What Women Want Today
What Women Want Today

Episode 79 · 3 months ago

Women in Business w/ Business Strategist Jean Kuhn


Jean Kuhn, is a serial entrepreneur who became self-employed on April 29, 1985, at 8:52pm, when the nurse put that first baby in her arms, and she immediately knew she wasn’t going back to a job she hated.

In 2002, Jean bought her first bankrupt franchise business, and turned it into a profitable cash generating machine in 12 months.

In 2006, she bought a second bankrupt franchise business and created another cash generating machine in less than 12 months.

 In both cases, Jean added $100,000 to the bottom line for each company in the first year. She did this with no list, no help or training from the franchise, and no budget for marketing. She created low cost/no cost marketing strategies that she still teaches her clients today.

Jean, has been a successful business strategist since 2006, when she started helping all types of businesses grow and scale their businesses.

 She is here today to share some low cost/no cost marketing strategies with you.

Hello and welcome to the what women on today podcast. You might be asking yourself right about now. Well, what do women want? I mean we're pretty complex creatures, right. Well, I think we want it all, and I'm here to explore it with you. My name is Terry Kellums. I'm your host. Go grab your favorite beverage. I've already got my glass of wine, and let's get started. Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the what women want today podcast. This is your host, Terry Kellums. I'm so happy to be here with you today. I'm happy to have gene coon with me today. Gene is a entrepreneur. She has been in business since two thousand and six as a business strategist. She has had a lot of success. I know she's going to give us some really great information. Gene, I'm so excited to have you with me today. Welcome to the show. Thank you, Terry Nice. Thank you for having me. Yeah, by the way, I have been employed, self employed, since nine, eight five, Oh, you have okay, seven years of thirty seven years of not having a job. Right, that's nice because, yeah, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life, right. So, Geane what, Um, what do you think was a catalyst for you to kind of say, you know, skip you corporate world, I'm going to do my own thing here. You know, it's it started. Um actually became self employed on April Ninety two PM, because that's when the nurse put that first baby in my arms and I knew I was not going back to a job I hated. I was going to just become an entrepreneur figure it all out. We would probably be what, retired in our mid thirties, right, and have it all figured out and all done and, you know, live the happy, happy, go lucky life, right. Yeah, twenty eight years later, right, you all trying to figure it all out. There you go. You know, I bet so many women listening can relate to what you just said, but not every woman has all of the tools that they need to do what you've done. So, Um, what advice would you give a woman out there of any age, Um, that's thinking about leaving the corporate world? Or is Um maybe considering? I don't know if I have a lot of really young women listeners, but the woman who's like you know what, I want to dedicate more time to my family and I think I can do that and better serve my family and my own needs by, you know, being an entrepreneur. What, what advice might you have for that person listening? I would say, if you were going to do that, first of all, do it, but if you do it right, do it, because you will never get rich really working for someone else, right, Um. But if you're going to do it, especially, let's say you're over forty five, is hire a mentor, Right, somebody who can help you get there faster, because I didn't have a mentor and it took me twenty eight years to even start to have the success that I wanted. On a wow wow. So I have some interesting statistics and I think they are there. They're almost like a celebratory thing. I'm going to say it that way. Okay, let's see. So twelve point three million women owned businesses are currently operational. UH, ninety point three of women own micro businesses, and that's I didn't quite understand how they had that word at ninety point three of Um, percent of women own micro businesses more frequently than men. So what do you know? What a micro business is? Gene, I've never I'm not really familiar with that terminology, but I would imagine the micro business might be something like a network marketing product. Sure, okay, that makes sense. I'm just guessing. Yeah, on average, women's companies grow by eight percent compared to men owned businesses that grow by seventy eight percent. And this is interesting. One Thousand Eight hundred and twenty one new business sins were started every day last...

...year, and sixty four percent of those businesses started Um. We're started by women of color. Oh, that is and I'm not surprised. I mean I think that. I first of all, I think that's an amazing statistic, because women are color are really starting to get into the entrepreneurship, and they have been for years, but I mean really, really hitting it hard right now. I feel like writing. So many more women of Color Um at conferences that I saw even ten years ago. Yeah, so it's such a nice it's such a nice thing to have other women in in this too, or just women right. It's just nice to have women in in these UM starting a business. Women start a business. Now, I know a lot of my statistics are kind of primarily geared towards the U S, but I did have a couple of interesting ones here too. Southeast Asia, or South Asia, I'm sorry, has less than twenty of female entrepreneurs and women own and control enterprises created direct employment for about twenty seven million people in India. I thought that was pretty awesome. Um, what else do I have here? Seventeen percent of black women are in the process or starting to run a new business. And, let's see, fourteen percent of women owned businesses employed between eleven and fifty plus workers. So we've got some things to celebrate here. Women are really starting to come into their own. It's so awesome to see. Um, I also feel like the space I move in most frequently, we're seeing a lot more women support women. I came from a lot of years in the corporate world and it wasn't always the case, but I think it's the women who are out there hustling and doing their thing. They don't have time for all that pettiness maybe, and they have a lot more time to encourage and support each other, I think. Do you see that in your everyday work? I do see that and I see it as a theme that runs through all businesses right that most women out there want to support other other. Most women entrepreneurs want to support other women. Entrepreneurs. It's not that case in an office, right, because there is competition for jobs and there's competition for seniority and all that other things that goes on. and honestly, that was what was going on when I was in a job that I hated. I hated that that it was all, you know, it's all about it. It's all for one and one for all, right, one for none, right, it's this was it was so competitive. Yes, I worked with a woman and I'm obviously not going to say her name, but she she had a couple of really bad habits. Um, she won, she'd like to hoard information, so she was the only one out of our leadership team that had it. And number two, she would take like if she heard someone else talking about something, she would take that idea and presented as her own. And that that did not go over well in the workplace, I'm sure you can imagine. Yeah, and that happens a lot in corporate right. But as an entrepreneur, women are so eager to help other women, you know, all we all women leaders to hand up, right. They don't need they don't need a lot, but they're willing to share what they have with somebody else. And I do believe, and I do think, that more entrepreneurs, or women entrepreneurs, are what goes around comes around, right. I understand that more than most people. Sure. When I first started out I worked in the insurance industry for a lot of years and it's the good old boys club the insurance industry is. I think it might still be. I haven't been in it for a few years now, but Um, you know, it was that. That was that was what I brought it up. My head up against as a woman was the men seem to make a lot of their deals on the golf course, you know, and I would get um, kind of ribbed and tease a little bit about from my, you know, my co agents in my in My district that you know, Oh, I did this this month, I did this this month. They're talking about their you know, their production and all that. And you know I was out until eight or nine o'clock, you know, Um, selling a life insurance posts or whatever. What...

...were you doing lest Nay, I'm like, well, I was home being a mom, you know, I was. I was on cooking dinner, I was home baiting the kids, helping with homework. Yeah, and I think my husband could be out right exactly. Yeah, so I understand from our previous conversation that you work primarily with women. Why do you think that is? You think women are just more likely to reach out for help, or what do you think is more women invest in themselves than men do. Right so of my clients, and actually, right now I'm trying to think, I don't think I have a male client right now. So I think at this particular moment a percent of my clients are female and it's because they are not number one, they're not afraid to ask for help and, number two, they will. They will invest in themselves, and the statistic is really high. I can't remember what it is, but it's really high. I just heard it recently, of how many women, over men, will invest in themselves. Men have this thing feeling that they have to do it all right, they have to they can do it all. Yeah, and women. We'll ask now. Do you see that being the same? If we're going to break down? We've been doing a lot of celebrating women's stay, but you know, let's do some hard truth here for a moment. Do you see a difference in Um age groups as far as like the willingness to reach out for help and follow through and all that. Do you see a difference in the age groups when it comes to that? You know what it's so funny is that I pull more women over probably over fifty five ish. My oldest client is seventy two. Um, I have, I actually have three clients in their seventies that are building huge businesses right there, up there, creating yeah, and there there. There's no stopping them. There's, like you said Um earlier, like when you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life. And that's how these women feel about their businesses. Ah, that is so awesome to hear you're working for success, because I talked to a lot of women who, you know, get to that point in Midlife and they're, you know, they're they're kind of done raising the kids. Either they're you know, they're older teenagers at home or, you know, they've already left the nest. Um, maybe this woman has focused a lot on her career and now she's gotten to a point where she's kind of assessing life, you know, and and what do I want? What am I going to do with this part of my life? And a lot of them are pivoting. You know, they're leaving jobs that they've had for a long time that they haven't been happy in, and you know they're they're sticking their hat in the ring to own their own business. Um, and the kind of my story isn't it is Um, even though I've been an entrepreneur since I was twenty six years old. When, Um, I turned fifty three, my youngest, I woke up it was December twelve. I'll never forget December, and it was my son's twenty first birthday and he would kind of been a handful right, just really are like. He was the youngest, he was the hardest to raise, always the one that got in trouble. And I woke up that morning and I realized I'm fifty three years old and if I don't stop, if I don't start, let me say start, if I don't start going after what I want, I'm never going to get it, because fifty three chances are not going to live two hundred and six. So I am over Middle Age. And that was kind of a little Gut Punch right there, to know that I'm over Middle Age right. So, and I decided two th thirteen was going to be. I just had. It was I called it gene con two point out, where I literally recreate, recreated myself, recreated my businesses, Um, and really went after the success that I had wanted all those years of being a mom, but I always put my kids first. Oh my Gosh, I love what you just said so much. I have goose bumps. I love that so much and I you know, and this is one of the reasons why I do this podcast, is I want women to hear those stories of you know, come on, let's take a chance here. You know you got less than half, half left. Let's just be real...

...about it. And I'm like you. I you know, I one day we were talking about Middle Age or Midlife or something like that, and we're like, well, what, what age is that exactly? You know, because I'm almost fifty three and Um, I know that I'm past that Middle Age point at so we call it in my group we call it the second act. We're in our second act, because there might be a third act. We don't know. There could, there could be a third act, but we're in our second so, Jean, if you are going to again talk to this group of women and Um, knowing that businesses do fail, and I think it was. I think I've heard at one point that within the first five years, the first five years are the toughest. What do you think the top three reasons are that you see businesses fail? Not Enough cash flow, right, Um, not enough information, right, they don't know what they don't know. So and that right, and that would be my top two. I'm just going to give it to because they don't have enough money. When they start their business, they don't have enough money to cash flow what they need, their marketing, their their collateral. Every single they're setting up a what, you know, getting a simple website even, right, they start a business with zero dollars and they don't. They don't want to. They really don't want to invest to start with. They think that they what they know will lead them to the golden riches, and there's really so much more than that, because it is expensive to run a business, write a successful business and they have to have that. But also the piece there that, Um, they don't they don't want to. Um, wait, it was cash flow. And what was the other one? They said it's like of information. They don't know, likeack of information. Right, how do I? How do I go out and how. What's a lead generator? Right? They don't know what a lead generator is. If they're just starting, if they if they've not been in technology for a while, and I was never a technological person. I will tell you google, Youtube, is my best friend. And what all the technical pieces that I didn't know? The other day was struggling with how to Um edit my wordpress website because I didn't understand divvy. That's kind of knew that my my web guy put together and I couldn't get hold of them. I'm like, I have to figure this. I just went to Youtube and said, how do I edit a divvy wordpress website? And I edited my own webs Oh my gosh, that's awesome, awesome. They don't know what they don't know in order to move forward and keep money coming in. They don't know how to have a sales conversation, right. Yeah, if you can't ask, I'm sorry. No, no, no, no, you go ahead finish your statement. If you can't ask for the sale, nobody, nobody is going to just volunteer to work with you, for the most part, because there are people knocking on your door saying I want to do business with you. You have to be willing to go after I agree with that. So so you were making me think when you were talking there that would you say networking is also a very big key factor and success for a woman in business, anybody in business. That can include men as well, because I feel like I was so lucky when you said mentor earlier, you made me think of this woman who kind of took me under her wing and I so, this is funny what I'm about to say, but I can be kind of shy sometimes. You know, I am talking in front of the whole world, but you know, I can be kind of shy sometimes, and this woman just took me under her wing. She introduced me to a whole bunch of people the Chamber of Commerce Events and she just made me go out there and, you know, put my put my you know, my myself into the conversation and and you know, she taught me a lot about asking questions and how important that is. And you never know who you're going to meet. And also, I mean I want to let you talk about networking a little bit too, but also you've got to be willing to give before you get...

...slutely. yeaholutely right. It's if you don't provide any value before you ask for a sale. Chance to start that there's not going to be a sale. Right. It is all about how much more you can. I'm a big I'm also a do you know the go giver? I've heard of that, the book the go giver. Yeah, I'm also a go giver, certified coach, and I actually bought into the program just so I could. I believe in I've already been practicing right. I'm a big Zig zigler follower and that was the one piece that Zig taught me first. Was Right. You have to give before you get, and the more you give, the more you get. So, Um, but those principles are something that I what he's got to say. Um, you can have anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. Right, and I was twenty six when I heard that and I have lived with the rest of my life with that. From that perspective, if I can help you get what you want, I will never want for what I want. That's exactly right. I love that. So, Geene, let's talk a little bit about Your Business and how how do you help people? So if someone's listening to US talking today, and they're like, okay, this woman sounds amazing, she's got a lot of good information. How can she help me with my business? Um, do you have time for a quick story first? I do get into that. So in two thousand one, two thousand one, two thousand two, I bought my very first bankrupt business. Right, and most people, I'm I always ask how many of yours smart enough to buy a bank not to buy a bankrupt business, and everybody raises their hand. Right. I didn't get that memo. So I bought a bankrupt business, I turned it around in twelve months. I added a hundred thousand dollars to the bottom line and it was a brick and mortar. Okay. So, and then, four years later I bought my second bankrupt business and it was that they were chocolate factories. So I thought, how hard could that possibly be? Right, it's a little harder than you might think, but that's so from there, everything I learned over the sixteen years that I owned those two stores I've taken and I literally broke it down into how I help my clients now. Right, and there's four main principles. One is Um customer service, the marketing and volunteering, right volunteering, because it's about giving back right adding value to your community. Even if you're not a brick and mortar you can still if you're a home based business, you can still add tons of value to your community. I have a friend WHO's a realtor in Awatuki, Arizona, and she has been women a woman of the year in her chamber, I don't know, multiple times, right. But here's the funny thing is they don't see her selling real estate at all at all. But I could open up my facebook page and see her daughters at the humane society every Saturday morning playing with puppies and she'll show pictures of that. But it was her way of saying I'm out in the community and I'm giving back in the community. Every Saturday morning I bring my girls to write. She doesn't say anything about real estate, but we all put that together. We all put that together. The more you give, the more you get that she's really good about giving to her community. Very good, very nice. I guess that's how I would say that. Okay, well, I love all of that. I love the idea of giving back. I know that Um, so many of my listeners are wondering, you know, where where is? Um, what is my purpose, what is my passion? And I always tell them to think about the group that you would want to serve and you know, you can find a lot of purpose in passion within that. So that's so awesome that she's, you know, training her daughters up to you know, she's modeling that behavior very early in life. Right. Her girls were like six. Has Twins like six years old when...

...she started that. Right. Every who doesn't want to see a six year old playing and reading to a puppy? Are you kidding me? Right? And I when I started, when I had my bankrupt business or the chocolate factories I had, I started to volunteer on the Business Association board, Right, and I chaired a summer our project. That put me in front of every other business in town to sell the art project, right, so they could put you know, you know how those work. Right. Yeah. So, Um, sorry, I have I have dogs too, and they've been so good. I'm so proud right now, um. But so I started volunteering on the board and became a board member and started volunteering on the board and I by nothing else, my sales want of thirty percent that year because the business owners got to know who I was and because they I would always bring them treats right when I had to go visit them. There was always caramel apples or straw chocolate dips, strawberries or something that I took with me. But also they started doing business with me too. They started referring their clients over to me too. So and all it was is all I was out there doing was selling at around deck chairs for summer, our project. How it's so easy to do that and some people they won't take the time. Right. Uh. Recently I had given up the volunteering piece to just support a charity of my choice. Right, money what I get busy and it was easier to write a check. Not gonna write, easier to write a check and it's I just started donating to the Australian cattle dog rescue, which is where my dogs came from. I know, I love them. I Love Them. You know, I had to give my husband some credit here. Um. He has always had such a huge heart for volunteering and it wasn't until after I met him, Um, see, ten years ago now, I guess. Um He's the company that he works for. We have gone and we've packed food boxes. We have gone to a church and helped clean out the overgrown weeded yard. We've helped um paint numbers on the sidewalks, you know, so the ambulances can and fire trucks can find people's houses better. We've helped with um the smoke detector projects. You know, they go into neighborhoods and see if people have smoke detectors installed. And I gotta Tell You, Jean, every single thing that we've ever done, you don't walk away feeling like you wasted your time. Even on community trash pickup day, you don't feel like you've wasted your time. You always feel better giving back to people, always and you usually have a good time doing it. Right. Yeah, you might think, Gosh, I wish I didn't have to do that today, it's hot outside, but you had a good time while you were there. As your husband a firefighter? No, he works for the local utilities, the gas company, all the things you said. I thought, well maybe he was a fireman. No, but you know what, in some smaller communities they do work in and hand on some of those projects. So yeah, no, we took our kids. I think two or three times to like the food packing things, and we turned into a competition like who could who could pack more? And you know, we had a lot of fun with it and and and it is good for kids to see their parents doing that kind of stuff. It's that's a really good example and it's a good model. It is all right, so they'll give back when they're older. Yeah, so what's coming up next for gene? What you got going on in Your Business? What's next for you? What's next is coming up in October. I have what I call the turnaround conference, and it all started right with turning around those two bankrupt businesses right so it's kind of stuck with me. So it's really three days of business training where I'm helping entrepreneurs. What's your offer right what? What is that? Right now? It's how are you staying in business? Right now, we don't know if we're in a recession or not. Right nobody wants to say it because we're too close to the mid terms, so nobody really wants to call that what it is. But we've been there for a while... stay in business during that because if you remember back to two thousand and seven, when we had our last our work. Um, there are a lot of businesses went out of business. I think back to when the pandemics started, right, and we were deep non essential workers, right, so many businesses went out of business. My goal in life is to keep business owners in business and help them increase their revenue, because nineteen out of twenty small business owners do not make enough money. Right, you would never know that because your your neighbors and your friends all think if your self employed, you're totally rich, absolutely, and you have a lot of time freedom. Exactly, exactly. So. So, Jean, our time went really fast together today. Um, let's tell people where they can find you. Uh, well, they could find me at gene COON DOT com. J E A N K U H N Um. And if they're interested in the turnaround conference, it's going to be in the Chicago area. And you're in the Chicago area too, right, I'm not. I'm actually in Arizona. Oh my gosh, I don't know. You and I have a mutual friend and him and I, Um, we're in the same with the same company back in Illinois. So that's that's probably why you put that together. It is. It's exactly why I thought that you were in the Chicago. So it's going to be live and in person, because I'll tell you, I'm so over the virtual I tell you what, I agree with you. Time to start getting back and seeing people in person again. Oh my gosh, no other reason, just to hug some pity and smile at them. Right. I think I've turned into a Weirdo. I go into the grocery store now and I talked to random strangers. I just need to talk to some people or they appreciate that. I'm sure that they answer back. Well, we have a lot of elderly people in our community. We have a sort of a retirement community and I think that, you know, they're just lonely and they enjoyed is having a little bit of silly conversation sometime, and I enjoyed it to gene. I'M gonna end this with one last question today. It's a question I've been asking a lot of women lately because of the name of the podcast. What do you think women want today? I think women want to live the second and they want to go to their second act getting what they really wanted at the beginning of their first act. Oh my gosh, I love that. Why that? And we we we we don't take care of ourselves right. We always as if, especially if your mom, you, you always put your family first, right, and so many women don't. Then go on to finish up. Don't go back to it, and I think that if that would be one thing for women who really had dreams, it would go back to your dreams that you had when you were twenty, five years old, thirty years old, and now create them, because the kids are gone and they're not in a way, and let's not spend our time missing them so much that we can't get on with our lives. Quite the opposite here. Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree, gene. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here with me seeing I appreciate you. I appreciate you. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope you've enjoyed today's conversation as much as I did. If you'd like to continue the conversation, come on over and join our private facebook group what women want today. I'd love to hang out with you some more there. Any resources mentioned in today's episode will be in the show notes. You can find me on facebook and Instagram at what women want today podcast or visit my website at what women want today Dot Com. Please remember to subscribe, download and share. Leave me a review. It helps other amazing women find the show and become a member of our community. One last thing for you today. You are not alone. You are worthy of love and a fulfilled life. Now it's time to go after it.

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