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SPI 786: Pivoting to Follow Your Passion with Amy Nelson—SPI Pro Expert in Residence

The top lesson becoming a parent teaches us about our careers is that time is our most important resource. That’s because every moment spent on things we’re not passionate about is time away from our kids! So how do you do more of the work you care about?

Amy Nelson of The Riveter and the What’s Her Story With Sam & Amy podcast, is joining me today for an inspiring chat about following your calling and helping others do the same.

Amy is our newest Expert in Residence within SPI Pro. If you don’t know, the EIR program serves our SPI Pro community members with next-level knowledge and support. Our experts play in the big leagues of online business and have a wealth of experience to share — check out my interview with Amy to learn more!

In this episode, we discuss everything from pivoting a coworking business in the pandemic to being a parent entrepreneur. Amy also shares her insights into networking and building a community of like-minded people, the importance of storytelling, and supporting women in their careers.

Join us for this powerful conversation, and tune in next Friday to hear from another thought leader and expert coming to SPI Pro!

Today’s Guest

Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson is the founder of The Riveter, a venture-capital-backed membership, media, and online education platform built by and for working women. A graduate of Emory University and the NYU School of Law, Amy practiced corporate litigation with a focus on high-profile First Amendment matters for over a decade in New York City and Seattle. She also served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee where she co-chaired Gen44, the under 40 fundraising arm of the campaign.

Additionally, Amy previously worked with President Carter’s The Carter Center. Amy is the mother of four daughters aged nine and under. A well-known content creator, Amy has written columns for Forbes and Inc, hosted iHeartRadio’s What’s Her Story With Sam & Amy, and shares daily stories with her social media audience of 375,000.  

In addition to raising $30 million in venture capital to grow The Riveter, Amy has been published broadly including in/on outlets including Newsweek, The TODAY Show, Refinery29, Buzzfeed, the Washington Post, and the Seattle Times. She has spoken across the world on many stages, including Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, Cannes Lions, and SXSW.

You’ll Learn


SPI 786: Pivoting to Follow Your Passion with Amy Nelson—SPI Pro Expert In Residence

Amy Nelson: Every single person that you have seen succeed failed ninety-five percent of the time, you can’t win without getting in the game. And if you get in the game, you’re going to fail, right? And so you just have to be willing to accept it. I mean, I’ve raised 30 million from venture capitalists, but I heard no from ninety-nine percent of the investors I pitched over and over and over again.

And not just no. Like, this is a terrible idea. You’re not the kind of founder that can do this. You’ve got little kids, you don’t have time. But just keep going because it only takes one yes or one success.

Pat Flynn: All right. We’ve all heard of WeWork, right? And if you’ve been following the story about WeWork and the founder and kind of where WeWork was and how valued it was as a company, I actually had an office at WeWork in San Diego for about a year and the pandemic happened and that affected obviously coworking spaces all around the world.

And I’m not going to dive into the ins and outs of specifically WeWork as a company, but I just want you to think about what it was like to, to have a coworking space set up and then have the pandemic hit and imagine you had started a coworking business right before the pandemic hit. Well, that’s exactly what our guests did today.

Amy Nelson, who is the founder of, had started a co working space specifically for women. And it was incredibly popular. In fact, she had raised rounds for it. She was thriving. And then all of a sudden it was taken away from her. How do you pivot out of that situation? Well, today is an incredibly successful media brand with incredible women featured on this platform and the, the pivot is something that I just wanted to talk to Amy about, and she has such a wealth of knowledge about how to take a person and what their expertise is, even if they don’t understand what it is that they could offer the world, and how to discover what that is, and share that message, share that story, and create that transformation for an audience, and this is something that is a superpower of Amy Nelson, and I’m grateful, not just because Amy is here with us today in this featured episode, but because she’s going to be featured inside of SPI Pro as an EIR, an Expert In Residence. That’s right. Amy is an incredible wealth of knowledge and to have her available for our SPI Pro members and for our team is just incredible and I’m just so grateful to have her and you’ll hear about her and her family and she’s a mother of four. She is a wife. She is a business owner. And she somehow makes it work and she’s here to help you make it work as well.

So here she is, Amy Nelson from

Announcer: You’re listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network, a show that’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, many times he’s the sous chef for his 11 year old daughter in the kitchen at home. Pat Flynn.

Amy, welcome to SPI. Thank you so much for being here today.

Amy Nelson: Thanks so much for having me.

Pat Flynn: I have learned so much about you from my team, and I’m excited to use this opportunity to introduce you to the audience. And I’d love for you to start with how you got into business in the first place. You’ve done so much.

And I want to unpack a lot of that from the Riveter as a physical spot to now a community and an online media platform. And as a mother of four, and I mean, there’s so much to unpack here. But where did this all start and what drives you?

Amy Nelson: Yeah. So I was a litigator for a decade. I practiced commercial litigation in New York and Seattle and really thought I would do that forever.

I think, you know, a lot of times when you invest in graduate school and you feel like you’re locked yourself in and this is the path that you’re on. But after I became a mother, I started to really rethink how I was spending my time. Commercial litigation is client services. You’re kind of always at the beck and call for your clients.

And my husband worked for a big tech company, was constantly traveling, and we didn’t have any family in Seattle. I knew I wanted to work. I’m a builder. I wasn’t someone who could lead the workforce. But I wanted to have more control over my time. And so I thought, in a very uncreative way, that I would go out and build my own legal practice.

So I wasn’t with a firm, so I could do something that was perhaps less demanding than being in court all the time. That’s it. And I started taking classes on like how to write a business plan and all of the basics for starting a business. And it turned out that all the classes I was going to were at WeWork locations in Seattle and they were all men.

And I kind of just kept lifting my head up and saying like, where are women who are building things? Because everything I read tells me that women are starting companies at five times the rate of men. And just at that point in my life as a new mother and having come from a world commercial litigation that was also primarily male, I really wanted to be around women and I couldn’t find them.

And so I was talking about it with my husband one day and I thought, well, what if instead of building a legal practice, which I’m not actually very passionate about, I instead built kind of a clubhouse or membership network for women who were pivoting and building things and I will just do it in Seattle.

It’ll be my thing. that I pour my passion into and I can make money by creating this clubhouse and it’s like a workspace, like a single co working space. And that was the beginning of what The Riveter became, which was not a small lifestyle company. It became something very different.

Pat Flynn: Yes. And starting that kind of right before the pandemic, you know, the timing was a little interesting and, and, you know, you are a master of pivoting for real.

And we want to get into that as well. I’m curious, because I think this is a common case for a lot of people, whether it’s specific gender that we’re not seeing there that we want to be with, or maybe just people like us, like, where are they when you were like, I need to bring these people together. I need to find other women.

How did you find them? It’s one thing to create the space. It’s another to make them aware of it. How did you do that?

Amy Nelson: It’s a great question, and it’s something I talk about a lot with anybody who’s building something. So in addition to being a lawyer, I also had a long background in politics as a volunteer, mostly, but I’ve always been really passionate about it.

Community about change and about participating in those things. And the way that manifested in over time is that I became a member of Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee and I raised money for him, lots of money. And I mostly raised from under 40 Americans. And to do that, we tapped into organizations that already existed where we thought people who would donate money to Barack Obama might be spending their time.

So like young professional organizations, but something that showed that, look, this is a person who’s under 40 and who is involved in community thinks that matters. So that’s how we raised a lot of money. And when I started The Riveter, I thought, I should lean into this same principle because I am not the first person in the world to think of bringing together professional women.

So where are the women i’m trying to find? Where are they outside of their home and their work that they might be interacting with other women and I can catch them and say you should come join the riveter and spend money with my company And so I you know, very methodically made a huge spreadsheet of Seattle based organizations or organizations with Seattle chapters where women who I thought could buy Riveter products would be.

And that was everything from like junior league of Seattle to women in tech, commercial real estate women, you know, just thinking really broadly. And then what I did is I found out who the leader of those organizations was, and I would find them on LinkedIn and see if I had her first or second connection and try to get a warm introduction to that person.

Because I think warm introductions are better than cold outreach. And then I would sit down and have coffee with the leader of that organization, tell them what I was doing and be really candid and say, you know, I would love to meet the women in your organization. I think I have a lot to offer them. And what I can offer you is that the first month we’re open in Seattle, you can host an event in my space on me.

As long as I can introduce myself, give a tour of the space, and get the emails.

Pat Flynn: Love that.

Amy Nelson: And it’s transactional, sure, but I’m offering them space, and that space is hard to come by. I mean, I was at The Riveter the first month it was open. All day, every day, and all night. And I was pregnant. It was a go to market plan and it was a way to find the women I could sell things to.

Pat Flynn: I love that. And it’s all about relationships and that solely demonstrated there by the way that you found these women wasn’t just cold email outreaches or anything like that. You went there, you had coffee, you sat down, you determined who the organizations were, but also who are the decision makers there and you saw what value.

This thing you were creating could offer them. And so I think that’s brilliant. And when the Riveter, which I love the name, obviously inspired by Rosie the Riveter, and I think that’s, that’s awesome. Tell me about getting people after an introduction to participate. I don’t want to move too fast through community because community is our business now.

And it’s something that I think everybody needs to be focusing on. In your eyes, how does one, not just set up a community and not just introduce people to that community, But get people to participate in that community to continually get excited about being a part of this thing that you’re creating.

Amy Nelson: I mean, that is the hardest thing, Pat, right?

Like, that is the magical key to everything. I think a few things that we did, you know, when we had our physical spaces that I think were really important in terms of community building and keeping people engaged. Or that we constantly asked our members what they wanted. I mean, what kind of programming do you want?

Who do you want to hear from? We’ll do our best to try. And we made a commitment to kind of shoot for the moon to serve our members in terms of who they wanted to meet, what they wanted to learn. And so just always talking to people to see what they wanted, but then also creating opportunities for people to come together.

It’s harder sometimes in the digital world to do that. But in the in real life world, we have the physical spaces. So we would create informal opportunities where we would have, you know, just like get together over coffee where in the mornings where I would show up or another one of my teammates or someone interesting.

We would create also kind of more specific groups. Like if we had, we had women who were founders, so we would have, you know, once a month meeting around fundraising and give each other feedback. One of the most powerful ways that we created community with our events was creating opportunities for people to share their expertise.

A lot of times you were invited to go sit and to listen to somebody else talk at us. But I find that the most learning comes from opportunities where everyone has the chance to share their expertise because You just learn so much more and you get so many more diverse points of view.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean, I agree with that.

I don’t know why my head went here, but I saw this trend recently where friends were getting together with each other to have like wine and cheese, but they were offering PowerPoint presentations to their friends about what they did for a living.

Amy Nelson: But that’s amazing. Like, that’s really cool.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. It’s like, because we don’t often have the opportunity to share those things in a space that’s formally meant to do that, right?

We might do that in passing, but to create a space where formally a person can go and present, whether it’s. over wine and cheese to your friends or to another group of women about the powerful things that you do. I mean, I think that that’s really incredible. I think we need to give our people, our audiences more opportunity to have the spotlight be shown on them, right?

Amy Nelson: Absolutely. Everyone needs a spotlight. And I think that’s, that’s a really important point. I think you mentioned earlier that I said, I talked to decision makers and one of the words I like to use is stakeholders because All of our friends are stakeholders too, right? It’s the people that you work with, the people you want to hire you, the people you want to invest in you, the people you want to buy from you.

But your friends are also your stakeholders in your life. And when you think of it that way, like learning how to present to them and learning how to bring them in is important. Also, they can help you in a million different ways. You, they know people you don’t know, like they can make all these connections for you.

I mean, I really think, you know, I scaled The Riveter from an idea to 125 employees in two and a half years. It took a lot of money. It took a lot of luck. It took a lot of hard work. But it also took a ton of asking people for help and connections. And people knew people I didn’t know they knew or, you know, doors were constantly open for me.

If people don’t know what you do, they can’t help you, right? So even telling your friends is pretty magical.

Pat Flynn: So this business is growing. It’s. Incredible. And it’s bringing people together. And then all of a sudden something happens in 2020, where people are not able to come and be with each other anymore.

How does that affect a business like this? And what is going through your mind when this pandemic happens? How do you even begin to wrap your head around that?

Amy Nelson: You don’t, I think as a collective, we have not processed the pandemic at all. And when I look, I think back to March of 2020, in my mind, I told myself, this is a short horizon event.

We’ll shut down for two weeks. We’ll be back. I think it wasn’t until May that I started to realize like, okay, we have a real problem. Our business model was built on density. We did not own the buildings where we built coworking spaces. We leased our coworking spaces. So we were in a position where we had to pay our landlord’s rent, but we couldn’t charge our members.

Now, some companies like WeWork like kept charging their members, but we didn’t, we couldn’t. I didn’t think that was the right thing to do. And of course, like we had assistance, we had two PPP loans. We pivoted to digital and did a lot with brand sponsors who wanted to reach working women. So they would host events with us.

We moved those events from in real life to digital events. But it was a, it was a weird time. No one knew what was happening. It was hard. You couldn’t forecast anything. You know, I live and die by a financial model. And I’m like, I don’t know what even the hell to model at this point. And I think at a certain point, I just took a step back.

And I said, I have to talk to my board because I had a board because we were a VC backed. And I said, look, we don’t know what’s going to happen. I think I have to take the company down to the studs. right? Because we just don’t know what’s happening people wise. And like, what should my mandate be? Because I needed some sort of North Star to point out to keep going, because I just didn’t understand what to do.

And my board really helped me because they said, you know, right now, your mandate is to keep this company out of bankruptcy, because we had so much lease liability to deal with. So at least at that point, I had something to do. And it took a year, but we got out of 10 massive leases. Over like a hundred years of lease liability, and we didn’t file for bankruptcy.

And so then it was like, okay, now what do we do? We have this platform that we’ve built. We have a strong community. How can we serve them? And it took a long time to figure it out.

Pat Flynn: How are you doing all of this and being an amazing mom all at the same time? It just sounds like a lot.

Amy Nelson: It was a lot. My kids were really young when I started The Riveter.

Some of them weren’t born. When I started the Riveter, I was. I was pregnant with my third and my older two were three and one, and then I had a fourth daughter as well. So I have four daughters. When my kids were really young and the Riveter was scaling, my mom had retired and she moved out to Seattle with us and we had a full time nanny.

So we had just an amazing village of support, would not have worked otherwise, like flat out wouldn’t have worked. And I think it’s important to say that. Also, my husband, he’s, is a co parent. He’s very much present. But when the pandemic happened, then the village got stripped away too. So it wasn’t just that we were losing everything at work.

We lost our child care. My mom was back in Columbus, Ohio with my father who had to have a kidney transplant. When that was just really hard. And ultimately we went and lived with family. in Honolulu. We left Seattle and went and lived with my husband’s family in Honolulu, because the girls could go to school and daycare.

Because Oahu shut down, for the people that live there, everything was open. You’re masked and everything, but it, it allowed us to have some childcare and school so that we could work. But the other thing is, is that it really, because the world slowed down so much, I spent a lot more time with my kids, and that was something I think about it a lot.

If the pandemic hadn’t happened, what would I have missed? Because I was missing a lot. It’s something, you know, and it’s hard to talk about as someone who really believes in equity. But I think it goes for both men and women. It goes for all parents. Like, there are things we were missing because of work, because of the hustle of life, because of hustle culture.

And I think the pandemic was this great reset and pause in terms of how we spend time.

Pat Flynn: It definitely felt like a great reset. It was for me and my family as well. I was traveling and speaking a lot. And when I couldn’t do that anymore, I realized, Oh, I don’t have to do this in order to, you know, survive.

Why, why am I saying yes to all these things? And so I’ve slowed down a lot and it’s definitely helped a lot. I read an article that you wrote about how motherhood has shaped your career. And now like years later after the pandemic, and we’ll talk about where The Riveter has ended up, but I still want to continue on this idea of how your kids have shaped you as a career woman and what I don’t want to even want to say compromises, but how has your career changed because of being a mother, but not given up on that dream.

Amy Nelson: Yeah, I think the most important thing and the way I think my kids shaped my career is that when I became a mother, time became my most valuable asset. And I stopped wanting to spend any time doing things I wasn’t passionate about. Because I was going to go somewhere and be away from my kids.

And the truth is, I didn’t really care about lawyering that much. You know, I think there’s parts of the law that are incredibly important, but my job, I didn’t love it. And so it made me sit down and think, like, what do you want to do that will make you feel good about the time you spend away from your kids?

And also that like they will be proud of when they look at it. And also finally along those lines, like I remember thinking all the time as a lawyer, like there’s this wage gap. It’s never going to close. Women don’t make as much as men. It’s something I saw in lawyering all the time. But like, I always thought I can’t fix the wage gap, but what I can do is I can go start my own company and pay myself what I think I’m worth.

And I think, I mean, I really think that’s a powerful thing that a lot of people should think because it’s really hard for one person to fix systemic issues, but you, you can fix your own life. And so my kids definitely shaped like how I think about work, what I want to do. And they made me lean into what I’m good at.

Pat Flynn: If you have a day off of work, what are you doing with the kids?

Amy Nelson: Oh my gosh. We have a day off at work. We get up. We play, we go outside a ton. My kids are incredibly active. They’re now nine, seven, six, and four. And it’s just like energy, so much energy. So we go outside. If it’s warm out, we’re swimming. My kids all love to swim.

They could all swim before they were two years old. And we ride bikes, we play, like just this past Sunday, we went to the forest and built a fairy village. My husband started it. So we just ended up that sounds awesome. I think in the dirt forever, building a fairy village until we had to go home for Easter brunch.

But we play, we eat together, we eat mostly at home, and we read books. My kids all love reading. So we just spend time together. It’s really, it’s simple, right? These are the things that they like to do and that I like to do. If childhood is fleeting, it is fast. You have little kids for a very small chapter of your life.

Pat Flynn: Oh, trust me. Yeah, I know. My son is entering high school next year. He’s 14. My daughter’s 11 entering middle school in those years went by so fast. And we feel very blessed. My wife and I to have been with them, like physically with them through most of their childhood. And yet it still fell fast. So every moment matters.

And I love that you just gave me the most simple, beautiful answers. We just spent time together and that’s, I love that. Yeah.

You told me the before story of The Riveter. Everybody check out by the way, amazing articles. And especially if you Are women looking for support and for, for inspiration? That’s the place to go as well as obviously now SPI Pro. Since you are now an EIR inside of our community, we want to thank you for that and can’t wait to work more closely with you.

You gave me the before. What is the after? What is The Riveter now?

Amy Nelson: So it’s completely different. And so the Riveter now we focus on helping women make more money by amplifying their voices. And what we mean by that is we help every woman identify what their expertise is, what their thought leadership is, and then how to share it with the world.

I’m a strong believer that we don’t live in a world where you can just like go to your desk nine to five work and that that’s going to work well for you throughout your career. It doesn’t mean everyone has to be an entrepreneur, but I think you have to be willing to share your voice and your expertise to be seen, to be heard, to get the promotions you deserve, to get paid what you deserve, to get the next job.

And I think that every woman is an expert. And we live in a world now where I think like 15 years ago you had to have like been a CEO or published a book to be considered an expert. But now because we can build our own stages, take your own microphone, like you can just be an expert in what you know the best in the world.

And so we help women identify that and share it. I don’t work with creators per se. I think people who are full time creators are amazing. But when I work with women and The Riveter does, you know, it’s not, we’re not trying to help someone build an audience of half a million. You don’t necessarily need that.

You need an audience of your stakeholders. Right. And so it’s like, who are the stakeholders of your career and your life? How do we find a way for you to talk to them and share your expertise? It’s really fun. It’s really rewarding. I leaned into it because it’s how I built The Riveter. When I started the Riveter, as I told you, I went through and kind of found out where these women were.

But to build a national brand and to build it quickly, which was my goal, we had to get a lot of messaging out there so people could know who we were. And I did not have a big marketing budget. And so I’m a writer. So I convinced Forbes to give me a column and I wrote great Forbes articles, not really paid unless you get a lot of views.

But I had a lot of viral articles and that helped with the brand recognition. So people knew what The Riveter was, which helped us build a newsletter. And then, like, when I started The Riveter, I had 2,000 Instagram followers. Now, I think on my personal channels, across channels, I have like 400,000. But it was just really by talking about, you know, things that I could become an expert in and share with people.

Pat Flynn: When a person comes to you and it’s like, Amy, I’m not sure what my superpower is. I don’t know what my expertise is. What kind of questions are you asking them to help them discover that?

Amy Nelson: So in the most basic way, I say like, what would you want your LinkedIn bio to read five years from now, like in a dream world?

And the thing is also, I think it’s very true. Like if you’re not an expert. And the thing you want to be an expert in, build your expertise in public to become an expert. Right? Do it. I was a lawyer. I had no idea how to build a company. I had no, I didn’t know what venture capital was. And so like, you know, and you learn about all these things.

You can learn anything. You can, like, I would say now, like, I’m a marketer. I had no idea I would be a marketer, but like, I am. I never went to school for it, but you, you learn as you go. And I think there’s nothing more powerful than building in public because people want the authenticity. They want to see it.

They want to see your willingness to fail. Because you will fail, we will all fail. And I just think it’s really powerful.

Pat Flynn: Let me role play with you for a little bit. But Amy, I am going to be embarrassed by my failures. There’s going to be haters, like people are going to target me because I’m a failure.

How do I get through the mental part of this?

Amy Nelson: First of all, most people are not watching you and they won’t think a single thing, right? You’re watching yourself more than anybody else. But second of all, every single person that you have seen succeed wildly on big stages failed ninety five percent of the time before they got there. And so I think it’s really important to take a step back and realize that you can’t win without getting in the game. And if you get in the game, you’re going to fail, right? And so you just have to be willing to accept it. I mean, I’ve raised 30 million from venture capitalists, but I heard no from ninety nine percent of the investors I pitched over and over and over again.

And not just no, like this is a terrible idea. Why you’re not kind of founder that can do this. You’ve got little kids, you don’t have time. But just keep going because it only takes one yes or one success.

Pat Flynn: Now, I know that in this world, it can be very competitive, you know, when we’re getting into business and we often Iken it to the bucket of crabs analogy where if one crab tries to crawl out the other crabs will pull it back down, right?

We don’t want to see other people succeed or that kind of thing. So by putting myself out there, I’m worried that I’m going to have a bunch of people trying to pull me down. How do I ensure that I actually am surrounding myself with people who will lift me up?

Amy Nelson: Yeah. So I think that’s a great question. I think on the one hand, I’m a big believer in killing people with kindness.

It’s really hard for people to keep trying to tear you down if you’re just so nice to them. And also, I believe in a massive spirit of generosity. I connect people, open doors, do all of the things, not expecting anything back, and people do the same thing for me. And I don’t know if that’s just like the universe or karma, but when you are giving other people opportunities all the time, that’s what they’re going to remember about you, and that’s going to be your reputation.

So even if other people try to tear you down or speak ill of you, the people that matter will know what your reputation is.

Pat Flynn: Yes. To all of that. I mean, I think it was Zig Ziglar who said, you can have anything in life that you want so long as you help other people get what they want. Yeah. So come from that place of service.

That’s what we teach here. That’s what we try to exemplify. And I’m grateful that you went there as well to plus one that. You talk much about for your women that you help, yeah, understanding what their story is in your eyes. How do you tell your great story? What is a story comprised of when trying to build a business and get your name out there?

Amy Nelson: Yeah, I think one of the most powerful things you can do is tell the story of why your business or your idea matters to you. It’s how you started this podcast with me, right? It’s what we all want to hear. How are you connected to this? Why does it matter to you? Why should I listen to you talk about it or buy this thing from you?

I think in listening to entrepreneurs and seeing really successful businesses, the entrepreneurs that truly succeed, like have that story, they have that connection. And so being able to share that with people gives people a way to trust you. It gives people a way to know that you’re authentic and then they are willing to go with you wherever you want to go.

Pat Flynn: I love that. I think the sort of hero’s journey plays a role in here, right? I didn’t know how good of a story I had until I started getting invited on the podcast about getting laid off in 2008, starting my own business to try to survive and, you know, all this stuff. And somebody pointed out, like, hey, that’s like when you were banished into the unknown.

And then this was your guide along the way. And this is that dragon you slayed. And I was like, really, I just like was living my life, but OK. Yeah. But then I understood like, wow, people you’re just Love story and the sort of hero’s journey and overcoming obstacles. And when you are better at telling your story, you’re going to better connect with people.

So how could a person practice storytelling? Because oftentimes we’re in our own heads about these things. And the best way to practice is to go out there and do it. How would you recommend somebody who is just at the beginning of their journey or who has a story who has yet to eloquently share it? How do they get better at that?

Amy Nelson: Yeah, I think it’s important on the one side of it to write your story out and try to write it in a way.

Pat Flynn: That you literally write it out.

Amy Nelson: Literally write it out, then take that and try to figure out a way you could tell that story in like 90 seconds. The highlights of it. I think you’re rarely confined to 90 seconds, but I think it’s important to be able to kind of like go through the highlights of it, but I think it’s really important to write it out.

And then I think it’s really important to kind of workshop telling it, right? I mean, if you have five social media followers, you can go on Instagram and make a reel and tell your story, or you can go anywhere and tell it. And I think it’s important to. saying it over and over and over again. I think a lot of people, you know, like, well, I made a post about this or I did this once.

Like, it doesn’t matter. You can do it 150 times.

Pat Flynn: It’s going to annoy everybody cause they’ve already heard it, but yeah, you’re so right.

Amy Nelson: Not gonna annoy anybody.

Pat Flynn: How many times have we heard Gary Vaynerchuk say literally the same thing for 15 years straight? He’s doing pretty good.

Amy Nelson: Yeah, it’s fine. Like, and you’re going to have new people hearing your story all the time anyway, which is the truth of it.

So just keep telling it and telling it. Don’t tell it so much you don’t authentically connect to it anymore, and you’re just repeating it. But the more you tell it, the more you’ll shape it. It just naturally becomes better, better and sharper. And you know, the parts that really hit and that don’t.

Pat Flynn: Actually, I really like that frame of, Hey, if I’m going to tell the story a bunch of times, how can I do it better every single time?

How can I lean into the drama this time? How can I insert a dramatic pause? I don’t know whatever it might be, but you’re right. And I have to remember that as well. Cause I get invited on shows a lot to tell the same story. And before I tell it, I have to remember not And if not, most of the people who are about to hear this have never heard it before.

Amy Nelson: So don’t tell like reading it from a book, like tell it with the emotion of what it was then.

Pat Flynn: Right, exactly. Yeah, exactly. And I’m sure you’ve you’ve told your story many times and it felt and feels very authentic and genuine here. Part of that story involves a lot of what seems like networking relationships, finding people, but also making them feel heard and introducing them to what you have to offer.

A lot of entrepreneurs, men and women are scared to go out there and meet people and network and that even that. Word just has this like, I gotta like, do this, I gotta shake hands and do small talk now. How do you approach networking so it’s natural, feels good, and organically you’re building these strong relationships and partnerships?

Amy Nelson: I think the way that it has become something that I don’t hate and something that I find to be really useful is that I’m really intentional about it. So I’m intentional in how am I going to spend the time I have networking or connecting? And then I always follow up. So it’s not just kind of like something lost in the ether.

Like I went to an event, spent two hours away from my family at night, and I didn’t get any emails. I didn’t do any follow up. I didn’t make any connections. Like if you’re going to network, like network, right? Like build, build the network, make connections, make asks, make offers. A good example is I’m at this conference that starts tonight called Mom 2.0 in Nashville. I speak at it every year. I do not get paid. I love this conference, it’s my favorite conference of the year. It’s parenting influencers, marketers, and media. And, but when I come here, I look at everyone who’s speaking before I come, figure out who I want to meet and why, and make it a point to meet those people.

And then follow up with them and make asks or connections and offers. Like, if you have, you know, an easy offer that I can make to people that I do all the time is I have this amazing newsletter. It has an almost 50 percent open rate, goes out to 75,000 women. It’s amazing. Do you have a book coming out?

Are you on a podcast? You want me to put in there? Like, you know because it’s a, it’s a platform I have, it’s a stage I have and I can share it, but if I came here to this conference without a plan, it would be kind of ridiculous because it’s my job. It’s part of my job.

Pat Flynn: And I know that when I go to conferences, I Approach it in a very similar way, because if I go there and I’m just like kind of wasting my time, if you will, that’s time I’m taking away from my kids

Amy Nelson: And doing other things to build your business, too, right?

Like, you know.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, 100%. So you’d mentioned the newsletter. Is the newsletter available at the

Amy Nelson: Yeah, you can sign up for the newsletter at It comes out every week. And then we also do a lot of programming around the idea of using thought leadership to build your business or your career.

So we actually launched a school this year, which is great. And we have 70 year long students in the program, which is great. My goal is 50. And it’s been, we’re doing 10 modules all around the different pieces of putting together your thought leadership framework and putting it out into the world. And we have amazing expert speakers every month, which is really fun.

But yeah, it’s, it’s been great.

Pat Flynn: What is thought leadership exactly to you?

Amy Nelson: So thought leadership to me is sharing your expertise with the world so you can grow your business or your career. Like that’s how I think about that leadership.

Pat Flynn: So building a platform and also being able to tell your story, but also exert your expertise, what you have to offer the world, what are you finding today for your women is the best way to share themselves in a way that allows others to understand what they have to offer.

Is there a particular platform that you’re into or, or something like, what is a great method that’s working right now for your women?

Amy Nelson: So it’s different for different women and different for different businesses is the answer. So for some women, LinkedIn is absolutely the place to be, right? Cause that’s where they’re going to find their clients.

That’s where it is. That’s where they need to be for other women, tikTok. So I think TikTok is a really fascinating space right now. It’s still kind of the wild west and Gen Z is using TikTok. Like I used Google search and the fastest growing population on TikTok is Americans over 50? So there’s a big open space there to talk to people and share messages.

And if you’re somebody who’s willing to get on camera and just talking to your phone and your thought leadership is something that is kind of like interesting to a broader audience than like a niche industry, I think there’s a lot of opportunity there as well. I’m not super into instagram right now. I think Meta has become like really opaque and how anything you’re doing is being shared, how things are growing.

So yeah, LinkedIn, I mean, LinkedIn is a great space. I loved Twitter before. I’m a little confused by Twitter now as X. I mean, I’m a fan of Elon Musk in many ways, but like, it’s just, it’s Yeah, it’s different.

Pat Flynn: Yeah, it’s different for sure, but there’s a lot more people there than there were before. So there’s a lot of different kinds of conversations happening and then videos trying to make a move there as well.

So to finish up here, one more follow up question on that. It’s this idea of, okay, you’re on LinkedIn. Let’s just use that as an example. How could you best teach, sell without selling. How do you go on there and organically generate a following, but also teach your expertise on a platform like LinkedIn? Is this just like, okay, let me, let me drop value bombs every day.

And kind of just, you know, very high quality posts, like. It was back in the blogging days, or am I showing up on video? What am I doing on that platform when I’m on there? When you say you can build your thought leadership on LinkedIn.

Amy Nelson: So I think you have to plan it so that you don’t kind of like just throw things against a wall, but I think it’s important to post five times a week on LinkedIn. Some can be shorter, some can be longer. I think it’s really important in every post you do to have a call to action. And for me, and for most people, I think the most important call to action is a way for you to get their email. Because then you don’t have to try to sell things on LinkedIn, but if you get their email, and then you can have a newsletter, then you can sell whatever you want in the newsletter, and you own that contact.

Where on LinkedIn, you don’t, right? A great example would be to share an article of somebody else. I also recommend people to find five to 10 leaders in your industry or your area of expertise that you like, share their stuff, always comment on their stuff so that you’re reaching their followers and they get to know who you are.

I think it’s important to spend just as much time interacting with other people’s posts as sharing your own thought leadership, particularly when you’re in the beginning, because that’s how you grow your own network. But anyway, at the end, if you post something, say you share an article, I would post in the first comment under it, like, if you want to see more like this, I’d love to have you subscribe to my newsletter at this link and put in the link in the comments.

You’re not selling anything, but you’re saying, Hey, here’s another way to connect with me if you like what I’m doing. And I think it’s really important to give people the chance to connect with you because if they don’t even know how to connect with you, they won’t. I’ve signed up for like so many newsletters from people telling me how I can sign up for their newsletter.

Pat Flynn: So smart. Now to finish off, I know you have a podcast and you have a co host, Sam and Amy, and What’s Her Story is the name of the show. So everybody should go, since you’re listening to this show, go and listen to that and check that out. Tell me a little bit about the podcast and tell me about your co host also.

Amy Nelson: Samantha Ettus, she’s an entrepreneur and a best selling author. She is incredible. We were connected by another woman entrepreneur when we were both starting out building our companies back in 2017. And, that my, our mutual friends said, you two have to meet each other. And I was in LA for work and we found time to have coffee and sit down and became both friends, but also champions of one another’s businesses, sounding boards.

You know, we were both raising money. She’s an entrepreneur too. So we became good friends and both Sam and I are curious people and we both have amazing networks. And so iHeart had come to me and said, do you want to start a podcast? I was running The Riveter as a solo founder. I was like, yes, I want to have a podcast, but I don’t want to do it alone.

And Sam’s an incredible interviewer. She actually used to have a show with Gary Vaynerchuk. So I said to Sam, do you want to do this with me? And she said, yes. And so we started What’s Her Story with the goal of bringing really interesting personal and professional stories of interesting women to the world.

So we’ve had everyone from like Melinda Gates, which was her last pre divorce interview, but we didn’t know it at the time. Oh, wow. And we were like, what do you and Bill fight about? And I think she said like the dishes. I’m like, no, that’s not what you’re fighting about right now. We had on Gladys Doyle and Abby Wambach, who are, who are married.

And that was amazing. And on the, on the podcast, they’re like, we should do a podcast together. And then they started their own podcast. Soledad O’Brien, Amanda Knox. That was incredible. Her story is just remarkable. But really just interesting stories from interesting women.

Pat Flynn: You know, I’m a little jealous that you have a co host to your show because I find that those shows that have a co host are so dynamic.

So just the, the back and forth and the, the sort of interplay between the, you know, two different thoughts, two different experiences with a guest is, is just so amazing. So definitely go and listen to what’s her story. If you were to categorize, like, You know, maybe one of you is more logical versus emotional, or like, how would you characterize each of your parts and the roles that you play on that podcast?

I listened to a podcast back in the day where one host, Jeremy, was the storyteller and he was always like thinking big. And then Jason, his co host was always like, Hey, like, let’s come back down to earth and just told the numbers behind it. It was a really good dynamic. What’s the what’s the dynamic between you and Sam?

Amy Nelson: So it’s really interesting because Sam will just like go for the jugular and ask the hardest and most controversial questions. And I’m always like, Oh, I can’t believe she just asked this person that was just kind of funny because in my own social media, I can be very controversial. But Sam always says that.

And then I’m really interested in how did that feel after that happened? Or like, what what were you thinking in that moment? Yeah, Because it’s really important to know how someone felt in a moment, a transitional moment of their lives to understand what they did next, you know, or like, or it just allows you to understand them and connect with them.

Like I remember asking Amanda Knox, you’re being interrogated at this kitchen table in Italy. You’re 20 years old. You don’t even speak this language. What did you think right at that moment? And I’ll cry saying it still because she said, I just wanted my mom. And like you just, you know, we’re all human and we all have those emotions and we don’t talk about them enough.

And so it’s bringing someone back to that is I think can be really powerful.

Pat Flynn: Amazing. Well, thank you again, Amy, for being here. And I’m just so grateful to be working with. You more closely in the EIR program, everybody is going to be excited to be absorbing your experiences and the things that you have to offer, especially if you’re a woman inside of SPI Pro.

But even if you’re not, there’s so much to be learned from you. And just, we appreciate you so much for being a part of this and for coming on the show and sharing your knowledge today. If you were to offer people, where should they go to follow you? Obviously, but where else can they go to follow along?

Amy Nelson: My personal channels across all the platforms. I’m at @Amy_K_Nelson, and then The Riveter is TheRiveterCo on all the channels, but I’m super excited to be joining all of you and to get to know everybody. What you’ve built is amazing, and I really can’t wait.

Pat Flynn: Thank you so much. We’re building it together.

We’re building it together. Thank you so much, Amy.

Amy Nelson: Thanks a lot.

Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with our brand new EIR, Expert in Residence, inside of SPI Pro, Amy Nelson. Be sure to check her out at as well as her podcast and all the links, everything we mentioned today will be shared at

Now this of course was not our usual friday episode it was still an interview and a conversation but it was a celebration like i said and Amy coming in is an absolute huge deal and i’m excited because next week we are going to announce another woman coming on as our next EIR.

Somebody who I have crossed paths with a few times in the speaker circuit and the blogosphere. And to have her come in next week to introduce herself to you is an absolute honor. And just, I’m so blessed and I feel so grateful that all these amazing people want to and are able to contribute to SPI Pro in the way that we had imagined when Matt and I spun this up and the entire team did.

So if you want to check out SPI Pro and get access to these amazing experts and get coaching from them and get some help and join the community, head on over to Thank you again, Amy. I appreciate you. If you wanna get all the links and everything we mentioned in today’s episode,, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

Thank you so much for listening to the Smart Passive Income podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media, and a proud member of the Entrepreneur Podcast Network. Catch you next week!

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