If you're always second-guessing yourself as you grow your side hustle, today's episode is for you.
Jenna Irvin is a young entrepreneur who leads with intuition, uses fear as fuel to grow, and believes that failure is our greatest teacher.
Jenna opened her first business at the age of 21, in a town she had only been to once, and doubled her investment in just ten months funding the purchase of her current business in Hilton Head Island.
My conversation with Jenna was so enlightening for me because at age 23 she taps into her intuition and trusts her gut in a way that I’m still trying to figure out at 40.
Her sense of self, her love for herself and her money mindset are super-inspiring!
Jenna and I talk about:
- Her journey to owning her own Pure Barre studio at 23.
- How Jenna was able to build up the business to the point where it was worth double her investment.
- Why she also became a coach and writer.
- The importance of cultivating deep connections.
- Why what you think about yourself matters in business.
- Her best advice for someone who wants to launch a business and is brand new to the business world.
- Why waiting for the perfect moment is hurting you.
- Jenna’s experience with hiring her first employees and what she learned.
- Jenna’s tips for how to listen to your gut and get in tune with your intuition.
- Jenna’s advice if you are wanting to start a business but are afraid of the first steps.
- The one belief Jenna had to change about herself to get where she is today.
My favorite quotes from Jenna:
- “I realized that so much of the struggle that we feel is universal. Like the insecurity, all of that is felt by so many.”
- “I don't need to be any different to be worthy of the kind of love that I want to be worthy of, the kind of life that I want.”
- “We get so wrapped up in what the world is saying that it takes us out of tune with our hearts and when we're out of tune with that, we're not able to live a life that's in alignment.”
- “Trust yourself more than you think that you should because you have more in your heart than you know.”
- “My dad always told us to never look back and say, I wish I would have.”
- “We don't always know what, what the end's going to look like. In fact, I don't think we ever do, but it's gonna lead you somewhere. It's gonna teach you something, it's not going to be for nothing. And I think that that's what you can rest into because there's never going to be certainty in anything else. So you kind of have to find your comfort in that.”
- “I approach failure in a different way because it's just my greatest teacher. It's my opportunity to grow. And it's like, okay, well this didn't work, so here's the space to do it again and do it differently.”
Shannon Mattern: Jenna, thank you so much for being here on pep talks for side hustlers. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?
Jenna Irvin: Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me and it's great to be here. I am a care of our owner, which for those that aren't familiar with, that is a ballet based strength workout where our franchise and then we double as a high end that retail those seek. Um, I currently own bill location in Hilton head Island, South Carolina. That's my second studio, um, that I've owned. And I also am a coach and a writer. And so yeah, that's kind of a little bit about me and what I do.
Shannon Mattern: So tell me your origin story. How did you, um, how did, how did you get to where you are today?
Jenna Irvin: Yeah. Um, I have a kind of a wild story. I got some only, um, I'm only 23, so,
Shannon Mattern: which is crazy to me.
Jenna Irvin: Um, so I'm still very young, but I did college in three years. I went to high point university in North Carolina and I've always just been very eager to start my life. Like I was very ready for post-college life and into my career and all of that. And I went into college thinking I was going to be a doctor. So I had, this was not like the path that I knew from the very beginning, but that quickly shifted after a freshman year anatomy class. I was like, I don't, I don't think this is what I was expecting it to be. So aye decided that I wanted to do, to be a part of our owner during the first semester of my senior year of college. I had found the technique while I was in school and I was friends with the owner and just really started to learn the business side of things as well and the workout changed my life from a mental perspective and a physical perspective.
Jenna Irvin: It was just the first place where I didn't feel like I was insecure or unsure of myself. It was like my strength just spoke the loudest and not space and so it was something I was very eager to share with the world. And so I applied to be an owner during my senior year of college, which was a little crazy. Um, and I got approved, I was still in school and the real estate process takes a really long time. So I was starting that process. I originally thought I was going to open in Pennsylvania because that's where I'm from, but the state college area where Penn state is, it's a very hard place to secure real estate. And I quickly realized that it was looking like it was going to be a two to three year wait because [inaudible] with it being a franchise has certain standards we have to follow as far as real estate goes.
Jenna Irvin: So I made kind of a blind decision to shift markets. So Frederick, Maryland, my parents lived there for a little bit when they were newly married and so it felt a little bit familiar. It was a list of markets that peer bar had available and that was really the only one that had, um, I had any interest in. It was also close to home. So that was a blind choice. And I graduated college knowing that was going to be my market and I moved to Hilton head Island to teach for a little while while I was waiting for my studio to be built and ready to be open because I wanted to gain experience. So I fell in love with Hilton. Head Valley was here and it made my move to Maryland. Very challenging from a personal, from a personal level, I was very sure that it was the right career path for me.
Jenna Irvin: But the shifts in that space, because after college are in this, like who am I space? And so to be in Hilton head and feel fully accepted and kind of comfortable in that space, and then shift into a place where I know knew no one, it was a really big challenge for me. So I dove head first into my Maryland business. I was there from sunup to sundown and I gave all of myself and I found out that the Hilton head Island studios for sale about six months into ownership of find their own location. And I wasn't paying attention to the books. I was honestly just showing up in the four walls of my space because that's what my business was demanding of me. And that seems in, and I had a bookkeeper that was keeping track of everything and paying the bills and I knew everything was going be paid, but I really had no idea what I was making.
Jenna Irvin: And so I had a very honest conversation with her after finding out Hilton head was for sale. And she's like, Jenny, you can sell your best ass for probably double what? Even bested and I just started to cry. It was like a full body. Yes, because I was struggling so much on a personal level in Maryland, but I also had built this studio from the ground up. So it was a really tough spot to be in because I felt like it was a selfish decision to move somewhere to uproot what I had created also that I could be happy and fulfill them in that area of my life too. It was like, I think we all struggle so deeply with whether or not we're worthy of everything, our heart desires and you know, had it been my best friend in that process, I would have been like, this is, you deserve it all, you know? But it's so much harder to tell yourself that. And so it was something I went back and forth on for honestly until the day I closed on the sale. But long story short, I closed on the Maryland sale December 21st of 2018 and I purchased a home and had Island on January 3rd of this year. So it was a whirl. It's literally been a whirlwind of two years. But um, I've learned and abundance about myself and in that process. So.
Shannon Mattern: Okay. I have so many questions because one, I'm a little bit ignorant as far as like franchising and like what that entails. So is it, is it that you are, you know, doing all the marketing and hiring and all the things, like what's, what's like, what is like pure Barr's responsibility versus your responsibility in that, um,
Jenna Irvin: in that scenario? Yeah, so I can't speak for how it works for all franchises, but of our worst small business owners, I mean, we have, we have the name and we're given that the choreography for the technique, which is vital. I mean, that's our bread and butter. That's what keeps our doors open and sets us apart from the competition. But as far as the marketing, the hiring, like we function under our LLCs. So, um, we really are a small business owners. We just have a lot of support in the structure of the business, but it's up to us to create that. And they do give you some marketing material. I really lead from my heart, which is I feel like why I made that decision to do this, that sets me on such a young age. And so my style of marketing is more a story telling perspective. I want to invite you in and show you our community and show you what we're about and hopes that it's going to connect with me. You are, um, [inaudible] in this space in this season. And so the marketing, I tend to be creative and do on my own, but I do have that as an asset on the months or the weeks that maybe are a little topic and lean into the materials that they provide.
Shannon Mattern: So you were able through, you know, through your passion, leading with your heart and all of your marketing to build up the, the Maryland pure bar to a point where it was worth double what you invested. That's like awesome. Thank you. So tell me a little, so say you sell Maryland, you moved to Hilton head at the beginning of this year or at the beginning of 2019 I should say, depending on when you're listening to this, to this podcast. Um, you also mentioned that you're a coach and a writer. So can you tell me how kind of all those, all those pieces like fit together?
Jenna Irvin: Yes, I believe that when we're vulnerable that's when we connect and I'm the type of person that craves connection and all friends with my life. I just wrote, my most recent posts was about dating and you know, it was about the fact that I can't sit and like have a conversation about the weather. Like I want to know, I want to know your heart. Like I want to know who you are. And I'm the same way as the business owner. Like when you walk through my doors, I want to know who you are as a person way before I knew who you are, it's a client because I want to make sure that I'm serving you in the way that you need me to. And I have to know you beyond the surface level to do that. Um, and so I think that coaching and writing became a natural extension for me in this season because I was navigating so much and I felt very alone and I was going for a lot on a personal level because when you're giving all of yourself to your business and you just graduated college, my friendships were in a shifting period as well.
Jenna Irvin: And so I feel like writing kind of became that outlet to share it, to connect and to also speak so honestly about this part of my story because I think sometimes, you know, I'll read post and I've done it too, like I'll write about times in high school and not that the past does it still hold purpose, but writing about it when you're going through it and like the raw vulnerability of that time I feel like can be so special for other people to connect into. And so that's kind of been my mission in this season.
Shannon Mattern: Aye. Absolutely. Like resonate with everything that you just said. Like, I can't have a car. Like I don't want to spend time with people where it's just not going to be like a deep connection, you know, all the friends. I, I literally just spent a weekend, um, celebrating one of my friend's birthdays. We have been friends for 30 years since we were 10 years old, you know, and, and these are like the deep connections that, um, that we cultivate and you know, do those things over the years. And I'm like, sometimes I'm like, gosh, I'm so nosy but that's why I have this podcast cause I get to like connect with people and like ask them questions that are like on a, on a deeper level. So why did you decide to start, you know, I know you shared a little bit about your coaching philosophy, but why did you decide like start coaching people and like what, what do you help people accomplish?
Jenna Irvin: Yeah, I navigated a lie. Um, from an insecurity perspective growing up, I'm six foot one. I have been since I was in sixth grade and I was an early developer. I started my menstrual cycle when I was eight years old. Like I've just always been so ahead of the game and it's now something that I cherish. But growing up it was something that I hated. Um, you know, I was a foot taller than any boy I ever went to school with until I was a senior. And so I was just so wildly aware of how different I felt always. And I felt very alone in that insecurity. And since stepping into the platform of being a peer of our owner, which for the most part my clients are women, I realized that so much of the struggle that we, the all is universal. Like the insecurity, all of that is felt by so many.
Jenna Irvin: And I teach in a way that kind of invites my clients to step into their strength and into their power. We don't ever talk about changing your body or becoming anything different than you are right now. Um, they refer to me as both parents talk to and their therapist. But, um, you know, it's, and so coaching for me has been this space of like wanting other women who maybe are young or older because I think these beliefs, they, um, you know, manifests in our lives in different ways depending on what we're walking through to let them know that they aren't alone and to hold that space for them to realize that they deserve to feel and that they deserve to see what everyone else sees.
Shannon Mattern: Uh, that, I mean, I, I TA, I like, I can't agree with that more because, you know, I feel like, especially, I don't know, for me personally, you know, I always felt like, Oh, I'm bigger than everybody else. Like I was like, and I w I let that image of myself hold me back in so many ways. Just even in starting this business too, like not wanting to show up on camera and not wanting to show up on video. I'm really holding myself back thinking like, Oh, I'm not good enough in this way over here with my body. And how I look, so therefore I'm not good enough for all these other things. And it wasn't until very recently and I'm turning 40 this year that I really understood how connected all of these things were and that if I didn't work on my mindset about me and this area, it's not gonna I'm not going to have this success that I want in this area.
Shannon Mattern: So I think that like what you do is so important to just like help people accept themselves for who they are. And seriously, the younger you can learn that, like it's good, it's a valuable lesson to learn at any time. But the younger that you can, you can learn that just like, you know, the, I won't say the easier your life can be, but I think that maybe it can be more fulfilling because you're not focusing on everything that you don't have, that you want. You're accepting, um, what you are and if you're changing it, you're changing it from a place of love and pride, not from a place of like being not being good enough and not liking yourself.
Jenna Irvin: Exactly. And I think when you approach anything with a mindset of like, this is to fix me, you know, whether it's like losing 10 pounds or whatever it is, it's like if you're, if the goal behind what you're doing is super official and it's, um, not grounded in who you are and recognizing that you're enough, it's, you're never happy with yourself because then the minute you reach, like in high school, I mean, uh, my eating disorder kind of stemmed from, I was a basketball player and I had to, I wanted to start more than anything in the world. We were like the number one team in the state and all I wanted was that starting position. And my coach told me I had to lose 10 pounds if I wanted to start. And anyone who's ever met me, um, knows that I take everything to the extreme.
Jenna Irvin: My dad always don't feel like I only know how to go a hundred miles per hour always. And so if you tell me to lose 10 pounds, like that's probably more than likely going to be triple that. And so I just immediately dove into like, finding my worth in that number. And it was like, it took one comment for me. And like when I look back on that now and just with how much is accessible from a social media perspective, like I know that I'm not the only woman who it's taking one sentence to for her to feel like she's not enough or to find her worth and things that are superficial and not, um, don't deserve to hold us or our worth ever. And so it's become such a sensitive topic for me. And I definitely, I feel like a lot of the women that I've poached that has been the subject that we have focused on.
Jenna Irvin: One in four women struggle with disordered eating. So it's like, you know, it's a huge part of our population and something that isn't really talked about enough. Um, and so I think that space for me, I'm just recently in that season with myself, uh, recognizing that I don't need to be any different to be worthy of the kind of love that I want to be worthy of the kind of life that I want, like any of that. And I can totally relate to you as far as showing up in the business space because I want to fit in a studio. So when I first and especially, you know, taking over this studio, I was comparing myself to the owner that owned before me and whether my body looked like hers and whether like the, you know, the clients are going to be inside and it's like we get so wrapped up in what the world is saying that it takes us out of tune with our hearts and when we're out of tune with that, we're like not able to live a life that's in alignment. Um, and so that has been the loudest lesson for me lately.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I just, I mean, I just am like sitting here listening, like kind of blown away cause I'm like you're saying that like not only I need to hear sometimes, but I know a lot of my listeners need to hear because you know, we don't need to change who we are in order to build the businesses that we want to build. And for us as business owners, when we're putting our focus on those types of things, we're not showing up for our clients fully as fully as we could. Um, and, and I know you, um, you have built two businesses now, you know, two very successful businesses now and you're only 23, you know, what advice do you have for someone who, who is like you who wants to, um, wants to launch a business, but you know, it's kind of brand new to it. What would you, how would you help them navigate that?
Jenna Irvin: Yeah, definitely. I, uh, I just finished a course. I'm a big personal development fan, but I just finished a course around the fact that your wellness is your business. And I think it's so powerful to recognize that our mindset controls more than we think than it does. And so I think that mindset is always my biggest piece of advice, like getting really honest with yourself about where you are. Because I believe that intuitively we know what we like in the deepest part of your heart. When you sit in silence with yourself, you know what your dreams are, you know the life that's going to feel so good in your soul, and it's, it's the courage to continue to fight for that. When the other voice says are also finding space in your head, because that's just, that's just life. We have access. The world's so loud and so fast and so overpowering that it's so easy to come up with excuses why not to?
Jenna Irvin: And I was terrified when I opened the doors to my studio. I had $400 in my bank account and it was so hard for me to not allow desperation to speak louder to me than my passion did. Because you are desperate. You're desperate, you know, and whether you're going to open a brick and mortar business or an online business like through desperate for that first client, you know, and it's like that desperation can be all consuming. And so I think that my biggest piece, the advice always is to trust yourself more than you think that you should because you have more in your heart than you know. And I tell my clients in every single class and in my coaching sessions, the belief, the intentionality, the love that you have for every other person in your life is unwavering. And so you need to ask yourself the honest question of why you can't cause that exact same belief, love and intention to yourself. And I think when you start to have those conversations and you're really open to the responses that your body is giving you, you're going to start to walk forward into your dreams with a completely new mindset that will be abundant.
Shannon Mattern: I love that you said to trust yourself more than you think that you should. I think that is, is such good advice because you know, you do you have that, well at least I did it at one point. Like, what are you doing? Who are you to do this? There are so many other people out there doing it and you have this thing. But like if my best friend came to me and told me what she was doing, I would never say the things to her that I could say to myself so easily. You know? And it's like, I feel like treating yourself as if you're your best friend and just being willing to believe that what you want as possible, even if you're not sure how it's all gonna play out. Just be like, I'm willing to believe that I'm capable of. This is just like a tiny little stepping stone closer if you're not like fully bought in to like fully trusting yourself in this moment. But I, I still do think like you will always, um, have your best interest at heart when you can, like you said, kind of learn how to listen to yourself.
Jenna Irvin: Yeah, definitely. And I think also surrounding yourself with people that inspire you to grow because so often we feel like we're stuck. And I think that sometimes that's because we're expanding and the people that may be currently in our life are not expanding into this new space with us. And it's really challenging and it's something that, um, I'm really young but I feel like I've experienced it so much because my friends were still in their senior year of college when I was opening my first business. And so I had to like tell myself that their inability to support me, to show up for me to be what I needed them to be in this season was not because I was a horrible person or that they were a horrible person. It was just that like I was expanding into a space and they were in a different space and we weren't able to meet each other and show up the way that the other one needed. And so I think releasing those people and knowing that that doesn't mean that they weren't a part of a chapter, but not everyone is supposed to go with you into every season. And that has been such an eye opener for me because then it creates space for other people to come into your life that are able to hold you in the expansion.
Shannon Mattern: And that doesn't, it doesn't change whether you're, you know, you said you keep saying you're really young and I think yeah, 23 young but I still feel 23 even though I'm 40. Um, but it's that that stuff still happens. Like it, you know, you have relationships that evolve and change and you know, I always, I always like, I get like you very passionate about my business and I will talk to about business to anyone who will listen, but my husband, his eyes glaze over. He's just like, I'm glad you're happy honey. Like I'm glad you're doing what you love. But he does not care to hear like the details. He's not excited about like, you know, my latest launch or like all the things are my best friend. Like, you know, I can talk to about whatever great thing happened and she just like, she's just like, I'm really happy for you, but there's no, there was nothing more than that. And sometimes you need like that group of, of people who really get it, support it, are excited to talk about it, understand how, how big your wins really are. Um, you know, when you're like, Oh my gosh, I just got like booked on this podcast or whatever. They're like, what's a podcast? And you're like, exactly.
Jenna Irvin: Well, and it's, it helps you feel less alone in this space. And I think that that's, that's vital. And you know, this group that I was a part of, I had the least amount of experience and I think sometimes that's even better. Like when you feel as though you're always in spaces where maybe you're dreaming the biggest are fighting for things that your friends are able to understand. You probably need to join a group where you're like on the bottom of the totem pole. So that you can give yourself that space to feel inspired and open to new possibilities. And I think a good balance of that is great because having the people in your life that are just happy for you all the time, it's like this safe space to just aggressive to that. Like they don't need to know the details, like they're just supportive of you regardless of what you're tasting. But then you also need those people that are going to encourage you to continue to push the envelope and finding the balance of that is I feel like what makes your light pole?
Shannon Mattern: Absolutely. And I really just found like my girl boss crew like last year and, and it's interesting because you know you, like you said, you have those people that are always happy for you and that's amazing. But then you have people that are going to like challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone and kind of call you on your BS too, you know, which is, you know, when you're kind of limiting your own potential by things that you think are things that you say, you know, having those people that like understand that you're doing that and can kind of call you out on it I think is, um, is just really important. So I want to ask you, I mean, I haven't asked you this yet, but I'm just really curious, like what made you think like at 23, like F got this, I'm going to open up a brick and mortar, a brick and mortar store. I totally can do this. Like, let's, let's do it. Like how did that manifest? So I know it's so funny, I've been asked this question a lot. I wouldn't have had any concept of, or the confidence or anything at 23. So,
Jenna Irvin: and I, you know, I don't, I don't really think that there was like a moment where I was like, I can do this. Like, I don't, I don't really think, I don't really think like that moment actually ever happened. Um, I mean I drove to teach the 5:30 AM class on the day my Maryland city opened with my entire body shaking. Like I couldn't even drink coffee that morning because I was just like so completely terrified of everything. So I had the fear. I still have the, I think that when we can make fear our friend and know that it's just a helpful toll and recognizing that you're living a life that is challenging you to grow and then that's a beautiful thing. But, um, you know, there wasn't this moment I have parents that are business owners, they own a business together. They have my whole life.
Jenna Irvin: And so knowing what lifestyle, owning a brick and mortar business was, I was accustomed to that from the time that I was very little. And so I think that it, it definitely wasn't something that ever felt impossible. And my parents have mastered the ability to give us wings to soar and also keep us grounded, grounded at the same time. And so they had very realistic conversations with us, but we were never told that we couldn't do something ever. I mean, if I told my mom I was going to fly to the moon, she'd be like, I can't wait to see you do it, honey. And I mean, and I think that that was so vital for me. Like you don't realize that when you're growing up, but it was just so important that I always felt like I was capable in ho in my home because you don't feel like that at school always.
Jenna Irvin: And you don't feel like I'm your groups of friends or in sports or anything like that. So having one space where I was reminded about on a regular basis, I think absolutely still shows up for me. Um, but beyond that, it felt like the time to take the leap. Because if I say all in my mind, it was just me. I didn't have anybody else that I felt like I was, quote unquote disappointing. And so, you know, so many people brought up my age in the beginning and they still do. It's not something I even really notice. I feel like I'm wildly aware of it when I have conversations about like where I'm at in life. But, um, it's, it was this moment of recognizing it's me against me and so I'm fighting for myself. I'm fighting for my future and worst case scenario, I fall flat on my face, but my dad always told us to never look back and say, I wish I would have.
Jenna Irvin: And I knew after finding this technique and knowing, um, that I had the funding, I had stock investment that had been growing since I was a baby. And I was like, this is going to be something I look back on it and say, I really wish I would've done that. And I didn't want that regret. So it was taking the leap, not knowing if I was gonna be supported or not, but knowing that the alternative to not take humility to not trying to not putting myself out there was regret in a corporate job that I probably was every single day going to be like, I wish I was owning a Caremark studio. So, um, you know, I think, I don't think there is a moment. I think so many people wait for the moment, like the moment of like, I have everything I need. I'm so ready.
Jenna Irvin: I could do this. And I absolutely hate to be the one to break it to you, but that moment's never going to come. It's never going to happen. And so it's, it's taking [inaudible] making the decision to be like, I'm scared and I don't know if I'm going to be supported, but I know in my heart like deep in my gut that this is what I'm meant to do. And so I have to step into it because that, that got that in, that intuition is happening for a reason. And so even if it doesn't pan out the way in your mind you think is ideal, I thought I was going to live in Maryland for the rest of my life. Like I thought that was my forever choice. So we don't always know what, what the end's going to look like. In fact, I don't think we ever do, but it's gonna lead you somewhere. It's gonna teach you something, it's not going to be for nothing. And I think that that's what you can rest into because there's never going to be certainty in anything else. So you kind of have to find your comfort in that.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, absolutely. And I, I resonate with that so much too because it's like, you know, when I, there wasn't even like the option to start an online business, you know, when I was like graduating college, well, I mean there was the internet, but I don't, I mean like I was like Amazon and like all the things like we weren't doing, we weren't doing all of that stuff. And I just think like what you said is, you know, you made this decision to do this now instead of, you know, waking up 15 years later in a corporate job that, that you absolutely hate, which I think is, I think one of the reasons why, um, you know, I see a lot of people in their thirties and in their forties now, like transitioning from being employed into this is because like the opportunity is, is huge and we didn't have it before.
Shannon Mattern: And I love to see, like I see, um, you know, my friend's kids who are in their early twenties, they're like, we're not going to go to college. We're going to like start off and we're going to be entrepreneurs and we're going to like live this life and we're going to do this, do this thing now while we can, you know, before we kind of get sucked into this whole other thing. And I'm like, I couldn't be more supportive of that choice because I'm like, why go waste your time in a soul sucking job, um, that you don't love. And, and the other thing that you mentioned, it's just like I, once I like decided that it was going to happen, like there was no turning back. I feel like you're a very driven in the same way. You're like, I have this idea and I'm going to make this happen. Like no matter what and I can't, I just can't imagine knowing how that drive felt for me and probably how it feels for you that, that you would fall flat on your face. You know what I mean? Like you're probably going to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Jenna Irvin: Well, and I think that, you know, that absolutely is my mentality. But beyond that it was like you learn so much about yourself and I think for some people that that corporate job is what's right. I mean, I have friends that like that lights their spirit on fire. And I think just knowing, knowing what that is for you and you're the only person that has the answer to those questions like we look to, you know, and I, um, believe that my college degrade serves me in a lot of ways, but it was like, you know, I was looking for answers in that time and not that your life experiences don't you and leave you in the right direction, but it's like, I believe that we have all the answers for what's right in our heart at the time period that we're in. And we have to do our best with what that is and know that it's not meant.
Jenna Irvin: Like the challenges are all meant to be there. I haven't had a failure, a fear, a challenge that has shown up or new that has not taught me an abundance of life lessons. And so I think that now I approach failure in a different way because I'm like, it's just my greatest teacher. It's my opportunity to grow. And it's like, okay, well this didn't work, so here's the space to do it again and do it differently. Um, and that's just a mindset shift of, you know, deciding that there's nothing that's going to come in the way of what sacred you and what feels in alignment. So tell me about some of those, um, obstacles that, that you've learned the most from throughout this experience. Yeah, absolutely. Um, I had a horrible first round of hiring. Terrible. It was so terrible. Um, I am such a, I looped with my heart with everything I do.
Jenna Irvin: And when I went to hire I was like, I'm just going to Google. How do you hire? So LED's, literally what I typed into the Google search bar followed the list to a T and I never once I thought like how is this team going to mesh together? Like what's our chemistry? It'd be like, it was more just do they have the experience and I think subconsciously, and this has come from reflection, it was not something I knew at the time, but subconsciously I think I was choosing people that I felt like had the agency experience that I was feeling insecure about entering into this time period. So it was like I wanted older teachers and people that had danced and taught and done had done those things for so long because that just felt safe to me. Um, and Pilbara is very vigorous to get certified as a teacher.
Jenna Irvin: You go to training for five days and then you have 30 days to submit a test out video. I took seven girls to training, two girls passed their video, one of which could only teach one class a week when we opened. So when I opened the doors, we had 42 classes on the schedule. I was teaching 35 of those 42 classes and it was the most stretched I had ever felt, both emotionally and physically. Teaching is extremely exhausting from a physical front. But more than that, I was, I didn't trust myself anymore as far as like hiring people and picking the right team. And so I kind of, I didn't kind of, I definitely was like, I'll just do it all myself cause that just students easier, you know, like I just, I just pretty much did not hire for those first three months. I'm like, I'm not even gonna accept applications.
Jenna Irvin: I'm just gonna show up at four 30 in the morning. I'm going to leave at 10 30 at night and I can totally do this. And I've been there and I, and I, and I did it. I mean, I did it and I honestly, I equate those three months to my success a lot of ways because it connected to me, to my business and to my clients on a level that probably would have taken me years to do otherwise. So I don't necessarily regret that time. However, you know, like that abs separation that you get when you're pregnant. Yeah, I got that just cause I like was teaching way too much and I was talking at the same time, so my abs were working against each other. So I, at one point it felt like I looked like I was three months pregnant because my stomach was just like, my body was like, this is too much.
Jenna Irvin: You cannot continue at this pace. And so I think that that was a really big challenge for me because I didn't want to trust, I didn't want to open my heart again. I was feeling very discouraged as far as asking for help goes. And I think that when our strengths are turned up too loud, their weaknesses. And so for me, you know, feeling like I had the capability to do it all and show up and just never stop. It's like when that's turned out too loud, it's insanity. And that is where I was. So, um, you know, it, it looked like for me learning how to open again. And I had a girl that approached me after class one day and she's the farthest thing from what I would have picked on paper. I didn't even look at her resume. My heart was just like sending her to training.
Jenna Irvin: So I did. She was the furthest thing from a natural, which so is I took me three times to pass my pure bar tests out video the first time I failed so bad that the owner that I was teaching for, I was like, you know, you actually could be an owner and not teach. Like that's how, that's how terrible I was in the beginning. So I'm like the full proof example that you can be terrible when you started and still turn out okay. But um, she just never stopped practicing. And you know, when I made, when I took the leap to hire her, I didn't know how it was going to pan out, but beyond that, it was a reminder that I knew more than I thought that I did. And that if I asked for help, it wasn't going to lay on me where I was three months ago.
Jenna Irvin: Like, it wasn't going to give me that same result because I had learned from that experience, even if it was painful. And so now I hire without resumes first, like the very first interview, I just got to gut check, I have a conversation, I meet them where they are because that's what works for me. And so I think as business owners we so often feel like we'd have to do it like somebody else did or we get inspired from someone else. And it's like if that's not in alignment with how you feel things and how you operate in this world, it's not going to work. Um, and so that shift for me was probably the most painful lesson that I've had. But the one that still continues to teach me to this day,
Shannon Mattern: I, I am just impressed with how in touch you are with like your gut because I'm not that kind of a person. Well, I'm trying to become that kind of a person. Like I'm always in my head. And you've mentioned a couple of times like feeling physically or, or things like that. How um, how do you know, like how do you feel when something's like the right thing and how do you, like what are those signals to you when you're listening to your body? Um, for those things, cause I'm sure I probably feel them but I'm probably like paying zero attention
Jenna Irvin: to them. Yeah. The way that I, the way that I explained it to people, I have been really in touch with my God from a really young age. Like I was that kid like at three years old that like I would be like, I think we need to leave. Like I would get like a feeling about a person or a thing and it always like, it shocked my mom. Like my mom thought I was like an unnatural person because she's like the fact that you can see things coming before they, like it was just like my body would tell me like this is not right. And I had a, um, a coach for like a side team when I was little. And I like knew like I'm like, he's just not okay. Like he's not safe. And he ended up not being safe in a lot of ways.
Jenna Irvin: And so it was like my body just kind of has always been really easy for me to trust except when I had my eating disorder. And so that taught me that it's actually really easy to ignore yourself because when your body tells you something so many times, like my body was telling me I was hungry, it was telling me I was working out too much. But the longer I ignore that, it's just like any other relationship you have in your life. If you're reaching out to a significant other or to a friend and you're sending them texts for months at a time and they're not responding to you, eventually you're going to stop texting them because you're not going to extend energy to where you're not accepted and your body's no different. So I think for me, I've had to relearn that skill because I shut it down so much when I was navigating my eating disorder during those years.
Jenna Irvin: And [inaudible] allowing yourself to be in stillness for me at least. And it's giving myself that opportunity every single day. So when I'm navigating something that I'm unsure of and I was in a toxic relationship when I moved from a Hilton head to Maryland to open that studio and I didn't know it at the time, I was still navigating my eating disorder. So I've definitely had time periods in my life where I was very out of touch with that. And I think it's normal, but it's always been when I'm not hearing myself. And so I had to do a dramatic twist and like actually prioritize and think about it because it was no longer something that was coming to us naturally to meet us at once did. And so an exercise that I practice that I've had success with my clients practicing as well is sit down and whether it's in the shower, I feel like we have made self care this like trendy hashtag on Instagram.
Jenna Irvin: Like it does not need to be a bubble bath with dark chocolate like wherever. And if you're a mama, like close the door to the laundry room, like just anywhere that you can have like 60 seconds of uninterrupted silence and if it's something that you're going through in your marriage or in your relationship or in your business, just ask yourself whatever question you're struggling with, like, you know, why doesn't this feel good or is this still an alignment for me? Or you know, anything, whatever showing up consistently for you that you feel unsure about. Whatever question, whatever answers her body PMQ first. That's when you have to honor because that is the one that happens before the justifications, before the insecurity, before everything else starts to speak. And from that point then it's just straight courage and it's so much easier said than done and it's something that, you know, I fail at every single day, but I think it's a good reset button to hit when you feel like you aren't hearing yourself anymore because you have to create that silence, you have to create that space. No one else is going to do it for you.
Shannon Mattern: That is such good advice. I remember working with the coach one time who told me like, like, who said, you know, you're so out of touch with your own body. And I was like, what are you talking about? Like, and you know, I really had no concept that like I could have, you know, a knot in my stomach or you know, or something that was a signal that something wasn't right. You know, I would literally just like be like, Oh, that's a feeling back to my own mind, you know? And never really connected those two until probably just the past few years. And then now talking to more people about that and trusting yourself and I've started to do yoga and different things. I'm just like, Oh my gosh. Like I'm so sorry I have ignored you first.
Jenna Irvin: Yeah. And sitting, I mean, sitting in our pain is so incredibly uncomfortable because it's like, you know, we're, we're kind of told that the past is the past. Like I feel like I never wanted to go backwards. Like I never even wanted to dive into the beginning of my eating disorder or where it came from. It was like, okay, I'm through it, I'm done, it's over. And I just wanted to speak from a place of like, I've healed. Well, healing is like that's a game you never get out of. It's a game you're going to play for the rest of your life. And I think that I had to learn that we'd have to heal backwards before we can move forward. And so a lot of the things that are showing up those blocks that you feel like you have, it's probably from something that you haven't dealt with. And the emotion doesn't have to be something that defines you. It just needs to be a visitor. So if it's pain, if it's insecurity, it's like you need to sit with it, allow it time to show you what it needs to show you and then let it move on. It's, it's not, it doesn't mean that you are that emotion. It just means that it needs time to still teach you a lesson that you didn't fully learn when you were walking through it.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Like I put it in a box and the box is still sitting over there waiting for me to open and acknowledge it. I'm totally emailing you when I figure out what that is. I'm totally gonna like follow up with you on that because there, there are, there are just, there are things that, you know, and, and one of the things that I have, um, so appreciated about building a business is I never thought it was going to be an exercise in self development. I thought it was going to be like, Oh, I hate my day job. I'm going to start a business so that I can do what I want and have all this freedom and have all the things. And what really has been is, uh, let me show you everything you're afraid of and are you up to the challenge every single step of the way to overcome that and take a hard look at yourself and you know, um, acknowledge, uh, acknowledge your weaknesses and work on them and you know, open the boxes of the things that, that are holding you back. And that's one of been the most surprising thing for me and also the most rewarding. And I see that, I know that podcast listeners can't see you nodding, but yeah,
Jenna Irvin: yeah. One, it's a, it's a mirror. It's absolutely a mirror. I mean, I, I wasn't, I didn't think it was going to be our personal development journey either. I mean I knew I was going to have to like learn how to balance my checkbook and budget accordingly and like maybe, maybe not go shopping every weekend because my finances had other uses that I had to pay rent. Like I was ready for the practical lessons, but I was not ready for the emotional journey that it has been. And you know, you're also in a business where you're connecting to others and so your business also becomes emotional just in and of itself because you're connected to what you're doing and the people that you work with are sacred to you. And so it's like, that's how it's been very neat to new. And every decision that I make, it's like, you know, it holds emotional weight just as much as it does professional weight. And in that process, you are wildly aware of this stuff that you have not dealt with and still needs to feel it so that you can show up for the people that has come to mean so much to you in a better, more authentic way.
Shannon Mattern: Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, so I just have a few, a few more questions for you. Um, you know, what advice would you give someone who wants to start a business but is afraid to take the first steps?
Jenna Irvin: I think that honest with yourself about what that fear is because I think when you're telling yourself a lot of our fears, stories that we've told ourselves or that we've heard from the world, so, um, if it's finances, look into what it actually means to get a loan. Like, like actually take practical steps into understanding your fear instead of allowing it. Cause the longer at manifest in your mind, the bigger it feels. And so maybe it's going to five different banks and having a conversation about what that loan process would look like. And um, you know, I had to do that for my second studio. I sold my Maryland location with, which funded a lot of it, but I had to go the bank loan route. So I've done that and it's, you know, it's growling, it's exhausting, but, um, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
Jenna Irvin: And so I think that, you know, finances seem to be something that really holds a lot of people back in business ownership, especially if you're interested in brick and mortar business ownerships. So, you know, I would get honest with yourself about that and have the conversations that you need to have so that you have facts and then you can approach it from an educated way of what do I have to do to make this happen? If it's your mindset, I think it's understanding what's holding you back. Um, you know, I have worked with clients where it's a relationship that they're in or, um, just stuff that they haven't dealt with from when they were a kid of not feeling like they're worthy of chasing what their heart once. Um, and you're the only one that could know that worthiness wound. And so investing in personal development, deciding to do that work, like deciding that you're worth the same investment you would give to everyone that you love, that can be really powerful.
Jenna Irvin: And honestly, if I would have known the emotional attorney business ownership would have been, I would have been doing personal development the whole gosh darn time I was in college. So I think that that could be really powerful to get to know yourself in the rise deepest form prior to taking that leap. But above all of that, I think it's just knowing that fierce can always be there and knowing that you're never gonna finish today. Like, yeah, I did everything today. It's all done. Like you don't ever have that feeling. And so it's kind of getting comfortable. And the uncomfortable is what this is. Ownership is. That's never, you know, and for me, like I own a specialty market, I'm on an Island, we're surrounded by bodies of water. So it's like I have more clients than I know what to do with four months out of the year and the rest of the year it's like, it's either pop in or it's no man's land.
Jenna Irvin: Like there's no, there's no in the middle. And so, you know, it's just like you have to not allow the daily stressors and all of that to talk me out of the overall goal. Um, and I really just think the biggest piece is not allowing those stories to manifest in your head to the point that they get so big. You can't get past them. Um, and the minute you give the life, the minute you speak them to the world, their power goes away. Like they, they no longer have any thing to hold over you because you're like, I just spoke my worst fear and it didn't happen. Or I just took the biggest leap that I didn't think I was able to do, are worthy of, and I didn't fall flat on my face. And so it's, it's like you have to just decide, you know what, I'm going to have my power now. I'm going to stand in this and I'm going to take it back. Um, and I think that's all mindset work.
Shannon Mattern: I so appreciate that you pointed out that it's all the mindset work because a lot of what I talk about, a lot of what people on the show talk about its tactics. You know, it's very tactical. It's like, Oh, if you're struggling or if you want to start, here's the tactics that you need to start. But then what I find with a lot of my students, because I teach marketing and I teach web design and I teach, um, that type of stuff. It's never them not knowing how to execute a tactic. That is what stops them from going for it. In fact, just today I was doing like a live Q and a for, um, for some of my students that I teach how to have web design businesses. It's all mindset. It is all mindset. You know, the reason, like I was talking someone today about, she's like, I'm ashamed that I joined this program two years ago and I don't have a flourishing web design business, but I had all these life things happen.
Shannon Mattern: And I'm like, if you're putting shame on yourself, you're never going to want to show up for this. If every time you think about this, you feel ashamed. Like that's, it's your first move is not going to be to login to this course. So we have to work on that and we have to work on your mindset and we have to work in your belief on yourself in yourself to accomplish this and your acceptance of where you are and honoring that you dealt with really, really important things in your life. Um, you know, and I'm ha all of this is here or when, when the time is right for you. And I think that, you know, for those of you out there listening to this who are starting businesses and you're struggling and you think it's your marketing, it's so funny because I used to think, Oh it's my, it's, I don't know how to market well enough.
Shannon Mattern: I don't know how to sell. I need to learn more. I need to another this and all. It was the whole time was my belief in myself the whole time. And so I love that you brought that up because I think that that is the number one most important thing that anybody could work on as they embark upon their business journey. And like, like just get ready for it. Cause it's coming at you every day. If you're not going to be, it's, if you're not willing to look at that stuff, that is when you, you fade away and you kind of pull back and I see people thinking, you know, I'm not good enough. And then they believe that thought and then they go away and they never go after their goal. And I love how you're helping shine a light on, you know, these things are beliefs that you can and should change if you really want to get after what you want.
Jenna Irvin: Yeah, definitely. I mean, so much of the work is emotional. It's like, you know, we want to look at it from a practical standpoint because we want to be like, okay, if I do X then Y will happen. And that's just like not how life works. It's, it's like there isn't normally an equation that's going to get you to Elyse. It feels like you're your dream. And so, um, you know, and that's the easy route. It's the easy routes and be like, okay, well if I just do this, then it's going to happen. And it's like there is no magical answer. It's like you have to get honest with yourself, know that you're a work in progress and also know that healing and investing in yourself and, and living through things that maybe felt like they broke you at the time or that you struggled with or that you never thought you were going to get past.
Jenna Irvin: You did get passed them. Like you're here, you're breathing, you're alive. Like you have the ability to chase your dreams and like that in and of itself is a beautiful thing. And so making the business ridiculous, courageous. It's not, we can, I think that that's why so many of us, I know it was why I hid from the things that I had gone through growing up because I was like, I don't want to admit that I had an eating disorder. I don't want to admit that I got on the treadmill five times a day my senior year because I wanted the number on the scale. Um, so that the cute boy would ask me to prom. Like I don't want to live into how superficial that feels because I feel like I'm past that. But if it's still showing up for you, it means that you're not. And um, there's no healing that is not worth that space, that light. And what comes on the other side of that is this understanding of yourself that's going to help you build your dream and your business in a way that you never would be able to if you were still swimming and all of that hurt and guilt.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. So good. So I have one more question for you that I ask everyone on the podcast. And I think you've touched on this a lot in a lot of the things that we talked about just because you know, a lot of the things that we have talked about, our beliefs and mindset, but I ask everybody on the podcast this and it's what belief about yourself did you have to change to get where you are today?
Jenna Irvin: Yeah. That I'm not worthy of love. Hmm. And acceptance. I think acceptance and love for me are intertwined in my life. Um, but I struggled so deeply with that because I was always the girl growing up. And I relate it to a romantic sense because I love love. Like I opened my heart and I love the people in my world. Like I breathe. It's so natural for me and I love you with all of myself. It's like I don't know how to do anything halfway. And so, you know, I was the girl that like told a boy in 10th grade if she liked him, like I was always so open and I experienced so much rejection, um, from friendships, from relationships, not so much in my abilities. But what happens is, is when you're experiencing that in the things that are sacred to you, it's then you don't, you don't trust that you're going to be accepted in anything.
Jenna Irvin: And so, um, I had to work through that belief and you know, it's showing up. The growth is showing up in my dating life and in my friendships because, um, I think when we're sitting with our insecurities, we're unapproachable. And so the more that I allowed that belief to manifest itself, the more and more it showed up. And so it just continued to build. But, um, you know, we're all worthy of love are all worthy of acceptance and we're all enough. And so I think also learning, there was enough space for me in this world. Like, you know, I think especially taking the leap, it was like, can I do this? Is there, is there enough room for me here? Is there enough success to go around? And so I dealt with that belief by modeling it. So like I crave vulnerability in my life. So when I have conversations with you, I'm vulnerable. I will share my heart with you in hopes that you'll do the same because I can't ask other people what I'm not unable to do on my own. And so, um, that's what feeling has looked like for me. It's looked like needle living the way that I'm hoping others will return in their encounters with me. Um, and then being able to set boundaries when I'm not met in the way that I need to be.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, it has been so amazing talking to you. I appreciate you coming on and being so vulnerable and sharing, you know, just some really important lessons that I think everyone can really take to heart. And you know, we can all take a look at ourselves and see like, you know, how are we holding ourselves back and how can we heal from those things so that we can have, you know, that life that we dream of because I totally believe that it's, it's all within our power as long as we can get our minds right around it. So I so appreciate you being here. Can you share with our listeners where they can connect with you, learn more about you, learn about coaching with you, all the things.
Jenna Irvin: Yes, absolutely. I'm the most active on my Instagram. I share everything there. So I'm just at Jenna urban, J, E N N a, I, R, V, I N and I'll share like my publish writing and my coaching form and all of that stuff can be found through there. So yeah.
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well thank you so much for being here. I'll link up all the things in the show notes so that you guys can go check them out. Connect with Jenna. Um, and thank you so much for being here.
Jenna Irvin: Thank you so much for having me. It's been great to be in this space with you today.
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Jenna is a young entrepreneur who dreams as naturally as she breathes. She opened her first business at the age of 21, in a town she had only been to once, and doubled her investment in just ten months funding the purchase of her current business in Hilton Head Island. As both a Pure Barre owner and coach, Jenna leads with intuition, uses fear as fuel to grow, and believes that failure is our greatest teacher. She feels the most alive and connected to her why when she is holding space for others to step into all that they are.
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