Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
I am a serial entrepreneur. I founded my first organization at 24, a nonprofit that was doing humanitarian work, because I am driven to help others. However, I have PTSD from doing disaster relief for the government, and was trying to do something on my own that wouldn’t trigger me. Sadly, it still did, and I had to shut down the organization after two years.
My next venture was GreenCup Website Services, which I sold in March of 2018. This was started when I was 25. We manage small business websites and do anything from design to social media marketing. I started this company because I had been laid off from my position of Director of SEO at another firm.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I’m an Anthropologist. There aren’t too many of us who own a website management company. My training gives me the ability to see into the target markets of other small businesses and serve them effectively. I also have a large diversity of experience which makes me especially equipped to work within nearly any industry
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
I am — but in my work as a coach (what I transitioned to before selling GreenCup). My first book is coming out in September, and I absolutely love working with my clients. I specialize in working with LGBTQ entrepreneurs, which means there are always amazing stories and breakthroughs in my work.
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Absolutely. I recommend that anyone, especially in business, read The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. When I first heard of the book I thought it would be cheesy. It’s written by the “Chicken Soup For The Soul” guy, after all. Turns out, he’s a genius who has met a lot of amazing people and achieved some big things. This book is dense, and 100% worth the read.
It took me six months to read the first 50 pages. That’s because I started it at a time that I was still sorting out the effects of my PTSD. He challenges readers to set goals in a massive and concrete way, and I couldn’t do it. I had been living moment to moment in a negative way, and had to work that out before I could set a goal bigger than six months. Now I have 20-year goals!
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
Narrow your scope. And then narrow it again. You’ll feel powerful as a founder, like you can do anything, and you’ll try. It’s true — you can do anything — but you can’t do everything at once. Start focused, then grow once your foundation is set.
Don’t do drama. Networking can become the same people at the same events gossiping. If you see this happening, those aren’t your people or your events. Don’t go back.
Put Self Care in your business plan. This is the #1 thing I teach in my Self Care Through Scaling™ programs and it is critical to avoiding burnout. I wouldn’t have PTSD and had to abandon my first calling of Disaster Relief if I had put self care first.
Scale as soon as you can. If you can’t scale, yet, structure your business so you can. By the time I exited my company I was doing six figures and working 10 hours a week. My work / life balance rocked and so did my business. This is possible for everyone, which is why I teach it and trademarked a program around the concept (Self Care Through Scaling™).
Systemize everything. If you ever do something twice, it’s time to make a system, program, or document
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I would love to have lunch with Richard Saul Wurman. I saw him speak a few years ago in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and have been kicking myself for not asking him to coffee after I shook his hand. I know better — always always ask, because you might just get a yes. But I was in shock and it didn’t strike me until after he’d gone.
I want to have lunch (or coffee) with him because he is the first person I’ve met who is speaking and writing on a scale I aspire to. That is, his talks jolt the audience into deep thought, he writes books that take a hard look at the way of things, and he has founded organizations that deeply affect others. My first book is coming out in September (storiesofelders.com). Perhaps I will have the chance to hand him a signed copy!
— Published on June 27, 2018