In today's episode of The OWN IT show, we're excited to have a conversation with Carli Roth. Carli Roth is a community strategist and relationship strategist and she is part of The Female Founder Collective, a network of businesses led by women, supporting women.
In this conversation Carli take us thru her Journey of being a founder herself, selling that business and finding her passion "Build communities" She talks about the importance of having a community that supports you, how to create your own community and how Ownership is a connection to yourself and your mission! Listen to this conversation as Carli unpack her story and inspire you to follow your passion!
Go OWN IT!
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Success is different so own your different!
This is the a show where we tell stories of how everyday people made ownership theirs to create extra ordinary success. Hey, everybody, welcome back to the Own It Show. I'm Justin. And I'm Ali. Welcome to the show. Well, welcome to our couch. We know that this is where the best conversations are had. And today, we're really excited to really lean in because as entrepreneurs, as founders, as as business people. So often we're trying to figure out how do I create a really great community? How do I create relationship in and among my my crew, the people that Uber you're wanting to serve? And what does that identity look like? How it can sometimes be so difficult to build and done in a really great way. And so we brought on somebody who's done it. A queen of community and. A queen of community. She's done it amazingly and honestly. She got into entrepreneurship at a very young age and sold her first company three years in because of what she was able to build and the special relationship, the special bonds, the service and the community in which she was in which she built. And so she's just relaunched Female Founder Collective and the 10th house and so excited to have founder Carly Ross come and join us. So Carly, thank you so much for spending time with us and for coming to our couch on the On It Show. Thank you guys so much for having me. And just to be clear, I am head of community at Gaming Female Founder Collective in the 10th House and it was actually co-founded by Rebecca minkoff and Allie Wyatt. So two other very powerful women that we all get to learn from and lean on and be part of the team and grow this incredible community of founders sweat. I love it and I want to kind of like open up a little bit with what has made you. We love to talk about passion and it's not just passion, but purpose and the purpose of creating community. Like, what have you been on? What journey have you been on? What an experience is. Have you had that have made it your purpose to be so good at building community and relationships on. I'm flattered. Thank you. I think it's really just getting to a place in my life where I just love connecting people and along the way, I really found that I didn't. As you mentioned, I was a founder, my past life. It was very challenging and rewarding, a lot of learnings. And then getting to a place now where I have an opportunity to sort of be behind the scenes and create connections and experiences and give women the opportunity to support them along. The journey brings me so much joy and I realized that I don't need to be in the center of it. I don't need to be in the spotlight, it doesn't need to be about me. But rather I like being behind the scenes and finding two founders, knowing that they're both building something that's passionately collaborative in both of the worlds that they're in, both of the industries that they're building and having the ability to see few steps ahead and say, at a certain point, your roads are going to collide and you guys have this opportunity to build something together or find support or knowledge or experience with one with one in the other. And that to me brings me the most joy, because I love to see magic happen and I love being sort of the introducer of that type of magic and those introductions. So I think at the heart of community it's just listening to people and it's really understanding what their needs are and taking that and giving it back to them in a way that they can't bring to themselves. So I found a world in which I get to do that every single day and I just get to listen and help people. And I that brings me so much joy. Well, first off, congratulations to you for finding that thing that makes you excited to get up every single morning because you can hear the passion and enjoying your voice. And a lot of our listeners are entrepreneurs who are looking for the type of clarity that you have in terms of what it is that that brings about your passion. What I'd love to dove into with you, Carly, is if you weren't always at this point of where you're at right now, right. Like we talk about this previous founder life that you had. Talk us through your journey to get to where you're at today and some of the road bumps you may have had along the way, because a lot of our listeners are likely struggling with a lot of the same things that you went through. Yeah. Yeah. So I was just in mentioned I had a business that I started in 2010 with my best friend from high school. We were roommates for business partners, best friends, and we just both arrived in New York with this idea to bring people together. Because I came from Boulder, she came from USC, and we just wanted to be friends. We were in our early twenties in New York, and what started as just this little fun, hobby and passion of just bringing people together started, snowballed into this business, and then we got an email and then we got acquired and we were co-founders of the next iteration of the business called Host Committee. And a lot of learnings there, right? We didn't know left from right. We didn't know what to probably ask for in terms of equity. We didn't have any business training. Our fathers were our guiding point. And so fast forward to where I am now. It's so much of what I love about what I do too, is just the ability to help these women because we had none of this, there was no community to say, how do I how do I react to a CEO who is not who's starting to shut me out of meetings? What do I do when I'm being pegged against my co-founder? How do I navigate this kind of conversation? How do I ask for more equity? What's the right amount of equity and, you know, just knowing that I what I know now of not knowing that information community for founders is so crucial because you can't ask your teammates questions, you can't ask your friends. Sometimes your family doesn't really have the answers. You don't really want to go to your investor with all these questions and just having somebody to talk to that gets it and can say, Oh, I tried that solution, but it didn't work. Let me tell you how I did it so that I can help you get to or even my perspective can help you get to a solution a lot faster. Just gives you perspective and you know, we didn't have that. So it was a very challenging four years in that regard. We had to rebuild our entire relationship. My business partner and I, and she's still one of my best friends now. But that was a long journey. And I, I really wish we had women to talk to of how to be young founders when you're kind of mansplain, you're working for a narcissist, all of the things that life teaches you anyway. So after seven years and another iteration of the business came along, I left in 2017 and that was kind of the first moment of what is my identity. I was so tied in to being the founder of this business and what do I enjoy? What do I want to do? What are my skills? What are my weaknesses? What should I improve and that sort of led to about two years of taking roles and kind of just figuring it out. Because I think that's the hardest thing is when you have to disconnect self from this identity that you've been so tied to. And I think that's that happens. These regrets happen in life all the time. The Phenix Rising Moments, new transitions, new beginnings. And there's so much power in them when you're patient with knowing that there's something on the other side and not trying to attach to what that actual what the end result is actually going to be. So that was challenging. It's happened twice now, and I found myself in this place because I didn't have an attachment. I didn't know what I don't know. Right. And so being with people, working with people, wanting to help people was always sort of that peace. And I always went to other people. It's like, What do you think my strengths are? Help me figure this out, because I don't know what they are. I can't look at myself in the mirror and say, Oh, you're really good at this and building a resume. It was really challenging. You know, putting all of that into words is just so antiquated. Like, how am I supposed to put me on a piece of paper and then sell that? So that was another very challenging moment. And people just started kind of I had a lot of questions, I had a lot of conversations. I asked people to get really honest with me, you know, be a recruiter. They said, going to sales, they said. And I was like, No, I'm not driven by money. I can't I can't do those things. In a minute. I try, you know, you look at recruiting, you start putting dollar signs on every introduction that you do. And I was like, I don't. Then I'm going to monetize the people that I want to help. Like I'm doing it for me. I'm just doing it for the joy of helping them, right? Like karma points maybe, but like not really at the end of the day. And so none of it worked. And, you know, just having conversations and just having confidence and, you know, starting to figure it out and just following what felt good. You know, there's this that quote, keep yourself by people who feel like sunshine. And I think the same thing goes with work, right? Like if you feel energized by what you're building and you feel excited about it, like that's sunshine and that is something as a guiding point I just kept following and somebody told me about director of platform roles at Theses and I was interviewing with them for a while because it was the first time in my life I found the job description. I was like, I can do all of that like and more. And it wasn't like a sales or marketing job where I didn't have ten plus years of experience. Sure, as a founder, you kind of put all those hats on and you wear all those departments at some point. But it's not a full training in your career. And I finally found those roles, and that led to an introduction. Alli via Annie Evans, who is just a rock star and a total dream sister. And here we are. So patients and just kind of being really gentle with yourself during it all because you know, and I'm reminded of this every day while we work with our members, but it's a grind and it's really hard and it doesn't need to be something that you do alone. And that's, you know, our biggest mission with female founder collective is like lean on each other, ask the questions, know you're not the first to do this and you're not going to be the last. And there are tons of women who have navigated this before you and behind you. And the fact that only 2.7% of female founders get funding is just crazy. And, you know, it's like it's numbers like that that drive us to continue the work and you see it happen in the community. Women really rely on each other and they're not shy and vulnerability goes very far. And I think, you know, the work you guys are doing and the conversations that have been happening over the past five, ten years of people really going inside and being introspective and being open and honest with themselves and not being shy to have conversations is is really where the needle gets moved. It's so it's such a powerful sentiment that you just walked us through because myself, being a female entrepreneur, I and also being a newish member of ten House as well, I have found exactly what you're describing. And it was something I was looking for. I was personally feeling disconnected from other female founders. I mean, I started a business with my husband, but he's a male and his network is is all men. Right. And so I was really searching for exactly what it is that you just described so eloquently. And I remember our first conversation where the approach was, hey, how are you? And there was zero intent or underlying context or motives on either one of our ends. And by the end it was like, Hey, I want to join. And it was just because there was genuine connection, there. Then I think. Sorry, go ahead. Please go ahead. Well, I just think authenticity is everything with it, right? Like I think what's also the power of what we're trying to build here is it's not a place to come in and scream your accolades and awards like congratulations, you did this and you got on the list. Like, definitely not disregarding that the like share how you got there and all the mistakes that are made in between because that's where the magic happens, right? It's it's like when you're in any sort of sound ceremony or meditation and you kind of you listen to the sounds, but it's the power between the notes that are the most important and taking pause within those and recognizing like without those steps, you don't have any music and without those notes. And so it's that's where we want to really put the focus on, because all those small steps are super important to getting you to that final destination that you're building the company towards. It's so unique in in what you're talking about because there's a massive power in connectivity and community. And when you are able to find a collective group of shared values and principles, it opens up a world that would not have existed before because as you know, you can go out. And even if you are an amazing networker and a really good person that loves to connect with people, you go to a great room and a party and you're talking to people about everything. You don't know what their motives are. You don't know what they're what their side agendas are. You don't know what they're with, real type of person they are. But when you can come to a place that is specific, when you can come to a place that is in in one location, but they have guiding principles, they have core values. They have everything that, you know, the people that are in there all abide by that it creates this freedom to drop your guard, your shelter, your shields, to be authentic as you spoke about, vulnerable as you spoke about, because it's a safe place. It's a safe place to talk about your issues. It's a place to talk about your your strong point. It's a place to talk about where you can help and serve or where you need help and service. And so in and among that, it's it's amazing with what you're building when you're for our audience who is looking at building community or looking at creating that type of environment when building it, what should they be looking for or how can they do it? Well, that's a great question. You you know, I think COVID also was for as difficult and challenging as a global pandemic is community is one of the things that really bubbled up in it. And you had people home alone not having any ability to connect with anyone except on computers and on you remember Houseparty was a thing, right? I was like houseparty with my grandparents in South Africa. My cousins are popping in from Canada and it was just this moment of like, okay, we can do this. And I think that community, the power of community really came to the top because people needed it. Obviously not the first time we've heard that. So I think when you look at it, it's really important to take a minute and say, what about community? Do they need do they need to talk to someone to make them feel like they're belonging? Do they have to go off the computer and get meet in person right. We have programs called City Sessions where we are allowing members to now have small meetups in their hometown so that they can get off the screen because zoom fatigue is very real. But the power in that is also once you know other founders in your city, you have someone to call where you need to go on a walk when you have to workshop something. I think the biggest thing too is our founders. You can find yourself looping. You're so in the weeds with the issues that you're dealing with and sometimes just regurgitating that information and sound boarding it to someone with a response or just saying it out loud helps you process. So I think the big question, when you're looking at community is what are you trying to serve as? Like what are you giving them education? Are you giving them connectivity to other people who are trying to navigate a similar problem? Are they connecting over experiences? Are they connecting over love, over loss? Know there's so many there's so many elements to building it. And I think now people start to call the thing. I think it's really people are really recognizing how important it is and that's from businesses. I believe a chief community officer in the next two years is going to be sitting up there with the CMO and it's businesses building products, right. How do we get our customers to align? Because they all love our products. What does that community look like? What is the community for people who love music, it's just it's becoming something that's there. It's not getting sidetracked. Is this like one role a community manager is dealing with, which was a huge role, you know, four years ago. It's really becoming a department. And I think people just need to really think through like, you know, to that point, too, is not one community can be one thing for everybody. Right. It's very common to have multiple communities. And I always see them as like these Venn diagrams and you're sort of in the middle and, you know, you have a community for mothers, you have a community for cycling, you have a community for building your business. And they each serve a different piece of you because we're also complex beings. We're not just one thing. And as long as you you think through that and know that when you're building it, you can't be everything for everyone. And that's okay. As long as the members who you're building it for are being fulfilled and they're being listened to and they're being supported in what you're doing great. That's perfect, because there's another one out there that they're going to find that missing piece that's going to serve them. But that's not your role. It's such a great point that you just said, then I want everybody to latch in on this, because whether you're building a community, whether you're building a business, whether you're building a family, don't be everything for everyone in the moment. You try to be everything for everyone. You become even. You become nothing for everyone. You I think I said that right. You don't become anything. You don't become anything for anybody. It's it you. You've become just a general. Yeah. A specialized generalist that really doesn't create a a solution. And I think that's oftentimes where people find themselves is they they're like, oh, I really like this or I really like this, or I want to do this. And they start building all of these things in. And before you know it, you've got a handful of nothingness that really doesn't resonate with anybody, because when you're talking, it's not like, Oh my goodness, I see myself in that person. But it's like, Well, I could be that person, right? Right. And that also goes for like building the business, as you said, you can't your product can't be for everybody. And I think that's what's been so exciting about our relaunch that we just did. You know, we launched the tent, that female founder collective has been around for three years, three and a half years now. And the 10th House launched June of last year. And in that year we recognized that there were so many elements that we can improve the experience for members. We could just enhance the overall membership model and experience for our members. And so we've just recently relaunched everything and that's the power in it, right? We realized that we're we asking too many founders to join something that was more specific for a different type of founder. We then created a new program called The North that we're launching in the fall, which is more focused on finding mentorship and advisor ship and women who are further down the stage of business. Then pre-launch and beginning stages, there's a place for them. And so collectively, as a female founder collective, it's now as a founder, there's different places for you to call home, and it doesn't all necessarily have to be within the tent house. And so learning that and then having an incredible group of founders in a community that we can bounce ideas off of, we can test things with, and having that open dialog of is this working, is this not working, what do you want to see more of? What do you want to see less of? Makes this very fun at the same time, but also makes the relationship we have to our members invaluable. Because also our members are now they're they're the ones telling us what programing they want. If there's enough members are like, I need to hear more about bootstrapping. I need to hear more about how is Tik Tok changing, what are what's the data, how do I navigate building cybersecurity on my platform? That's if they're asking the questions, we're creating the content for them. And so it's this very beautiful life cycle of raise your hand, talk about it, share it, create it on both sides of it. And at the same time, we are a startup. So we're in the same position as a lot of our founders because the things they're navigating, we're asking the same questions. And so we're participating and listening to the conversations and we're very much all in this together. And I think that's what also makes it just super unique because we're also we're on the playing field with a one of the recurring things that I keep hearing you talk about currently is this idea of collective ness is that we are stronger together than we are individually. And that's that's community at its finest, right? We are there humans who are meant for human interaction. It's there's it's very difficult to live in isolate in life. And it's just simply not why we were put on this planet. So one of the things I would love for for you to talk about is the mindset that you've been able to cultivate, to live in the opportunistic world that you live in. It's so clear that you're the essence of you in the way that you talk. And your outlook on life is very high level. And looking at how can I work with people in a really creative way to be my best self and ultimately allow them to be their best selves? I'm sure that's not a mindset that was created overnight. And like you said, you went on a very long journey to get to where you're at today. And it wasn't a singular line like there were a lot of ups and downs in there. Talk to us about how you've been able to cultivate this amazing mindset that you have and that you lead from today? Well, yeah, I think a lot of that has to do with surrendering I within the journey of leaving my company in 2017, I started doing psychedelic therapy, actually, and that's been a huge piece of my journey and how I got here, where it's just been very mind expanding in terms of ego dissolution and how you interact with people and how to just move within the world and how to navigate life's challenges. And it's sort of that work is incredible and it's probably for another podcast, but it's definitely a big, big piece of how I got to appreciating what I'm doing and leading with a lot more compassion. And at the root of that, there's the empathy of that. I was in that place that I needed what we're building so badly, and I didn't have it. And so the empathy of working with founders and just understanding the grind is one piece of it, but it's also just understanding that a lot of that you can't control and just finding solutions is more the focus than understanding kind of how did we get here? Or like if something doesn't work, okay, well, it didn't work. That's pragmatically what happened. But how do we fix it and how do we get to the problem solving and the experience of fixing it and making it fun and exciting? Because it's just a moment in time and this too will pass and something else will come about. But just having the perspective, I think, of having fun and enjoying and not taking it all so seriously is kind of the vibe, I guess. And because it is fun, it's it's life. And within every challenge comes an opportunity to learn. And with every learning, there's growth. And with growth there's just a new beginning. So it's just, you know, it's, it's all those pieces. But yeah, I would say that therapy has been a huge part of it for sure. Yeah, you're absolutely right. And it is life is is a cycle. And we're going to be up some days. We're going to be down some days we're going to be up some seasons we're going to be down some seasons. And it's clear you've done a lot of work to get to where you are today. What's a piece of advice you could give some of our listeners who may be struggling with feeling limited or feeling held back or feeling stuck? Yeah, it's not forever. It's all about equanimity. And, you know, the what was yesterday is not going to be today. And what today is is not going to be tomorrow. And just be really patient with yourselves and sit with it. If you're really if there's a real issue that's pressing and you're trying to get through it, be patient, you don't need to respond right away. I think that's also been a big thing that I've learned is just because a challenge arises, I don't need to respond within minutes or hours to get to a solution. The more patients you have, the more you can kind of think through different perspective. Another one is ask for help, right? Like the worst thing that can happen is the person doesn't respond or they say no, the best thing that can happen is they give you incredible advice. They lend you ear, they help you get out of those weeds. And sometimes that becomes a friend, a lifelong friend, a mentor, an advisor within a business. You just never know what's around the corner. And I think that is the biggest thing is you just ask for help, you know, and that's like going back to our whole mission to is like all tides rise, rising ships and there's so much power in that because you're doing more, do it together more fine. It is anyway. But just have patience and ask for help and it will pass. Something with it will change because nothing stays the same. I mean it's really well said and I think coming back to having fun like that so often we just forget about that, right? It's like, what is fun? Fun, fun is like something children have. And once we get into adulthood, you can't have fun anymore. It's like, where did that where did that come from? Where did that belief come from? Where did that become instilled? And he at least you spoke about like kind of the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs. I heard this the other day, and it was just it just resonated so heavily. Is that confidence? Is that roller coaster? It goes up, it goes down, confidence goes up and down. But that belief is constant. And instead of focusing on, oh, how do I create confidence, how do I get confident, we should focus on that belief, that belief of what you're doing, why you're doing it, because that's the constant generator and just accept surrender. You're aware that you spoke about Kali to the fact that you are going to have those confidence cycles throughout. There are going to be good days. There are going to be bad days. Belief in what you're doing is so purpose driven. That's the constant that keeps you on that roller coaster. Yeah. And just to that point, also, just remembering why you started your business, right? Like what were you trying to solve for what was your initial impetus of being like, I'm going to do this and you a number of times I hear, you know, our members go, well, I just saw you know, I just I started this because I just wanted to fix something. And then it's like nine years later and they're like, I have a nine year old child that I can't just, like, get rid of right. And just going back to the beginning and yes, your why will change from why you started it in the first place to five, ten years from now. Because life's full of surprises. But I totally agree. It's just reminding yourself and going back to that that that that baby founder in you that wanted to start the business and I'm like be kind to them because they had a vision and you know just tapping back to what that is and supporting them and that person's still in there. Yeah, totally. So correlate from somebody who so clearly lives in what we call ownership. What would you say is your definition of ownership? It's a great question. I would say my definition of ownership is connection to self and like connection to the project. Wow. That's right. Like if you are feeling connected to what you're doing, you own it, you have it. That's yours, right? But if there's no connection and for those founders, you don't have that connection anymore, like you can step away. Right. You know, I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day in our business for 12 years, and she's exhausted. She wants something new. And she it's like, all right, so step away from that every day, you know, come in as chairwoman, be president, sell it. You know, it's easier to say sell it, but it's just so it's like not to does that. Yeah, it does that. But like Rochelle Yeah yeah. But make room for yourself. If it's not bringing you joy anymore. That's okay. And I know that there's teams and like, employees who rely on you, but, you know, if you're not connected to it and it's not bringing you that passion that it once did, you're like, you know? So I would just say the ownership is how connected you are to it and connections. And so I think that's one of my favorite answers I've heard so far. Oh, yeah, we yeah, it's powerful. I really love it. I love it, I love it. Cali Where where can people find you? Where can people engage with you? Where can people learn more? Learn more about the female founder Collective Intent House and and just get more access to you. Yes, of course. So I'm definitely on LinkedIn, Cali. RATH And then for members or well, for founders who are looking for community, definitely check us out at the 10th house dot female founder collective dot com. You can also just go to female founder collective dot com and you will be able to join and see some more information on what we're building. But the 10th House is the private membership community of the Female Founders Collective. We have so many amazing programs, even if you can't join for any financial reasons or it's just not calling to you. We have so many public grants and opportunities and programs that you can participate in. Definitely join our newsletter so that you can stay up to date with all of that. And the female founder collective on Instagram. Amazing guys. It is at the end everybody listening. I really empower you to to lean in and and to and to check out what Carly's doing. Because we know that on this mission, on this journey, we often feel like we're alone, and we often feel like we don't know where to turn. And we can become crippled by that and by by not reaching out, by not getting into a community, by not becoming a part of something greater, it stifles that flame that can burn inside of us and really turn into that fiery inferno that impacts a lot of people. And as Carly said so eloquently, it's going back to that purpose as to why you started what you did and being able to get that going again and to if you're in a great community and you know exactly who your tribe is and you're trying to build one, come back to what are you trying to do? Who are you serving? Who who are you trying to empower in that way? And I don't care whether you're you have like a lot I hear a lot of entrepreneurs talk about having I'm an accountant or I'm in real estate or I'm an Amazon sales or a small business. You can create a community that differentiates yourself from everybody else. Your account, and you're going to help build a community of people that you're serving that all of a sudden create a unique what what binds everybody together is that they work with you and that they can continue to serve each other, build a community of people you've sold houses to that all of a sudden that acts as your referral system. But everybody that's bought a house from you now has that in common, and that brings community together. Community is what moves everything forward. And we know that to be to stand out in this world, you have to be different. And when you own, you're different. That's when success can be turned to significance. So with that, guys enjoy and we'll see you next week.