KariAnne Wood will tell you that she is amazing. She doesn’t mince words about it and has looked high-level executives in the face and said the same. The truth is, though, that she is. And the fact that she knows it, owns it, and has the unmitigated gall to say it out loud is endearing rather than off-putting.
Because the truth is, one of her passions is empowering women to believe that they, too, are amazing. She spends her time as a coach, speaker, and influencer speaking life into female entrepreneurs and women everywhere because she adamantly believes that everyone has something amazing in them, whether they can see it yet or not.
KariAnne will share this passion with us in November at the WeInspire Women Entrepreneurs’ Summit, and we are confident you will walk away from her speech inspired, encouraged, and ready to tell the world that you are amazing, too.
Before we begin, please give us a quick background bio so our readers know who you are and what you do.
Well, to start, I grew up in McKinney. I am a lifelong North Texan. I married my high school sweetheart, and we have four beautiful children. About 15 years ago, we decided we would go on an adventure and moved to a very rural part of Kentucky. I’m talking about the suburbs of a 500-person town, rural—the middle of nowhere. We bought a pharmacy there and a vintage victorian farmhouse, which I then gutted and redid from top to bottom.
After I finished the house, I felt lonely and a little lost. I kept asking myself what was next. So just for something fun to do, I started my blog, thistlewood farms, about ten years ago. I never intended it to be a business. I just wanted to share about decorating and talk to people in the business. About six months in, I went to a blogging conference and was blown away that people were making money from their blogs.
So I went back home and decided that if they were doing it, I could too. I applied my Baylor marketing degree, and in the first month, I made $1000. Now, I have over 1 million followers and five employees, and I get to help other people grow their blogs and social media. I am passionate about teaching people that there is potential to grow and make a living in social media community.
Oh, and on a side note, about five years ago, we decided to move back home to McKinney, and in a twist of fate, we purchased the house I grew up in. Life really did come full circle for us.
What an incredible story. Full circle and full of love, indeed. Now, we can imagine that nowhere in your life plan did you ever expect to run a blog empire, coach women, and write best-selling books. Can you tell us what you wanted to be when you were growing up, and does it relate to what you do now?
I did not imagine this. Who would? The truth is that I just wanted to be a mom. I knew I wanted to have a family. I think somewhere deep down, I always felt like I was going to do something amazing. I didn’t know what my amazing was. I had no idea that in my little PTO mom’s soul was the heart of an amazing businesswoman.
I always tell women this: you don’t even know your potential; sometimes, you just have to jump in. We get paralyzed waiting to do things because we want to be perfect, and sometimes you have to JUMP first and figure it out as you go.
That is so incredibly true. There is a statistic that says that women only apply for jobs they are 100% qualified for, whereas men apply for roles where they only meet 60% of the qualifications. (1) Do you see this in the women you coach? And how do you get them to overcome this need for perfection?
This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge for almost all the women I coach. I want them to get out of their own way. Their doubts, fears, worries, concerns, nervousness, whatever, they’re all causing them to short-change themselves before they’ve even left the dock.
I think inside all of us, there is a little girl that someone told, “you’re not good enough,” and we internalize that. I’m so passionate about speaking into women that this is not the case. I work to help them recognize the amazing that is right in front of them that they’re not allowing themselves to understand out of fear.
Now, rumor has it that you are amazing. And you’re not afraid to admit it. We love this confidence but understand that it started as an obstacle. Can you tell us about this?
Oh yes. This is a good story. My biggest obstacle, which became my biggest strength, was being underestimated. I was this little mom in rural Kentucky negotiating with big brands, and I knew they were underestimating me. And I love that. I mean, imagine being underestimated and then delivering tenfold. It’s so much fun.
One time, I was in Chicago preparing to sign my first book deal. I was sitting at the table with the book team, and the VP of the publishing house asked me to tell him about myself. So I did. I ran down the laundry list of the things I do, the businesses I run, and the success I’ve had. And as I was doing this, jaws were dropping around the table. People could not believe that I could do all of these things, that I have done all of these things. So I finish my rundown, and the VP says to me, “How are you doing all of this?” And I say, without skipping a beat, “Because I am amazing.”
Everyone around the table started laughing. Not at me, but more because no one couldn’t believe I had the unmitigated gall to speak that into life, to tell this powerful man that I am amazing.
But the truth is that I am someone who if you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to do it triple and amaze you. I’ve earned the right to say I’m amazing because I’ve done all this. And I want other women to be amazing too.
Oh my goodness, to have been a fly on the wall in that room! How incredible. We love that confidence, but also, we agree. You are amazing. But we know that even amazing people fail from time to time. Can you tell us about one of your failures? What did that look like? And what did you learn from it?
There is one specific failure I can think of that was so terrible and glaring that I’m embarrassed to tell you the brand it was with, but I’ll go ahead anyway. One time I pitched a subscription service brand, which shall remain nameless, and in our negotiations, they told me they would love it if I would sell 35 subscriptions. I told them, ‘Oh, I can sell 50,’ and I charged accordingly. I did all the things, posted about it and talked about it, but at the end of the day, how many do you think I sold?
I sold SEVEN. SEVEN subscriptions.
I was so embarrassed. But my daddy always used to say to me that you should always try to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. So, instead of taking my payment and walking away, I apologized to the brand and refused payment. Instead, I asked for a second shot at selling it for free.
The movie ending to this would be that I came back and sold 50 and saved the day. But I didn’t. I sold sixteen. But, I walked away with a great relationship with the brand and worked with them again.
The lesson, of course, is that sometimes we will promise something, and for whatever reason, we won’t deliver, but we need to have a backup plan to respond to that failure. That’s what matters.
First of all, we love your daddy’s saying. Second, what a true testament to the value of relationships in business and how much doing the right thing matters in the long run. We have one last business question before we get to the fun stuff. What is the best advice you have for a young woman looking to get her start in business?
I think that you have to know what you do better than anyone else. Figure out what your IT is, then run with all your heart after it! Because what happens as women is that we’re pulled in 50 different directions; when we’re in business, we lose our focus on why we’re doing it and what our it is. We can’t be all things, but we can be one thing better than anyone else. And when we find that thing and go all in after it, that’s where success comes.
That is such wise advice. Thank you for sharing. Now, for the rapid-fire fun part. Three questions, not business-related at all. Let’s go!
What three things would you want to have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
I’d take my husband because my husband is my everything. He’s my best friend, and he takes good care of me. The second thing would be The Bible. I would need something to ground me and focus me amid my dismay. I’d need a spiritual foundation. The last thing I would bring is a tube of red lipstick because I am known for red lipstick. There’s something about it that’s magical. If I put my red lipstick on, I feel like me, and I feel like I can do anything. So as silly as that sounds, I’d want my trust red lip.
You have 30 minutes to pick the brains of one person, either dead or alive; who would it be?
I would choose Martha Washington. Because from everything I’ve read about her, George Washington’s success was largely due to her. She was a fantastic individual, like the Proverbs 31 woman–she did everything on their estate and with her family, yet she still managed to support her husband. She was a light beneath him; everything we have today is due to her to a certain extent. So I guess I would want to know how she managed to be true to who she was yet build the country.
And lastly, what do you do for fun outside of your job?
I do so many things for fun, but my favorite thing right now is reading books on Audible. I’m in the middle of reading a series about the history of the Roman empire told through fiction. I love history of any kind because we repeat it so often; so many lessons to learn.
And lest you think I am too intellectual, my other thing is the Real Housewives franchise. The worst tv, yet I’m obsessed.
Oh my goodness, KariAnne, you are a true delight. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, stories, and encouragement with our readers. We cannot wait to hear what you will be sharing at WeInspireTX.
If you are interested in hearing KariAnne and the other incredible speakers and presenters live, in person, at WeInspire, there is still time to grab your tickets on our website. Also, to get more of KariAnne in your daily life, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Thistlewood Farms blog.
Mic Drop Quote:
I think that you have to know what you do better than anyone else. Figure out what your IT is, then run with all your heart after it!KariAnne Wood