Transitioning from an employee to an entrepreneur, how to do it?
Interview with Joy Bretz-Sherrill
Introduction by David Wagstaff
As part of our series of articles providing stories and insights to entrepreneurs, I met Joy through her application to the Entrepreneur’s Network (EntrepreneursNet.net). Her profile as an entrepreneur caught my attention as she is an experienced founder and has run her current business for more than 3 years. Oftentimes, people try to start a business and quickly give up because of unexpected difficulties. It’s inspiring to see founders push through and overcome the hurdles to make their business succeed. I also found it interesting that Joy is in a business where there are a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs; it’s no wonder she joined eNet.
I love Joy’s story of why she became an entrepreneur and am sure a lot of readers will relate and be inspired to start their own business.
I also relate to her answer about the change of mindset to be an entrepreneur, and I wholeheartedly agree with it. I remember when I started my first business: I was used to getting a big paycheck every two weeks from my secure corporate job. When I started my own management consulting business, I went over 3 months without a paycheck. But, when I earned a check for about 1/3 of my previous monthly take-home pay, I was so excited I called my family and friends to share the news. I thought that this proved the business model I created worked and could become successful. A good size company was willing to pay for the services I had created for them, and I had provided the services 100% on my own, without a corporation backing me up. It was an absolutely exhilarating first-time experience for me, and that’s what propelled me forward to other business ventures.
After speaking with Joy, I appreciate that she is honest about how, even with 3+ years under her belt as an entrepreneur, she’s not 100% done with the challenges that come with having your own business. It’s a common experience that most, if not all, entrepreneurs go through. Being a business owner forces you to face your strengths and weaknesses; even in the corporate world, interviews often have the question, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Donning the “Entrepreneur” badge is a continuous journey, both challenging and gratifying.
Founder and Entrepreneur
My name is Joy and I’m on a mission to help stressed out professional take back their health and their lives with fitness, nutrition, education and financial literacy. It wasn’t until I left my corporate career behind that I realized my J.O.Y. meant everything to me and living without it kept me unfulfilled in life, bound to something that I didn’t love. Having the freedom, time, money and peace of mind is why I chose to Leave with Ease.
1) What led you to become an entrepreneur?
It’s an interesting story, in that, I never intended to become an entrepreneur. It just happened based on a series of life experiences/moments that really made me look at my life. I remember being at work, looking out the window and sitting at my desk and watching the cars drive by on the freeway; the planes landing and taking off from the airport; and the people walking in the park, paddle boarding on the water and really enjoying life. And what was I doing sitting at this desk, unfulfilled and asking the question, “Is this all that there is in this life? I realized at that moment I needed to change my path. I was tired of just existing and not living. Being stressed out, living in time, bankruptcy, being passive about finances, and neglecting my health was no longer acceptable. I went searching for answers that day and beyond, and what I found would forever change my life.
2) A brief description of your business and what are your aspirations for it?
AnJOYBnFIT is a health and wellness business dedicated to helping stressed out professionals reclaim their lives through health, money, and mindset. The aspirations I have for my business is to teach stressed professionals that there is life outside of what they do (where they work). Being able to “Find Your J.O.Y.,” live life on their terms, lead a healthy lifestyle, and master their financial landscape. It’s in the J.O.Y. that you find freedom.
3) What have you done with your business that you are proud of or that has worked really well?
I’ve given stressed out professionals hope for opportunities that they may not have realized had they not transformed their mindset towards themselves, their lives, and the environments they put themselves in or the people in which they chose to have in their lives. Being able to help a client identify that “Aha” moment of change is everything, and the progress they make after that moment is incredible to witness. It’s why I do what I do.
4) What were some of your biggest challenges along the way?
My biggest challenge along the way was recognizing that I had to completely change my thought process if I was going to make a go at this “Entrepreneur” life. When you come from a system of always working for someone else most of your life to working for yourself, you must think of life differently if you are going to survive. Shifting my mindset and life from an employee mindset to an entrepreneur mindset was a difficult transition. That paycheck is no longer there every week (or every two weeks or whatever the case may be).
Another challenge was being strategic in my business and recognizing that some of the things I was doing in my business were not allowing me to work on my business, which was so important in order to bring in money to support my business. It’s a misconception for anyone to think clients are lining up outside your door waiting for you to say, “OK, I’m open for business, now buy my products.” No, that is far from reality.
5) Have you overcome the challenges? If so how?
I wouldn’t say I have overcome them 100% yet; however, I have learned it’s about me taking control of my life and believing in me and my vision. Recognizing the value I bring to the table is like no one else. Understanding the connection of self and knowing that the foundation I created for myself will attract the right or positive experiences that I want in my life. It’s how I arrived at the understanding to “Find Your J.O.Y.” It’s a journey of self that will make you confront life experiences that will challenge you, test you, bring you joy, help you develop, live a life of integrity, and stand in your truth and not care about what others think or say about you. In the almost 3 years that I have been in this entrepreneurial space, I know the four pillars that frame Finding Your J.O.Y. are mind, body, spirit (self), and financial awareness. To live life on my own terms requires self-awareness and understanding how these four pillars affect my relationships, environments, and emotional intelligence.
6) What have you learned and what would you like to share with other entrepreneurs?
I have learned that it’s hard work to start with zero and build it into something you can be proud of, something that you can share with the world and is from the heart and your lived experiences. I never realized how much I had stuffed my creativity deep in my being until I left what was holding me down. We are creative beings, and it’s only until we are forced into a place of conformity as children that we lose that, and sometimes, it gets buried so deep inside that we forget who we are. It’s unfortunate, but when you claw your way back to that love of life, that love for breath, it’s only then your creativity shines. Never allow your creativity to be harnessed in such a way that does not give you life.
7) Is there anyone you would like to meet or connect with?For example, investors in the electrical industry, mentors in the publishing industry. A knowledgeable SEO person. Specific is helpful.
I would most like to meet Abraham Hicks. The clarity and simplicity of her words have helped me during times of feeling defeated and being unsure of my next move in life. She helps break things down so I can take in what’s necessary to help reframe my story about what I feel is happening to me when in actuality whatever the circumstance, “It is always working out for me”. This is a common phrase that she tells her listeners to say to themselves to help lower the negativity or indecision that is happening around them or in a particular situation. I listen to her vlogs on YouTube daily and can always find the peace, the direction, and the definitive answer that I need to move forward in whatever task, life experience or business decision. It’s nice to have a resource for clarity that can help you take a step back and self-reflect and envision so much more when your mind is clear.