For over a decade, Jillian has been helping professionals make connections to attain their business goals. An expert at networking and relationship development she has the ability to open doors and create opportunities. Her trustworthiness and highly positive energy has inspired senior level executives and business owners across the nation. In 2003 she founded The Jillian Group, Inc.
Click to tweet: Fire Nation, Jillian shares her incredible journey on EOFire today!
Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:12] – Jillian is most proud of the amount of service work she has done and the network she has built over the years
- [01:56] – For Jillian, it’s all about making an impact in someone else’s life
- [02:14] – JLD shares how his relationship with Jillian was built over time
- [02:53] – Jillian’s expertise is in ICE – insight, connection, energy
- [03:06] – She’s known for building relationships and making others feel comfortable
- [03:26] – The most important piece anybody can do is Active Listening
- [04:42] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: “We must build equity in relationships”
- [04:56] – Invest in relationships first before trying to get anything from it
- [06:36] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Jillian trusted a client relationship and ended up extending herself with $25,000 worth of outstanding invoices
- [07:19] – From her experience, she learned to be very direct and clear
- [07:36] – “We teach people how to treat us”
- [08:19] – Jillian now collects upfront payments
- [09:03] – Be very direct in dealings
- [09:55] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Jillian has struggled with the mental framework of the curse knowledge and The Imposter Syndrome. Because of that, she resisted to give quotes for the work she has to offer. She received an offer where she would represent a company and create opportunities on their behalf and that made her realize there was commercial value in building relationships.
- [12:34] – Incorporate your skills into your business
- [13:10] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I am actually working on, what is poised to be, a career-defining project”
- [14:19] – Jillian embraces each opportunity as a win
- 14:53 – A relationship Jillian started a few years ago guided her to work on a book, 20/20 Mind Sight with Phil Fragasso
- [16:20] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Self-limiting beliefs”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “To trust my instincts and to focus on the biggest – you’re familiar with the expression – BHAG… and the third was to raise my prices”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “The truth is before I go to bed every night, I reflect on the day… and I acknowledge the good things I witnessed from other people that day”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Accompany and Lincsphere
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Marketing for Rainmakers – “It’s really one of my favorites”
- 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 dollars. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “I would research local cafes and choose one with the most kind of lively and friendly vibe. I would go perch there and share coffee with folks—A.K.A. build relationships—to determine who are the players in the area, what are the needs or concerns of the local people, and what are the next steps that I can take”
- [20:53] – Relationships are the centerpiece of everything for Jillian
- 21:01 – Jillian has written a guide, The 9-Steps to Increase Your Professional Network, for Fire Nation. Get it here!
- 21:30 – Connect with Jillian on her website, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
- [21:45] – “Go out and shake a hand today”
3 Key Points:
- Make an impact in someone else’s life.
- It’s important to invest in relationships first, before asking for anything from it.
- Go out and start building your network.
- Accompany and Lincsphere – Jillian’s small business resource
- Marketing for Rainmakers – Jillian’s Top Business Book
- Audible – Get a 30–day free trial of fantastic audiobooks!
- 20/20 Mind Sight – Jillian’s book
- The Jillian Group – Jillian’s website
- Connect with Jillian on her website, LinkedIn and Facebook
- Catch JLD drop value bombs on Snapchat and Instagram!
John Lee Dumas: Jillian, are you prepared to ignite?
Jillian Vorce: Let’s do this, my friend.
John Lee Dumas: Yes! For over a decade, Jillian has been helping professionals make connections to attain their business goals. An expert at networking and relationship development, she has the ability to open doors and create opportunities. Her trustworthiness and highly positive energy has inspired senior level execs and business owners across the nation.
Back in 2003 she founded The Jillian Group, Inc. Jillian, take a minute and fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Jillian Vorce: Sure. So I would say that’s a pretty succinct kind of recap of who I am and what I’m about. Two quick pieces I’ll point out that I’m actually most proud of; one is the amount of the service work that I have done over the years; everything from being down in New Orleans to work on the Post-Katrina rebuilding efforts to being a literacy volunteer and I helped to raise somewhere over $1 million for various non-profits and created a live telethon that raised $250,000.00 to help families in need.
So, that’s something that over the years I’m very, very proud of and the second one is about the network of thousands of relationships that I’ve built over the years; basically one handshake and one cup of coffee at a time. To me, at the end of the day it’s about making an impact in someone else’s life and that’s truly what drives me.
John Lee Dumas: Well, would you say that having Hibachi with the Dumas Family was in your top five?
Jillian Vorce: No doubt. I’m glad that you know your place, John that you didn’t say top ten because I would have had to correct you and said top five, so for sure that ranks.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, Jillian is just proving her last sentence about one coffee, one relationship at a time because we become friends over the years but just that, by every now and then bumping into each other at conferences, having a nice little chat, building our friendship and our relationship to the point where last time I was back in Maine she came up and visited. We hung out for a while. She went out to dinner with my family. It was a blast. Why? It’s because we’ve built a friendship over the years one cup of coffee at a time literally.
Jillian, let’s go to talk right now about what you consider your area of expertise. We’ve kind of brushed over it, but really drill into it. What do you specialize in?
Jillian Vorce: Sure. I would say that what I’m known for is we call it ICE with my team. So it’s Insight, its Connections, and it’s Energy. How I explain that or articulate it is that I’m known for basically building relationships and making people feel comfortable. Doing so allows me to connect people to concepts and ideas. To drill down further, to me sure there are skill sets involved and there are tactics and whatnot, but straight out of the gate one of the most important pieces anybody can do just takes some practice and that’s active listening.
It requires active listening and actually caring about other people. Folks can tell when you’re authentic or when you’re trying to get something, so that’s something that I care very much about and I talk a lot about. To me this is also building relationships with people is predicated on trusting your gut and also having the courage to say and to think out of the box or to challenge conventional wisdom and to be willing to be wrong or to make mistakes.
That goes back to the authenticity piece and so I think that when you show up as yourself and you are authentic and you care about other people they will be surprised. They’ll be relieved and they are likely to pull back the curtain and share a lot. That’s how really strong relationships and bonds can be forged.
John Lee Dumas: I love that and how you broke it down, but let’s just pull out one thing that’s we, and by we, I mean Fire Nation entrepreneurs probably don’t know about that area of expertise that we really should.
Jillian Vorce: Sure. I alluded to it a moment ago, but let me go further and say I talk a lot about this concept of social equity. Simply stated it’s that we must build equity in relationships before we withdraw upon them or before we try to withdraw upon them. We need to invest in relationships which take time, it takes attention, and it takes willingness to help and again the authenticity piece. I think that most of us know that when we need something we instantly think; well, who can we talk to?
What most people don’t spend as much time doing is thinking about people when we don’t need them? I realize we have to account for our schedules and we can’t just be an amoeba; however I wonder how often we think about other people and what they’re working on. How often do we get in the car and drive a couple of hours to spend a half hour with somebody or how often do we promote other people?
I really think of it in terms of building social equity and doing so really builds up quite a bit that we can actually withdraw upon but the investment has to happen first.
John Lee Dumas: Build social equity before you withdraw. I mean Fire Nation, when is the last time that you walked into a bank and said; hey, I’d like to withdraw $100.00 and they’re like, okay what’s your account number? You’re like; oh, I don’t have an account here. I just want to withdraw $100.00. They’re going to look at you like you’re crazy because you are. You can’t withdraw money if you haven’t deposited any money, but why do you think you can get on Facebook or Google Plus or LinkedIn and just say; hey, check this out. Go fund me or support my campaign or buy my product.
Why? Why do you think you can do that, Fire Nation? Well, you can’t. Build your social equity first, so I love that, Jillian. Your journey by the way again; back in 2003 you founded The Jillian Group, so this is 13 years later we’re chatting here. You’ve had the ups and the downs. What is your worst entrepreneurial moment to date? Don’t pull any punches. Take us to that moment and tell us that story.
Jillian Vorce: Okay. Let’s get down and dirty. I’ll lay my chips on the table right here. So, here is the deal. I trusted a client relationship more than was deserved or more than they earned and I ended up extending myself to the tune of about $25,000.00 in outstanding invoices. It was December, so holiday season and I needed to pay my team. I felt responsible and of course that wasn’t their fault but I had allowed this to happen so it was a super-difficult time for me. I had to play creative finance and I was just really angry at myself for letting it happen.
From that I learned to be very direct and clear and to no longer allow that to happen and to not be in that position. For that in my mind I always think about one of my favorite quotes actually, which is we teach people how to treat us. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that one. It’s a classic Dr. Phil quote, but I thought of that. If I’m demonstrating to my client that it’s okay and I don’t value my time and my team’s time and the work we’ve done then they’re not going to. That’s the quote that I use to mitigate the pain of that horrible entrepreneurial moment.
John Lee Dumas: What would you have done differently? There are people listening right now that have outstanding invoices and yes, Fire Nation you know I’m talking to you because we all do on some level. We’re like; oh, but the person gave me such a good excuse and they’ve always done this in the past or whatever it might be, but what would you recommend that our listeners do if they find themselves in the situation that you were in?
Jillian Vorce: One of the things I have done is I now collect up-front, so I either have an engagement fee that they pay that’s non-refundable or we do a guarantee so often they’ll pay three months up front. At a minimum they pay for the month ahead of time. I don’t do the work and then send the invoice. That’s not how it rolls, so we now invoice up-front. The other piece with that one is that I really believed in what they were building and I felt like the funding was going to come and going to come so I gave them too much slack and that slack ended up stinging quite a bit.
John Lee Dumas: Whiplash.
Jillian Vorce: Yeah, a bit of that so that’s what I would say. The other recommendation I would make is to be very direct because I tend to want to believe that most people come from a good place. Their intentions are good. Most business owners are being pulled in a million directions and so sometimes just kind of grabbing them by the shoulders – maybe not literally but figuratively – and saying; here’s the situation. How can we work together on this? That may be having that very direct conversation up-front.
John Lee Dumas: Jillian, let’s move to another story in your journey. This is one of the greatest ideas that you’ve had to date, one of your ah-ha moments. Take us there and really walk us through that idea but then more importantly how you executed it.
Jillian Vorce: Sure. This is an, I’ll say it’s an idea I guess; it’s a practice, it’s an experience, and it’s a story none-the-less. We’ll start with the ooey-gooey part, which is that I have kind of struggled with this mental framework of what’s called the curse of knowledge and imposter syndrome. I kind of oscillate back and forth with those two. They’re very similar.
In any case, that’s been one of my ongoing challenges. Because of that I resisted doing “what I do” for many years when I was getting started, and so I remember the first time I received a phone call with an offer to pay me to go represent this established firm, to shake hands and basically create opportunities on their behalf.
I super-remember that moment and when I hung up the phone I had that ah-ha moment, that even though I’ve always thought that what I did was like Captain Obvious, I realized that there was in fact commercial value in relationship development. That goes back to the comment I made about just trusting your gut. And so that moment is when I realized Ah-ha, there is commercial value.
That really was the catalyst for me to continue to be open to doing that kind of work and have those conversations which led me on to a path about how to package, how to make that available to other firms and different industries, and it’s ultimately what landed me the opportunity to do the Ted X talk, to publish my first book and to create several pieces of actual business.
John Lee Dumas: You shared two things that are really important to me and Fire Nation, you’ve heard me talk about his before, but it’s the curse of knowledge. So many people struggle with this because you think because you know it or because you’re good at it or because it comes easy to you that it happens for others in the same manner. That’s just not the case.
And then the imposter syndrome, Fire Nation; you are a human being. Just understand that and embrace it and they say; how can I drive forward with that knowledge? Those are just two of many, many great points, Jillian that you made during your Ah-ha moment story. What do you want to make sure our listeners get from that story?
Jillian Vorce: I would say that a lot of us probably have an innate skill or a talent that we know in our gut that we’re good at and that other people have commented on or complimented us for. Chances are that is somehow incorporated into our business, but I venture to guess some people here are downplaying that or minimizing it as opposed to grabbing a hold of it and being proud of it and sharing it and making it accessible. So, I would say go for it. Put yourself out there.
John Lee Dumas: Grab that megaphone.
Jillian Vorce: Grab it man because we have skills that can really help other people and so it goes back to the whole bit about helping each other. That’s what we can do but we have to share it with other people for them to know.
John Lee Dumas: Jillian, what are you most excited about right now? What is lighting your fire?
Jillian Vorce: What is lighting my fire? So, I am actually working on what is poised to be a career-defining project. It’s a really amazing opportunity that has come by way of relationships of course. There are many reasons I’m excited about it, one of which is that it’s ushering in a brand-new round of relationships with folks who are, or have been industry leaders for decades. Literally some of these folks are among the most well-connected and accomplished in the world and so it’s a significant opportunity.
Keeping in mind the conversation we just had about the curse of knowledge and the imposter syndrome, it’s really requiring me to pull from all the experiences I’ve had throughout the years. I’m super fired-up for it. The other piece I’ll just share is that I feel like I’m also making a deliberate effort to be level-headed about it. What I mean by that is; sure there is potentially this classic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I really am embracing just the opportunity itself as a win because the experience is priceless. I feel like I’ve already gain or won regardless of whether or not this actually emerges or takes off.
That’s what I’m super-stoked about and that’s also the framework and how I’m looking at it.
John Lee Dumas: Now, I want you to sneak something else in here because we chatted about this briefly up in Maine. What is up with this book launch that you had a little while ago?
Jillian Vorce: Thanks for bringing that up. That’s a great example; a relationship that I basically started several years ago landed me to be a guest lecturer at Boston College and then ultimately invited me into this project to work on this book called 20/20 Mindsight. It’s about re-inventing your life from the inside out. My co-author is fantastic; is a seasoned author, has a tremendous background. His resume is pretty well stacked. It was an incredible opportunity for me to work with him side-by-side on this project that took two-and-a-half and has just come out.
We’re really excited about it. We have a series of workshops coming out in January. There’s a workbook about to come out as well, but it’s really terrific. You can check it out; it’s 2020minds.com. It’s also available on social, but we built the back end of it to be kind of supplemental to the book so there are over 25 exercises that people can jump into. You can download them or take them right online to really help take action to create results from reading the book.
I’m really excited about it. It’s a great opportunity. Thanks for bringing that up, John.
John Lee Dumas: Of course, and I took some of those exercises, Fire Nation, and they are very worthwhile so definitely check that out. Speaking of worthwhile, the lightning round is going to be worthwhile as soon as we thank our sponsors.
Jillian, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Jillian Vorce: I can’t wait. My seat belt is buckled. Let’s do this.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Jillian Vorce: Aside from the things we’ve already talked about I would say self-limiting beliefs. I started my first business when I was 21 so I thought that I wasn’t old enough or smart enough to be an entrepreneur.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Jillian Vorce: Trust my instincts and to focus on the biggest – you’re familiar with the expression; BHAG, Big Hairy Audacious Goal – so to focus on those things first thing in the morning. The third was to raise my prices because frankly most people don’t. If most people don’t do it, I want to do it because if I’m doing what everybody else is doing I’m blending in, so those are the three big takeaways that I could suggest and that have made a difference for me.
John Lee Dumas: BHAG, Fire Nation that Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal and also Brian Tracy wrote an amazing book called Eat that Frog and that’s just doing the thing that is most difficult first thing in the morning.
Jillian Vorce: Yes, crush it, yes.
John Lee Dumas: Jillian, what’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Jillian Vorce: I’ve thought about this because I’ve been listening to your podcasts of course and so I remember for quite a while wondering about how I would answer that. This is what I have for you; it’s called the truth. So, the truth is before I go to bed every night I reflect on the day and I think about what I could have done better or handled differently. I acknowledged the good things that I witnessed in other people throughout that day, whatever it may be, so, good things that I just happened to observe.
Then I say my “thank you” prayer. I feel and I express gratitude for having another day and for opportunities for friends, family, and health and so that’s always how I end my day, which I have to believe helps me to wake up in a more positive spirit every day.
John Lee Dumas: Wow. What’s an internet resource that you could share with our listeners?
Jillian Vorce: I’m excited about this one; there’s a newer app called A Company. It’s essentially a digital assistant or a Chief-of-Staff app. I’m not sure if they’re still wait-listing or if it’s in beta, but I’ve been using it for a while and it’s a fantastic tool. It’s a great app and a company, and there’s also one called Linksphere, which helps people build and manage their networks of professional relationships, so A Company and Linksphere, so I went for a two-play there.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. It’s all about the relationships, Fire Nation. So, Jillian if you could recommend one book to of course join 20/20 Mindsight our bookshelves, what would that book be and why?
Jillian Vorce: 20/20 Mindsight, we talked about that. I appreciate that, but the one I would recommend is actually called Marketing for Rainmakers: 52 Rules of Engagement to Attract and Retain Customers for Life. It’s one of my favorites. It’s really hard to pick out one, but this is definitely one of my favorites and that’s because it’s simple, it’s actionable, and it’s applicable for all industries.
John Lee Dumas: Who is the author for that?
Jillian Vorce: Phil Fragasso.
John Lee Dumas: Got it, and that was 20/20 Mindsight; I mis-spoke with 20/20 Minds. It’s Mindsight, right Jillian?
Jillian Vorce: That’s correct. 2020minds.com is the website for it.
John Lee Dumas: And Jillian, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it’s also a doozy. Imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world that’s identical to earth, but you knew no one. You have all the experience and knowledge and that you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is this laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Jillian Vorce: I love it. It’s so simple for me. It’s going to come as a shock probably, but I would research local cafes and choose with the most lively and friendly vibe. I would perch there and share coffee with folks, a.k.a, build relationships to determine who are the players in the area, what are the needs or concerns of the local people, and what are the next steps that I can take?
John Lee Dumas: That is no surprise that you would do that, and no doubt that you would crush it, so Jillian let’s end today on fire, girl with a parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you and then we’ll say bye-bye.
Jillian Vorce: Clearly we know by now that relationships are the centerpiece of everything for me. I did want to just offer that I have written a guide; it’s called The Nine Steps to Increase your Professional Network. It’s actionable and can really help move the needle no matter who you are or what business you’re in. I’d just like to offer that to folks for free. They don’t have to sign up for anything; they can just download. It’s there on my website, which is also a place they can connect with me, so it’s TheJillianGroup.com/fire, so that is available.
Like I said, you can access me there as well with email and such. Otherwise, at Twitter; I’m at JillianVorce. I’m also on LinkedIn and Facebook. I happen to be the only one in the world with my name so I’m not too tough to find.
John Lee Dumas: I love it, and what’s a parting piece of guidance for our listeners?
Jillian Vorce: Go out and shake a hand today. That’s what I have to say.
John Lee Dumas: Shake a hand, Fire Nation. Look a person in the eye and shake their hand because you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging with J.V. and J.L.D. today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Type Jillian in the search bar; that’s J-I-L-L-I-A-N and her show notes page is going to pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, time-stamped with links galore, and of course check out TheJillianGroup.com/fire because you can get that download completely free and all the awesome stuff and all the ways to connect with Jillian.
She’s saying to Fire Nation; hey, email me. Say hi to me. Say what’s up. Say thank you. Say who you are. Just do it. Build a relationship.
Jillian Vorce: That’s right.
John Lee Dumas: So Jillian, thank you for sharing your journey with us today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Jillian Vorce: Thanks a lot. I appreciate the opportunity. Take it easy, John.
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