Sigrun is a mastermind business coach, TEDx speaker and host of the Sigrun Show. Originally from Reykjavik, Iceland, she has spent half her life outside her home country; in Germany, United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Since she was a young girl she’s always been drawn to leadership roles, so despite having zero business background or education she became a CEO of a software company shortly after finishing her master’s degree in architecture. 10 years and another three master’s degrees and several CEO roles later, Sigrun found herself in Switzerland with her new love but sick and unemployable. Her dream was to be location independent so she could live in two countries, travel the world, and take care of her health. So in 2014, Sigrun started her online business and four years later she’s built a multiple 7 figure lifestyle business and has helped women all over the world to build their lifestyle business.
When Sigrun isn’t working, she’s busy with her second passion, photography, and spending time with her husband and two stepsons. Her motto is: Be Inspired. Think Big. Take Action.
In this episode, Michelle Bosch chats to Sigrun about her career history, and how she got started on her track to fulfilling her life’s work. Sigrun is dedicated to empowering female entrepreneurs and in this episode you’ll discover the journey’s she’s taken to get where she is today.
Listen and enjoy:
- Find out about Sigrun’s entrepreneurial journey
- Learn about Sigrun’s program “SOMBA”
- Understand how Sigrun promotes feminism
- Discover amazing insights into business building
Find out more!
- Subscribe and rate our podcast on iTunes at: http://www.michellebosch.com/
- Android users can subscribe and rate our podcast at: http://www.michellebosch.com/
- Follow Michelle Bosch on Instagram to see what she’s up to: https://www.instagram.com/
- Find out more about Sigrun at: https://www.sigrun.com
- Check out SOMBA: https://www.sigrun.com/somba
- Find out about the Selfmade Summit: https://www.sigrun.com/
Michelle: Hi. I’m Michelle Bosch, real estate investor, mom, wife, and host of the “InFlow Podcast.” And I’m passionate about helping women invest in land and apartments. Join me each and every week for real estate investing strategies and interviews with thought leaders that will leave you inspired and ready to step into flow for inflows of cash, inflows of ease, and inflows of grace in your life. Now, here on YouTube are the video versions of my podcast, and in order for you to get my latest information, please go ahead and subscribe. And now, let’s go.
Welcome to the “InFlow Podcast.” I’m your host, Michelle Bosch. I’m very honored today to have one of Europe’s leading business mentor for six and seven-figure female entrepreneurs. She is also a TEDx speaker and host of “The Sigrun Show Podcast” originally from Iceland. She has spent more than half her life outside of her home country in Germany, United Kingdom, and Switzerland. And my guest today is Sigrun Gudjonsdottir. Is that a good way to pronounce it, or did I butcher that, Sigrun?
Sigrun: Not exactly correct, Gudjonsdottir. But I actually don’t use my last name. So it’s no problem. I’m just like, you know, Bjork. You know, Bjork, she’s from Iceland. She just uses her first name. So, I do that too.
Michelle: Perfect. So welcome to the show, Sigrun. I perhaps should have clarified that before we went and start the recording. Anyways, thank you so much for, you know, making the time. I know you’re a crazy busy woman. I always see you. I follow you, you know, on social media. You’re always just setting, you know, the world. I know that you were here in Phoenix last week, you know, at the time of this recording, and now you are spending a full month in New York, and you’ve spent some time in Iceland.
You were in Dubai earlier, you know, in the summer. I mean, you are pretty much completely location free. And so thank you, and I’m excited to learn a little bit more about what you do and how you can accomplish being pretty much a global citizen. So, I know, Sigrun, that since you’ve been a young girl, you’ve always been drawn to leadership roles.
I know from your bio that, you know, your first CEO job was you landed that job in not a very common way. So can you tell us about how, you know, your role as a leader started and in that background in incorporate basically?
Sigrun: Yeah. So, I originally studied architecture, and for that, I had to go abroad. So that was the reason I left Iceland 20 years old. I went to Germany. And I was towards the end of my studies when I realized I didn’t want to work as an architect. My mother is still very disappointed, but I had this firm belief that I was not meant to be an architect. I still finished degree. I’m a licensed architect.
I fell in love with computer science, the Internet, you know, online stuff. And my graduation project in architecture was a 3D multi-user campus, and that led me to actually easily land jobs. I could have worked in Switzerland or Germany as a consultant. You know, it was very easy to get a consultant job back then, but I decided to, after one-year stint in Zurich, Switzerland, to go back to Iceland. And I started to work in computer companies.
But, you know, that was the year 2000. And the year 2000, there was the online bubble, the first one at least, where a lot of people invested and basically burned money. And I lost my job. And around the same time, I saw an ad in a newspaper for a female entrepreneurship course. And it was like two evenings a week, and it was supported by three big companies and the University of Reykjavik. And you had to apply with a business idea, and then you got into the course. You had to pay a small fee of like $500, and the rest was like a scholarship. And I did that, and that was my first step into business. Like I learned to create a business plan and very exciting.
And some women were able to take their business plan and actually go ahead and start a business, but I was very scared. I was like it was 2002, and I had this business plan in my hand, and I believed in it, but I was like very scared. But it landed me the next job in a small software company where my sister was already working. It was good to get foot in the door. Nobody was hiring at the time. It was very hard to get a job. So I was just glad. My business plan was my ticket to my next job.
A year later, I come to work, and I hear that the company has been sold. And I was like, ooh, because it was a small company, only 15 people. The CEO was barely present. He was like there was a part-time job for him, and it was basically me and my sister that ran the company. We didn’t know anything about the finances, though, like we didn’t have access to that. But the rest, like I talked to all the clients, and my sister would hire the programmers. So, we felt pretty much like it was our business.
So, you can understand that when I’ve been told this company’s been sold, I feel like, “Somebody’s taking this away from me.” So I started to think about, “What if I would be the CEO? What if I would just put myself forward?” And it was a crazy idea. Like, I had a degree in architecture. I was studying part-time on the side.
You know, with a full-time job, I was starting to study computer science. And now I was trying to get a job where I would run the company. I was like, “I have no qualification, no experience.” And I started to ask people around me, and my father was very supportive. And I was dating a guy at the time, and he was like, “Go for it.” And I asked my sister also how she would feel about it because we were working together, and she said, “Yeah. Do it.” So, yeah, a lot of supportive things. And one or two weeks passed, and I was getting like, ooh, you know, “I have to be quick.”
So, yeah, after a conversation with the guy I was dating at the time, I got the courage to reach out to the company who had bought or that I thought had bought the company. And there was a girl or a woman who I had played with in childhood. You know, we had not spoken in 20 or 30 years, but I saw her name on the website. So I decided to contact her. And I call her up, and I tell her, “I’m working in this company, and I’ve heard that your company bought my company. And, you know, you probably do not have a CEO in mind, or if you do, you know, what do you think if I would kind of put myself forward?” She said, “That’s fine. We probably have no one in mind yet. Write a two-page memo and send it over to us.”
Michelle: Oh my God, Sigrun, what a gutsy move. Yeah. You are definitely…you rock my world. We’ll talk about your conference, you know, that’s coming up next year. But in any case, you’ve always been like this.
Sigrun: Probably. I don’t know. It still felt like there was an even scarier move. You know, one thing was to call up someone that I had known and just figure out what I had to do. And then I wrote this memo, and I had no access to the finances. I knew the business was actually not doing well, but we have lots of clients. So I saw like, “This must work out,” you know. So, I had to write the status of the company and what I would foresee…what I would want to do next. And I send this in. I decided not to send in the budget. I actually started to work on Excel sheet, and I kept that still for myself. And I sent in this sheet.
And then as I said before, I was studying computer science on the side, and an exam was coming up. So, I take one day off work to prepare for the exam, and I’m sitting at my desk at home studying for the exam. I get a phone call from my sister, “Sigrun, the new owner is here, taking a look,” you know. And I’m like…and I wasn’t there. This was the first time they came around, like after three weeks after buying the first time someone came around. And it wasn’t exactly the same company. It was like the friend, like the…you know, people often collaborate. You know that.
Sigrun: So, I knew they knew each other, but it was not exactly the company that I had contacted. So I got worried. Did he have my memo? Like did he know about me? Was he maybe trying to beat me? I wasn’t there, and I didn’t have a phone number. And there was no way. Like, she called me after the guy left. So, there was no [inaudible 00:09:17] to get in touch. I was like, and I felt this was the moment of either you take action or it’s a missed opportunity.
So, I called my brother for some reason. I just thought he might know something. He’s nine years older. He’s a lawyer. I just thought, “Well, maybe he knows somebody who knows somebody.” And I said, “How do I get the phone number of this guy because, of course, it’s not in the phone book?” And he said, “Well, he also owns this company. Call up that company.” And I did.
I called up the company, and I said, “I urgently have to reach him,” I made that up, of course, “and I need his phone number.” And I said, “Well, we’re not giving out his phone number.” “Well, he just bought a company, and I’m working at that company. I need to really talk to him right now.” And then they gave me the phone number. I called him up, but, you know, that’s when I got sweaty palms and was scared. Like, now I was calling up the actual owner and someone I had never spoken to. And I was like, “This is either gonna go horrible or maybe it go better.” I felt I had to do it. Like, I saw like this window of opportunity and either you take it or you regret it for the rest of your life. And I was sure I would regret it.
So, I called up. I tell him, “Oh, my name is Sigrun. You know, do you have my memo,” was my first. Like, I wanted to know if he had it. “Yes. I have your memo,” he said. And I was like, “Oh good.” And then I wasn’t sure what to say next. But he kind of took it to the next level of the conversation.
I said, you know, he would love to meet up with me if I could come to some coffee place in the next 30 minutes, and I’m like, “Sure. Sure.” So I drive to the city. I’m there at the coffee place. He shows up with a lawyer, and I’m like there. I have nothing more on my plan. Like, he starts to bombard me with questions about the company, and I don’t know the half of them. And I feel like, “Oh, this was horrible.” But no, we had a few more meetings. I at some point gave him my budget that I thought would be the budget for next year, and he hired me.
Michelle: Wow. So, all along I hear following your intuition, taking bold action, like don’t second-guess yourself, just go, go, go. That’s kind of like what I heard so far to land that first job. Now, 10 years later, another three master’s degrees later, and several CEOs later, you know, CEO roles later. You’re in Switzerland. You have found love, but you find yourself not doing really well from your health. And I know you say in your bio, you know, unemployable. And then, you know, 2014 then comes around, you start your online business, and within four years, you now have built that into a seven-figure business, you know, and you’re running that business pretty much, you know, from all over the world. I’d like to ask then, what happened? Why were you so sick?
Sigrun: You know, I’ve always been a workaholic. I love working. But I landed this job in Switzerland where I didn’t have to go to any meetings. So I was just sitting at a desk all day, and then I worked. I’m a serious hobby photographer. So, in the evenings, I would sit at my desk as well to edit pictures or do something. So, I just started to develop this repetitive strain injury where, you know, you get pain in your neck and your back. I got pinching ear pain. I couldn’t drive a car anymore because I got so much pain in my shoulder.
In the beginning, I didn’t realize what was going on, but I started to get headaches on Fridays, and then Thursday and Friday, and then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And then I would go on holiday, and I thought this would go away, but it actually was worse when I come back. So, it developed probably over some 18 months, and suddenly, it was just so much pain that I couldn’t go to work. And I just had to be at home, and I went to the…you know, my doctor in my Swiss village. And he just thought it was like, “Oh, yeah, you’ll be home four to six weeks, and then you go back.” But I had a hunch right away that this was more serious.
So, I started to do a lot of research, and for some weird reason, a friend of mine who lives in San Francisco wanted to talk to me. And like we’re not such close friends, and we hop on Skype. You know, he’s half American, half Icelandic, but, you know, Americans normally ask, “How do you do?” And you’re not just supposed to say something nice. And I said, “I’m horrible.” I was really honest, and he told me, “You have repetitive strain injury,” because he had had it himself. And he said, “You have to take that really seriously because otherwise, it can make you disabled. You know, you cannot use the mouse anymore. You might have to use voice recognition software.” And I was like, “Yeah. That was my hunch, really serious.” So, yeah, it took me seven months.
Michelle: What did you do to kind of like get…you know, recover?
Sigrun: I found a blog post online. This is crazy. The doctors were not very useful. Blog post online with stretching exercises, recommending trigger point therapy…
Michelle: Yeah. Oh, no.
Sigrun: …yeah, and physical therapy. So I started to do mix of therapies myself. I didn’t see any results in the first few months, and I was getting quite frustrated going to physiotherapy three times a week, trigger point once a week, stretches three times a day. And I was doing walks. One doctor had the wise decision to tell me, “Go for an hour-long walk a day where you really focus on your posture.” Because a repetitive strain injury often comes from rigidly, there’s some bad posture there.
Michelle: Yeah, absolutely.
Sigrun: So I did all of these things, and I was still having…I was getting stomach pain from all the painkillers. The woman doing the trigger point suggested kinesio tape. You know the one that the tennis players use. Like, you have these colorful things on your body.
Sigrun: I went to physiotherapy Praxis. They put it on, and later the same day, I start to feel better. Weird, because it doesn’t actually do anything, but it’s like a micro-massage. So, all the things I had been doing, they were correct, I believe. It just needed that small little extra, and that’s the kinesio tape.
Michelle: Extra little help, yeah, to affect probably the fascia, you know, this connective tissue. Now, you know, you recovered. Like I said earlier, you went…you know, now you’ve gone four years now in your own online business, where you’ve kind of like brought in… I can see from the architect point of view like in your branding, in your marketing how, you know, you bring the beauty and the aesthetic aspect into business in that way. And now I can see how, you know, the computer, you know, the background and the online, you know, marketing background is all coming together into one, and now you’re on a mission to accelerate gender equality through female entrepreneurship, really empowering other women to go out there and be financially independent by starting their own online businesses. And also, going with that, you know, your dream of being location independent, travel the world. What is the biggest why for you now, you know, for getting up every morning? Like, what made you decide one day, “Okay. This is what I wanna continue doing and this is who, you know, I wanna be a hero, too. You know, I wanna help these women?” How did that all come about?
Sigrun: Well, actually, my why comes when I was 16 years old. I was brought up in the belief I could do anything. My parents had possibly…yeah. Well, I come from Iceland. So, gender equality is number one for us. We’re number one gender equality in the world and have been for a very long time. And it all started probably in the ’60s, women going to job market. You know, most women work full time.
When I was young, my mom probably worked part-time, and I could see still some remains of the traditional roles, although it was getting more progressive. But I was brought up in the belief I could do anything. I saw that possible because, when I was nine years old, we got the first democratically elected first female president in the world, and she was a president for 16 years. And she was a single mother with adopted child and had just gone through cancer.
So, you know, you see all these like…all these things that would be an excuse for many, many other women. She had just like, you know, “Okay. You know, remove my breast, and I’m gonna move forward. Oh, I’m gonna adopt a child because I haven’t one. Well, I can have a child even if I don’t have a husband.” She’s doing all these things and then she becomes a president, and she did not like typical background for a president, I would say, lawyer, you know, like these things. No, no, she had studied theater and languages, so everything kind of out of the ordinary for a typical president. And then also when I was a teenager, 13, 14, Bjork was starting to become famous in Iceland, not worldwide yet, but this amazing girl, woman. She was on stage. She’s a few years older than me. So, she was like filling up a stadium, not a stadium. Well, maybe a stadium. Yeah.
And anyway, I see these examples, and I guess I was just looking for the role models. Like, I didn’t see many. I must admit that, but I saw a few. And I was like, “Well, anything’s possible.” And then 16 years old, I love to make my own clothes at the time. And I attended the dressmaker’s course to go to the next level of making my own clothes. And I’m 16 years old, and all the women are in their 40s. And I just sit there with my drink and listen to them, and they talk about, all of them, how they have not met their dreams come true. And this goes on for eight weeks, and I develop…I become a feminist. Like, I just get so angry about society.
I was maybe not angry at the women, although maybe a little bit, that all these excuses that they used, you know, children, husband, boss, whatever, don’t have the education, don’t have the skills, don’t have the time, don’t have the money. I was like looking at I saw the examples that it’s possible, and they didn’t see it. And the society accepts these excuses, and they still do today, unfortunately.
So, I became a feminist, and I decided that I would do something about this in my life. Now, I did not know at the age of 16 what I would do. I did not want to become a politician. That was the one rule I had. I was like, “I’ll need to do something else, but politician is not on the table.” I think that’s ineffective actually. I think it’s more effective when you are a role model yourself. I was very kind of strong, and this like I would…if a man would open a door for me after this course, I was like, “Wait for it to close.” And, you know, I decided not to have children. I do have two wonderful stepsons. I’ve been a stepmother for 11 years. So, you can change your mind.
But I developed some strong…like I also… I decided I would never have anyone stop me from following my dreams. And I think it’s more about actually myself like, but in that sense, it was first about other people because that’s what I heard from these women. But, of course, it’s just about yourself that you don’t stop yourself.
And then I go off, and I study architecture. And I kind of forgot about my way. Even as I started my business, my first goal was to be taking care of my health and have…basically, I want to create a job for myself because I was unemployable, like four master’s degrees, 10 years CEO and still fairly young. Well, companies in Switzerland thought like, “Who’s this person like and why is she doing so many different degrees and they’re different subjects. It doesn’t make any sense.”
So, I had to create my own job, and that was the first goal. Like, take care of my health. Create an income for myself. First, I avoided it, but it was natural that I would become a business coach after my experience of running businesses, you know, startups and turnarounds and mergers. And then I’m there probably a few months into my business, and it just hits me that this is my why. Like, it started to have a bigger meaning, and I think it also has taken me a few years to come up with that like accelerate gender equality through female entrepreneurship. I think this sentence, it wasn’t really there until last year. I knew my why after a few months…
Michelle: You knew it. Yeah. It took a little while to clarify and articulate that one statement.
Sigrun: Yes. Yeah.
Michelle: Yeah. I can see that. It’s clear. What is your vision? Where do you see going when it comes, you know, to the social impact of your mission and your why? Where do you see us going? I know there’s a big conference coming up. Perhaps you wanna tell us a little bit about that. Where do you see your social impact going say, you know, 5, 10 years down the road? What do you think is gonna be your legacy?
Sigrun: Yeah. That’s interesting. I think it will not be the things that I’m necessarily doing today. I have always seen a bigger stage, and for some time, I was kind of almost waiting for someone to kind of, “Oh, Sigrun, come and speak for us and duh, duh.” And I realized I have to create that stage myself, and that’s how the conference came up. I like, “You do not wait for other one, other people…”
Michelle: To invite you.
Sigrun: To invite you or create your opportunities. You have to sometimes create your own opportunities. And I also believe like if I would just come to some conference and speak on one stage, that is not the bigger impact. You know, by starting a movement and a conference that can turn into something bigger, that’s the beginning. And I definitely see stage. I see books, you know, maybe at Oprah at some point or someone else. Like, you know…
Michelle: Why not? Absolutely.
Sigrun: Why not? Yeah. I just think, you know, online courses and group coaching and masterminds, which is what I do today, it’s great. I love it. But in order to have a worldwide impact, that’s just not enough. Like, you have to do something offline, something physical. Have people feel, move together with you.
And, you know, my mission is something that a lot of people can believe in. So, I even make it a part of when I am, you know, selling my SOMBA program, which is my signature program, one-year program, business program for female entrepreneurs. I do a video on the last day of my launch, and I said…you know, I get them to kind of like, “This is my mission.” And they’re like, “Yes. I’m in,” or they’ve already signed up, and they’re like, “Now I know why I signed up.” Because that is the key for me. Like, I want also my clients to believe in the mission because otherwise, we can’t move forward together.
Sigrun: Yeah. And it’s about creating more role models. I think that’s the key to gender equality. I truly believe that, you know, governments can do a lot. I think we can learn a lot from Iceland and the Scandinavian countries. I think what’s really missing in the United States is a paternity leave and maternity leave, of course.
Michelle: Yeah. Actually, you know, Jack is originally from Germany. You know, he’s always telling me, “Yeah. You know, men in Germany have…” Just as the women have a maternity, they have a paternity leave as well. And it would be so fantastic if this would be like common norm here in the U.S. I mean, it was invaluable. When our daughter was born, it was, you know, amazing that we were in the situation of entrepreneurship that allowed for that. But if he would have been working for someone else, maybe that would have not been the case. You know, it would have been sad that he would have missed on those early days.
Now, tell us about SOMBA. When I first saw SOMBA, I was like, “Hmm, that S…is that something standing.” The S I figured is something for Sigrun. And then after a little while, I’m like, “Oh, no, the MBA.” It must be Sigrun’s online MBA. So what are the components of SOMBA?
Sigrun: So, I did an MBA myself at London Business School, and I didn’t learn anything about entrepreneurship, nothing about online business. I hope, and I do believe that things have changed. But I still think MBAs is typically for corporate. It’s for people that wanna step up to the next level.
And I wanted to create a program specifically for online business and specifically for women. Women need much more support from a community than men. And so that is a huge part of getting women to believe in themselves and take action, is the community aspect. Now, they need the content.
Michelle: The support.
Sigrun: Yeah. The support. So, yeah. So, I basically have all the modules that I believe are a part of an online business, and, you know, online business is not that different from a regular business. But there are added components, like people have to learn about evergreen and launching and things like that. But you have to learn about marketing campaigns too in a regular business. But, yeah, there’s some added elements.
So basically, I decided not just to teach marketing, which is typically what people wanna learn. They’re like, “Oh, I need to know how to find the next client.” I’m like, “You also need to learn how to build a business, like how to do a plan, how to hire a team, all these things.” So, it’s 12 modules, 12 months, and people can then also stay longer if they want.
Michelle: Perfect. Yeah. That sounds like, you know, all the components of a traditional MBA, you know, for a practical woman with all the things that, you know, have to juggle with children with, you know, commitments at home and whatever because, you know, sadly to say, for many ladies, it’s not an equal partnership, you know, when it comes to the division of, you know, chores at home. So, I can see that.
So, now that you’ve been leading, you know, your business for the last four years, you know, and you have, you know, hundreds of clients on SOMBA and in masterminds, what do you think is the biggest leadership challenge that you’ve had so far or the biggest leadership lesson that you’ve learned now, you know, four years into this?
Sigrun: I would say it’s so interesting because the largest company I ran before I started my own business was 70 employees. And I was put into that company by the same owner that owned the other company with the 15 people. He saw me. I did a turnaround in 11 months, and he said, “Okay. Sigrun, go and run this other company.” And from one day to the next, I had to think. You know, small business, you just talk to everyone. In a bigger business, you have your five people, and they talk to their people.
Michelle: To everyone. Yeah.
Sigrun: Yeah. So, I had to learn this in 24 hours. Like, you know, switch my mind that I was not gonna talk to everyone in the company every day. And this is the biggest challenge I find as I’m growing my business, is I…I got a huge insight actually earlier this year. I was planning the conference, Selfmade Summit, in June 2020 in Iceland.
Sigrun: Yee. And I was like planning a launch for SOMBA, and then I wanna write a book, and then I was on a documentary. And then I was just like, “I cannot get this all done with my current team. Like, I need help.” And I was really struggling, and I was in a mastermind session like with other seven-figure entrepreneurs. And a woman who’s a little bit older, who doesn’t speak up so often, she said, “Sigrun, could it be that you are just resisting hiring people because you wanna prove you can do it all on your own?” I was like, “I think she might be right.”
Michelle: Yes. And it’s hard for us to basically ask for support, you know. And sometimes, it’s easier to justify it in the business, and not so easy to justify it, you know, in your personal life. But I can see how…you know, if I have seen during the course of our, you know, conversation is the trajectory is that you have…you’re a firm believer of you being the creator of your own reality. You are the creator of your own world. You are the creator of your own luck, of my own job.
You know, I had to take, you know, everything, all matters into my own hands, and so I can see how that belief up until a certain point brought you to where you are. You know, if we’re gonna keep on growing and effecting and really creating this movement that, you know, others will have to join Sigrun in that mission. I can totally see that. Yeah. Wonderful distinction. Thank you so much. I can see some of myself in that as well.
Now, if I turn a little bit the conversation, turned a corner in the conversation, and ask you about money in general, because right now, you are doing…you are accelerating female, you know, gender equality through entrepreneurs. And entrepreneurship is closely tied to, you know, really taking charge of your life and your financial freedom, your financial power, you know, and so on and so forth. How did you grow up, you know, around money? What was your relationship with money as you were growing up?
Sigrun: You know, my parents had their own business, which I do think had some impact on me. They had a dry-cleaning. So they had nothing fancy. This was eight people dry-cleaning. But, yeah, I learned that we work hard for your money. Yeah. You have to work hard. So, that’s probably a belief that I still carry with me.
But I heard a story often from my parents because they did not go to high school or university. My mother had parents that didn’t have much, and my father had parents that had a little bit more. Like, I’m not sure if they were so wealthy but, you know, still well off, let’s say. And my mother got pregnant 16 years old. So my father went to his father and asked him for support. Like, you know, “Can I go to this school and learn this? And, you know, can you support us through it?” So he doesn’t have to go to work. And his father said no. This kind of became something that I just couldn’t forgive my grandfather. And it’s weird. You know, maybe the story is different, but, you know, children just take this in in a certain way.
Michelle: In a certain way. Yeah.
Sigrun: Yeah. So I had this belief, rich people are bad. Because, you know, my parents moved in with my mother’s parents who had little one-bedroom apartment, and they started to raise my brother there. I’ve written a blog post on it because I realized this is the story that was holding me back. I don’t believe this anymore, but I feel as I’m sharing it with you, there’s some feeling coming up.
Michelle: I can feel it too.
Sigrun: Yeah. So, yeah, I think it’s hard to get rid of these beliefs, but I think the first step is the awareness.
Michelle: Absolutely. Know that they’re operating in your mind, that they’re running the show sometimes with you not even knowing.
Sigrun: Yeah. Yeah. I also believe there was another story. Like, my parents had friends that started a business at the similar time as them. They were more risk-takers. So, after 30 years, my parents still had a dry-cleaning still with eight people, and the other family had, you know, a huge company, which they could sell, and they could buy two or three flats for it. It showed what’s possible. In 30 years, they both started with the same thing. And being risk-averse, of course, you have to do calculated risk. I’m not talking about some crazy things, but yeah. And I think there was always this comparison, this subtle comparison without talking about it all the time. Do you know what I mean?
Sigrun: Yeah. I think that has also kind of affected me, you know. I’m very aware of these things. I can see, you know, how I earn money, how I spend money. And I have to kind of beware of the stories, and, yeah, still working on them.
Michelle: Yes. So now you talked about, you know, women are not new to earning money, obviously not new to spending money. If you earn it, why not spend it. Now, how do you go about allocating now some of your profits, for example? Are you reinvesting everything into your company? Are you diversifying investing in something else, and if you are, why? You know, where do you invest? Why do you invest? What are some of the things that go behind your mind to say, “Okay, my hard-earned money right now that I’ve, you know, used to, you know, working hard for myself and my business?” You know, how do you decide, “Okay. I’m gonna invest it here or there?” What goes behind the scenes?
Sigrun: Yeah. So, I am consciously reinvesting in the business. So, when I go into launch, I’m thinking, “This money is gonna enable me to do the conference.” Like, you know, in my head, like I have these big plans.
Michelle: Yeah. Mental accounting.
Sigrun: Yeah. it’s like I’m all like allocating it in my head, and I’m aware that at some point, I’m like, “Yeah. I will, you know, do other things with the money.” But, you know, I feel it’s still so early that I wanna reinvest in the business. So, I on purpose don’t wanna have a lot of profit. It’s all kind of reinvested. But, yeah, I will diversify more in the future.
But I like that I already have an asset. You know, I have my own apartment. You know, I have my cars, you know, paid off. You know, things like that. It’s like the window of opportunity, you know. I’m seeing it at that, and this big vision implemented now, not wait another 5 or 10 years until, you know, I have it there.
Michelle: Yeah. No, the moment is now. The time is now. I think that last week’s episode at the time of this recording, you know, it was me relaying, you know, an experience that I had had on an airplane on my way to Chicago where the landing gear wasn’t working, and, you know, that we had to abort, you know, the landing a few times. And it really gets you…you know, it was a big reset for me because it really gets you, you know, face to face with the reality that we walk this earth as if we’re gonna be here forever, but the time is now to do the things that we’re here to do, you know, that the time is now. It’s not later. We have only one life. Let’s use it a lot. Let’s go for big things. Yeah. As you have grown your business over the last four years, how have you…and as you coach clients and other business owners, other businesswomen, what do you either teach or what do you do for yourself to find ease and flow and grace in your life? What do you do every day, say?
Sigrun: What do I do every day? So I don’t have a morning routine. I’m actually a night owl. So, I try to wake up as late as possible, but yeah. So, I don’t have these routines.
Michelle: You must be either telling yourself something or doing something that is giving you, you know, the faith, the groundedness to go out there and feel powerful every day.
Sigrun: Yeah. I absolutely believe in my vision. Like, I think about it every single day, and I think that that really drives me.
Michelle: It pulls you.
Sigrun: It pulls me forward. Every decision that I make is like closer to vision, closer to vision, talk more about it. And then I also have this mantra, like how can I make things better. I think it can be dangerous because I’m even in a restaurant like, “How could they do this better?” But it does help me, you know, make things better like…
Michelle: Constant improvement. Yeah.
Sigrun: Yeah, constant improvement. Yeah. For fitness or let’s say for my body, I have actually a personal trainer since February, three times a week over Zoom, like virtual. And I love it.
Michelle: I can see that. Since you’re just setting the world, you don’t really…you can’t really stick to being, you know, at a specific place in a gym. Yeah. That makes sense. Now, what about faith and what role has faith played in your life in taking risks, in making big bets on yourself, on others, in pursuing and going for big things? What role has faith played in your life?
Sigrun: I’m an eternal optimist. I don’t think I’m a pollyanna, but I’m an eternal optimist. I think things will always work out for the best. Even if there are maybe not so good things, like, there is a lesson to be learned or something. So, I often say because I don’t wanna pick a certain religion out when I’m talking to people, but I say the universe provides. Like, the universe provides.
This whole thing with wishing and everything, like, I was 11 years old when I was in south of Germany. And I like the city of Freiburg so much. I was like I stood on a square there, and I said, “The very bohemian city.” And I didn’t realize you couldn’t study architecture there. But anyway, I said to myself, I said it out loud, “I’m gonna come back here and study architecture.” Eleven years old. I had never heard about a vision and the importance of doing a vision. But I kind of said this to myself.
And then nine years later, I was back in Freiburg. I did one-year German study before I moved to another city to do actually architecture. But this is like when you’ve seen this work for yourself once, it’s like you get this absolute belief that anything is possible. You just need to visualize it. The same for the conference. I actually bought a ticket to some event a year ago to sit inside the room, and then like I just talked to myself. I’m like, you know, “A year from now or one and a half years from now, I’m gonna be actually on the stage there”
Michelle: And it’s a gorgeous venue. I mean, top class, beautiful, everything in red. Maybe you tell us about the significance of the color red. But, yeah, I’m sorry to interrupt. Go for it.
Sigrun: No. And then after I booked the venue, I asked to come into the, you know, area to take some photos. And, yes, I needed the photos for my marketing. But the key was the vision again. I’d liked this physical thing of like, “Now I’m on the stage. The next time I’m gonna be in this room, it’s gonna be full of people.”
Michelle: It’s almost like bringing, you know, the mental into the physicality of the body and being in that environment and feeling how it feels to be there right here, right now because this is…you know, the moment that you internalize it in your body, you’re bringing it even closer, you know, to reality to making it come forth. I love it. This is a…
Sigrun: I get this absolute belief that it’s gonna happen. It’s just like there’s no doubt when I do that. And if you can’t go to a place, like when I…
Michelle: Create the circumstances in a way to kind of like absorb it and bring it in.
Sigrun: Yeah. There’s another thing that I did. I was walking through an airport, and there was a perfume. It’s called One Million Dollars, One Million. Have you seen it?
Sigrun: Yeah. And I bought it, and I put the box on my desk. And the box was on my desk for two years. I would see it every day when I sat down, and then when I made the first million-dollar year, I opened it up, and, you know, smelt it. I didn’t know how it smelled before.
Michelle: Oh my gosh.
Sigrun: And it smelled like a million dollars. Like, you know, how can you visualize money? Yeah. That was my way to…
Michelle: Bring it in closer to you. Yeah, absolutely. Sigrun, what do you think is your superpower?
Sigrun: I can spot what people should shift or change. I bring you an example. I was just doing a retreat in Iceland with 11 amazing women, and one of them was early in her business. And, you know, the promise of the retreat is to walk away with a plan, and I realized that she is just in no place to create a plan. And she was like, “I don’t know, duh, duh.” And she’s a runner, and she runs five marathons a year. And I asked her, “Why do you run?” And she couldn’t give me a good answer. She gave me all kinds of answers, but I could see through it. You know, they were bullshit answers. And on the last day of the retreat, this was very hard for her, we got the answer, and it was very deep. It was in childhood. And it’s interesting because…
Michelle: Something that she was running away from?
Sigrun: Yeah. Or proving to someone that wasn’t even there anymore. And, you know, I’m a business coach, and what I feel I can also do, it doesn’t matter if it’s business or life, I’ll figure out what this one thing is. And now this woman is not stuck anymore. She has a superb plan for her next steps in business, but she couldn’t create it until she understood why she does what she does.
Michelle: Yeah. Awareness again, bringing it up with your awareness from wherever it has been in your subconscious. Now, I know your motto is be inspired, think big, take action. Tell us about the conference. When is it happening? Where can people register? What’s gonna happen there?
Sigrun: I believe I have a recipe for, you know, governments. I said that before, paternity leave and all that stuff. I also think a man can do a lot, society, governments, corporations. But women need to start to step it up. You know, 30% of entrepreneurs are women, but they tend to earn 30% less. So they have created their own pay gap. Who would do that on purpose? It’s because women need a lot more confidence to raise their prices.
And I think the solution to all of that, to sum it up, is role models. So the conference is about putting role models in front of women and role models in all stages of business. Now, I want role models that make seven or eight figures, but also someone who just maybe made six figures last year also can be as inspiring as someone who is really far away.
Michelle: Absolutely. Especially because they’re much closer to beginner’s mind. It feels much more tangible, much more possible. Yeah. I can see that.
Sigrun: And there are a lot of conferences with inspiration, you know, but the thing is a lot of people just don’t take action. So, it’s really key for me that all the women that I bring on stage, myself included, are not just inspirational, but you get the exact plan of what they did so that you can go ahead and do something similar.
Michelle: Model. Yeah.
Sigrun: Yeah. I saw this video, “Success Leaves Clues.” This is…
Michelle: [crosstalk 00:48:19.586].
Sigrun: …your why reinvent the wheel. There’s something that somebody has been doing already successfully.
Michelle: Yeah. Why not? Yeah.
Sigrun: I was looking for inspiration. And I would never have picked up this magazine, but this was a special exercise, content exercise, “Barbie Magazine.” And on the last page, there was a project that they were doing called “Closing the Dream Gap.” And in the article, they talked about that already at the age of five, girls no longer believed that they can do anything they want.
And recently, I found the video with the campaign, and it blows your mind because it’s about all the stats of, you know, that parents look up. I think twice is more likely to look up, “Is my son a genius or, you know, whatever?” And they don’t do it for girls.
Michelle: Oh, wow, that’s crazy.
Sigrun: Yeah, very sad. Crazy.
Michelle: I only have one, and it’s a girl. And I’m constantly thinking, “She’s a freaking genius.”
Sigrun: Yeah, of course.
Michelle: [inaudible 00:49:28]. But I also grew up with the same understanding, even though my mother was, you know, a single mother raising me, and so she had issues as elementary teacher. But at the same time, it was still doing something that was traditionally meant for a woman, you know, teaching, being with children or nurses, you know, caring for others. So I had a little bit of like, “Yes. You can do everything,” but I still saw her very traditional in the area that she chose, you know, or not that she chose, that was kind of like approved back then for a woman to be in, which was either, you know, teaching or nursing in some way in those traditional roles for a woman outside of the house. So, yeah.
Now, Sigrun, what are the three pieces of advice that you would have for any woman starting out right now, you know, in the world of entrepreneurship? Because investing and going out there and starting, you know, to invest in real estate and, you know, take charge of your world, you know, by using the vehicle of real estate, you know, whether it be flipping, whether it be to produce cash flow. It’s an entrepreneurial venture. So what three top pieces of advice would you have there for an entrepreneurial woman?
Sigrun: First thing is to invest in yourself, like get help.
Michelle: That’s the number one investment. Yeah.
Sigrun: That’s the number one investment, get help. Like, actually, you know, whether it’s buying a program or hiring a coach. Like, I think I lost a lot of time because I was like, “Well, I was a CEO for 10 years, and I have an MBA. I don’t need anybody’s help.” But it’s everybody. You know, you cannot see your own blind spots. So that’s the very first thing. Then surround yourself with people that you aspire to. Like, if you are constantly with millionaires, you probably gonna become a millionaire. So, seek out to be in groups. Now, we call this, in my world, masterminds, but it could also just be…
Michelle: It’s in my world too. In real estate, Jack and I, you know, belong to several masterminds. Actually, we run our own as well. So, yeah, this is the way to have access too. Like, the genius of other people are, all of a sudden, you know, accessible at your fingertips, you know, not just their genius but other people in their network. And that can really make a difference between, you know, having a challenge in your business that can go on forever versus fixing it in no time. So, yeah. We’re familiar with that word, mastermind.
Sigrun: Yeah. And I think risk is something that women tend to avoid. So, let’s maybe rephrase that. Like, I think if you could always work on making your comfort zone bigger, then, you know, your life is…life is just gonna get better. This could be as simple as going on Facebook live for some people. For others, your first investment, you know. Like just continuously think about something you’ve not done before and take the risk and do it. Now, calculate the risk, of course. But I think this is why we just kind of stay in our comfort zone. So, yeah, definitely, take more risk.
Michelle: I like that. You know, because you hear a lot, “Get out of your comfort zone. Get out,” and this going out seems stepping out into who know where. But when you say where you already are right here right now just make it bigger, you know, make your comfort zone bigger. I like the word play. You know, that comes with that in and what it means to your psychology. So, thank you for that. I wrote it down.
So where can people find more about you, Sigrun? It’s been wonderful to have you. If somebody was interested in SOMBA, in online marketing, in becoming, you know, a genius at online sales, where can they find out about SOMBA? Where can they find about the conference and follow you basically?
Sigrun: Well, I have a podcast, “The Sigrun Show.” So that’s where people can get to know me. My website is sigrun.com and sigrun.com/somba. You can find out more about SOMBA, and sigrun.com/selfmadesummit. You can find out more about the Selfmade Summit 2020. It’s happening in June in Reykjavik, Iceland. So, only a few hours away from the United States.
Michelle: Okay. We forgot actually about the red, the color red that is such a signature color with that venue and with all your marketing materials. Tell me a little bit about that red.
Sigrun: So, I have always loved red as a child. I can find many pictures where I’m wearing red. And when I was 12, my room was white, red, and black. So this is not something I picked just for marketing. It’s funny how it happened quite organically. I like that. I did not kind of force it. It just happened.
So, I was starting to run my first Facebook ads. So my website was black and white. There was not much color on it. My first Facebook ad was green. And then I was doing the second Facebook ad, and I thought, “This is so much work,” like figuring out the next ad and figuring out a graphic. And I thought, “Wouldn’t be easier if I just had a red background circle with my face inside and just the title of the next webinar?” Because I was doing weekly webinars. So I just wanted to change out the template. And then people started telling me, “Oh, I always know when it’s your ad, when it’s your webinar because your ads are always red.” And I’m like, “Hmm, good.” So there was branding going on there. Still, my website was black and white.
Then I show up to a webinar in a yellow shirt. Like, I have no idea because yellow is not my color. I need to be really tanned in the summer to wear yellow. Otherwise, it looks horrible on me. But I’m wearing this yellow shirt, and people comment in the chat and say, “Why aren’t you wearing red?” And I’m like, “Oh, okay.” So, actually, they had the shirt in red. So the next time I was wearing a red shirt, exactly the same shirt. These were the little hints.
Then I’m about maybe three years into the business. I’m doing a mastermind day in San Diego with a few of my clients, and we’re going into a conference, Social Media Marketing World. And then one of my clients, she’s also from Iceland. She also loves red. She suggested to the rest of the clients, “Let’s wear red in the evening when we go to the conference event to kind of support Sigrun.” So, we do that.
I had to go shopping. I didn’t have enough red clothes with me. So I went to Banana Republic and found the red dress. And then we go to the conference event. And we are four or five, and we attract so much attention that the official photographer of the event takes a picture of us and we’re used for marketing the event, like these women in red. What was the first step?
Then about six months later, I had my first live event in Zurich, Switzerland. And without me saying anything, about half of the room was wearing red. Then I do my next event, two-thirds of the room wearing red, and then I do my next event, three-quarters of the room wearing red. And I saw a post in my group yesterday, you know, as people are preparing for the next event, which is happening a month from now, they all want to have red luggage tags on their luggage so they will find each other at the train station or airport on the way to the event.
Michelle: Wow. Okay. It’s something, subtle hints that have been there all along basically of how red really is your color. It has been since you were little and…
Sigrun: It’s become a movement now. We have the hashtag team red. And it is not really about me, I feel. Like, yes, they wear red because it’s my brand color, but it’s still not about me. I see it as a bigger thing. I see it’s a part of the vision. And they are like saying, “I’m in, you know. I’m wearing red because I’m in. I believe in accelerating gender equality through female entrepreneurship.”
Michelle: That’s beautiful, Sigrun. Okay. So, anyone listening to this, you guys need to go to sigrun.com or sigrun.com/somba to find out about her online programs and about her conference coming up, which is the Selfmade Conference, right?
Sigrun: The Selfmade Summit. Yeah.
Michelle: Selfmade Summit. I’m sorry. Yes, Selfmade Summit. Thank you so much. Sigrun, it has been a pleasure having you here. I realize we went into, you know, really personal stuff that, you know, makes this interview actually juicy. And we really hear who really Sigrun is, you know, and who is behind those beautiful images that, you know, you see online if we go to Instagram and follow her. You know, it’s, Sigrun, I think your Instagram handle.
Michelle: The sigruncom. And on Facebook, you are also as…
Michelle: Sigruncom. Okay. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Sigrun.
Sigrun: Thank you for having me.
Michelle: Enjoy New York City.
Sigrun: I will.
Michelle: Thank you so much. It has been an honor having you, and you are truly inspirational to all those clients and I know to a lot of women like me. I definitely look up to you. Thank you so much for being a role model for me and for everyone else out there, you know.
Sigrun: Thank you for having me.
Michelle: Thank you very much. Okay, Barbara, so I think that’s a wrap. It turned out…
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