Lyn Brownlee is the Co-Founder of Jibbr, Inc. She’s recently relocated from the DC area to Chicago. Her bachelor of arts in English was conferred at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has also completed a master of human resource management degree and a six sigma green belt at Villanova University.
Lyn’s most recent position was as a Business Development Consultant for the K-12 Education Practice at The Gallup Organization in DC. Her primary responsibility was to hunt for new business opportunities with school districts across the country. She enjoys building new relationships and the thrill of the chase.
She was also the main shareholder around outreach for the prestigious Gallup Student Poll, where over 1 million students complete a survey around engagement, hope, entrepreneurial aspirations, and career/financial literacy. Her top strengths are: competition, maximizer, achiever, ideation, and focus.
Additionally, she has experience working with several SaaS (Software as a Service) companies and has assisted in the inception of countless other up-and-coming organizations. She has a passion for helping the elderly and volunteers at senior care facilities. In her spare time, Lyn enjoys traveling with her twin sister, walking her Goldendoodle, Hamilton and practicing Qi Gong yoga.
In this interview, Lyn shares her entrepreneurial story as to why she and her twin sister started Jibbr. Their mission is to take care of seniors and to provide solutions to every problems in a home care. She also shares about their competitive edge, the toughest decision she's ever made, how she handled time and resource constraints and more!
Her advice for entrepreneurs starting a business in Illinois:
Just do it! Get started and buckle your seat belt, because you're in for the ride of your life. Invest in yourself! The greatest investment you can make is in yourself.
What motivated you to start Jibbr? How did the idea come about?
Jibbr was founded by my twin sister Tammye and I. We ideated about the idea back in 2013. As Co-Founders, we started Jibbr to ensure the well-being of our senior’s needs, safety, welfare, and security.
Jibbr is a company close to our heart. In April 2014, we experienced both our grandmother and aunt transition on the same day. Our grandmother dedicated much of her later years to caring for seniors in her home; however, she lived her final days in a long-term care facility.
With both our grandmother and aunt thousands of miles away in Alabama, we wished a company like Jibbr was around to offer friendly and compassionate well-being checks to our loved ones.
After considering many names for the company, we decided upon Jibbr, a spin on the word ‘Jibber Jabber’- to talk. The difference with Jibbr is to talk with purpose, to check on one’s well-being, to show concern, and connect.
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
We attribute our success to the innate desire to live happily, live longer, and live with purpose. By 2060, there will be approximately 98 million seniors in America. Think about it, seniors will be us in the future.
In a society where so many are connected, there are times where we must take a step back and remember our elders, as offered by Jibbr. By remembering to remember our seniors, Jibbr is able to give back in a meaningful way that will impact seniors for generations to come.
One trait that has helped us along the way is tenacity. We have grit; we never give up. It takes unbridled determination to become an entrepreneur and stay the course.
What is unique about your business? Is there a competitive advantage that you have over the rest?
We have a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace, as there are few national competitors in the senior well-being market. Jibbr has been formulated to be highly innovative, engaging, and will be known for its ease of use, which appeals to the senior demographic.
For non-emergencies, why contact 311 or law enforcement, when you could contact a friend? We don't use an auto-dialer or make robocalls. What differentiates Jibbr is that we focus on creating an individualized experience through meaningful conversations to make seniors feel a sense of connectedness.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
Any time you deal with customers, there is a chance someone will be dissatisfied. At Jibbr, it's all about the client. We take a holistic approach to every encounter with a senior. We really do care and do everything in our power to ensure our clients are treated with kindness, patience, and dignity.
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?
The toughest decision I've ever made was to leave my in-demand consulting job at Gallup and relocate from Washington, D.C. It takes a lot of grit to deliberately move from a corporate position to venture off on your own to start your own business. You're literally headed towards "no man's land" and absorbing all of the risk.
At the end of the day, I derive satisfaction from knowing that I am creating a company to help the elderly while creating good jobs to stimulate the economy.
Did you have a hard time starting your business? How did you handle time and resource constraints?
To become a successful entrepreneur, the most important thing you can do is just start. You have to be proactive to turn your dreams into reality.
Ideation starts business plans but action makes them grow and sustains them. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 deal. You're always on. There's no break, no downtime, and everything has to be done in a certain way to ensure success. I approach time as if it's the rarest of commodities. I handle time constraints by doing as much as I can with the time that I have.
There's a quote from Deepak Chopra, "Instead of thinking outside of the box. Get rid of the box." This is the mentality I possess when I'm faced with any constraint.
What do you consider the biggest milestone that you have hit with your business? What was the biggest thing you did to get there?
The biggest milestone that we've hit with Jibbr was to receive over 30,000 unique page views in our first month! This literally jolted me out of my seat! This was a big reveal to let us know the demand is there...people have a desire to connect with others. Connection is why we are here, because we're hardwired to connect with others. The biggest thing my team did to get there was to relentlessly push Jibbr on social media.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going? To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals.
When times get tough and I feel like quitting, I think about the story behind Jibbr - my grandmother and aunt. I think about all of the seniors who do not have relationships with their family members, and I think about the impact that a company like Jibbr can have on all of these people. I think about what will happen to these lonely seniors if I stop. It takes a certain amount of tenacity and resilience to stay the course.
In business, you get back what you put in. I truly believe in Jim Rohn's quote, "If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you."
Is there a type of marketing that has worked amazingly for Jibbr? If so, how did you stumble upon it?
Social media marketing is key, especially in this day and age. It's essential to have a strong presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Social media marketing expands your reach like never before. There is a very low overhead cost for this type of marketing and the ROI can be astronomical!
Most people spend the majority of their time on social media, so it's integral to meet customers where they are. Instead of waiting for customers coming to us, we come to them in the luxury of their own homes, offices, etc.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business in Illinois? What do they need to know from the very beginning?
Just do it! Get started and buckle your seat belt, because you're in for the ride of your life. I always think of this famous quote by Arthur Ashe, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."
Invest in yourself! The greatest investment you can make is in yourself. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, a mentality. Read all of the books you can and develop yourself before you try to develop others.
Listen to your customers. Know what your customers' wants and needs are. Provide the solution to what they're seeking answers to. Establish a genuine, honest connection to your customers and they'll remain loyal to you. Most importantly, it's all about them!
If you want to connect with Lyn and learn more about Jibbr, follow her on LinkedIn.