton: Yeah, And the positive aspects of that, like the mental toughness and those are some good things that come out of it. But particularly if I’ve had my eye on playing second base for the Yankees and I’m not going to get to do that. Well, now I got to go figure out what I am going to do, and that’s that’s got to rattle your cage a little bit and shake up your your world. So so for you personally, to the degree that that you’re up for, for sharing it, I got to believe that you were transparent, that you had some challenges with alcohol and and that kind of thing. While it was probably pretty ugly when you were in it, do you feel now, looking back that, wow, that really equipped me to serve in the way that I’m serving now? Yeah.
Mandy Hougas: I believe I’m 100%. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to recover from something that had kind of held me down and I had pushed down all the emotions I’d been that kid, you know, that’s a rising star. And then you just fall and it’s like, Where did they go? And I’m like, Heck, if I’m going to let that beat me. But that that resiliency from I think sports really helped out because it was day to day practice. I’m like, This is one step at a time. This is day to day practice and reflection. This is learning who I truly am and who I want to be and what I want to represent in the world. And it was, you know, independent, quirky, confident, joyful, fun, loving and not really need anything to lean on, you know?
Stone Payton: So my best friend and I growing up, we used to tease my little brother incessantly, and now he has a pretty high pressure job as a CEO of a large association. And I joke that my buddy Kirk and I prepared Rusty for his career, you know, like like we made him mentally, mentally tough. But I think, you know, Rusty would be one of these to tell you like he. Almost uses an insult or a or a challenges almost as fuel. Right. Yeah.
Mandy Hougas: It channels the energy it gives you like that. Like some people really thrive off of that. Um, I found that for me nowadays, it used to, but nowadays. Well, no, it does still. Yeah. If I had something nasty come up, I’d be like, Oh, I’m going to just prove them wrong. And then it fuels you for quite some time. And then once you’ve proven it, you’re like, Oh, that was a fun project.
Speaker4: So, so what’s.
Stone Payton: Next for you? You got do you have a book in you? You’re going to do more speaking, you’re going to scale this or are we going to have, you know, the Mandy methodology, what’s.
Speaker4: Down the pike?
Mandy Hougas: So many isms. Yeah, but no, like the the people around me have been amazing. Like, you’ve been awesome. Um, just being able to grow the business online so that I’m not doing as many personal like it’s customized one on one training. So I get them into a spot where they can go off and they can be profitable. But I want to be able to serve other groups of people. So maybe somebody who’s just starting out who wants to know about Sales 101 like what really is it? Is it as scary as I think it is? Is that going to be a piece of my business where I can actually do that part and not have to outsource it? Because I believe everybody can? Even if you’re an introvert, even if you don’t like talking to people, there are ways around it or a ways through it is what I like to say. But yeah, there’s a book I’ve been writing for like six years and you know how that goes. Um, it’s, yeah, it’s back and forth, not even back and forth with the editor, but it’s been back to me, so it’s on my plate. Yeah. Um, and then creating a space where we take athletes and we transition them into like corporate roles or business roles and then connect them with companies out there. So that’s on the horizon.
Stone Payton: Oh, fantastic. There are just so many ways that you’re going to be able to serve these different constituencies that you’ve that you’ve chosen to serve. I think that’s marvelous.
Mandy Hougas: I hope it helps the community and grows a community of really like, you know, grounded people because we need that. I feel like nowadays we do.
Speaker4: All right.
Stone Payton: Let’s let’s leave our listeners with a couple of Pro tips, if we could. Anything from the entrepreneurial journey. If you’ve learned a couple of things on there that you know, a do or a don’t or a, you know, read this and that kind of thing all the way and up to maybe someone from one of these specific constituencies like, hey, if you’re an athlete coming into transition, here’s a couple of things to think about. Just just a couple of things that and look, gang, the number one pro tip reach out and have a conversation with Mandy or somebody on our on our team and start tapping into their work. But let’s leave them with a couple of actionable tips if we could.
Mandy Hougas: Absolutely. So I always have the people start if you’re an athlete transitioning or someone transitioning into entrepreneurship or into business, I always have them do like a self assessment. You basically go down the list and you do this at home on the left hand side, write down everything you love to do on the right hand side, write down everything you just do not like doing because eventually that’s going to help you understand what your strengths are. It’s also going to help you understand where you’re going to be most effective in your business. If you don’t like doing marketing and you know that you don’t like writing emails, you don’t like posting content, you don’t like any of that, then that might be a piece of the business that you can outsource. Now, that leads me to the next thing is, once you understand what you really love to do and what you don’t like to do, can you actually learn how to do those things? Is that going to be part of your learning experience? You’re going to spend some time learning how to do those things, even though you might not love them, but you might just be scared of them and that’s why you don’t like them because they’re giving you anxiety and that’s okay.
Mandy Hougas: But you get to think through that. So I always like that process. The second thing would be before you hire any coach or any trainer or any consultant, whenever you outsource anybody, vet them out, vet them out, do as much research as you can on the topic. So sales, marketing, operations, whatever it may be, do as much research as you can to get yourself comfortable with the topic, then go out and start interviewing consultants. Don’t just take anybody who’s pitching you because that could lead you down the road of spending a lot of money and not getting the results that you expect. So always look at the end in mind. What are your goals? What objectives do you have? Do you have an objective to bring in leads like 100 leads or is it $100 or, you know, there are differences in objectives for sales and for marketing. So I think those are areas that I would say just pay attention to and be mindful of and not everybody’s going to solve your problem.
Stone Payton: Yeah, I’m so glad I asked. And to your point, just because you vet someone, they may not fit what you really need right now. It doesn’t make them a bad person. They may be the perfect coach for somebody else, but to invest that time and energy. Being disciplined to get the right match for what you’re what you really need right now.
Mandy Hougas: Yeah, it’s like setting up the foundation or the fundamentals. The fundamentals are do I actually do I fit with this person? Do the objectives? Are we in alignment with the objectives? Can they actually do what they said they do? Do they have the people behind them like the customers, to show me that they’ve done that before? Have they walked me through their process? And if they if they haven’t yet, what I can say is I usually find a good business owner is one who says, even if I can’t help you, I will find somebody or refer somebody to you that I really do believe could because I believe everything comes full circle. And the better business owner you are, the better person doing business. It’s like that’s where you’re going to get a lot of referrals, word of mouth kind of referrals coming to you.
Speaker4: Well, I am.
Stone Payton: So glad I asked. I think that is terrific. Council All right. I’m going to turn you loose in just a moment and let you get back to finishing that book. But before.
Speaker4: I do.
Stone Payton: Let’s make sure that our listeners have an easy way to connect with you. Whatever you feel like is appropriate. Website, LinkedIn, that kind of stuff.
Mandy Hougas: Yeah, so I have a website. It’s Girl Sweat official.com. You can reach out there and book a consult right through the website so they can just hit book a consult, it’ll go to my Calendly, and then we book a time and then we decide like, well, we’re on the call, you know, what goals you got and are we a good fit? And if you are, then the next step is we set up a time every week and then we start training.
Stone Payton: What a delight this has been. Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon and sharing your insight and your perspective to the work you’re doing is so important, so foundational. It is going to prepare all of us to serve our communities more effectively, keep up the good work. Don’t be a stranger. When you get that book ready to launch, you give me a call. We’re going to and we’re going to talk that through on the air, too. Okay.
Mandy Hougas: I’m so embarrassed. I haven’t had it done yet. I should have it done. No, there’s no shoulds. There’s no it’ll come when it’s ready.
Speaker4: Now, we got.
Stone Payton: You on air. Committed to getting that out.
Speaker4: There, you know?
Stone Payton: But thank you so much, Mandy. This has been marvelous.
Mandy Hougas: I appreciate you so much and grateful for the opportunity.
Stone Payton: My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Mandy Hodges with Girl Sweat LLC. And everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.