Meet Host, Mary Grothe
Mary Grothe is a former #1 MidMarket B2B Sales Rep who after selling millions and breaking multiple records, formed House of Revenue®, a Denver-based firm of fractional Revenue Leaders who currently lead the marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps departments for 10 companies nationwide. In the past year, they've helped multiple 2nd stage growth companies between $5M - $20M, on average, double their MRR within 10 months, resulting in an average ROI of 1,454% and an average annual revenue growth eclipsing $3.2 million.
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Mary Grothe: Welcome to the House of Revenue®. I'm Mary Grothe the Founder and CEO. I love scaling companies to their first 5 million then 10, 15, and 20. If you've reached a revenue plateau and aren't sure how to get past it, you're in the right place. Listen in as we interview CEOs and solve their most pressing revenue challenges, if you want to be on our show, or want to learn more, connect with us at houseofrevenue.com.
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We are covering two topics today; both have surfaced for me in the last few weeks. If you're new to the show, this is CEO to CEO Revenue Radio. I've loved hearing experiences through my own learnings in the hopes that someone somewhere, preferably a CEO, is listening and can realize, wow, maybe I should consider that or implement that. I certainly don't know everything. But I have the privilege to experience pretty wonderful outcomes by implementing some of these things in our business. I'm hopeful that this will be helpful for you. I want to talk about your conscious choice in how people get to experience you. Today's two topics, I think this is often overlooked. I think that CEOs are stressed out. I think they have a big responsibility. I think they can get triggered and frustrated easily. I think they have some ego. Sometimes, they are not consciously showing up to create an experience for how people receive them.
The other topic we're going to talk about, and I believe that they're related, which is why I'm talking about both in the same episode, is your control and your ability to create joy in your life, that joy is an option. It is not a destination. It doesn't happen when a whole bunch of things happens all in a row. So if this happens, then I can experience joy. There's an ability to have joy and the journey. I think the two topics here - choosing how people experience you and acknowledging how much power and control you have, in addition to the choice of creating joy in your life now and not waiting for a dozen things to happen before that opportunity comes into fruition. So let's dig into these topics.
Have you ever wished you could go back and replay a conversation? I have. In fact, I think back to the first two and a half to three years we were scaling this company. Especially in the first two years, let me just back up even further. Maybe even really the first year. Maybe "Man, I was a woman on a mission. I was going to scale this thing come hell or high water. I was a steamroll, steamrolling over everybody, just to make things happen." My urgency was through the roof. My lack of patience. It was just nonexistent. I was executing on my high driver, but I was very short-sighted.
As I started growing the company and bringing on employees, I had this terrible expectation - that I'm bringing you on to do this job, whether I train you or not. Trust me, back then, we didn't really have time for training. I need you to just figure it out and get it done for a startup or fast-growing. I have offered you this position. I need you to get in here, and I need you to do it. Then when a mistake was made, I didn't have a lot of grace towards that person. In fact, they triggered me to be quite frustrated and think, "Why can't they just get it done? Why did they make this mistake? Didn't they take this job knowing this is what the job was?" Those are horrible things to think yet. I know that other CEOs feel that way, and from time to time, I can catch myself being short-sighted and not having grace towards one of our team members. It's fewer far between now Praise Jesus. But it does still happen. I am human.
Think back to when I started to understand that extending grace and being kind and loving my people. That shift happened to me in 2020; after the pandemic shutdown, 60% of our business was gone. We scaled back to six team members, and we rebuilt from there. As we rebuilt, I had embraced this new thing called calmness. I'm not a calm person. I wasn't historically I am now. I used to just get so fired up and so passionate about solving every tiny challenge that happened in the country. Everything was a mountain. Everything was something we had to overcome. I realized, "Wait a second," but it isn't. I'm making it. I'm making the decision to make that piece of adversity or that challenge bigger than it needs to be.
When a piece of information enters your mind, you make a story about it. You create a story about a piece of information that's come to you. You are in control. We were created as powerful, powerful human beings, and we are powerful creatures, and with power comes great responsibility. You, as a CEO, might have 5, 10, 20, 100, 1000 employees that are following you. You are the influencer of your brand, internally to your people. The way you handle things, the way you respond, who help you realize how many people look up to you in the tiniest of details. You are a leader, whether you act like one or not. They look at you like one. How you show up in those moments and how you receive and process information, and how you react or respond to it are very influential in your company.
We had a long three-year employee recently transition to another company has a very celebrated moment. She was our first employee. She knowingly went to a company where she was reading Glassdoor reviews, multitude of comments about the CEO; they weren't good. Not good. A couple of 100-employee companies talked about the CEO acting like a bull in a China shop - short-tempered, isolated to only conversation with the executive team, not really present for others. But when they didn't really handle situations too great. They seemed very erratic ego, arrogance, short-sightedness, even 200 employees, people acknowledge, and they see that and you're making the decision on how they experience you. You have full control over how you show up to your team and your people on the worst of these, on the best of days, in small decisions, and in big decisions. So you've got to identify one, how do you want people to experience you.
My gut tells me you want them to experience the sweet, calm, passionate, mission-driven, caring human that I know you are. But do they always experience that, or do they experience your reactions and your hotheadedness, your frustration? Do they get to experience the same ups and downs of entrepreneurship that you're experiencing? Which are some days just pure euphoria, cloud nine, things couldn't be better. You have all the affirmation in the world. This is exactly why I got into the business. This is so good.
Then on those days, where it feels like it's all crashing down, and you're questioning everything, you're even thinking on my day, "Shoot, I should sell the business. This isn't even worth it." Who experiences you on those days, what do they experience, and how do they experience you on the good days? Are you celebrating? Are you acknowledging people? Are you spreading the love of those wins across your team? Are you just having a really great day by yourself or with your CEO or your closest executive team members?
How people experience you is a choice. That choice that you make on how people experience you can create phenomenal or detrimental outcomes. People look up to you as the CEO. Whether you believe it, know it, acknowledge it, or are cognizant of it or not, they do. If you want to build a team of people inspired to work for you, love being a part of your company, show up motivated, and know they are valued. Should have started with that. Do you create an environment? When people experience you as a CEO, do they feel valued as a part of that experience, or do they feel like they're not good enough? Do they feel like no matter what they do? They can't please you, and they can't win? Do they feel like they don't know the rules of the game at your company?
They don't know How they're held accountable. They don't know how their performance is measured. They don't know what you expect of them. They don't know how to win. They don't know how to make you happy. They don't know how to claim a long-term seat at your company. They question if they should even be there. What experience are you creating for your people? You are in control of that CEO. There's a lot of power behind it. I have found many times, and I and other CEOs I get to work with are those hard days, those hard moments, those moments of stress and grind and frustration, that tumultuous attitude and behavior that flows down to everyone else. It's usually caused by a lack of joy. If your heart and your being were full of joy, isn't that what would flow out of you? Do you hear that phrase, my cup runneth over what's in your cup? If you have stress, frustration, constantly pointing out people's flaws, talking behind their back, getting frustrated with them. If that's in your cup, please pour that out, like in the back alley. Get rid of it, flush it down the toilet. Identify where you are happy, where you are thrilled, where you are whole.
Look at the joy in your life. Can I just level with you right now? How awesome is it to be a CEO that we were created to be this capable - smart, talented, capable of identifying a problem in the market that we can solve? We literally have the power to make people's lives better - our buyer, our customer, our clients, because of the product or solution as a founder that we created and developed, or as a non-founding CEO that we've said yes to running this company and carrying out this mission. That is amazing. Do you know how many millions of people wish they could be you? They think being a CEO is that top, top, top tier? "Oh my gosh, look at me. Can you say at the moment and realize how remarkable it is that you were created to do this? That you're capable of doing this?" Many people who look up to you can find joy at the moment and not look at a destination? Find it right now? Take a moment and look at your life? Can I tell you about mine? I'd love to share. I like talking a lot.
I used to be a number one sales rep top performer. I made hundreds of 1000s of dollars a year and loved being in the top 10 number one rep couple of years there. I made my own schedule, worked whatever hours I wanted, although I was always on call, which is fine. I met the greatest people - my prospects, my clients. I solved their problems. I hung around to make sure that the solution was implemented. There were many challenges with that, and the service delivery was subpar, which is why I ended up leaving and not doing that anymore. But my heart was in it. I did it for eight years wildly successful, and I would come home, and I'd cry because I wasn't fulfilling my purpose. I happen to be very capable, very talented, and very good in the sales profession.
But God had more for me. I was so successful based on today's standards, whatever, however, the world defines it. Even my own husband thought I was crazy. He's like, "You work 25, 30 hours a week. You make an insane amount of money. You had all the recognition." I said, "But for what? For me? It's not about me." The magnitude of who I can impact and whose lives I can make better is very limited right now. I sold in the market; I only sold maybe eight or 10 clients a year. It wasn't impacting a ton of people. Quite honestly, the product and service that I saw sold were faulty. Technology didn't always work. The service team didn't deliver at the levels that I know that they could. My clients were let down a lot, and that hurt. We're selling payroll services. If you look at what I do today versus that, even on my worst days here, I praise Jesus, and I'm so thankful that I get to do this if this was put on my path.
On my worst days with this company, they were far better than me than any day I had selling payroll. There was an easy job for me. This is not easy, but the joy from top to bottom pours out of me. I'm a wife, a mom, a CEO, and I've created a parent-friendly company. We create our own schedules. I have the weirdest schedule ever, but it works for me. I work from five to seven. Then I take care of my kid and take him to school between seven and eight. I work between eight and 2:45 or three o'clock. I pick up my kid, and I'm a mom; I make dinner, my husband works overtime, all the time, we never know what time he's getting off of work. I get to be what feels like a single parent. But then, when he comes home, I get to welcome him with a nice, warm, homemade dinner every night, be with my family. Once the two of them get situated, I can open up the laptop if I need to for a little bit more time.
Then I bust out a few hours of work on the weekends. But you know what? That schedule works. It works for me, it works for my son, it works for my husband, it works for us, it works for our team, it works for our clients, it works for everything, and it works. Do you know how much joy is in the fact that I get to build my own schedule so can I handle a rough day. Find me 20 CEOs, small business CEOs who've only been in business for three and a half years who get this and have created a company that runs without them. A team of 28 people who pour their hearts in passion into their work. They get remarkable results for their clients. It's hard to come by us. We created something phenomenal. There's joy in that. Could I focus on our growing pains? Could I focus on how long it takes me to manually enter people into our payroll system? Don't worry. I'm going through a payroll conversion right now. That won't be a problem anymore. Manually enter them into the 401k.
The growing pains of how many interviews we had just to hire six people, how it turned my schedule upside down, and that was just burning the candle on both ends there for four weeks. Can I talk about challenges and frustrations when we miss communication with a client, how we own that, and how we turn it around quickly? We don't sacrifice any success within our engagement. But at that moment, how that doesn't feel really good at all. I'm disappointed. I hate letting people down. Anybody is better than that. But it happens we employ humans, we make mistakes, I make mistakes. I'm not allowed to send out emails or proposals after 7pm at night because I'll read them out loud, and I still have typos in there. Don't have attention to detail that late. I've learned that about myself; I have to do that stuff early in the morning.
I get mad at myself, and I'm just trying to crank things out and cross it off the list and get it done. I send it out; it has an error in it, and it's embarrassing. I'm sending a $300,000 proposal to a prospective client. The name of the proposal is a template. Okay, I've done that. I've done stupid things that hurt. I'm embarrassed, and I worry. Did I just show them that we don't care about the quality of our work? Yeah, all that stuff floods in? Does it bring me down to the point where I sacrifice feeling joy where I get frustrated? No. I've learned. I've learned that if I want people to experience the love and light inside me, it is my conscious decision to choose joy in all things regardless of the bullet points of what the heck is going on. There's joy in everything. I'm thankful for those moments when I make mistakes.
Can I tell you why I send out an email that has the Word template in it as the name of the proposal instead of the client’s name? Because it reminds me that I'm human, and it shows me how to have grace for when my team member makes a mistake because it's not if it's when. So at that moment, do I realize that I have very, very, very high standards for our team, but that kind of stuff happens. If I'm making that mistake, how will that employee feel when a mistake is caught? There's an opportunity to extend grace to smooth it over with a client, depending on the situation, not perfect, nobody's getting fired. We don't have to panic and freak out about it. Let's just love each other, have grace in the moment, let's make sure the client is good. Let's figure out how we avoid making mistakes like that in the future so we can learn from them. Let's move on. Let's grow as human beings. Let's evolve.
I didn't start off perfect in my career. I'm not saying that like I'm perfect now. Hello. A lot of people had a lot of grace for this young pup. When I started my professional career at 22 years old, without a college degree with no experience, being raised in a wildly toxic, abusive, alcoholic family, I cursed like a sailor. I had no self-worth. I had so many pains and scars and wounds deep inside of me. I didn't know how to conduct myself professionally. I didn't know how to be a young lady. I was a mess. For years, people extended grace to me. They helped me learn, and they modeled who I wanted to be. Some people dug in really, really, really deep to help me grow up and realize the beauty in life.
There are things I'm forever grateful for. We look at how our team experiences us, CEO to CEO. What are you creating for those team members early in their careers? Are those people evolving on their personal journey, growing up, and just learning what grace is? Are you extending them? How are you slowing down? How are you being calm? How are you teaching them and mentoring them in those moments to develop them? You can do that if you're coming from a place of joy. You have that pure, pure, pure joy, love, and light in your heart. It's really easy to give it because you can't give what you don't have. If you want to extend goodness and joy and want to be great, but if you don't have it on the inside, you can't. That's not good.
I want to leave you with the encouragement that, as a CEO, you've been gifted. One of the most remarkable opportunities in this world is to lead. Your team looks up to you, and you create the experience for them. You create it. You dictate that, and that's a lot of power in your hands. But the encouragement here is if you get right internal and get right with your own heart. Soften up that heart and fill that heart with joy. Find ways to celebrate, love, support, mentor, and develop this team. Inspire them, meet them with kindness and grace. Can you do that? My guess? It's a very educated guess. Speaking from experience, when you get that right, the way that your team will respond to you, the quality of work, the work ethic, the productivity, the desire to be there, the longevity of that team member working for you, all of these components, all of that will come back to you. Go find your joy.
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Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at houseofrevenue.com or with me Mary Grothe spelled G-R-O-T-H-E on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.
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