Making Something from Nothing

Beth Fahey
Beth-Fahey

Like so many before her, Beth Fahey found herself in several ‘do nothing’ jobs as she was growing up, including a stint with McDonald’s and even working for her father doing data entry in a corporate setting.

“I knew that working in the corporate world would be the death of me,” she says.

So instead of getting stuck in more dead-end jobs, she decided to go to art school in Chicago to become a filmmaker. After graduation, she got work as a camera assistant, starting in Chicago then relocating to Los Angeles to work in the film industry. She got to work on movies such as Groundhog Day and on the TV series Twin Peaks.

“As I was thinking about this,” she says, “I discovered that there are parallels between entrepreneurship and making a movie. Essentially, you’re making something from nothing and you’re doing it with other people. You have to love people and collaborate.”

Beth’s next role was that of mother as she took a break from her film career to raise her three children. It was during that time she went back to school and started looking into web design and other things she could possibly do from home, including working for a company doing bookkeeping.

And then, in 2002, like something out of a movie story line, she got a phone call from her sister Becky back in Chicago.

From Movies To Cake

“Hey, you know this bakery that I work at?” Becky said. “The owners are getting divorced and they want me to buy it.”

Beth dug into her accounting background to crunch the numbers.

“I looked at what they were making and quite honestly, it was a cash cow,” Beth says. “I returned from Los Angeles and becoming an entrepreneur kind of kicked in. It was just me and my sister and by 2010, we were doing over a million dollars in business with 15 employees.”

It was during that growth period when Beth realized she didn’t know enough about running a business.

“I was in a Vistage meeting, just wondering what was holding us back as a company. Then this guy who was not in an entrepreneurial business but really loved studying business said, ‘Hey, you should read this book Traction. I really think it could help you. And so I read it, and then I put it on a shelf for two years.”

The next move for the two entrepreneurs was to buy a cafe next to the bakery and quickly discovered it was an entirely different business than a bakery. They were pushing to expand and grow and finally, they hit the wall. As Beth describes it, they flatlined – working harder for less money. She and her sister realized that they just needed to be profitable, not bigger. She remembered the Traction book and decided to call on EOS.

“Certified EOS Implementer® Clark Neuhoff came and helped us sort things out. Turns out that owning a business together in a family can be really difficult. EOS really helped dismantle a lot of the emotional baggage that we were carrying.

We’re always learning about ourselves and what I think EOS does better than anything else that I’ve encountered in my life, is it has you look at you.”

Becky Palermo and Beth Fahey
Beth (on the right) and her sister Becky at their Creative Cakes Bakery.

Help First

Beth was later to become the president of the Retail Bakers of America where she found herself educating other bakers on how to run a business.

“I was at a bakery conference teaching right person, right seat from EOS. I didn’t know what I was doing, except that I was just trying to help people. A woman came up to me and said, ‘This EOS thing sounds awesome’ and I told her how to find an Implementer and she said, ‘No. I want you to teach us because you know about bakeries.’ And that’s how I got my first client.”

Today, along with Certified EOS Implementers René Boer and Clark Neuhoff, Beth is part of the Traction Process Associates team.

“For me, success is about making an impact.

It’s about helping my EOS clients figure out what they want from their business and them and then helping them get there. But I think that the purpose of us as EOS Implementers® is to help business owners not only get what they want out of their business, but to see themselves with a higher purpose. In doing that, I really do feel that I found my life’s purpose and I don’t throw stuff like that around very easily.”

The Strength of Small Business

“As small business owners, we’re the backbone of the economy,” Beth says. “Most entrepreneurs that I know are doing it because they have a higher purpose of some kind. And so it’s for us to be a guide to help them get there faster.“

So what does it take to be an EOS Implementer?

“If you’re thinking about becoming an EOS Implementer, I think you have to examine your reasons why you want to do it. For instance, If money is your driver, then this is not the job for you because it goes way deeper than that. You have to be able to see what the bigger picture is. Where are we trying to go? What do we want the outcome to be for this? How can we help them get what they want from the business? And if you’re not being driven by that then it’s going to be tough.”

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