346 MINISODE Jessica Zimmerman: Time, Babies and Business
Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life– and create and grow businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose.
On this special Mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about commitment to success in business, how to “have it all” without having to “do it all” (and without mom guilt) why you need a team to succeed in business.
Here with us today to provide her insights and inspiration is …
Jessica is a leading wedding planner, floral designer and the founder of Zimmerman Education, a floral design business education company specializing in teaching others the exact systems, sales processes and other tools and techniques necessary to create a successful 6-figure floral design businesses–and earn a living from flowers, without giving up their lives.
Named a top wedding planner by Southern Living magazine, Jessica’s stellar wedding and floral work has been featured in PEOPLE magazine, Once Wed, Cottage Hill and Style Me Pretty, among others.
Jessica will be here with her advice in just a moment and first …
And now to the inspiring Jessica Zimmerman.
After struggling to turn a profit her first few years in business, Jessica went from near bankruptcy to over $70k in just one year – and now a 7 figure business – all while raising three small children. A firm believer in sharing her story in order to help other wedding floral designers learn how to work to live, not live to work, Jessica provides a highly-educational, behind-the-scenes look at her multiple six figure floral design business model–from sales processes to proper pricing to proposals–inside her much-raved-about signature course and tell-all business memoir, The Business Behind the Blooms.
Through free classes, tutorials, ebooks, mentoring and more valuable tools, Jessica and Zimmerman Education regularly inspires fellow florists who want to profit from their passion and learn how to make money, save time, and grow their team with confidence, hope and courage.
Melinda Wittstock: Jessica, welcome to Wings.
Jessica Zimmerman: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, me too. I want to start by asking you what's inspiring you right now?
Jessica Zimmerman: Oh, goodness. What's inspiring me? You know, it's funny, because inspiration … I get asked that a lot. “What's inspiring you? What's motivating you?” Or, “How do you stay inspired? How do you stay motivated?” And for me, my biggest motivation has always and will always be, time. I'm always going to want to schedule my own life and my own time, and I don't want anyone else telling me when I have to be somewhere, which that's really the sole reason why I went into business for myself, was because I'm so time motivated.
Jessica Zimmerman: But honestly, I think that both inspiration and motivation, they can be temporary. They can be very temporary feelings. And I'm just more about commitment. And that's something I've really had to learn over the last couple of years, and really kind of had to shift my mindset and really grow my mind to fully believe everything that's worth having and everything that's worth doing well cannot be done without commitment.
Jessica Zimmerman: And so, whether it's a commitment to a relationship, or commitment to taking care of yourself with exercise, or commitment to your work to make it the best that it can be, it all boils down to that, just staying committed. And I think honestly, when I've had that mind shift to commitment, it honestly made things easier for me. It took pressure off. I think so many people, especially in my industry, which is the wedding industry, they feel this constant need of, “I just don't feel inspired right now,” or, “I just don't feel,” and if you can kind of release that and just make it about commitment, things go a lot better.
Melinda Wittstock: And of course, you need to be aligned with your true purpose to make that commitment piece a little bit easier. If you really believe in what you're doing, the commitment is easier.
Jessica Zimmerman: Absolutely, 100%. Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: So Jessica, as business owners and entrepreneurs, we all face challenges in our businesses. And I always like to use these Mentoring Minisodes to give women permission to be open about the fact that they're having a challenge or a struggle, because that's part of the process. Failure is part of the process, as well.
Jessica Zimmerman: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, what are some of the challenges that you're facing right now?
Jessica Zimmerman: Oh, that's such a good question, and we could talk for an hour about all of my failures, and frustrations, and challenges that I have had in my seven-year entrepreneurial journey. But I think my biggest frustration that I'm seeing right now is the fact that I mentor a lot of women and other women entrepreneurs. And I think it's so hard for, especially women, to take their business really seriously and to treat it like a business. And what I mean by that is, when they sit down maybe, with a client and they give them a quote for their services, or maybe someone has a product and they give them a quote or they put a price tag on it, and then someone comes in and says, “Oh gosh, that's expensive,” instead of being confident in their price and feeling worthy that their work is worth this price, and being able to almost defend it in a way, or maybe defend is the wrong word, maybe it's more educate them on why this price is what it is, they back down. They cower down.
Jessica Zimmerman: And they go, “Oh, okay. How much can you afford?” And I just hate that, because I want as women, I don't want us to be apologetic about being paid what we deserve to be paid. And I want women to be strong, and to believe that they are worthy, and to take wholehearted control of their businesses. And I think for me personally, one of the things that I'm just struggling with right now, today, as we speak, is, today is my children's last day of school. And my daughter is finishing kindergarten today.
Melinda Wittstock: Aww.
Jessica Zimmerman: I know, right? My boys are three. I have twin boys who our three. And my whole life, I have wanted to be able to be a present mom. And when Stella was born, when my daughter was born, I said, “I'm going to figure this business out by the time she is done with kindergarten, where I get to spend the whole summer with her.” Because up until this point she's been in preschool, which was year-round. And yes, I've gotten to that point. And starting tomorrow … I almost feel like there's a gate with nine million kids behind it, and tomorrow it opens and they're all coming at me, even though it's just three kids. But I feel that way. And I feel almost, this … I have to remind myself and to shift my mind into going, “It's okay that you love your work. It's okay that your work is a big part of who you are.”
Jessica Zimmerman: Because for the past five years I have worked, and that has filled me. And it has allowed me to pick my children up from school every day at 3 o'clock and enjoy from 3 o'clock on with them, and to be the best mom I can be because I've gotten so much out of my work earlier in the day. And I'm a little nervous as to what that's going to … even though it's only two months of summer, what that transition is going to be like. And I want to continue to be a great mom to them, but I'm very realistic that my work helps me with that.
Jessica Zimmerman: And so, I think that's part of entrepreneurship. And especially as a female, we can have it all. Maybe not all at the same time. And we need to learn how to go, “Okay, it's okay that I'm not giving 100% to this right now, because this is more important.” And I don't know, I just think we have to take control of our decisions, take ownership of our decisions, and be confident with them. And I have learned to do that, just with this next step, with everyone who's saying, “Hey, can we meet in July?” I'm saying, “Nope, I'm sorry. I can meet you starting August 15. I'm taking the summer off with my kids.” And just being confident in that.
Jessica Zimmerman: And I find more times than not, people are really respectful of that, and they respect me more, and therefore, they respect me more as a business person. They want to work with me more, because they know that I have my priorities in line. And I just wish that for all women.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, beautifully said. Thank you, Jessica, because I think the clue to this is that we can have it all. We don't have to do it all. We don't have to do it all at the same time. My kids are a little bit older now, they are teenagers. But I remember launching a business when my daughter was six weeks old.
Jessica Zimmerman: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I mean, who does that? Anyway, I did.
Jessica Zimmerman: I know someone.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. And I remember thinking, “Well, look, when I'm with my kids, I'm 100% with them. And they're actually making me a better business owner.”
Jessica Zimmerman: 100%.
Melinda Wittstock: “And when I'm in business, I'm 100% in business, and that business is making me better mom.”
Jessica Zimmerman: Absolutely. We can be more aligned with that. Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: And it's so, so true. It's a really important lesson to learn early on in getting rid of all that guilt I think a lot of women feel. When they're doing one thing, they think they should be doing the other.
Jessica Zimmerman: Absolutely. And it breaks my heart when I talk to women who are moms, and they are at the kitchen table trying to feed their child, while at the same time trying to respond to an email. And I'm like, “That's never going to work, ever. You can't do that. You have got to be able to set boundaries and say, ‘This is my clear time that I'm spending with my kids, and this is my clear time that I'm spending with work.'” And you have to be able to separate the two. And even if you're working out of your own home, you've got to be able to have a room with a door that you can … There's something about being able to physically shut a door, physically shut your computer, and be able to really turn off work.
Jessica Zimmerman: I think about my dad, growing up, how he left work. And he didn't get a phone call about work until the next day when he went back in to work. And I've really kind of set my business up that way, where I don't get any kind of messages, or phones, or email, or anything on my phone, my personal phone. So when I leave at 3 o'clock to go pick up my kids, I really don't have any notifications about work until I come back to work the following day. And I have a free download that I would really love to give your listeners. All they have to do is text Wings Podcast, W-I-N-G-S Podcast to 44222, and I give all of those tips about boundaries, and email, and how to kind of take control of all of that so you really can have a life outside of your business. Because that's what life is all about, really.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that's fantastic. Well, you know what, we did segue already, I guess, into the advice section of our Mentoring Minisode. And I was going to ask you to go through your top three pieces of advice. Perhaps these are things you would have told your younger self.
Jessica Zimmerman: Oh, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: But if you had to nail it in three things, what would they be?
Jessica Zimmerman: I think you have to be really honest with yourself about, is what you're doing … Why are you really this? Everyone talks about, “What is your why? Know your why,” and all of these things. But before we go into, “What is your why for business, why do you want to do this? What do you really, really want in life?” And I always say, “If you had all the money in the world in your bank account, and there was no one depending on you for anything, how would you spend your day?” And that answers a lot.
Jessica Zimmerman: I think also, if you can look at three people who you really admire … And I don't mean jealous of, or envious of in a bad way, but I just mean you admire them, and you go, “Man, that's awesome,” if you can write down those three names, and then you can list why you admire that person, a lot of times those things will all align. And it will kind of show you, “Wow, I really respect this person because they're in a great marriage,” or, “I am really into this person because I admire the fact that they are debt free.” When you can kind of pinpoint these things, those are things that are important to you. That's why you admire them. That's why you are envious of them in a positive way.
Jessica Zimmerman: And I think we need to pinpoint what that is in our own life. What do we really, really want, and how can we achieve that? What are we willing to do to achieve that? Now, with business, I think it's all about, we have to be really honest with ourselves, especially as women. Do we really want this thing that we are doing to be a full-fledged business, or do we want it to be a hobby? And there's nothing wrong with either one. And I think so many women who really genuinely just want it to be a hobby in their heart of hearts, if they were to really take the time to write things down and really see it on paper, I think they would see that what they truly want is a hobby, but they feel all of this pressure to make it a business.
Jessica Zimmerman: They want to be seen as a legitimate business woman, and not just someone who maybe, paints on the side, or something. And I think if we can first be honest with that, that's going to help us a lot. Because business, if you do want to be a legitimate business, you have to treat your business like a business. And I think that that is something that women have a hard time doing sometimes.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, thinking like a business owner.
Jessica Zimmerman: Thinking like a business owner. There are so many CEOs that would never discount their prices, or would never meet someone on a Sunday at 5 PM. No, that's not what a legitimate business does. A legitimate business has, “These are my prices, these are my business hours, this is how we do business.” And they know it confidently inside and out. I think the other thing that I would say is, you cannot skimp on the serious stuff. I see so many women, they do not … They only think about the product they are selling and the profit they can make, or the service they are offering and the profit they can make. And they have not taken the time to build the foundation of their business.
Jessica Zimmerman: And this goes back to, if you're a legitimate business and you have to be a legitimate business owner. And part of that is, you have to build the foundation of your business. I mean, we all can go back to The Three Little Pigs … I'm just saying this because I read it to my son last night, but The Three Little Pigs. And if you have straw or hay, if you have no foundation, it will never last. That is why women who are “business owners,” and I'm going to say that in quotes, who are on this hamster wheel, it's because they have never taken the time to build the foundation of their business.
Jessica Zimmerman: And of course, we know that the house that's built with a proper foundation is actually going to last. That's why businesses that have a proper foundation are going to last. And what I mean by that is, you have to have contracts. You have to sit with an attorney and have legitimate contracts that are going to hold up in court. You've got to know the process. If someone's going to buy your product, if you have an Etsy shop, what does that process look like from beginning to end, and know these things. What happens if someone gives you a deposit, and then they decide they're not going to pay the rest? What's your steps for that? I mean, you've got to know inside and out, the way your business works. And so, that's my second piece of advice.
Jessica Zimmerman: And then third is, if you really want to grow your business, you're never going to do that without a team. You're just not. You've got to learn to hire to your weaknesses, and you've got to learn to look at what your strengths are and focus solely on your strengths, and let other people around you support you by helping with the things that you aren't the best at. But you can never, ever grow if you are a one-person show. And I tell that to people who are in my wedding industry. They say, “I just want to attract those six-figure clients.”
Jessica Zimmerman: Well, guess what? If I had 100,000 to pay somebody for my wedding, I'd better darn well believe they have a whole team of people that are going to help produce that and execute it. I don't believe or have faith that one person can do that. And so, you can't ask for what you wouldn't want, too. So, I think you've got to, if you really want to grow and you want to scale, you've got to have a team.
Melinda Wittstock: Amen, Sister. Couldn't have said it better, myself. So, Jessica, how can people find you and work with you?
Jessica Zimmerman: Well, I am at Zimmermanevents.com. I have a course that comes out once a year, it's called The Business Behind The Blooms. And you can go to the Businessbehindtheblooms.com to learn more about that. I'm on Instagram @JessicaZimmerman_. And like I said earlier, you can get that wonderful download that's got all of my productivity, my schedule, and my email efficiency, all those good things, by texting Wings Podcast to 44222.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Jessica Zimmerman: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.