Finding Your Inner Strength: Magie Cook
by Tim Healy
Are you at the point in your life with you find yourself giving up on your lifelong dreams? Whether you think it’s too late to get your degree, or you believe you lack the inner strength and confidence to pursue your passions, you’re wrong. My guest today is here to show you these are just excuses.
My guest today is Magie Cook, the founder of Magie’s Salsas, a company that sold to Campbell’s Soup for $231 million. Magie grew up in an orphanage with 68 other children in Mexico. After earning a basketball scholarship to the University of Charleston, Magie entered her salsa into a local contest. She was gifted $800 from an anonymous “guardian angel” to start her business. Magie is here today to discuss how she found her inner strength, and how our choices shape our destiny in life and in business.
The Impact of Her Childhood
Magie had a childhood with challenges that most of us could never even dream of experiencing. Listen at 4:30 to hear how these experiences affect how she does business today. She believes her childhood forced her to build the inner strength that has gotten her through life. She had to learn to survive and be as strong as possible.
Thankful for “The Mess”
We all go through struggles. What makes a difference is how you grow from these struggles. At 10:30, Magie speaks about how her childhood gave her an advantage in life. While she wishes things had not been so difficult, she is thankful in a way for the “mess” of her past and the inner strength it helped her develop. Magie believes we all have choices, and it’s those choices that define our destiny.
Rounds of Rejections
As any salesperson will tell you, rejection is difficult to face. For Magie, it was just another step on her path. Listen at 12:50 to hear her process of cold calling local stores to get her product on shelves. She would force herself to make one more call. After 90 rejections, she changed her technique, instead calling the biggest store she could. That call to Whole Foods ended up being the one that changed her life.
Learning on Her Own
Magie got what those of us in sales dream about: a face-to-face meeting with the decision makers. At 19:20, she talks about how her meeting with Whole Foods went as well as it possibly could. They loved her salsa, placing an order for 10,000 pounds to start.
This big order was 40 times what she was used to producing in a week. Immediately, Magie had to learn how to make big business decisions for herself, by herself. She describes turning her life upside down, getting her truck driving license, and turning to her friends to loan her money when banks wouldn’t. She hired local workers and took the extra step to buy them lunch each day to discuss how the process could improve. This extra step allowed her to marry the workers to her purpose. They were excited for the chance to truly be part of something.
The Uphill Battle
The order was filled, thousands of pounds of salsa was made, and it was time to make the delivery. At 26:50, Magie discusses how she had to rely on her inner strength to make it up the final hill – literally. Listen as she describes how she got creative when driving the delivery truck to the Whole Foods Distribution Center, even relying on a piece of wood to get her there.
Letting Yourself Experience Things
In addition to Whole Foods, Magie also struck deals to sell her salsa through Walmart and Sam’s Club. Listen at 34:20 to hear the biggest lessons Magie learned from working with these big players. She relates it to an experience she had in school, where one classmate warned her about a teacher for a class she wanted to take. Instead of believing their ideas and not enrolling in the class, she decided to just have the experience for herself and see what happened. She ended up loving the teacher and class, something she never would have done if she had listened to the classmate.
This experience was similar when she worked with Walmart. Friends told her that Walmart would take advantage of her, and that they weren’t worth pursuing. Magie didn’t go in with the energy of fear, instead relying on her inner strength to experience things for herself. Walmart ended up being a great partnership for her.
“Why are you here?”
Since the sale to Campbell’s, Magie has made good on her promise to pay it back, working as a motivational speaker and business coach. At 52:50, she discusses the most important lesson in each of her speeches. For Magie, the biggest thing that anyone can do is ask themselves, “Why am I here?” She believes that when we are aligned with our destiny, we will be happier in life. When we aren’t, we will be miserable. It doesn’t matter whether you define success as having a lot of money or having a large family – as long as you know what you truly want out of life.