Great Women In Fraud

Episode 29 Susan Frew

April 20, 2021 Kelly Paxton, CFE Episode 29
Show Notes Transcript

Today’s episode is just outstanding once again.  We have a victim of pink collar crime.  And the victim, Susan Frew, is one of the most positive people I have ever met.  Her honesty about her experience and the simple ways to prevent embezzlement are spot on. She even tried to send her victimizer to Dave Ramsay so she would live within her means.  Who does that but someone who is just so helpful and thinks the best of people?  Spoiler alert.  Didn’t work!  I just love how she has used this experience not only for her to move forward but to help so many other business owners.  Susan was introduced to me by Jo Erven. They know each other through the National Speakers Association.  From the first call we had together I knew I wanted to hang with Susan.  She just is so engaging, insightful, hilarious, and a doer.  Let’s get to the interview.

00:00:02.760 --> 00:00:17.880

Kelly Paxton: Okay, today I am just absolutely thrilled beyond thrilled to have Susan Frew with us because not only is she a woman that was introduced to me by Jo Erven, but she has.

00:00:18.480 --> 00:00:26.010

Kelly Paxton: An amazing background and unfortunately part of her background, which is part of her story is that she was a victim of pink collar crime.

00:00:26.730 --> 00:00:39.780

Kelly Paxton: Now Susan I want you to introduce yourself, however long you want to introduce yourself and talk about it, but I want to also thank you for being willing to come on the show and give your experience.

00:00:40.680 --> 00:00:46.590

Susan Frew: Well, thanks Kelly, as always it's great to talk to you, we could make this podcast gone for a few hours, I think.

00:00:47.400 --> 00:00:54.930

Susan Frew: that my name is Susan through and I own Sunshine Plumbing Heating & Air in the Denver metro area in Colorado.

00:00:55.260 --> 00:01:01.800

Susan Frew: My husband and I have been business partners, since 2012 we joke that instead of getting married we merged.

00:01:02.130 --> 00:01:08.430

Susan Frew: Because I had been an executive with at&t wireless before that, and then I was a business coach.

00:01:08.820 --> 00:01:17.730

Susan Frew: So we took the business coaching and the backgrounds and merging them all together and we had this company that was growing really fast and.

00:01:18.300 --> 00:01:27.600

Susan Frew: I had always done a fair amount of public speaking, but I was being asked more and more and more to come out to conventions and talk about.

00:01:28.590 --> 00:01:40.230

Susan Frew: You know how we built our company and how we made the Inc 5000 list and how we won fastest growing company so many times, all that, so it was really fun and it was a beautiful time.

00:01:40.920 --> 00:01:54.210

Susan Frew: In my life, I really loved it we were you know growing and having fun and what I was doing, because I was traveling so much as I let one of my employees have a whole lot of control over my company.

00:01:55.650 --> 00:02:13.110

Susan Frew: Now, having been a business coach I thought I had everything dialed in with my systems, I could see the QuickBooks, I could see the Bank, I could see everything I could see our CRM or dispatch software, you name it and what I was not seeing, though, was the mail.

00:02:14.700 --> 00:02:27.180

Susan Frew: So I thought it was really slick and I created a pay plan for this employee my office director, where she would get a bonus if she stayed on budget.

00:02:27.810 --> 00:02:37.110

Susan Frew: Now, in her sort of devious mind because we found out some things about her after the fact, the only way for her to stay on budget was to cheat.

00:02:37.560 --> 00:02:44.820

Susan Frew: And the way she cheated was she would instead of paying a bill completely she'd pay a portion of the bill.

00:02:45.540 --> 00:02:54.060

Susan Frew: And she also did that to our friends at the IRS so if we don't $4,000 she paid three we have $3,000 we don't to she paid 2.

00:02:54.390 --> 00:03:04.170

Susan Frew: And so the IRS didn't really catch up to that to like almost 18 months later, because, by the time the w2s matched up to the.

00:03:04.800 --> 00:03:21.930

Susan Frew: To the payment and I had signed all the 941s right, so my name on everything, so one morning we get doorbells the House on a Saturday and I'm convinced the IRS send you letters on Saturdays so you can be miserable all weekend, with no one to call.

00:03:23.250 --> 00:03:24.150

Susan Frew: and The bill was $420,000 mainly and penalties and interest followed up by another letter which was $206,000 in trust fund penalties for me not supervising my employee.

00:03:42.510 --> 00:03:48.870

Kelly Paxton: That is the biggest gut Punch and we talked before both you and I have trauma about money.

00:03:49.260 --> 00:03:50.910

Susan Frew: And yes, yes.

00:03:51.150 --> 00:03:51.780

Kelly Paxton: My dad.

00:03:53.130 --> 00:04:05.340

Kelly Paxton: um yeah that like what away for the weekend, I mean usually, when I was a special agent, I will say that there was times you know, a rest would be done Friday afternoon, so they couldn't get before court until Monday, but.

00:04:05.460 --> 00:04:07.740

Kelly Paxton: IRS on Saturday that's beyond cruel and.

00:04:12.630 --> 00:04:19.380

Kelly Paxton: So you said a couple of things not seeing the mail and I tell business owners you've got to be the first one to get to the mail.

00:04:19.560 --> 00:04:19.980

Susan Frew: mm hmm.

00:04:20.310 --> 00:04:21.690

Kelly Paxton: So you would agree with that.

00:04:23.550 --> 00:04:31.020

Susan Frew: wholeheartedly because we she was getting a vendor bills so that's another thing so she was shorting my vendors.

00:04:31.260 --> 00:04:44.520

Susan Frew: So if we you know she was just a running always like 30 or 60 days behind but and not marking it down and QuickBooks properly, so I thought you know, I have a good visibility of things I could look into QuickBooks and see the ar and the ap and.

00:04:45.180 --> 00:05:01.920

Susan Frew: We didn't have very much ar we're service companies musically collect on the day but I thought the ap was all up to date, but it also ended up being $150,000 so at the end of the day, including our truck loans, we were a million dollars in debt.

00:05:03.390 --> 00:05:07.320

Kelly Paxton: Oh, my God it was not a great weekend I hope it wasn't a holiday weekend.

00:05:07.890 --> 00:05:16.200

Susan Frew: No, it was awful and you know I couldn't sleep, I was checking the bank balance all night long I was getting up and looking at the email.

00:05:17.460 --> 00:05:22.590

Susan Frew: I was freaking out like how are we going to make payroll and Friday I ran I just didn't know how to operate anymore.

00:05:25.050 --> 00:05:37.950

Kelly Paxton: So I you know if I were like a hypnotist I would say he's in tell us about that day what exactly like did you throw up did you want to throw up like or who did you call.

00:05:38.310 --> 00:05:38.910

Susan Frew: And what did you.

00:05:39.390 --> 00:05:48.810

Susan Frew: say, well, I did throw up when I realized like we're on our darkest days I mean I did actually physically get sick I was also doing this keynote.

00:05:49.530 --> 00:05:55.590

Susan Frew: about my book that I had written called puffer fish effect which really talks about how successful our company was.

00:05:55.920 --> 00:06:07.530

Susan Frew: And I would get off stage and go and get sick because I could no longer tell that story, and even though it was true right We really did grow that fast like I couldn't tell that portion of the story.

00:06:08.520 --> 00:06:22.380

Susan Frew: But I really was making myself sick and I called one of our business coaches, one of our industry, business coaches and that and he told me that I just filed for bankruptcy and then I called.

00:06:24.180 --> 00:06:26.880

Susan Frew: A business broker person that I know.

00:06:28.020 --> 00:06:42.270

Susan Frew: And said we're selling right now we were on vacation when I did that we were on vacation it was another disaster area like we didn't think we're going to make payroll again we're trying to enjoy your vacation but we can't and.

00:06:43.980 --> 00:06:53.790

Susan Frew: I was just done so, I called the business broker, sign the papers, while we're on vacation they put it up on the market, and it was just barely going to cover all of our debt.

00:06:54.600 --> 00:06:58.260

Susan Frew: And like we weren't working or hope we don't we This was our retirement vehicle.

00:06:59.130 --> 00:07:12.900

Susan Frew: You know, we invested all of our resources into this company, so that we would have some this you know great retirement and there we are getting ready to take it and I went to the bankruptcy attorney three times, and the third time you kicked me out.

00:07:13.920 --> 00:07:15.360

Susan Frew:  he's like look.

00:07:15.600 --> 00:07:22.890

Susan Frew: Lady either you're going to do this or not he's like basically, he'd like you know you've been going back and forth about it for so long.

00:07:23.190 --> 00:07:39.930

Susan Frew: He goes, you might as well just dig in and try power through it seems like you're bright enough to do it like he's like didn't you used to be a business coach and the recession and didn't you help like a whole bunch of companies get through that I'm like yeah he's like well you know.

00:07:40.320 --> 00:07:47.250

Kelly Paxton: Sometimes you're just too close to it now I don't know if this question is too personal and if it is, we can edit this out, but like.

00:07:47.460 --> 00:08:03.270

Kelly Paxton: What did your husband say because I picture him, this is what my vision from working with other victims this he's going Susan how I'm out doing the plumbing the physical work and you're supposed to be doing this was there some fingerpointing going on.

00:08:04.560 --> 00:08:16.380

Susan Frew: not really he has this very happy sunny person he's he's unknowingly optimistic sometimes right because sometimes we just want to wallow in our problem and he's like.

00:08:16.710 --> 00:08:22.830

Susan Frew: You know, always like put on a happy face this too shall pass like you know you just want to kind of punch him a little bit, but.

00:08:23.970 --> 00:08:34.620

Susan Frew: He was like that the whole time he's like we'll get through it, it doesn't matter it doesn't matter if we have to go live in a trailer it doesn't matter, what we have to do we're going to make sure get through.

00:08:34.920 --> 00:08:44.220

Susan Frew: And it doesn't matter where we live, because we'll make anywhere, we are home it doesn't matter where we work at like he just was saying, you know, whatever it is we'll just go make it happen.

00:08:44.850 --> 00:08:46.560

Kelly Paxton: Oh, I want to meet your husband.

00:08:46.680 --> 00:08:49.770

Susan Frew: yeah he's very, very kind very, very kind.

00:08:50.130 --> 00:09:05.490

Kelly Paxton: Well, and that's like I mean the fact that you had each other, was huge because I've also worked with business owners who really don't have that person to keep pushing you forward and telling you that you can survive it which he obviously did.

00:09:06.000 --> 00:09:14.340

Susan Frew: Well, you know a lot of our employees didn't believe that, though, because you know think weird things will start to happen right because we own our event our vendors, a lot of money.

00:09:14.550 --> 00:09:31.710

Susan Frew: So our guys would go down to the parts house and they would be told that they were cut off and they couldn't get any parts or we would try to use a credit card new will get declined because oh I forgot to mention, we were $150,000 in credit card debt to so oh yeah so we.

00:09:33.450 --> 00:09:38.520

Susan Frew: thought it sucked now I'm starting to get a headache just thinking about this time.

00:09:39.780 --> 00:09:53.040

Susan Frew: But it was an awful awful time in our history, and you know we just finally what we had to do Kelly is, we had to take all of our ego and set it aside.

00:09:53.610 --> 00:10:01.080

Susan Frew: And we'd have to say, what are we going to do to save this company, and I remember this day like yesterday we had this crazy Internet of our shop.

00:10:01.410 --> 00:10:09.690

Susan Frew: Because we were in this weird part of the county that didn't have Internet so we had to have a satellite dish on the roof 1100 dollars a month for Internet.

00:10:10.170 --> 00:10:18.330

Susan Frew: So we were behind on the bill, and then they shut it off and that ran all of our phones in the office and everything so.

00:10:19.170 --> 00:10:32.370

Susan Frew: And we had to give them $4800 or something which, of course, we didn't have well, it was a choice to making payroll or giving the money to them, I said, you know what guys we're moving into my basement and everyone's like what.

00:10:33.420 --> 00:10:43.410

Susan Frew: So we have an unfinished basement we took all of the cubicles all the furniture, the copier everything and built this office downstairs and then we found a shop.

00:10:43.860 --> 00:10:55.110

Susan Frew: down in the south side of the city which is actually in a better location which weirdly enough We took our 5000 square foot shop and put it into 1200 square foot spot and it fit.

00:10:56.460 --> 00:11:06.540

Susan Frew: So that's what we did, like we had to do it, and you know, then our technicians all started getting worried, so in that course of that year, we lost 10 people.

00:11:08.040 --> 00:11:12.600

Kelly Paxton: yeah I you guys can't see Susan right now but, honestly, she just the most like effervescent person had numerous zoom calls and I just I can't and also the most stylish I mean just you always yeah.

00:11:22.890 --> 00:11:29.160

Susan Frew: Well, I don't know if you know this about me, but a lot of people don't really know my name they just call me The Thriftanista.

00:11:29.850 --> 00:11:33.210

Susan Frew: Because I have yeah so I only thought were things that are interested.

00:11:33.510 --> 00:11:49.200

Susan Frew: And pretty much because that's all I could afford for a couple of years, you know I would give myself $20 a week to go to goodwill and at least I would you know kill a couple of hours, and you know have something to do because you know I didn't have any money for quite a while.

00:11:49.680 --> 00:11:56.580

Kelly Paxton: Oh okay so let's talk about the woman like how you found her did you kill her did you.

00:11:56.940 --> 00:12:00.480

Kelly Paxton: Like where is she would she spend the money on.

00:12:01.320 --> 00:12:08.610

Susan Frew: Okay well here's something and I think that your readers have probably heard you say this before, because I'm I know I've heard you say this before.

00:12:08.970 --> 00:12:19.350

Susan Frew: But you know you have to watch the actions of these fraudsters right like this woman I'm like was pretty when we hired her, she was a week sober.

00:12:19.950 --> 00:12:33.090

Susan Frew: Her husband was in the hospital because of cirrhosis of the liver from drinking and they told him that if he had another drink, he was going to die so that's how we met her, she was actually came to an interview, while her husband was in the hospital.

00:12:34.170 --> 00:12:47.040

Susan Frew: and she was running back and forth to interview and to back to the hospital, so we really felt like we were helping her, but what started almost her first week is she orders herself this desk.

00:12:47.610 --> 00:12:57.150

Susan Frew: That is like five times bigger than my desk with a hutch and this and that like hundreds of dollars of office supplies and what the heck.

00:12:57.690 --> 00:13:03.780

Susan Frew: And then she would come in and she'd have like mink eyelashes and then she would go and have botox and then she'd have.

00:13:04.440 --> 00:13:11.430

Susan Frew: Like what I know how much money you make your husband is not working, you have three children like where's all this money coming from.

00:13:11.880 --> 00:13:21.000

Susan Frew: And she would spend money, she was driving this brand new fancy car which turned out to be her sons and the reason she was driving is because they were hiding it from getting repo'd.

00:13:21.570 --> 00:13:27.990

Susan Frew: So the fam and they were the kind of family who would get evicted or we think we're going to get evicted and move out in the middle of the night.

00:13:28.650 --> 00:13:44.370

Susan Frew: So, like they did all of these shady things with you, I wasn't initially pretty too, but then like for Christmas, she would spend all this money shouldn't have on all of her kids she took our whole family of five to Mexico for a week all-inclusive resort.

00:13:45.480 --> 00:13:50.100

Susan Frew: Like so that was part of the stuff like she just doesn't know how to live in her means.

00:13:51.330 --> 00:13:53.640

Susan Frew: And we tried sending her to Dave Ramsey.

00:13:54.720 --> 00:14:01.770

Susan Frew: And she had done a couple of things to the office I'm like you need to learn how to run your personal finances because.

00:14:02.160 --> 00:14:06.210

Susan Frew: that's why you can't stay on budget with us because you can't stay on budget yourself.

00:14:06.690 --> 00:14:16.650

Susan Frew: And she was offended that I would suggest that you don't get financial counseling but yeah so she one of the things she did was take one of our gas credit cards.

00:14:17.130 --> 00:14:26.910

Susan Frew: She had it putting her own name, because she managed that account, and she would get gas for herself her husband, and three other cars every single Friday.

00:14:27.420 --> 00:14:34.590

Susan Frew: And then she goes through the carwash which really pissed me off, and then she'd go into the little store and buy milk and bread and all the stuff.

00:14:35.820 --> 00:14:42.720

Kelly Paxton: yeah that's I mean when I was growing up you got gas and maybe it can have oil, but now you get anything.

00:14:42.930 --> 00:14:47.880

Kelly Paxton: Right so obviously she had stolen from somewhere before because.

00:14:47.970 --> 00:14:54.300

Kelly Paxton: yeah I say that if they steal within six months and you're like yeah right away, she stole so she had stolen somewhere before.

00:14:54.540 --> 00:15:02.340

Susan Frew: yep and how I found that out, and I think that your listeners will find this very interesting and I don't know if you've brought it up before so.

00:15:03.120 --> 00:15:12.240

Susan Frew: You know, we did a regular background check and you know nothing really came back she had a bunch of motor vehicle crap and what have you but that didn't really come back.

00:15:12.780 --> 00:15:18.150

Susan Frew: But what we found out later if there's another background check called civil penalties.

00:15:18.690 --> 00:15:32.610

Susan Frew: which you know lawyers have access to in their offices right and they I think they have to pay $10 and they can pull that now what sin city pen it is is all of judgments liens.

00:15:33.390 --> 00:15:45.390

Susan Frew: garnishments of bankruptcies things like that that aren't really criminal person today, but they do tell a story about someone's responsibility level with money and.

00:15:46.050 --> 00:15:56.610

Susan Frew: Any kind of trouble or and it and she had liens all over her paycheck she had like like three full pages of leins and garnishments on this document.

00:15:57.480 --> 00:16:07.710

Susan Frew: And that's why she was stealing because first of all, she overspent you know she was living this ghetto fabulous life that she had created for herself and.

00:16:12.090 --> 00:16:30.330

Susan Frew: She was garnished so much that her paycheck was very small, and she even had the garnishments documents from me once and I found out about it and I almost fired her then and I should have and I didn't so I mean I knew I knew it Kelly, I was, I was.

00:16:32.040 --> 00:16:36.330

Susan Frew: Denial for a long time, because I knew what a pain, it was going to be to replace her.

00:16:37.590 --> 00:16:44.490

Kelly Paxton: yeah that's yeah so are you in like Do you know where she is now is she in jail and she.

00:16:45.030 --> 00:16:50.640

Susan Frew: know she did get arrested, she was charged with several felonies and she needs some sort of plea deal.

00:16:51.720 --> 00:16:57.210

Susan Frew: which I think was resolved this week, they invited us to come, but, honestly, you know I just.

00:16:57.660 --> 00:17:03.720

Susan Frew: didn't want to do it, and it was funny because when I got the civil Pat the sued pen background.

00:17:04.140 --> 00:17:17.400

Susan Frew: There was a name on there that I recognized, it was a competitor of ours and I called the guy and I'm like what is this $10,000 you have this document on her he goes Oh, she was kiting, he has t2 businesses so.

00:17:18.000 --> 00:17:24.090

Susan Frew: He was cutting checks between one account the other in his to businesses and somehow siphon 10 grand.

00:17:24.750 --> 00:17:31.140

Susan Frew: Out of that and he chose to just put a LIEN on her as opposed to going through the criminal route which takes for ever.

00:17:31.680 --> 00:17:40.020

Susan Frew: To go the criminal route as I Well, no, I don't know if I do that again I think he was smart, but he and I were initially going to go to court together just.

00:17:40.320 --> 00:17:50.760

Susan Frew: while she was there, we just really thought that would be an interesting afternoon up, but then COVID happened and everything went online, so we didn't get a chance to have our day.

00:17:53.040 --> 00:17:57.840

Kelly Paxton: Do you have any hope of getting restitution like substantial or.

00:17:58.470 --> 00:18:03.720

Susan Frew: No, I mean they told me they have since because a lot of the stuff she did was mismanagement.

00:18:04.170 --> 00:18:12.930

Susan Frew: Less than actual stealing right, but now I do know how much cash comes into our business from scrap metal and certain customers and what have you.

00:18:13.530 --> 00:18:23.910

Susan Frew: And so I know she was taking all that, because after she left I started getting all these like cash deposit you know scrap metal every single week like a couple hundred dollars.

00:18:24.780 --> 00:18:44.400

Kelly Paxton: yeah yeah they find one way and then it's like that was easy and then like oh here's another way I can do it, and so you had a bunch of technicians working for you, when this happened, what did they say where they're like Oh, I never liked her oh I can't, believe it or.

00:18:44.790 --> 00:18:51.630

Susan Frew: phase, the fight with her all the time right so she had a pretty combative personality and so.

00:18:52.140 --> 00:19:00.240

Susan Frew: here's something I did, and you know I don't know if i'm really proud of this now, but like I didn't really have enough money to keep to give her a raise.

00:19:00.900 --> 00:19:12.450

Susan Frew: So I gave her this program where if she stayed on budget she could get bonus right so that's what I thought was a really good way of keeping her on track and then, if she stayed on budget I could afford to give her more money.

00:19:12.930 --> 00:19:26.250

Susan Frew: But I gave her a big title I made her director of operations okay well, that was the day that everything started going down in flames because her in that title became like a terror.

00:19:26.730 --> 00:19:39.570

Susan Frew: Like I would hear her on the phone with people do you know I am the director of operations and she would do it to our technicians, she would do it to our customers I don't like oh my gosh so uh yeah.

00:19:40.290 --> 00:19:50.760

Kelly Paxton: Oh, that is so funny oh my God cuz I know a woman, well, I know of a woman who she wanted to be CFO for a business and they're like you're, not even a controller like.

00:19:50.790 --> 00:19:57.510

Kelly Paxton: you're not you don't have the education for a controller, let alone a CFO and she was so upset that she ended up started stealing.

00:19:58.080 --> 00:20:10.410

Kelly Paxton: And because, so the exact opposite they wouldn't give her the title and she was pissed because they wouldn't give her the title, whereas you gave her the title and it just you know inflated herself.

00:20:10.530 --> 00:20:18.090

Susan Frew: You know, I think that, and you can correct me if I'm wrong on this, I mean you're the expert in this area, but I think people feel a lot because.

00:20:18.720 --> 00:20:24.690

Susan Frew: they're it's the haves and the have nots right, so they think that you have so they can take.

00:20:25.260 --> 00:20:40.110

Susan Frew: And somehow you got the money, whatever you have because you know it does was handed to you, you didn't work your butt off and like you know work six days a week for how many years to have what you have right and to earn what you have and.

00:20:41.010 --> 00:20:47.220

Susan Frew: You know, take risks in order to get what you have, and I feel like people take from you, when they think that you know.

00:20:47.760 --> 00:20:58.980

Susan Frew: Oh, they don't need it now, you know they're don't deserve it, or you know I deserve more than them I work so hard for them and they don't appreciate me so I'm just going to take what I think I'm worth and.

00:21:00.000 --> 00:21:05.280

Kelly Paxton: Will we have a fraud triangle, and we have opportunity pressure and rationalization now.

00:21:05.910 --> 00:21:20.100

Kelly Paxton: If you could pay your office manager a million dollars a year, but if they have a $2 million year lifestyle, or they you know aspire to a $2 million a year lifestyle, they will steal so if they have the opportunity.

00:21:21.510 --> 00:21:32.790

Kelly Paxton: it's really hard it's not impossible to like you know I control for rationalization but especially with she's is what I call she's a serial grifter.

00:21:33.210 --> 00:21:41.910

Kelly Paxton: So she's not she's not one who just crossed the line one time and then found out she could do it it's she's obviously continued to do this.

00:21:42.150 --> 00:21:58.800

Susan Frew: yeah yeah, and I mean she's probably doing it now to you know so they did come to some settlement so we're getting a lump sum of money which is ironic because it's her birthday this week and supposedly she has to pay us this week, so we kind of thought that was fun, but.

00:22:00.540 --> 00:22:10.770

Susan Frew: birthday tax and then she supposed to be paying us so much out of her pocket every week, our paycheck but you know really that puts her next employer.

00:22:11.370 --> 00:22:15.480

Susan Frew: In a particular predicament, because now she's gonna have another garnishment.

00:22:16.050 --> 00:22:31.140

Susan Frew: Right, so now like she's gonna even have left take-home pay so instead of like busting tail and like going and driving uber eats or instacart or something like everybody else would do who needed extra money no she's just gonna take it so.

00:22:32.100 --> 00:22:38.430

Kelly Paxton: Well, and this goes to the sort of the next thing that I want to talk about is you've written you wrote the Pufferfish Effect.

00:22:38.700 --> 00:22:49.830

Kelly Paxton: Right and you have another book in you can we talk about the book and you because I'm fascinated because of my experience and your experience, but then I'm going to say her kids experience they're going to need this.

00:22:49.830 --> 00:22:59.220

Susan Frew: Book yes, so I have been really researching and really feeling that it's been put on my heart to.

00:22:59.940 --> 00:23:08.070

Susan Frew: find a solution or to start talking about the trauma that business owners and entrepreneurs go through in their businesses.

00:23:08.430 --> 00:23:18.360

Susan Frew: And it's simply there the symptoms are manifesto of any other traumatic incident so like you could have seen someone get hit by a car in front of you, or you could.

00:23:19.140 --> 00:23:30.270

Susan Frew: have had a beating or saw something or whatever it was some kind of traumatic incident in your life and then you know you you respond to things differently, for the rest of your life.

00:23:30.660 --> 00:23:44.460

Susan Frew: And I think that's what happens to us entrepreneurs, we get traumatized by some actions usually by others in our businesses short of cash can't make payroll up all night worrying about the money.

00:23:45.300 --> 00:23:52.860

Susan Frew: sitting there staring at the QuickBooks till three o'clock in the morning, all of those things, and it makes us incredibly unhealthy.

00:23:53.220 --> 00:24:09.810

Susan Frew: You know, we sacrifice our own health our own lifestyle, are you know, giving up exercise and eating crappy food and all that and I think that it creates this traumatic stress and I don't want to call it a disorder, because I think that that's a real mental health.

00:24:11.010 --> 00:24:20.580

Susan Frew: term and I'm not a therapist that I don't claim to be, but I am an entrepreneur who's been through it and I'm calling it now entrepreneurial aftershock.

00:24:21.510 --> 00:24:29.160

Susan Frew: So it is what happens to you after a traumatic event in your business because now you've got decision fatigue.

00:24:29.730 --> 00:24:39.060

Susan Frew: You are mistrusting of people who maybe should deserve to be trusted you're afraid to run marketing, because the last five marketing campaigns you did tanked.

00:24:39.450 --> 00:24:51.960

Susan Frew: um you don't want to give anybody a raise or retitle because you saw how somebody else handled it and it almost handcuffs you in panic and the anxiety that you get to.

00:24:52.710 --> 00:25:02.070

Susan Frew: it's horrible like I you know, I was on the speaking circuit at that time talking about you know how great we were, and I would physically get sick.

00:25:02.790 --> 00:25:17.940

Susan Frew: And so i'm going to start interviewing a bunch of entrepreneurs who've been through something like this, and then we you're going to talk about how it impacted their lives and how they found the way out because that's the thing you know.

00:25:19.650 --> 00:25:33.240

Kelly Paxton: I, I think it is an amazing book like and you have to get it out, because I know so many people, I mean I joke, and I don't mean it as a joke I'm a fraud therapist my victims.

00:25:33.570 --> 00:25:50.100

Kelly Paxton: The money is replaceable and you have replaced it and we talked beforehand, like the you know Susan has a very profitable business now she's got the not have the IRS and everything to do but you're profitable now money is replaceable but what she took away from you, was time and energy.

00:25:50.700 --> 00:25:51.810

Susan Frew: yeah yep.

00:25:52.380 --> 00:26:02.370

Kelly Paxton: And it makes you second guess your decisions so then when you go to hire someone else like you know you're not you, you second guess yourself.

00:26:02.550 --> 00:26:10.260

Susan Frew: Yes, every everything I do now I'm like oh my gosh is this kind of work or, should I do that or.

00:26:10.830 --> 00:26:31.710

Susan Frew: All last time we did that it didn't work out, and you know I just replaced myself as general manager of my company and so that took a lot of trust, a lot of trust for me to do that, and I believe, been working side by side with this person for five years now, and I have known her to be.

00:26:32.970 --> 00:26:47.730

Susan Frew: trustworthy you know ad nauseum and you know she's went through the other ones, leaving and leaving with us right so she was hurt by that too, so we kind of went through this experience together and we all came out stronger, on the other side.

00:26:48.540 --> 00:26:53.550

Kelly Paxton: Well that's another thing i'm going to say is like I mean I don't know if you know but mark Cuban he got ripped off.

00:26:53.850 --> 00:26:55.080

Kelly Paxton: His business.

00:26:55.320 --> 00:26:58.530

Kelly Paxton: He she stole 82 she left him $2,000.

00:26:58.770 --> 00:26:59.970

Susan Frew: Oh, she.

00:27:00.030 --> 00:27:05.430

Kelly Paxton: also said it's, the best thing that ever happened to him, because he said it would never happen again, and now.

00:27:05.820 --> 00:27:09.960

Kelly Paxton: Most of my victims are not going to say it's, the best thing that ever happened to them.

00:27:10.200 --> 00:27:21.360

Kelly Paxton: But I have another victim who actually their business has grown since because they were very transparent they came out to one of their biggest customers and it turns out, he was a billionaire is a billionaire.

00:27:21.750 --> 00:27:28.950

Kelly Paxton: And he had been through the same thing, and he actually has given them way more business and has spread the word about them so.

00:27:29.400 --> 00:27:42.300

Kelly Paxton: Again we don't want anyone to go through it, but once you've been through it, I feel like you know you can spot it quicker and but I kind of hold victims' hands because I'm cheaper than a lawyer.

00:27:45.300 --> 00:27:55.020

Susan Frew: yeah and you know I we had similar things happen, so I wrote a letter to every single one of our vendors and I said I know that we're behind.

00:27:55.620 --> 00:28:04.800

Susan Frew: And you have my word and my personal guarantee that no matter what you're going to get paid back for as long as it takes and every Friday, we would have fun Friday.

00:28:05.190 --> 00:28:20.220

Susan Frew: And we would pay bills and if we could send $25 or $50 and sometimes $1,000 whatever we had and we paid everyone off now um but there was one vendor out of all of them, that was a jerk.

00:28:21.030 --> 00:28:30.150

Susan Frew: But the rest of them were awesome to us and are still our friends and our valued partners and we love them they love us and you know business is normal again.

00:28:31.020 --> 00:28:39.510

Kelly Paxton: yeah yeah well, again, I mean I'm sorry did fun Friday like I don't know any more positive of the victim, besides you Susan.

00:28:41.730 --> 00:28:44.340

Kelly Paxton: You have really turned into lemonade.

00:28:44.790 --> 00:28:55.140

Susan Frew: We made it into a game and so here's the thing now I would watch that stupid video, it was a stupid video I would watch that video of that.

00:28:55.500 --> 00:29:08.400

Susan Frew: The guy saying the power of why Simon Sinek's every time I see him with this power of live video i'm like oh my gosh there's this guy again with the power of like crap and I never got it like I never have had a.

00:29:09.420 --> 00:29:19.290

Susan Frew: Why like that this big powerful why, but now I do, because now my mission is that I am going to save other business owners from having to go through this.

00:29:19.650 --> 00:29:30.480

Susan Frew: And like I want them to hear the story and be like you, you cannot leave yourself out there, like that you know if you do one thing go get your own mail, you know and.

00:29:31.230 --> 00:29:39.030

Susan Frew: Even bring some people in from the outside, like, I have an outside bookkeeper now and I will always do always have an outside bookkeeper.

00:29:39.630 --> 00:29:47.820

Kelly Paxton: So I have a I have a same surprise and delight, you know, having customer service you're supposed to surprise and delight, I say surprise and delight your.

00:29:48.870 --> 00:29:56.250

Kelly Paxton: Employees so if they if you always look at checks over say $5,000 all of a sudden pull one for 1000.

00:29:56.550 --> 00:30:07.680

Kelly Paxton: And that's where I say surprise and delight, and if they think that you know you only sign checks, a certain time mix it up, and I think it seems like you know that's something that you kind of believe into.

00:30:08.310 --> 00:30:13.380

Susan Frew: yeah oh absolutely and you know, one of my clients, one of my coaching clients.

00:30:13.800 --> 00:30:26.940

Susan Frew: I told him he went away on vacation and he left his signature stamp with his office manager who's been there for 90 days I'm like are you serious, so I called his CPA made the CPA drive over to his office.

00:30:27.600 --> 00:30:41.130

Susan Frew: Yet the signature stamp, and that if the woman needs to check sign she had go over to the CPA is office I'm like you cannot leave yourself open like that, but you know before this happened to me I wouldn't have known to give that advice.

00:30:42.210 --> 00:30:42.600

Kelly Paxton: well.

00:30:43.710 --> 00:30:48.090

Kelly Paxton: And you Okay, so now you have kind of a new business you've stepped away a little bit.

00:30:48.330 --> 00:30:50.940

Kelly Paxton: yeah your new business and how.

00:30:51.630 --> 00:30:54.060

Kelly Paxton: I mean, I would hire you, if I were business.

00:30:55.080 --> 00:30:58.110

Kelly Paxton: Just to save me from going through through.

00:30:58.200 --> 00:31:12.540

Susan Frew: Well, I had been a business coach for a really long time and I had this great relationship with a woman named Marla de Carlo and she had a fractional CFO company years ago and I would send all my clients to her, so we sort of kept.

00:31:13.500 --> 00:31:19.890

Susan Frew: In contact and now she's the CEO of a business brokerage firm buy and sell mergers and acquisitions and.

00:31:22.170 --> 00:31:32.070

Susan Frew: Last year we were going to do some I was going to do some speaking engagements and they were going to get a booth and we were going to these conferences together and then, of course, everything I canceled because of COVID.

00:31:32.400 --> 00:31:38.610

Susan Frew: So she said hey why don't you pick up some coaching clients like we have clients that need to be kind of turned around.

00:31:39.420 --> 00:31:49.380

Susan Frew: And you, you can help them so i've been doing that for the last year and then finally about a month ago they invited me to come on staff and.

00:31:50.250 --> 00:32:00.000

Susan Frew: Here I am I, you know I work for corporate company now and my Sunshine Plumbing heating air is being run by General manager, which is not me.

00:32:00.450 --> 00:32:14.400

Susan Frew: i'm still speaking and i'm going to write this book about entrepreneurial aftershock because I feel so powerful about it but, but my joy now is to go on-site getting businesses turned around.

00:32:14.820 --> 00:32:27.540

Susan Frew: Are teaching them how to cut expenses and get get out of debt teaching them how to protect their vulnerabilities and you know how to be profitable again so everything that I went through now I can transfer that over to somebody else.

00:32:28.170 --> 00:32:39.660

Kelly Paxton: Well, this is fascinating because this morning, someone posted a story on LinkedIn about a guy in Australia, who is going to sell his business, he was literally in he was going to sign.

00:32:40.290 --> 00:32:43.920

Kelly Paxton: On a morning, and he had everything lined up.

00:32:44.250 --> 00:32:53.070

Kelly Paxton: and his trusted office employer came in and she I forgot his name but she's like I need to talk to you he's like you know what's going on, like and she's like no, I have to talk to you.

00:32:53.340 --> 00:33:04.530

Kelly Paxton: It turns out, she stole millions of dollars from him and he didn't know, can you imagine the day you're literally selling your business and he had to stop it, and now like.

00:33:05.790 --> 00:33:06.810

Susan Frew: Oh, my gosh.

00:33:06.990 --> 00:33:13.650

Kelly Paxton: yeah i'll have to send you the story and i'll put this story in the show notes, but I mean we're both in the speaker world and there's.

00:33:14.070 --> 00:33:29.580

Kelly Paxton: You know people it's like imagine the day you're gonna sign on the dotted line and sell your business for $10 million in your administrative or whatever bookkeeper comes in and says oops those numbers are all fake because i've been gambling everything, can you imagine that you.

00:33:30.720 --> 00:33:33.750

Susan Frew: know no, I have no idea I mean.

00:33:35.490 --> 00:33:38.850

Kelly Paxton: yeah oh my gosh well i'm gonna i'm.

00:33:40.410 --> 00:33:43.680

Kelly Paxton: We have totally done this different than most of the podcast because.

00:33:43.680 --> 00:33:48.720

Kelly Paxton: I'm fascinated by your story, but your energy and like your commitment going forward.

00:33:49.740 --> 00:34:04.440

Kelly Paxton: I don't think you probably have any time to watch TV or read books, but like Joe and I do this thing with like fraud and pop culture is there any like TV shows that you identify with that you're like Oh, they should watch this, or is there anything you binge.

00:34:05.340 --> 00:34:14.100

Susan Frew: I binge watch a lot of TV I do because that's, the only thing, especially when i'm going through all this trauma and I had a lot of.

00:34:15.360 --> 00:34:30.180

Susan Frew: anxiety like that was the thing I could turn off because i've watched something and I, if I had one channel to watch I would watch masterpiece anything because you just put a British accent on anyone and I'm in like Downton Abbey.

00:34:30.870 --> 00:34:34.410

Susan Frew: You know anything having to do that or anything to do with the tudor era.

00:34:35.610 --> 00:34:38.520

Susan Frew: So I mean, I think I probably learned a lot from the tudors.

00:34:41.760 --> 00:34:47.100

Susan Frew: I'm in the middle of all this to my friend, Maria had come in to help me she had a bookkeeping background.

00:34:47.610 --> 00:34:56.460

Susan Frew: And I knew I could trust her and she's like man you got a lot of miles and points off all these credit cards i'm like I know and she's like.

00:34:57.060 --> 00:35:15.330

Susan Frew: Maybe we need to go see the Queen I'm like maybe we do so, like I didn't have any money but we went to London and you know we went and saw the Queen and it was beautiful and you know and that's our started the healing I think you know, because it was right after everything that happened.

00:35:15.930 --> 00:35:28.800

Kelly Paxton: Oh, my gosh that is like ah, that is so cool that is so cool So is there one thing you can say to like business owners out there, that you want them to take away.

00:35:30.720 --> 00:35:39.240

Susan Frew: yeah I'm get your own mail serious like I'm not even kidding dude I know it sounds like a low level tasks, you can delegate it do not.

00:35:39.840 --> 00:35:48.810

Susan Frew: I mean that that's got to be key and you know you have got to protect your assets and protect your business because nobody loves your business like you do.

00:35:50.190 --> 00:35:53.970

Susan Frew: And, and if it's going to be your retirement, you need to protect that.

00:35:54.900 --> 00:35:58.470

Kelly Paxton: that's so interesting because I say hashtag it's not rocket science and then.

00:35:59.220 --> 00:36:05.490

Kelly Paxton: A guy on the show who did steal he was a serial pink color criminal he's reformed Tom Hughes and he was like.

00:36:05.850 --> 00:36:16.740

Kelly Paxton: It took me only six weeks to figure out, who I could steal from because they would hand the bank statement unopened to him and he's like they're not paying attention to it they're running it out of their head or whatever like.

00:36:16.740 --> 00:36:26.850

Kelly Paxton: That, and I said, all the artificial intelligence in the world is not going to stop fraud, if you don't get your own mail, so this is like.

00:36:26.880 --> 00:36:28.170

Susan Frew: yeah now.

00:36:29.070 --> 00:36:31.500

Susan Frew: I know it sounds stupid, but you know.

00:36:32.010 --> 00:36:33.330

Susan Frew: No thing.

00:36:33.750 --> 00:36:51.450

Kelly Paxton: yeah no that's yeah absolutely well I can't tell you how happy I am and I know my audience is just going to absolutely love this because you are so real and I just I really, really appreciate it, so thank you so much Susan and i'm going to have you back on when you do the book.

00:36:51.630 --> 00:36:53.580

Kelly Paxton: Yes, everyone needs to.

00:36:54.240 --> 00:36:58.560

Susan Frew: Go hey thanks Kelly it's been awesome catching up with you, you rock.

00:36:59.550 --> 00:37:00.270

Kelly Paxton: Thank you.

Wasn’t Susan amazing?  You don’t get to see her like I do on Zoom but she is so full of energy.  She has come out the other end shining brightly.  I don’t ever want someone to be a victim of a pink collar criminal but Susan really has thrived post embezzlement.  I wouldn’t have gotten to know her if this didn’t happen.  Her next book, Entrepreneurial Aftershock, will be a must-have.  Using her experience to help others.  So many business owners have shame and humiliation.  It is no fun telling your colleagues you have been a victim.  Yet Susan does it with such a refreshing manner that I really think like Mark Cuban this has made her a better business owner.  Please let me know how you liked this episode.  Reach out to Susan.  Thank her for experience and honesty.  She would love to hear from you.  

Next week I am trying to get a short episode out due to a much needed family trip.  Stay tuned.  And of course thank you for your time.  We have 16 5 star ratings and that means the world to me.  People are listening.  Love you guys.