Have you ever been laid bare- in your business? If you’ve never looked at business in this way before then here I will show up unapologetically for you and tell you why this is SO important to your business operations. I can take you from “Hot mess” to “Oh yes!”, so stick around and get excited for what I will be giving you in this episode.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m heavily into kink. It shows up everywhere in my business strategy. It’s just who I am. I’m going to bring you a little bit deeper into how these operations are designed and built and why we build businesses that feel orgasmic through operations. As a CEO you should be able to step into that CEO role and do the things that you enjoy instead of being tied up in things that don’t make you feel pleasure. You will also get to hear a little back story on me and why I choose the path that I’m on and being the kink-positive female entrepreneur and CEO. Are you ready for the ride? Because so am I, let’s get it on!
Hey! Welcome to the Business Whip. Having a podcast has been in the back of my mind for quite some time. Admittedly, I haven’t done anything about this until now, because I never really thought I had that much to say. Actually, let me rephrase that. I didn’t believe that what I had to say was worthy enough of a podcast; because I wasn’t ready enough, or good enough, or experienced enough yet. Who knows, right? Or that maybe the successes I’ve had with clients over the years have been flukes. Yeah. Hey, imposter syndrome. And while imposter syndrome is something that I feel will never truly go away for me, I’ve learned to dance with it, acknowledge it and give it a seat at my table when it shows up rather than run away from it or try to beat it to the ground. So despite these feelings, here I am doing the thing, showing up as all of me because if not now, then when? So here on this podcast, I will show up exactly as I am unapologetically for you. Or as I like to call it, being laid bare. And you’ll come to see how much this phrase means to me, my business, my brand, and how being laid bare is so important to your business operations. And while the podcast is about business and operations, I also want to bring you a little bit deeper into my world of how these operations get designed and built. My philosophies and what I believe make for good operations, how I think and strategize, and even the new things I learned along the way. If I’m new to your world, hey, I’m Veronica Yanhs. I own Business Laid Bare where we are an operations agency that builds businesses by transforming their back ends from hot messes to well-lubricated machines.
Essentially, we build businesses that feel orgasmic through operations. Our focus is helping CEOs, like you, implement strategies that will give you the time and capacity to step into the CEO role and do what you actually love instead of being bogged down, or, as I like to say, being “tied down” by all the things that should be either delegated or systematized or even could be done better so you’re more efficient. And if you’re also wondering, why all the sexy, kinky, and hopefully witty puns of Veronica? Well, it’s because that’s who I am, through and through.
I’m kinky, I live a 24/7 dominant-submissive relationship with my partner, Curtis. And I also teach BDSM and kink to beginners in a really fun and easy way on the side. And if you’re further wondering how does kink and BDSM play a role in business and operations? Well, let me tell you, at their core, business & operations and kink are about people. Kink teaches us about managing, interacting, and bringing out the best in people. It also teaches us about having both constraints and freedom. Kink also teaches us about clear communication, boundaries, and following appropriate protocol. And then one day, I realized something, and it was probably either when I was eating or in the shower, these things also translated to business and operations. And I have to say, since bringing these two aspects together into my business, and showing my clients what that’s like, business has been orgasmic. Energetically, financially and soulfully.
This is why, when I was thinking about what topic to kick this podcast off with, I immediately thought about the phrase that I use so much because it’s so fundamental to what we do. And the phrase is: “If it’s not orgasmic, don’t settle.” In theory, it’s easy to understand, but it takes a lot of intention in practice to accomplish. It’s about giving you permission to live a life and to run a business that brings you joy and pleasure every day. And sometimes it’s not easy to acknowledge and give ourselves that permission because we’ve got a lot of shit and baggage we carry around. Either intentionally or not. So let me kick off this episode about my search for orgasmic joy in my life and entrepreneurial career. And how the phrase “If it’s not orgasmic, don’t settle” is so core to me, my clients, and hopefully you. And to also spark some inspiration about how you might find more orgasmic joy in your life and in your business.
Let me just get it out there, much of my life growing up was anything but orgasmic. Growing up Chinese in America was really hard for me. Even though I was born here. I struggled with constantly doing what was expected of me, aka the “Chinese side of life” and also what I had learned and seen from school, my peers, and watching TV about going after the “American Dream”. As much as I was Americanized, my family believed in really traditional Chinese values and also retaining it so that I wouldn’t forget. Not surprisingly, I was pressured into a pre-determined path. “Be a doctor” they said, “be a lawyer“, or “be an engineer“, something stable, predictable, and had a well-worn path that I could follow. But if you’re listening to the show, I’m sure that like me- despite how you grew up, you ended up realizing you never wanted to do something just because somebody told you so, or worse have to do it their way.
So I went to Stanford to become a doctor, much to my family’s excitement, but after two years I just couldn’t hack it anymore. There was simply no joy. The defining moment that made me realize that being a doctor was not what I wanted to be- even though it’s something that was instilled in me for 18 years, was when I was observing a surgery one day. Granted, it was just like a small bicep surgery kind of thing but oh my god, I was super excited! I was able to be up close and observe what was happening. That was when I realized the turning point for the desire to change was when, instead of focusing 100% on the surgery, I kept watching how much plastic was piling up in the garbage can during that simple, but long surgery. That’s when I knew! It’s when I also realized that I would have to face the disappointed looks on my family’s faces when I broke the news. And yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I’m still a recovering people pleaser. It’s something I have to work hard at every day. But that moment in the operation room, basically set me free.
And even though I was “free”, I was totally overwhelmed because for the first time in my life, I went against what my parents wanted and the predetermined path they had set for me my whole life. Suddenly I had too many options and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Being a doctor was all that I knew. So after much trial and error, I ended up creating my own major by combining three separate majors into one, because this is exactly who I am. I remember so clearly the day the Dean of engineering said: “Why can’t you just pick one? We have 143 majors here for you to choose from.” And I said: “That’s not how I work.” I’m to pursue product design; something that I have been interested in since I was a kid but didn’t have words for it. I want to be responsible and understand how to sustainably source the right materials. After all, I’m from Oregon. I want to also minimize the carbon emissions during manufacturing and be responsible for what happens when the product gets thrown away. The “end of life” portion of design. If I’m going to be designing something, I want to make money from selling it too. I just knew that in my gut following my own creative path was the right thing, despite so many people telling me otherwise. And it actually paid off.
Even though I can’t draw or sketch worth shit (and still can’t), being in the product design department was life-changing. I actually got to use my self-created major to help other people. Whether it be fellow students, or when I was consulting with Apple and Nike, ****and because I realized that being a Project Manager was something that was like breathing air to me, helping fellow students bring their ideas to life was what I actually enjoyed. I had no idea that people didn’t think like me. Things that feel so logical to me, I have to realize and constantly learn that not everybody thinks the way that I do. And because I was one of the few students in the product design department that loved to put together project plans, I’ve helped a lot of my fellow classmates. That’s when I learned 3 really important things:
- I learned how to work with visionaries, and creatives and really understand how their brains work. How they visualized information and what made them tick in the best way to help them do the work in their zones of genius.
- I learned the importance of creating systems, processes, and checklists for not only myself but for the people that I worked with, the creatives and the visionaries. Because my skill set was in demand I couldn’t be everywhere at once. So how could I help lots of people without burning out and also in a way that honored who they were? Meaning, if the systems and solutions they created were not in alignment and intuitive and just felt natural with who they are, it meant that I didn’t do my research well enough. Which leads me to lesson number three.
- The concepts I learned in product design such as; how to design with empathy, compassion, and delight, or, as they call it at Stanford, human-centered design. It was all about understanding people and getting to know them at the core of who they are. The other things that I also learned were how to iterate quickly and fail fast, to name a couple of examples, were also the foundations in which I would carry with me to present day of how I’m able to create these orgasmic operations for my clients.
What I took away most from college was that what I wanted for myself mattered, despite many of my family telling me I was dumb or that I didn’t know best. I had a choice to continue down their way which was safe and predictable, or take ownership of my life for the first time and do things my way, even though they were uncharted, unorthodox, and unpredictable. Though it sounded like hundreds of voices from family and academia telling me what I should do, I honed in on the one voice that needed to be heard from the most, mine.
After college, I really wanted to explore my sexuality, specifically kink and BDSM. I had read my fair share of Harry Potter fanfiction, watch Secretary, and also read 50 Shades of Grey. And if I really traced back my “kink lineage” or “kink history”, I’m pretty sure that I discovered I was kinky when I watched Aladin when I was four. I didn’t want to be the Blue Jasmine and I didn’t want the palace, the tiger, and the flying carpet. I wanted to be the Red Jasmine, the one shackled up and taken hostage by Jafar and thrown in an hourglass. Funny story, every year when my mom asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween, I would always say Red Jasmine. Then she would come back to me and say there were no red Jasmine in my size.
After 10+ years of wanting to explore kink, it took leaving a very toxic and abusive relationship (emotionally, mentally, and physically), for me to finally be free to do the thing I’ve yearned for so long. It’s like a huge, dark cloud dissipated and I was finally free to explore something that I really had wanted to for so long. In the kink community, I finally found the freedom, joy, and pleasure from being seen and loved, for all of me. Ambitious, entrepreneurial, and now kinky. I had found my people, my chosen family. And after being around kink positive people like literally 24/7, I wanted to surround myself with more kink positive people who were actually like me, entrepreneurial.
At this time around 2015, the online business space was definitely more buttoned-up but I just knew my people were out there. I figured what better way to find my community than to just show up as all of me. And when I came out as kinky, with my photos, my profile pictures, my website, one by one, people showed up. Some as business besties and some as clients. And let me just be clear about something; just because somebody works with me or is in my sphere doesn’t necessarily mean that they are kinky. That’s the one thing a lot of people were worried about. Like “Hey, if I’m hanging out with you Veronica does it mean that people are going to assume I’m kinky?” And the short answer is absolutely not!
My community isn’t just about sex or kink, though it’s a fun part of it, but if you really zoom out, it’s these women that are taking charge of their own lives, going against the grain of what society expects from them, and creating their own freedoms and finding unapologetic joy in everything that they do. I love that we are all about letting go of being restricted by the limiting beliefs and expectations that do not serve us. Whether it be professional or personal. I really do believe that phrase that people say: “You get out as much as you put in” because I’ve been the victim and I’ve played the victim. When I decided to stand up for myself and not be that way anymore, I loved the people that I was attracting. I love that I get inspired by my clients when they hire me and it’s not because they aren’t good at what they do. It’s that they’re so good at what they do that their business has exploded. But in order to serve all these new customers and clients, they feel like there isn’t anyone that they can really count on and they feel that they’re responsible for everything in their business because it’s their name that’s on the stamp. It’s their name and reputation that’s being delivered in whatever the end deliverable is. And because the business is doing so well, they feel that unless they’re hand-holding their employees, it will all fall apart. That’s not orgasmic!
When you fear that your business is going to crumble when you’re not paying attention, either because you’re wanting to go on a business trip, or just take a vacation for yourself and actually unplug instead of checking emails (hello, I’ve been there). When we’re constantly in a state of anxiety, fear, and stress regarding our business, it really shows. When you can’t look away, go on that business trip, or take that vacation and truly unplug, you know that something is going to be preventing you from being the best that you can be. It’s going to prevent you from showing up for your team, your audience, and your customers in the way they’re looking for you to show up for them. And that’s not working in your “zone of genius” because we know what it feels like to work in that zone. It’s a time where everything is filled with joy, ease, momentum, and that you’ve started this business, and that you can actually actualize on the business idea that you’ve started.
We all know what it feels like to not be understood, to have to censor ourselves or hide a part of us for fear of judgment and ridicule. We know what it’s like to walk our own path, even if that path looks crazy, confusing, or stupid to the people around us. We all know what it’s like to wish that there were people we could relate to, that helped us show up as ourselves. If there’s anything that I’ve taken from building a community of strong, sex-positive, and freedom-seeking women is that I’m here for the people that need to see and say things like “Oh my God, here’s this kinky person running around naked on her website. And it’s okay!” I’m here to help you be the business owner-the CEO that you want to be and not what you think you should be. I will stand here and support you loudly and proudly, all day.
So, let me tell you what happens when you show up exactly and unapologetically as you desire. Your people and your clients find you because you’re now showing up bigger, more powerful, more confident, and just owning who you are. When you do this, you attract more of your ideal clients, which means that your business takes off. More people aligned with you in what you have to say, and want to hire you and pay you for your services. But then, you may hit a capacity ceiling where your business cannot sustainably meet or handle the demands that come your way. And many of my clients who’ve experienced a XX or a XXX growth in monthly revenue, I’ve seen that instead of celebrating and being over the moon at their new growth, they’re actually panicking as they start to do the work because it’s more than they can handle while working longer hours. And because they feel like they’re the only ones who can do things to their standards, they become the bottleneck. So even if they had a team that is ready to help them or if they would want to hire more people due to this cash influx, they can’t. They’re tied down doing things that don’t fulfill them or are in their zone of genius.
Oftentimes, when I look at why they’ve hit that capacity ceiling in addition to showing up unapologetically, I see that their systems and processes are either half-baked or non-existent. Anything that was working before the new influx of growth and customers, is no longer good enough at this new level. While these problems hurt, there is an answer. Better operational strategy and infrastructure are exactly what you need to support you at your new level of business operations. I want you to thrive and I don’t want “more money, more problems” to happen to you. This is why I’m so passionate about what I want to teach you on this podcast. I want you to make all the money, experience all the amazing benefits that being your own CEO affords you, and just radiate orgasmic joy and freedom in your life and your business. I don’t want things like operations to stop you, which is why I’m here. I’m here to show you how putting people first, designing your operations from a place of empathy and joy is going to be game-changing for your productivity and profits. It’s all going to stem from what brings you pleasure and if you’re like me, if things feel good to me, I want more of it!
If there’s anything I’ve learned in 2020, is that there’s no time like now. I’m done taking life for granted because you never know what’s going to happen. So from me to you, seek out pleasure and seek out unapologetic joy in your business and life. And remember, “If it’s not orgasmic, don’t settle!”