Always a Bridesmaid, with Jen Glantz
Episode 54: Always a Bridesmaid, with Jen Glantz
Jen Glantz found, by chance, a skill set that she didn’t know was needed in the market and used it to build a business. She’s now a professional bridesmaid and her company, Bridesmaids for Hire, help women all over the world wrangle the troops and make sure that their wedding day goes out without a hitch. In this episode, Jen shares her journey as an entrepreneur, best and worst stories from weddings she’s been involved with, the importance of finding the right mentor, and balancing business and relationships.
00:00 Speaker 1: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations of Women Changing the Face of Business. And now your hosts, Kristy Wallace and Maricella Herrera.
00:14 Speaker 2: Hi, and welcome to the Ellevate Podcast. This is your host, Kristy Wallace, and I am here with Maricella Herrera. And we're really excited for today's episode. I have a question for you, Maricella. How many times have you been a bridesmaid?
00:28 Speaker 3: Too many to count.
00:30 S2: Yes, me too. Probably about eight or nine times, I think.
00:35 S3: I've been in a few. And in fact just yesterday, I'm not in this wedding, which is kinda fun, but still yesterday I went with one of my friends to her dress fitting, which was kinda cool.
00:46 S2: Fun, it's like dress-up.
00:48 S3: It's like dress-up. Honestly, I was just there for the champagne, but...
00:52 S2: Yeah. Every time I go get my haircut, it's the best thing ever 'cause it's like, "Would you like some wine?" I'm like, "Yes, yes I would."
01:03 S3: Of course.
01:03 S2: It's like, sit alone. Sit alone in the chair for few minutes and someone just brushes your hair and you drink some wine.
01:08 S3: Who would say no to wine?
01:11 S2: Dress shopping and haircuts. So, there you go.
01:14 S3: We're very girlie today.
01:16 S2: Really, seriously. Well, I love weddings now because it means I get a date night with my husband that involves a dance floor.
01:26 S3: And no children.
01:27 S2: And no children, typically if I'm lucky. So all good stuff. But on today's episode of the podcast, we're talking to Jen Glantz, who started her own business. She saw a need in the marketplace and went for it. She didn't have tons of business experience, but she had a lot of confidence and a great back story that she used to motivate herself to go out on the ledge, start this business, publish a book and potentially start another business. So she's doing some great things. We know you'll really enjoy her story. But before we get to that, we have a question for you. And Maricella, what is it today?
02:07 S3: So we have some data and I also have a question from our audience. First, I'll start with the data. One of the things you talk about with Jen in the interview is delegating, 'cause as you said, she's doing a million things at the same time. So we asked our community if they find it hard to delegate. Do you find it hard to delegate, Kristy?
02:26 S2: I love that you're asking me this question. 'Cause Maricella, you usually take me to task for this one.
02:34 S2: I am getting better at it. I tend to be a doer and I just am like, "I can just do this, I'm gonna get it done." But I need to delegate more, and I appreciate you reminding me of that. [chuckle] Frequently. [chuckle]
02:51 S3: Just looking out for everyone's mental health.
02:54 S3: And by everyone, I mean all of our team.
02:55 S2: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [chuckle]
02:57 S3: Well, thank you. Well, interestingly enough and actually not that surprising, most of our community, which is a lot of I would say very ambitious, and doers, and women who are doing lots and lots of stuff, 38% of them say that they do find it hard to delegate sometimes. 16% said, "Not really," so I was actually surprised. I thought that was gonna be lower. 13% said, "Yes, at work, but not at home." 11% said, "Yes, I need to have control." And another 11% said, "Not at all." There was a 9% group who had a very hard time to delegate at home, but not at work. Do you delegate to Jake?
03:41 S2: Yes, but actually, I don't like thinking of delegate in the context of my relationship. 'Cause I would like to believe...
03:51 S3: Well, doesn't he babysit?
03:52 S2: That we are both... Yeah. Sometimes he does babysit and that's really cool when he babysits his kids.
03:57 S3: He doesn't babysit.
03:58 S2: I know, I know. [chuckle] I know what you're saying. [laughter] I'm messing around. No. But I used to for a long time say, "There could only be one project manager in a family and one person knows everything that has to happen. You have to direct everybody else." But now, I'm starting to change because we each play our different roles and it's very collaborative, and Jake's great.
04:27 S3: So, I'm asking about Jake because I know he will never hear this.
04:30 S2: I know. Well, 'cause he...
04:32 S3: He had such a hard time the other day.
04:34 S2: Yeah. My husband Jake was at our Take Back Feminism event that we had in New York City recently, with some of the founders from the Women's March and some great thought leaders on this topic. And I had the honor of moderating the panel and Jake was there. And I made the mistake of telling Maricella that he has not listened to the podcast. And so now, we're gonna talk crap on him 'cause he's not gonna hear it.
05:01 S3: Yeah.
05:04 S2: So, what's the question that we received?
05:07 S3: So it's actually something that I think is very interesting to talk about in this context. I will read it. "Being in Operations myself, I obviously know how to get... " I'm gonna say "stuff", she did not say stuff, "done. Therefore, I often get asked by peers and managers to take on additional tasks that fall outside of my job. How do I say no without looking like a non-team player? And how beneficial is it to my prospects of getting promotions and raises to take on additional tasks and projects, especially office culture related social tasks?"
05:43 S2: So this is a great question. There's many parts to this question. There's research that shows that women tend to be tasked with the majority of work "housework", so can you plan the team office party or can you take notes at a meeting? Can you grab coffee? So, that's part of it and kind of the gender stereotyping that happens. And in those instances, and I think in all instances, where you're being asked to take on more and more responsibility that does not feel like it's propelling your career, so it's not increasing in the level of responsibility, the work, but more just piling more stuff on your plate that no one else wants to do.
06:38 S2: It's important to be transparent, right? And if you're in a good working situation and I hope we all are, I know that's not always the case, but just being honest about, "I'm doing X, Y, and Z, don't really have the bandwidth to take this on, maybe so-and-so can do it." It always, "Oh, this sounds like something that might fall better into Johnny's role," given he's already doing A, B, C.
07:06 S2: So, what I recommend not doing, what I've seen happen is when... We're pleasers and we wanna say, "Yes, sure, I'll do it. Sure, I'll do it. Sure I'll do it." Until you kind of blow up and you're feeling totally overwhelmed and you're having this breakdown because there's too much on your plate, and then you may react very negatively. And so it's better to just be realistic about, "I've already got a lot on my plate. I don't have the bandwidth to take this on right now."
07:39 S2: Hey, if it's a manager, do you want to talk about this? Maybe we can re-prioritize some of the things I'm working on or maybe we can move some of my tasks to somebody else if this is really important for you. Or if it's particularly a task that you feel is not going to be helpful or complimentary to your skill set, it's something that's more of the office housekeeper role, I think it's totally fair to just say no and say maybe so-and-so could do that or maybe that's a role better suited for somebody else.
08:11 S3: Yeah, I agree. And I think that you said the keyword there is you have to be realistic with what you can do and what you have bandwidth for and be very transparent about it. I think Sally wrote in an article not so long ago too that you could say, "Hey, yeah, sure, I'll plan this happy hour, but why don't you, Susan, plan the next one." Or in a way start moving those tasks and spreading them around as much as you can.
08:40 S2: Yeah, that's great advice. As always, Sally's got great advice.
08:43 S3: Yeah. I keep stealing it.
08:44 S2: Alright. Well, let's hear from Jen and I hope you enjoy my discussion with her as much as I did.
09:03 S2: So, Jen...
09:04 Speaker 4: Yes.
09:05 S2: You and I met, as I've actually met quite a number of fantastic women on a panel...
09:10 S4: We did.
09:11 S2: Yes, up in Harlem for WE NYC, for women enterprenuers in New York City. So how did you get involved with that program?
09:20 S4: About a year and a half ago, I saw that they were launching that program and it just spoke to me. If there was one thing I wanted to do, it was to give back to other women who were starting a business. I felt like my journey was rather unique. I started a very unique business with very little experience and I wanted to be able to teach people the things I did wrong and also help them find the courage and the confidence to start something of their own.
09:44 S2: So what is your unique business? I'm intrigued.
09:48 S4: I started the business Bridesmaid for Hire about two and a half years ago. It is exactly how it sounds. Women all over the world hire me to be their bridesmaid for them.
10:00 S2: Why would they do that?
10:01 S4: It's a great question. [laughter] I say that there's two main reasons. The first, is that they already have five or six bridesmaids, but their bridesmaids are a hot mess. They don't know how to talk to them or deal with them and they wanna cut out the stress and drama from their lives. They hire me as their secret bridesmaid to come in and wrangle the troops together. The other camp of people, unfortunately, don't have any close friends which might sound terribly sad, but it happens. A lot of women grow apart from their friends. They focus on their careers, their friends are on a different track in life. They just want a support system and that's what I provide.
10:32 S2: How many times have you been a bridesmaid?
10:34 S4: Wow! I have worked with over 65 clients in the past two and a half years, different packages I offer, but in total, 65.
10:42 S2: And have you been a bridesmaid outside of your business?
10:45 S4: I have. This is how it started. I was a bridesmaid for my friends so many times, I think it was about a half a dozen times before I started this business. And since I've started this business, I've still been a bridesmaid for my friends.
10:57 S2: I have been a bridesmaid, oh gosh, if I'm going off the cuff here, but I'd say at least 12 times.
11:04 S4: Oh my goodness, you're practically a professional.
11:06 S2: Yes, well, it actually worked out in my favor, and I loved... They're all still my very, very close friends. I'm very fortunate that all the women who I was there to support them and celebrate them at their wedding, I'm still good friends with. But it helped me out because I was the last of everyone and so then I took... I cherry picked all the things I loved from everybody else's weddings for my wedding. And Katharine, who's the producer of our podcast was at my wedding. She's giving us the thumbs up right now because she remembers how fun it was. You know...
11:40 S4: You see it all.
11:41 S2: All the goods on all the big events.
11:45 S4: Oh, yeah. And then when it's time for your own, you know what to cut, you know what to have. You've become a pro at your own wedding.
11:51 S2: So, do you have a big blooper you can share with us, something funny?
11:56 S4: Oh my goodness, yes. Recently one of the craziest things that happened to me was five minutes before the wedding, a bride who hired me, she pulls me into a room, shuts the door and she says to me, "Jen, I hate the groom. I don't wanna do this anymore." And this was by... I've been doing this job for two years. I had thought I'd seen it all, done it all, heard it all. And here I am, hearing from a bride who no longer is in love with this guy when all of her guests are about to wait for her to walk down aisle. And that was a very interesting moment for me professionally because I really had to stop thinking in the mindset of, "Oh my God, this is crazy." And start thinking of, "This is my job to get her through this moment. How am I gonna do that?"
12:34 S2: So did the wedding happen?
12:35 S4: Very long story short, the wedding did happen. But they had a conversation beforehand, talking about that this wasn't really working out. And that they were gonna get through this for the guests. But I have to tell you, it was one of those weddings where every single thing went wrong. It was... Omens were just like, "Ah! This should not be happening". It was an outdoor wedding and it rained. There was no covering. There was a giant three-tiered cake that flew up in the air when someone moved it and fell straight down on the ground. I was there to catch the top part of it. So, that was still edible but the rest of the cake was all over the ground. So, it was one of those weddings where everyone was just thinking, "This should not be happening right now."
13:15 S2: Wow. What's the coolest thing you saw at a wedding?
13:17 S4: Coolest thing? It's still really awesome for me to see couples getting married for love. I know that sounds funny, but it doesn't always happen. And a lot of people that I watch get married, they tell me beforehand the weird crazy reasons they're getting married. And rarely it is for love. So it's still such a wonderful treasure to see two people who seem as though they're in love, who seem as though they're ready and willing to engage on this adventure together. And I've been to so many weddings, but I still find myself crying during the vows if they're special and unique.
13:48 S2: The other big question is, do you have a favorite bridesmaid's dress?
13:52 S4: I do. It was actually one that I wore for my friend's wedding a couple years ago. And she said, "Okay, you can pick whatever dress you want. It just has to be shiny." And I clearly love all things shiny...
14:02 S2: Well, you're wearing a sequins gold top right now.
14:04 S4: I am. And for this wedding, I didn't have a lot of money so I decided to go into my mom's closet. And she had a dress that she wore at a party of mine many years ago that was shiny. And I took the dress and that's that I wore. And I felt so awesome at her wedding for those eight hours wearing a dress that had meaning to me. I felt like I had more fun because I liked what I was wearing.
14:24 S2: Yeah. What was it that 'aha' moment one day when you're like, "You know what? I'm gonna create a business. Bridesmaids for Hire?"
14:32 S4: It was a complete accident. I was a bridesmaid for my friends over and over and over again. And there was one night in particular where two very distant friends, I'm talking the kinds of friends that you speak to perhaps just once a year, maybe once every other year. Two of those kinds of friends asked me to be bridesmaid in the very same night. And I kind of said to them, "Let me think about it. I'm not really sure." I was thinking in my head, "Why are they asking me?". And I came home and I told my roommate. And she goes, "Jen, people are starting to ask you 'cause they know you're good at it. They know you'll show up on time and not make a fool of yourself. And they know that you're gonna be there for them." She said to me, "You've become a professional bridesmaid." And these light bulbs literally went off in my head.
15:17 S4: And I thought to myself then and there, "I could do this for complete strangers. Let me try this out." And I wanna preface it by saying, I had no business experience. I was majoring in poetry in college. And I had been working at Tech Startups as a copy writer. I had no clue how to start a business. So, I figured where do you take a crazy business idea? Why not a crazy website? That very same night, I found myself alone. I opened up a tab on craigslist.com and I wrote an ad offering my services to the strangers of the world as a bridesmaid for hire.
15:49 S4: If I hadn't done that, if I had thought about this idea, told friends about this idea, even my roommate about this idea, I'm certain that I wouldn't be sitting here today doing this job. I told nobody. Posted that ad anonymously on a Friday night. I shut it off, shut my computer off, didn't tell a single person until two days later. I found out the ad was discovered by hundreds and thousands of people, and I was in trouble. I had to start a business.
16:19 S2: Oh my goodness. Well, as an aside, Elevate is hosting our first ever conference this summer in June. And Craig from Craigslist is one of our speakers.
16:29 S4: That's awesome.
16:29 S2: So he will be coming, talking just about this. About how you create a business that has this impact on women and being able to create their businesses, being able to sell their products and start to really have a platform to grow and to be entrepreneurs.
16:47 S4: Sure.
16:48 S2: So what are your biggest challenges with starting a business? What are some of the things you've learned? And what are some of the questions you still have?
16:55 S4: At first it was a tremendous experience. Here I was, I had launched this idea to this world, but I didn't know how to turn it into a business. So, I sat there and read through the hundreds of emails that came my way from the ad and started bucketing the request that I was given. That's how I formed my packages. A huge challenge I had was figuring out how much to charge for a service that doesn't exist anywhere else. How much do people wanna pay to have me at their wedding? I didn't know any of that.
17:22 S4: It seemed as though very slowly, I became my own business person, my own accountant, my own lawyer, my own social media and PR person. I was wearing so many hats so fast. And I definitely burned out very quickly and paralyzed myself. I was very scared of change or of launching new packages. And I was very scared of moving forward. And that's when I realized I couldn't do this alone. That's when I realized I had to find a mentor. And that's what I got. I got somebody who sat me down and really helped me figure out a lot of these business things I had never experienced before.
17:56 S2: It's kind of like you don't know what you don't know.
18:00 S4: Right. Until you're faced with trying to do it, and then you find yourself just exhausting yourself. And when I started this business, I was still working full-time, so I was working full-time, trying not to let this business interfere with that job. I would never talk about this business at work, I was there fully present, I didn't wanna lose my benefits, my health insurance, my paycheck, so I was doing this strictly on the side. And here I was becoming one person with many different lives and jobs. And it was very, very hard at first to do this.
18:32 S2: How have you funded the business?
18:36 S4: I have totally self-funded it. I've tried not to spend a lot of money on things I didn't want to do or need. At first people were saying, "You should start a product line. I wear this purple fanny pack with me at weddings with survival kit items in it." They're like, "You should launch your own survival kit." And when I looked into that, that was gonna cost me a lot of capital to do. So, I decided to do things that I could afford at first, that I could fully fund the business. And a lot of that was using my own personal savings account, a lot of that was taking on side hustles just to be able to supplement my income, pay my rent and also run this business at the same time.
19:11 S2: It's tough.
19:12 S4: It is.
19:12 S2: But we are in a time when starting businesses is easier than ever.
19:17 S4: Yes.
19:18 S2: There's co-working spaces, there's insurance platforms and we use Justworks here, we work for some time I mean... Everything's in the Cloud. There's some things that make it easier, but I think also it's kind of the things I can make it a little bit harder because suddenly you're trying to be an expert at SCO and SCM, and what's your social media presence, and what's your website. And is it like shiny and sparkly? And what's your acquisition strategy? And you're trying to really... All of that access also forces us to be a little bit more sophisticated than they think we had been in the past. And you can really go down a rabbit hole with that.
20:02 S4: You can. You exhaust yourself very quickly and I think that's okay. I think that if you wanna take the leap to be an entrepreneur, to start something of your own, awesome, but I think you need to go into it knowing it's not gonna be glamorous, that it might not be easier that working nine to five for somebody else. There's gonna be a lot of moments along the way where you make a ton of mistakes and will you recover for them? Hopefully, but you will learn from them and I think that it's really important to take the leap knowing that it might be a giant headache at first and for a very long time.
20:36 S2: What's your biggest mistake?
20:38 S4: Oh, I'd say my biggest mistake is something that I'm currently still doing, which is trying to do too much myself. I don't like spending money, so therefore I think think that I could become my own expert in all of these things and I spend so much time doing them myself, when I could pay somebody else who is trained, who knows how to do it to help me out. And I've done that a little bit more here and there, but I think it's still a huge leadership problem in myself to delegate, to let other people do things for me.
21:06 S2: So, after Bridesmaids for Hire goes public, you have your successful exit, you can be startup for hire. I think you can say, "Okay, you wanna start a business? I'm your gal, and I know this and I know this and I know this." It's just taking Bridesmaids for Hire to the next level.
21:23 S4: Definitely, and I do that a little bit now.
21:24 S2: I would want full credit for that, who launched that business.
21:27 S4: Yeah, give you a couple of percent. No, and I do that now. A lot of what I do is, I teach classes around New York City and part of WE NYC. I have training programs online for myself just to help other people start what I started, because I had no help starting out and I don't want people to go through a lot of the challenges and mistakes that I had to go through with lacking the knowledge that I lacked.
21:49 S2: You mentioned your mentor and I've heard about your mentor when we spoke on that panel together. Tell us about him.
21:57 S4: I was struggling about nine months into starting my business, so I Googled online "free business tutors in New York City" and I was matched with somebody who was completely opposite than I am. He's an 86-year-old man. And I met him for the first time in the back of a library in New York City and I've been seeing him almost every weekend for two years.
22:17 S2: That's a committed relationship.
22:19 S4: It really is. He says to me that most people come for one session and then never come again, I'm his only person who comes regularly, but I think he enjoys it because I'm his toughest person. He's very, very tough. And the first day I met him within five minutes he kicked me out of his office. He wanted nothing to do with me, and I wouldn't leave. And I asked him, "What can I do to get your help and to stay and to learn from you?" And he said, "You have to start every session with me by giving me a list of how you failed that week." And I was dumbfounded. I had never in my life had a person ask me, "Jen, how did you fail?" Maybe on a job interview they ask that question, but in real life, nobody ever asks you that.
22:57 S4: And here I was structuring a list every week of the ways I failed. And it was life changing because I knew in order to see Ray, this fountain of knowledge, I had to actively try to fail that week. And it was completely changing the way I was living my life and even the way I was getting new opportunities. So many awesome things have happened in my life because I've aimed to fail at them first and found out that I was successful. Or I failed, but I didn't give up, I just revised my strategy. And I am so grateful for Ray, he has completely changed my life, my business, everything in the past two years.
23:29 S2: Well, that's a big part of being an entrepreneur is taking risks, but it's scary.
23:34 S4: Terrifying.
23:34 S2: It's your business and it's your savings, and so much on the line, but without taking risks, you're not going to really create something that's different, that's unique, that's going to end up giving you the reward.
23:47 S4: And a lot of what Ray does is he doesn't say, "Just try to fail and let me know how it goes." He tells me, "What is it that you wanna do? Okay. How much is it gonna cost you to do that, money wise, and also emotional wise?" And then it puts it into perspective. That if you try something and it doesn't work out how you plan, what did you really lose? A thousand subscribers, a little bit of your reputation. Something that perhaps you can easily rebuild and he it puts into perspective.
24:11 S2: Piece of your soul.
24:13 S4: A piece of your soul. [chuckle]
24:14 S2: That you've done your horcruxes all over.
24:18 S4: Right. Right. He puts it into perspective and then you start to see it's not so bad to fail or take that risk.
24:25 S2: So you just came out with a book too...
24:26 S4: I did.
24:27 S2: Which would beg the question of how the hell did you write a book?
24:31 S4: Yeah. So I'm a writer primarily and that's what I was before all of this, and it was good that I had that background because I only had two months to write this entire book. So I was given the two months. Actually I was given three months in full disclosure in three months, but I spent the first month talking to myself out of writing it, telling myself, "I wasn't good enough, I wasn't ready enough, that I was gonna blow this opportunity." And I sat with Ray and I told him this and he put his foot down immediately and said, "Your problem is you're trying to write in order. You need to write out of order. Whatever you feel like writing today, just write. If it's chapter 15, go for it. If it's the end of Chapter 13, fantastic. Don't try to live your life or write in some kind of organized order." And that tidbit of advice really launched me into being able to write the entire book in 60 days.
25:21 S2: Oh my goodness. What's the book about?
25:23 S4: The book is called "Always a Bridesmaid For Hire." There are stories in there about growing up, what my childhood was like, being bullied in school, finding my way, talks about trying to find love for myself which has been anything short of successful. And then finally, what it was like starting this business and walking down the aisle for complete strangers. People always ask me, "What is it like to get off a plane and enter someone's life and wedding for the weekend?" So I decided to write a book about it so that I could really tell my story in a very honest and raw light to show that this job is anything but glamorous. I don't just zip on a polyester dress and down a bottle of champagne and call it a night. I don't drink at these weddings, I don't flirt at these weddings. This is my job, it just happens to be in a wedding setting.
26:05 S2: [chuckle] I'm having so much fun with you. I've got a million questions. You talked about how you got to this point today, and you mentioned being bullied, which I hadn't expected you to say that.
26:16 S4: Yeah.
26:17 S2: How does that play into this? And what was your experience?
26:19 S4: It's important to mention that I was went through a time in my life where I was bullied because it was a time where I really had to sit down with myself, have a conversation with myself that it was okay to be different. Growing up, I was painfully shy. I couldn't even say my name to a person without shaking and breaking out into hives. And the kids bullied me 'cause I was just different than them. I was a little bit of a tomboy. I was always weird. I loved to read books. I was anything but cool kid. And I think that during those times, I had a choice of trying to fit in and working really hard toward that or just owning who I was and running forward with it, which is what I've always done is just run forward with it. Because my mom and my family have always supported me to be who I was and to not question what I wanted to do.
27:03 S4: And I think another reason why that's important is when I was younger, I didn't really have a lot of close friends and I always told myself, "When I got older and I was able to establish friendships that I would do whatever I could for other people, to help them out to be a good friend like I didn't have previously." Which I think plays into a lot of why I do this job. I openly and publicly say, "I hate weddings. I think they're awful and they're expensive and they're a waste of eight hours of your life sometimes." And I don't do this job because I'm fascinated by weddings. I do it to support people. And weddings are very stressful, dramatic, emotional for people. And I wanted to start a business in a position where I could be there for people during this tough time that's supposed to be magical and bring them back down to reality and help them. So I think a lot of my goal of helping women and helping people is because from my childhood, when I was bullied and never really accepted by other women or people.
27:54 S2: Did you grow up in a small town?
27:55 S4: I didn't. I grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, but I went to a small private school which was a little bit of the problem.
28:01 S2: Yeah. I'm like understanding.
28:02 S4: Yes. So you're with the same kids from kindergarten until eighth grade. And it's a lot.
28:08 S2: So I was with the same kids, kindergarten to eighth grade, small class. There was 20 kids. And then my high school graduating class, 64 kids.
28:16 S4: Woah!
28:17 S2: Going to college was the best thing of my life. Because as I've always said, "You've got a small pool to pick your friends from, and I had some good friends growing up. But once you go to college you're suddenly it's like, the sky's the limit.
28:32 S4: You're a new person.
28:32 S2: You meet so many different people and interesting people, and people who genuinely wanna be your friend versus there's not many of us we got to band together type of thing.
28:42 S4: It was rough. I went to a public high school and that was a game changer. I went from 20 kids in my grade to 500. And it was there that I felt I could really be myself because there was a lot of different types of people.
28:52 S2: Yeah.
28:52 S4: My private school, everyone was the same.
28:55 S2: The power of diversity.
28:56 S4: Yes. I didn't have that from kindergarten to eighth grade.
29:00 S2: I know. That's where making the business case right here. It all comes down to when everyone's the same there's...
29:05 S4: No creativity.
29:06 S2: Yeah. And they don't accept those that aren't like them.
29:08 S4: Nope.
29:09 S2: Which is a shame. So you also mentioned love.
29:12 S4: Yeah.
29:14 S2: I'm still scarred by your comment earlier that not everyone gets married for love.
29:18 S4: Oh, yes.
29:19 S2: Jake Wellas, I love you.
29:21 S2: My husband. But I recognize that that is very true. I do. How was this experiences that made you jaded about love? Has it made it better? Because you see the possibilities? What?
29:37 S4: Yeah. So I thought that working this job, I would start to not like love or think it existed and I wouldn't agree with marriage or weddings, but it's been the reverse. The more weddings I've gone to, the more brides I've really had that honest conversation with as to why you're getting married, the more I started to really realize that you cannot waste your time settling with a person. If the word "settle" is in the conversation you're having about the person you're with you shouldn't be with them. So it really changed what I was looking for in a future partner, it really changed how I went about dating.
30:07 S4: I talked to a bride once. She went on a ton of first dates in one month, had a spread sheet ranking them. It gave me the idea to go on a 14 first date challenge in the month of February last year. I had to go on 14 first dates, there were days I went on four dates a day because of this experiment. I didn't meet anybody during that time, but I decided to extend my experiment and I went on a date 15 and that's where I met the love of my life. We've been together for over a year, so through my brides that I have worked with, I've changed the way I looked at love, made sure that I wasn't dating people who were temporary, but people who I could really see a potential future with and also decided to put myself out there in more ways than just swiping through dating apps and not really giving it a shot.
30:55 S2: What did you do on date 15?
30:57 S4: On date 15 I was...
30:58 S2: It was the first date 15.
31:00 S4: Yeah. I was jaded, I was not the nicest person when he walked in 'cause I had been on 14 bad first dates, so when he walked in I think I was pretty cold. He swears I asked him what his five year plan was, but I think I just had this tough demeanor, but about a half an hour into the date I remember I looked at him and said, "Oh my God, Jen, there's something very different about him." So I sat up straight, I pushed my hair off my shoulders, and I really tried to give off a second good first impression. And at the very end of the date he looked at me and said, "Do you wanna get pizza later this week?" and I was like, "This is the one for me."
31:37 S2: There you go, pizza...
31:38 S4: Pizza.
31:39 S2: Pizza goes straight to my heart.
31:40 S4: Key to the heart, yup!
31:40 S2: So, the book, which I love all of what you've shared about that book, but I know through working with Sally and speaking with many authors on our podcast, how hard it is to publish a book.
31:55 S4: Yeah.
31:56 S2: How are you doing that? Because we've talked about you wearing many hats and one of them is your PR promotion.
32:02 S4: Yeah, it's an amazing process writing the book and I have to say first of all, I thought that the proudest moment would be walking into Barnes and Noble and seeing my book there. That turned out to not be the best moment ever. When I saw the book in Barnes and Noble I felt numb, I wasn't excited, I wasn't sad, I just didn't feel anything. Best moment for me and the proudest moment was writing the book. That's a tremendously hard thing to do and once that was over, I felt this fire inside of me of, "How am I gonna promote this book so that it's just not me, my mom, and my dad reading it? How was the world gonna read something that I'm so proud of?" So I've tried to kick it into over gear and to be the leader of this promotion team which is really exhausting because nowadays you're no longer just an author. You're an author and the promoter of your book, the marketing person of the book, the social media, the event planner...
32:51 S2: The thought expert.
32:52 S4: Everything. So it's been a very crazy experience and I think I've made a lot of mistakes launching this book that I will never do again. And one of those mistakes is trying to do everything myself and the other mistake perhaps is traveling a lot for the book. I've been going to a handful of different cities promoting the book and I'm not sure if that's the kind of value that, the day and age we live in, that's how to promote a book. I think there are more interesting and creative ways to promote the book without leaving your apartment which is what I would like to do perhaps for my next book.
33:24 S2: So how does a shy girl from Florida, who breaks out in hives when she has to say her name, go to speaking at events?
33:34 S4: So I love speaking at events. At about age 21 I made it my goal to become a professional public speaker and a motivational speaker. And the eight year old version of myself would be throwing up hearing that goal. And I think the only reason that I've changed completely is because I forced myself to do things that I'm uncomfortable with, that if anything is my life motto, is "If it makes you uncomfortable and scared, you gotta just do it." I was terrified about speaking with people.
34:00 S4: My first job in college was a campus tour guide and I led 200 hundred plus people on tours of the campus every week. By the second month I could speak to anybody. I joined the sorority and that was very overwhelming and through that I was able to speak to different types of women and recruit women and have conversations with all different types of people and that was another reason that I was able to change my ways of being shy, to having a personality and being personable. I still think deep down inside I am that very shy girl, but I've learned the tricks and the different tips on how to mask it so that it's not so obvious and that I can function, but I think that... To summarize, my goal has always been, "If it makes you uncomfortable, fight forward and get on with it."
34:45 S2: Okay, so if it makes you uncomfortable, do it? Failure's good.
34:49 S4: Failure's great.
34:50 S2: Don't try to do it all.
34:51 S4: Yeah.
34:52 S2: Anything else?
34:53 S4: Never give up. I think everyone in the world will try to force you to give up. People will constantly tell you, "It's not gonna happen! You're not good enough! You won't feel good enough." If you promise yourself... You pinky promise yourself not to give up, I promise you anything you want to achieve is possible and that's the truth. I think the difference between anybody who's not successful and anybody who is successful is because that successful person was so determined, persistent and didn't give up. They sent that eighth follow up email, they did that eighth revision, they just refused to stop when the world told them to.
35:27 S2: Alright, well thank you for that...
35:28 S4: Thank you!
35:29 S2: Thanks for joining us today, that was great.
35:30 S4: Yay! Thanks for having me!
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