The Dot Domino: How I tap into the wisdom of Dots as I build a Juicy Good Life
By Sarah Stokes, Member of the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls PDP Chapter, Owner of STOKES|HERZOG Marketing + Consulting and Founder of The Juicy Good Life: Strategies for Stress and Success
It’s early in 2014 and I’m at my first Polka Dot Powerhouse meeting. Excitedly, I shared that I heard about the group from the creator of it! My exuberance matched the great energy of the room. I was a new business owner and the thrill of a big career move shot through me like a fifth or sixth cup of coffee.
I’d just bought the women’s magazine that PDP’s founder, Shannon Crotty, started. As she prepared to go full-throttle with her connection company, it was a no-brainer to join the growing organization that Shannon was building. Everything she’d shared with me about Polka Dot Powerhouse sounded like the perfect way to meet women as I transitioned from TV news anchor to magazine publisher. I had no idea it would lead to life-long friendships and nuggets of wisdom that would take me from rookie to seven-figure business leader.
My career is now dedicated to helping women who are in the process of scaling their businesses, so I want to share with you how you can truly find the keys to success sitting right next to you at your next chapter meeting. It starts with being open. Open to sharing your dreams, your needs, your time, your talents, and your trust.
If Shannon hadn’t trusted her instincts and guidance to focus on Polka Dot Powerhouse and trusted me to buy her magazine, I’m not sure what story I’d be telling right now. If I hadn’t been open to possibilities during that coffee chat, maybe I’d still be in TV news missing my babies every night while someone else put them to bed at daycare. You see, simple moments of connection really matter to your success.
If I would have sat quiet at PDP meetings, not sharing how excited I was to launch my business life, I wouldn’t have built a buzz. If I would have kept quiet about the articles I wanted in the next issue, I wouldn’t have discovered all the great Dots who were just waiting for their chance to share their information. If I would have skipped meetings because I was tired, distracted, or just plain hiding from the world, I would have missed all the help and support that was just waiting in those chairs inside Deb’s Café in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
2014 to 2016 is a blur of pink and orange. Through total hustle, vision, and connection-creation, I was now running two successful companies. The magazine business immediately showed me how many business owners needed more marketing help. My husband and I founded STOKES|HERZOG Marketing + Consulting on the 4th of July in 2014 and soon my PDP meeting introduction grew to include both growing companies and a leadership role within our PDP chapter.
I was meeting so many amazing women through PDP and was inspired and in awe during our national conference in 2014 when I was awarded the Extraordinary Businesss Woman Award (THANK YOU!!!) and gave a speech from the heart to the most amazing Dots in the audience who showered me with authentic love and support. I shared in this love fest. We were truly in flow that morning, and it’s a feeling that keeps me coming back year after year to this blessed community of women.
When you step into the beauty of this group with your whole, real self, you too will feel this flow.
This is the flow that can build empires, confidence, and bonds.
It’s so cool to look back on my five-plus years as a dot and see how many PDP connections and friends are at play during important milestones. Are you open to how it can shape your story and your success? I’ll continue to share my “Dot Domino,” as I challenge you to consider how your PDP story can evolve as well.
Fast-forwarding through 2015 and 2016 (appropriately described, because my life was in fast-forward at the time), we’d expanded the magazine, our marketing agency, and our staff. We were ready to make some big decisions. Do we divide and conquer or focus on one business? My intuition said it was time to find the next right person for the magazine. There was “a dot for that,” as you’ve probably heard. I’m smiling because it was a dot connect that led me to that person. Kathleen Walton and I connected on so many levels, shared our hopes and dreams over coffee, and ended up taking the step to do a business deal that would open up new things for each of us. She took on the challenge and took on our full-time magazine staff members, one of whom is Jen Guntner, who edits this newsletter! When there are Dots in action, amazing things happen.
Since 2016, I’ve tapped into the wisdom of Dots like Ursula Mentjes, who taught me some game-changing lessons in her Sales Camp (shout out!) training. I’ve used her wisdom to lock down six-figure deals. We’ve come a long way from $240 monthly retainers to clients who invest more than ten times that. I’ve been so inspired and grateful to the Dots who believed in our marketing company when we were still working out of our kitchen. I’ve been a cheerleader to our clients whom we met through PDP, whom have grown so much, like Jessica Martin, of Martin Management and Martin Dental, who’s transformed her family’s dental practice and started her own consulting company. There are Dots who consistently come together when I’m working on community service efforts. Many of those fabulous women are also leaders in my chapter, like Denise Bender, Katrina Robinson, and Ashley Kosharek. The list is long, endless, and totally inspiring.
There are Dots like Tracey Smiskey, who steps up repeatedly in my life. She not only believes in and spearheads so many community efforts that impact our world, she in her role at Northwestern Bank has helped us scale our business. She sends us great referrals and we chose her bank to finance our office building purchase! When you have an opportunity to help a dot, the ripple effect is endless. It’s never just about receiving, it’s also about what you can share that helps that dot. Whether I’m booking travel through a dot from another state, choosing speakers for events I’m planning, or hiring a dot to organize my garage, I am grateful for the endless possibilities this organization creates for all of us.
In the last couple of years, I’ve gotten increasingly savvy as a business owner. I went from quantity of action (the grind) to quality of action (the juicy good life). I utilized my time to learn more about growth, building our team, building our wealth, and what it means to live a life I love. I invest even more in personal and professional growth. I am more selective with my clients. I am more strategic with my time. I live in gratitude as many minutes of the day as my humanness will allow. I am opening myself up to even bigger dreams, yet creating more simplicity as I scale. I’m yet again birthing a new online success education business called “The Juicy Good Life.” I already have so many Dots involved in this project. I created it to help women like you. You can bet this latest chapter will be filled with yet another “Dot Domino.”
Thank you to all the Dots who have come into my life. You are amazing. I am grateful.