Everyone knows CC Sutton as the speaker with the big hair and the even BIGGER personality! In her toolbox of humor and relatable life experiences, she pulls out simple solutions to help people take back control of their time, energy and productivity. CC Sutton is a consummate speaker who has hosted her own radio talk show, has extensive experience speaking at an array of events including the International Swing Dance Championships, celebrity luncheons, galas, fashion shows, fundraisers, and conferences. CC is also the author of the “Now Back to You” journal. CC chats with us regarding her success as a speaker and her 2020 goals in the face of a national pandemic.
Tell us the CC story. What caused you to stop working in corporate America and become a professional speaker?
I still work in Corporate America, but I’ve been a professional speaker for several years. By trade, my background is in Human Resources. So, the topics that I speak on—work-life balance, performance, productivity and women’s wellness—fit hand-in-glove with my background and expertise.
How has being a speaker most impacted your life?
Anyone who has chosen to be a professional speaker will tell you that it is the most rewarding, amazing, and grit-filled profession ever. For me, it is all of that and more. I have the responsibility and privilege of teaching working professionals how to overcome something that over 66% of working Americans struggle with—work-life balance. Every day, I wake up grateful for the opportunity to change lives, offer real solutions and of course, bring a little comic relief.
If there is one key take away you want your attendees to leave with, what is it?
“Learn how to ask for support, and not permission.” There is a difference!
My target audience is high-performing working women, and often, these types of women struggle with work-life balance because they do not do well with asking for help when they need it. Usually, they will ask their spouse for permission to do something instead of asking for support, and it leaves them feeling guilty, frustrated, and burned out. So, I provide strategies that teach them how to have difficult conversations so they can ultimately get what they need—which is a break most times!
Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring speakers & consultants?
1. The difference between a paid professional speaker and someone who books speaking gigs periodically is that a professional speaker has strategic systems & processes in place that they follow to secure speaking opportunities. If you want your speaking business to grow, develop systems & processes…and stick to them!
2. Know your worth. Far too often, speakers/consultants devalue their worth and charge far less than what they should. Do your research on how much people in your industry are getting paid to speak, and then don’t be afraid to charge the same!
3. Companies are looking for “experts”, not just “speakers”. They are much more willing to pay top dollar for a “Work-Life Performance Expert” who brings solutions rather than a “professional speaker” who talks about work-life performance.
Coming into 2020, what were your business goals and have they changed since the global pandemic?
Whew! They sure have! I was excited about 2020…but now I’m even MORE excited about 2020. (I know…you weren’t expecting that answer 😊)
At the start of 2020, I had goals to speak on a few national stages, and my stretch goal was one international stage. I had never done a virtual talk before, I had a self-care planner that was half-way started and an online masterclass that was on the to-do-someday-just-not-today-nor-tomorrow list. Then lo’ and behold, A WHOLE PANDEMIC entered the scene.
So, my husband (who is also a professional speaker and social media strategist) said, “It’s time to pivot! We’re going to maximize the time that we have to take our speaking businesses to the next level!” It all sounded great, but the execution of it was a little scary for me at first. I had to restructure my talks /training to fit the new needs of my clients. I also had to learn how to give the same message, energy and delivery virtually (which is completely different from speaking to large audiences in person). To add fuel to the fire, most organizations did not have a virtual platform in place yet, so I was essentially about to offer food to clients that did not know how to chew yet.
But I took my husband’s advice, and the results have been mind-blowing. Since the start of the pandemic, I have secured new corporate clients (including Microsoft, AT&T, Memorial Hermann and Bechtel), was featured on the news three times (as well as on several podcasts), sold over 500 copies of my planner and finally launched my online self-care masterclass. I never could have imagined doing any of this under normal circumstances…let alone during a global pandemic.
I realize that the pandemic has brought a full range of emotions and experiences for all of us (and trust me, I’ve experienced most of them). But I am so grateful that God has given me and my family the resources and wisdom to make the most of this time and focus on what we can control.
We were excited to hear about your recent success with your “Now Back to You” self-care planner – can you share more about that?
YES! I created this planner to give to my attendees when I’m out speaking. Naturally, I worried about not being able to move the planners since everything is virtual now. But I decided to still go ahead and finalize them so once the pandemic was over, they would be ready.
I HAD NO IDEA I would start to get orders before I could even finish the draft copy! Between corporate clients and individual purchases, I have been blessed to sell over 500 planners in less than 30 days.
AlphaGraphics of West Houston helped to craft a creative design for your planner – what was the experience and process like working with our team?
You guys rock. Period.
I was referred to AlphaGraphics by another speaker and friend, Latisa Be, and my entire experience with the team has been EXCEPTIONAL from start to finish.
First, I met Toni. Toni is the type of person who will MAKE a way if there isn’t one. I can’t thank her enough for answering all 49 million of my questions in the same friendly voice, “Yep! We sure can do that and I’ll get it to you right away!” Toni was also responsible for making sure one of my clients received 250 planners. Oh, and did I mention that Toni oversaw getting all 250 planners mailed out to 250 different locations???
When this all first started, I originally created my own cover for the planner. But it didn’t quite speak to me, so I hired someone else to do it. But even the 2nd version didn’t quite seal the deal. So, in comes Allen with AlphaGraphics (they say 3rd time’s a charm!).
I literally told Allen 3 things:
1. The planner is mostly for corporate women.
2. I want everyone who sees the planner to say “Oooooh! I want one!” and
3. I don’t really know what I want, so I trust your judgment. (lol)
And to all of that he replied, “Okay, I know exactly what you want. (music to every woman’s ears) I’ll send you a few mock-ups by the end of the day.” And VOILA! He created three images for me to choose from, and the first one he sent was the one that I fell in love with.
And guess what? Everyone who sees the planner says “Ooooh, I want one!”
Thank you, AlphaGraphics, for being 100% on top of EVERYTHING! You guys have gone ABOVE & BEYOND, and you have a life-long customer in me!!