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Intro: Welcome to the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast with JP Stonestreet, episode #12.
JP: Today’s guest is Jessica Rhodes. She is the founder and president of Entrepreneur Support Services, which is a business that provides a variety of different services to entrepreneurs to help them in their business. She also owns Interview Connections which helps people get booked on podcast for interviews and it also helps book people. So, she gave me several people for my podcast that I have interviewed, you have already listened to a couple of people that she booked on my podcast and now she is going to start booking me on other people’s podcast. So, she offers a variety of great services for entrepreneurs. So, check out her websites, but without further ado, let’s go ahead and get to the interview and let’s welcome Jessica Rhodes.
Welcome Jessica to this episode of the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast, how are you doing?
Jessica: I am doing awesome JP. I am really thrilled to reconnect with you after meeting you in person at New Media Expo and be your guest on your podcast, I am honored.
JP: Oh great, I am glad to have you and yes that was kind of an interesting meeting that we had. I was waiting in line to talk to John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire after his panel presentation and you were standing up there and talking to Cleo and I just kind of – I think I butted myself in or you brought me in.
JP: So, I talked about all the wonderful things you do. So, let’s start this podcast episode with describing you who you are, tell us who you are and about your business?
Jessica: Sure, I am going to start by saying I am a stay-at-mom and the reason I started obviously it’s the most important part of my life is being a mom. That’s also the reason, I started my business. When I started my business, I was pregnant, I had a fulltime job and I was committed to staying at home and not putting my son in daycare. So, luckily my dad who was also a guest on your podcast, Jim Palmer, he told me about being a virtual assistant and kind of described what having an online business all about because I really had no idea there was this huge community of people running profitable successful businesses out of a home office. So, he really opened up my eyes to that possibility and fast forward about a year and a half later, here I am. I have a business called Entrepreneur Support Services where I offer virtual assistance services to my clients, I do Pinterest Marketing. I have a team of designers, so I offer a lot of infographic designs to my clients and my most recent and biggest passion is Interview Connections where I work with podcasters and people who host internet radio show and I kind of do all the backend work of finding, booking, scheduling, confirming with and promoting guest expert interviews on podcasts and so New Media Expo is a great place to be for that because it was a conference for podcasters and I got to meet people like you and Cleo is a client of mine and so we actually had already known each other, but it was our first time meeting in person, so that’s kind of my journey in a nutshell and getting on these podcast interviews is obviously a lot of fun because I book them all the time and it’s a lot of fun to actually turn on the microphone.
JP: It is yes, I am thoroughly enjoying my podcasting career even though it’s very new, but yes it’s a lot of fun and I did, I interviewed your dad yesterday and I didn’t realize he was your dad when I interviewed.
Jessica: Yes, I don’t talk about it right away because I don’t want to reduce anyone’s credibility, but yes, he is my dad and I am very lucky to have my dad as a business coach because it really helped propel my business forward a lot faster than if I didn’t have a business coach.
JP: Yes, that’s not fair that you get that for free.
Jessica: Well, he does make me pay now so, I am investing in my future growth and profitability. He is old fashioned – my dad. He makes me play by the rules.
JP: Oh good, that’s good. It’s teaching you a valuable lesson.
Jessica: It is yes.
JP: Yes, he is a great guy. He is full of – he is a wealth of information.
Jessica: He definitely is and you take it for granted when you are actually just his daughter, so now that I am a coaching client, I really value it.
JP: Yes, I bet. So, when did you launch your business? You said it was like a year and a half ago?
Jessica: Yes, it was November of 2012, I remember I had talked, I was about four months pregnant at that time, still working fulltime and that’s when I got a new laptop and just started doing some virtual assistant work on the side. Before I went to work in the morning I get up early and do a little bit of work, I would work when I came home from work and then I officially went fulltime. My son was born March 10 and I gave myself two weeks of not working and then I was officially fulltime after that. So, two week maternity leave for me, but I guess that’s a curse of an entrepreneur, I was excited to start, so I consider my fulltime – the date I went fulltime with my entrepreneurial journey was March 10, the day my son was born because that’s when I was not working at a 9 to 5 and when I was totally responsible for myself and my family.
JP: Wow, that’s really cool that you were able to do that. So, did you have any experience relating to virtual assistant or any kind of assistant before you started doing this?
Jessica: No, no actually I worked at – now in hindsight, the skills I learned in my last job are totally applicable and it helped me in my business, but I was never – never done anything admin, I had never been an assistant. I was actually a staff director at a non-profit organization where I led a team of door-to-door fundraisers. So, essentially door-to-door sales and a lot of entrepreneurs have sales backgrounds and I totally agree with the opinion. I think everybody should be in sales or fundraising or have to do that type of work because it really does teach you a lot about the hustle required for entrepreneurship. So, no I had never done anything virtual – I mean just a fact that my last job was running a door-to-door team of fundraisers, I was outside. I didn’t do much on the computer. I was working in an office, lots of walking around, not really sitting in front of a desk a lot. So, it was very, very different in that aspect, but the skills, the sales skills that I had to use, the leadership and the managements skills that I had to use in my last job that have really, really helped me in my business today.
JP: That’s good. A lot of people are not sure exactly what business to start and sometimes they want to start something that they have zero experience doing, are completely do not know how to do any part of it and you are able to apply some of that knowledge that you gained in your previous job to the new job, but it’s not like you had done this before, so you were new to the job, but you at least had some experience doing similar things.
Jessica: Right JP and for me it’s easy to sit here and now in hindsight is 20/20, I can connect all the dots and I can point to exactly the skills I learned in my last job and how I applied here, but may be when I was first starting my business, it was very scary because no, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I am 26 years old. I was working at that job from the age of 19 to 23 or 24, so that’s really all I had done and the prospect of starting a business in a completely different field initially was just quite frankly it was frightening because no, I said to myself, I don’t have any other skills. All I know how to do is manage a staff and ask for money. I am like “How am I going to apply that, how am I going to do an online business, all I know is talking with people face-to-face?” Honestly, it goes back to the importance of having a business coach. Sure I know I am lucky I have my dad for that, but what if your dad is not a business coach, go hire one because they can really help you figure out what’s skills you have and how best to apply them. So, when my dad hired me as a virtual assistant, I started out – I was working on excel spreadsheets doing really basic stuff, I mean just really basic admin tasks, but as we progressed and as I had more time, he was like “Hey, I want you to do this for me, hey I want you to do this for me.” So, I learned Pinterest Marketing and then I taught myself how to make infographics and then I think that was in April, he said “Hey, I want you to book me for podcast interviews.” I know what a podcast is because I am a huge fan of NPR, but I didn’t know there was this whole community of people doing them independently of broadcast radio, so again he said, “I want you to do this, figure it out.” So, I just did that. I just kind of figured it out and then one thing leads to another and you figure out a whole system and I wouldn’t bore you with the whole long story cause we kind of already went over my journey, but again you just figure it out along the way and having a business coach. Even having clients that are kind of mentors can really help you build a business that you enjoy and that you are good at.
JP: It sounds like you have the recipe for being an entrepreneur. You take the initiative, you teach yourself things, you know how to manage staff and ask for money, I mean that’s what entrepreneurs do.
Jessica: Exactly and for me, I have read a lot of books, I still read a ton of business books because it kind of keeps me motivated and keeps my mind going, but one of the books that I read really early on that kind of inspired me was Carrie Wilkerson’s The Barefoot Executive and the reason that book was really good for me is because Carrie Wilkerson is an entrepreneur who started her business when her kids were babies so she could be a stay-at-home mom. She was a teacher, I think at a high school, and she now is an entrepreneur, has an online business and has a lot of kids. So, she is able to work from home and so that story really resonated with me because I thought that’s me. I want to be a stay-at-home mom and I want to be able to provide for my family, also having a lifestyle that allows me to do what I want, when I want within reason, and so her book really inspired me and what she talks about – the point of story is that she talks in her book about having a big “why” having being passionate of why you are doing what you are doing. The word “passionate” is thrown around so much with entrepreneurs, I was so passionate about this, and I am not trying to diminish that, obviously you have to enjoy what you are doing, but I don’t actually think you have to be passionate about what you are doing, I think you have to be passionate about why you are doing it. For me, I am passionate about making a lot of money so I can help provide for my family and I can be with my family, my son, and my husband as much as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I love podcasts. I enjoy them. I have a lot of fun working with my clients and with podcasters, but can I survive if I never heard one again? Yes, I would probably be okay. It’s not like that will be all, end all of my life, but it’s something that I enjoy and it’s something that allows me to spend as much time with my passion as possible which is actually my family. So, that’s my kind of viewpoint on the whole passion thing in business.
JP: That’s an interesting perspective because I tell a lot of people “You got to do something that you love, otherwise you give up once the going gets rough,” but I think you added a new dimension to that and that if you have a big enough “why” then you can do – then you won’t give up either.
Jessica: Right, you won’t.
JP: So, you have to love what you are doing or you have to be doing it for a reason that you really love.
Jessica: Exactly, exactly and I mean the money is not enough either. You do have to enjoy what you are doing because hey if I was doing – say for example I had Interview Connections and I built this great business, but I hated podcasting, but I was making a lot of money, it would not work. I have to enjoy what I am doing, I mean listened to an interview with John Lee Dumas we mentioned earlier and he had a lot of jobs before starting Entrepreneur on Fire. He has spent time in corporate America and real estate and he definitely had jobs where he made a lot of money, but as he says and I agree “Making a lot of money isn’t really enough.” Obviously, people stay at jobs where they make lot of money, they stay in there for long time, but they are probably not that happy, they are probably not that fulfilled and they are probably not excited to go to work in the morning. So, obviously, you have to have a business that’s profitable and that makes you money because that is just a hobby if you are just doing it not making any money, but you definitely have to enjoy what you are doing and be passionate about why you are doing it.
JP: Yes, these people that – like you are referring to, they get jobs and don’t really like it, I call that the Conveyor Belt Syndrome. They step on the conveyor belt and they just ride it all the way to the end and they are miserable the whole time, they are not challenged, they are not fulfilled, but they get used to it, the security of it and the paycheck and they just keep going and I encourage people, everybody to find your passion, find something that really excites you and just don’t settle for a paycheck.
Jessica: Life is too short to just coast and just find something that feels secure. I worked with Matt Theriault who is a client of mine and he has got two – just two of the best podcasts on iTunes actually Do Over and Epic Real Estate Investing and he talks all the time about financial freedom and financial literacy. He talks all about how investing in real estate, investing to really allow yourself to live in the best, in these years, in these prime years because we are kind of taught, America is kind of taught “Oh, you have to just work in a paycheck, you just have to work your life away and then whey you are 65, you will get to go enjoy it” and he talks a lot about how that is absolutely ridiculous and well I am not a real estate investor, yet I guess I totally agree with him in that, it’s important to figure out how to create a lifestyle that you love now because these are the most active years of our life. I want to be able to spend time with my son now when he is crawling around and learning to walk, I don’t want to wait till he is 25 and I finally may be get to retire or cut back on hours. So, we are getting off on this whole tangent here about like work style, but I think it’s a cool conversation.
JP: Yes it is. That’s why I like to run these podcast interviews like a conversation just like we are sitting at Starbucks talking so that it’s more fun. It’s more fun for me and it’s probably more fun for the listeners I would guess.
Jessica: …and it’s more fun for me too.
JP: Good. All right, so let’s get back on track after that, this is segway. So, what is the most difficult challenge that you faced so far and how did you overcome it?
Jessica: That is a really good question and there have been a lot of challenges. Early on in my business for the first several months, I felt like I was kind of coasting and the things were going well, I hadn’t lost any clients, I got clients and they stuck with me and they were happy and I listened to Entrepreneur on Fire where they were all asking how these entrepreneurs got their biggest failures and I am like “I haven’t really had a failure yet” and I think the reason was I haven’t really had a big failure yet because I haven’t really hit my prime and my peak, I haven’t been working – been moving fast enough and now things have picked up and I have made mistakes. So, for me, I look at the fact when I do make mistakes; it’s almost twisted, but I get excited when I make mistakes and when I fail because it means that I am moving forward and that if I wasn’t making mistakes and I wasn’t failing that means my business isn’t moving fast enough. So, gosh, I will give a most recent example, actually from yesterday, okay – big mistake was I offer designs to my clients, infographics, promographics, and basic situation was there was just a huge amount of miscommunication that my client and I weren’t able to communicate properly. I didn’t feel like he was able to communicate properly what he wanted in the design, I wasn’t able to ask the right questions to get that to figure out what he wanted in the design and at the end of the day, it ended up being two hours and like six designs later where we just put them all on the trash can and went for something else and so, it’s a very little mistake, a very little failure, not the end of the world, but to me it was kind of time wasted and it was frustration had on both of our ends, and there was some lessons learned, the designers that I was working with and the questions that I was asking, so that’s a little mistake and failure for me, but the big lesson that it taught me is okay, I need to ask the right questions, I need to be working with the right designers that are going to be producing the work that my clients are going to like. So, the positive aspect of me was “Wow, I am not going to make that mistake anymore because I already have that failure and I learned a lesson.” So, at the end, it was positive, but that’s a fresh wound here.
JP: Yes, and it’s so important to look back over those mistakes that we make and learn from them and then adapt and try and figure out how not to repeat them.
JP: That’s a very important trait of an entrepreneur is to avoid past mistakes and a lot of people struggle with that. They make a mistake and then they make it again and it takes two to three times before they figure out “Well, I need to do something about this.” So, the faster you learn, the better.
Jessica: Yes absolutely. Fail hard and fail fast.
JP: Yes, I wear my failures as a badge of honor.
Jessica: Yes, exactly and you know another thing about – just when we think when I said fail hard and fail fast, that’s another thing I feel like they say in Entrepreneur on Fire all the time is fail hard and fail fast and you can keep moving forward and you can get to your success. That design story that I told you just a second ago, it all happened yesterday and I worked really fast on that, so when we had the conversation about creating these two design and doing this revamp of the graphic, that all happened within less than 24 hours. I didn’t say “Oh, it’s going to take two to three days,” usually I do, but for this particular client I said “Okay, I am going to work on it right now, I am going to call in a favor with my designer and get her do it right now” and honestly I failed hard, but I failed really fast, so now 24 hours later it’s done, we are moving on and everything is going to be better going forward.
JP: That’s good. It’s good that you learned your lesson. Okay, so you are a stay-at-home mom – not stay – you are a work-at-home mom.
Jessica: Yes, that’s true.
JP: So, how do you manage that time because when I first started my business years ago – 10, what is it 12 years ago now or 13 years ago, my daughter was 6 months old and I stayed at home, took care of her and started my business while my…
Jessica: Oh, I actually didn’t know that JP. You waited twenty minutes to tell me.
JP: I know. Now my former wife, she was the breadwinner. She earned the money to support the family when I started my business. So, it was challenging to manage the time between – and you have a 1-year-old, not even 1 yet, right?
Jessica: He is 10 months old.
JP: Yes, 10 months. So, how do you do it? How do you manage it?
Jessica: It’s a good question. I am superwoman, no. I would be remissive if I didn’t say having a support of husband is a really important part of it. He is the breadwinner, a huge breadwinner because obviously I need to be building my business for us to have ends meet and everything, but the big thing in the reality of America is he has benefits, he brings our health insurance in the door, I don’t get health insurance by having a business. So, number one, having a spouse who is able to kind of offer some of that security that we talked about a few minutes ago is really helpful, having a spouse that is supportive of you working months on end where things are kind of lean and kind of tight, but also sharing the confidence and faith that you are going to really…and make it really big. Technically speaking, I make it work because I just work a lot. I wake up really early. There were times in my business where I was waking up at 5 before the baby was up, so I can get a little bit of work done before my husband went to work, definitely times where I was working till 9 to 10 o’clock at night just really, really grinding the wheels hard and go on and go on. Since then things have really leveled out. I have grown my business, we are a little bit more comfortable, we have been able to hire a nanny, so I actually have somebody that comes to our house four days a week and is here five hours a day, so I actually can get full days in my office whereas before we were able to hire her, I was working when Nathan was napping, which was only a couple of hours a day. I was working when my husband got home from work at nighttime. So, we weren’t even getting our family time together in the evening. So, it definitely takes some sacrifices, but it’s been really great. Those sacrifices have paid off because like I said now we are able to – we can afford a nanny, who can come over and give Nathan personalized one-on-one attention while I can really focus hard on my business 9 to 5 and then me and Nathan and my husband can all be together in the evening rather than us going crazy trying to work whenever we are awake. So, that’s kind of how I do it.
JP: Yes, that story sounds very familiar.
Jessica: Yes, doesn’t it?
JP: Yes, I did the same thing. I worked during naptime, I got up early, worked before Sydney got up, I worked after dinner, stayed up late and worked and then when she was about two and a half I think – two and a half or three, we put her in the Goddard School, which is a preschool and she went there for – she started out like two half days a week and then she went to five half days and then she went to five full days and that gave me – each one of those little steps gave me more time to work on my business.
Jessica: Right. We need like a badge of honor, the people who started businesses with infants.
JP: Yes, I know.
Jessica: It is a different piece, let me tell you. I look at people who start a business with no kids and I am like “You have it made,” but you know what I take that back because I couldn’t do this without Nathan because he is my big “why” and he is the reason I am doing it. It’s hard to do it with a baby, but I couldn’t do it without one because it wouldn’t be enough reason for me to grow as fast as I am.
JP: I know. There should be a club. We should start a club – The Infant Entrepreneurs.
JP: So, Jessica what is your most favorite aspect of owning your own business?
Jessica: Freedom and again it’s a word of kind of cliché because it gets thrown around a lot. I don’t mean financial freedom because I am not there yet, okay, but the freedom to not have to ask anyone for permission when I want to go on vacation. I mean that is honestly the best thing. It’s the freedom to be able to go and visit my parents without having to ask someone to take the week off or to use a vacation day. That is just so amazing and I just don’t know why everyone doesn’t do that because I always – when I had a job, I dreaded having to ask my boss off. So, I typically would never take a vacation because I just hated asking for the time off because there is always that kind of resistance. You want people to work all the time. I can’t even put it to words how much I love not having to ask someone for permission to spend time with my family.
JP: Yes, I love that part too. Personal freedom is the reason why I do this. That’s really kind of my big “why” – it’s the personal freedom because I have had jobs, I used to work as a software developer. I was in consulting for years. Before that when I was in college, I had jobs, I worked at JCPenney in the shoe department, yes I was a shoe salesman.
JP: I worked for a printing company, I worked on a printing press, I worked at a shipping department and a grocery store and I spent almost all of that time looking at the clock.
Jessica: Exactly, you look at the clock and yes, obviously as an entrepreneur for most people unless it’s like in an info product business, you have clients, all right so I obviously have people that – I guess in the world of entrepreneurship you boss is your customer, you bosses are your clients because they do pay you. So, sure it’s not like I could just take a week off whenever I want. I have to – that means instead of having to ask one for permission, I have to figure out how to keep my business running without me and that means I have virtual assistance, so that means creating a team that can keep things running, may be that means working remotely. So, even though – I guess for people it’s more work to figure out how to keep your business running without you to go on vacation – for me, it is way better than having to asking one person for permission.
JP: Yes and then have them say “Oh, I am sorry somebody already asked for time off that week, we can’t let you go too.”
Jessica: Yes, it’s funny because this past summer when I was on vacation, I didn’t have virtual assistance yet, so I was still working, I was working at the beach house. I think a lot of cousins and everything were looking at me like “You are crazy, why is that more desirable to be working at the beach?” I am like “First of all, I don’t have to ask anyone to be here, I chose to be here.” When my mother-in-law says “Hey, this is when the beach house is rented.” I am like “I am there for two weeks, I am there, put me on the calendar, I don’t have to wait to request these vacation days” and I knew also at that point that within a year I would have virtual assistance, I would have a team, and I would have a business that I could keep running with me on vacation. So, that’s my big goal. Next week when – next summer when I am on vacation, I am on vacation.
JP: That’s good. So you have your team employees now to support you?
Jessica: I do yes, I have a great team of graphic designers, I have this awesome VA, her name is Angie and I hired her a month or two ago and I just can’t say enough good things about her. She is amazing. She supports me. She keeps me in check and she has been able to give me the support I need to take on so many more clients that I couldn’t do on my own.
JP: Awesome, well that’s a good segway into my next question, which was how did you get your first five clients?
Jessica: Big question. My first one was my dad.
JP: Yes, he doesn’t count.
Jessica: My next client, Jason, really, really great guy and I still work with him today, he was – my dad connected me with him, so referral is the short answer. My dad was just kind of posting on Facebook the work I was doing and I was showing great results. So, he wasn’t just saying “Oh my daughter is great, hire her.” He was actually writing on Facebook about the work that I was doing and the kind of results I was getting him and Jason saw that post and reached out to me and asked about it and then we had a conversation and started working together. My next client after that was also referral from my dad who same type of thing, he told him about the results I was getting with the interviews, I started working with him and then I guess after that is when I launched Interview Connections and gosh, I am having a hard time remembering actually the order that people have come on board, but I guess for the most parts it’s been referrals and it’s been the connections I have made because with the type of service that I offer where I actually put people for interviews on podcast, I just connected with a lot of people through those emails and through those all that coordinating. So, I have actually taken on a few of my clients for people that I reached out to and book someone on their podcast and then they wanted to work with me because they kind of worked with me without having to pay me. They kind of saw the work I did and then came on board. So, a lot of it is referrals.
JP: Yes, that’s a great point that you made. Your dad, he has an audience. He is a very successful business coach and speaker and writer and he has an audience, a built-in audience and you are able to capitalize off of his audience. He didn’t have to be your dad for that to happen.
Jessica: Yes, exactly and I am so glad that you said that because if you didn’t, I was going to. It’s not just a fact that he is my dad. He does that for a lot of his coaching clients and I have – you interviewed I believe Melanie Benson Strick.
Jessica: I worked with her and she has coached me as well and she has referred a client or more than one client to me. So, it’s not just because it’s a family member, but coaches do that for you. If you work with a good coach, they will promote you and as a good business coach, they have got people that really trust them and so, it’s definitely you get a huge turn on your investment when you hire a coach because they will connect you – not only will they just coach you on running a good business, they are going to connect you with a lot of people. So, I definitely really encourage people to connect with my dad as a business coach as well as with Melanie.
JP: Yes, they are both extremely knowledgeable and they both have sizeable audiences. I think Melanie said she had over 15,000 people in her mailing list.
Jessica: Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised.
JP: Yes, I am sure your dad has several thousand too. You can connect with people – you have to reach out, you have to form that relationship, you are lucky because you were born into that relation.
JP: You can reach out to people, you can hire a coach that already has those types of connections, you can join a mastermind group that’s run by somebody like John Lee Dumas or Pat Flynn who has that big audience already and they will promote you if you have something that they are proud to promote.
Jessica: Right, yes and if you put in the work and if you put in the investment and time and then money, you really do get so much of return back on that investment. So, it’s totally worth it. I joined my dad’s mastermind this year. Over the past year, he has been coaching me privately, but I told him “Hey, I want to step this up, I want to be in a mastermind group, I want to be in your mastermind group, that’s what makes the most sense” and so I am investing in that. I am paying several hundred dollars a month to be on that virtual call with other entrepreneurs getting my butt kicked and getting the feedback I need to take things up a notch and I am 100 percent certain that I am going to get a bigger return – I am going to get a great return on that investment.
JP: That’s great. Okay, so along the same lines, what other marketing tools – I met you at the New Media Expo. Do you go to a lot of those types of events or was that the first one that you went to?
Jessica: That was my second. So, my first was in November. So, within a year of being an entrepreneur, I have been to two. So, it’s definitely a goldmine to get to in these probably four year. I would love to get out once a quarter to a live event. So, it was my second. I went to the Glazer Kennedy Insider’s Circle Info-Summit – GKIC Info-Summit in November.
JP: Okay, and how many clients or potential clients did you get out of just the New Media Expo?
Jessica: I got four clients out of New Media Expo plus tons of prospects that I am keeping in touch with.
JP: Exactly, that’s the point I am trying to make is that you have to be able to get out and it’s not cheap. Did you pay for the all-access pass?
Jessica: I paid for the content creator, but JP between the airfare, hotel, and the ticket, and food, I am sure, it was over 1000 dollars of money, a 1000 dollars that I have invested into that event. So, definitely not cheap.
JP: Yes, I actually – I bought the all-access pass just because I didn’t want anybody to tell me no because that’s the way I am.
Jessica: That’s fun.
JP: So, I spent – it was 1100 bucks I think for just the all-access pass, plus hotel and food and airfare and everything and it was close to 2000 dollars and I look at that as an investment and to be honest, it’s the best investment I think I have made. I just hired a business coach, so it’s kind of a tossup there between going to that event and hiring the business coach.
Jessica: Well, that’s a good point because it’s not necessarily tossup because both are going to be valuable for you. There is not one thing that is going to make or break or business, it’s so many things working together and one of the things that my dad has taught me as a coach and what he is teaching at his event in Las Vegas, he is having events at StopWaitingAcademy.com, but he is teaching people how to build the million dollar platform on a shoestring budget, that’s one of the biggest things I have learned from him is “Yes, these events are expensive and you do have to put a lot of money out, you have to invest a lot of money to get a big return, but there are things you can do along the way that don’t cost a lot of money.” So, he has taught me all these tricks and the funny story – it’s actually really silly – I asked him, I think it was like the morning before I was flying out and I said “Oh, hey, do you have any tips on how to save money on food?” because I did not want to be spending 40 dollars a meal because I know that’s what I would spend if I was eating at a restaurant every meal, I just really couldn’t afford to be spending another 400 dollars on food. So, he told me to bring oatmeal packets and to bring a bunch of cereal bars. So, every morning for breakfast, I didn’t go to the restaurant once for an egg and bacon breakfast, I had oatmeal cup in my room and I never ate lunch, I actually just ate the power bars all through the event during lunch. So, I only ate – I think I ate a sandwich at Starbucks for dinner and I spent like 40 dollars the whole weekend on foods. Obviously, that’s like a really silly little trick, but it’s just little things like that that you can learn from a coach because he has been to so many events and he was able to kind of help me figure that out. I never would have thought to bring oatmeal, but it saved me a lot of money and that helps get my return faster.
JP: That’s cool, that’s great moneysaving advice.
Jessica: Yes, exactly. Always live below your means.
JP: Yes, definitely live below your means. I think that for a long time for about 20 years, that was not the philosophy here in America, but I honestly think the more people I have talked to recently, I think that is becoming the new philosophy is to live within your means.
Jessica: Right, exactly. Are you familiar – have you read any Dan Kennedy’s books JP?
JP: Well I haven’t read his books, but I read his website and his newsletter.
Jessica: Yes, I have learned so much from Dan Kennedy. I met him at my first – at the live event in November and I have just been tearing through the No B.S. books and there are so much knowledge there and he talks about one, in his No B.S. Wealth — No B.S. – I think Wealth for Entrepreneurs or something like that, forgot the exact title. He does talk about – if you want to be wealthy and if you really want to take your business to the next level and like be the one percent, you definitely have to kind of surround yourself with those types of people and you have to surround yourself with successful people and kind of – he talks about like – he has pictures in his office of probably – pictures of paradise and things because it helps him associate what he wants – obviously he is there now, but you see what I am saying, you have to surround yourself with that lifestyle, but at the same time he talks about not living below your means, that’s how really successful people, they lose everything because they spend all their money too fast and then one business deal goes wrong and they lose it all and they don’t have 20 bucks in their bank account. So, there is definitely a lesson in living frugal and that’s another thing I learned from my dad. He has multiple six figure businesses, but they still buy the basic brand cereal. So, you definitely have to just keep living below your means.
JP: Yes, I always say that I am very, very frugal, I am not cheap because I will spend money on something if I get the value in return, but I do not, I am very frugal. I don’t spend a lot of money on things. I have no debt except my mortgage and I own my car. Interest is the thing I hate paying. I hate paying interest.
Jessica: Yes, me too.
JP: Every time I pay my mortgage payment, it just grates me to see how much of that goes to interest.
Jessica: One of the switches that I lift when I became an entrepreneur was I stopped saying “I can’t afford that” and it’s hard to do and I guess I am not 100 percent perfect in it, but I used to say “I can’t afford that” just without even thinking about if I could. Now I say “How can I make that happen?” “How can I afford that?” That’s just a huge, huge mindset shift that I think is really important to make if you do want to create wealth.
JP: It is and it’s just a subtle change too to say “How can I afford that?” as opposed to “I can’t afford that.” It’s just getting that negativity out of your life. If nothing else, that is a good thing, but just changing that subtle mindset, it has a massive impact on your life because you instead of focusing on the problem, you start focusing on the solution.
JP: Okay, so I am going to ask you a tough question now.
JP: We’ve talked a lot about what’s working great for you, what is not working for you in your business right now?
Jessica: What is not working for me in my business? That is a really tough question.
JP: I know you are pretty awesome Jessica, but there is got to be something that isn’t all rosy.
Jessica: Yes, that’s true. There is definitely some that’s not all rosy. I guess what’s not working for me is I am still working on the mindset of saving money and kind of investing times. Let me kind of unwrap that a little bit. I am building up a big design team and one of the things that I – that frugal mindset, it always has me looking for kind of the cheapest support whether it’s going to Elance or Fiverr or something like that, just always looking for the cheapest thing I could get and what has really not worked for me is a lot of times that is costing me more in time and frustration because the cheapest support, even if it’s saving me dollars, is costing me a lot more time and the fixes, like the edits and revisions and the do-over, so what’s not working for me is trying to make use of things that are cheap because again it seems obvious “Yeah I am going to go, if someone that’s really, really cheap, it can save me money, it’s going to be great” and what I am realizing is those exact support people that just really cost you way more in time and energy and frustration. So, I am working through that – working through that right now, but I think it’s an important lesson.
JP: Yeah, I deal with the same issue. I like to go with as cheap as possible and it has bitten me a couple of times.
Jessica: Yes, you just switch to – I am going to put a spotlight on you here – you talked to me about how Skype is charging about 3 dollars a month; that was hard for you to accept.
JP: Yes, I know. Part of that was principle though.
Jessica: Yes, exactly, but it’s still it’s a mindset thing.
JP: It was. Yes, that was more than just being cheap on that one. That was a principle. It irritates me. I can totally understand when companies charge for a premium service and if they offered something premium I would be happy to pay for it, but their basic offering, in my opinion, should be free and Skype was free forever and then Microsoft bought them and now they have got us, they are charging and that just irritates – even it’s only 3 bucks a month, I spent more on a muffin at Panera at a meeting I had earlier this morning. Not the money, that’s the principle thing, but…
Jessica: Yes, I hear you, I hear you.
JP: I did switch from Google Hangouts and I am sure the listeners have noticed a dramatic improvement in the quality of the audio because I am spending 3 dollars a month.
Jessica: So funny.
JP: It really is. Yes, that’s a good point because I have hired people on Fiverr and Elance and I have ended up having to redo some of the stuff or not even used some of the stuff that they have done and it ended up being a waste of time and money and then I still had to go back and hire the more expensive person.
Jessica: Right and yes it’s kind of just – it’s a learning experience and it’s really case by case because there is some really, really fabulous work on Fiverr. Honestly, there is really great work done, I have had a lot of success there and I have some not, but Elance is another place that I have used to find freelancers and graphic designers and yes, the mistake of going with someone that seems cheap has really cost me a lot and the time, energy, and frustration and there are people that actually like some of the designers that are on the same price not that expensive do way better work, so it really is just making the right decisions and not always focusing on how much it cost because again, sometimes when you invest more you are going to get a – most of the time when you invest a little bit more, you are going to get a better result.
JP: Yes, very true. Okay, let’s talk about your coaching relationship with your dad and the mastermind that you joined because one of the things that I found among all the people I have interviewed is that they almost all of them have a coach or belong to some sort of mastermind or both and some of them like me, I even have a mentor. I have a mentor, I have a coach. I am looking for a mastermind. I am actually in the process of hiring another coach in addition to my business coach. I am going to hire a publicist coach, a PR coach. So, let’s talk a little bit about the relationship you have there, what he does for you and how that benefits your business?
Jessica: It’s so important. I mentioned earlier, there is not one thing that’s going to propel your business forward, but if there was, I would say hiring a coach is probably one of the best things that you could because you are really too close to your business to see the things that a coach could see. So, little bit about my experience working with my coach is there is a monthly call where it is really laser focused on something specific that I am working on. So, I actually have that monthly call scheduled tomorrow where we are going to focus on something very specific and new service that I am offering, it is really going to help me figure out kind of hone in on the skills that I need and then the mastermind call is complementary to this where everyone that he is – well not everyone that he is probably coaching, but everyone that has joined the mastermind group and hired him as a coach get on the three-hour call and everyone has a chance to – I think it’s like 10 or 15 minutes they have a chance to just talk about their business and talk about what’s going on and talk about what they need – where they need support and where they need accountability and what questions they have and then everyone on the call has kind of an opportunity to give their feedback and the facilitator or the coach will then kind of facilitate it and kind of offer – they will kind of lead the conversation by offering answers first, but they will also open up the lines for the other members to offer feedback and the reason I am really, really excited, it just started, our first call is Friday, but the reason I really like this model is it’s very kind of intimate like you are actually talking – and there are structured calls, there is accountability, there is mastermind groups that is more of a forum or is a Facebook group, there is definitely value there, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of value in having that kind of social network of accountability, but I am really excited for this really direct one-on-one take – mastermind experience because I am going to get some really great feedback and also be able to learn from everyone else in the group too. So, it’s going to be – just I am very excited for it.
JP: Cool, so you get the mastermind group, you are on the hot seat for like 10 to 15 minutes.
Jessica: Yes, he calls it the profit seat.
JP: Nice, the profit seat, that’s cool. I have heard it called the hot seat, not the profit seat.
Jessica: Yes, same kind of concept, right?
JP: Yes, exactly. So, that’s great. Do the other members of the mastermind group, do you guys promote each other’s businesses?
Jessica: I think – yes, it makes sense for sure. It’s not kind of like a structured requirement like “Oh all have to promote each other,” but essentially over the course of the year that you’ve worked together in this mastermind, you really got to know each other quite well and JV Partnerships forum – actually Ben Kruger who I actually met at New Media Expo, we did not know each other existed before the event. We met there, we talked a lot, we hangout a lot and I talked to him about it, he joined the mastermind group. So, he is actually now on the mastermind group and he offers really cool service where he will do podcast editing and launch services. I offer services…so, we both work with podcasters, so we are really excited to be in this group together because I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to have some type of joint venture partnership. So, just honestly if we weren’t in this mastermind group together, we would have probably tried and made an effort to kind of meet or talk on the phone sometime, but now that it’s structured, we have all these other entrepreneurs, they are with us on the call – I think that type of relationship is going to grow a lot faster and be more profitable and effective than it could if we weren’t in the mastermind group.
JP: Cool. Okay, so you mentioned JV Partnership, that stands for Joint Venture Partnership and it’s basically you refer people to each other and you share the proceeds or you get some sort of an affiliate commission or how does that work?
Jessica: I don’t know how it works exactly, I haven’t had a JV Partnership yet, but yes you figure out a way to work together and I don’t know what that’s going to look like for me, may be it’s just you refer people to each other, may be we create a whole platform together, but the opportunities are endless and just the fact that we are in the mastermind group, we are going to have – there are people in that group I know that do have Joint Venture Partnerships with people. So, they are going to be able to help teach us what that could look like. So, whether it happens or it doesn’t, I don’t know, but the fact that we are at mastermind group and we have a really great experienced business coach, we will be able to figure it out.
JP: Cool, that’s great and that’s something that the listeners need to keep in mind is that you can’t form these JV Partnerships with people who have complementary services or products and as an additional revenue stream.
Jessica: Great, exactly.
JP: Okay, so who or what inspires you? Do you have a personal hero or somebody to look up to besides your dad, that’s a given?
Jessica: Yes, a lot of people. I am inspired by a lot of my clients. So, Matt Theriault, I mentioned him, he is a client of mine that really inspires me and that I really, really enjoy working with and then kind of outside people that I know personally, Dan Kennedy is someone that really motivates me. Dan Kennedy, for people who don’t know him, if you are an entrepreneur, you are not studying Dan Kennedy, start now because this guy is like a marketing legend and it will really rock your world if you read his stuff. He really inspires me and motivates me because he is so – I mean his books are No B.S. and they really are No B.S. There is no beating around the bushes, he tells you exact – this guy is a millionaire, he is extremely successful and he tells you exactly how to – how he made that happen. He doesn’t beat around the bushes. So, he really motivates me reading his stuff. So, I guess this is – I leave it there.
JP: Okay, well that’s a good segway into the next question which is what book would you recommend if you could recommend one book what would it be?
Jessica: Sure, I will recommend No B.S. – I think it’s No B.S. Wealth Attraction – …title of the book, but it’s Dan Kennedy’s book. There is a ton of book I would recommend, I would definitely recommend all of my dad’s books. I would recommend The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, but the reason I really recommend No B.S. Wealth Attraction for entrepreneurs is because it really does rock your world in terms of mindset, I think that it’s really common for business owners and entrepreneurs to kind of put up barriers around what’s possible and what – a lot of people are afraid to say they want to make money, like that’s when we kind of put up the passion argument, I am surely passionate about what I do, I am just growing it because I am excited about it, but we are in business to make a profit and he talks – that book is really all about how to create wealth and it kind of makes – it has really helped make me okay with the fact that I do want to be wealthy and there is a reason for that. So, that’s a very, very good book.
JP: Cool, I am going to read that one because I could use some help with that. That’s one reason why I hired a business coach is because I have a tendency to do things that I love and then in retrospect ask “Well, how can I monetize this?” And really you need to ask that question first. Sure, you can come up with something that you love and think this would be a cool business or a cool product or cool service, but the very next question needs to be “how can I monetize it” before any work goes into the idea.
Jessica: Yes, there is a difference between a hobby and a business.
JP: Yes, there is. I think a lot of entrepreneurs that are on the road to failure have a hobby, not a business.
JP: Yes. All right, so we have time for – one or two more questions. So, let’s do those last two questions and the first one is – looking back from where you are now, what would you do differently if anything?
Jessica: I honestly don’t think I would do anything differently and that’s not because I haven’t made mistakes and that’s not because I haven’t had failures because I have, but everything that I have done has helped lead me to where I am. So, I don’t think I would do anything differently.
JP: See, I think that’s a real optimist that answers that way and a lot of people say, I should just say nothing – I wouldn’t change a thing, but this, this and this.
Jessica: Yes, I could probably think about like failures I have made or obviously like may be said stuff that I shouldn’t have said or written an email in a way that I should have phrased differently, but those things have nothing has – nothing has made my business go bankrupt, it has all helped lead me to where I am today. So, I wouldn’t change a thing.
JP: Awesome, love it. All right, last question – what is the most important piece of advice you can give to someone who wants to start a business?
Jessica: Hire a coach. Do it.
JP: Yes, that’s a trend. That’s a common theme for this podcast I think.
Jessica: That is so true. If you give me though “I can’t afford it” well we already talked about that for you, so it’s so true. It’s by having a coach who is experienced and who is more successful than you, you will be able to learn from their mistakes and you wouldn’t have to go through a lot of their failures because you will be able to learn from them. It’s just so important. So hire a coach, that’s the one thing that I would say.
JP: Yes, I couldn’t agree more because it is so important to have that guidance and support – it’s a lot of accountability to because a coach will hold you accountable on – as an entrepreneur, it sometimes is really hard to do everything that you have to do and keep yourself motivated, especially if you are working out of the house and the television or the video game or the dog walk or whatever it is just right outside the office door, knowing that someone is there to hold you accountable, it makes a huge difference.
JP: Well, Jessica, this has been an amazing interview. I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to you. It’s funny how similar our paths have been. Mine is post-exit, I mean I sold my company several years ago and now I am starting over again with my blogging and podcasting and speaking and writing, something that – this is what I am actually really passionate about and so I am starting over, but you are kind of where I was 12 years ago with taking care of the baby and so, it’s fascinating to see the similarities and it’s kind of like a reminder of my past.
Jessica: Yes, you should listen to Matt’s podcast Do Over. It’s all about starting over and do-overs.
JP: Oh cool. Yes, what’s the name of the podcast again?
Jessica: It’s called Do Over and it’s you go to YourDoOver.com, you will find it there.
JP: Cool, YourDoOver.com. I will put links to this and all the books we talked about as well as your website. I will put that on the show notes page of my podcast page which is at JPStonestreet.com/podcast.
Jessica: Great, thank you so much JP, I really appreciate this opportunity.
JP: You bet, anytime. It was a lot of fun.
That was a nice stroll down the memory lane. I forgot about starting my business when Sydney was an infant, working during naptime and after she went to bed. I bet there are a lot of single – not single parents, but a lot of parents out there that have done something similar, started their business while their kids were napping. I like her idea to start an Infant Startup Community, what do you think about that? Anyway that was a good interview with Jessica Rhodes, hope you enjoyed it. All of stuffs that we mentioned during the interview will be on the show notes page, so check that out at JPStonestreet.com. Until next time, thanks for joining me with the Smart Energized Entrepreneurs Podcast with JP Stonestreet.