Shark Tank is not a strategy. When you tell people, you are starting a business, so many of them will say “you should go on Shark Tank!” And while they might be right, (and it sounds simple enough) it is NOT a strategy for fundraising. Thank them and let them know that while that is something you will look into; you are also seeking investments in more traditional means. As someone who obviously believes in your business (enough to encourage you to go on Shark Tank) and ask them if they would be willing to invest or if they know someone who might.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth (Mueller) Vazquez. Beth is a wife, “boymom” of 3 (ages 17, 4, and almost 2), and Christian entrepreneur learning to balance it all imperfectly with the grace of God. Founder of Recess & Results, Beth is passionate about faith, family, and fitness (in that order) and works to “save the world, one recess at a time” offering a worshiping workplace for others who also feel called to impact the lives of children and families through entertaining exercise.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
As #5 of 6 kids (4 sisters and 1 brother), I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. My dad was an entrepreneur as a farmer and seed salesman and did an incredible job of leading by example when it came to work ethic. He taught us from a young age that nothing in life is free, and you must work hard for the things you desire in life. If you do that, you are successful. Chores and church came before everything else and I am so thankful for that foundation.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
Like so many women today, I had a baby and realized I didn’t want someone else to raise it. I wanted to be there for the “mom-ents”… I wanted to be the one to comfort and to correct. But I also loved to work and had always been career driven. At the time I had my first son I was a corporate executive at a NYC based MLM company. One day, mom-guilt raging, I realized “I have the solution! Recess & Results is the answer not only for me, but for so many moms like me!”
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
First, being faithful in prayer. Believing without a doubt that what you are embarking on is your divine purpose, and that you are called for a greater reason is what will keep you going in the hard times (because it will be hard). That kind of belief can only come from prayer. And then praying for wisdom as you press toward that purpose.
Second,seeking mentorship. Surrounding yourself with others who know more than you, and who complement your weakness is crucial. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.A great mentor repeatedly quoted “Hope is not a strategy”, and it challenged me to always understand the STRATEGY behind growing a business. So I set out to create a strategy for growing the business by talking to others with similar models who were success, researching business plans, creating a proforma, and writing down all the things I did to grow my own side-hustle teaching Recess & Results programs so that I could teach others to follow that proven formula.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
Pray about it. Don’t listen to what everyone around you will tell you; most of the time it won’t be what you want to hear. Pray about it and listen to the prompting that comes from prayer. Also, timing is everything. The “perfect” time will never come, but the RIGHT time will.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
They also say that “if you are doing what you love, you will never work a day in your life”. This is true for me. It is all about perspective. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. That said, if you are called to be an entrepreneur, there is no “job” that will make you happy. Reflecting on how far the business has come, the lives we have impacted, and the enormous opportunity still ahead is what keeps me excited. And I mean real, intentional, reflection in the form of scheduled time each day, praising God for the work He is doing through us and praying for Him to surprise us as we forge ahead.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
The thing I enjoy most is that I truly believe I was born for this. It feels good to go to “work” each day knowing you are living your God-given dreams and a purpose-driven life. Downsides can be stressful, but as I list them I realize they are also what motivate me, and push me to grow growth. Those downsides include the stress of finding funding, and wearing ALL the hats before having the ability to hire a team. To overcome these things, I spent time educating myself in areas I wasn’t an expert in and enlisted the help of friends, supporters, and other successful business people who liked what I was doing and were willing to share insight with me. I also learned to prioritize my to-do list, doing the most important things first and being OK with the fact that certain things have to wait until tomorrow.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
There is this picture of entrepreneurship painted in America that portrays a life of FREEDOM. Financial freedom… time freedom… freedom to do whatever you want, how you want. While I fully believe in the American Dream, I realize that no one talks about how HARD it is to get there, and that your dream fulfilled may not actually look like that at all. I pictured raising seed money quickly, managing a small team alongside me, and sending much of my time motivating a circle of people passionate about faith + family + fitness to build their own Recess business (or side hustle) in their communities. I did not picture myself learning to edit my own website, create and market lead magnets, develop email drip campaigns, create social media content, AND develop curriculum. However, I am beyond blessed to have learned all of these skills to better build the team around me that meets the needs of our business.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
Oh my goodness so often. When I left my “real” job, I was making well over 6 figures. But I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fulfilling my calling and I knew it. Still, there are so many times I see the sacrifices my family is making and I think “this wouldn’t have to happen if it wasn’t for me chasing this dream.” In those moments, I default back to prayer. And that prayer brings a peace that I am on the right path and a promise that the blessings will flow. Everyone needs to prepare for those moments because they will come. I firmly believe that the one thing that separates those who “make it” from those that do not, is pure perseverance. Will you have the ability and stamina to press on? “Patient endurance is what you need now” Hebrews 10:36
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
As a “mompreneur” I went all in right before summer, when my son would be out of school. BAD IDEA! I do not recommend it. It just reinforced the fact that timing is important. Again, timing will never be perfect, but you will know when it is right.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
Jesus. He is the perfect example of servant leadership. He led with love in the face of ridicule, disbelief, and persecution. He pressed on toward His purpose regardless of circumstance, walking in faith. He kept a small group around Him, but always kept God first.
Chantel Waterbury, founder of C+I, also inspires me. I had the pleasure of working under her for 5 years at c+i and will forever hold that experience close to my heart. Chantel demonstrated what it means to empower your team. She allowed us to make mistakes, learn from them, and try again. She never pretended it was easy, but she faithfully believed it would be worth it. Chantel displayed the importance of an unwavering vision; the desire that people have to be a part of something bigger than themselves. She personally taught me a lot about business strategy and management, and even more than that, she gave me a platform to gain invaluable experience in it. Her tenacity and determination in fundraising and driving the business forward is something I aspire to emulate.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
In a world where obesity, anxiety, depression, suicide, and senseless acts of violence plague our kids, we are offering hope. We are reviving kids through a language they all speak and love — PLAY.
In a society where moms desperately desire to stay at home with their kids, teachers need to make more money, and fitness professionals instinctively understand the association between mind, body, and spirit and are looking for a program to put that into practice — Recess & Results offers a meaningful income opportunity. We are providing a worshiping workplace where individuals with passions for Faith + Family + Fitness can earn a purpose-filled paycheck leading the Recess programs that will help uplift kids in their communities. We are offering the ability to lead a purpose-driven life, and get paid for it.
At Recess & Results we are committed to building “happier + healthier tomorrows” for kids and families, as we work to “save the world, one recess at a time”. We are building healthy habits that lead to happy, healthy kids. We are building confidence, character, and friendships in kids. We are building up the next generation of leaders, and of disciples, strong enough (physically, mentally, spiritually) to fulfill their calling and live their best life.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- If you are a “mompreneur” do not start a new business before summer break. Your mom-guilt vs. career pull will be in full force and getting started is the hardest part.
- It will take longer than you think it will. No matter how realistic the expectations you set, it will generally take longer to achieve your goals than you think it will. Plan for that.
- Know your worth. Understand your value proposition so that you can stand firm in the unique benefits you bring to the marketplace. Do not be quick to discount just to gain traction. This will dilute your perceived value overall.
- Shark Tank is not a strategy. When you tell people, you are starting a business, so many of them will say “you should go on Shark Tank!” And while they might be right, (and it sounds simple enough) it is NOT a strategy for fundraising. Thank them and let them know that while that is something you will look into; you are also seeking investments in more traditional means. As someone who obviously believes in your business (enough to encourage you to go on Shark Tank) and ask them if they would be willing to invest or if they know someone who might.
- The first hire should be an accountant (unless you are one). Understanding your books and keeping clean records is incredibly important to business. Don’t “wing” it.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I think I am doing it! The movement toward play-based fitness and giving people the opportunity to “get paid to play” is timeless and necessary.Using play-based fitness as a vehicle to speak life into kids and families is a movement that has my heart and I invite anyone inspired to join us!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Proverbs 3:5–6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”. This was my confirmation verse and stirs my soul each time I read it. It has gotten me through many seasons in my life and reminds me to surrender. There was a time I struggled with debilitating anxiety and the only thing that got me through it was prayer and reciting verses like this one. It is a reminder that we are not in control, nor do we need to be. God’s plan is greater, and it is good. Surrendering control to Him brings with it a peace that passes all understanding — a peace that can not be explained but must be experienced.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Candace Cameron Bure. She embodies the same passions for Faith + Family + Fitness and is a brilliant business mind whom God continues to put her on my heart. I desire strong Christ-centered business mentorship. I previously met her at a conference called “The Gathering” and feel as though I missed an opportunity to truly connect and learn from her.
Tim Tebow is another. He too relentlessly pursues his calling, and has an obvious love for children, fitness, and God. I would love to understand how we may be able to help each other reach more kids + families around the world in the Name of Jesus.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.