Jessica Rhodes is the founder of Entrepreneur Support Services, Inc. – the parent company to InterviewConnections.com. Interview Connections helps podcasters to find incredibly interesting, engaging podcast guests that match the focus of their show. Jessica has built a business around connecting others, and she has an incredible knack for it!
Interviewing Jessica was like catching up with an old friend. Maybe it’s our similar ages or the fact that despite having a successful business, she’s so laid-back and approachable.
Grab some coffee, kick your feet up, and follow Jessica’s journey from her colossal jump off of a cliff to a successful business as a young mom. We have a feeling you’ll be thinking of Jessica as an old friend too….(an old friend who has TONS of great advice on growing and running a business!)
What You’ll Learn on the Podcast:
01:49 – Jessica’s Huge Jump (and how she built the parachute on the way down!)
03:07 – How Connecting Others Became a Business
05:26 – Life as a Work-at-Home Mom
07:09 – How Jessica Prevents Her Business From Taking Over Her Life
10:05 – Firing Clients (and other challenges in her business)
12:34 – Where She Finds the Best Virtual Assistants (and where NOT to look!)
14:55 – Writing the Perfect Job Description for Freelance Work
16:57 – The Power of Relationships for Business Growth
19:24 – Jessica’s Killer Conference Strategy
22:26 – How She Chooses the Right Conferences
27:21 – Jessica’s Key to Project Management
29:05 – Why She Pays Herself Very Little Despite a 6-figure Business
33:47 – Jessica’s Plans for Growth
38:05 – The Best Business Advice Her Mastermind Group Gave Her
42:53 – Why Moms Get Made Fun of the Most!
Jessica’s Huge Jump
When Jessica found out she was expecting, she knew she wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom. She told her boss that she would be leaving her position in 6 months when the baby came along. She had no “Plan B”, and her husband’s job wasn’t enough to support the family.
I think a lot of entrepreneurs are like that. We just jump off a cliff and build the parachute on the way down.
(We love Jessica’s bold move! She knew the life she wanted, and she went for it!)
How Connecting Others Became a Business
Jessica first starting working as a VA (virtual assistant) for her dad, Jim Palmer. One of the first things he asked her to do was to book him for interviews on podcasts. She and her father quickly realized how time-consuming this process can be, and she realized that there were probably other busy entrepreneurs out there who needed help booking interviews for their podcasts or being featured as guests on other shows.
Life as a Work-at-Home Mom
Jessica admits that life with a busy toddler looks much different than it did when Nathan was an infant. He used to sleep much more, and she would work on her laptop with him sleeping next to her.
Now that Nathan is a busy little guy (who sleeps much less!) Jessica needs more time to grow her business. She uses a stay-at-home Mom as her in-home nanny, which allows her to work from 9-3 on most days.
How Jessica Prevents Her Business From Taking Over Her Life
Jessica recently made the resolution to not look at email or facebook until she’s in her home office. This means that Nathan gets her undivided attention in the mornings and the late afternoons/evenings. (She admits that this change happened recently, so we should check in on her to see how it’s going!)
Firing Clients (and other challenges)
Jessica has had clients who made decisions that she didn’t agree with, and so she had to let them go. She admits that it was really discouraging to hand over a refunded payment, but ultimately, she has to do what’s right for her business. (Way to stick to your guns, Jessica!)
Other challenges that Jessica has faced included hiring the wrong people to outsource her work.
“It’s better to pay more to someone who does better work than to just spend a couple of bucks and annoy your clients.”
Where She Finds the Best Virtual Assistants
Jessica uses Elance to find her graphic designers.
She found one of her VA’s in a facebook group for VA’s. She now has a new VA to help her book interviews for her clients, and this VA happens to be a podcaster herself. (a win-win!)
Insider Advice: Jessica does not recommend using Fiverr to outsource your work. Individuals on Fiverr will publicly display their work to others, so your clients might be a little annoyed if they see their designs on the site!
Writing the Perfect Job Description for Freelance Work
• Be as specific as possible (spell out every task and detail of the job).
• Keep language barriers in mind and make each word and task as clear and simple as possible.
• Spell out due dates and the exact amount of time you expect each project to take
• Overall, be clear, give expectations, and don’t assume.
Jessica recommends The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss for Advice on Outsourcing (this is an affiliate link)
The Power of Relationships
Jessica has leveraged live conferences, mastermind groups, and business coaching to grow her business.
At conferences, she has the chance to solidify past relationships made online, meet new people and clients, and get new referrals for her business.
Through masterminds and coaching, Jessica gets really high-level advice from successful business people. She highly recommends investing in yourself and your business in these ways.
Jessica’s Killer Conference Strategy
This one is too good to spell out in writing! Skip to 19:24 to hear her story.
Choosing the Right Conferences
Jessica learns tons of marketing advice by attending the Glazer-Kennedy-Insider Conferences.
New Media Expo and Podcast Movement are two of her other favorites. Essentially, Jessica says, her clients are podcasters, so wherever they get together, she’s going to make sure she’s there too.
In addition, her dad, Jim Palmer, hosts the Dream Business Academy which she always attends.
Jessica’s Key to Project Management
Jessica uses this cloud-based project management software to keep track of all the projects she and her VA’s are working on.
She can set a task, give a due date, upload files, and avoid emails and spreadsheets.
Each of her clients at Interview Connections have access to their own projects so they can log in and check the status of things. (What a great idea!)
Why She Pays Herself Very Little Despite a Six-figure Business
A few months ago Jessica incorporated her business and started paying herself a salary from her business account.
She confesses that despite having a six-figure business, what she chooses to pay herself is very, very little so that she can keep re-investing in the business.
(There is an advantage to owning her own business; if the budget gets a little tight, Jessica can give herself a raise for the month!)
Jessica’s Plans for Growth
Jessica plans to take many of the day-to-day working in the business tasks off of her plate so that she can do everything she can to market her business.
She plans to put out another e-book and start doing tele-seminars. (Her first e-book is Podcast Interviews, and you can grab it in the Kindle store! yep, we're endorsing it with an affiliate link!)
As Jessica puts it, a business is something that you can leave, and things are still getting done.
I didn’t want to create a job for myself. I wanted to create a business.
The Best Business Advice
Jessica’s mastermind group has offered her great business advice as she grows.
The very best advice?
Focus on marketing and growing the business you already have instead of coming up with new ideas and services to offer.
(There may be a member of our team here at Brilliant Business Moms who REALLY needs to take this advice! Who me?! Naaaah.)
Why Moms Get Made Fun of the Most!
Jessica’s funny mommy moment had us all laughing. It’s totally true that as soon as you become a mom, your cool factor just disappears. (Who cares, right?! We’ve got bigger concerns.)
Where to Find Jessica: