Jena Rodriguez, Brand Strategist + Business Coach, is passionate about transforming businesses from so-so to WOW with brand clarity, strategy, and profit enhancement expertise. She is the founder of Brand With Jena, a business coaching company that educates, elevates, and inspires entrepreneurs internationally, supporting them in getting their BRAVE ON!
“Entrepreneurship is NOT the easy way, it is the BRAVE way!”
Jena shows entrepreneurs what it takes to work with clients they LOVE and make the money they TRULY desire by elevating their perceived value so they can charge what they’re worth. By doing so, she’s helped clients surpass the 6-figure mark with increases of 600% + in their business. How big is YOUR BRAVE?
In this interview, Jena shares how she got into the branding business and made her toughest decision to form Brand with Jena. She also tells us her previous experience/mistake chasing the wrong money. Let's jump right in because this is going to be awesome.
Her advice for entrepreneurs starting a business:
Find support, hire a business coach. Start a business, just do it!
What motivated you to start Brand With Jena? How did the idea come about?
In 2007, I joined forces with my husband, Alex, in his web and graphic design company. We quadrupled the business over the next 5 years and in 2012, I realized that I wanted to create a different business using my strongest skillsets - brand strategy, branding design, profit enhancement methods and business coaching.
At the same time, my husband was feeling disenchanted with web work and wanted to return to his musician roots full time. So January 1st, 2013, Brand With Jena was born when I took over the business and re-branded. It was a tough transition, yet turned out to be the best thing for both my husband and I. We're now living our brand and I've created a multi-6-figure business and a location-freedom lifestyle.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? Is there something you are most proud of?
Entrepreneurship is about potentiality for me versus limitation. It’s about having the ability to fully express yourself. I love the freedom to make decisions that support me to the fullest and therefore support my clients and the people I'm meant to serve.
It’s the adventure of a lifetime!! There are many big and small accomplishments along my 10+ year journey as an entrepreneur. One of my proudest moments was when I said YES to hosting my own 3-day event. It was one of the BRAVEST moments for me and I was really nervous, at the same time it was the best experience ever to navigate something so transformational and impactful for my audience and myself. It was a great opportunity for growth and expansion.
I'm thrilled to say my next 3-day event, another BRAVE moment, is coming March 2, 2017! I still get nervous, yet so much more excited about the amazing magic and unlimited possibilities. It’s inside of the YES energy in which my business has grown, my lifestyle has expanded and my family has truly been blessed.
What is the toughest decision you’ve ever made when starting a business? How did it make you better at the end of the day?
Great question! Honestly, my toughest was certainly saying to my husband that I no longer wanted to continue the partnership and that I wanted to take over the business so I could re-brand it. It was scary and uncertain.
It was a risk and it took us a few months to work through the emotional transition (and YES we're still married after 16 years!!). When you really take on your truth, your knowingness about the rightness of a decision, pull the band-aid off and take the leap of faith, things really start to open up.
This journey has taught me so much and has made me a stronger person. It’s helped me recognize what the human spirit is capable of when we let our BRAVE win versus our fear. When we say YES and then figure things out along the way. The “what ifs” and the “I can’ts” are paralyzing and keep us stuck. I'm grateful that I learned that lesson and how to move forward through fear faster and with resilience.
In your experience, what is the best way to find your ideal customer? Are there any mistakes that our readers can learn from?
The best way to find your ideal client, in my opinion, is to first declare it and set your intention clearly on who you truly want to be around. What are the intrinsic characteristics of those amazing people you're meant to serve (I call it DECLARE YOUR IT FACTOR).
Second, start hustling! Meaning, identify your target audience and find places online and offline where they hang out and be visible. Speak their language so your ideal clients can hear you and be your brand so they can connect to you.
Mistakes? Yep, I have made them. I’ve overstayed my welcome in groups where my target audience wasn’t there. I kept attracting clients that didn’t quite connect to my brand and its value and said YES to working with them. They would’ve been better served by someone else.
Sometimes, in the beginning, I was chasing the money versus the “right client” - NOT the best idea! It’s all a learning experience and as we get more and more grounded in our values, in our talents, in our greatness, we can make more strategic choices. Mistakes are simple an opportunity to learn and to pivot!
As a business owner, what is your greatest fear and how do you keep it under control or harness it?
What I know is that growth is outside my comfort zone. Uncomfortable IS the comfort zone for entrepreneurs. When I'm faced with something new to conquer, a bigger contract to sign, a larger audience to speak in front of, I feel nervous, fear, etc.
Mindset is HUGE when it comes to being a business owner and thanks to a wonderful mindset coach, I continue to work on personal development and direct my fear into action. Action overrides the fear!
It’s truly been a practice, a daily practice to trust myself in knowing that fear doesn’t have to rule my life and my decisions. It can fuel me.
What does your day-in, day-out look like? Is there any specific habit that has helped you become a better person?
Monday through Friday, I'm all hands on deck in my business. I wake up in time to send my daughter off to junior high and head to the gym (most of the time!) and then back to my home office.
My days are filled with team meetings, podcast interviews for my show "The Brave Entrepreneur", coaching private clients, meeting with prospective clients, speaking, traveling, and creating what’s next for the business. A habit that I was taught by my mindset coach is to create my day in the morning.
I write in my journal, in present tense, what I create and intend. This sets the stage for things to unfold. It’s really powerful.
Who has been your greatest influencer along your entrepreneurial journey? How did they shape Brand With Jena?
I have amazing business and mindset coaches who are some of my dearest friends and colleagues and they have truly supported me along this journey. My clients, each and every one of them, have been an integral part of my growth, and have also been my teachers. They're blessings.
My husband and children have been such a huge rock for me. Without them, none of this would matter. I also am inspired by other powerful entrepreneurs that keep getting their BRAVE ON! Brand With Jena has generated over $850,000 in 3.5 years; that’s the impact all of them have made. They give me the space and the confidence to make it happen!
How do you balance life and work to remain connected and available for your loved ones? Any advice?
For one thing, balance for me isn't about equality of time, it’s about ebb and flow, ups and downs and finding my true North (as much as possible). My husband is a musician so our schedules aren’t always in sync.
My youngest daughter is now in junior high which means working around her social calendar, and my business has lots of moving parts. My biggest advice is to communicate openly, share calendars if needed (which we do) and stay flexible, adaptable and open. I have a constant attitude of “workability” and “figure it out” so we always find a solution.
What are your visions for your business? Where do you see it in the next 5 years?
I see more team, more passive income streams, more retreats in exotic locations for my highest mastermind participants where lifestyle meets business and overall more ways to serve tons of entrepreneurs.
I love making an impact in people’s lives and watching them express themselves fully. I see myself with a home on the beach whether part time or full time and traveling to see more and more of the world with my family and friends!
What advice would you give to our readers who want to start a business in Texas today? Where should they start?
One thing I'd say, which I learned the hard way with my first business in 2006, is to find support, hire the business coach.
I didn’t know what I didn’t know and that support would have been extremely valued (had I known it existed) when I found myself $700,000 in debt and having to file bankruptcy. Once I stepped into my next business with my husband, when the opportunity arose and I found the person who fit me, I hired her to help me see my blind spots and grow my business.
There is no shame in asking for help, and if you want clients to invest in you, you must invest in yourself. I never ask my clients to do something that I am not willing to do myself especially when it comes to spending the money to have the right people around me.
I also can say that if you want to start a business, just do it! Find that special talent you have that's marketable and sellable. Clarity is found through taking the action and doing the work. We will never be prepared enough.
Depending on what type of business you want to start and the resources you have, there certainly are things to prioritize and strategize around. Again, a business strategist is helpful for figuring that out. In the meantime, just get your BRAVE on and take the leap.
If you want to learn more about branding and finding clarity in your business, follow Jena on Twitter. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.