Episode #101: Creating Massive Success from Sudden Loss
with Jacquelyn "Joey" Flesner
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In this week’s episode, Caterina is joined by G.L.O.S.S. Loft founder and creator, Jacquelyn “Joey” Flesner. Joey discusses how she went from losing her business overnight to creating a nationwide network of female entrepreneurs. She also opens up about shifting to being more of a “girl’s girl” and how she avoids drama, as well as the ways she infuses kindness into everything she does in her business.
Nationally recognized as an authentic, motivating mentor for female entrepreneurs, Jacquelyn “Joey” Flesner is a Certified Business Etiquette Trainer and Professionalism Guide. She founded The Etiquette Network, Inc. in 2011 following her passion to assist individuals enhance their professional and social images through refined networking skills and by embracing a “less self-centered, more others-focused” approach. Since 2002, Mrs. Flesner has inspired thousands of entrepreneurs and generously shares her wealth of experience and business-building creativity with clients seeking to elevate their personal brands and increase their income.
Prior to launching The Etiquette Network, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Pepperdine University, leading to work as an actress and producer in the Los Angeles film industry. She also enjoyed a nine-year career as a Top Leader in the Networking Marketing industry by inspiring and training a nationwide team built on professionalism, consistency, and innovative sales & marketing strategies. After discovering a gap in traditional networking groups, she launched Professional Moms Network in 2013 in order to foster meaningful connections between women and most recently introduced an interactive, virtual community, “G.L.O.S.S. Loft,” where successful women consistently Grow, Link w/Others, Share & Shine.
Joey splits time in Bristol, Rhode Island & Oklahoma City as the happy wife to Jeff and proud mama of son (Cade), daughter (Dayton) and furry kid, Kaiser.
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Expand Your Fempire Podcast #101 Transcript
Creating Massive Success from Sudden Loss with Jacquelyn “Joey” Flesner
Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.
[00:00:00] Caterina Rando: Welcome back to another episode of the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. I’m your host Caterina Rando, and I am so excited because we have an amazing guest today, Joey Flesner. She is the president, founder, creator of the G.L.O.S.S. Loft. This is a virtual networking organization for women all over. Joey, I’m blissing to have you here today. Thanks for being with us.
[00:00:59] Jacquelyn Flesner: Yay! Caterina, I’m so honored. Thank you for inviting me.
[00:01:03] Caterina Rando: We met virtually through one of our fabulous mutual friends, Fran. I am a member of your organization, Gloss Loft. I think it’s phenomenal. So much to talk about today. You’ve created this organization, you’ve created another organization, you have your own company doing consulting, tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey.
[00:01:28] Jacquelyn Flesner: As many entrepreneurs or women in general, I would say very few of us probably start out when we are in grade school dreaming about what we’re doing today. Right? So I grew up on the stage, I was a child actress. And knew that I wanted to go to college to pursue film. So I attended Pepperdine university out in Malibu, California. I was an Oklahoma girl and there wasn’t a lot going on in Oklahoma, so you had to go from one coast or to the other coast, so California was my state of choice. I received my degree in theater from Pepperdine and stayed in the Los Angeles area for about five years after graduation, pursuing film in production and in acting. Took a summer visit back home back in 1999, and a boy can make you change trajectories of your life pretty quickly.
[00:02:27] Caterina Rando: I hear you, for sure.
[00:02:29] Jacquelyn Flesner: So I started dating a great guy who’s my husband now. We have two children and made my career take a left turn. Once I had those kiddos, it was really on my heart to be a stay-at-home mom and to focus the majority of my attention on them. But after about two years of being in that space and raising those kids and, you know, dealing just with lots of dirty diapers and nap time and peas thrown against the wall, I was feeling this urge to somehow tap into the business side. I had really just sort of done odd jobs up until that point. I’m one of those that I’ve never been a nine to fiver. I’ve never had a corporate career of any sort.
[00:03:15] Caterina Rando: Me neither!
[00:03:16] Jacquelyn Flesner: Yeah!
[00:03:17] Caterina Rando: Never had a nine to five.
[00:03:19] Jacquelyn Flesner: It’s fun, but I just thought, you know, I’m an actress and that’s what I do. And I’ll tend bar or wait tables or be a nanny or do all these other things on the side until my dreams come true. But once I had those kiddos, sort of had a heart change, I feel like God really led me in a different direction with my life.
[00:03:38] And so I tapped into the network marketing space. I had really great success really quickly there. I’m a people person. I’m a salesperson probably by nature, just because I love to talk and I love people. I like to just share things that I love with other people that I think they can benefit from. And so my network marketing career took off with a great bang. I moved pretty quickly up to the top ranks of that company. And in 2011, that company gave our leadership three days notice that they were closing their doors. And so I lost six figure income literally overnight. So…
[00:04:21] Caterina Rando: What did you do?
[00:04:22] Jacquelyn Flesner: That was the end of July of 2011. I gave myself several weeks to cry and to cuss and to be the victim and to do all of those things. And throughout that course of growing my network marketing, I really found what I was great at and what I loved was coaching and inspiring a nationwide network of women. I’d made some amazing contacts with women from virtually all 50 states.
[00:04:48] And my theater degree, although you would think it would be in the background, it really was very much in the foreground because I was still getting up, doing presentations, whether it be at a home party, in a setting of 10 women looking to buy my product, or whether it be at one of our large annual convention where I was the guest speaker, you know, in front of thousands of women. That really was where I felt like I had the opportunity to shine and what set my heart on fire.
[00:05:19] So I had been certified in business etiquette along the way, and I decided to launch my own company called the Etiquette Network. And my idea was that I was going to offer my etiquette consulting services to companies large and small, and also just teach dining etiquette or children’s communication skills right there in my neighborhood. And it really took off that way. I thought that’s what I would be doing for the next X number of years. And what I found was that with two children at home, I was having a difficult time getting my company out in front of other people.
[00:05:57] Now you gotta think back in 2011, Facebook was really just starting to take over if you will, and business pages were just starting to become a thing. I don’t even know the exact year, I probably should research that, but I wanna say that Facebook didn’t introduce the concept of a business page until somewhere around 2011-12, something like that. So I was struggling a little bit to get my message out into the community, because really traditional networking or traditional advertising, if you will, was the only way to do that. And I had about a $500 budget to start my company. I didn’t have a lot because I told my husband “ah, this may or may not take off. I’m not gonna invest a lot of money with it.”
[00:06:45] If you wanna know a little secret Caterina, what I did was I would make a list of modules. I had a list of 25 modules that I was capable of training that I knew that I had the knowledge for, but I had not developed any of that presentation, any of those presentations. Right? And so I would send that list out to companies to say “Here are the topics that I can offer for lunch and learns or for your annual sales conference.” And again, I have that theater background so I can pull it off without a hitch. And then when someone would say “we want these two or three topics,” the night before I would furiously write out that content, right?
[00:07:27] Caterina Rando: Joey, you are singing my song, my friend. I love that. I love that. And this is what I tell the ladies too. You know, you don’t have to have it all figured out. You just simply need to know what are the modules, what are the topics, and if somebody buys that speech or wants to sign up for that course, then you’ll figure it out. Beautiful. I love it.
[00:07:48] Jacquelyn Flesner: Yeah. So we’re hearing that a lot today. I’m hearing that from women that share a space with you and I in the business coaching arena, that they sort of promote that concept of list what you’re an expert at or what you’re really good at, what you have the capability to share. Go sell that course. And then once you have a few buyers use that income to buy your time to write that course.
[00:08:08] So I was sort of doing that type of thing before it was on trend, right? I was creating these lists and then writing the content once someone had expressed interest in that.
[00:08:19] And I also started going to actual networking groups. But what I discovered is that most of those happened on a weekday morning, very early. You had to invest a large amount of money to be involved in it. You had to commit to being there every week or you weren’t a good candidate for their group. And that really was not a fit for me.
[00:08:41] So the question became “how am I going to network if these traditional networking groups aren’t meeting my needs?” So I sent a note out to about 15 women and said “Hey, I wanna meet for lunch one day at a local Hilton Garden Inn.” And we met in the lobby. I said “let’s meet for lunch and let’s talk about all of the things that we’re doing in business.”
[00:09:02] Now in the back of my mind I really wanted them to sign their children up for my etiquette class. Right? I was doing an etiquette class and I thought “this is a good way, I’m gonna invite them to lunch, and hopefully I’ll get five or six of them to sign up for etiquette.”
[00:09:16] But at the same time, I’m gonna ask them “what kind of business are you doing right now?” Because I knew a photographer, and I knew a Mary Kay lady, and I knew a realtor, and an insurance lady. So we all got around the table and we sat there for about two and a half hours that first day, just talking about what we were doing in business, what our passions were, what was this thing called social media, how could we make it work for us and at the end of that meeting they said “this is fantastic, we gotta do it again.” And so we started gathering for about six months. Once a month was all we were gathering. And two ladies were driving from 45 minutes away and they approached me and they said “Hey, we wanna start one of these in our town. Can you help us?”
[00:10:02] Caterina Rando: Wonderful.
[00:10:03] Jacquelyn Flesner: So I sort of had to give it a name at that point, write some bylaws. And that’s really when Professional Moms Network was born. I didn’t intend to start that second business, but that’s how it came about. And here we are, that was in 2013, eight, nine years later. We’ve had more than 30 chapters around the United States. So it really was something that took on a life of its own.
[00:10:27] Caterina Rando: That’s amazing. And Mom’s Network is still thriving today.
[00:10:31] Jacquelyn Flesner: Absolutely. Yes.
[00:10:33] Caterina Rando: And I know Joey, because one of the things you do, which is one of the reasons why we first connected, is that you do a cruise retreat with your members who wanna go on that. And I hope to join you for your next one, which is really exciting. You know, I love cruise retreats and love leading cruise retreats. Okay so that’s still going Joey. Now, then the pandemic hits and you get another idea that you start. And I don’t know what the birth story is of Gloss Loft. Tell us about that.
[00:11:08] Jacquelyn Flesner: Well, so Gloss Loft had actually, although it wasn’t called that at the time, it had been in my heart for about five years, even several years pre-pandemic. I wanted to figure out a way to bring these women from all of our professional moms network chapters around the country together. How do I introduce my ladies in Oklahoma to my ladies in Pittsburgh? How do I connect my women in Charleston, South Carolina with the women in Rhode Island. And so the virtual piece had been something I had been toying with.
[00:11:43] Well then, COVID comes, we’re all locked down at home. Our luncheons in-person came to a screeching halt, as did any other in-person event. And yet I knew that I still needed to keep these women connected. So we started doing in-person luncheons, city by city. We kept them intact with their chapter, but we began to do a little bit of a crossover. So instead of just saying, this is just the women from Pittsburgh gonna meet in this virtual setting, and then tomorrow the women from Oklahoma will meet. I said, what if we open it up to a nationwide virtual luncheon, where women can come together. And that was a huge hit from the women in my network, they loved that idea. And so, because that started moving in the right direction, we actually called it The Connection Lounge at that time. And we would offer an educational segment in that Zoom meeting, and also a time for each woman to introduce herself and her business. And that’s really where it started.
[00:12:50] Well then come to find out Connection Lounge, this name that I just chose, was trademarked by somebody else. And so I had to go in a different direction with the name. And Gloss Loft, people think it’s a salon or something to do with lipstick because of the word gloss. It actually stands for grow, link with others, share, and shine. And so we offer virtual meeting opportunities where women can come together and do just that.
[00:13:14] Caterina Rando: Joey, as of today at this recording, how many states do you have represented in your membership?
[00:13:22] Jacquelyn Flesner: Professional moms network specifically is in 10 states, and Gloss Loft right now primarily consists of women in those 10 states, but we’ve met you in California and a couple of your ladies. We have a couple of ladies in the Pacific Northwest. So I think we have probably 12 to 15 states represented if I had to give a guesstimate on that.
[00:13:45] Caterina Rando: That’s wonderful. And I know you’re gonna be growing, growing, growing Joey. One of the reasons that I resonate with you and with Gloss Loft is because I would say that you and I have very similar values for business. One of the values that you amplify a lot in your work is kindness. I would love if you would take a moment to share about how people can incorporate more kindness in business, or what are your thoughts about kindness overall? Because I know it definitely goes along with etiquette, which by the way, you know, I’m an etiquette enthusiast. I’ve published three or four etiquette books when we were in the publishing business. Of course I read all those chapters for all those books and I learned a lot. And I am a big fan of civility and kindness. What are your thoughts?
[00:14:43] Jacquelyn Flesner: Well, first of all, I didn’t realize that specifically, so I need that list from you a little bit later. But yeah, etiquette is an interesting thing that, again, I did not set out to be an etiquette trainer. That was never really something I thought I would do during my childhood and teenage years. But as I grew, I began to have a grander appreciation for that.
[00:15:06] I really am my A, number one, best student. Whatever I’m teaching, it’s probably because I need to learn more about or embrace more of in my own life. And so the Etiquette Network has a mission of helping people to think about being less self centered, more others focused. Less self-centered, more others focused. Because at the end of the day, if someone says what’s the proper way to handle X, Y, Z situation, in any scenario the answer is always “how can you make the other person feel more comfortable, more welcomed, more important?” Usually when we’re in any rude or unkind scenario, and you can throw anyone at me, and I love doing this exercise in front of my audiences. I love for people to throw a scenario at me of how could they handle a situation in the most kind manner.
[00:16:07] It always boils down to being less self-centered, 100% of the time, which is interesting. People don’t usually think of it that way. And we’re in a world where the world wants to tell us that we should put ourselves first, that we should think of A, #1, numero uno, or nobody else is thinking of you. And I like to flip that upside down and say quite the opposite. If I am my number one fan, how many fans do I have? One. If you’re your number one fan, how many fans do you have? One. But if we’re all everyone else’s number one fans, we all have unlimited fans.
[00:16:47] Caterina Rando: I love that. Joey. That’s wonderful. Joey, one of the things that you have created is something called Kindness Cash. Will you take a moment to share what this is and how you use it?
[00:17:01] Jacquelyn Flesner: Yes, so kindness cash is at the end of each of our gatherings, we pass around a basket and allow people to drop voluntarily money in there. A dollar, $20, a hundred dollars, nothing. It’s not anything mandatory, but we do it at each of our gatherings. The money then is taken by someone at that event, so it never touches organizational hands, a lady at that event takes the cash and goes out into the community and shares it with a complete stranger in a random act of kindness. They then have to come back to the next event and tell their giving story, because they were really stewarding this gift on behalf of everyone in the group that gave, and so the idea of this kindness cash is that not only are we blessing a total stranger in our community, because it can’t go to an organization or a GoFundMe, it has to be a one on one interaction between two human beings. Not only is that cash that’s $70, $80, $150 blessing the person receiving it, but it’s also doing something incredibly powerful to the one who’s giving it. And I started this, not because I wanted to do nice things for the community, yes that’s part of it, but primarily so that women in our organization can have that experience of giving, feeling what it stirs inside of you when you actually hand something to a stranger that they need and can benefit from. And hopefully that encourages that giver to want to do it more and more on their own.
[00:18:47] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful Joey. Joey, I wanna ask you in all these years of doing this with the ladies in your community, can you share one giving story that really weighed or really touched your heart?
[00:19:01] Jacquelyn Flesner: I can, I have a lot. I was at a luncheon in Oklahoma, cute gal that I just met for the first time, her name is Misty. And I was there visiting our more Oklahoma chapter and she had had the Kindness Cash, so she stood up to share her story, which is always one of my favorite parts. I believe she had about $80 from the month before that the women had collected. She said it was a very hot day in Oklahoma, and she and her family were on a road trip to, I think they were going to see a friend or a relative in a small town, I may get that aspect wrong, but I know they were in their car going to a town that was not their own. And she said she saw an elderly man walking down the road, and he was not in any way shape or form looking like he was in a good state of walking, he was sort of struggling even to take each step. And she said it was a really hot day. And all of a sudden it popped into her mind that she had this Kindness Cash and she thought, “Hmm, should I just pull over and hand him the cash?” That was gonna be her initial intent. Well, she pulled up alongside him, rolled down the window. Asked him where he was going. Was he lost? Did he need help? And he shared with her that he was actually just walking to the grocery store to buy milk and eggs. And so she said “would you hop in the car? I would love to give you a ride to the grocery store. And I have some cash here that I’d like to give you for the groceries.” And he was a little hesitant at first, but she pressed in a little more and was more insistent and started sharing about the group that had collected the money. And he got in the car, they went ahead and took him to the grocery store. They waited and then gave him a ride back home that day. And even as she was telling the story, she was very choked up. And of course the other women, those of us in the room started to, you know, feel a little soft in our hearts as well, because we knew that we had been a part of this just as a group in general. And although I hadn’t given money, obviously I felt like I was a part of it too. But she said “you know, I probably would’ve kept on driving that day. I may or may not have really pulled over and asked him for help.” And she said “because I had the kindness cash in my pocket, I knew that that was the nudge I needed to pull over and help this gentleman.” And she said it really has impacted her and her children who witnessed this more than it ever could have impacted the elderly man. So that’s just one example. That was very recent, that I thought was a beautiful stewardship of the Kindness Cash.
[00:21:43] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful. Joey, I love this idea so much. I’m gonna think about how I can infuse this in our community. I think every gathering of every group could do this and make a huge difference. That’s wonderful. Joey, let’s shift gears a little bit because, you know, I have a community of women, and you have two communities of women. You’ve been managing women in your communities for a long time, and also, I know when you were in network marketing, you had a team, and I know that’s a lot of women too. Let me ask you this. One of the things that sometimes comes up, not very often –this is me asking for advice here my friend– is some mama drama that has to be managed. Now I know that we’re gonna do it with kindness, but I wanna ask you does mama drama ever come up in your communities and for other women like myself who have communities too, how do you manage or how do you get through any mama drama? And I don’t mean what you were just talking about, everyone’s having a nice emotional experience. You know, when there’s women with some challenges maybe, could be with other women, could be with the community. I’m not sure, maybe you have a scenario to share with us. What are your thoughts?
[00:23:08] Jacquelyn Flesner: Wow. That’s a good, tough question, Caterina. So here’s what’s interesting about me: yes, I lead several communities of women now, and yes I have an amazing heart for women in my communities. But I’ll tell you this: I’m not really a girl’s girl. I actually grew up very much a tomboy. I played four sports in high school. I still love to bang it around with the boys anytime I can, because boys are typically a lot less dramatic.
[00:23:44] But over the years, my heart has softened toward women. And I’m one of those that I generally would have steered away from a women’s organization, believe it or not, because of the drama that you’re referring. So I love that you asked me this question and most women in my network would probably never know that 15 years ago, or maybe a little longer, I was not a fan of women in general, and I still struggle with many of the female geared conversations in our society today. I’ll be very forthcoming about that. We’ll save that for another conversation, but I struggle with the way that women are portrayed and the way we portray ourselves in a lot of scenarios.
[00:24:29] So that being said, I think when it comes to drama, first and foremost, we have a manifesto that we’ve written and any woman out there that has any business, especially if she’s guiding or leading any type of community, needs to put a manifesto in. And our manifesto, if I may just share what it says Caterina, I think this might answer your drama question, because we hit the drama, the potential drama, square in the face before we ever get started by presenting our manifesto to anyone interested in our network. And our manifesto says this: “We are sisters. We’re dedicated to supporting one another, both in personal and in professional circumstances with an “others first” mindset. We welcome all women who believe in family over profits. And what makes us unique is no forced referrals, no annual dues, and no drama.”
[00:25:29] So we put it right there at the beginning, we go on to say “We are business builders and kindness spreaders. Our tribe is committed to encouragement, education and service. We believe in the value of human connection, which means that we’re all about building relationships, not just faking follows. Together we learn, grow and succeed. And our sisterhood is a movement, which you belong here.” So right there, square in the face, I let you know at the beginning like “Hey, we are not a group of drama. We are collaborators, not competitors. And if you wanna embrace that abundance over scarcity mindset, we have a home for you. But if you are someone that’s looking for drama, or looking to put down others in the room, or point out why you are better than somebody else, then our network may just not be the right fit.”
[00:26:19] Caterina Rando: Love it, Joey. Bing, Bing, Bing. I didn’t call it a manifesto, but I wrote something at some point I’m gonna have to dust it off and start to use it again. Now I wanna be very clear, I’m not having any mama drama these days. You know I’ve been doing my thing a long time, there have been moments of mama drama. That’s why Joey I sought your advice because you’re here with me today, I thought I’ll take advantage of the opportunity.
[00:26:43] Joey you are doing so phenomenal with your women’s networks. We want everyone to know about Gloss Loft. How can they connect to find out more about gloss loft? And I know that everybody who’s listening who would like to go to a Gloss Loft event, you have a special something for them today. Let’s hear about it.
[00:27:06] Jacquelyn Flesner: Absolutely. So our Gloss Loft events are called GLO Meetups, GLO, grow and link with others. That’s our mission for each meetup. Again, they are all virtual, so any lady listening anywhere can get involved in our Gloss Loft sisterhood. They can attend a meetup at no charge, and I’d love to invite and offer that free pass to any lady who’s interested. If she’ll just simply check out our website, which is glossloft.com, G L O S S L O F T.
[00:27:42] If she’ll go to that website, she’ll see where she can access a free pass. We just ask for name and email address and we’ll zip over a list of our upcoming meetups. She can choose a date, time, and topic that work perfectly for her and attend it no charge. So anyone listening to this podcast or seeing this video, I would love to welcome them to a free meet up to see if it’s a good fit for them and if they like our vibe.
[00:28:04] Caterina Rando: Bing, Bing, Bing. I know everybody’s gonna love your vibe, Joey, because I do. My friends, I encourage you to check out Gloss Loft. There is so much power in community. Joey, your story of how you got the women together for lunch to start this all is a great example.
[00:28:23] A rising woman lifts all the women around her. Joey, you are a rising woman. Everybody who comes to Gloss Loft can now lift up more women. Listener, if you would like to lift up more women, go and hang out with other women, Gloss Loft is a great place to start.
[00:28:44] Everyone, remember you’ve got massive value to bring. There’s a lifetime supply of people to serve. Go connect with other women so you can sell more, serve more, and most importantly, uplift more lives. Joey, blissing to be with you today. Thank you so much for being on the Expand Your Fempire podcast, and I look forward to seeing you at a Gloss Loft meeting soon.
[00:29:13] Jacquelyn Flesner: Thanks, Caterina. My pleasure.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.