…It is times like these that we will see humanity work together for the greater good. Crisis has a way of bringing communities and countries together. I think that is always a silver lining.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen Myers.
With 16 years of entrepreneurship and homeschooling experience, Jen Myers is on a mission to help entrepreneurs successfully homeschool their kids WHILE running a profitable business. Jen Myers was not a homeschooling mom with a side hustle, rather she was a successful entrepreneur with a profitable business who also homeschooled. She ran her business and her family with the mindset of a CEO and is now on a mission to help other CEO’s successfully homeschool their kids too.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Sixteen years ago, I had a plan for my life. I was about to graduate with my BS in psychology and I had just been accepted to attend graduate school that fall. The timing was perfect as my kids were about to enter 2nd grade, 1st grade and Kindergarten. They would all be in school all day while I attended graduate school.
Then our entire world changed. We went for parent-teacher conferences where two out of three of our children’s teachers were honest and told us that traditional schooling did not work for our kids. One of children was behind. The other was too far ahead. Both teachers suggested I look into homeschooling. I laughed at them and said no way. I had a plan and it did not include homeschooling. The next week, I found out I was four-weeks pregnant with our youngest. I accepted the detour life gave me and tried out homeschooling. That was 16 years ago. I never looked back. I began my journey into entrepreneurship and built two successful businesses while homeschooling four kids. However, I never fit in with other homeschooling moms. I preferred to be at networking events rather than homeschool co-ops. Then in 2019, I founded Homeschool CEO — the only online community exclusively for entrepreneurs who homeschool. Today, I help entrepreneurs homeschool their kids without sacrificing their business or their sanity, so that their entire family can experience the freedom and flexibility that only the combination of entrepreneurship and homeschooling can provide.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
When I first started Homeschool CEO, I thought it would be for homeschool moms who wanted to start or scale their businesses. However, it just did not seem right. As I met more homeschool moms with “businesses,” I realized I was very different from them. Their idea of a business was to help put groceries on the table. My idea of a business was to buy the grocery store. I almost closed the doors on Homeschool CEO until I flew to San Diego for an entrepreneurship conference in October 2019. At the very last day of the conference, I met a woman who was in tears. Right before the conference, her little boy had come home from school and said “I’m never going back to school. You’ll have to figure out how to homeschool me!” The little boy had been bullied and was done with traditional school. The woman did not have a clue how to homeschool alongside her business, and wondered if I could help her. That is when I told her about Homeschool CEO but explained it was not really working. Then she had a light bulb moment and said “That’s because it’s not for homeschoolers who want to run their own business; it’s for entrepreneurs who want to homeschool!” It was a total paradigm shift and it took me flying from small-farm-town Iowa to the big city of San Diego in order for Homeschool CEO to be what it was meant to be. Now, during the pandemic, I have been able to walk beside hundreds of entrepreneurs as they embrace their own detour (much like I did back in 2004).
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We just released a 6-week coaching program to guide entrepreneurs as they get started homeschooling. It is empowering our entrepreneurs to know that THEY CAN HOMESCHOOL and they can do it well if they take their CEO strategies that they use in business and apply them to homeschooling. It is teaching them to streamline and leverage their time and energy so that can accomplish more in business and homeschooling.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The entire Homeschool CEO brand has been supported by so many incredible women along the way, but if I had to give credit to a particular person, it would have to be the husband and wife team and founder of Screw the 9–5, Josh and Jill Stanton. They took me under their wing when Homeschool CEO had not made a single dime yet and under their guidance, I was able to hit six figures the first year and help hundreds of women. They saw my vision and helped me to find clarity, confidence, and growth strategy when I was scared to even make the next move.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
For me, I am needed by so many entrepreneurs all over the world who are embracing homeschooling for the upcoming school year. As a result, I have struggled between knowing when to serve my tribe and when to focus on family. When your youngest child is nearly 16, it is easy to let them fend for themselves. However, I have to constantly remind myself of my priorities. Family first, work second. When you are in a business of serving others and you making an incredible impact on families, it is hard to put that in second place sometimes.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I have put strict work boundaries in place and have learned to delegate more to my team. I have had to remind myself to stay in my zone of genius and hire everything else out, so that I have the energy and time to devote to those who matter most.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
Trying to balance all the entrepreneurs who need my help and finding a way to serve them with excellence while still maintaining boundaries.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I have refined my leadership skills and focused on delegating to my team. I have had to think outside of the box and create group coaching programs and courses to allow me to leverage my time and energy.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
I have worked from home (even our brick and mortar power sports business was on the backside of our country property) and balanced homeschooling for 16 years, and I have learned a lot. One thing that I have learned is to batch my time so that I am laser focused and efficient. I have also learned that I have to practice self-care every single day. I cannot give from an empty cup. I have to put my oxygen mask on first.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
I have learned to make my house warm and inviting. I have learned warm lighting and the smell of candles are calming and can have a huge effect on my family’s mood. We also make it a point to get outside and get fresh air every single day.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
There are so many reasons to be hopeful.
One, we have been given a gift to spend more time with our kids, our spouses, ourselves. It is during that time of stillness, that we are able to connect with each other and to ourselves.
Two, as parents, we get to rediscover what makes our kids smile. As a society, we are so busy running from ball game to dance recitals, that we often times miss out on connecting with our kids.
Three, from a business perspective, more million- and billion-dollar businesses are built during recessions than any other economic times. As an entrepreneur, I am always on the lookout for the next idea and right now, there are millions.
Four, it is times like these that we will see humanity work together for the greater good. Crisis has a way of bringing communities and countries together. I think that is always a silver lining.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
I think when people are feeling anxious, they want to know that they are seen, heard and their feelings are valid. I would suggest being a listening ear, offer help when possible (e.g., we get our elderly aunt’s groceries for her so she does not have to venture out), remind them that we live in a great country and we will come back stronger.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Over the course of growing as a leader, I have often looked back and thought if I had known this five years ago, I would be so much further ahead. However, as I have grown as a woman in leadership, I have accepted this truth. The right challenge or teacher will appear at the exact time when I am ready to receive, learn and grow from the experience. The right lesson I need to learn, the right challenge or the right teacher will show up in the right moment. When we need to lead, it will show up to support us and teach us what we need to know.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!