It’s my honor to chat with Jenn Wallace today about the ups and downs of running your own business without any real business experience and what it means to have great confidence and faith in what God, the Universe, Spirit has called you to do. Jenn’s sharing the tools that worked for her as she managed through the unexpected end of a big dream. And she may have dropped a hint about what’s coming next.
Jenn Wallace has always felt her calling is to help people, and she loves doing that through massage therapy. As a licensed massage therapist with more than 16 years’ experience, she owned and operated a day spa in Westford, MA before the pandemic. Jenn is currently a stay-at-home mom to her three amazing children and very happily married to her husband Steve. Sidenote, Steve is actually the one who introduced me to Jenn and recommended her for the show.
She loves vacationing with her family and serving as a worship leader at her church.
By now you may have heard about the amazing 8-week, F*ck Being Fine program.
Maybe you've been feeling like life is a bit out of control for a while now and you’ve been wishing for it to change. You're ready to trade in chaos for more peace of mind.
You can take all the spa days you want, but I’m guessing you’re finding them only a temporary fix. The stress continues as soon as you get back in your car.
News flash, life is not going to change unless YOU take the steps to change it. You’re old enough to realize the phrase “Life is short” is more than an overused cliche. If you’re going to have the life you desire, it’s time to do the work now.
This opportunity is presenting itself for a reason. The next small group, 8-week, F*ck Being Fine program starts in just a few weeks. Get in and radically increase your focus, energy & happiness while learning to stay calm & grounded no matter what.
As Brian in Boston told me, "I was a miserable human..." Ever since he implemented this one thing I teach in these sessions, his life has transformed. Now he knows how to reset his mind and his energy is off the charts.
If this opportunity speaks to your heart, join me for the next cohort. Find out more at ZenRabbit.com or text me at 571.317.1463.
Gina’s hype song is Shut Up and Dance with Me by Walk the Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JCLY0Rlx6Q.
Find the Positive Intelligence assessment at https://assessment.positiveintelligence.com/pq/overview
Find the Saboteur Assessment at https://www.positiveintelligence.com/saboteurs/
SPECIAL OFFER: Mention this podcast for a discount on our services for coaching and culture transformation work!
Hello, and welcome to Fine Is A 4 Letter Word. My guest today is Jenn Wallace. Welcome to the show, Jenn.Jenn Wallace:
Thank you so much for having me. Hello, everyone.Lori Saitz:
Hi. All right, well, we are going to jump right into it. And start with the first question. So Jenn, what were the values and beliefs that you were raised with that contributed to you becoming who you became as a young adult?Jenn Wallace:
That's a good question. So I will start with my father, he was a little bit more on the strict side. And as far as like parenting goes compared to my mom. And he was very traditional. So we weren't allowed to say things like, liar, we had to say you're a fibber. And, you know, he told us we weren't allowed to wear makeup until we're 30. And, you know, just joking around. But, you know, I think that, you know, just having his kind of strict side and my mom's relaxed side, just kind of helped me to be a little bit like, kind of go with the flow, but still, you know, pay attention to details, you know, the important things are important, but try not to stress about everything. And they divorced when I was really young. And so I just remember going to his house every other weekend, you know, spending time with him. And there were, you know, dynamics, as far as like how they run the home were a little bit different, but I feel like it it made me more of a a well rounded person, I guess I could say, right, at least I hope.Lori Saitz:
It sounds, it sounds like they had they had kind of a balanced like it balanced, you know that they were so different from each other.Jenn Wallace:
Yeah, that's what I like to hope. And that's what I hope to instill in my children. And I'll let you know, when they're a little more grown up.Lori Saitz:
No one knows until you there's no turning back. Just a big surprise party.Jenn Wallace:
Yep. Yep. You just keep going. Pushing forward.Lori Saitz:
Yeah. So as you grew up, as you became a young adults to get started in your career, how did those beliefs and values influenced you?Jenn Wallace:
Yeah, so my father has always been a hard worker. And so that's something that we always saw, you know, from him, and my mom, too, you know, she was always a hard worker. And she was always kind of now that I think back like the hustler, you know, she just made it happen, you know, she was a stay at home mom with three kids. You know, I was 82, my sister was 83, my brother was 86. So we were like, boom, boom, boom, three car seats in the back of the car. So she just made it happen, she opened up a daycare. So I've always seen, you know, from them, how important it is to work hard. And, you know, to enjoy what you do. My father was, before he passed away, was at Verizon, which was 9x. And, you know, back and back and back. And I think like, oh, gosh, I can't remember what the original name was, you know, for the phone company. But, you know, he had been there for like, almost 30 plus years. And so just seeing them work hard and loving what they do, just gave me the confidence to, you know, think like, what do I want to do? And I know, I want to love it. So let me try and figure that out. Because, you know, that saying, When you love what you do, it's not really work or something, you know, to that effect. And so I think they instilled hard work, you know, ethic and ethics in me and just to try and enjoy life, you know, no matter what you're doing, so,Lori Saitz:
is that what is that how you came to do what you started doing? I mean, I noticed how so tell us how you arrived at your career.Jenn Wallace:
So it's kind of funny, I, even as a young girl, my family would be like, Oh, Jen, can you massage my shoulders? Can you massage my back and I just kind of always had a knack for it. Never thought about going to school for massage. And I actually applied to a dental assistant program. And I was going to go through with that. And a friend reached out and was like, Listen, you know, massage therapy is a thing. Like you can go to school for it. Why don't you you know, give it a try. And it was just, it just clicked. Everything just lined up. It started falling into place. And I went to school and I perfected my skills and I just loved it. I loved helping people through massage. You know, I I really enjoy like, it's a trust thing, you know, someone getting on a table half naked. They have to trust you know, and so, yeah, and so that feels really good, you know, to be able to, you know, have that kind of communication with a person be able to help them physically and it also, you know, helps them mentally to emotionally like, it's massage isn't just about the physical. So, yeah, it's it's my life. I love it.Lori Saitz:
Did you didn't start out with your own practice right away.Jenn Wallace:
I didn't I graduated from school and actually right around the time that I graduated, it was a few weeks before maybe maybe a month or two before my father was dying of cancer. And so I was like, No, what I'm going to stop school, I'm going to spend all my time with him and just, you know, get that time that we won't get back. And he told me no, he's like, you're going to finish school? Like don't Don't stop now. You're so close. And so I did. I finished school. I graduated in 2006. And I started working right away for a place I don't know if I can say the name or not. But placing Yeah, I play some Tewkesbury and I was there full time, the only day I didn't work with Sunday, and I was seeing like, six, seven clients a day. And it was just so go, is, it is it is a lot because you know, we only had five minutes in between each client's like, get them off the table, change over the sheets, get the new client on the table, you know, so it was a little crazy. But I was young and and motivated and, you know, ready to make money. And so, you know, you do what you got to do. And right, yeah, I was in massage for? Oh, gosh, close to 10 years, a little more than that. Before I even thought about opening up my own business.Lori Saitz:
While you were working for other people, were you I imagine because this is how I was when I was working. And then when I went out on my own, I was paying attention to like, oh, I would do things this way. Or I would not do that. I would do that differently. Yeah, picking up? Oh, absolutely. I think it's so important for people who start their own business to I get the idea that some people can just like come straight out of school and start their own thing. Yeah. And then I also think there's value in working for other people first, to get a handle on what you like that what you like, and what you don't like.Jenn Wallace:
Yeah. Oh, for sure. I remember thinking the same exact thing like, Oh, I love this, they put fruit in their water or I would have more time in between my clients five minutes is not enough time, you know, physically for me. And you know, to try and get someone out we get someone in you know, right. Now, a lot of thingsLori Saitz:
I hope you enjoyed My dads coming home get out?Jenn Wallace:
No, really, it's, it's, you know, it just seems so rushed. And it's like, the point of massage is to come and relax. Like you don't want to rush out, you know, and some people are coming out of that room, what we call massage drunk, you know, you're stepping out, you can't see the bright lights are in your face, you know, you need a minute to get yourself together. So yeah, I definitely paid attention to all of those details. You know, I had always felt like, there was, there was just something more that I should be doing. Like, I always feel like there's something more that I should be doing. And so I guess I kind of always knew that I would have my own practice. Maybe I just didn't know when or how it would work out. And so yeah, I think that that has always that passion has always been inside me to just help people through massage into one day start my own business.Lori Saitz:
So yeah, and tell tell us how then you did start your own business. And yeah, it didn't go exactly how you were expecting it.Jenn Wallace:
No. So it started off with a lot of prayer. Like I just I didn't know anything about business. You know, we take a business course in massage school, but that's about it.Lori Saitz:
I happens a lot and a lot of have. What's the word? I'm looking for a lot of industries. Yeah, career pads. You know, I was talking to somebody yesterday about her daughter wants to is going door to door selling something for her cheerleading squad to support cheerleading. And she has her doing this. SoJenn Wallace:
If that's chocolate, send her my way.Lori Saitz:
Okay, I don't know what it was, I'll have to find out. But it's just, she's having her to do it and go door to door so that she can learn sales. And she can learn how to manage rejection. And even though the child is 12, and she said she wants to become a lawyer, so she's not necessarily going to need those skills. And I said, Well, you're going to need those skills regardless because lawyers that can't develop their own business are not going to be in business for very long. So, you know, that's another example of just it's a it's a Yeah, a profession where they don't necessarily teach you how to run the business side of it.Jenn Wallace:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, we took a class and you know, you had to write out a business plan. But in real life, it looks much different. And so I kind of, I put a lot of prayer into it. And then I just started Googling, like, how do you open a massage business, you know, and just started following these steps. And I knew that I was good at massage. I, like, I know, that's my calling. I knew that was my strong point, owning a business, not so much. But I was like, I'll learn. And I did even even, you know, up until the last day, I was still learning, you know, before I ended up closing my business, which is not the goal, but you know, sometimes we can't see what's best for us. Well, it's happening. salutely. Yeah. So, yeah. So yeah, I Googled, and I just kept taking the next right step. I just, you know, kept saying, God, what's the next right step? And proceeded that way? Yeah.Lori Saitz:
So you, you mentioned that you were relying on God to tell you the next right step. How were you? Yeah, like, what are what is your, your practice of tapping into that? That voice?Jenn Wallace:
Yeah. So that is a lot of, to be honest with you. It's a lot. It's a lot of sleepless nights. Anyways, you know, opening a business is stressful. And I just found myself up, you know, two o'clock in the morning, one o'clock, three o'clock, four o'clock, just praying and writing in my prayer journal. And I probably have two or three full prayer journals just about my business, because I was just writing it all down. Like, I knew this is what I wanted, but I wanted it to align with God's will. And I said, if this is meant to be, I know you're going to make away because I don't know how. And it was a lot of journaling, a lot of prayer. And just a lot of hard work. Like, you know, I feel like God expects us to do what we can do, and then leave the rest to Him. And so that's what I did. I did what I could do, I Googled, I planned, I, you know, took all the right steps Open an LLC, I did all these things. And then I just said, Alright, this is all I can do. Now. It's in your hands. And so yeah, a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of journaling. And just trying to be mindful of, you know, that feeling that you get is this right for me? Yes. You know, is this the right move? Are you feeling anxiety? You know, maybe take a step back? It was a lot of that a lot of sleepless nights.Lori Saitz:
And tapping into, like you said that intuition really is yes, whatever, you know, whatever. However you want to call it, a lot of people will call it intuition following the nudges that they feel taking Absolutely. The another way of describing is that inspired action.Jenn Wallace:
Hmm. Yeah, I like that inspired action. Yeah, it's taking Yeah, taking action on what you feel is right, or what you feel is that next step.Lori Saitz:
We talk a lot of times on the on the show a lot of my guests about, you know, the how is not necessarily our domain we are. Yeah, we are to focus on what is the ultimate thing and then to pay attention to those inspired, taking those inspired actions, paying attention to what that just the one next right step as you said.Jenn Wallace:
Yes, yes. Oh, my goodness, that has saved me from so many things. What is just the next step? You know, because sometimes it can be so overwhelming, just thinking about all of the things that you have to do. And, you know, my husband, Steve, he always says to me, how do you eat an elephant? And it's one bite at a time. Not that I want to eat. But it's so true. Just do that one thing. Yeah.Lori Saitz:
I heard they taste like chicken. No, I don't know. I have not. There. I'm just making up like everything. They're like, frog legs. They tasted like chicken. Yeah. Oh, that's so. Yeah. So so your business when you finally got it up and running? Was it was right before COVID hit right. Or it was during?Jenn Wallace:
Yeah. So it was actually so we open November of 2018. Okay, so we had a little bit of time before COVID. And, you know, we did an open house and you know, just trying to get people in because we had such a big space. And I'm a dreamer. Like, I'm a I'm a big dreamer. So I'm like, Okay, we have this space. It's over 1800 square feet. We have three treatment rooms. We have a room that's titled out that could be a sauna or a locker room. And then we had this huge space in the back for yoga or spa parties. So my mind is going like okay, we're gonna get it I'm here, we're going to do massage, I'm going to hire employees, it's going to go like this, and this and this. And it doesn't go like this. And this and this, you know, there's challenges along the way. And, you know, and so it was just me, the majority of the time, it was just me there in this 1800 square foot, you know, just kind of going around the rooms and massaging someone in this one or this one, or that, you know, not what I had planned.Lori Saitz:
The good thing is you didn't have to kick them out in five minutes. They stay in their room.Jenn Wallace:
Yes, a lot of amount. Yes, a lot of my clients would actually say like, Hey, can I just can I rent naptime here? And can you like, come wake me up in 30 minutes, you know? And I'd be like, sure, I don't have to rent it. Just stay take a nap. Relax. Yeah, that that was nice. Yeah. Yeah. And then, you know, as things progressed, you know, the overhead was super high, like, I didn't even realize, you know, like, high overhead that maybe you shouldn't have that or, you know, maybe look elsewhere. You know, it was a lot of things I did learn my lesson the hard way. But, you know, now, if I ever wanted to kind of open my own business, I kind of know, you know, the ins and outs a little bit better than I did before. And I probably would seek more help. You know, it was like, No, this is mine. I'm doing it myself. I can do this. And I was there, you know, painting and cleaning. And you know, it meant having my boys. You know, they're late night till 930 10 o'clock, and they had homework and they had school and they were young. And you know, they didn't understand why, you know, we couldn't just go home and relax. Yeah. Right. And so, yeah, it was a little, it was much different than I thought it would be.Lori Saitz:
Yeah. And just to, just to clarify, because you just mentioned having your boys. And you mentioned Steve, who I know as well. But Steve wasn't in the picture yet. So I just want for the listeners who are maybe like, Well, why don't you leave the boys at home? This is whyJenn Wallace:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yah, yah. So my husband, we've been married a little over two years, we met through church. And before that I was a single mom, I had two boys, I was divorced. And so it was, you know, a big thing for me, like, Oh, my goodness, they're gonna see me open a business, they're gonna see me achieve my dreams and just know that they can do anything that they want to do. And yeah, I did to some extent, and, you know, even they're sad like, Mom, you know, we miss your business, or we miss, you know, being there with you, you know, but yeah, it was it was a difficult time to say the least.Lori Saitz:
Because you are a person of such deep faith. And you followed the intuition, the nudges from God, do you feel like when it didn't work out that maybe you hadn't listened? Like you hadn't heard, right, or was there some kind of disappointment in that, like that guidance?Jenn Wallace:
Yeah, no, there was no disappointment in the guidance. You know, I just feel like, everything happens for a reason, right around the time when I came back from COVID, because we had been shut down for months and months and months. And now that we're able to kind of, you know, start seeing clients in person again. I was pregnant, Steve and I were married, and I was pregnant. And we knew that we had a baby on the way which, you know, we're so excited about. But it was also thought of like, what is this mean, for my business. And so I just, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. And even though I didn't want my business to close down, it was what was best for our family at the time. You know, and I will tell you this when I left my business, you know, my landlord wasn't happy. I had a five year lease that I was breaking. We were months and months and months behind on rent, you know, because the overhead just became too much. We were behind on our electric we were behind on our lights, like, my like, my electricity had been shut off a few times, like, throughout this time in my business, like, we were kind of in dire straits. And I just kept thinking like, no, it's going to be fine. Everything's gonna work out like, I just know what's going to work out. It's just, it's just going to work out and, you know, kept piling up and kept piling up, piling up. And by the end, I owed the landlord somewhere around like $14,000.lude the HVAC in it. So I had: Lori Saitz:
I love how the exact amount showed up.Jenn Wallace:
The exact amount. You can even ask Steve like we were in tears just blown away. I just happened to like, log into my bank account. And there was the money and I just, I burst into tears. I was just like, Thank You, Lord, like, Thank you, like, Thank you. Thank you.Lori Saitz:
I love hearing stories like that yours isn't the only one and it happens. You know, I hear about it. And it's so incredible and awesome. And amazing. Yeah, I want to talk for a second about what we talked before, in our first conversation about that feeling of grief over the business not working out and having your identity. So tied into that because as I've talked about, too, when I closed the baking company, it was like, I was shutting down who that was my whole identity was tied up in this business. Yeah.Jenn Wallace:
Yeah. Yeah, I definitely went through a grieving process. And probably not as quickly as Steve thought I would like he was kind of mentally preparing, like, I know, I know, Something's coming. And I think it was just that whole mentality of like, you have to stay strong. And just, you know, when everything's said and done, when it's all buttoned up, everything's moved out, we've done the walkthrough, then it's okay to really, you know, kind of like, just, you know, figure out how you're feeling and, and, you know, grieve the loss of like, a baby, like, this was my baby, you know, and I very much had my identity tied into this because I was like, Oh, I'm a single mom. Like, I can do anything because I, you know, I got divorced, I paid off all my debt, I have money in savings, I have all these things, you know, like, now I'm going to open a business, I'm going to show my children, you know, what hard work looks like, and, you know, living your dream. And so that was me, I was like, Oh, I'm a single mom, but I own my own business. And I do massage and, you know, I'm living the dream. And, you know, to have that, you know, all end it, it was really hard. I cried myself to sleep many, many nights. And I felt like a failure. You know, I felt like a failure to myself, to my children to my clients. Just like, you know, why? Yeah. Why? Why didn't it work out? You know, it's just you have a lot of those questions that, you know, sometimes aren’t answered.Lori Saitz:
Right, right. Even with a strong faith, it's still hard to in in the reality of it is, yeah, it feels like a failure. And I don't think that people talk about this part enough. In closing businesses like, oh, yeah, it didn't work. Okay, moving on to the next thing. What's the next thing? Allowing yourself that space, just like you would if it was a person?Jenn Wallace:
Yeah, you put so much time and energy into this, you know, like I said, I was there, you know, sometimes till 11,12, like, you know, on weekends, like, every day, I was so invested in just, you know, making it the best place that it could be and my children were along for that ride. And then just to think about the time that I lost with them, you know, and so it turned out that was really hard. You know, I didn't want them to feel like oh, well, mom doesn't want to spend time with us. No, I just wanted to show them like you can do this. You can do anything if you put in hard work, and I'm doing this For I, you know, I'm not trying to I'm doing this for a better OS in the future, you know, so that that was definitely hard. And, you know, Steve just kept saying like, Jen, it's not you're not a failure, you are not your job. You know, you that's what you do. That's not who you are. You're still a person who loves people, you're still a person who wants to help people, you're still a person who cares. You know, that doesn't change because your business isn't there anymore.Lori Saitz:
Yeah. And so sometimes, it's amazing that you have somebody to be there to support you in that way. And at the same time, those words, sometimes you hear them, but you don't really hear that. Yeah. Because you still don’t hear them.Jenn Wallace:
And that's, yeah, and that's very true, it did take me a while to get there. You know, I appreciate him saying those things. But it wasn't until I realized that my worth and who I am, you know, as a mom, as a wife, as you know, just a woman, you know, I put my stock in Jesus, like, I know who I am, I know who he says I am. And I'm just going to own that and do what I can do to, you know, be better each day. And try not to dwell on the past. Like, I think about the experience that I gained from, you know, opening my own business. And I think about all the people that I've met, I really do try to focus on the positive. But I did give myself that time to grieve because I need it.Lori Saitz:
It’s important to do that. And then right then to refocus on okay, what were the lessons, what, what were the good things that came out of that? And then how do I how do I move forward from here? So what is what is next for you?Jenn Wallace:
Oh, goodness, what is next for me, I think that I would in the future, like to open my own business again. And I think it doesn't have to be as big as it was, you know, as as far as like space goes, I can still have a small space, and still help people, you know, the way that I love to help people. And so I do see that in the future, at some point. But for right now, I'm really just enjoying spending time, you know, with my kids with Steve, he works from home. So we get to see each other all the time. And surprisingly, we're not sick of each other. And, you know, yeah, we just, you know, plan some vacations and just spend some quality time, Thea our youngest, she just turned one in April. And so you know, she's walking and talking. And, you know, so it's just fun to be here for those things right now.Lori Saitz:
Yeah. Yeah. Have you ever considered, or would you ever consider because I'm only putting this out there because it was going through my head as you were talking about your whole experience, about putting together a course for other massage therapists to learn how to run a business?Jenn Wallace:
Oh, my goodness, I had never really considered that. And I don't know maybe? Yeah, why not? Why, you know, why not help others? You know, learn from my mistakes? Yeah,Lori Saitz:
Well, right. mistakes or experiences, maybe?Jenn Wallace:
Or experience? Yes. Not to make the same choices. Correct. Yeah. Just learn from my experience, and, you know, help them to be the best that they can be? Yeah, I don't know. Maybe we'll see.Lori Saitz:
Just yeah, you know, they learn. And also I was thinking about the book called The E Myth. Have you ever read that? There's, oh, there's a book called The E Myth. And it talks about building. It's like a legendary book that all entrepreneurs read. And it talks about, like, a lot of people get stuck in that technician role, which is the doing the thing, right, like being the massage therapist, but not, there are two other roles. And I haven't read the book in a while. I'm trying to remember what they are. But the other parts that are running the businesss. Yeah, instead of just being like doing the thing.Jenn Wallace:
Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna have to read that. Because I do want to be more prepared this time, you know, for sure. And I always like reading and learning more. You know about business. I, I've always felt like I should be working for myself. And I still feel like that. So, you know, someday.Lori Saitz:
And it sounds like I'll bone up on my skills.
Well, yeah. Right. It sounds like you did in part two years tons though. Those lessons that you were hoping to that if you know, the fact that they missed the business, and didn't Don't resent that you spent that time in it?Jenn Wallace:
Yeah. Yeah, they I mean, they were even shedding tears like Mom, I'm so sorry. You know that you had to close your eyes. He says, I'm so sorry that you're sad. Yeah. You know, so I hope that if anything empathy, you know, for others, you know, when they're going through something tough and just trying to be there for them.Lori Saitz:
Yeah, yeah. So speaking of going through tough things, what is the song that you listen to when you need an extra boost of energy? Need to get hyped up? Okay, what did you turn to?Jenn Wallace:
So, this was a tough question, because I love music, all kinds of music and I'm just like, I, I'm gonna have to send her like my whole playlist on Pandora because, but there's a song that has been out for a few months now. And it's kind of been like an anthem in our family. Like, we start the day off, you know, listening to our worship music, and this one, just like, kind of, like, pumps us all up, and even the baby's like, you know, it's called Lion. Okay, you know, and then the song they say, let the lion roar. And you know, so she's like, kind of singing along saying roar. And so I was like, You know what, this seems like the perfect song for this season of my life right now. So, yeah, definitely Lion by Elevation Worship.Lori Saitz:
Okay, sounds good. So I will put a link to that in the show notes. And if someone wants to get in touch with you to continue this conversation, what how can they reach you?Jenn Wallace:
Oh, goodness. So I'm on Facebook. Okay, I'm on LinkedIn. Okay. They can reach me on both of those. Those are probably the two that I use the most Facebook and LinkedIn. Okay, perfect.Lori Saitz:
I'll put links to those in the show notes as well. Thanks so much for joining me today. Jenn on Fine Is A 4 Letter Word.Jenn Wallace:
Thank you. Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.