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Introduction to How to Start Over Again
At times, all of us are ready for a fresh start, something new.
But, starting over can be a challenge. And, starting over, again and again, is even harder.
Yet, it is possible to start over—no matter who you are or what you have been through. Join us today as we think about how to start over with courage.
Setting the Stage for How to Start Over Again
Melanie: Welcome to Women Living Courageously! We are so glad that you have joined us today and y’all are in for such a treat. I have invited one of my favorite people and closest friends to join us today for the podcast. Her name is Ruthie Gray. Welcome, Ruthie. We’re so glad you’re here.
Ruthie: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited, Melanie.
Melanie: This is going to be a lot of fun, and I want to introduce Ruthie to you and then I’m going to ask her some questions and let you get to know her.
Ruthie Gray is wife to Jim and mom to four adult kids. She’s also Gigi to her two precious grandkids. Also, Ruthie is an empty-nester who specializes in relationship marketing.
Further, she is the founder of Community Marketing Framework, where she teaches inside her authentic online marketing school and her insider mentorship. Additionally, Ruthie is a successful podcaster and the host of the Authentic Online Marketing podcast.
A longtime blogger, she also hosts a website at ruthiegray.mom. She’s a busy lady.
Ruthie: A little bit.
Talking to Ruthie about Starting Over
Melanie: Indeed. I invited Ruthie today on the show because I’ve been so encouraged and inspired by how willing and courageous she has been to start over after the age of 30.
And I’ve watched her very successfully change directions and launch a whole new business in ministry I’ve been amazed by her courage and her willingness to step out into the great unknown and go for it.
That’s what we’re going to talk about today, being brave enough to start again, to start fresh, to go for it, to step out into the great unknown, and be willing to try something new.
And so, let’s walk through your story, Ruthie.
Ruthie: All right.
Melanie: First let’s go back to before, before you started something new what did that look like?
Ruthie: Okay, just a few years ago after I was kind of staring out the windows and watching the football, I decided to move a little bit because God doesn’t steer a parked car.
And I built a blog on my own called Rear, Release, Regroup to mentor moms in all seasons of motherhood. And I started a Facebook group for young moms called “Mom Time Out” where we tackled anger issues with scripture.
Then, I took that information and wrote a book called Count to Nine: Nine Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger. The group and the blog thrived.
When She Decided to Try Something New
Melanie: Absolutely. And I remember… I’ve been on your blog, I’ve read your book, it’s all wonderful. Truly, you have had a great ministry to moms for a long time.
So what changed? What made you want to try something new?
Ruthie: Well, mom mentoring has always been something that I’ve just done naturally, both in-person and online.
However, my husband had a talk with me one day. He sat me down and told me I was giving away all my time and I was spending hours and hours and hours every day.
And he said, “Ruthie, your time is worth more than zero.”
And also my quote-unquote ministry was costing us tax dollars.
So he said, “If you really want to do this online business then make it something that you’re passionate about that helps people while generating funds.”
Melanie: Yes. And you and I have talked about this some.
I know my husband looked at me one day and said, “Could we quit paying to do ministry?”
And so, I know we’ve both been there.
So, what scared you about making the change to go from ministry to business?
Ruthie: Well, I didn’t have any idea what it was I could do to generate funds. I mean, I was like, what am I good at?
Honestly, I don’t know.
Some of the Challenges of Starting Over
Melanie: What do you think was the hardest part about this new beginning? This change?
Ruthie: Well, the pivot was hard. Honestly, I thought that I could keep one foot in both worlds.
I would just continue to mentor moms because I had built up a following. Over time, I had built up comrades and I didn’t want to let anyone down.
But then I finally realized that I couldn’t run that blog and that whole thing over there and build my business. They were headed in two different directions.
And I realized I was beginning to attract women my age who were trying to grow on Instagram.
At the time, however, I had no idea where to begin and needed the tools to grow. Further, I was looking for a personalized strategy.
Melanie: So you kind of had one foot in two worlds at a certain point.
What made you push through and try it even though you were nervous?
What Made Her Push Through…
Ruthie: Well, I enjoyed the Instagram platform, and I found out I was good at it.
Truly, you were one of the ones who were instrumental in pointing that out. (This is why we need good friends.)
And I realized I could help Christian women grow their platforms for their specific products, books, podcasts, or blogs, and then reach more people subsequently for the kingdom of Christ.
Because even though we may market a product online we’re still believers at our core.
The women that I work with are women of faith and that shine through in all we do.
Melanie: Amen. It sure does.
So, what encouragement would you give to that woman who wants to try something new today, but can’t quite find the courage?
Practical Ways to Boost Your Courage
Ruthie: Get input from a few trusted friends on your strengths, as I did from you and our friends at the blogger retreat that we were at.
And then read Essentialism by Greg McKeown. This will help you to narrow down what you can do with that passion.
Additionally, poll your audience.
Also, try to secure a coaching call with someone who’s been in business a while who can help you and guide you in the right direction.
Finally, make a move. Don’t just stay stuck in your head. We learn by doing.
Melanie: Awesome. That’s a good word. I’ve heard Elizabeth Elliot say you do the next thing. And so, that’s part of what you did.
All right. So, let’s move to the next chapter of your book.
Tell us about the new things you’re doing because you’re in it now.
How did they come about?
Ruthie: I am deep in it now. Oh, man.
We’re talking about LLC and everything.
So first, I developed a basic Instagram course that did very well.
And I beta tested it first, almost everything you hear me say from here on out, I beta tested.
I began running individual Instagram accounts, testing my knowledge, and they did very well and took off and that business grew.
And then, I began coaching one-on-one clients. Then, I beta-tested my membership three times in 2020.
Finally, after I had a successful product, then I hired a business coach to help me springboard ideas and affirm that I really had a good product.
Trials and Experiements
Melanie: Tell us a little bit more about beta testing.
Maybe someone wonders what you mean.
Are you saying you actually tried it out to see if it worked?
Ruthie: Yep, I tried it out.
So what you do is, you figure out what your actual cost is that you want to charge for your product.
Then you slash that by about 70% and you reach out to some potential clients and people that you think might be interested in that product.
And actually, Mel, you were in on the ground level of this beta testing, weren’t you?
Melanie: Yes. I was. I got to be part of it.
And so, I love that you got some friends together and said, “Will you do this with me?”
Someone reading (or listening to) our conversation could try this.
If you’re not sure and you want to become a chef or you want to try out another business, you might get some friends together and just do a dry run, a test. You may discover that you are really ON to something good!
It’s a great idea, Ruthie.
All right, so let me ask you this. What hurdles have you had to overcome along the way?
Hurdles to Overcome as You Start Over
Ruthie: Well, imposter syndrome is number one on the list, just doubting myself because I don’t know everything there is to know about Instagram.
Knowing what avenues to pursue and which ones to let go as far as in business.
Truly, launching a podcast was a super big hurdle but one I knew I needed to do to get the word out about my product while helping others.
And Wren Robbins, actually, which you folks know, she was my podcast coach too. And she played a big part in that.
So, just releasing imperfection in my words and letting episodes go live without fine-tuning over and over and over and over and over.
I had to just post, make reels, and go live on Instagram, and let these things be. I had to put them out there bravely!
Sometimes you have to put yourself out there and be brave!
Melanie: So your encouragement is to go for it.
Just progress over perfection, giving it a shot without it having to be absolutely perfect.
Ruthie: You can’t know everything before you start.
Such an Encourgement!
Melanie: Absolutely. And I will tell you, Ruthie, you’ve been an encouragement to me.
I know you’ve been podcasting for a good while, and for the longest time, you’ve been telling me to do this.
And so, here we are all this time later.
You need some friends who will push you a little bit, don’t you?
Ruthie: Yes, and look who was right.
Melanie: You absolutely were right.
So let me ask you this, why are you glad you got brave and went for it?
Ruthie: Because other women my age are feeling this second half of life hard, just like I did, and they want something of their own too.
They’re in the sandwich generation.
Maybe, they are letting go of their kids.
Or, they are dealing with grief.
Possibly… they are caregiving their parents, yet they’re feeling the pull to have something of their own.
Indeed, they need to know it’s possible and God has a bigger plan.
God’s not done with them yet. Good plans for their future and hope, but also for his kingdom and the gospel.
Benefits and Blessings As You Start Over
Melanie: Amen, that’s such a good word.
When you were saying that, I think of one of the Adrian Rogers quotes that I love the most, he said, “If you woke up today and you’re still here, God has a plan for your life.”
And so, it really doesn’t matter how old you are or that you don’t think you have anything to offer, God can use you.
So, that’s a great word.
Let me ask you this, what have been some of the blessings and benefits of going for it, trying something new?
Ruthie: So helping women grow, seeing the lights come on, seeing them blossom and grow their platforms.
Also, it’s been a joy to see them grow in confidence and secure book deals, secure clients, secure more followers and help marriages.
Moreover, I’ve so enjoyed watching them hold prayer challenges, step out of their comfort zones and just grow and blossom.
Melanie: Amen. Those are all such great… that’s great fruit from what you’ve done.
So your courage a few years ago has impacted many others since then.
Ruthie: Hopefully so.
Melanie: It has, I’ve watched it, girl.
To that woman who has an idea, something she really wants to try, what advice would you give her today?
Great Advice to Think About
Ruthie: If you feel God nudging you remember that it’s never really all about you.
Remember Joseph and how he told his brothers you meant it for evil but God meant it for good. He went on to say that I could provide for you and our nation.
It’s not about us, but God has a bigger plan at play and we are small, but an integral part of that plan.
Could God do it without you? Yes.
But wouldn’t it be more exciting to let him use you?
So, your “yes” is very important.
Melanie: Yes. My pastor says almost every Sunday, “Put your YES on the table.”
So that’s a great word.
Is there a Bible verse or a passage that’s been especially encouraging to you during all of this?
Ruthie: Isaiah 58:11 is the verse that God gave me for 2022 for my business, “The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought and strengthen your bones. You shall be like a watered garden in like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
What About Your Friends?
Melanie: Amen. That’s a wonderful verse. All right. I have another question for you. That’s a good word.
Are there friends or types of friends who have shown you the most support?
When you do something new, we know there’ll be some naysayers, but who have been those friends or types of friends that have really been supportive for you?
Ruthie: Well honestly, Melanie, I think you know me well enough that you know you are right at the top.
We have been collaborators and friends for a long time. We vox all the time and we just stay in contact. And as a blogger and an online business owner, you have to have those friends in your corner that you regularly talk to that cheer you on and it’s not a competition thing.
And I want to thank you for encouraging me and pushing me at that blogger retreat, by the way.
Krista Hutchins of Do a New Thing. She is the greatest collaborator of all time and she is the one who showed me the importance of colleague collaborations. And then Wren Robbins, my podcast coach, also.
Now she’s my client and in my mentorship. And those are just a few, but usually, it’s the people I network with on the regular.
It’s important to build an inner circle that will support you. You can bounce off ideas. And my mentorship gals also have been there for me too.
It Helps to Have an Inner Circle
Melanie: That’s encouraging and it sounds like you’ve had the same experience I have that you have some people around you who support you and dream with you and come up with ideas for you.
And I have those people too, Ruthie, and you’ve been an encouragement like that for me, to not always question why you can’t do it but to come up with more ideas about how you could.
And so, you’re saying you need a group of friends, at least a couple of friends, who will help you to pursue what’s new and not hold you back.
Ruthie: Yes. You need an inner circle.
Melanie: Yes, that’s a great word.
Well, let me ask you this, how has your faith increased and your prayer life improved through all of this?
Get Ready to Take a Walk of Faith
Ruthie: This whole thing has been all a faith walk.
I feel like I’m free-falling most days.
It’s like a car with no breaks or something. And I’m just like wide open, okay God, what’s planned today?
I don’t know what’s going to work and what’s not, but I come to God every morning and ask for wisdom and guidance and it’s both terrifying and exciting.
Melanie: That’s cool, and it’s a great thing that you do it anyway.
You do it even when you’re not perfect and even when you’re a little nervous and even when you don’t know what’s coming next.
I guess that’s what faith really is, Ruthie. When we go out and step out into the great unknown and trust that God has a plan.
So, that’s a great word.
How to Connect with Ruthie to Learn More about How to Start Over Again on Instagram
I have a couple more questions for Ruthie, but I wanted to share how you can connect with her.
Ruthie’s Follower Growth Masterclass, including work workshop training, show notes, and 50 account growth ideas specific to 2022, has begun.
And if you join the masterclass, you’ll also gain admittance to her Facebook community where support and share threads take place every week.
To join the master class, you can look in the show notes and you’ll find a link and you can go over and learn more about Ruthie and how to get involved.
Back to the Interview about How to Start Over Again
Melanie: I can tell you on a personal note, Ruthie helps girls, especially over the age of 40, figure out Instagram. And so, that’s kind of how she’s known and she’s good at it, and she explains it in a way that we understand.
And so Ruthie, I love what you’re doing and I’m so glad to have you here today.
Before we close, I have two more questions I love to ask my guests. And so, here’s the first one. How are you an ordinary girl?
For example, I love peanut M&M’s and I love chocolate mint ice cream. What about you?
Ruthie: Well, I am also a lover of chocolate mint ice cream. So, that must be why we’re soul sisters there.
But, I leave half-empty glasses of water all over the house.
I get in trouble for this all the time with the big guy, my husband, and I’m always running right on time or one minute late.
Also, my Christmas tree is still up and it is March.
Melanie: I love that. Just leave it up the rest of the year.
I have a friend that leaves one tree up. So maybe that should be a goal. She likes it so much she just leaves one up for the whole year.
Ruthie: I just love the lights. You know, this time of year it’s dark.
What Makes God Extraordinary to You?
Melanie: It’s a good word.
Well, let me ask you this, this is my final question and I’d really like to ask women this because I think we can all relate to being ordinary.
How have you found God to be extraordinary in your life?
Ruthie: Well, it never ceases to amaze me how he meets me in the ordinary and speaks to me, especially during the caregiving season.
I remember clearly one day, about three years ago, I was tying my mom’s shoes. My dad was still alive. I was taking care of both of them, taking them to doctor’s appointments and everything.
And I was tying her shoes at a particularly difficult doctor’s appointment. And I felt, God impressed me with these words, I’m right here with you. It was like he said it. And even though you can read it, sometimes you just need to feel like getting a God hug. Do you know?
And I feel like that day he gave me a God hug and I’ve never forgotten that, and I claim that promise.
Melanie: That’s a great promise, that he never leaves us or forsakes us, that he is right with us.
That is amazing. Ruthie, thank you for being with us today. You’ve blessed us. You’ve encouraged us. And, you’ve challenged us.
And I had a few takeaways, just things that I heard you say that I think are so encouraging. First, God has a bigger plan at play. I love that, that you shared that.
Also, move, don’t stay stuck in your head. We learn by doing.
And then the last thing is what you just shared, God is always right there with us, whether we’re tying someone’s shoes or taking care of little children or working in a difficult job, God is always right there with us.
So ladies, today I want to encourage you to go for it.
You can start over too.
Ruthie did it.
So what’s stopping you?
Closing Thoughts on How to Start Over Again
Write that book, start that business, send that email, take that class. I want to encourage you to go for it.
And as we close, I want you to remember, we are just ordinary women, but we serve an extraordinary God and it’s never too late for us to start again.
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