Jen is the creative director, branding expert & Co-founder of Simple Green Smoothies. Her passion for health and her desire to work from home with her kids by her side led to the creation of the #1 green smoothie website. Jen is a wife, mother, four-time marathon runner, and soon-to-be publisher author of the book, Simple Green Smoothies.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- What happens when you take a MASSIVE risk? You see that even massive risk followed by massive failure isn’t the end of the world… and THAT will allow you to look towards other opportunities in the future.
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- The moment your passion allows you to monetize from the audience you’ve created, it all becomes REAL, and Jen shares with us the day that happened to her. Also, FOCUS – if its not a HELL YES… it’s a NO! …oh yeah, and get off other people’s agenda!
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- Simple Green Smoothies: Full of green smoothie recipes to transform your body from the inside out.
JLD: Jen is the creative director, branding expert and cofounder of Simple Green Smoothies. Her passion for health and her desire to work from home with her kids by her side led her to the creation of the No. 1 green smoothie website. Jen is a wife, mother, four time marathon runner and soon to be publisher/author of the book Simple Green Smoothies. And Jen, take a minute. Fill in some blanks on the intro and give us just a little glimpse into your personal life.
Jen: I think that was a pretty solid intro for me, John.
JLD: Well, you did do four revisions of it.
Jen: Yeah, it did take me awhile. I guess we could add in that I'm a perfectionist in there, and I work at something until it’s perfect. But no really, I'm just – I'm a mom and I had a passion for health and getting my kids to drink their greens and kale and spinach and enjoy it, and that’s how I started a whole business around that.
JLD: I don't think there’s ever been a better cartoon for vegetables than Popeye the Sailorman. I know for a fact when I was growing up, I would ask for spinach for every single meal, even though I thought it was gross; I never liked it. But I'm like: gosh darn it; if Popeye does it, I'm doing it. And now we’ve got the Simple Green Smoothies, which actually make it taste good, which I just – something I really wish existed in the ‘80s and ‘90s but what can we do?
Jen: Me, too. I'm with you.
JLD: So Jen, let’s kind of take a step back, here. Because you are a social gal, and you’ve really interacted with our community pretty gosh darn well, here. But my question for you is when you're at a networking party and somebody walks up to you and they say, “Jen, what exactly do you do?” how do you respond in ten seconds?
Jen: I let them know that I am the creative director and cofounder of Simple Green Smoothies, where we get people all over the world hooked on green smoothies through our free 30 day green smoothie challenges.
JLD: And by the way Fire Nation, her free 30 day Simple Green Smoothie challenge is epic. I've gone through it. I've loved it by the end. Kate actually made the comment, “John, your skin is glowing,” which I loved. And I also love the model, too, and Fire Nation this is what I've been talking about. When we launched free podcast course and our free webinar course, people were like, “What are you doing? That’s for free. There’s so much value there.”
But it’s led to so many sales in paradise and webinar and fire and Jen, I know you're seeing the same thing is that you're building no like and trust with an audience during a 30 day challenge. And of course, when they want to take it to the next level and do whatever it takes to continue that health kick that they’ve got on, they’re going to go to you. And that’s what I love so congrats on that model.
Jen: Thank you. I know. I feel like a lot of times people think that to have a successful business, you can’t be giving stuff away for free. But we’ve learned that free is not the problem, but greed is. And when you're holding on to all the goodness of your company and not sharing it, that’s where the problem comes in.
JLD: You have to earn your trust. You have to earn authority and credibility in a topic. If Jen and John have come out and just said: hey, buy from us; we’re the Simple Green Smoothie queens, they would have got some sales. But where’s the trust? They hadn’t proven themselves yet. But they did so with amazing value so I love that. But Jen, it’s not all kale, spinach and smoothie rainbows as both you and I know. So let’s talk about a story. The story that I want to specifically get into is your worst entrepreneurial moment.
So I don't want to hesitate anymore. I really want to get into this story because I know you have a doozie for us. So without any further ado, take us to that moment and tell us that story.
Jen: We’re starting deep on this one.
JLD: Yeah, girl.
Jen: Okay. My worst entrepreneurial moment actually does not have to do with starting a business; but it actually has to do with starting a church.
Jen: Yeah, which I've learned is a business in itself. And it set us up so well for Simple Green Smoothies and what I learned from that. But I would love to go into it a little bit and just share what happened.
JLD: Let’s hear it.
Jen: So my husband and I went to college for – he went to become an artist and I was a graphic designer and a journalist. And after he graduated, we had our kids and all of a sudden he felt like he was supposed to get into ministry, which was not something we ever planned on but it’s where God led us. And so we moved from California to Florida to start a church. And to do that, we had to leave our jobs at an ad agency. He worked in the Hollywood Studios. We had all of our family back in our hometown. We lived within six miles of all of the grandparents and all of our friends were there.
And we moved across country with not even a place to live. As we were driving, we had no clue where we were gonna land exactly in Florida, at that point. And we had no job lined up. We just had a group of friends – it was actually just a husband and his wife that asked us to come with them to do this. And we were meeting them there. And just that huge unknown and not sure what we were doing, but feeling like the why was there, like we knew in our hearts that this was something we should be doing and we weren’t gonna let fear stop us . So we took that leap, drove across country and planted our feet in a town called Wesley Chapel.
And instantly, between the couple and us, we realized quickly that our visions for this church, or even for a business, weren’t aligned. And it didn’t take long for things to start to just unravel. Like, communication just wasn’t working between everyone. I would talk behind their back to my husband and just share what I was frustrated in but we were never feeling like it was a place to come out in the open and talk about it. And also just our vision of what we were trying to build wasn’t concrete enough for both families that we couldn’t hold onto it and grow with it.
And then on top of that, the other couple, their health wasn’t there and they were struggling with some deep health issues. And within a year of us moving out there, leaving everything behind to do this, the church plan closed down. And we were left in Florida with no job, no purpose for being there, and just not sure why we had left everything and moved across country to be here with a failure in front of us.
JLD: That must have been tough on so many levels, Jen. I can just first and foremost just see you taking that leap into that huge unknown and driving across country not even knowing specifically where you were going to be living just a few days from that point, going forward. I mean that’s scary and that’s crazy and that’s terrifying stuff, Fire Nation. One thing I really want to make sure you get, Fire Nation, that I got from this, is that what happens when you take massive risk. Well, you see that even massive risk, even when it’s followed by massive failure, that it’s not the end of the world.
That you're not now living under some bridge trying to stay out of the rain. Like no, like it’s not the end of the world. And so on future endeavors, you know, let’s – a little illusion here to Simple Green Smoothies, future ventures that might seem kind of scary and crazy, if you had done nothing up to that point with your life risk-wise, now are like: oh yeah, we can try the Simple Green Smoothies thing. I mean gosh, I drove across country not even knowing where I was gonna live and did this tough year of work and it ended up doing nothing. It puts things in perspective, Fire Nation. So take that massive risk.
Don’t be scared. That’s what I really took away from what you did, Jen, and why you’ve now become a massive success. But break it down for us. What’s the one thing that you want to make sure that our listeners get from your story?
Jen: I think it’s just that whenever you are starting a business, you have to make sure that whoever is partnering with you, whoever is coming alongside you for this big idea that you have, that it is crystal clear to both of you and you just feel it so profoundly that what you're doing is what you should be doing, and just having those steps in place where you can apply it together; that you're communicating well. And that’s exactly what I did from that failure that we experienced. I mean the greatest thing that came out of that was once the church plan closed down, we were unemployed and had no money.
And so we had to hustle. And my husband and I were like: we’ve gotta figure out how to make this work. And that’s when Jadah and I got in touch with each other. We were friends from long ago when our babies were doing play dates together. And we started brainstorming ways for us to make money together. Because she had a similar situation where she was in financial trouble, too. And so we bonded through that and realized that maybe we could help each other and create something at the same time. Well, our husbands actually helped watch the kids so that we could grow our own business.
And from the beginning with Jadah and I, we were really intentional with making sure that we were aligned, that we were friends, that we talked about issues that we were having. We even did the 5 Love Languages, which is – my husband and I did it, and Jadah and her husband did too, before they got married. And just how much that helped us in our marriage, Jadah and I used it in our business partnership, which is also a business; or it’s also a marriage, I mean.
And we’ve applied that to it and using the strength finders test, too, and finding out what strengths each of us has to bring to this business and then helping each other with that and supporting it and letting us own those areas of the business.
JLD: So cool, so cool. Jen, what I want to do now is shift to another story. This one’s going to be an epiphany, an aha moment, a light bulb that you’ve had at some point in your journey. You’ve had a ton of these. Obviously, Simple Green Smoothies is a big one. Maybe that’s the one you're going to choose to share. But what I really want to make sure is that you tell that story, that you take us there to that moment that that aha moment actually does happen. And then walk us through the steps you took to turn that idea into success.
Jen: Within six months of Jadah and I launching simplegreensmoothies.com, we were growing so fast, it was incredible. I mean within two months, we had over 30,000 people on our email list joining us for a 30 day challenge. And by the April challenge, it had gone over to 60,000. So in a matter of months, we were just having this crazy exponential growth. And we had just released our first little eBook, and it was a $5.00 product that we sold to our community. It was $5.00. That just lets you know how scared we were to put ourselves out there and charge for anything. But we did, and we were able to create some income from that.
And we just realized we were onto something, like this could actually become a business. And six months into it, we were approached by an Indie book publisher who was under a larger publisher. And they asked us if we would publish a book with them. And Jadah and I – I remember we got that email, and we were so flipping excited and flattered and just, like, we could see us everywhere, like we’ve made it. And so we were talking about going for it and they sent us books in the mail so we could see what kind of books they did and are gorgeous and they just felt like a great company to work with.
But at that exact same time, Jadah and I were also working on a second product creation at Simple Green Smoothies called Fresh Start 21. And this was something that we had invested the little money we made on our $5.00 eBook, which was I would say about $12,000.00. We invested it into Fresh Start 21 and hired a nutritionist to help us create a meal plan and a shopping list and just a whole cleanse guide for our community, who wanted to not just drink a daily green smoothie, but who also wanted to eat better and learn how to cook whole foods and just feel better all the time.
And so we had to really stop in our tracks in that moment. It was like a fork in the road. It was like do we stop Fresh Start 21 and put that on hold and just jump onboard with this book and create a beautiful book and get it out there in the world right now? And we decided that we were gonna pass on the book deal.
Jen: Yeah. And that was a sad, hard time because it’s – it was a bucket list item for us, especially for me. I went to school for journalism. I wanted a published book in the world. But we just felt like our community, what they needed right then was not a book. They needed this next step. They already were hooked on green smoothies through our challenge. They were ready to eat food. And so we created that product and in July, we launched it. And within ten days of that launch for Fresh Start 21, we made $85,000.00.
Jen: Yeah. And that was the aha moment for me. It was sitting there that day when the cart opened, and just watching all these people saying yes to their health by investing in Fresh Start 21 and being so excited to join us on a 21 day cleanse. And I realized then that I – it’s really important for any business to put your own community, their needs, above the dreams of other companies. If they’re coming to you and pursuing you, it’s for their own agenda; it’s not for your own, even as good as it looks.
And so that carrot that was dangling out there with this book deal, it sounded so good and it probably – it wouldn’t have been a bad thing but it would have distracted us from the initial stage of growing our platform, growing our business, and growing our team. And so now two years later, we are still bringing in about 90 percent of our income from Fresh Start 21. And that is a huge amount of money we’re making from it; more than we would have got from a book deal. And it’s allowing us to grow our team.
And it also allowed us to hire a book agent this last December and we went and flew up to New York, and we went around for two days to the top of skyscrapers, meeting with the best publishing houses in the world and talking with them about our dreams for this book. And we landed an incredible book deal that we just are so excited for, and it’s at the right time where we need it.
JLD: I love so many things about this. I mean Fire Nation; give me a second here to just really dive into a few things. I mean number one, the moment that your passion actually allows you to monetize from the audience that you’ve created, that’s when it all becomes real, Fire Nation. And I love, Jen, how you shared that with us. Another thing – and Fire Nation knows this, Jen – but my favorite word is FOCUS. It’s Follow One Course Until Success. It’s not one follow these two courses and getting as good as you can at both. No, one course. Your 21 day Fresh Start crushed it because you had the focus.
Because Fire Nation, if it’s not a “hell, yes,” it’s gotta be a no. It has to be a no. And the third and last thing, Jen, I just loved is Other People's Agenda – OPA. You have to realize, Fire Nation, people are going to want to help you and to work with you, of course. But it all is coming back to because it is going to benefit them, as well. You know, these people didn’t wake up and say: hmm, how can I be a Good Samaritan today and just help out Jen and Jadah with nothing coming back to me? No, it was looking to be a mutually beneficial decision.
And again, they were hoping it was gonna work and was gonna benefit Jen and Jadah, of course. But there was always this other agenda. So Jen, you stuck to your agenda, you stuck to your guns. Kudos to you, girl. Love what you're doing. You’ve earned all the success that you definitely have so that’s awesome stuff. And speaking of which, you’ve been very open and honest with Fire Nation about the revenue that you’ve created. Some people don’t do that. Obviously here, I take it to the other extreme and publish really detailed income reports.
But you know, you shared the 12K that you made from the first offer, and then the 85K that you made from the second one. So can you bring us to today? What are the different ways that you are generating revenue right now?
Jen: We’re definitely being more intentional with branching out and diversifying our income. Because we realized so much of it is coming from one product, and that’s Fresh Start 21. And so we’re in the middle right now of creating our next digital product, which is a 28 day meal plan. And that will also be a digital product and we’ve invested tons of time and money, and are making it so beautiful because we really believe that what sets us apart in a lot of – in the health and wellness role and then also with digital products is that our products – it’s like a whole experience.
Like, it doesn’t stop just with great copy. Like it goes in with design, it goes in with images, it goes up with follow up emails. It’s a whole package that we spend so much time perfecting before we release it to the world. And that’s why they do so well. And so we’re gonna have another digital product and our book. We don’t see the book as a way to generate income but we see it as a way to grow our following and raise brand awareness. And so this fall we will be releasing the book, on November 3rd it comes out.
And we’re hopeful we’ll be on Ellen’s couch, showing her the book, making green smoothies with her and just spreading Simple Green Smoothies beyond the digital world but actually into the physical world, now. Because we’ve been really intentional with staying in the digital world until now. And now it’s time to get into Target, get into Costco and just let people reach us in new ways, or find us in new ways.
JLD: It is time, absolutely. And I do love that you recognize – and Fire Nation, I know you recognize, as well, the danger of not diversifying; of just relying on one revenue stream. Because we just never know what the future holds with that so you want to be protecting yourself in every way, shape and form. And I'm also really glad, Jen, that you shared the fact that you're not really looking at the book as a revenue stream, per se, but just as a way that you're gonna grow your audience.
Because books are great. And I love the fact that I've had a podcast launch out there and it’s over now 500 five-star reviews in Amazon. I love that that book is getting my message out there. But that book itself doesn’t generate revenue. It’s the no like and trust that I've built with that where people are joining Paradise and doing other things with Entrepreneur and Fire and Fire Nation that’s making it worthwhile. So think about that, Fire Nation, when you're building up your streams. Is that the book side, it’s more of a marketing. It’s more of an amplifying megaphone that you can use.
And Jen, you have a lot of strengths. We’re going to talk about one of those in a second, here. But what would you say your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur is?
Jen: I believe that I'm super capable of doing everything, and I try to do it all. And to a fault, to where I get overwhelmed easily. I put too much on my plate and I get buried by it all. And so not having – I'm learning now to practice saying “no” or “not right now” to people. Even though I'm capable of doing it; it doesn’t mean that I should be doing it. And we’re also hiring out more people to lighten the load.
JLD: Jen remember, if it’s not a hell, yes; it’s a no. And I don’t even like to say later, to be honest, to a lot of people because then it’s putting them back, you know, six months later taking up more bandwidth. You know my thing is always: listen, I have to absolutely say no to you at this moment in time. If anything ever does change, I will reach back out to you. Like, I will be making that contact. So I really like to be clear with that. So Jen, what’s the biggest strength that you would consider that you have as an entrepreneur?
Jen: I am determined beyond anything else. If I believe something is a great idea and it’s in my heart telling me it’s time to do it, I will do anything it takes to get it done. And that’s how we built Simple Green Smoothies was it was nonstop, 24/7 at thinking about it, acting on it, pulling in people to make it an actual business. And so I will – I don’t ‘make excuses to not finish things. I will do whatever it takes to hit deadlines to get it done and have products and things out there for the world.
Because I believe that we have to get our dreams – like our great ideas and our dreams out there to help other people. And if we don’t, like what’s the point? Like why are we even here, why are we doing anything? Like we’re here to make a difference, and I'm passionately pursuing that.
JLD: Heck, yeah. Jen, what’s the one thing that you are fired up about right now, more than anything else?
Jen: It’s this book, this book that’s been weighing on our minds for two and a half years, now. And it’s finally happening. And the time was right and we – it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful, full color – recipes, there’s over 100 green smoothie recipes within the book. We are walking beginners through how to make it with a ten day kick start and a shopping list within that, too. And then we also have a lot of hard core recipes for our 30 day challenge rock stars out there. So we’re going to break them into veggie loving smoothies and hardcore detox ones. And we also have a margarita smoothie where you can doctor it up if you want to to liven the party.
JLD: Party time! So Jen, when is this book going to be available?
Jen: It’s set to come out November 3rd.
JLD: November 3rd. So Fire Nation, just a couple of months from now, you are gonna be able to get your hands on the Simple Green Smoothies book. And Fire Nation, we are about to enter the lightning round. But before we do, let’s take one minute to thank our sponsors.
Jen, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Jen: I'm ready.
JLD: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Jen: There was nothing holding me back. If anything, I knew the consequences if I didn’t go for it, and that was scary enough to have me jump all in.
JLD: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Jen: I would say it’s from my friend Dan, who I heard it when he was on my husband’s podcast, called “Theological Ninja.” And he said what scares you the most is probably the thing you should be doing. And just thinking about that, and knowing that these things that really scare us, instead of pushing them away but actually going for them can open up so many doors. And for us, that was moving across country and taking that leap of faith. It was scary, but it opened so many doors.
JLD: Yeah, and it made all future big leaps not seem quite so big or scary.
Jen: Oh, yeah. There’s nothing, now.
JLD: Jen, what is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Jen: Drinking a daily green smoothie.
JLD: God, you are so on brand!
Jen: It’s true!
JLD: I know.
Jen: I mean it’s – they’re so good.
JLD: Do you have an internet resource like Evernote that you can share with our listeners?
Jen: Yeah. We have one called Sordid, and it’s for Gmail. And it’s a newer plug-in that works with Gmail and it helps you create to-do lists within it and organize your email account through that.
JLD: Always focus – follow one course to success – and I'm not trying to pile another thing on your plate but I do know a Simple Green Smoothies app would be pretty amazing.
Jen: I know. That’s on our dream list.
JLD: Well Fire Nation hey, if you are just a killer in the app world and you want to send Jen an email, maybe she’ll be looking to move forward with this if somebody can take a majority of the bandwidth up in time and expertise and skills. So give her an email. And if you can recommend one book, Jen, for our listeners, what would it be, and why?
Jen: Essentialism, by Greg McGlone and that book has just – I've had to reread it many times because it’s just helped me for those times when you're feeling overworked, overwhelmed or like when your in box is full of other people's agendas, it’s just helped me prioritize my life again. And it gives me permission to say no to the things that I don’t need to be doing and it reminds me of what’s most important.
JLD: OPA: Other People's Agendas. Fire Nation, get on your agenda. And I know you love audio and so I teamed up with Audiobooks and if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audio book for free at eofirebook.com. And Jen, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it’s a doozie. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of. But all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Jen: Well, I would definitely spend at least – probably the first three days wandering around that city and eating at the restaurants, going to cafes, just soaking it all in and trying to understand it and understand this new place that I live in. And then once I feel like I kind of have my bearings there, I would spend the next day going out into nature and finding solitude. Like I'm all about being outside by myself, because that’s where I seem to figure things out the best. And from there, I'd probably be able to create some sort of plan or goals to figure out where I would go next with this new place that I'm in.
And then day five, I would reach out and start finding that tribe of people because I have to share life with others. I am not meant to live alone. And so I would be hanging out at the cafes, the juice bars, the theaters. I would join a running club; just things that light me up is where I would be and finding people similar. And it would be not for my business, but for personal sanity to have these people surround me. And so before I would even think about how to make money and grow this $500.00 I have, I would want to create a support system of people to catch me if – and really when – I do fall.
JLD: I love it. I love the fact that you would take a step back and give yourself some space. And that’s one thing, Fire Nation, that in this crazy, busy world we just don’t do enough. And Jen, let’s end today on fire with you sharing just one parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Jen: Really figure out why you're doing what you're doing. And if it doesn’t light you up to the point that you're excited to do something about it right then, then you need to change your direction. And so as hard as that may be for some of you, I think it’s really gonna help your life out if you do that. And if you’d like to get in touch with us – or me – you can visit us at simplegreensmoothies.com and on Facebook and Instagram at simplegreensmoothies.
JLD: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people that you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with Jen and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com Just type “Jen” in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop right up. And Jen, I want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. And Fire Nation, I want you to check out Simple Green Smoothies. Take that next step in your life. So Jen, Fire Nation solutes you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Jen: All right.
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