Being the Mickey Mouse in Your Business

In today’s new  episode of Chill & Prosper, I have such a fun show for you.  I want to talk about being the Mickey Mouse in your business.

You might not know this, but I come from a performing background - I danced my whole life.  I was always in the dance studio from age 8 and then from the age of 16, I worked for a company that did Bugs Bunny shows all around Australia.  So, we did Looney Tunes shows back in the day where there's Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd, all that kind of stuff. And these shows happened in the school holidays in Australia at  Shopping Centres.  And so this is what I spent my school holidays doing, working as a performer. Later, I also performed as Millie the Echidna, an official mascot for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. So I love looking at things through a dance and a performing lens.

Join me for the business lessons that I’ve learnt from being a performer.


I talk about ...

  • The show must go on
  • Being the star of the show
  • Hiring someone to help you hold space
  • Role modelling boundaries
  • Never estimate the power of EFT


Hey. Today I've got such a fun show for you. I want to talk about being the Mickey Mouse in your business. Now you might not know this, but I come from a performing background. So I danced my whole life. I was always in the dance studio from age 8 until 18, couple of nights a week. And then from the age of 16, I worked for a company that did Bugs Bunny shows all around Australia. So, we did Looney Tunes shows back in the day where there's Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd, all that kind of stuff. And these shows happened in the school holidays in Australia. They were at Westfield shopping centers and every day at 11:00 and 1:00, there were hundreds of shows, not hundreds, dozens of shows happening all around Australia at the same time. And so this is what I spent my school holidays doing, working as a performer. Later, I was also, I performed as Millie the Echidna for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. So I love looking at things from a dance and a performing lens.

                                                Okay, so before I get into the Mickey Mouse thing, let me just share with you one big lesson that I learned from this, being a performer that is both good and bad, okay. And this is the concept that the show must go on. Now, I love hearing from fellow entrepreneurs who are dancers when they were growing up, so you have to send me your stories. My Instagram handle is @denisedt, because I know you have a ton of stories around these. But when you are a performer, it is drilled into you that the show must go on. Now my dance teacher, I went to Simone's School of Performing Arts on the central coast. Shout out to Simone. She was such a great dance teacher. She always had us performing everywhere. Now this was great for me as a kid, because I probably would have gotten into a lot of trouble as a kid if I didn't always have rehearsal, if I didn't always have a show.

So, Simone has performing art almost every single weekend, we would dance at anything, like Mick Happy Days. We would dance at concerts, the [sted feds], the local shopping center were always happy to have us. We would dance at corporate events. Corporate events would want dancers to come in and teach everyone how to do the Macarena in the nineties. So we were always, always performing. And so it was always drilled into you, no matter what happens, the show must go on.

And when you perform that much, there's always something that happens. So you get somewhere and you don't realize that the floor is really slippery and you have to just kind of modify the dance as you go. So you don't like slip on your butt or you have a costume malfunction, like your leotard goes up your butt, you can't pick it out. Your hat falls off, you can't pick it up. This stage falls over, you can't do anything about it. And so we would get to places and they would be like, "Oh, well, you guys, you know, have to change in this tent and you have to do your performance on grass." And we'd be like, "Well, it's a tap routine, but sure we can do." Okay. So I had this mentality the show must go on. Great, fabulous.

When it came to being in business, it served me up to a point. So it meant that I was just a really hard worker. You know, I was happy to kind of dig in and do anything. I was happy to always be on. And even just seeing my business through a performing lens of I'll do my hair and makeup and then I'll feel confident about being on stage. Like seeing those things as a performance really helped me.

But the downside of that is that I could never take time off. I always felt like I had to be on. And I did everything in my business. I never felt like I could just quit something. I never felt like I could feel like I was burnt out, because the show must go on.

And I remember I had this podcast interview scheduled and I was really, really sick. And I just thought, I'm going to have to make up an excuse about this, or I'm just going to have to just go on. It was a really big moment in my business when I just said, "Hey, I'm sick, can we reschedule?" And she was like, "Yeah, no problem." And I just thought, why didn't I think that I was allowed to just say I'm sick. It really comes back to that show must go on mentality. So if you come from a dance background, if you have a performing background or you just understand what I'm saying here, it's okay to quit stuff. It's okay to have a sick day. It's okay to not be okay. And I know we have people in our community, who've got chronic illnesses, you know, you might have kids, you might have caring responsibilities and it's okay just to give yourself the rest that you need. You're not superwoman.

And most of the time those shows where I said that I was, you know, I might've played, oh God, it was like Bugs Bunny in the pirates and I was pirate, number two, no Scarface. There was Scarface. And there was no Scarface. And I was no Scarface. Anyway, that show had to go on at 11:00 no matter what. No matter what. But in your business, is it that big a deal if you reschedule a prerecorded podcast interview? Is it that big a deal if you know, you've lost your voice and you have to say no to a client and reschedule? It really isn't.

And it was massive deal for me. I lost my voice cause I was on book tour. And of course I put too many things into my book tour. Not only was I doing a book tour, I was also being a mentor in someone's program. I was also doing live calls or still doing podcast interviews. And I lost my voice and I had to just say to my mentee at campus, "I'm really sorry. I'm going to have to reschedule this call." And it was just like, oh, I'm not allowed to do this. And then I went, yeah, I am, it's totally okay.

So, the other way this showed up for me one time was saying no after I'd already said yes to something. Okay, so picture this, I was eight and a half months pregnant. I was super tired and I got an email from a producer for a morning TV show. And they said, "We'd love you to come on and promote your book." And I was like, "It's a TV show, I have to say yes. It's the media." You know how sometimes times some things feel like, oh my God, I can't say no, because they're like, I don't know, super grown up. Or it's just like, it's the media. I cannot say no. Even though when I really looked at it, I was like, my audience are really not watching a morning TV show in Australia. Like, they're not. You know, you guys come from all around the world, you're listening to podcasts in your car, but you're not sitting like necessarily watching a morning TV show. But I felt like, I couldn't say no, even though it wasn't a really good use of my time.

I actually, I did say yes. I was like, "Yeah, okay. All right, fine." And actually it wasn't for then, it wasn't when I was eight and a half months pregnant, it was when the baby was born. So it was in two months time and the baby would be like six weeks. And I was like, it's my third baby. I'll be fine by then. It will be all good. But, in that last month of my pregnancy, I just kept on thinking about this interview and thinking, I don't want to do live TV. It stresses me out. I'm going to have to leave, hair and makeup starts at 7:00. It's three hours away, I'm going to have to leave at 4:00 or go the night before and it was just stressing me out so much.

And so I started thinking of excuses and I was like, maybe I could just say I got hit by a car. Yeah, I'll say I had a car accident and I can't make it. And then I was like, oh, just wait until the day before and say, I have explosive diarrhea. Everyone understands diarrhea. So even after I had the baby, this is my third baby Piper. I was nursing her and it should have been like a really relaxing, lovely time, but I was sitting there thinking how I was going to get out of this TV interview. And it's just so ridiculous, but the show must go on.

And I want you to think about where this is showing up for you at the moment. Where do you feel like you can't say no after you've said yes? Where do you feel like he'd be letting someone down? Where have you outgrown a commitment, but you feel like you can't say no? And it got to the week before and I sent an email and said, "I'm really sorry. I shouldn't have committed to this. You know, my baby's really young, I can't do it." And I never got a response and I know it was probably blacklisted forever. And I just thought, oh my God, why are we doing this to ourselves? You know, and so now when I cancel something, like, I'll say, "Hey, I'm sick," or "My kid was up last night with black poop." Or like those times where you're like, the dog threw up on the rug and then this happened.

And like most of the time, the other people that I have a commitment to, you know, most of the time they're women, most of the time, like half the time they have kids themselves. And it's just like, "It's okay. That's fine." And I find the same when someone says that to me now I go, "You don't even, you don't have to make up an excuse. It's totally fine." Like, this is why we're in business because it has to work for our energy. It has to work for ourselves. And we don't want to replicate that show must go on mentality that we had in corporate life. It's okay for us to be vulnerable and just to say, "I'm sorry, I don't want to do it anymore. I'm sorry, I over committed." And that was, yeah, like as I said, if you've done that, if you're a soldier on type person, that will be incredibly hard at first for you to do that, but I give you full permission.

All right. So I said that I had a Mickey Mouse tip for you and I can't wait to share this with you. It's going to come after the break and I'll see you in a second. All right, bye now.

Hey, beautiful. My name is Cathy Feenan. I live in Newcastle, New South Wales, and I'm a success mindset coach for overwhelmed entrepreneurs. I read Get Rich Lucky Bitch this year after I found it on Denise's website and pretty much stalking her for a while now. Two things that really stood out for me were, firstly, I learn how to feel abundance so I could attract more abundance into my life. And Denise showed me how it was possible to grow my business and still enjoy a successful life with ease and flow. I also learned so much about pricing. I was undercharging and setting my prices based on what was acceptable and the norm for coaches. And after the book, I increased my prices for my time and continued launching new packages. And now I earn so much more. I highly recommend Denise's book to anyone who wants a break through limiting money beliefs and what's possible for you, your income and your business for the highest good of all.

Okay. Welcome back. So, I said I've got this really cool Mickey Mouse kind of tool. I don't know what even to call it. So, remember I was a performer. I worked for the company that did the Looney Tunes characters. So, I was always Elmer Fudd or I was a backup dancer for Bugs Bunny and all that kind of stuff. But I always, always love Disney. So, I love going to Disneyland. I love going to Disney on Ice and I will continue to go to those places. I went before I had kids, now I go because I have kids. But I love it. And I'll continue to go when the kids are older, because I just love that stuff.

So, what I noticed was I was at Disney on Ice and my kids didn't really know Mickey Mouse, because it's just not as on cartoons as much as it was when I was a kid. But they didn't really know who it was. But when he came out, they went, oh my God. And they were really excited and I was like, what's going on? And I realized that every time Mickey Mouse is on stage, whether it's at Disneyland or at Disney on Ice, everyone stops and makes a massive, big freaking deal about Mickey Mouse. Always. So the lights change, the lights go down and then the lights come up. It's really all those visual kind of emotional cues that they do, that's very theatrical. They usually have a trumpet or like some sort of like (singing) here comes Mickey Mouse. The other thing I noticed that all of the performers defer to Mickey. So you'll see on Disney on Ice, you'll notice it everywhere now, they all turn and look at Mickey. And it's a really big freaking deal when he comes out. And same with at Disneyland.

So at Disneyland Mickey Mouse, he's not in the middle of the parade. He's at the start of the parade and he's at the end of the parade. He is the star of the show. Like everything is around him. The Mickey is the merchandising. You know, the laser shows, everything is about Mickey, even though he's been around for a long time. And I don't think kids are that into Mickey Mouse, but they still have reverence for him when they see him. Okay. So we've got that Mickey Mouse as the star of the show. How does this relate to you and your business?

Okay, so what I noticed that in my business, I'd been around in my business for so long and I was just so used to over-delivering. And some of it's to prove I'm still humble. I'd get to my events and I'd be like, oh, let me sweep the, you know, let me move the tables and let me fix this thing up. And you know, I don't why I'll do that too. And I was doing my own hair and makeup. I was just wanted to be someone who's like, I pitch in. You know, I'm part of the team. I don't think I'm special. I don't think I'm more special than anyone else. And so it was kind of exhausting because I would be everything at once. I'd be like, let me do, let me be the stage hand and then I have to go and be the star.

And then I noticed it really translated into my online business as well. So, you know, I've got a money bootcamp. It has a community of thousands and thousands of people. But when it got to about 4,000 people, I was so exhausted because one, I felt like I had to answer every single question myself. But two, I found that people were really taking my energy in there for granted. I wasn't special. I was just like, like mom, you know? And so that meant people were tagging me on the weekends. They, you know, like, "Hey Denise, what do you think about this? I'd love to get your thoughts on this.," instead of just like asking it to the group. They were, I had tags on Christmas day one year of like, "Denise, what do you think about this thing? How much should I price my products at?" And I was like, oh my God, there's no reverence for Denise here. I am not the Mickey Mouse of this business. I am the lowliest stagehand. And I am the background dancer that everyone just takes for granted. So I was like, okay, I'm a performer. I can go with this analogy. Right. How am I supposed to edify myself, set myself up as someone who is special, who is worthy of paying attention to. So I started strategically setting up things in my business to do that.

So for my events, some of my events that I go to, I'll just come out and it's just me. But I was like, I'm going to experiment with getting someone to introduce me, like as a hype man. And so at some of my book tours, like at my New York one, I had Gala Darling come and introduce me. She was my warmup act and then she introduced me. And it felt really cool. Cause I was like, oh my God, not that I think that I'm special, but it just creates a different energy when you are that star of your business. People just show up a little bit, like they sit up a little bit straighter and they listen, they pay more attention. And then, I started bringing in other people to help me around the tour, so I wasn't doing everything myself. I wasn't checking people in, because he might laugh, but I did that in my first tour. I was like, "Hi, let me open the door for you. Come on in," or "Let me look at your ticket." And then I'd run back, run on state.

And so I started hiring people to greet people, "Oh, are you excited to see Denise today?" Have you noticed, you go to Disney on Ice that they're all selling the Disney merchandise, but they're going, "You're seeing Mickey today." That's what they used to do before the "Bugs Bunny shows, "Hey kids, who are we seeing today? Bugs bunny! I didn't hear you, who are we seeing? Bugs Bunny!" It was a big deal. And so you can create these little moments in your business.

A massive thing that I did was that I hired a community manager for my group. Someone to help me hold the space. But, because I was worried that they were going to like her more than they liked me. We hired from the start, we said to the, you know, in the job application, this isn't for you to be a star in the group. This is for you to showcase Denise's work and the money bootcamp work. And so for those of you who are in money bootcamp, you'll see this now.

When Mara, our beautiful community manager, when she answers a question, she's not going, "I know all the answers" she's saying, "Hey, remember when Denise says this? Hey, remember in this assignment that Denise says this?" That's very deliberate, because we want to create that feeling of , oh, Denise's energy and ideas are really valuable here. And it might sound contrived. It might sound like I'm like up myself or whatever, but it's a really important distinction that completely changed the energy of the business. Suddenly people weren't tagging me all the time. We actually closed down the group for two weeks over Christmas now, because I'm allowed to take time off. I'm role modeling what it's like to be someone who has a business and who values my time and energy.

So you're not doing these things because you're like, I'm so special. I'm Mickey Mouse. You're doing it to role model. Role model boundaries. Role model not having to be and do everything for everyone in your business. Being the star of the show really does benefit everybody. And then when you have more energy, you can show up in a much better way. If you don't have energy, you're not wasting your energy with all those small things that someone else could do. You can really show up in such a different, powerful way.

So, I would love to hear from you. I know this is going to bring up some really juicy stuff. Reach out to me on Instagram. I love to hear your feedback on this. Were you a dancer? Tell me some of those crazy the show must go on things that have happened in your business because of that mentality that so many of us have. And tell me what this Mickey Mouse analogy has brought up for you. How is it going to shift and change the way you do your business? Maybe it's just having better boundaries around your time. Not feeling like you have to solve every problem of everyone's life. Maybe it's setting those things up in place of having a community manager, having someone help out on you speaking gigs or your book tours. Or just shifting that energy so you know that your energy is the one that can't be replaced. There's only one of you. There's only one of you. It's safe for you to value your time and energy.

Okay, I know we're going to have some juicy comments on this and it's just so great. Always remember that you are the Mickey Mouse. Write that's the way, so you remember it. All right, you are the star of the show and I will see you after this break.

Hello, my name's Danielle and I am a dog mom living in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I joined the Money Bootcamp a couple of years ago. And for me, the biggest mental shift I had to make was allowing myself to earn more than my dad had earned and working through the bootcamp exercises. I was able to not only negotiate myself from just under six figures to well towards a quarter of a million dollars a year in salary and bonus compensation. I was able to also negotiate a departure from that same role so that now I can start my business as a career coach and professional career mentor. So I am super grateful to Denise and to everybody in the bootcamp for all the inspiration. Especially Mara, who is there all the time and lifts our spirits. So thank you so much. Take care. Bye-bye.

Thanks everyone for sending in your testimonials. Let's get back to the show.

Hey, welcome back. And here's my final thought for today. You know I love doing EFT, emotional freedom technique. And sometimes if you can't think of a tapping script, I just like saying, "I deeply and completely love and accept myself." And let's not underestimate how important that is. You know, you might've heard about tapping before, EFT, and you're just like, yeah, yeah, cool. But that last part I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Even as I say it to you out loud, it fills in some of those gaps where I'm realizing that I'm saying to myself, you're not enough. And sometimes we can just be our own worst enemy. You know, we're constantly having those negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves that we're not good enough, we haven't done enough, you're wrong, you're a bitch. All these things that run through our head. And I'm telling you, making heaps of money, doesn't necessarily make those things go away. You have to be so vigilant.

And so if all you do today to remind yourself about it is just to say that "I deeply and completely love and accept myself." Doesn't mean that you can't do more, be more, be ambitious or whatever, but it's just like a warm hug. And if you don't have a lot of that in your life right now, if you don't have a lot of people affirming you or celebrating you, you can be in your own corner and you can do it yourself. So let's do that one more time. I deeply and completely love and accept myself. All right, beautiful. Go forth today. Chill and prosper. You can do it peace out for me. And I will see on the next episode. Bye.

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About the Show

Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.

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