Finding Rhythm in Chaos with Jenny Townsend

by | Apr 23, 2024

Episode description
Jenny Townsend, a serial entrepreneur with a flair for transforming adversity into opportunity, shares her journey from real estate to launching a revolutionary music school and beyond. Discover how Jenny’s unique approach to business, emphasizing resilience and the power of a positive mindset, propelled her to success across diverse industries including education and small business ownership. With candid anecdotes and practical wisdom, Jenny reveals how aligning passion with business acumen can create thriving enterprises that resonate deeply with both clients and communities. Tune in to uncover the secrets of her entrepreneurial rhythm and perhaps, find your own beat to dance to in the ever-changing music of life.

00:00:00 - Welcome Aboard: Dive into the 7-Figure Leap
00:01:37 - Charting the Course: Tanya’s Entrepreneurial Odyssey
00:03:33 - Sailing the Story Seas: Adventures of Entrepreneurship
00:06:04 - Sky High Ambitions: From Aviation to Real Estate Victories
00:07:15 - Gaining Altitude: Tanya’s Transition from Pilot to Property Pro
00:08:30 - Real Estate Runway: Navigating New Professional Landscapes
00:09:45 - Building Businesses: Lessons Learned from Aviation to Sales
00:12:10 - From Wings to Walls: Adapting Pilot Precision to Property
00:14:44 - Mastering the Market: Coaching to Top Realtor Status
00:18:01 - New Horizons: Transitioning to Full-Time Coaching
00:20:57 - Freedom to Coach: Breaking Corporate Chains
00:23:01 - Blueprints for Success: Expanding Influence with Broker Brilliance
00:26:22 - Steering Through Storms: Adaptive Strategies for Real Estate Pros
00:29:54 - Fortifying Foundations: Cultivating Resilience in Business
00:32:47 - Cementing Success: Utilizing Community Support in Tough Times
00:35:43 - Connect and Conquer: Finding Tanya and Flourishing Together

Episode transcript

Jenny': [00:00:00] So because we're all so busy doing our tasks and not everyone is able to be at the studio all the time with all the other people. There is one dedicated time per week that we come together. It's on Tuesdays from 1 to 2, and it's called coffee and conversation. You can join in person, and Or you can do online and I pay for the coffee and really it's just a time for our team to come together.

Talk shop, talk about wins, talk about struggles. Some of them are even jamming as well. So that has created this time where it's not a meeting to talk about a certain agenda, like the staff meeting, but it's a time every single week. So if they're needing encouragement or they're struggling with something, They have their team they can count on and they know they can bring that to the table.

Dustin: Welcome back to the seven figure leap. I have another amazing guest today. And we have a really fun origin story. I actually met Jenny, my guests completely randomly at Podfest in [00:01:00] 2023, sitting down at a Lunch table, a lunch that I would almost always skip, one of these listen to a guy on stage talking about podcast statistics while you eat some dry chicken.

But I decided I'd stay in the room and I happened to sit down next to Jenny and she introduced herself and handed me this really unique business card. And we just started chatting and we kept running into each other, the whole conference. We have a follow up call. And then she ended up joining my podcast profits accelerator program last year.

And so we got to spend a lot of time together and just got to know her and her story and the multiple businesses that she's running. And she's got a fascinating story and she's very gifted at numerous things that she's really excited to share with you. And I'm really excited to unpack with her. So Jenny, Welcome. And thank you so much for being here. Please share a little bit about yourself.

Jenny': Yes, hello and thank you for having me. I'm Jenny Townsend. I live in Sarasota, Florida, and I currently own and operate a music school known as Music Compound. I founded that company in 2016 and we are just entering a new phase of business where we're merging two locations into one 10, 000 square feet [00:02:00] facility, so we're in the process of renovating, onboarding some new team members.

My husband and I also own a laundromat. Which I absolutely love that business. I'm looking forward to buying some more of those in the future. And I also am a podcast host. My podcast is called stroke it, which is a book that began as a journal six years ago and is now going to be a published book.

Dustin: It's amazing. Yeah. So Jenny inadvertently is launching a book this month while renovating a studio and changing her team from contractors to employees. And that's part of the culture and maintaining that. And all this chaos is part of what we're going to unpack towards the end of today's episode as we get really practical.

But for now, Jenny, I would love to hear Take care. Just a little bit more of your backstory. I really like to try to dig in a little bit and understand why people are driven to do the things they do. And obviously in your case, you're running three businesses with your husband. At least one of them is with your husband.

And you've got the stroke at brand, which is the phrase that caught my attention when we sat down at lunch that day, I'm like, tell me about that. And it really is a great brand and gets people to lean in and say, what's that all [00:03:00] about? So as far back as you feel like going, whether you want to go, Childhood, college, post college wherever you feel like it's most appropriate to start unpacking a little bit of your entrepreneurial journey and why you're, why you've been drawn into this life that you're living right now in Sarasota.

Jenny': Yeah. First and foremost, I'm always glass half full. Where's the opportunity and the obstacle. And so even starting with my music school, I'm not a musician. I'm not an educator and no, I do not have any children. Which. Most people think are requirements for you to run a music school. I was in real estate selling real estate back in the mid 2000s and the market crashed and I only had an associate's degree and I put my resume out there.

I was talking to people and my parents owned their own company. So I was already an entrepreneur. I could sell. I could work. I could help do most people. But since I didn't have a bachelor's degree, no one would hire me. So I had to go back to school and take student loans to get my bachelor's, which my parents had previously offered to pay.

I was like, no, I'm going to go do real estate. And I was like, I should have taken them up on their offer. So I went back to [00:04:00] school and in the midst of the real estate market tanking, I also was in the process of short selling my house. I was needed a job. So I went back to school, was waiting tables at local restaurants.

And in my final semester of college, we had to develop a business plan. So I took this idea of these musicians. I was working with wanting a place to jam and hang. And I was like, Oh, why don't I create a really cool place for you to hang out? In the financial aspects of the business, I realized they have no money to pay for space, and I was like that business won't work.

So I thought about my childhood, my upbringing, and my parents. They invested everything in us children. They give us lots of opportunities, no matter the cost. And when I was working for my father who owned a window cleaning company, I met this girl. I think I was around 20. She was 27 and she lived on the water.

She had a Mercedes and she had a boat. And she was like, I was like, what do you do? And she's I own a cheerleading school. So at 20 years old, I knew I wanted to have a child based business. I just didn't know what that business was going to be. So fast forward here, I'm in my [00:05:00] final semester of college wanting to create this place for musicians.

And so I went back to that memory, flipped the switch and developed a music school for kids with an interest in music, bringing my team sports, my entrepreneurial spirit, my life skills into the mix and created a very non traditional music school. And we have 500 members. We have a team of 42 people.

We're doing over a million dollars in sales on an annual basis. Just once again, took a really, hard time in my life and made it a really pivotal moment and created that business plan, which I didn't launch until later. So that's one of the things I feel like it reminds me of COVID when everyone had their world shaped and they're like, I got to figure out what I want to do. And here's my chance to finally start that business. I'm sure you interview a lot of people like that.

Dustin: Yeah, I feel like for sure. COVID, the COVID pivot kind of comes up in everyone's story. There's always some form of that. And I'm sure you had some of that too, although maybe in Florida, it didn't hit you as, as hard with the shutdowns that we had in Illinois. It changed everything around. Around me, but there's a couple of things that I wanted to highlight in your story.

I love the idea of opportunities out of [00:06:00] obstacles. And the other thing that I picked up on was when you were 20, you had this encounter with this woman that obviously had some status and you're like, Wow. Like you're doing you're very successful. I'd love to know more. And she planted the seed with you of this idea of child based school. And you were able to lean back into your own history and wow, my parents would do anything for us as kids. I bet a lot of parents are like that.

And then she affirmed that with her cheerleading school. And then, yeah, so it's, it's really cool. And then. I'm sure it's very painful to, then the other real estate crash was, it was your version of COVID at least version one, there may be more to come here in this story, but yeah, I love, just love all of that here and the why, and that it's not like a lightning bolt hits you one day and you're like, I want to start a music school. It was really a progression of encounters and you being open to them and looking for opportunity and. Yeah. Not holding too tightly to one idea, right?

Jenny': And leaning in and really owning it, I think was super, super important. So I developed that business plan in 2009, but I actually didn't start the company until 2016. And I had so many naysayers, like people at one point said, stop talking about this [00:07:00] music school. And my final semester of college, I, is when I actually met.

My husband, and he's so are you going to get your master's? I'm like, no, I'm going to just start this music school one day. So anyways, fast forward to 2015, I was working in the nonprofit sector and got into a fight with one of my gala chairs. And my husband was like, go start that music school that you always wanted to. I will pay for you to take a year off of work and quit your job and just go follow your dream. And I was like, Oh my God, you're amazing. I love you. Thank you. So yeah, so shortly after I took a year off, I got a score mentor, which if anybody's interested in starting a business score is a free service.

They'll help you. I met with my coach every single week at Starbucks. I started meeting with him in June and I said, I'm going to open in January. He's yeah, no, I don't think that's going to happen. I was like, it's going to happen. going to happen. So, And I did. Anyway, so then another, pivotal point in my life was three years into my startup.

For anyone that has started a business, you become very passionate about it. You love it. You're all in. And I didn't have any debt. My husband, I owned a [00:08:00] house, but. I didn't have children. I was like, I'm going to risk it all, not realizing that I really was going to risk it all, including my marriage. And so year three of startup, I discovered my husband was having an affair with a coworker. And at that point, it was like, Oh, what am I going to do? Sell my company, keep my company, get divorced, keep my marriage. So another pivotal moment in my life where I had to decide what I really wanted. And at that point I.

Hit the pause button, took some ownership, looked within and through the self discovery and awareness and time, I was able to find forgiveness and through that process I started journaling my feelings and that's what led to the whole Stroke It concept. When my husband and I were talking about it, I said, oh, So she stroked you mentally, emotionally, and physically.

So that's where stroke it was inspired and it became a passion project, which is now podcast and a book. So I've just had really amazing opportunities where I could have just, went down in the dumps, became depressed and blamed everybody else. But I decided to [00:09:00] look on how I can make a major impact on only my life, but on others. And it has really served me at a really positive life. And I can be happy with that. The things that have happened and not be holding grudges or, anything like that.

Dustin: Yeah, that's amazing. So there's obviously a whole subtext here with your husband, because had it not been for the real estate crash, you wouldn't have been in college. So you wouldn't have met your husband who obviously became your husband most importantly, but also became essentially an investor and believed in you and gave you the space and the financial.

Backing to be able to actually launch the school after sitting on the idea for many, many years. And then three years after that, you have the next obstacle, the next big obstacle, which is, the infidelity and I'm sure a lot of. Pain and processing and self discovery and searching, and which led you to journaling, which led you to wanting to write a book and podcast interviews and all the things that you're doing today. It's amazing.

Jenny': Thank you. Yeah. It's a lot of life lessons and that's really what my goal and my why is to really share the knowledge. And I think it's just super important to share your stories and talk about those. So many people want to. Just [00:10:00] push all of the challenges and the struggles underneath the rug and just act like nothing is happening.

And, especially with owning a business, I've came in contact with a lot of people that are like, I had no idea you were going through that. And I was like it's not like I'm airing my dirty laundry. But I was talking with people cause I wanted to find people that could understand my struggles and a lot of business owners.
I'm in business or a lot of people that are CEOs or in corporate, you find yourself so dedicated to the mission of the company and, working up that ladder and connecting the dots.

And, I don't know, ingrained in it that you forget about the outside life and sometimes your career can be so fulfilling, which mine was like, I wasn't even taking a paycheck the first three years, but I was so fulfilled with doing something that I loved and I was impacting so many people that character, That was more meaningful to me than anything else at that point in time.

So I think sometimes you get lost along the way, but you can very easily find your way back. I always say detours lead to the most beautiful places. And if you're open and you're willing and you're flexible, you'll be able to see those beautiful scenery.

Dustin: [00:11:00] That's a, that's it. We hit it like a year. Why? You've obviously spent the time in journaling. I'm sure writing the book was a big part of unpacking that and having such clarity. And such an articulate way to express what drives you and what inspires you. I'm a little curious. So many of the people that listen to the show, they would call themselves solopreneurs or, their founder led businesses in the sense that they started doing something, whether it be coaching, consulting, some sort of service, and then it's like, Hey, and then accidentally some business grew out of it.

That's my own story. It was seven for your leap happened organically. I sensed from you, if I picked up like you never, you Sat down and gave guitar lessons to kids, right? Like you were always positioning yourself as a CEO and in hiring the who's to come be the teachers in the school to have that. Right.

Jenny': 100%. I never wanted to be in the studio teaching. And while I was working in corporate America, I had that business plan in my back pocket and I took it on every single flight and every city I was in, I would go into our music facilities and I would talk to studio owners. I would talk to founders and I was basically fine tuning that business [00:12:00] plan as I was working throughout the country.

And a lot of them would be like, But you're not a musician. You're not a teacher. I'm like, no, that's why I'm gonna be successful because I'm not gonna be sidetracked with wanting to, play the instrument as well. So it actually has helped. And I feel like if you have the right skill set, you can run any business like my laundromat.

I didn't know anything about. Speed queens and washing machines. And now a few years later, I understand the laundry business. So I think if you're just open minded and you're willing to learn and adopt, you could do any business that you really, really want. So I've just been, I don't want to say fortunate because that's not it, but. Just my mindset. I feel like my upbringing with my parents being entrepreneurs, my parents allowed us to fail.

Our parents encourage us to go and try new things. And there was just this curiosity that they instilled in us that led us to go and start our own businesses and try different things. I work with a lot of families today and a lot of these parents today are so afraid of their kid failing or they're like, they have to go and do this. This is the track.

They've got to go to college and they've got to go [00:13:00] work this career. And I'm like, that's not necessarily going to make them happy. So I feel like I've learned through this process and even through my upbringing, go and do what makes me happy and what serves other people and myself and the money will come. Don't worry about the money right now. The money will always come. So having that mindset has really led to, some success in my life.

Dustin: Yeah. What a gift that your parents gave you, whether it was intentional or just, the way they saw the world got imparted upon you. We talk a lot about. With other guests about like our values are oftentimes driven by the vacuums that we had in our upbringing. And I'm sure everyone has vacuums, right? Everyone has things that weren't good. But I think it's even more amazing when someone is able to take a gift like that and really embrace it.

And through the obstacles, you'll get to the other side because of this gift that your parents gave you. So often these interviews focus on them. I had this really bad thing that happened to me as a kid, or I had, my parents, did not give me this opportunity. And in the face of that, I pushed through and that's why I became an entrepreneur. But you actually had the role model of entrepreneurship in your house. Do you have siblings or any of them? [00:14:00] Entrepreneurs?

Jenny': Yeah. So I, my dad said the family, he has four siblings and then I have 17 first cousins on that side. And I think 16 of us have their, have our own businesses. But. We are kind people, but we're also about hiring people, training people, leading. We're always wanting to find people that will believe in our mission that we can add to our team or add to our family.

And that has been a huge game changer, and it leads to success as well. I have a team of 42 people. They believe in the mission of the company. When we hire, we talk about the mission. We talk about the future vision. They buy into that. Yes, they buy into me and they buy into the paycheck and everything else like that.

But, they're part of that larger vision and they want to make an impact and they want to see how they can, inspire these kids. To play piano for the rest of their life, not just while their parents are making them. So I think that also plays into the role of being a great leader and having a successful company is finding people that will lean into what you're doing, but most importantly, will buy into the mission [00:15:00] in the future vision of the company.

Dustin: That's amazing. Yeah, definitely. I want to dig into that in just a, few minutes, just about like, how do you set that vision? How do you recruit the right people and set a culture and lead from the front? And definitely that, I really want to talk about that and more of a tactical. Practical way that people can implement that because a lot of our listeners are sometimes building a team for the first time or their three year vision includes a team. But right now it's basically them and some virtual assistants, right?

And how do you do that? Because that's so critical in the journey of business growth and scaling before we get there. I, this is a personal curiosity because I did not know this before we started recording. Tell me about the laundromat. I'm like, super curious about, like, when and how and why and how that fits into the portfolio of what you're doing.

Jenny': So my husband has always wanted to start his own company. However, he grew up in a household where his mom was a teacher for 35 years. His dad was a funeral director for 35 years. So part of the struggle of me being entrepreneur was he couldn't understand the risk. He couldn't understand how I was just going to make decisions and I wasn't going to report to people.

And I had authority over every single day and [00:16:00] every single hour of my life. And then Working so many hours. He's but you're working. I go, I'm not working. You think I'm working, but I'm not working. I'm enjoying what I'm doing. So that's where that resentment came into, which led to the failure of our marriage.

But there was a part of him that really, really needed and wanted that. And so he started like searching businesses online and on Craigslist and he always be like I want to own a business. I'm like technically you own 50 percent of my music school. You did sign off on it. We were potentially going to get divorced, but you have ownership of a business, but he wanted his own.

But however, We both have our own separate bank accounts, and he needed my money. So I was able to buy into the laundromat after he searched for it for three years. And honestly, we were in the process of finding a business that we could run. But we were looking at a toy store, and it would fit really great with the music school because we could do cross promotions and everything.

And we were on the call like six o'clock with the toy store company. And yeah, This guy that my husband inquired on Craigslist about his laundromat for sale, messaged him back and we he was on the phone with him and I was talking to Toy Story [00:17:00] people and he's get off the phone with them. I'm like, but wait, we have a massive call. And so anyways, I hung up the phone, the Toy Story company, two days later, this guy's kind of where we live and we wouldn't had breakfast with them and it just so happened to me.

It required a lot of trust because with this business, obviously, there's money involved in a lot of its cash. And then there's some that's on credit cards and things like that. So it requires a lot of trust with the person. We were able to do owner financing with the business because of the multiple we were paying.

He was able to take some of that. So it's been a really great business. We have a really unique structure. We have a lady that works there, but she doesn't technically work for us, but she has her own wash, dry, fold business, but she takes care of our laundry mat for us. We go up there once or twice a week for repairs and collections and all that good stuff and super profitable.

It's a lot of things are changing, though, especially with cash and like they're trying to Get away from using cash. So I'm like, Ooh, how do we get our cash in the system in the future? That's a good problem to have, but it is a great business if you follow Cody Sanchez or some other people it's those not so beautiful businesses that are super profitable.

Dustin: Yeah. [00:18:00] The boring businesses and laundromat hadn't come to mind for me, but I've, interviewed and just talked to a lot of people around Plumbing HVAC, these, more family oriented businesses were the founders reaching retirement and then they, there is no next generation or they don't want it and they're like, there is no transition plan and there's a huge, huge, huge booming market for that. Right.

Jenny': Yeah. My dad actually owned a window cleaning company. So that's what I grew up doing. And at 24, 25, my dad's do you want to buy the window cleaning company? And I was like, I don't ever want to wash a window ever again. Cause I started at eight years old with him. And then in high school I had my own routes and I had all my friends working for me.

And then when it came time to sell. I was just just did not want to do that anymore, but it was the biggest mistake because my dad sold that company for 345, 000. And our major account was Publix and Walgreens, which were massive accounts. That company one year later sold for 500, 000, two years later sold for 750, 000.

And, I was just, Burnt out from the family business. And I think that's what happens a lot [00:19:00] of time with these businesses that have generations within their family. The kids don't really want to take ownership of their parents company because they've been doing it for so many years. They're burnt out on it.

But I would say if you are listening to your parents or your family does own a company, definitely look at those financials. My dad didn't have a lot of money to show because he was very bad financially. He just spent all the money he made. So I always heard we didn't have money, but I went to a private school. I my dad bought me a 65 Mustang for my first car.

Dustin: Oh, wow.

Jenny': my mom had a Rolex. She had a new car every two days. It's Obviously, that's where all the money was going. But if anyone's listening, definitely buy your parents company if you can, because you can get it typically owner financed and at a really great rate and not pay any broker fees.

Dustin: That's amazing. So yeah, I can see why you're like, I want to own more laundromats. Fun. It's very, it's about as passive as you can get. If you into the right opportunity. Marker

Jenny': The rent opportunity and my employees are washing machines and dryers. They're not This is This is totally humans, which I love all my humans, but the cost of, people today and at the day, we all have bills to [00:20:00] pay. So I understand the increasing wages and things like that. So it's just a cost associated with having employees and with the uptick in mental illness and mental health and the needs of individuals and the flexibility that people want or require these days is much different.

And I do feel like running a business today is. Hard. I like to say it's harder sometimes than COVID was. Once again, I was in Florida, so COVID wasn't that hard, but So anyways, it's just challenging. So when I think of, a laundromat or carwash and businesses like that your expenses are going to be your water, your electric, your gas versus people, which I love working with people and I love developing teams. So that may be hypocritical. It's just maybe at the stage that I'm at right now with everything that I've got on my plate.

Dustin: Yeah, which is a lot. So I'd love to talk a little bit now, just future cast. And you're going to lead us through a sort of an exercise on visioning. So your snapshot version of that. So you've got the stroke at brand, the book, the podcast, you've got the laundromat. And of course you've got the real, bread maker, which is the music compound school. So where do [00:21:00] you see this in three to five years?

Jenny': Yeah I'm all about developing a 1 3 5, which is where do you want to be in one year, where do you want to be in three years, and where do you want to be in five years? I think having a 1 3 5 is super, super important, especially on the days that you want to quit, you want to give up, and you want to throw in the towel.

There were so many times, especially when I was growing my music school, where it's getting the right people, or you just feel like you can't get a break, or the rent is increasing or your insurance costs are increasing and you just can't get ahead and there's a lot of other variables as well.

There were so many times, even like when I went through marriage challenge, where I was like, Oh my God, I'm going to have to give up. Having that five year goal get to and was possible kept me focused. It kept me moving forward. It kept me not spending money here or not doing this because I know.

Every single day what I need to do in order to get to that year five and actually, I was on pace to hit your five. Unfortunately, when my husband and I almost got divorced, we had to separate things and went sideways. However, I was on track and I was still able to [00:22:00] get there. It was just two years later.

So I think it's super, super important to develop that. And once you develop your 135 and you have a larger vision for not only for your company, but for yourself, you can share that with other people and you can share like what their life can look like and what the future of the company is going to look like, what roles they can share within that company. So that way, when you're hiring your onboarding people, you're not like I don't know where we're going to be in a year or two.

Dustin: Yeah.

Jenny': actually know where you're going to be. And that is such a beautiful thing to share with people because if they can see growth opportunities or they can see maybe leading a certain sector of your business, that's going to make them really excited. That's going to build loyalty and it's going to keep them engaged on a yearly basis as well. I hope I answered your question.

Dustin: Yeah. You did. And you actually went right into the teaching of it, which is great. Exciting. And it's got me wanting to ask you follow up questions. I think one really simple question. I love the one, three, five framework, one, one year, three year, five year goals or visions. Do you start with [00:23:00] five and then back into three and then back into one? Or what's your process for that?

Jenny': So when I started Music Compound, I I started with five years and I was like, okay, this is where I'm going to be in five years. I'm going to have multiple locations. I'm going to be doing this much money in revenue. I want to have this many team members.

And I started with five and then I went back to three and then I went back to one and then it was like, okay, what do I need to do year one? How many members do I need to secure year one? How many hires to even just kickstart this entire plan? Thanks But all of that is just based on faith and it working out at that point, you

Dustin: So you're making it up, but obviously you had some, in your case, you had been to other schools, you saw different models, you saw different sizes maybe different rate structures and all those sort of programs and packages. So obviously a ton of variables, but basically what I'm hearing is.

If for your personal interest, you're like, this is what I want to have accomplished at the five year mark. And here's what I need to start peeling back into to lay the groundwork for that this year. Is that

Jenny': right. And then that's when you like dive into that. Why? I started, let's just start with how I started to use a [00:24:00] compound. So first and foremost, I started with a business canvas. So anybody out there that's wanting to start a business, the business canvas is a snapshot. You can complete that within 20 to 30 minutes.

Actually, one of my mentors refused to meet with me before prior to me completing that business canvas. And then I was so overwhelmed. It took me like six months to create this business canvas, which I was like, Oh my God, that's so easy. And then that's where you go into developing that business plan. And then that's after you develop that business plan.

That's when you'll develop that one, three, five, and that's all for the business. But then at the end of the day, you have to look at. Where do you want to be in one year, three years, five years personally, and that really allowed like where I was going to be living, what kind of car I was going to be driving and really the life I was going to have.

So all those sacrifices that you make year one, two and three, when you get to four and five, you're like, thank God I sacrificed, or I didn't go buy that new car, which actually I was supposed to buy a new car like two years ago. I'm still driving the Honda CRV because I'm like, I'd rather use that money for travel.

And you will see, too, you'll make smarter decisions based on that one, three, five for where [00:25:00] you want to be professionally and personally. And once you have that, then you can really develop a really, really great future vision for the company. And that's where people are going to buy into.

Dustin: Okay. Yeah. That's so that I don't want to transition now, the final thing to talk about team building culture. So you've described really articulately, if I can say that word, in a very articulate way like how you, Set a vision from the business canvas, business plan, one, three, five, your visions for the business.

And then you say, and this is Jenny in that business. This is the role I want to have. And this is the income I want to get from it. And I'm sure things like that don't want it to be exitable. Don't have a saleable asset. There's a lot of those things that are baked into that for you personally.

But when you're enrolling, say your, first couple key team members how do you enroll them in that vision? Is it. Just through conversation. Is there like a mission statement? Is there a document? Like, how do you really convey that and make sure that they are bought into the culture fully whenever you're interviewing someone?

Jenny': Yeah. So first and foremost, I feel like anyone that's going to start a business should always start a [00:26:00] business to exit that business. You may. Exit on your own terms, but you may exit on someone else's terms or life, so you may get sick and may have to exit. You may be on the verge of getting divorced and you need to exit or someone may approach you with a really great offer, and it's just the right time and you're going to exit.

So I think first and foremost, you should always start with an exit strategy and try to get it. Out of running the company as soon as possible. So I haven't onboarded, I don't know, probably like 300 people have worked for the company in the past nine years. And it really just started with, do you have a passion for music education?

Meaning, do you have a passion for the service that I'm offering? And then that point, hiring them. And paying them an hourly rate, but offering them different benefits within the organization. So if they were a musician, they wanted to use our space for rehearsing for the band, or if they wanted to utilize my contacts. Once again, we always focused on the mission versus the pay.

So I, when I'm onboarding people, I always pay every single person the same hourly [00:27:00] rate for my teachers. No matter if you have a doctorate, master's, bachelor's, or you're self taught, it's the way I manage the egos. And then I will increase them within the first 90 days according to their education or the role they play or the retention rate.

I do that just for ego management. But then again, we're all there for the same mission. We're all there to serve the student. I'm, we're not here to serve your personal agenda. So that's first and foremost. And then, I've hired people and I do, like for, if they're my front office team start in our music lounge where it's. Child care. Then they moved to the front desk for a couple hours a day, just answering phones. T

hen I moved them to a sales position. All of my studio managers started in the music lounge at 12 or 13 an hour, which this was like nine years ago. And on the upside, they were making 50, 60, 75, 000 a year within. Two and a half to three years of working for our organization. Some of these people were put in roles and were capable of doing way more, but I was not ready to release [00:28:00] control.

It wasn't until my husband's affair. I've discovered that I stepped out of my company and I had to quit. And at that point is when everybody started rising to the top, the cream and those individuals I had in my, in place went from, they took this fuss from old school to new school.

So like from paper to digital and from like black to red and so removing myself from the equation allowed our company to thrive in ways that I didn't plan or intend for it to happen, but it did. And at that point in time, I was like, I don't really need to be there that many hours. I don't need to be present and I can step out.

And at that point in time, I was like, all right, we can either scale or I can exit or I can just go on autopilot right now and start enjoying life. Personally, the hard work is done and by laying that foundation and then handing it over, it just was from there. So I think we struggle with releasing control and thinking that we have to be there.

We have to do it all when the actuality, anybody can do it. If they're trained and you have the systems in place, so where [00:29:00] I'm currently at year nine Is all those systems and manuals that we've created over the years that have changed a million times Or we're revamping them. So that way anybody can do any role within the organization for cross promotions or exits

Dustin: love that. So some things I picked up on there in the culture building is. Everyone starts at the same point. I love the term ego management. I wrote that down. And then you had a very clear onboarding process. So I'm sure it varies by department and role, but basically you describe one of the departments that, it's a rolling rotation through different aspects of the business so they can be well rounded.

And I'm sure then you and they can see the places where they flourish or the places where they really. Aren't suited so that they can really identify their strengths, but they're enrolled in the same. Ultimate path, right? Like I know that it's like you're 1 3 1 3 5. There's a little mini version of that.

Like I got a 90 day sort of probation onboarding process and then I'll get paid more, but ultimately I could be making really good money because there's this larger emerging role in the company and the company's growing. And it sounds like you initially had a [00:30:00] vision of. Being there every day, all day in the CEO role.

And then with the personal challenges, it forced you to not do that. And then you discovered almost virtually like something that I've heard a lot from mentors recently is that your role as the founder, Actually, the less that you work in the business, the more valuable the business becomes, and the more it flourishes, which is counterintuitive and really tough for our own egos.

I guess maybe you're several years removed from that. What is your role now? Are you the CEO? Or did you actually did you hire a CEO to be there?

Jenny': so I haven't hired a CEO. I'm still the CEO. I would say, for 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, I was really like an absentee owner. I basically had people in the seats doing everything. They were growing the business. They knew exactly what to do, how to do it. And I was really there for Just management of the egos, the mental health.

And I was there to come in on Mondays and say, Hey, how are you doing? Do one on ones and really take care of the team and provide an ear where maybe the studio managers were so [00:31:00] busy executing all those daily tasks. They didn't have the time needed for the employees to, express maybe some concerns or some needs that they may have.

So coming in, I come in, yeah. To save the day a lot of times and, providing massages bi weekly or, providing financial assistance for the gym or if they need massages or if they need mental like counseling and things like that. So by stepping out of the business, I was able to look at everybody within it and how they played a role and how do they serve our mission?

And then how can I serve them individually? And so I have very different relationships with them. With various levels of people within the organization, I have a leadership team, and that was something else I developed after covid, where I was like, I don't need to be doing all these things. I have these people on my team that need hours because all their hours their hours got shrunk with covid.

So I had to figure out how to keep them employed. So that's when I started delegating even more off my plate. So I would consider myself like, Prior to 2024, I was like an absentee owner, and I was really there just for support. And then this year, as we're working on [00:32:00] merging two locations and we're launching online courses, we're going to be a recording studio.

We're going to be selling our summer camp program to other music schools and training on them to increase the bottom line and develop and diverse the budget. I'm finding myself a little bit more in there. I have a manager that has been taking on so much that I'm needing to just come back in and support her a little bit more.

I hired people, but that was before I read the book Who, and I didn't have the right scorecard and all that. I made a bad hire last year. So I'm going to be working on rectifying that. So I'm just in there a little bit more and really focusing on the sales more than I have in the past few years.
But that's because our rent is doubling, wage increases are increasing, and there's a couple other variables. So I personally don't want to take a pay cut. And in order to do that, I got to just jump in there and help them out a little bit.

Dustin: That's super insightful. Actually, I'm glad I asked that. I'm glad you answered it in that way. Because again, the takeaway for me is you basically built this machine. The system is running. You got to come in and be a caretaker, right? Like in the stroke at mentality emotionally supporting [00:33:00] your employees and team members and making them feel valued and getting them the resources they need one day a week, right?

But you have now chosen in this year to take this to the next level and get the next version, the next vision, right? Like you've talked about online courses and out and basically licensing or, doing programming for other schools, it's like the next layer of growth and scaling.

And so you're choosing then to be. They're more and be, taking new roles. And I just, I love that the fact that it's not, this is something I probably said in every episode that like personally, and with many, most probably all entrepreneurs, we tend to think in terms of like permanent decisions and like fatalistic sort of decisions.

Once I. Created this thing that I don't have to be there four days a week or whatever. That's it. No, it's not it because you own it and you can come back in and you can change your mind and you can have a new vision and you can make changes and they can still be a great place for creativity.
You'll just be applying new skills and doing things differently. So I just love the freedom that comes in this story that you're like coming in and out of it in different ways as you choose. [00:34:00] Awesome.

Jenny': need right now, and I'm adding a little bit of pressure to them because of all of the growth that we're about to have. And we're going literally to the next level. So like leaning into the whole stroke it, I'm understanding what they need as far as their love languages.

And if anyone hasn't read that book, please, Gary Chapman, five love languages. Yeah. You can also use those in the workplace. So I now know what their love languages are. So do they need quality time? Do I need to take him out to lunch? Do we need to have a meeting with them? Do I need to praise them some more?

Like my studio manager, she's we're doing so good. We're doing, I'm like, I know you feel like we're doing great. And it seems like it because you're super, super busy, but you're not using your time to the best of your ability. And we need to delegate. Transcribed And if I need to tell you I need to do more, give you more praise, I will.

She's oh, but you're not going to fake stroke me. I go, I'm not going to fake stroke you. I said, I'm going to tell you you're doing a job when you are doing a good job and you are doing a good job. But so understanding words of affirmation is really what she needs. So I think understanding really what those love languages are and what your [00:35:00] people need as far as praise and time and just, They want to know they're doing a good job.

So I've really had to lean into that lot Q1 of 2024. I think a lot of us, are seeing people making some changes and the cost of everything else like that and retaining your employees is super, super important. So I've definitely been leaning in and reading my book and taking my own advice when it comes.

To employees and boosting that culture because I feel like they are the heartbeat of our music school and I'm able to have the life that I have and they're able to have their life that they have because of each other. And I'm not super unique to by having those 2 teams where our teachers teach and they handle the back end and then we handle a front office.

I can't go and teach. I can't go and replace them and they can't come and do what I do. So having that mutual respect that we both need each other has been really, really. Beneficial for anybody that works for organization and for obviously for our clients to in the success of our business.

Dustin: So I've talked to, I, my original business was in the marriage niche and I [00:36:00] interviewed Dr. Gary Chapman and like huge admirer of his work with the five love languages. And yeah, In business, like we always talk about, like Colby and enneagrams and culture indexes. It's really cool to me. And it's like such a simple thing, but it's so powerful to actually have your employees do the love languages.

It's like the easiest thing to do. It's free. They can go do it online and just, there's just five of them, right? So it keeps it really simple and just keeping top of mind. Oh, this person loves to receive gifts and this person really needs that affirmation. And I just need to be cognizant of making sure that I'm speaking to them. And loving them the way that they want to be loved in a professional sense. And so I love that. And I love like just having a knowledge of everyone on your team. What is their love language? There's cause it's so multifaceted and how that can , create a better bond between the, employee and the leader.

Jenny': right. So just one example is I had two managers. They were both doing the same roles. Basically, what was the morning? What was the afternoon? But they both were in charge of sales and running the organization. They had slightly different roles, but same thing at the same time. And one of them was quality time.

And the other one, she wanted money because she wanted to go hike the [00:37:00] Appalachian Trail. I could take 20 bucks. Kaylee would want the 20 bucks to go put in her savings account because she wanted to go to do the Appalachian Trail. Tom, he wanted me to take him out to breakfast. Same 20 bucks, total, same managers doing the same thing, but totally different needs.

And I think that's why my people have been so loyal. And we have such a great community and culture is because I'm really in tune to the humans that are working at our organization. I understand their value and I don't take them for granted. I'm

Dustin: Yeah, I think that's probably the overarching theme of this interview which is not Unexpected given, the book and the podcast and your focus on interpersonal relationships, but you have never heard a leader talk about providing massages, to their employees or mental health. I

Jenny': not personally doing them.

Dustin: you're not so good distinction. We don't need an HR crisis too, but but no, I, that's really cool though. Just the personal care and the personal attention that you're giving to people at appropriate levels, depending on the role and the team and what they're receptive to, and what they need.

Jenny': It's a mental health credit that I give them. So we [00:38:00] give them based on how many hours they work. They get either 25 or 50 bucks a week and I don't need to know what they're going to spend the money on. But I do want them to request that. Because there's a sense of like commitment on their end.

If they're going to request that money, they have to go invest it on themselves. I could just give them more money, but it's going to go towards bills. It's not going to go to them. And so many of them need counseling. They need, acupuncture. They need something for their mental health. And I think it's a way that we can really boost that, which is going to boost the overall happiness of the employees. In addition to getting to do what they love every single day.

Dustin: that's awesome. Another very great practical advice. I'm really fired up. I'm in this stage and I've got contractors and some virtual assistants, but we're in a real scaling up stage where I've got to get out of all the seats. And so I'm like, literally today I'm talking to a potential life fractional Leader.

And so just being cognizant of from the kind of the ground, the groundswell of this new change in this business. Because I, I've led teams. I've led 20, 30 person engineering teams in the past and was not equipped in the way that you're equipped our [00:39:00] audience today with some of this. To me, it's like deep care.

It's Yes. We do performance reviews and we have the, rate yourself. I'll rate you, I'll have a peer rate you and all that stuff has its role. But this idea of really loving your employees and loving your team members and investing in them in different, in non traditional ways, I would say.

And And the impact that clearly has on the culture, right? And retention and productivity and all the things that you want out of the relationship. So this has been awesome. Genius has been super practical and insightful and your story is super inspiring. Is there anything I didn't ask you or any sort of takeaways around team building or anything that you want to share?

Jenny': I just want to do a share with you one more thing that I do for our team members. So because we're all so busy doing our tasks and not everyone is able to be at the studio all the time with all the other people. There is one dedicated time per week that we come together. It's on Tuesdays from 1 to 2, and it's called coffee and conversation.

You can join in person, and Or you can do online and I pay for the coffee and really it's just a time for our team to come together. Talk shop, talk about wins, talk about struggles. Some of them are [00:40:00] even jamming as well. So that has created this time where it's not a meeting to talk about a certain agenda, like the staff meeting, but it's a time every single week.

So if they're needing encouragement or they're struggling with something, They have their team they can count on and they know they can bring that to the table. That's been another great way to boost our culture and our internal community, our music school.

Dustin: I love that. This is so cool. So you have a lot of things going on. So I'll let you direct the show here. People are loving your story. They want to learn more about you or team building or your music school or stroke it. What you're allowed to have multiple calls to action, even though in the accelerator, we said always have one.

I would love for you to just direct the audience to the maybe there's multiple paths, but what's the best way for people to get in your world?

Jenny': So the best way is to go to my website, Jenny all day with one L Townsend. com and on there you can connect with me through email. My podcast is there. My book, which is called stroke it your guide to enhancing every relationship, especially with yourself is available for purchase. And. If you're [00:41:00] interested in music lessons, obviously you go to music compounds website but connect with me.

I'm also on all your social media outlets. I'm on LinkedIn and most of them are my full name, which is Jenny with a Y all day with one L and then Townsend. And I just look forward to connecting with everyone. I've got a lot of great resources that are free downloads. A lot of those things I mentioned today, you can get for
free on my website as well.

Dustin: That's awesome. Ginny all day Townsend. com. Amazing interview, Ginny. Thank you so much for being so generous and sharing very personal things and in both business and life. And I just love that we have this space. I'm glad that I sat down at that, awkward podcast lunch. And it was the beginning of such a beautiful relationship, what, 15 months later.

Thanks for being part of my world. Thank you for your time here. Thanks for being you. And I hope to talk to you real soon.

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