It takes a special kind of person to strike out on their own and start a business.
Today I’m interviewing Jennifer Allwood, business coach, author, and entrepreneur.
We are talking about how to know if you’re made to be an entrepreneur.
Are you able to deal with the ups and downs, the uncertainty, the hard work and long days?
Plus, how will you deal with self-doubt, uncertainty, and the world continually changing around you? It’s a tough road, but for some of us, it’s the only road.
Does this sound like you?
Or maybe you’d be better suited as someone’s number 2, helping support their vision without having to take on all the responsibility of it being your business.
Listen to this honest, intimate and fun conversation between Jennifer and me. It’s definitely entertaining and it might help you find out what your true calling is.
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Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast, brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
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Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello friends. Welcome back to the show. Before I get started, I wanted to share about our new program. It’s called the MiloTree Membership Program.
And as part of it, you get ongoing tech support for your blog or online business. You get community filled with other bloggers and online entrepreneurs. And you get one teaching session a month, where David and I talk about a current topic in online business.
And there’s one Q&A session a month where you can come and ask any questions you have related to technology, blogging, marketing, selling products, whatever, we’re there to answer them.
I’d love you to check it out. Head to MiloTree.com/membership. So come join and there are no contracts or anything. We would just love you to be a part of it.
For today’s episode, I am interviewing Jennifer Allwood. She is a creative entrepreneur. She writes books on entrepreneurship, she coaches, thousands of female entrepreneurs. And we talk in this interview about what it really takes to start an online business.
All of the grit, you need the mindset, the difficulties, the challenges. This is a really personal interview where we both get very real, talking about the struggles, talking about who should be an entrepreneur and who shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. I think you’re going to really, really like this. I enjoyed this conversation a lot.
So without further delay, here is my interview. with Jennifer Allwood.
Jennifer, welcome to the show, I am so excited to have you.
Jennifer Allwood 2:07
Jillian. I’m excited to be here. This is gonna be fun.
Jillian Leslie 2:09
I have to tell you, which I shared before we press record. You kept popping up into my world. I didn’t know about you. And then I went to a mastermind and all people were saying was Jennifer Allwood, Jennifer Allwood. And then I didn’t tell you this, but if I say to you focus, like notice blue, all of a sudden blue pops out at you.
Jennifer Allwood 2:29
Oh, absolutely. It’s like if you buy a red Corvette, and then suddenly you notice.
Jillian Leslie 2:32
Everybody has one. But it was like that with you, which is somebody put you in my brain. And then wherever I looked, I kept seeing you.
Jennifer Allwood 2:41
I love it. I’m so glad about that. That’s amazing.
Jillian Leslie 2:43
Yeah, so, you’ve been at this a while. Can you share for everybody, what your entrepreneurial journey is and where you are today?
Jennifer Allwood’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Jennifer Allwood 2:55
Sure. So I actually became an entrepreneur in the year 2000. I started a decorative painting company. And so that’s, Jillian, like finishing decorative paint, like making walls look like stone or marble or whatever. And I started that business because I was obsessed with like home decor and DIY and HGTV.
I bought my first home when I was 21 years old. So I’d always had a heart just for making a home beautiful. And so started my decorative painting business when I was 30. And right after I started it, we got pregnant with our oldest son, Noah.
And so then I was, you know, pregnant now painting, which worked really well until I was about eight months along, and then I was like, good Lord, I’m the size of like a small Volkswagen. Like, this is not smart for me to be up and down the ladder.
So the business was doing so well though. Several designers had picked us up right off the bat, and we were working in million dollar plus homes in Kansas City.
This was 20 years ago, right off the bat. And so I was like, gosh, I do not want to give up this business. But I also need to stop painting, and I’m about to go into labor and I would really like to stay home and be a full time mom.
So I ended up hiring my sister to come paint for me and and then another painter a little while later. and another a little while later. And what ended up happening was I realized I was really good at just doing the marketing of the business and staying home and just kept having babies because we had three more back to back.
Using Facebook to Grow Your Business
And I was really good at getting us the work. And about 10 years ago was kind of when Facebook popped up, which was a game changer for every business on the planet. And I realized, Hmm, this is interesting. I’m kind of good at Facebook, which was interesting to me, because I’m an introvert.
And I think a lot of introverts think that they will not be good at social media when actually the absolute reverse of that is true. And so I found that I loved being on social media.
It gave me a lot of feeling of like control, knowing that I could post something and I could delete it later, or I could go back and edit it.
I could respond to people when I wanted to, which is really kind of important for introverts. And so the more I kind of spent on social media, the more time I spent there, the more I realized I’m actually really getting better at this and understanding how to build community in the online space, and understanding how to get people to talk back to me on social media.
So I quickly grew my social media following to over a half a million people. We have 360,000 followers on Facebook today 100,000 on Pinterest and other hundred thousand almost on Instagram. And I love social media.
And when I really started pressing on the gas, not a lot of businesses were using social media for business. And so it was kind of like the wild wild west and those of us that started then, you know, Facebook ads were a lot cheaper.
It was easier to get our content in front of people. And I was still blogging at the time, but I was really trying hard just to show up consistently on social media. And people were taking note of that. And so about five years ago was the first time people started calling me like literally I’ll never forget.
Jillian, the first time I got a phone call on an answering machine because I still had an answering machine five years ago, and it was from a woman who was a painter in Florida and she said I’ve been watching you grow your social media. And I wondered if you would coach me.
Starting a Coaching Business for Online Entrepreneurs
And I’m like, what is she even saying coach her? Like, I don’t even I don’t even know what that is coach me.
But I had hired a business coach. And I was like, okay, so I, I don’t feel like I’m really smart enough to be coaching other people, but they kept asking, and they kept asking, and I kept listening. And I kept listening.
And it became obvious to me that I didn’t need to know everything, I just needed to know a little bit more than the people coming up behind me. And so I started coaching people four and a half years ago in a paid membership group.
And we now have 2,000 women in there every month, and I teach them how to grow their social media. So how to get more followers, and then how to monetize those followers. Because what I also found is there was a ton of people in the online space who had a big following or making not big dollars.
Yeah, it’s very important to me to have an income that is very much coincides with my following. I mean, the more followers you have, the more your income should go up if you’re doing things correctly. So with that.
Why More Followers Does Not Equal Income
Jillian Leslie 6:51
I just have to interrupt beacuse I think what you just set is so valuable… If you’re doing things correctly, if you’re connecting the dots. I think there’s this belief that followers just equals money. Oh, that is so not true.
Jennifer Allwood 7:06
Yeah, I can remember, Jillian, when I had 100,000 followers on Facebook, I was making probably right around $100,000 a year. And for some people that may sound fabulous for me, it was not enough.
It wasn’t enough because, you know, $100,000 a year by the time you pay taxes by the time you pay contractors, by the time you pay employees, by the time you pay down all the things, it just I kept thinking, what am I doing wrong here that I’m not making more money than this.
And it was frustrating. And so it started me on this great journey of figuring out really how to monetize my following from every angle possible. And here we are today.
Jillian Leslie 7:42
Yes, I love that. And so now, when you think of yourself, okay, and then we have to talk also about how your faith fits in with your business, and you’ve got a book, but you’ve got all of these elements of your business.
So you start as a faux finish painter, you become a marketer. You grow your followers. And then you start to figure out how to coach people.
Jennifer Allwood 8:07
Yeah. I might have perhaps got some things there that I’d like to go back to. So the first thing that I decided to do in the online space, it wasn’t a hard right turn away from the painting industry.
It was more of a soft pivot. So I started this group called Paint Finish of the Month. And here’s why I started it. People were asking me, Jillian, they were showing up in my email every day and they would say, I saw that kitchen you just painted on Facebook.
What colors did you use? How can I do that at home, I live in Oklahoma. I don’t live in Kansas City, I can’t hire you. And I kept hearing over and over. I don’t live there. So I can’t hire you. I don’t live there. So I can’t hire you and I would sit and I would copy and paste the same instructions.
You know, people could have found on my blog, but I would copy and paste them into an email until I kind of started getting irritated. And it because I was like, Okay, I’m sitting here all day responding to all these DMs, responding to all these emails, with instructions and I’m starting to feel almost used by that in a way.
And because it felt like I was taking time away from my business by just teaching other people how to do what I did, until one day, I was like, Wait a second, why am I just giving this information all out for free?
Selling a Product You Could Find on The Internet for Free
Yes, they can find it on YouTube for free from other people. But why don’t I package it into like a DIY video. And that was really unheard of in my industry at the time.
And so I literally had my son who was then 12, this would have been six years ago because now he is 18. And I had him like record a video of me like making garage doors look like wood and it was so bad.
It was so janky but we made $10,000 off that video in just a few months. And we ended up selling $100,000 of videos in a 14 month period.
They were just digital. They were just all online so somebody would order it and they would get it instantly an email with access to the video.
And that was like my first taste of understanding. Oh my gosh, if I can sell this to people, and I could sell $100,000 worth of videos that I record once and sell over and over and over, that was my first taste of putting things out into the world that I create once and people consume over and over and over and understanding that that one to many model was really the way to intensify my income.
Jillian Leslie 10:19
I love and what I keep hearing and, and I talk about this all the time, and I think you will relate because we started with Catch My Party, which is our big party site.
And then we built a tool to grow our followers and it worked. And then we sell it to bloggers, and if you look at my business, it’s all over the place.
However, it’s what I like to call emergent, meaning it’s not thinking top down, it’s thinking bottom up.
It’s like this leads to this, which leads to this and if you started going, I’m a faux finish painter, and I’m gonna be a social media coach with a membership and conferences and book you’d be like, what?
Jennifer Allwood 11:01
Yeah, no, I’m so glad I didn’t know, five or six years ago, all the things that I would be doing today, the truth is I would have] freaked out probably, you know, if I had known five or six years ago that I would have the following that I do today. I have my own podcast as well.
And with over a million downloads, and, and that sort of thing probably would have freaked me out years ago, for sure, a decade ago, because, as your business evolves, you really are forced to evolve as a person as well.
And the person that I was 10 years ago, couldn’t have handled,the size of the business that I’m running today couldn’t have. It just couldn’t. So I had a lot of changing that I had to do internally in order to be able to run a business of the size.
Jillian Leslie 11:44
Right. And I think it is about you put it out there. You have your hypothesis, could this work? It does work, and you hold it lightly, because it might not work.
Jennifer Allwood 11:54
It might not work and by the way, and I talked about this actually in my book that I know we’re gonna talk about later.
There were some friends that I made the mistake of saying, Hey, I think I’m gonna do these DIY videos and they were like, well wait a second, there was one friend in particular.
She said, can’t people just find that information on YouTube for free? Can’t they dig around on blogs? And I was like, Oh my gosh, she’s right.
Like, what am I thinking that my idea is so dumb, I’m so dumb, like, and then I would go down into crazy town.
And so I figured out real fast I had to be really careful of whom I shared my dreams and aspirations with because there’s a lot of people that are dream crushers. And it’s not even because they don’t want you to see you succeed. It’s because they’re very, they’re just wired in a very practical fashion.
Jillian Leslie 12:35
And they want to protect you.
Jennifer Allwood 12:37
They want to protect you. I love the Enneagram.
Business and the Enneagram
Jillian Leslie 12:41
I’m a six.
Jennifer Allwood 12:43
Okay, I’m an Enneagram three. But there’s a couple of Enneagram numbers that’s just how they’re wired, to kind of shoot holes and things to see if it’ll hold up. So it’s not that they’re bad people. They just look at the world from a different perspecitve.
Jillian Leslie 12:55
Ones are the perfectionist. And they are they hold themselves to a very high standard. So they’re gonna hold you to a very high standard. And there’s a right way to do it.
Jennifer Allwood 13:17
Yeah, it could be. I think there’s more than one enneagram that are just kind of more inclined. Yep. To kind of poke holes in things, what’s going to work and what’s not. And so, I learned very quickly, just not to share with the wrong people.
Because anytime you’re doing something in your business that you’ve never done before, it is hard enough to muster up the courage and put it out there.
And as you said, hold it lightly, and then not internalize whether or not it is a failure or a success, especially as women we are so tied to our business, what we’re putting out into the world being a reflection on us as a human being.
I think men actually do a much better job of separating the two for us women. I’s much more complicated and loosey goosey, and so you know, I had to to learn very quickly that just because something fails doesn’t mean I’m a failure, but I still did get the courage to try again.
Because not everything worked. I put out like a six week mentorship program a couple years ago. And, and it worked. Okay, but it didn’t work great. And then I’ve also tried things in my business that I did, and appeared successful.
But the truth is, I was doing them for ego only. Yes. And I didn’t love them and ended up wanting to go back and pull back out. And I’ve done that a couple times.
And so the business, it’s not like once your business gets to a certain point or a certain level that it’s just set, you leave it and it’s done.
I mean, it’s always evolving And oh, by the way, right now, since the world is really in a place where everything is changing, we are being forced, as every businesses to relook at rethink pivot, change and adapt again.
Jillian Leslie 14:50
So yes, and I like what you said. I always think the best way to work on yourself is by working on your business because it will show you all the places where you are stuck.
The places where you have fear, the places where you are self limiting the people around you.
Otherwise, why would we choose discomfort, we’re always going to choose comfort.
But when all of a sudden your butt is on the line and you need to, you know, make rent that month, you’re going to push yourself hopefully, or or it’s not going to work.
Jennifer Allwood 15:31
If you’re scrappy or not.
Are you Wired to Be an Entrepreneur?
Jillian Leslie 15:32
Being an entrepreneur seems really glamorous. And it feels like wow, you get to go and talk on all these podcasts. You have your own podcast and people want to reach out to you as this expert and you can kind of I’m sure your audience is going Jennifer Allwood. Oh my god, her life must be perfect.
Jennifer Allwood 15:32
And I agree. Every day of the week, I’ll put my money on someone that’s a scrappy business owner.
Jillian Leslie 16:01
Exactly, but like the reality of our lives is it’s tough and it’s in the hardest part, I think sometimes is waking up and facing yourself oneself. And going, I’m going to start pushing that rock up the hill today.
Jennifer Allwood 16:15
Yeah, we’re just wired. Most entrepreneurs are wired differently. They have to be, you can’t get up every day and expect you know, somebody to prod you into doing the things that needs to be done.
And so, you know, I coach 2000 women a month, almost every month, and there’s some people that are just not wired for entrepreneurship, and that’s okay. And by the way, a lot of times it’s people that want to be an entrepreneur and they’re really just not wired for, you know, the ups and downs and the needing to push and the internal growth, but they make such a great like number two or number three person on your team.
Jillian Leslie 16:50
Jennifer Allwood 16:50
Great project managers, they they raise administrative. We have nine of us that work for me. Well, nine, including me and gosh, I love that several of them.
They had, you know, their own business and then they were like, you know what, I actually think that I just really want to be a huge support to another woman in her business. And man, those are like, I look when I look at the people working for me right now like, Yes, that was her.
That’s her that’s sort of tons of them. And so, you know, it’s okay that if it because it’s just, it requires something different of you to be an entrepreneur and it requires a different way of thinking a different way of looking at the world, a different way of handling disappointment.
It just does. And it’s and there’s a lot of like throwing elbows on the inside and having to just kind of uplevel in your thinking that’s required of you frequently and sometimes it does feel like it would be easier just to go work a Kwik Trip.
Jillian Leslie 18:04
Totally. And I would say this, which is when you’re looking those people who are the best number two’s, they tend to be Enneagram two’s. By the way, just keep that in mind as you’re looking for which are the helpers.
Jennifer Allwood 18:15
Yeah, mine is okay. So my assistant is a two but my project managers and eight.
Jillian Leslie 18:21
Oh, that’s interesting.
Jennifer Allwood 18:22
I get that. I’m also married to an eight so.
Jillian Leslie 18:25
Ooh, that’s interesting.
Jennifer Allwood 18:26
Jillian Leslie 18:27
I’ll have to think about that combination.
Jennifer Allwood 18:29
So it’s always a power struggle for who’s in charge.
Jillian Leslie 18:33
But don’t eights have that heart of gold underneath it?
Jennifer Allwood 18:36
100% heart of gold. So both my project manager and my husband both Heart of Gold but they both you know, they like a good conversation. Like a good let’s really dig deep here.
Jillian Leslie 18:51
That’s so interesting. But again, I completely agree which is if if you are willing to take a hard look at yourself, if you’re the kind of person who seeks growth. Who, who can handle a good cry, but then can get themselves up and get working.
You know, so it’s not like as entrepreneurs, we’re, we’re somehow harder or we’re somehow it needs don’t affect us or that we’re not sensitive.
It’s that we can we can be sensitive and I am really feeling person. So but it’s more like I recognize that there are these ups and downs and there’s a part of me that is totally in the up and down.
But there’s also a part of me that can watch the up and down and think about it as almost like weather systems.
Jennifer Allwood 19:42
Jillian Leslie 19:43
They come and they go, and if I can just trust in the process, personally, that’s how I’m able to weather like right now, you know, inside I’m freaking out because like our Catch My Party traffic is down 75% but I’m having faith that it will return.
I’m having faith in ourselves that we can figure our way out of this. But it’s not like I am not going to bed at night with my eyes wide open going, Oh my god, what’s going on?
Jennifer Allwood 20:14
Jillian Leslie 20:15
And it’s that balance. It is.
Jennifer Allwood 20:17
Yeah. Have you ever read the book? The War of Art?
Jillian Leslie 20:21
Jennifer Allwood 20:22
Wasn’t that good? I and what you’re talking about reminds me of that I actually quote him in my book. There’s not the boss of you. I can’t remember which quote it was exactly. But that was just such a great eye opening read for me just about resistance.
Resistance shows up in our business and it shows up for us on a personal level. And, and so yeah, cuz that’s, I think what you’re talking about is in a way is resistance.
How to Deal with Resistance in Your Business
Jillian Leslie 20:46
Resistance. Yes. And the struggle and that it’s not. It is. I think that the nice when I am successful, it’s because I’m I can manage my own stuff.
That it’s a continual process.
Jennifer Allwood 21:02
I’ve had a couple times in my business more than a couple in the last five or six years where I really was spiraling and stuck over.
You know, the thing is like, and I talk about this again, and here’s my philosophy is, it would be nice if like, life was over here and business was over here, and we could really separate the two.
But there is no separation. It’s, it’s all very muddled. And, you know, especially like in our home because my husband works full time on the business with me. He came home from corporate america two years ago. You know, like we I interviewed my boys on my podcast next week.
So that’s fun. So they’ve got you know, on occasion, they’re helping me on social media things. So anyway, it’s not like we’ve got family and personal life over here. And then we’ve got business over here. Oh, no, it’s all so Internet’s.
And so it’s interesting how sometimes I’ll react to something in my business or I will. Reaction is a big one. Or I’ll just not react. I’ll get stuck in something in business or you know.
There’s something that will trigger me an email, the way somebody on my team handles something, an opportunity that, you know, maybe I’m presented with, and it’ll be interesting the emotions that come up in me and I’ll be like, What now? Where is that coming from?
And it usually always has to do with something that I, you know, haven’t addressed in my personal life that’s still showing up in my business. And I wish that there the two could be separated. But like I said, it’s just not like that.
And so, there’s been a couple times in business where I’ve had to literally just go get some counseling and some therapy because I’ve got I was stuck.
I couldn’t get over that next hill. One spot in particular, I can tell you about when I started my DIY videos six years ago, a lot of people in my industry were not pleased with that.
Because they felt like it was selling out I was teaching all the people at home how to do stuff that traditionally professionals had only done and now they’re not going to need us professionals because Jennifer’s teaching them how they can do it themselves.
And I you know, I’m calling BS on that because HGTV was in full force and you could read a million people’s blogs and whatever else.
But it got me on this spiral. And on this downhill slide of oh my gosh, what am I doing? Maybe I should just throw in the towel. Maybe they are right. It triggered some things in me that I actually did not like and I ended up you know, going to a good Christian counselor.
And, and several times I’ve had to do that when I find myself like literally stuck in business, it’s usually comes from something outside of business that’s keeping me stuck.
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Jillian Leslie 23:28
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As I say, if you want to take this path of being an entrepreneur, like hold on, because it is a ride, and it will present stuff to you, that you maybe haven’t wanted to look at, yeah, it might show stuff up in your relationship.
It might it will, it will kind of call you. I would say that it calls you out on your stuff.
How to Face the Uncomfortable Stuff in Your Business
And like you were just saying, if you’re willing to go toward it, and you’re willing to be brave, and you’re willing to face stuff that’s uncomfortable, that you might not want to see you might not want to deal with your issues from, with your parents or your father or that old boyfriend or who knows what are those fears, the insecurities that it’s going it will hold a mirror up to you.
You have the choice, which is, do I really look and look at all the warts and look at all the ugliness and look where I was not handling something with grace, handling something with my highest self, but I was in my lowest self.
And that’s embarrassing, and I feel shame and I feel regret. And if you’re willing, though, to look at that stuff, that’s where I think you make the breakthroughs. And so it’s weird because when we started this podcast, I said, my audience loves tactics.
Jennifer Allwood 26:32
I know I keep thinking that I’m like, she wants tactical.
Jillian Leslie 26:34
I know but it feels deeper.
Jennifer Allwood 26:39
Here’s the thing, Jillian, all the tactics in the world, do not matter if a woman doesn’t have her mind, right? Yes. And that’s what I know after coaching women for years and years and years now. I can teach them how to do Facebook ads.
I could teach them how to use Instagram stories to make a sale I can teach them how to put out a course or membership or whatever. But if in a woman’s mind, she still doesn’t believe she deserves it.
Jillian Leslie 26:59
Why You Need to Feel Worthy to Be Successful
Jennifer Allwood 27:00
If you feel feels weird about making money if she’s like I don’t know if I’m worthy of this if she and her core is still an absolute people pleaser, the tacticalness matters not.
And so you know, I love going tactical we can 100% go there. I’ll go anywhere you want to on this interview, of course. But it’s I actually think that when it comes to business, you know how they say like your abs are made in the kitchen.
And you know, 80% of your abs are what you eat and 20% of the gym. I think when it comes to your business, 80% is mindset and 20% is tactical.
Jillian Leslie 27:30
Oh, I love that. I love that. So let’s talk about your book. Okay, so one thing too, you are a Christian, your faith is super important to you.
I was telling you offline that I don’t have a specific faith but my belief in God and a higher power I feel gives me that separation I was talking about which is I’m riding through the ups and downs, but it enables me the little bit the tiniest bit of distance from that, to know that if I just told hold on tight, like I will get through this.
Jennifer Allwood 28:03
So I feel better knowing that somebody else is in control, at least ideally.
Jillian Leslie 28:07
Absolutely, absolutely that like, for me, there’s so many times where I just say, Jill, have a little more faith have a little more faith because it’s out your control.
I’m sure you’re this way. I want control more than anything. Oh my God, do I want control and I look outside at the world. And it’s like, believe me if I thought I had a modicum of control. I am so wrong.
Jennifer Allwood 28:30
Jillian Leslie 28:31
Because all you have to do is like look at our lives right now and you realize it.
Jennifer Allwood 28:36
And I know many people are struggling.
Jillian Leslie 28:37
I agree and I think.
Jennifer Allwood 28:39
It is very much out of our control.
The Secret is Learning to Let Go of Control
Jillian Leslie 28:41
I had to go through this where I was like, I don’t want the world to shut down. I don’t want this virus and then it was like, oh, Jill, you have no control over this. Who are you to think you can you know you have control over tomorrow.
Jennifer Allwood 28:55
I’ve gone into my group, my coaching group, my inner circle, and I’ve talked in there about. The fact that a lot of business owners right now are grieving.
I coach a lot of people with brick and mortars and their brick and mortars are closed. I coach a lot of people who, you know are in the online space and they’re having to make a pivot. I think it’s super important to understand grief and that there’s some there’s five different emotions that come along with grief.
And, and by the way, you can grieve changes in your business because I’m just for the record, Jillian, I really liked where my business was.
Jillian Leslie 29:30
Jennifer Allwood 29:31
I was I hey, I had a 12 city book tour I, you know, in April, and both, you know, were canceled or the conference was shifted to the online space and the 12 city book tour obviously canceled.
And you know, there was just things were really, really good and not that they’re not really, really good, but they’re different. Everything looks different now. And I think it’s okay to really grieve that everything.
You know what, what used to be normal is now no longer normal, and there’s gonna be periods where we’re like, in disbelief and then we’re in like the bargaining like Lord fix.
Like I’ll do anything if you just fix it if you just kick the kids back to school. I’ve got so many kids, Jillian, come on now. I’ve got four kids and two dogs, and a husband that work from home. And and the truth is, I’m an introvert and I can’t get a second alone. Yeah, not me. Yeah, this is hard. It’s hard.
Jillian Leslie 30:21
And I would say this, which is something as women, we’re not good at owning anger.
Jennifer Allwood 30:26
Jillian Leslie 30:27
Because I’m angry, I’m sad. I’m angry.
Jennifer Allwood 30:30
The five steps of grieving 100%.
Jillian Leslie 30:32
You know, I am a ball of emotions, and then wait, but this is the weird part. Right? So our family is my husband and my daughter, like, we will laugh harder at things, then you know, and it’s taking in those moments and stopping to say to myself.
Oh, my god, that was so funny. And we had this moment and it was I wouldn’t trade this on top of I’m pissed is how sad and I’m crying.
Jennifer Allwood 31:00
You can think a lot of emotions at about a five minute span.
Jillian Leslie 31:03
Absolutely. Like I think for mothers, I don’t think I understood this until I became a mother, this idea that I could hold two divergent emotions at the exact same time.
I could love my kid more than life itself and want to throw her out the window. And they are happening simultaneously.
Jennifer Allwood 31:21
Yeah, yep. 100% agree.
Jillian Leslie 31:23
And I feel the same way today. So I’m trying when I have this warm, like happiness to just notice like, Oh, this isn’t all bad. This is actually we wouldn’t have had this opportunity. If the world hadn’t shut down.
Jennifer Allwood 31:38
Exactly. We are going to make it.
Jillian Leslie 31:41
Finding Flexiblity Right Now in Our Businesses
Jennifer Allwood 31:41
The bottom line is we are going to make it is just, we I think especially business owners right now have to be very flexible. My pastor always says bless it are the flexible for they shall not break and that’s not in the Bible, but I think it should be it should be.
So bless than or the flexible for they shall not break so people are just needing they’re needing to pivot and you know, I was talking to you I was invited to a really cool business summit.
And I just I said it as soon as it came out of my face. I thought that’s nothing I’ve ever heard is something I’ve ever said that I said, crisis often catapults us into calling.
And I was like, because we’re in the middle of a, you know, a national worldwide crisis and I, and it often will catapult you into calling and I was like, Huh, and I was thinking about how the only reason I became an entrepreneur is because I was laid off from my desk job 20 years ago, and that was a crisis at the time, but it catapulted me into what I’m doing now.
The only reason that I actually became a business coach and totally got out of the painting industry is because I was so tired of managing women I at the end of my painting career.
I had eight women working for me in a house at a given time, we’ve done three episodes for extreme home makeover, like ABC.
We’ve been on national television, local television, like it probably appeared like I was at the top of my game, and I was like, and I’m done. Internally, I was done because I felt I was having an issue. Internal crisis that probably nobody else saw.
Crisis Can Catapult You into Your Calling
But that catapulted me into shifting to what I feel like I’m actually called to do which is to be coaching women and really an encourager for them and their business. So, you know, I know things are hard for so many business owners right now. But crisis can catapult you into your calling, it can really shift and pivot you.
Because a lot of the women I’m coaching like their business has, you know, what it used to be has kind of for some of them shut down. Honestly, you know, some brick and mortar people and stuff, but they’re actually reexamining what they were actually wanting to do with their life anyway.
Jillian and they’re like, well, this kind of forces my hand, you know what I mean? And so I’m rooting for them hard.
I’m like, go girl, go because take what is being given in front of us and see if you can find a silver lining or just a piece of like, something that’s redeemable here and let it shift you into what you actually want to be doing should have been doing in the first place.
I’ve been too scared to do but guess what? Now everybody’s scared. So you might as well do it now. You know what I’m saying?
Jillian Leslie 33:58
I like that. I like that. Like everybody’s freaking out.
Jennifer Allwood 34:01
I mean, you have the cover of a Coronavirus, right.
Jillian Leslie 34:05
Jennifer Allwood 34:06
Try something new. And if it doesn’t work out, then it’s gonna be like well blame it on Corona.
I’m blaming my roots of my hair. My crankiness, my bad nails, I’m blaming everything on Coronavirus now my carb overload all of it. I’m blaming it all on Corona.
Try something new right now you’ve got a little bit of a covering and an opportunity to try something because the thing is so many people are afraid of failure and they won’t step out try something new in their business or put out a new course or try a new you know, monthly paid group or whatever they’re afraid to do it because what if it fails.
Well right now, what if it fails? Nobody’s going to be shocked.
Jillian Leslie 34:40
Absolutely. And just like you were talking about your nails and like my hair and no joke on Saturday. I’m having my 13 year old daughter cut my hair because I’m making her watch YouTube videos.
Jennifer Allwood 34:50
Girls cut my hair this weekend.
Jillian Leslie 34:51
Did you really?
Jennifer Allwood 34:52
Okay, sure did. I got it all wet and I had her just coming down super straight and I’m like I got her the you know, sharpest scissors I could find off of the Amazon. And I’m like just go straight across. She did a good job.
Jillian Leslie 35:03
That’s it. That’s what we’re doing. We’re doing it same thing. And again, I’m making like a moment because we will never forget when my you know that at 13 my daughter cut my hair.
Right Now Is the Time for B- Work
But what I say to is, this is a time where you put it out there and I’m a big believer and I in mess and in discomfort and in B- work. Meaning you do not right now do B+ work.
You are setting yourself up for a world of pain. You put it out there. And by the way, B minus is still above average.
Jennifer Allwood 35:35
I did a whole podcast on B- work. Did you know?
Jillian Leslie 35:37
Jennifer Allwood 35:38
And it wasn’t my idea. I heard it off somebody else’s mind.
Jillian Leslie 35:41
I came up with that
Jennifer Allwood 35:44
Somebody interviewed you then and I heard it there and I’m like.
Jillian Leslie 35:50
Right. I did a podcast on B- work.
Jennifer Allwood 35:53
Yep, I totally I totally have talked about that because I’m like that is genius. Being comfortable with B- work.
Jillian Leslie 36:00
Again, it’s above average.
Jennifer Allwood 36:01
Yeah. Don’t think that oh my God. A license for slop.
Jillian Leslie 36:05
Jennifer Allwood 36:06
It is the ability to put something out there that then you can work on and you can get better if you think that it needs to be.
But here’s what I do talk about this and fears isn not the boss of you. When you’re, when you’re hiding behind the cover of it’s got to be perfect. You’re actually just that’s a cover up for I’m really too scared to put it out into the world yet the majority of the time.
And so it sounds good to say I’m a perfectionist, I want to get it perfect. It sounds very honorable, but in truth, you’re actually stealing from the people who need it right now. And it’s B- level.
So every time you’re like, No, no, no, let me you know, make this course a little better. Let me make this website a little better. Let me make this offering a little better.
Every time you refuse to put it out in it’s B- or B or B+ or whatever. You literally are stealing from people who need it in its current form. And when you’ll shift your mind and you’ll look at it that way, man, that’ll light a fire under you. If it doesn’t, I mean it does me.
Jillian Leslie 36:59
Right. And what I would say is if there is that grain of goodness of something that is needed in the world, your audience, your people will tell you that, and then you will know with them.
How to turn that into B+ work or a B- work or whatever. But to think that you, you have all the answers up front, you don’t have all the answers upfront, you put that idea out there, almost like planting a seed.
If it grows, it’s because it’s growing with the people who need it most.
100% love it.
I always say, you know, you and again, like our whole story with Catch My Party was we thought it was a site for teen girls. And it turned out no mothers wanted to be on our site.
And we were like, Huh, that’s really weird. And we’re not sure this is interesting, but we were like, Oh, no, our initial response was Oh, no, no, no, no, you guys No, no, no, we’re going to like delete your content because we know who our audiences and then.
We stepped back and we said, wait a second, who are we to know who this is for? We see who showing up. And then we go toward that.
How to Become an Influencer — Serve Your Audience
Jennifer Allwood 38:08
So I have a conversation I had the other day with somebody who was telling me she wanted to be an influencer in the online space. And I said, I honor and respect that.
However your audience gets to decide for you when you’re an influencer. Like, if you’re going into this going, I want to be an influencer.
Like, that’s, I think, the wrong goal. The goal should be let me serve people. And let me see if my audience will decide that I’m an influencer or a thought leader or not. So that makes sense.
Jillian Leslie 38:37
Jennifer Allwood 38:37
So I love that you let your audience kind of help, you know, decide on on who the site was actually for and who the content was actually for.
Jillian Leslie 38:45
Yes, and it’s so funny because as influencers, I feel like this is the weird part, when you can step out of yourself. So that it isn’t about you, even though as an influencer, it feels like oh, should all be about me.
Jennifer Allwood 39:01
Jillian Leslie 39:01
It’s like no, no, no. It’s like influencing others to find what they need in themselves.
Jennifer Allwood 39:08
You like the term influencer? Oh, I feel like I’m like now I’m interviewing now let’s interview Jillian.
Jillian Leslie 39:13
I know but I don’t i don’t think of myself as an influencer. I think of myself as a facilitator.
How to Be a Thought Leader
Jennifer Allwood 39:19
Okay. And I have adopted the term thought leader. I like that she was telling me that she’s like, you’re not an influencer. You’re a thought leader. And I’m like, and I like that so much better.
Jillian Leslie 39:29
I do too. I feel like my hope is that if I can give somebody a little different way of seeing a situation like if I can kind of go and just tilt you.
Jennifer Allwood 39:45
Jillian Leslie 39:46
Reframe it and think about things like narratives. What narrative are you putting around this thing that happened?
Is there a way to shift the narrative? Is there a way to say go do go on I’m going to support you. Do we be minus work so that when you’re sitting there beating yourself up, because it’s not a plus, I want you to go.
No, Jillian said go do this. Jillian said put it out there. Jillian said listen to your audience. Jillian said it’s going to be uncomfortable.
Being an Entrepreneur is Being Uncomfortable
So when it is uncomfortable, you can say, “Oh, right, this is the right direction, rather than I want to pull back and not be uncomfortable” when I say it’s messy, and if you can embrace the mess you know, that’s that’s the goal.
So if it is messy, you don’t come and go, “Oh, no, I need to back away from this.” Like my goal is to push you forward. And to tell you the truth, which is it is not puppies and rainbows and it’s facing yourself and it’s facing the the yucky ness like I’m all about go toward yucky.
And rather than shy away from yucky and it’s yucky. Like don’t think it’s not and I’m going to say that you’re going to be like yeah, but it’s not going to be yucky for me or I can handle it and I want to go, No, no, no, it’s going to push you to your breaking point.
And it’s going to make you squirm. And it’s going to make you so, so, so unhappy, and stick in it. So that I feel like if I can get that message, so it’s almost like I want to say like, I want to give you all the information up front, so you’re not so surprised when it happens.
Jennifer Allwood 41:24
Yeah, and, you know, I often relate that to like, before I had our first child, and people try to tell you what it’s gonna be like to be a parent.
What it’s gonna be like to have a baby and you hear them and you’re like, Okay, but it might be different for me, or surely it’s not really like that, or, gosh, I wish she’d read.
I’d rather she not even tell me that like you just you can’t know what you don’t know. And you can’t actually know what you don’t walk through.
You can know it logically in your mind. As a Christian woman, I always often say I know in my Knower, like sometimes you just have a gut feeling and you you know and you’re Knower, but you know.
It’s when you actually walk through things that because it’s different, you know, I can tell people and you can tell people Jillian, but the gift is when they actually go through it themselves. And then they, learn it for themselves.
And there’s only so much preparation that we can do. And also like being an entrepreneur is amazing. It might be the hardest, you know, it might be super hard, but it’s also the best. Like, thank God, I get to work from home.
And I have a team of nine of us that all work remotely from home and that we’re not having to cut staff we’re not having to close doors, right like is are we having to you know, relook at a couple things sure, because all businesses are but if even though it’s hard, like I’m so grateful, this is my heart. I’m so grateful.
Jillian Leslie 42:43
I love that. I love that and I feel the same way like I get to work with my husband. We get to be home. I you know, I too am an introvert although I’ve started to call myself an ambivert.
Jennifer Allwood 42:55
Jillian Leslie 42:55
I agree with you. So even though I’m saying sitting here saying it’s messy and it’s uncomfortable and stuff, I could never pick a different path. And again, that’s the idea of being able to hold such divergent ideas and concepts and feelings in the exact same space.
So it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
Jennifer Allwood 43:17
Yeah, we say that often, you and I talked to the beginning here, because our five year old was knocking on my office door, but we’ve had a new little girl, she’s been with us 19 months today.
And I often tell people and I talk about it in Fear is Not the Boss of You that it’s the hardest, but rightest thing that we’ve ever done adopting this little girl, exactly.
Maybe it’s the right thing to do, but it is but make no bones about it. It’s been hard. You know what I mean.
Jillian Leslie 43:42
I so I can only imagine.
Jennifer Allwood 43:46
Not all the time. You know, there would be there’s obviously many many precious moments but I think things can be the hardest and the rightest.
Jillian Leslie 43:53
Absolutely. I think this you know when before you have children, like again, same thing, like when you have children. It’s like I don’t know if you go into The Matrix are out of the matrix, but everything just shifts and you see the world so differently.
And then you talk to people who haven’t had children yet. And they’ll say things to you like, Oh my god, does it make you so happy? And I go, sometimes, but sometimes it’s awful.
But it gives you so much meaning. And if you want to kind of understand meaning, that’s what I would say. Having a child is all about it’s not again, it’s not this idea of like, Oh my god, we’re just like having those photo ops all the time. No.
Jennifer Allwood 44:32
With four kids, there’s no perfect photo.
Jillian Leslie 44:35
I so get that. I so get that but it’s the idea of like, if you want to dig deeper into yourself and discover parts of yourself that you didn’t even know you had if I think that being a parent forces you to like to be a better person.
I remember this story which is my daughter must have been to three and on picking up groceries, put her in the car. It was a hard day. And out of my mind, I’m putting groceries in the back of the car and I’m exhausted and out of my purse falls, a little Trident wrapper onto the, onto the ground in the parking space.
And she now honestly, of course, I would just want to leave the Trident wrapper on, in the parking lot, because the last thing I want to be doing is adjusting my groceries and whatever and bending down in this uncomfortable way to pick it up.
And she’s watching me and she’s looking at me and of course I’m saying you know, we don’t litter bla bla bla in our lives, and she’s watching me and of course what do I do?
I contort my body. You know, I do everything so that I can pick up that stupid teeny little wrapper to show her to be that person who says yeah, we don’t really litter. Now had she not been in the car. I am going to admit this.
I would have left the wrapper right there on the ground. But It pushes you to just go that extra mile or, or even not to go that extra mile and to let’s say, blow up. But then how do you recover that relationship?
Like how do you dig deeper than you’ve ever dug before? Because you want to be the embodiment of something greater?
Jennifer Allwood 46:17
Well, kids will make you really examine whether you actually walk your talk.
Jillian Leslie 46:22
Jennifer Allwood 46:22
You’re just talking your talk.
Jillian Leslie 46:23
Exactly. And so again, but it’s not like kids are the answer or kids. They again, I think it brings you meaning and depth and challenge and all and love like you’ve never felt.
But it’s not just like you can, you can just do like a faux painting of it and think like, it’s just beautiful because it’s so much richer and I feel like what you were saying if you can’t separate your family, from your business, it’s all kind of the muck this and being in the muck I think is the best place to be. To be human.
Jennifer Allwood 47:01
It’s a beautiful muck.
Jillian Leslie 47:03
It’s a beautiful. It’s a beautiful much. Oh, Jennifer, I love that. Okay, can you tell us about your book? Because this is I would like to think of this as like a virtual book tour date.
Jennifer Allwood 47:15
Thank you. So it’s my actual book tour was cancelled.
Fear is Not the Boss of You Book
Yes. Thank you Corona. So my book is called Fear Is Not the Boss of You, which several people were like, how did you come up with that title? I’m like welling perhaps could be the five year old that we have living with us.
So she tells me that I’m not the boss of her often, but Hmm. So Fear Is Not the Boss of You. It’s not a business book, but it will help a woman in business.
So it’s for women who feel stuck, completely overwhelmed or they’re terrified to make a change in their life. And so it’s basically helping women figure out where you’re stuck, why you’re stuck, and then showing you why you can’t stay there.
And so you can find Fear Not the Boss of You at JenniferAllwood.com/book or you can find it on the Amazon Of course, it’s on Barnes and Noble. It’s at Target.com.
They sold out Target in two days.
Jillian Leslie 48:03
Jennifer Allwood 48:03
So yeah, that was interesting. Because I’m like, I hopefully they had like just a ton of copies, but who actually knows. And you can also get it at walmart.com and ChristianBooks.com. So yeah, in all the places and I would absolutely love it if your readers would go pick up a copy.
Jillian Leslie 48:21
Now one last question, which is, what was your biggest learning writing this book from a personal perspective in terms of your own fear?
Jennifer Allwood 48:32
So God made me basically walk out everything that was in the book while I was writing the book, like I write about, you know, perfectionism, for instance, and I got 40,000 words into my 65,000 word manuscript and I threw it all away.
And then I got another 20,000 words in and threw it all away. And then I started again through that all the way and I restarted this book from scratch was six days to go before it was due.
Jillian Leslie 48:56
Talk about fear.
Jennifer Allwood 48:58
Um, you know, it was basically like a I just was like, I’m not, it’s not working, I’m not happy with it. And, you know, the Enneagram three in me was rearing its ugly head, like if it’s not, you know, the very best that I can put out into the world, and I’m just not putting out anything.
And so, you know, it got very dramatic at certain points. And so it was almost like God was wanting me to just really walk through everything that I was writing about, because I got stuck many times during the writing process.
Why You Need to Believe in What You’re Doing
It was like he was almost saying, okay, but do you really believe what you’re writing about? I really want you to remember what it feels like to be a woman who feels you know, terrified of what other people are gonna think of her terrified of putting something out into the world. That’s hard.
You know, who feels stuck and you feel like you just can’t get out of that and you feel like nobody’s rooting for you. I want to make sure you really believe what you’re writing about.
And, and so yeah, that’s the biggest thing that I learned about writing the book is I had to walk through all the content in the book while I was writing, while I was writing it, which was actually really good.
It kept me really in touch with the woman that’s gonna be picking up the book on the other end, you remember how vulnerable it feels to show up for your own life.
How we’re often our own worst critic, and we’re often the hardest on ourselves. And but we have people that need for us to show up for our life. A lot of them call us mom in our homes. And you know, and then you can’t stay stuck for so many reasons.
I know at different times in my life when I’ve been stuck, it affects my marriage, it affects my children, and my husband deserves a free woman who’s not stuck and terrified to make decisions.
My kids deserve a free mother, who’s not stuck and completely overwhelmed and terrified to make decisions. So yeah, it was it was such a joy to write when it finally when I started again, is six days to go and my husband put me up in a hotel in downtown Kansas City and just said order room service until you’re done.
Jillian Leslie 50:42
Jennifer Allwood 50:43
The book just like poured out of me like hot lava when I finally figured out the angle it needed to come from and what I really wanted to say to the woman who is picking it up and reading it, so yeah, they can find it at any major bookstore.
Jillian Leslie 50:54
Here’s Oh, oh, Jennifer, I love it. Okay, and if people want to learn about your coaching and your podcasts and stuff. What is the best way for people to reach out to you?
Jennifer Allwood 51:03
Well, since they’re listening to this podcast, I do have my own podcast called the Jennifer Allwood Show so go download that if you want, but you can find out anything you need at jenniferallwood.com, you can find me on all the social medias.
I love Instagram and Instagram DMS in particular. I’ve been coaching all the women in my business group that now more than ever, you better be attentive to your DMS because people are needing a personal touch and they’re they’re needing to feel seen and heard.
Make Your Audience Feel Seen Right Now
In the middle of a quarantine right now some of the best things you can do to your business is make your clients feel very seen and validated in the DMS or show up on your social media live on Facebook or on Instagram stories because we’re craving human connection by way of eye contact.
And even if you can’t see them if they can watch you on a Facebook Live and watch your face and watch you on Instagram Stories it makes them feel seen even if you can’t actually see them if that makes sense.
So, so I am in my DMs for you know almost two hours every single day answering you. And just wanting to touch women and let them know I see you.
You know I’m in the I’m in it with you sis knee deep with you and so send me a DM if you want to do that on Instagram, I’d love that.
Jillian Leslie 52:10
I just love that. I love how approachable and relatable and real you are. I just say thank you. I really do.
Jennifer Allwood 52:19
I told God. A while ago Jillian, if I ever get so big for my britches that I can’t show up and answer DMs and like see people you know and really respond to them on a personal level then I no longer deserve this platform. And I mean that mean?
Jillian Leslie 52:33
Oh, I really I love that. Well, Jennifer I have to say honestly, you’ve brightened my day. I am so happy that I got to connect with you.
I feel so like-minded with you. And you know, just I I’m right there going. Yes, yes, yes to everything you say.
Jennifer Allwood 52:49
Thanks. So this has been so fun. Great way to start my day. Thank you.
Jillian Leslie 52:52
I hope you guys really learned in this episode. Usually I’m talking tactics. I’m talking strategies. I’m talking things you can implement in your business, whether it be email marketing, or Instagram or something like that. But this conversation talked about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
What I love about it is how it makes you work on yourself on your own life on your own blocks on your own issues. And I believe there’s no better way to grow as a human being than to become an online entrepreneur you want to face yourself, this is the way to do it.
So do check out the MiloTree Membership Program if you’re interested in that if you want to join a community of really wonderful bloggers and entrepreneurs, it we all get to know each other and we all get to share about our businesses, especially because as I like to say, I think entrepreneurship while amazing can also be lonely.
It can be feel a little bit like you are isolated in this world. And it’s so nice, especially during this time to have a community of people who are cheering you on.
So again go to MiloTree.com/membership and check it out and if you have any questions email me at Jillian@milotree.com because I love hearing from you and I will see you here again next week.
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