Making It: How to Be a Successful Online Entrepreneur
Create a Business That Fuels and Funds Your Vision (Virginia Muzquiz)
September 10, 2021
“On the way to making it, run a business like a business, not like a hobby,” emphasizes Virginia Muzquiz, founder of Master Connectors Inc., a business that teaches entrepreneurs how to generate business by referral. It took $22,000 in credit card debt and a screwed-up credit score, before Virginia began to thrive with the best advice she’s ever received: “Always ask someone who can give you a yes.”
Welcome to Making It! This weekly show explores the lives and stories of entrepreneurs as they share their unique perspectives on their success and the path to making it

Episode summary: Virginia Muzquiz, The Referral Diva® made mistakes repeatedly before she found her business acumen. She is the founder of Master Connector Inc., where she teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners the art and science of filling their sales funnels with high-quality referrals.

     However, that hasn’t always been the case. Before becoming The Referral Diva and Master Connector, she tried to make her living in a way that wasn’t aligned with her vision, and the resulting financial stress hurt her family and marriage. But Virginia took heed of what was going on around her and learned these three keys, which turned things around: 

  1. You don’t have to market to everyone; find those most profitable to your company. 
  2. Serve your clients/customers in a way the other providers don’t do and become a trusted advisor. 
  3. Develop referral consortiums, connect and share resources. 

    Her advice is to never take shortcuts in business; instead, develop resilience by doing the hard thing and build your business muscles. In this episode, Virginia shares her to-the-point and reassuring story about what making it means to her, and how to get there. 

“If I could go back and talk to my younger self, as I began the entrepreneurial journey, I would tell myself no shortcuts, no shortcuts.” 

 “Biggest lesson I have learned on the way to making it is to run a business like a business, not like a hobby — and to chase results, not fame.”
– Virginia Muzquiz

Guest bio: Virginia Muzquiz is The Referral Diva®, Founder and Chief Connection Officer at Master Connectors, Inc., has more than two decades of experience generating business by referral. She has been teaching entrepreneurs and small business owners the art and science of filling their sales funnels with high quality, on-demand referrals.  

She calls her process Referral Alchemy and when fully implemented, it can quite literally infuse tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars into your business without a single dollar in ad spend. You see, most of the business owners in your network are running unconscious referral algorithms. They don’t really think about you until someone asks for a recommendation, and then they drop your name. If you are lucky, you’ve met a couple of referral archeologists who keep you top of mind and are willing to DIG in their network to see what opportunities they can find hidden in their “Rolodex.” And then, there are the elusive referral alchemists who can seemingly make referrals appear out of thin air! 

Jim Rohn said we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with… so if you want to hang out with the alchemists, you need to learn to BE an alchemist… and that is what working with Virginia can help you do!

She’s also the hostess of the Business by Referral and Bad Girls on Business podcasts.

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:
  1. Mirasee
  2. Master Connectors website
  3. Virginia’s  LinkedIn
  4. Virginia’s  Twitter
  5. Virginia’s new upcoming book: Referral Alchemy
  6. Master Connectors’ Facebook  
  7. Bad Girl on Business podcast
  8. Business by Referral podcast


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Music and SFX credits: 

Artist Name(s): Sounds Like Sander
Writer Name: S.L.J. Kalmeijer

Artist Name(s): Rhythm Scott
Writer Name: Scott Roush

Artist Name(s): OBOY
Writer Name: Martin Hampton
Writer Name: Matej Djajkovski

Artist Name(s): Aaron Sprinkle
Writer Name: Aaron Sprinkle

Artist Name(s): Sounds Like Sander
Writer Name: S.L.J. Kalmeijer

Episode transcript:

I'm Virginia Muzquiz and you're listening to Making It! I run a business called Master Connectors Incorporated and we help six figure solo entrepreneurs build businesses that make a difference.

     For me making it is being able to have a vision, a very clear vision, of what you want to create in your life, what you want to feel, what you want to experience, what you want to achieve, what you want to contribute... having a very clear picture of why you're here and what you're human experience is going to look like. And then creating a business that fuels that and funds that and leaves you with the money that you need to do what matters most and the freedom to actually enjoy it while you're at it. 

     The biggest lesson I have learned on the way to making it is to run a business like a business, not like a hobby. And to chase results, not fame. When I was a Mary Kay sales director, I spent a lot of time chasing the opportunity to wear the special director suit... the opportunity to drive the special director car. The opportunity to wear bumble bees and win diamond rings and I was willing to do that at any price. And that price was buying product that I had not sold already or that I had no intention of selling stocking it on my shelves and running up credit cards. And by the time I had run up $22,000 in credit cards, I had really screwed our credit score and it really put a lot of stress, financial stress, on our family and on my relationship with my husband at the time. And so that was a really huge mistake. And I've made it other times. I've caught myself in the middle of it. One of the reasons I started podcasting was because I wanted to be an icon of influence and I wanted people to know my name. And again, bright shiny object: be seen be heard. And it wasn't until I was about into it for about a year, year and a half, that a friend of mine said, "how you monetizing your podcast?" And I said, "Monetize a podcast? Like who does that?" Right? 

     And then the conversation about 'what was the purpose of the podcast,' and 'how did the podcast align with my business plan?' How did that align with my purpose and my calling? And I started to realize that I was going to have to shift my intentionality, not necessarily give up podcasting because I love it. I'm actually the host of three shows and I've got another one in the works. I love podcasting. I love creating relationship for that. But every podcast now has a purpose and it is part of my business plan and my business plan is aligned with my life's vision. 

     If you are doing what you're doing to chase a dollar or chase fame or to chase anything other than your vision, your purpose and the call on your life, then you are destined for pain. When you know what you're gonna do, you know why you're here, you understand your call, you've got a vision for your life and you align your business with that, then everything falls into place. Everything makes sense. And suffering is held at a minimum. 

     I'm gonna say the best advice I've ever been given: always ask someone who can give you a yes. And I think that was really great advice. Because if you are asking people to do for you, support, you promote, you give you something that they're not willing to say yes to or they don't have to give you, and you keep expecting them to deliver and what you need, then you're always going to be disappointed. There's an expression in Spanish that says, you can't get a pear from an Elm tree. And I think we spend a lot of time with people in our network thinking, "Oh man, they'd be great. They've got lots of things. They could refer me there in a network that they could refer me to or they've got something, they could lend me a resource that they could lend me and I want that." So I'm just going to keep asking them and pouring into them and giving because we've all heard right, if you just give enough other people what they want, you'll have everything that you want. We hear givers gain, we hear it's better to give than receive. Well at some point there is a balance between giving and receiving. 

     And so I think the best advice is to keep that balance and ask people for things that they can say yes to. Give people the opportunity to say yes to you and stop expecting them to give you things that they can't. We spend a lot of time with people we like, but those people may or may not be contributing productive members of our network. So it's important to know... is the person that I'm spending my networking time with someone that is giving me a return on that relationship time? The time that I'm investing? Or is this person better off just being my friend? I can certainly have parties and invite them to dinner and still socialize and have them in my support network, but I shouldn't be spending my quality business time expecting them to provide me with revenue when that's not what they're doing. 

     So I would agree that we all have to pay our bills, but quite often we accept clients that we don't really want because they'll pay us, we do jobs that we don't really love to do because they pay us. And I believe that what's very, very true for entrepreneurs is that they're missing a couple of steps in their journey. I had an attorney client one time that said to me, "Listen, I'm going to hire you and work with you..." because before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked at a law firm and the partners would put the stuff on my desk and I would have to get there at six o'clock in the morning and I would work straight through lunch and sometimes I would work straight through dinner and I wasn't seeing my family and my whole life was a disaster. So I quit the firm and I said I'm just going to go out and be an entrepreneur, I'm gonna open my own business. And I said that's awesome. So what's changed? And he said, well not much. I still go to work early in the morning, I still work through lunch, I still eat dinner at my desk. The only difference is now I don't know how I'm going to pay my bills. 

     Most people don't realize that being in business is more than just doing what they do. And they're looking for the quick fix to get the clients in the door, but there's so much more underneath that because once the client comes in the door, again, do you have a product, a package and a price that is appealing? Do you have a customer onboarding journey? Have you developed a customer experience, like? Like there's so much that goes into creating a business that is below the surface and most entrepreneurs never see it and that's why they don't make it. 

     When you go to a networking event, you don't make a list to go shopping. So no one is there to buy your stuff and no one actually wants to talk about your stuff. They want to talk about their stuff. So the key to positive networking, into getting over that feeling like... I don't want to go out into the middle here and start asking other people to dance because I'm going to get rejected, is to get out of yourself. To get out of the thought process that I am here to sell my stuff. Really, what you're there to do is connect with other people at a human level so that you can discover how you can help and support each other and as a result grow yourselves, grow your business and grow your impact.

     The very first year that I started out with this tutoring company was a disaster. We had no clue what we were doing. We did about $100,000 worth of revenue and spent a lot more than that. And it wasn't great and it wasn't really until I started to understand these three concepts that really made a difference. Number one was this notion of, I didn't need to market to all the students. I needed to market to the students who are going to be most profitable for the company, which turned out to be 3rd, 4th and 5th graders because they have to go somewhere after school and that means they complete their contract. So that was what I started to ask for and I started to say, "Listen, we're really good at these younger ages, look at our statistics," and I made us a trusted advisor. 

     The second thing I did was I realized that it wasn't just the school district that was choosing to let us in the door. It was the parents that we're choosing to let us tutor their children. So I started to serve the parents in ways that other providers did not. And that's how we ran the business by me becoming a trusted advisor; someone that the parents could turn to to ask questions about their child's education and about accessing what they needed in order to get their kids on track. And that was the second step. And then the third step was developing these referral consortiums where I was connecting different providers of different services. So one of the best examples that really taught me a lot about sharing resources is there was a church. And the church had a copy machine, but they couldn't use it because they had no toner. I found another community center that had toner but their copy machine had long ago died and they didn't have money to get a new copy machine. And so what I was able to do was take the toner, exchange it with a connection that I had for the toner that would work in the church's copier, and the community center and the church started making copies at the church and it saved them on average a combined $1000 a month and they were able to redirect those funds towards their mission. And so I began to create those kinds of alliances among the folks that were serving in those areas and that made me an influencer to them and they would say well how can I help you? And I said I just want introductions to the parents of third through fifth graders in this school district. And that is when my program started to grow. And because I grew those alliances by helping connect resources to one another and helping other organizations expand their mission, we were able to turn over in our fifth year... $2.5 million in annual revenue. We helped over 2500 students and served in 55 schools. 

     If I could go back and talk to my younger self as I began the entrepreneurial journey, I would tell myself no shortcuts. No shortcuts. When I became a Mary Kay sales director, it was back in 2000 and they changed the normal requirements for becoming a sales director and they made it easier. And in making it easier, they launched thousands and thousands of sales directors. But we didn't have longevity because we didn't build our business owner muscle and I think if I could go back I would just remind myself and I would tell my younger self, don't take the shortcuts. If there is a process and the process is hard... do the hard thing. The hard thing will grow you, the hard thing will develop your skills, the hard thing will make you resilient and when you take the shortcuts and you fail, you just don't have the strength and the resilience that you need to get up and keep going. 

     I mean, the Get Rich Quick scheme has been with us since time eternal, right? There are movies about it. I actually think that a big challenge is the way things are presented and it's we have people selling Get Rich Quick. We have people promoting Get Rich Quick. We have people saying I got Rich Quick, which is not the truth. It's not the truth. The only way to get Rich Quick is to win the lottery and for most people even that doesn't last. So it's because we look at the trappings of success and we want them, but they won't necessarily even make you happy unless those trappings are aligned with your vision, your passion, your purpose, and the call on your life. 

I'm Virginia Muzquiz and you've been listening to Making It! You can find me at