Ep7-Jen Lehner Front Row CEO

 

This week's guest:
Jen Lehner, Front Row VIP

Jen Lehner - Episode 7

 

 

Jennifer Lehner is a digital marketing strategist and systems strategist. She shows entrepreneurs how to build an audience and monetize their expertise online using social media and digital tools. She creates online courses and trainings and her favorite place to hang out is in her private mastermind, The Front Row VIP. She lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio with her husband, 3 kids and a golden retriever. 

 

 

 

In this episode ~

Jen shared what being in the front row means to her and what the shift that took her business to the next level. She hasn't looked back since!

You'll learn:

  • How dangerous multi-tasking is for entrepreneurs 
  • When the light bulb went off about leveraging her time and the substantial change it made in her revenue  
  • How staying bogged down with all of the tasks sets the stage for missed opportunities 
  • How taking quick action landed James Altucher and Gary Vaynerchuk on her podcast.

 

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Transcript

Are you a Front Row CEO? In today's episode, Jen Lehner is sharing the steps that allowed her to fully step into that Front Row CEO.

It's time for the Becoming a Profitable CEO podcast and it's all about providing you with the tools to succeed on this ever-evolving business-building journey. My mission is to make sure you know you are not alone, that it is possible and that you, yes YOU, CAN do this. You matter, the world is a better place for having you in it, and your voice is needed!

I’m Teresa Cleveland and I believe we can all make a difference and that having a successful online business is one of the best, most effective ways to do that.

Let’s get to it!

Teresa: Welcome, welcome, Jen, it's so good to have you here. I've been looking forward to this.

Jen: I am excited to be here. This is a great new show you got going.

Teresa: Well, thanks. I sure appreciate you being here. I'm still kind of blown away that we're both here in Ohio, along with Phyllis, who was our second guest. And whatever we're able to travel, we're going to have to connect some way somehow.

Jen: Oh, my gosh. You know, and it's the kind of thing we're not going to take for granted anymore like they used to be. We just throw that out there like, oh, we got to meet up sometime. I think now people when we say that we're going to mean it, like because we're just not we don't take it for granted anymore. Right?

Teresa: We don't. And this year, I miss the beach. You usually do a retreat. Right?

Jen: I do a retreat. This year was going to be in Arizona. It's still going to happen. We just had to push it back just a smidge.

Teresa: Yeah, I see that happening. People are just pushing it back and it's like we'll see. Right. Because I think everybody understands. Let's just be safe, keep each other safe and get through this as quickly as we can.

Let's talk about your business. How long have you been in business, Jen?

Jen: Oh, my gosh. You know, I've been meaning to check that. I really don't know. I think seven years, I think. Because, you know, I saw a friend of mine do a five year anniversary of her business. And I see people do this from time to time. And she did a whole big campaign around it. I'm like, that's so smart. Why haven't I done that? I don't even know. I don't know. So let's say seven years.

Teresa: Let's say seven. We'll look it up. And if it's seven, you can have a whole campaign around. Lucky seven. Lucky number seven.

Jen: Yeah, I don't know if you could talk about like anything annual and lucky in the year 2020, we definitely would have to push it to 2021 and then it would be eight years. So I don't know whatever. Yeah.

Teresa: And that could be the lucky thing. That even in 2020 you still got it going on.

Jen: Yes. There you go. Spoken like a true CEO right there.

Teresa: Well Jen, tell us something along your journey that really made an impact in your business. That thing that was happening that caused that epiphany. And we've all had many of them. But one that stands out to you that you think other up and coming CEOs would be struggling with.

Jen: For me, it was like simple math. And I'm not a math person. And first, I would say, like the door cracked open. Todd Herman of 90 day year, I worked with him for a while beyond his 90 day year program. But it was in that program where he talked about how, I mean, he just made me aware of, like, how we spend our time and how dangerous multitasking really is to an entrepreneur. You know?

Then that led me to sort of understanding this more and employing better, I guess, time management practices into my business. But then the simple math came into effect when I learned that if I was spending my day doing $10 an hour tasks that I could easily outsource to someone else that I didn't need to be doing, I could grow so much faster.

I had been in business for two years at that point. And so, for example, I was, like you, I'm good at tech and it comes easy to me and I also enjoy it. I like the problem solving that comes with a new piece of software and I'm figuring things out that's really fun and gratifying to me. But that is not the thing people are paying me for, number one. And it's also like I need to be doing the stuff that does create revenue in my business.

What is that? That's like speaking gigs or doing webinars that lead to sales of my online courses or having conversations with potential joint venture partners, all those sorts of things, not creating Canva graphics, not organizing spreadsheets, not setting up opt- in pages. No, with a capital N. And then I learned that, oh, wait, you can find people who will do this for a very low hourly rate.

Even if you only freed up two hours a day, that's two hours a day where you could be making sales calls. RIght? And you can get a lot of sales calls done in two hours. So that was the big, big, big light bulb for me. And then followed by me taking quick action right after that.

And then the game completely changed. Everything changed. I grew so much faster. I started to see real revenue in my business that I got to put back in my business for the next time that we launched, spending more money on Facebook ads, generating more leads, more sales.

That's how it worked. But it's a scary proposition. So once I figured out how to do this and I do it pretty well, I have to say. I mean, I have figured out a system that makes this a pretty painless automated process. I created a program that teaches people how to do it, too. But that's where it all started for me. And I haven't looked back.

I know people who started at around the same time or were in B school with me. And they're still slogging through the mud. They're still doing everything themselves. They're really good at it. They're doing OK. But there's not a huge jump in their revenue from all those years ago. They're basically maintaining the status quo and maybe showing a little profit, but not much more, and that's discouraging. And then there's the people you started B school with or peers that you started in business with and you look over your shoulders and they're not there anymore because who would want to be there breaking even after seven or eight years?

You know, no way. That's not what we're here for. We're here to make an impact. And that is, to me, the best way to do it. That was a long answer to your question.

Teresa: But I love it because it is such a paradox when you're coming up to that point, because in that time, it's like, oh, I can't afford it. Right? Because I'm doing it all. And I know I keep hearing I should hire it out, but I can't afford to do that because I don't have enough time to make the money, it's like this catch 22.

And when we actually finally get it, it's like, oh, if I can go out and generate one hundred and fifty dollars in an hour, now I can hire someone for how many hours? And for all of those hours that they're working, that frees me up to be able to have those sales calls, to create those programs, to do those things so that we can bring in more money and then hire more people to help us do more things.

Jen: Right.

Teresa: And tell me if this was true for you. For myself and a lot of people, it's been that it's really surprising or it's a pleasant surprise that once we do it, we actually do experience that we're more creative. We see more opportunities because we're not focused on all these tasks when we're talking to people. Just like you were saying about joint ventures and things like that, when you're talking to people like your brain isn't so weighed down with all the tasks that you have to do today that you can see that opportunity and take action on it.

Jen: Oh, exactly. And that is a really terrible position to be in, is when an opportunity comes your way and you don't really feel like you can take advantage of it because you're so bogged down in all the millions of other things. Or you're immediately thinking of the long to-do list that's going to be accompanied by that simple offer that someone made to you like "Hey, we ought to get together and do such and so." Yeah, you're immediately running down all the gazillions of things that need to happen for that to happen.

I remember when Periscope first hit the scene and it was like after Meerkat, it was Meerkat first and then it was Periscope and live streaming apps. That was really nothing short of revolutionary in our world. Right? Because suddenly you could press a button and be like, I mean, now we take it for granted as if we've been doing it forever. No, we haven't. That is unbelievable. We have the power of CBS and NBC and every other station, plus the space shuttle, like in our pocket.

It was just insane. It was so exciting to me. I couldn't even sleep. I'm telling you, I was just thinking of all the possibilities and what this meant for marketing and business. And I couldn't do anything about it. I could not live stream. I could not. All those people who started live streaming every day on Periscope. Nicole, oh I can't think of her name. So many, just so many people started live streaming every day on Periscope and they built a name for themselves and they built thriving businesses that are still thriving today.

But it's because they jumped on that platform and they took advantage of it and they did it every day. Well, what was I doing? I was alone crying at my desk, trying to cobble out this ginormous online course that I was putting together. And I was editing and I was making PDFs and workbooks and I was connecting landing pages and trying to figure out my webinar and my slide deck and all these things. And I was miserable, but I just wouldn't let myself leave that project because I had deadlines and there were other people involved in this program that were guest experts and so forth.

It's not like I could push it back. And so I really couldn't focus on Periscope. And what I told myself was when I get on the other end of this, I'll take advantage of Periscope. And by then, honestly, it was, you know, maybe just two months. I never found my footing. And that never really happened for me. I never really was able to take advantage of that. And that killed me.

And now that will never happen again. Because now, something comes across my desk, if I can see that it has that kind of potential, even if I'm working on a really important project, there's nothing other than the speaking that I do and some of the content that I create, there's nothing that I do that my team can't do in my place.

And in fact, you and I were talking in the pre-show about how my mom has been sick. I have been out of my business for the most part for well over a month. And no one in my community knows because my team has been able to keep everything afloat and we haven't missed a beat and the revenue continues to come in and people feel well cared for.

And so I think that is why we have the businesses that we have. It's not because we want to be on the beach in the Bahamas drinking a fruity drink. And that picture that keeps popping up on all the landing pages of the life that we're aspiring to and the boss and all that.

No, it's not really that. It's so that we can take those important moments to spend time with an aging or ill parent or our kids. Who might need us through a tough time and we can just say, all right, let's go to the zoo. Actually, I hate the zoo.

Teresa: I'm with you on that. We have a sitter that has been like Liam sitter since he was two. She does the zoo thing so gets to enjoy it and he doesn't have to put up with a crabby me.

Jen: Yeah, you know what? It's just my husband's the same way. It's evolved over time. It's like we it's not we're not like activists or anything, but we just don't like to see animals in cages. And it just that's the part we don't like about it. I mean, I do enjoy looking at gorillas and monkeys. I love it, but I just always feel sad by the time I leave. It's like I wish they were free.

Teresa: Well, I hear you on that. And yes, it's true. It gives us choices. Isn't that one of the biggest things that we wanted when we started a business? Most of us want to be able to choose who we work with, who we don't work with-

Jen: Even more

Teresa: Exactly. And being in that space, just like you said, where you can spend time with an aging parent or family member or just to be able to take some time off just to say, you know what, I have to. And so the choices and the freedom, that's always been a theme in my life. I like to have choices. I always bristle at those "it has to be this way" situations.

You know, it's absolutely true. And, you know, I'm sure if you look back your you remember those nights when you were doing the PDFs and the slides and you were up way too late.

Jen: Mm hmm.

Teresa: And getting not enough sleep. But just like you said, your name was on the line and you were involved with other people and you're not going to let them down.

Jen: Right.

Teresa: So you just get it done. So I really do love that you've shared that, because I think that this is something a lot of people struggle with, is what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Right? Do I hire somebody to help me or do I not? That's a whole other show because, I definitely want to get into that. I think there's a lot of different ways that people can prioritize even what they're going to hire out first. There's a couple of different schools of thought, and I like that again, choices. You figure out which one of these two or three work for you.

Jen: Well, I don't know the link off the top of my head, but I'll give it to you to put in the show notes. I've got this PDF of something like one hundred and sixty plus things to delegate to your first VA (virtual assistant). And for me, the first things that we like to tell people to do or the stuff you want to get rid of first, that you do routinely, that you want to get off your plate first. That's the first thing to offload.

But the way we do it is we have somebody watch a Loom video that you've created of the process. So maybe it's how you do your Google Drive folders or how you manage your inbox or whatever, and you just basically do a short well, as long as it needs to be, explainer video of how this is done. What we do is we give the VA that video to watch, to create a system. They watch it and they document all the steps and they even will screenshot where necessary. If illustration is something graphic is necessary.

What happens is they learn how to do it so much more than they would by just watching the video because they've had to document it, so they really now know it thoroughly. And whether this VA leaves or stays, you know, if she ends up not being the right one or he ends up not being there, that system lives in your business forever. That's one way to think about it. There are a million more thoughts I have about it.

Teresa: Well, I appreciate that and will definitely include the link because those standard operating procedures are just gold. I am a Loom fanatic. I use it for my team. I use it with clients. I know you've always used it.

You've got the Front Row VIP. So let's talk about how you help upcoming and emerging and expert CEOs run their business more profitably.

Jen: At this point, I've got a few different ways. So Front Row VIP is sort of the entry level program. Actually, I have the free classroom called FrontRowClassroomcom. Is where you access it. There are some tutorials and stuff in there and some nice sharing and networking that happens in that group.

But Front Row VIP is a monthly membership that people join, and it's filled with a lot of the things that you would find in a typical marketing membership. And there's a library of tutorials. We have guest experts. We have a wonderful community that's very supportive and engaged. But I think one thing that really makes it stand out is we have these twice a month strategy calls where it's not just talking at one hundred people in the room.

People submit their questions in advance. So I spend a lot of time really studying their question. And if I can't answer it, I will point them in the right direction. But we go really deep. I do really deep coaching with individuals on these calls. If they submit the questions and they don't even have to show up live. They just get a link to the timestamp where I answered their question. And so that's been really popular. And I really, really, really enjoy that.

We also have special events and accountability challenges and all that good stuff. That's the gist of that.

Teresa: I actually was on the receiving end of one of those sessions where you had looked at something in my business and it was gold. And it was nice that you provided that link to the timestamp where you answered my question. But I learned so much even with you answering questions for other people. And even if it wasn't something I was doing in my business right then, I knew that I could go back and reference that. So it was gold, though, it was like, oh, my gosh, I was able to go out and take action that afternoon.

Jen: Yeah. Thank you so much. I appreciate it when people give me a timestamp, though, because sometimes you just need the answer. But it is nice to go back and learn from other people as well.

And the other thing that I've added to my product suite over the last year and a half now is an accelerator program, which is a small group coaching program. I don't generally have more than 12 people in that program, it's a 90 day program.

I love 90-day containers. I have found out that is the thing for me. I don't think you're ever going to find me opening up like a 6 month coaching program or even a year long kind of thing. I don't like being tied to anything for that long because I want to be able to have the freedom to move in a different direction. You can get so much done in 90 days and I just love it.

I get to go really deep with each of these people and see so much growth in their business. It's just so satisfying to me. I really get to know them very well and I get to know their businesses and you know, their success is my success. So I really love that. And that's all keeping me really busy. It's rinse and repeat with iterations and improvement is the goal.

Teresa: Well, and you've always just stayed on top of so many things in social media and the different platforms. And I'm always just like, oh my gosh, where does she find the time to do all this and to know all of this? I remember when Alexa briefings were a thing and you were talking about that and I mentioned that to someone and they said, how on earth how do you get to know all these cool things? And I'm like, you got to get in Front Row VIP, Jen knows all the stuff.

I remember too, it has just stuck with me. You actually got Gary V to be a guest on your podcast.

Jen: Yep, yep. And then I got to be a guest on his. It was pretty, pretty awesome.

So, you know, this whole Front Row brand that I have is based on the notion that, like, we got to live our life on the front row. Right. Like life is too short to take a back seat. And the older we get, the more clear that becomes. Right? I'm not wasting time in back. I want to be up front. When you're up front, it's just a way of saying, like, I'm all in I'm here for this. I see you, you see me and, you know, seize the day, carpe diem. All that. That's what I'm about.

So with the Gary V thing, I was out for a walk on a Sunday afternoon with my dog and I was listening to Gary V on James Altucher's podcast. Gary V just switched gears real fast. And he goes, I got an idea. Anybody who records two podcast episodes right now and then tweets, what's the hashtag we should use, James?And James said, Let's use hashtag Gary and James. I started use that hashtag. We're going to come on your show for five minutes. Oh, no, I'm going to come on your show for five minutes. And then James Altucher said, yeah, I will too.

Great. Crap. I did not want to record a podcast episode. I was on a walk on a Sunday afternoon. I didn't want to do that, but I just turned around in my tracks, went home as fast as I could. I gave my husband, the dog, the kids. I'm like, you're in charge, I got to go do this podcast.

I had been saving a podcast course in my back pocket that I had purchased. I watched the course on hyperspeed, like on two speed. I learned how to do the podcast episode. I got two lousy episodes. They're terrible, recorded and uploaded. And then I started tweeting. Well, I got James first and he agreed to come on and he was so amazing. He stayed on for 45 minutes. I was so nervous talking to him, but he stayed on for 45 minutes. And honestly, if I hadn't been so nervous and sort of felt like I was going to run out of things to say he would have stayed as long as I kept on asking him questions.

So that was so nice. But gosh, Gary Vaynerchuk was so, so hard to get. So what I ended up doing was I tweeted and I said, James kept his word. What about you? Like, it's your turn. At the same time, I also went and edited the episode that he was on with James Altucher where they he promised and I started tweeting those things out with the audio being like you promised, you said you would and all this stuff.

And then finally, he did come on the show. He stayed much longer than five minutes. We had a really, really nice talk. And really it was such a good conversation, they asked if they could use it on the Daily Vee, his show. So they played it in its entirety on The Daily Vee.

And so coming full circle back to the front row thing, like I got to walk the talk. That is one example of just like going for it and having the mindset that because there's a part of you that is like, oh, everybody is going to go run out and do this and he's never going to see my podcast.

Well, guess what? I'm the only one. I'm not the only one who tweeted him, but I'm the only one whose show he came on, even though he promised all those other people. Yeah, it was just like everybody else is thinking that way, too. It's like when you go to park your car and you're in the shopping center, you just automatically shoot for the second or third row because you just know everything on the front row is taken.

But everybody else is thinking that, too. So there's always a spot on the front row for me. Always, always. When I go to Trader Joe's, which is like our busiest parking lot in town, that shopping center is always packed. And even now, holiday time, I mean, granted is Corona time too, but whatever, I can go and always find a parking spot.

Teresa: That's great. I love that you went after it because that's the other part, right? It goes to what you're talking about. It's that you took action and we do we have that thought that, oh, I'm going to be one of one hundred or whatever thousand, everybody's going to do this. And even if they all did, nobody's going to do it like you did. Right?

Jen: Right.

Teresa: So showing up as yourself in your full authenticity and just being like, wait a minute, you said so let's do it.

So Twitter is your main social gig, right? That's where is that where you hang out the most?

Jen: No, I wouldn't say that. I use Twitter. Twitter is like I think of Twitter as a tool. I would say Facebook is really my main place where I share content and have conversations, live stream and all that. But Twitter is where I do an awful lot of research. If I want to connect with an author or a thought leader or an actor like I love when I read a book and I have a question or there's something in there that really resonated, I will almost always find the author on Twitter and reach out to them.

And guess what? It doesn't matter. They could be in many, many, many times over best selling New York Times best selling author and they will reply to you. And so so I love it for that. You know, it's great for that sort of really very specific communication with a stranger. That same kind of communication on Facebook will look like stalking. And on Instagram it will just get ignored. On Twitter, you can make it happen. I do love Twitter and it's also a great place to do research using Twitter lists, so I love it for that. But I would say Facebook is really more my jam.

Teresa: All right, that's interesting. I know back in the day I did very little business on Facebook and not much of a presence. Twitter was one thing. I love that because you could, you had access to everybody. And, you know, I've been there for so long now, I remember when Scott Stratton, Unmarketing, was like the mayor of Twitter.

Jen: Yeah.

Teresa: He was offering to, if you replied to his tweet, then he would critique your profile back then.

It was just so much fun. And I loved it because it was just creating relationships with people. You have access to people you didn't normally have access to. And it was before you got all the dm stuff and all of that before all the funky part of it came along. But I, I just feel like I don't have the time to spend on there like I used to.

Jen: It's not the same as it used to be. I mean, the Twitter chats are gone and I think that community feel is gone. But it's a good tool.

Teresa: But I like that because you can still do that. It's funny when I go to Twitter, if a program is down or one of my platforms are down, Twitter is the first place that I go to and then I tweet @ whatever because I want to see, like, is this an ongoing problem? Is this a me problem? I can still connect with a few people there, but Facebook has become a place where I spent a lot of time now.

Jen: You know what else Twitter is great for that is not as good anywhere else? But I only do this from my alias account because I have a secret Twitter account where I can go talk about politics and stuff like that. It's also where I do all of my angry tweeting like customer service issues. Right? But they answer. Yes, you will get great customer service from a lot of companies if you tweet at them. And I'm not saying like mean tweets, but it's just to publicly say, hey, Dyson, my vacuum cleaner is not working. And there's you know, I haven't been able to find a 1-800 number where a human answers, can you help me out? And then they will take it from there and they will call you.

Teresa: That is so true. I have tweeted before to a company, several companies. I've been on hold for 45 minutes. Where can I go to get an answer? I don't have time. You know, I've got an appointment here in ten minutes. Where can I go get an answer? And most companies are really, really good about that because they've got the things up to be notified every time.

Jen: Let me tell you, I actually did a real life experiment. I didn't really do it as an experiment on purpose, but this is what it ended up being. I was stuck on the tarmac. I called Delta. I was going to miss my connection, needed to get a new flight. So I called. I was on hold for, I don't know, let's say half an hour. While I was on hold, I was on my computer.

I was messaging on Twitter, or maybe I was on my phone, too, but I was messaging with Twitter through my DMS, the same thing. In those 30 minutes they had me booked on the next flight, and I was still up by the time that person came on and said, hi, this is Peggy with Delta, how can I help you? And I'm like, never mind. I'm pretty much wrapped up with someone on chat support.

Teresa: That is great. I encourage anybody to reach out to companies because they do they have people that that's their job is to make sure that their name isn't getting a bad rap and that there are not unhappy customers out there.

Jen: Yeah.

Teresa: And if you're on Twitter, I would say that it's really important for you also to be looking for your name and your notifications when you're coming up to see what other people are saying about you.

Jen: Yes.

Teresa: So to wrap up, we'll go ahead and put your info in the show notes so that everyone can find you on social media. Check out your Classroom and the Front Row VIP. I know something we didn't talk about today, but I know it's on your website is your planner, which maybe we'll come back and talk about that another time, because I think it's beautiful and not just beautiful, but very, very useful. I read the testimonials and people love it. We'll put the link to that as well.

Jen: Thank you.

Teresa: Sure. Tell us about this year of not being able to travel. Let us all live vicariously through each other. What is your favorite vacation destination or experience?

Jen: Swimming in the China Sea in the Philippines off of a very, very remote island called Sombrero Island. It was just beautiful. The stars at night were like you see in the movies when it's just carpeted with gazillions, gazillions of stars. And I've never, never since seen a sky like that. And then the water was just crystal clear. It was so nice.

Teresa: Oh, my gosh, that sounds wonderful.

Jen: But also, it's a tie between that and St. John's Conille Bay and St. John's. Love it.

Teresa: All right. I'm a beach girl so I'm there. I'll look it up now so I can get pictures and check it out. So thanks so much for that.

Our "would you rather" question today, would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button on your life?

Jen: Rewind.

Teresa: Rewind. Why?

Jen: Because I want to see my kids again as little tiny, sweet people.

Teresa: That is so nice. So what for you is the most important number or metric in your business?

Jen: I mean, it is that bottom line, to be honest with you. I mean, but not just at year's end. It's tracking our growth, launch after launch, is really fun. This is what I communicate to the people in my accelerator program. Making money is fun. It should be fun. It is fun. And that's what I look at.

Teresa: That's great, because you do get to see the impact that you're making. You know, that's what those numbers translate to. Yes. It's money in the bank and all of the people, I think that we're able to get out there and help them further their journey.

Jen: Yeah, absolutely.

Teresa: Yeah, fun definitely needs to be in there. That was a question from someone else, one of our previous guests. It was a summary of a question they had. And what is a question you would like for us to ask a future guest?

Jen: I love that you do this. This is so cool. OK, my question is, what is the one book you find yourself recommending over and over again?

Teresa: Nice. I like that. Well, I'll be interested to find out too.
Teresa: Welcome, welcome, Jen, it's so good to have you here. I've been looking forward to this.

Jen: I am excited to be here. This is a great new show you got going.

Teresa: Well, thanks. I sure appreciate you being here. I'm still kind of blown away that we're both here in Ohio, along with Phyllis, who was our second guest. And whatever we're able to travel, we're going to have to connect some way somehow.

Jen: Oh, my gosh. You know, and it's the kind of thing we're not going to take for granted anymore like they used to be. We just throw that out there like, oh, we got to meet up sometime. I think now people when we say that we're going to mean it, like because we're just not we don't take it for granted anymore. Right?

Teresa: We don't. And this year, I miss the beach. You usually do a retreat. Right?

Jen: I do a retreat. This year was going to be in Arizona. It's still going to happen. We just had to push it back just a smidge.

Teresa: Yeah, I see that happening. People are just pushing it back and it's like we'll see. Right. Because I think everybody understands. Let's just be safe, keep each other safe and get through this as quickly as we can.

Let's talk about your business. How long have you been in business, Jen?

Jen: Oh, my gosh. You know, I've been meaning to check that. I really don't know. I think seven years, I think. Because, you know, I saw a friend of mine do a five year anniversary of her business. And I see people do this from time to time. And she did a whole big campaign around it. I'm like, that's so smart. Why haven't I done that? I don't even know. I don't know. So let's say seven years.

Teresa: Let's say seven. We'll look it up. And if it's seven, you can have a whole campaign around. Lucky seven. Lucky number seven.

Jen: Yeah, I don't know if you could talk about like anything annual and lucky in the year 2020, we definitely would have to push it to 2021 and then it would be eight years. So I don't know whatever. Yeah.

Teresa: And that could be the lucky thing. That even in 2020 you still got it going on.

Jen: Yes. There you go. Spoken like a true CEO right there.

Teresa: Well Jen, tell us something along your journey that really made an impact in your business. That thing that was happening that caused that epiphany. And we've all had many of them. But one that stands out to you that you think other up and coming CEOs would be struggling with.

Jen: For me, it was like simple math. And I'm not a math person. And first, I would say, like the door cracked open. Todd Herman of 90 day year, I worked with him for a while beyond his 90 day year program. But it was in that program where he talked about how, I mean, he just made me aware of, like, how we spend our time and how dangerous multitasking really is to an entrepreneur. You know?

Then that led me to sort of understanding this more and employing better, I guess, time management practices into my business. But then the simple math came into effect when I learned that if I was spending my day doing $10 an hour tasks that I could easily outsource to someone else that I didn't need to be doing, I could grow so much faster.

I had been in business for two years at that point. And so, for example, I was, like you, I'm good at tech and it comes easy to me and I also enjoy it. I like the problem solving that comes with a new piece of software and I'm figuring things out that's really fun and gratifying to me. But that is not the thing people are paying me for, number one. And it's also like I need to be doing the stuff that does create revenue in my business.

What is that? That's like speaking gigs or doing webinars that lead to sales of my online courses or having conversations with potential joint venture partners, all those sorts of things, not creating Canva graphics, not organizing spreadsheets, not setting up opt- in pages. No, with a capital N. And then I learned that, oh, wait, you can find people who will do this for a very low hourly rate.

Even if you only freed up two hours a day, that's two hours a day where you could be making sales calls. RIght? And you can get a lot of sales calls done in two hours. So that was the big, big, big light bulb for me. And then followed by me taking quick action right after that.

And then the game completely changed. Everything changed. I grew so much faster. I started to see real revenue in my business that I got to put back in my business for the next time that we launched, spending more money on Facebook ads, generating more leads, more sales.

That's how it worked. But it's a scary proposition. So once I figured out how to do this and I do it pretty well, I have to say. I mean, I have figured out a system that makes this a pretty painless automated process. I created a program that teaches people how to do it, too. But that's where it all started for me. And I haven't looked back.

I know people who started at around the same time or were in B school with me. And they're still slogging through the mud. They're still doing everything themselves. They're really good at it. They're doing OK. But there's not a huge jump in their revenue from all those years ago. They're basically maintaining the status quo and maybe showing a little profit, but not much more, and that's discouraging. And then there's the people you started B school with or peers that you started in business with and you look over your shoulders and they're not there anymore because who would want to be there breaking even after seven or eight years?

You know, no way. That's not what we're here for. We're here to make an impact. And that is, to me, the best way to do it. That was a long answer to your question.

Teresa: But I love it because it is such a paradox when you're coming up to that point, because in that time, it's like, oh, I can't afford it. Right? Because I'm doing it all. And I know I keep hearing I should hire it out, but I can't afford to do that because I don't have enough time to make the money, it's like this catch 22.

And when we actually finally get it, it's like, oh, if I can go out and generate one hundred and fifty dollars in an hour, now I can hire someone for how many hours? And for all of those hours that they're working, that frees me up to be able to have those sales calls, to create those programs, to do those things so that we can bring in more money and then hire more people to help us do more things.

Jen: Right.

Teresa: And tell me if this was true for you. For myself and a lot of people, it's been that it's really surprising or it's a pleasant surprise that once we do it, we actually do experience that we're more creative. We see more opportunities because we're not focused on all these tasks when we're talking to people. Just like you were saying about joint ventures and things like that, when you're talking to people like your brain isn't so weighed down with all the tasks that you have to do today that you can see that opportunity and take action on it.

Jen: Oh, exactly. And that is a really terrible position to be in, is when an opportunity comes your way and you don't really feel like you can take advantage of it because you're so bogged down in all the millions of other things. Or you're immediately thinking of the long to-do list that's going to be accompanied by that simple offer that someone made to you like "Hey, we ought to get together and do such and so." Yeah, you're immediately running down all the gazillions of things that need to happen for that to happen.

I remember when Periscope first hit the scene and it was like after Meerkat, it was Meerkat first and then it was Periscope and live streaming apps. That was really nothing short of revolutionary in our world. Right? Because suddenly you could press a button and be like, I mean, now we take it for granted as if we've been doing it forever. No, we haven't. That is unbelievable. We have the power of CBS and NBC and every other station, plus the space shuttle, like in our pocket.

It was just insane. It was so exciting to me. I couldn't even sleep. I'm telling you, I was just thinking of all the possibilities and what this meant for marketing and business. And I couldn't do anything about it. I could not live stream. I could not. All those people who started live streaming every day on Periscope. Nicole, oh I can't think of her name. So many, just so many people started live streaming every day on Periscope and they built a name for themselves and they built thriving businesses that are still thriving today.

But it's because they jumped on that platform and they took advantage of it and they did it every day. Well, what was I doing? I was alone crying at my desk, trying to cobble out this ginormous online course that I was putting together. And I was editing and I was making PDFs and workbooks and I was connecting landing pages and trying to figure out my webinar and my slide deck and all these things. And I was miserable, but I just wouldn't let myself leave that project because I had deadlines and there were other people involved in this program that were guest experts and so forth.

It's not like I could push it back. And so I really couldn't focus on Periscope. And what I told myself was when I get on the other end of this, I'll take advantage of Periscope. And by then, honestly, it was, you know, maybe just two months. I never found my footing. And that never really happened for me. I never really was able to take advantage of that. And that killed me.

And now that will never happen again. Because now, something comes across my desk, if I can see that it has that kind of potential, even if I'm working on a really important project, there's nothing other than the speaking that I do and some of the content that I create, there's nothing that I do that my team can't do in my place.

And in fact, you and I were talking in the pre-show about how my mom has been sick. I have been out of my business for the most part for well over a month. And no one in my community knows because my team has been able to keep everything afloat and we haven't missed a beat and the revenue continues to come in and people feel well cared for.

And so I think that is why we have the businesses that we have. It's not because we want to be on the beach in the Bahamas drinking a fruity drink. And that picture that keeps popping up on all the landing pages of the life that we're aspiring to and the boss and all that.

No, it's not really that. It's so that we can take those important moments to spend time with an aging or ill parent or our kids. Who might need us through a tough time and we can just say, all right, let's go to the zoo. Actually, I hate the zoo.

Teresa: I'm with you on that. We have a sitter that has been like Liam sitter since he was two. She does the zoo thing so gets to enjoy it and he doesn't have to put up with a crabby me.

Jen: Yeah, you know what? It's just my husband's the same way. It's evolved over time. It's like we it's not we're not like activists or anything, but we just don't like to see animals in cages. And it just that's the part we don't like about it. I mean, I do enjoy looking at gorillas and monkeys. I love it, but I just always feel sad by the time I leave. It's like I wish they were free.

Teresa: Well, I hear you on that. And yes, it's true. It gives us choices. Isn't that one of the biggest things that we wanted when we started a business? Most of us want to be able to choose who we work with, who we don't work with-

Jen: Even more

Teresa: Exactly. And being in that space, just like you said, where you can spend time with an aging parent or family member or just to be able to take some time off just to say, you know what, I have to. And so the choices and the freedom, that's always been a theme in my life. I like to have choices. I always bristle at those "it has to be this way" situations.

You know, it's absolutely true. And, you know, I'm sure if you look back your you remember those nights when you were doing the PDFs and the slides and you were up way too late.

Jen: Mm hmm.

Teresa: And getting not enough sleep. But just like you said, your name was on the line and you were involved with other people and you're not going to let them down.

Jen: Right.

Teresa: So you just get it done. So I really do love that you've shared that, because I think that this is something a lot of people struggle with, is what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Right? Do I hire somebody to help me or do I not? That's a whole other show because, I definitely want to get into that. I think there's a lot of different ways that people can prioritize even what they're going to hire out first. There's a couple of different schools of thought, and I like that again, choices. You figure out which one of these two or three work for you.

Jen: Well, I don't know the link off the top of my head, but I'll give it to you to put in the show notes. I've got this PDF of something like one hundred and sixty plus things to delegate to your first VA (virtual assistant). And for me, the first things that we like to tell people to do or the stuff you want to get rid of first, that you do routinely, that you want to get off your plate first. That's the first thing to offload.

But the way we do it is we have somebody watch a Loom video that you've created of the process. So maybe it's how you do your Google Drive folders or how you manage your inbox or whatever, and you just basically do a short well, as long as it needs to be, explainer video of how this is done. What we do is we give the VA that video to watch, to create a system. They watch it and they document all the steps and they even will screenshot where necessary. If illustration is something graphic is necessary.

What happens is they learn how to do it so much more than they would by just watching the video because they've had to document it, so they really now know it thoroughly. And whether this VA leaves or stays, you know, if she ends up not being the right one or he ends up not being there, that system lives in your business forever. That's one way to think about it. There are a million more thoughts I have about it.

Teresa: Well, I appreciate that and will definitely include the link because those standard operating procedures are just gold. I am a Loom fanatic. I use it for my team. I use it with clients. I know you've always used it.

You've got the Front Row VIP. So let's talk about how you help upcoming and emerging and expert CEOs run their business more profitably.

Jen: At this point, I've got a few different ways. So Front Row VIP is sort of the entry level program. Actually, I have the free classroom called FrontRowClassroomcom. Is where you access it. There are some tutorials and stuff in there and some nice sharing and networking that happens in that group.

But Front Row VIP is a monthly membership that people join, and it's filled with a lot of the things that you would find in a typical marketing membership. And there's a library of tutorials. We have guest experts. We have a wonderful community that's very supportive and engaged. But I think one thing that really makes it stand out is we have these twice a month strategy calls where it's not just talking at one hundred people in the room.

People submit their questions in advance. So I spend a lot of time really studying their question. And if I can't answer it, I will point them in the right direction. But we go really deep. I do really deep coaching with individuals on these calls. If they submit the questions and they don't even have to show up live. They just get a link to the timestamp where I answered their question. And so that's been really popular. And I really, really, really enjoy that.

We also have special events and accountability challenges and all that good stuff. That's the gist of that.

Teresa: I actually was on the receiving end of one of those sessions where you had looked at something in my business and it was gold. And it was nice that you provided that link to the timestamp where you answered my question. But I learned so much even with you answering questions for other people. And even if it wasn't something I was doing in my business right then, I knew that I could go back and reference that. So it was gold, though, it was like, oh, my gosh, I was able to go out and take action that afternoon.

Jen: Yeah. Thank you so much. I appreciate it when people give me a timestamp, though, because sometimes you just need the answer. But it is nice to go back and learn from other people as well.

And the other thing that I've added to my product suite over the last year and a half now is an accelerator program, which is a small group coaching program. I don't generally have more than 12 people in that program, it's a 90 day program.

I love 90-day containers. I have found out that is the thing for me. I don't think you're ever going to find me opening up like a 6 month coaching program or even a year long kind of thing. I don't like being tied to anything for that long because I want to be able to have the freedom to move in a different direction. You can get so much done in 90 days and I just love it.

I get to go really deep with each of these people and see so much growth in their business. It's just so satisfying to me. I really get to know them very well and I get to know their businesses and you know, their success is my success. So I really love that. And that's all keeping me really busy. It's rinse and repeat with iterations and improvement is the goal.

Teresa: Well, and you've always just stayed on top of so many things in social media and the different platforms. And I'm always just like, oh my gosh, where does she find the time to do all this and to know all of this? I remember when Alexa briefings were a thing and you were talking about that and I mentioned that to someone and they said, how on earth how do you get to know all these cool things? And I'm like, you got to get in Front Row VIP, Jen knows all the stuff.

I remember too, it has just stuck with me. You actually got Gary V to be a guest on your podcast.

Jen: Yep, yep. And then I got to be a guest on his. It was pretty, pretty awesome.

So, you know, this whole Front Row brand that I have is based on the notion that, like, we got to live our life on the front row. Right. Like life is too short to take a back seat. And the older we get, the more clear that becomes. Right? I'm not wasting time in back. I want to be up front. When you're up front, it's just a way of saying, like, I'm all in I'm here for this. I see you, you see me and, you know, seize the day, carpe diem. All that. That's what I'm about.

So with the Gary V thing, I was out for a walk on a Sunday afternoon with my dog and I was listening to Gary V on James Altucher's podcast. Gary V just switched gears real fast. And he goes, I got an idea. Anybody who records two podcast episodes right now and then tweets, what's the hashtag we should use, James?And James said, Let's use hashtag Gary and James. I started use that hashtag. We're going to come on your show for five minutes. Oh, no, I'm going to come on your show for five minutes. And then James Altucher said, yeah, I will too.

Great. Crap. I did not want to record a podcast episode. I was on a walk on a Sunday afternoon. I didn't want to do that, but I just turned around in my tracks, went home as fast as I could. I gave my husband, the dog, the kids. I'm like, you're in charge, I got to go do this podcast.

I had been saving a podcast course in my back pocket that I had purchased. I watched the course on hyperspeed, like on two speed. I learned how to do the podcast episode. I got two lousy episodes. They're terrible, recorded and uploaded. And then I started tweeting. Well, I got James first and he agreed to come on and he was so amazing. He stayed on for 45 minutes. I was so nervous talking to him, but he stayed on for 45 minutes. And honestly, if I hadn't been so nervous and sort of felt like I was going to run out of things to say he would have stayed as long as I kept on asking him questions.

So that was so nice. But gosh, Gary Vaynerchuk was so, so hard to get. So what I ended up doing was I tweeted and I said, James kept his word. What about you? Like, it's your turn. At the same time, I also went and edited the episode that he was on with James Altucher where they he promised and I started tweeting those things out with the audio being like you promised, you said you would and all this stuff.

And then finally, he did come on the show. He stayed much longer than five minutes. We had a really, really nice talk. And really it was such a good conversation, they asked if they could use it on the Daily Vee, his show. So they played it in its entirety on The Daily Vee.

And so coming full circle back to the front row thing, like I got to walk the talk. That is one example of just like going for it and having the mindset that because there's a part of you that is like, oh, everybody is going to go run out and do this and he's never going to see my podcast.

Well, guess what? I'm the only one. I'm not the only one who tweeted him, but I'm the only one whose show he came on, even though he promised all those other people. Yeah, it was just like everybody else is thinking that way, too. It's like when you go to park your car and you're in the shopping center, you just automatically shoot for the second or third row because you just know everything on the front row is taken.

But everybody else is thinking that, too. So there's always a spot on the front row for me. Always, always. When I go to Trader Joe's, which is like our busiest parking lot in town, that shopping center is always packed. And even now, holiday time, I mean, granted is Corona time too, but whatever, I can go and always find a parking spot.

Teresa: That's great. I love that you went after it because that's the other part, right? It goes to what you're talking about. It's that you took action and we do we have that thought that, oh, I'm going to be one of one hundred or whatever thousand, everybody's going to do this. And even if they all did, nobody's going to do it like you did. Right?

Jen: Right.

Teresa: So showing up as yourself in your full authenticity and just being like, wait a minute, you said so let's do it.

So Twitter is your main social gig, right? That's where is that where you hang out the most?

Jen: No, I wouldn't say that. I use Twitter. Twitter is like I think of Twitter as a tool. I would say Facebook is really my main place where I share content and have conversations, live stream and all that. But Twitter is where I do an awful lot of research. If I want to connect with an author or a thought leader or an actor like I love when I read a book and I have a question or there's something in there that really resonated, I will almost always find the author on Twitter and reach out to them.

And guess what? It doesn't matter. They could be in many, many, many times over best selling New York Times best selling author and they will reply to you. And so so I love it for that. You know, it's great for that sort of really very specific communication with a stranger. That same kind of communication on Facebook will look like stalking. And on Instagram it will just get ignored. On Twitter, you can make it happen. I do love Twitter and it's also a great place to do research using Twitter lists, so I love it for that. But I would say Facebook is really more my jam.

Teresa: All right, that's interesting. I know back in the day I did very little business on Facebook and not much of a presence. Twitter was one thing. I love that because you could, you had access to everybody. And, you know, I've been there for so long now, I remember when Scott Stratton, Unmarketing, was like the mayor of Twitter.

Jen: Yeah.

Teresa: He was offering to, if you replied to his tweet, then he would critique your profile back then.

It was just so much fun. And I loved it because it was just creating relationships with people. You have access to people you didn't normally have access to. And it was before you got all the dm stuff and all of that before all the funky part of it came along. But I, I just feel like I don't have the time to spend on there like I used to.

Jen: It's not the same as it used to be. I mean, the Twitter chats are gone and I think that community feel is gone. But it's a good tool.

Teresa: But I like that because you can still do that. It's funny when I go to Twitter, if a program is down or one of my platforms are down, Twitter is the first place that I go to and then I tweet @ whatever because I want to see, like, is this an ongoing problem? Is this a me problem? I can still connect with a few people there, but Facebook has become a place where I spent a lot of time now.

Jen: You know what else Twitter is great for that is not as good anywhere else? But I only do this from my alias account because I have a secret Twitter account where I can go talk about politics and stuff like that. It's also where I do all of my angry tweeting like customer service issues. Right? But they answer. Yes, you will get great customer service from a lot of companies if you tweet at them. And I'm not saying like mean tweets, but it's just to publicly say, hey, Dyson, my vacuum cleaner is not working. And there's you know, I haven't been able to find a 1-800 number where a human answers, can you help me out? And then they will take it from there and they will call you.

Teresa: That is so true. I have tweeted before to a company, several companies. I've been on hold for 45 minutes. Where can I go to get an answer? I don't have time. You know, I've got an appointment here in ten minutes. Where can I go get an answer? And most companies are really, really good about that because they've got the things up to be notified every time.

Jen: Let me tell you, I actually did a real life experiment. I didn't really do it as an experiment on purpose, but this is what it ended up being. I was stuck on the tarmac. I called Delta. I was going to miss my connection, needed to get a new flight. So I called. I was on hold for, I don't know, let's say half an hour. While I was on hold, I was on my computer.

I was messaging on Twitter, or maybe I was on my phone, too, but I was messaging with Twitter through my DMS, the same thing. In those 30 minutes they had me booked on the next flight, and I was still up by the time that person came on and said, hi, this is Peggy with Delta, how can I help you? And I'm like, never mind. I'm pretty much wrapped up with someone on chat support.

Teresa: That is great. I encourage anybody to reach out to companies because they do they have people that that's their job is to make sure that their name isn't getting a bad rap and that there are not unhappy customers out there.

Jen: Yeah.

Teresa: And if you're on Twitter, I would say that it's really important for you also to be looking for your name and your notifications when you're coming up to see what other people are saying about you.

Jen: Yes.

Teresa: So to wrap up, we'll go ahead and put your info in the show notes so that everyone can find you on social media. Check out your Classroom and the Front Row VIP. I know something we didn't talk about today, but I know it's on your website is your planner, which maybe we'll come back and talk about that another time, because I think it's beautiful and not just beautiful, but very, very useful. I read the testimonials and people love it. We'll put the link to that as well.

Jen: Thank you.

Teresa: Sure. Tell us about this year of not being able to travel. Let us all live vicariously through each other. What is your favorite vacation destination or experience?

Jen: Swimming in the China Sea in the Philippines off of a very, very remote island called Sombrero Island. It was just beautiful. The stars at night were like you see in the movies when it's just carpeted with gazillions, gazillions of stars. And I've never, never since seen a sky like that. And then the water was just crystal clear. It was so nice.

Teresa: Oh, my gosh, that sounds wonderful.

Jen: But also, it's a tie between that and St. John's Conille Bay and St. John's. Love it.

Teresa: All right. I'm a beach girl so I'm there. I'll look it up now so I can get pictures and check it out. So thanks so much for that.

Our "would you rather" question today, would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button on your life?

Jen: Rewind.

Teresa: Rewind. Why?

Jen: Because I want to see my kids again as little tiny, sweet people.

Teresa: That is so nice. So what for you is the most important number or metric in your business?

Jen: I mean, it is that bottom line, to be honest with you. I mean, but not just at year's end. It's tracking our growth, launch after launch, is really fun. This is what I communicate to the people in my accelerator program. Making money is fun. It should be fun. It is fun. And that's what I look at.

Teresa: That's great, because you do get to see the impact that you're making. You know, that's what those numbers translate to. Yes. It's money in the bank and all of the people, I think that we're able to get out there and help them further their journey.

Jen: Yeah, absolutely.

Teresa: Yeah, fun definitely needs to be in there. That was a question from someone else, one of our previous guests. It was a summary of a question they had. And what is a question you would like for us to ask a future guest?

Jen: I love that you do this. This is so cool. OK, my question is, what is the one book you find yourself recommending over and over again?

Teresa: Nice. I like that. Well, I'll be interested to find out too.

Well Jen, thanks again for being here. I appreciate you taking the time and I'm sure we'll see you out there on Social.

Jen; Thank you so much. This was a lot of fun. I appreciate it.

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Becoming a Profitable CEO. I'll be back next week but in the meantime, let's continue the conversation. Head on over to our Facebook Group at ThePurposefulCEO.com/Facebook and share your take on today's episode.

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