I heard Jean speak at the Worldwide Metaphysical Tribe event this past August. She is a dynamic and engaging speaker and I thought she’d be a wonderful interview. I was not disappointed and I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading her thoughts on her work, being successful, and owning a business. Jean’s answers are in bold type because when you hear her speak she is professional, polished and owns her talk. She is bold and that is the best way I can convey it to my readers. I bet you will enjoy this interview. I’m delighted to introduce you to Jean.
1. You relate owning a business to being married. How did you arrive at that comparison?
Ha, I see you have watched a few of my videos. Have you ever been married. I was experiencing a love/dislike of my business, and having been married now for 39 years, I have had many times where I had a love/dislike for my husband. But they are fleeting moments right.
When you first open or buy a business there really is a honeymoon period. You are so excited to be doing what you are doing, you can’t see any flaws, but as the business goes one…like a marriage, the little things start to bug you.
I consider myself a humorist, as I really try hard to find the humor in everything. So the more I started writing, and speaking the correlation between business and marriage was so apparent to me.
There were days I absolutely loved my business. Today, even as a business strategist, there are days I am so in the zone, I love what I do, and then there are the times, that maybe I haven’t taken on a new client for a while, and I’m not loving the business as much.
But here is what I know…business or marriage…it’s how I react on whether things get better or go to hell.
I’m also very good at self-motivation, and I work really hard to not let myself down, but more importantly, I work really hard to not disappoint my husband, because he has been 100% supportive of my entrepreneurship for the last 34 years.
I’m getting ready to write a book about marriage and business, so thank you for this question, because I had to stop and write myself some note in here.
2. I read that you have been self-employed since your first child was born. What did you do before children?
Right out of high school I was working in a local department store’s accounting department in NW Indiana where my husband and I grew up.
We got married young. I was 20 and he was 21. So after we got married, we moved to Woodridge, where my husband had a job out of college at Tellabs, so after 3 months, I went to work at Tellabs in an Admin role, and then later went to work for a German postage meter company. I HATED THAT JOB. Actually, I like the job, I hated my boss, who was my age. It was in customer service.
It was at that job I got pregnant, and when I said I wasn’t coming back after my maternity leave, they offered to put a computer in my house and let me work from home. This was a big deal in 1985. I was really one of the first telecommuters. I had to drive to the office, always with the baby, pick up my work, and bring it home and input it.
My boss’ boss saw my value, and I never had to deal with her again. I did that for 1 year, and then with a baby that never slept, I started working as an independent contractor for a home party plan company. I was super successful at that after one year I became a regional director and stayed with them until they closed.
Then I opened my own party plan company selling lingerie and sex toys. Then sold that, moved on to selling Creative Memories, then moved on to owning a dance studio for kids, then moved on the owning the 2 chocolate stores, and in everything I did over those 21 years lead me working with business owners teaching them to sell (apparently I really like sales) their product or service and how to strategically grow their businesses.
3. What one piece of advice do you wish someone had given you?
Someone did give it to me. Zig Ziglar told me when I was 26 years old, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” That changed my life, and it changed how I did business. I realized right then and there, that all I had to do was help other’s obtain the success they were looking for, and I would find mine.
You have no idea how grateful I am that I learned that at 26.
4. What made you decide self-employment was the right move for you?
First of all, genetics. My grandfather came here from Greece and opened a family Greek restaurant. hahahaha. My mom was very entrepreneurial, but never really had much success. She bounced from business to business, never really having the success she was looking for. When I started out, I was the same way. I left out quite a few businesses that I started. We didn’t know how to get clients. Way back then, there were no business coaches or mentors to help you.
I knew after my first baby, no one was going to dictate the amount of time I could spend with him. There was just no way I was going to go back to work and leave him with someone who might abuse him. My family all lived in NW Indiana, so I had no family within an hour of me.
5. What is the biggest mistake self -employed people make?
It not so much of a mistake as it is they just don’t know. They don’t know how to get clients when they don’t have any. Business owners have bought into the whole, “Build it and they will come” thing. That is such bullshit. If you build it, you damn well better tell people.
Business owners are so worried about not being “salesy” that they lose their businesses every single day, because they won’t ask someone to work with them.
6. What got you interested in franchises?
I had a friend who had the same franchise in Naperville, and she told me the LaGrange store was for sale. So I wasn’t necessarily interested in a Franchise, and I would never buy another franchise, I don’t want to follow someone else’s rules or pay them a royalty on my hard work…well maybe a Nothing Bundt Cake. I like cake, and it is one product. The chocolate store was so labor-intensive.
We were looking for a money-making opportunity, and that just came to us.
7. How did you go from selling chocolate to helping small business owners?
This was a very natural progression. It started when I was 26 and working for the home party plan company. Taking what Zig Ziglar told me, I helped all of my downline become successful. When they became successful, I became really successful and it just flowed from there. I don’t just mean financially. I mean the lessons I learned that allowed me to take another step forward. I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe thing happen for a reason. I have known my reason for being on the planet since I was 26. I knew my path was to help small business owners make more money. I didn’t know how to do that when I was 26, but every time I up-leveled myself, the next teacher was there waiting for me, every step I have take was not necessarily purposeful, but was where I was supposed to be, so I could become who I am.
8. Do you think intuition has served you in your work? Why or why not?
Oh Hell YES! BTW, I did not read all of your questions first. It’s not how I roll, but the answer above pretty much answers this question too. When I was 26, I would not have believed in intuition, but at almost 60, I can see it so clearly now. I also have very strong opinions. I did not at 26. Call it a point of view or whatever you want, but my opinions guide my life. I firmly believe to give people more in value than they pay for, I believe in capitalism, I believe in personal responsibility, I believe in integrity above all else. I believe all of this guides my intuition.
9. Please share an unforgettable moment in your business experiences. Why does that moment stand out for you?
OMG, there are so many, so I will tell you a funny one. When I had the lingerie company, one of the women that worked for me, called me up and said, “I just booked a lingerie show at the nudist campground in Indiana, will you go with me?” After I was done laughing I asked her why they would want to buy lingerie. Turns out they were having a big Labor Day Dance, and I guess they wear lingerie to their dance.
So they set us up on a picnic table next to the pool. We were the only 2 there with clothes on, and none of them should have been naked. There was the naked guy sitting at the pool with sunglasses on, his legs crossed and pretending to read the newspaper, while he was gawking at the other naked people. There was the guy who while we were sitting at the picnic table, walked up and lifted his leg and put in on the seat next to me, so I had his junk 18″ from my face. There was the woman bigger than me walking barefoot through the campground with a shirt on covering her belly, but bare from her shirt down.
I believe in saying yes to opportunity because sometimes it just gives you really great stories to tell. I
The day was a total bust in sales, but OMG we had so much fun talking to people that day, and they tried so hard to make us, with clothes on, feel uncomfortable…oh and there were times we did. <hahahahahaha>
10. I believe you think that fun is a key element in having a business. Can you share a way in which to make work fun?
My personal mantra is, “If it’s not fun, I’m not doing it.” OK, not everything fun all the time, but I really try to find the humor in most things. The one way I do this, is when I write, I try to write things that make me laugh. Not long ago, I wrote an email to those that never returned my call. The subject line was “Is it really going to end like this for us?”
I’m cleaning out my files, and at some point in the last 3 years you have filled out a card at an event where I spoke. You checked that you would like to have a complimentary 20-minute, 3 Steps to More Clients/More Cash, call with me.
I called and left a message for you, I have a date on your card that tells me when and how many times I reached out to you. Unless, I met you in 2016, then I’m going to claim the pain meds from knee replacement surgery, messed with my mind, man, and made me misplace your card that I now have in my possession again.
I don’t want to “break-up” like this. So I’m reaching out this one last time, just asking if you would like the 30-minute complimentary call, 3 Steps to More Clients/More Cash?
Jean, did you see what I did there? I added 10 minutes to the call for you. You know business is my “jam”. You know I help business owners turnaround their businesses and increase their cash flow fast!
Sure, you can dump me like a cheap suit, but what if I could help you with what you are struggling with right this minute. Maybe it’s more leads, maybe it’s more clients, maybe it’s sales, maybe you are struggling asking for the sale, maybe it’s how to write emails so people respond to them. (bawahahaha I made myself laugh at that one), maybe you just need to earn more frickin’ money.
Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call, And I’ll be there, because you’ve got a friend.
A friend who knows that making money is easy, because she spent over 25 years figuring out how.
But here’s my number, so call me maybe. 630-302-4929 or you can just reply to this email…that you opened.
11. What would you like to tell my readers that I have not asked?
Well, first of all, I can’t believe how far back you dug. Let’s see we have covered, business, babies and sex. The only 2 things we didn’t talk about is religion and politics…and of course, I have very strong opinions on both of those too. But don’t ask me about those.
Here is what you can tell them. I believe in hard work, taking action daily and making money is EASY.
Lindsey, thank you for being patient. I’m so sorry I forgot about this, and I had not idea how in depth your questions would be, and I loved answering every single one of them. It was like a trip down memory lane for me. I can’t believe I just spent 90 minutes on this. Not too many outside things get that much of my time, but once, I saw you did your homework, I wasn’t going to give you anything but my best.