Jen Shultz - The Non Nine to Five
Michelle Brandriss: Hi, everyone. Welcome to From the Basement Up. I'm Michelle Brandriss, and today we're welcoming Jen Shultz, a mentor and teacher who is encouraging people to find their why and step into an entrepreneur life and redefine the typical nine- to- five workday. Jen will explain some key ingredients of starting out on your own and what it takes to find success. She is here to share how she helps others find their professional purpose, and we are excited to welcome a dedicated businesswoman, educator, and coach onto the show. Hello, Jen. Thank you so much for joining us on From the Basement Up.
Jen Shultz: Thank you so much for having me. I so appreciate it.
Michelle Brandriss: Absolutely. It's a pleasure to have you here. And I would love to start with just you and your background.
Jen Shultz: Yeah. So let's see. If we go all the way back to post- undergraduate, I worked in the music and entertainment industry for a number of years, and then I ended up... I'd never had any intention of going back to school after my undergraduate work, but I ended up going back to school to become a teacher. And so, I did my master's degree at New York University and I became a certified special and general education teacher, and I taught in New York City. And then I quit and I left teaching altogether, and I started my first business, which was called Teacher on the Go. So I kept teaching students, but I did it on my own, in my own way, on my own terms, in a way that was fulfilling for me. And then, after doing that for about two, maybe three years, I saw that my next step was to teach others, more specifically, women, I have worked with men, but I more so work with women, to teach women how they too could actually leave their regular nine- to- five jobs and create successful self- employment like I had, because I'm aware that there are women in our world who just aren't made for a nine- to- five job. They're meant to go out on their own. However, you know, Michelle, just as well as I do, how hard that is, how scary that can be, and how many hurdles can come in your way. It is no small feat to start your own business.
Michelle Brandriss: You are correct, it is not. So it takes a lot of flexibility, but at the same time, I think you've really hit on something here, because women, we have to multitask, and we have to go with the flow and be flexible. And just, if you wouldn't mind kind of talking about the name of your business, which I love, and really what inspired that business, and how you got going with The Non- Nine- to- Five.
Jen Shultz: Yeah. So my company is called The Non- Nine- to- Five, and I am the founder and leader of The Non- Nine- to- Five. And then I think you asked me what inspired me to really do that. So if we go back to 2010, I was opening up a school in amongst a group of charter schools. So when I say" opening up", I was one of the founding teachers of that school.
Michelle Brandriss: Okay.
Jen Shultz: And we were in the South Bronx of New York City. And there was a lot to do to open up a school. And I was still fairly new to teaching, relatively fairly new to teaching. And I worked with other teachers who were definitely a bit more seasoned than I was. And I found myself in a time of my life where I was experiencing really deep depression. I was anxiety- ridden. I had some really severe limiting beliefs. I told myself constantly that I was a loser. I believed it. I believed that I would never be good enough. I believed that I wasn't as good as the other teachers. And if you've ever been aware, we all have limiting beliefs. If you've ever been aware and they've been that loud, it's literally a constant hammering away at yourself to literally feeling like nothing, like you're worthless. And that's how I felt. And even though I was experiencing that, at the same time, I was receiving a little nudge, or there was a little voice, if you will, that was saying to me," You're meant to go out on your own. Part of the way that you're feeling is not because something is wrong with you, but you're actually just not meant to do it in this way." And I thought that that was absolutely absurd. I thought it was kind of crazy, to be honest with you. But what ended up happening was the desire to leave and go out on my own, and also completely... I wanted the depression gone. I wanted the anxiety gone. I was very self- aware that it was there, and I didn't want it, but that's where I was at. That desire became so much more profound than the fear of not having a full- time job. And I walked in on a Monday morning, it was December of 2010, and I sat down with the principal of the school, and I gave two weeks' notice. And when I walked out that door two weeks ago, my paycheck stopped, my health benefits stopped, and I was living in New York City. We know how expensive New York City is.
Michelle Brandriss: Wow. You were there, and you were feeling, and you were comparing yourself to others.
Jen Shultz: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: And how did you stop that process, I guess, or stop that pattern, and turn it around?
Jen Shultz: Yeah. So firstly, there isn't just like," Here's the answer." It was blank, and then everything was great and amazing.
Michelle Brandriss: Yeah.
Jen Shultz: So I just want to be honest, there's nothing like that. But when I left the school, the depression was absolutely still there because there was another level, or a next level, and the next level was," I'm not doing anything." And at that time, I was 31 years old, and I didn't have a job, and I had nothing, and I was going right into the holidays. And then I had these family holiday gatherings of," How's your job? What are you doing?" And that was even going even deeper of," Oh my gosh, I'm a loser. I have nothing to show for myself." And it took time. What happened for me was, as I was coming to the end, sort of like my own breaking point, if you will, when I decided to leave the school, I also was, I don't know what I want to say, maybe smart enough, I don't know if that's the right adjective to use, but I was smart or aware enough to know that," Well, I wanted to continue working, but I knew I wasn't meant to just go to another school." So I would look online, like Craigslist and whatever the websites were at that time, which are different now, to be like," What can I do to generate money, but in a way that could feel like less pressure for me?" And I found a tutoring agency. And so, I stepped into doing independent contracting work. And there's a reason why I'm sharing this to connect it with the depression and the anxiety. They gave me one student to work with. All of a sudden, everything started to shift. I was able to sort of start to create my own schedule. I wasn't going into a classroom full of 20- something, 30- something students. But by the way, let me plug in here. I love children, I loved my students. They were not the problem. It had nothing to do with them. But I was able to breathe, I was able to have some more time in the morning, I was able to have... My days looked different. I was able to focus on one student, and because I had this one student to focus on, I was able to see my own wins with that student. I could see the change in him or her. And they gave me a second student, the tutoring agency, then a third student. And my schedule started to change, my work started to change, and things started to lift. And within three months' time, because I clearly remember this, this was March, January, February, March, this was March of 2011, the depression had lifted. I was seeing these students progress forward, and I had started to walk myself into starting my own business, and that was called Teacher on the Go. And my life just started to look different. So as I started changing my beliefs in how work had to look like, I didn't go back to a full- time job, I started to be able to breathe easier. It didn't mean that my limiting beliefs completely went away. I'm a human being, we're human beings. I still have limiting beliefs, but now that it's 12 years later, I have tools to work on them. I'm consistent on working them. I'm committed to not letting them run the show, and teaching others how to do the same.
Michelle Brandriss: Love. Thank you for all of that, for the background. It was really interesting to hear the evolution. And then I can see how when you have that reward of working one- on- one with someone, how you could easily see," Okay, I can take this to the professional level." And I love this where you're now stepping into the role of coach. And I would love to hear about that too. How did it go from helping people with education into then the workforce?
Jen Shultz: Yeah, it's a great question, because I love sharing about this, so thank you. So I had Teacher on the Go, my business, for about, I don't know, maybe two years or so. And I put myself into a, gosh, I want to say it was like three or four- month workshop. I'm going to call it workshop for lack of a better way of calling it. And it was all about learning, as a woman specifically, how to turn your passion into profits. That was sort of the premise of this. And so, I started in this workshop, and we were doing a lot of really deeper inner work, a lot of personal work on ourselves. But what came right away was, in that very first weekend we met together, I was watching the facilitator lead us. And at that time in my life, I was also no stranger to personal growth work. So workshops, classes, courses. I've been someone, starting around in my earliest 20s, I've been really interested in," How can I always grow and evolve myself? How can I do that?" And so, I've always just dove into whatever I could do. And so, I'm watching the facilitator, and I'm watching her lead, and I'm watching her coach, and I'm watching her teach us, and something like the light bulb went off. And what I received was, I was meant to do that as my next evolution. I was also feeling, at that time, a bit like I was starting to step into a transitional place of academics and education with students was meant to go... I was meant to go to that next step, whatever that was meant to be. And so, what I got clear on was that I was meant to take those past two to three years of creating my own quote, unquote success being self- employed, and teach others how to do so, and support them along the way. And then that's how this started to be birthed, if you will.
Michelle Brandriss: Okay. That's very, very cool. And I'm sitting here wondering, when you started this and you're working with someone, how do you help them find their purpose or their why? And because that's something that took me. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I always knew I wanted to have my own business, but I had to find why, and the product, and then," What good could I... Could I do something good with it as well?"
Jen Shultz: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: "It's just a simple product, but I want to have something more fulfilling, like a giving aspect or something." So when you're... I guess that that's my next thing. How do you help your clients find their why?
Jen Shultz: Yeah. It's a great question because, actually, within the work that we do, I teach, I call them Seven Teachings to Non- Nine- to- Five Success, and number one is called Create Clarity on Your Non- Nine- to- Five Purpose. So within this step, this is what I would refer to as a bit of the deeper inner work. This is about the person I'm working with being able to own her skills, her talents, her strengths, her uniqueness. And I'm asking questions, I'm having her do some specific writing, I'm actually even having her go to networking events to just be with other people who have their own businesses. And we kind of just start down this process of exploration. And then what we do is, when we get to a place where the woman I'm working with can say," You know what? This feels pretty good to me, I think I can get behind this," then we start to lay down the steps of creating it or forming it into a business. So notice that I didn't say," This is the thing, this is the perfect thing," because it's going to evolve. And I look at myself, because I can use myself as an example. When I left teaching, I had no idea that this was going to be my business. I continued teaching, I just found out," How can I teach in a way that honors my skills, my strengths, my uniqueness, so I can have an impact on others?" And so, more or less, I'm taking women through this process. But again, there's no... Within this first step, there aren't exact steps. I take a very holistic approach, so I'm listening to what she's sharing with me, I'm listening to where she's at, I'm listening to what I sense she can take on and what she's ready for. Because, again, I can use myself, I wasn't ready to start this business when I left my job. It would've never have happened. But instead, I sort of tiptoed my way in, I let myself explore, and then that's when that label came off that this was the next iteration.
Michelle Brandriss: You do also write on your website it's consistency and...
Jen Shultz: Commitment.
Michelle Brandriss: Thank you. Yes.
Jen Shultz: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: So, but just every day. And that's something, as far as I, working with my team here, it's just, do your best every day and just know that you're not going to solve every problem every day, but you just do your best, you put in the work, and being consistent makes the difference. It just adds up over time. Baby steps every day, just a little bit more. You have something here as far as an ebook, like a business mission ebook, and I was curious about that.
Jen Shultz: I love that you were checking out the website and everything and all of that. Yeah. So it's a really mini PDF. It's only... It's a couple of pages long, little ebook that I wrote, and it's called The# 1 Step to Staying With Your Business Mission. And you can go onto the website and put in your first name and your email to receive that. So, well, do you... Are you wanting me to tell you what that number one step is?
Michelle Brandriss: No, I was just curious. I don't want you to spill the beans, but just to inspire people to take a look and possibly sign up for it.
Jen Shultz: Yeah. So I really appreciate that, because part of me is like," Well, I don't want to give it away, because then they're going to already know." So yeah, you can go onto my website, thenonninetofive. com, and then you just type in, you'll see it come up, your first name and your best email address, and then you'll get it in your inbox. And then I also send out once- a- week messages, whether it's just supportive thoughts I have or all these different vulnerable and transparent things that I've experienced along my journey, I also celebrate clients, I love sharing client celebrations, so when you're reading these, you can see," Wow, other women are actually doing this. Oh, it's actually possible for me."
Michelle Brandriss: So, and you had mentioned that a lot of your clients are women, and I love this. I love seeing other women get into business. As a woman business owner, I'm always looking for other women that I can do business with. It's the first thing, if I need a service, right away," Okay, is it a woman- owned business? Who do I call?" And that's literally what I'm looking for. And I love that women are supporting women, and we have more and more opportunities out there for ourselves and our daughters and friends.
Jen Shultz: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: So I love that you're doing this, so thank you. And as far as success stories, if you wouldn't mind, I would love to hear one or two. And do you stay in touch with some of the ladies that you've been coaching?
Jen Shultz: Yeah. What a great question. Thank you so much. So one woman comes to mind, Elisia, and we worked together for four years. And what I think is so fantastic, when you think of just four years, here's me being a teacher, because you need to see my fingers for four.
Michelle Brandriss: Yeah.
Jen Shultz: When you think of four years in the greater span of a lifetime, four years is like this little tiny drop in the bucket. It's not a lot of time. Within four years... When we started our work, she was in a full- time job. She was getting paid for her job, she was really not happy there, but she was very passionate about food and creating food, and even blogging she was really passionate about, and baking. So in a span of four years, she went from just having a job to quitting that job, going full- time in her baking business. She's at two farmers' markets here in Austin, she's local here. I work with women all over, but she happens to be in Austin. She's at two farmers' markets. She went from baking in her kitchen to renting a space at a commercial kitchen to now, she has her own commercial kitchen, to having a full team.
Michelle Brandriss: Wow.
Jen Shultz: And now she has products, so she has these really... I mean, she bakes these gigantic amazing cookies. She has frozen cookie dough balls in a really large grocery retail chain here in Texas called Central Market. So that's a really beautiful success story to share with you.
Michelle Brandriss: Absolutely. And that's wonderful that you still get to see her.
Jen Shultz: Yeah. We're connected on social media, we'll send each other messages. I haven't been to the farmers' market in a while, but I know she's there if I go.
Michelle Brandriss: So as far as speaking events, because you're busy, and you're out and about and around, how often do you book them, or are you, I guess, attending a few a year? And there's a lot of women's conferences, I'm sure, that they're asking you to speak at.
Jen Shultz: Yeah, thank you. I love speaking. It is... We go back to my uniqueness, my skills, my strengths. It's just something I love doing because I can connect with whoever I'm looking at, whether it's virtually or in person. And I do quite a bit of speaking. For me, I love to be able to speak once a week, depending on what the events are, but I speak for all sorts of women's networking organizations, women's groups and clubs, like the junior league is... There's junior leagues in all sorts of cities. Again, women's networking groups, conferences, anywhere where someone is open to hosting someone like me. Corporate America may not really want me to speak for them because I'm talking to their folks about leaving corporate America.
Michelle Brandriss: And starting on their own.
Jen Shultz: Yeah. So I'm probably not best matched there, but anyone who sees it as," Wow, I want to bring a woman speaker on who's here to empower other women, really letting them know just how possible it is to take your uniqueness, your unique skills, strengths, talents, gifts, and actually be creative with them in a way that works for you." So I'll plug in here also that, when I started this business, I was also working for a nonprofit organization which, their mission I was very passionate about, and I was also still doing some teaching. And I had so much fun. I was so creative, doing stuff like that while running this business. Now having been doing this work for... The business birthday will be... The birth, excuse me, the business turns nine years old in September. But what I want to add here is that, recently, I saw something randomly about being a host for trivia nights at local spaces in Austin, and I thought," How cool?" So I just showed up for an audition, and I was one of five people that they selected.
Michelle Brandriss: Nice.
Jen Shultz: And so, now I'm going to be hosting trivia nights, all because it allows me to be on a microphone to speak, and I can have fun with people, and it's very creative.
Michelle Brandriss: That's fun. And obviously you connect. You connect well with people. So it's great. Any way you can find that avenue or that channel, I love it. So I was curious, I think the best way for people to learn is also hearing through people's, I guess, biggest losses or the things like their biggest lessons.
Jen Shultz: Yeah.
Michelle Brandriss: And if you don't mind sharing, both good and bad, biggest lessons, like what really got you and really made you stop and think, and then also, what was your biggest win?
Jen Shultz: Mm- hmm. Mm- hmm. I would say that one of the biggest learning lessons of, and it actually hasn't been an easy one, is learning lessons of successful self- employment of pursuing your non- nine- to- five purpose, is actually not just intellectually knowing, but knowing in here that this is a journey, that this is a process, that this is not overnight. And I've had to teach myself to be willing to be on this journey and know that there are going to be ups and downs and ups and downs. And as a human being living in 2022, I would say, collectively, our patience in general has gotten... Our threshold for patience has lessened, because everything is fast now and in your face. So that's been a big learning for me. Honestly, a big win really goes back to what we were sharing at the beginning, is when I look at... So right before I started this business, I went through another dark depression, to be really frank with you, and I believed that I could not do this. And I have learned that I can do this, and that has been the biggest win, to just know at the core of my core, in my heart of hearts, that I can do this, and that there's a reason why I'm here, that I'm meant to do this.
Michelle Brandriss: I did want to ask, for people to find you, what is the best place for people to find you?
Jen Shultz: Yeah. So I'll give you two places. So one is my website, thenonninetofive. com. And again, that's where you can put your first name in and your email address to receive the mini PDF ebook, The#1 Step to Staying With Your Business Mission. And then I'm also on Instagram, @ thenonninetofive, it's all spelled out there in letters. And if you go on whether the website or Instagram, there's also a link there to connect with me. If you're a woman who really knows, like I said before, in your heart of hearts and at your core, you're meant for this path, you're meant to create successful self- employment, and you're meant to impact others with a business, and I'll say also, if you consider yourself a conscientious woman, a mindful woman, perhaps you tend to think like," I'm a bit of a deep thinker, I'm a bit of a deep feeler, I feel empathy for others," or maybe even," I'm a bit introverted," you are the type of woman that I serve and support. So on my website, or on my Instagram bio as well, there's a link that takes you to an application. And that is to apply to have a one- hour private clarity call with me. And that is my gift to you. And I offer this one hour up, so that way, you and I can come together, I can hear about what's not working for you, I can hear about what your vision is, what you really want, and then we can see if the work I do is a match for you. And my aim on this call is for you to feel seen and heard, and for us to make a deep connection and just see where we go from there.
Michelle Brandriss: Jen, thank you. Typically, what I like to end on in every episode is words to live by, or a mantra, or a saying that you want to share with the listeners.
Jen Shultz: Yeah. I've got it, actually. So six small words, live by faith, not by sight. Live by faith, not by sight. You will see a lot. You will see a lot on social media. You will see a lot in the media in general. You will see the highlights, but remember it's about having that faith in yourself, that belief in yourself that what you want, what you are meant for is exactly what is meant to come to you. So live by faith, not by sight.
Michelle Brandriss: Jen, thank you. And again, this is Jen Shultz, the founder and CEO of The Non- Nine- to- Five joining us today. And Jen, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it, and just inspiring, getting people out there thinking about starting their own business, because I know you can do it. Thank you to our listeners for joining us for today's episode, and thank you to my amazing producer, Emily Flanigan. She deals with all my shenanigans. Julia Augustino, thank you for the amazing composition that you have made for the podcast. And listeners, feel free to check us out on our social media channels, don't forget to give us a five- star review, and you can also visit us on fromthebasementup. com. Thank you so much.
Today on From the Basement Up, Michelle Brandriss is joined by Jen Shultz, a mentor and teacher, who is encouraging people to “Find Their Why” and step into an entrepreneur life and redefine the typical 9 to 5 workday. Jen will explain some key ingredients of starting out on your own and what it takes to find success. She is here to share how she helps others find their professional purpose and we are excited to welcome a dedicated businesswoman, educator, and coach onto the show…