Dear Japan, I’m back.

Fellow Badass:

Never in my career have I felt more confident. But it feels like a new type of confidence. Not cocky. Not arrogant. Not egotistical. Instead, I am experiencing a deep sense of humility, for never have I seen more clearly  how wanted and needed I am.

This week I’m in Japan. Again. I had not planned to return before my big 5-city speaking tour in September 2014, but I received a special invitation from my new friend Suzanne Basalla, COO of the U.S.-Japan Council, that I just couldn’t turn down. On Tuesday I sat about 20 feet away from Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and the Prime Minister of Japan, both of whom were declaring their bold and unwavering support for women in the workplace. It’s not just a nicety…extensive economic research shows that the new incentives and subsidies the Japanese government is extending to “women friendly” Japanese corporations have the capacity to boost Japanese GDP by 13%. They are NOT messing around here.

There is a revolution happening for businesswomen here in Japan. The government is behind it. The corporations are behind it. The people are behind it. I’m behind it.

jessica_kizorek_japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be moments in your career where you land in the right place at the right time. But don’t call it luck, because chances are you worked your butt off to be there.  I don’t consider it luck that the U.S. State Department wants me here in Japan as an American role model helping jumpstart Japanese economic growth. That’s not luck at all. That’s a lifetime worth of practice and preparation…for this moment.

When your moment arrives, be ready to grab it. But don’t just grab the one opportunity that lands on your lap. Be prepared to grab all the other opportunities attached to it. After my meeting at the U.S. Embassy in March, I immediately returned home and started making phone calls to non-profits in the United States that deal with the U.S. / Japan relationship:  1) U.S.-Japan Council 2) Japan Society 3) U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation. I am like Alice in Wonderland, chasing the proverbial white rabbit, hungry to see how deep into the rabbit hole I can go. I’ve shared my story. I’ve asked for advice. I’ve asked for introductions.

Part of being badass means your eyes are WIDE OPEN to opportunity. Not only do you see opportunity, you chase opportunities that lead to new opportunities. You become a strategic opportunity seeker and craft revenue streams that align with how you most enjoy making money.

I want to make money empowering women. Which is why I’m in Japan. The time is right for me here. In two short months I’ve traveled deep in the rabbit hole, talking to executives at amazing forward-thinking companies like MetLife, Coca-Cola, Ernst & Young, American Airlines, Caterpillar, Dow, and Mitsubishi. The power dynamic of all my conversations here is perfect – they want me just as much as I want them.

I could go on for pages and pages about the positivity running through my veins this morning. I am clear. I am energized. I am on fire.

But mostly I am humble. This isn’t the Jessica show. I am part of something much bigger than the human body I currently inhabit. More than ever I am closing my eyes to meditate so that I may be led by forces larger than my own personal desire. I am listening. I am being led by the divine.

Making money is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the profound knowing that you are being used as a paintbrush in the hand of God.

The art of picking sexy clients

Fellow Badass:

If one is to be happy during waking hours, then one must master the art of picking the perfect clients. The perfect clients aren’t just the ones you are dying to work with…they’re the ones who are dying to work with you.

This month I picked an amazing client, eMerge Americas. So amazing and sexy, in fact, that they’re on the cover of Forbes magazine right now. I say that for bragging rights, but also because that’s exactly why they’re such a sexy client in my mind. My perfect client is up to something sooooo big…sooooo innovative…and sooooo profound that a magazine like Forbes would print an entire 154-page special edition to highlight every aspect of eMerge Americas’ vision of Miami as the new technology hub of the western hemisphere. Go eMerge! I believe!

eMerge had plenty of options when it came to picking a video production company, but ultimately they chose me. Why? Because I crafted myself to be just as perfect for them as they were for me. Not only did I own a company that specialized in the niche of helping non-profits like them share amazing stories with the world…there was more. I was actually recommended to them as a speaker who specialized in talking about how video was changing the face of education as we know it. They knew me as an expert…someone who could see the future and, in turn, help them bring their vision to life. (Which we did…watch the video that made Team eMerge cry tears of joy.)

My dad was a public speaker. I used to sit in his audiences and watch people fall in love with him up on stage. Being a speaker puts you in a whole different category that garners a ton of respect and admiration. Once someone has seen you speak, they are more likely to want to do business with you over your competitors. I can’t even tell you how much business I’ve picked up from people who have seen me speak (live & recorded). It’s just the way of the jungle…people want the top dog. When people see you up on stage, they want you. Not anyone else. You.

Step one in the art of picking clients is visualizing the exact organizations that professionally turn you on. Step two in the art of picking (up) clients is being visible…so they come to you (instead of you chasing after them…which I hate). My best advice for instant credibility and magnetic power is speaking on stage… and for anyone who’s looking for the world’s best crash course in monetizing speaking engagements, one of my best friends Michelle Villalobos is leading a 3-day “Super Star Speakers Academy” in Miami next month (June 20-22). Check it out. Michelle always delivers amazing content.

In the end, clients are like lovers. Some are good. Some are great. Some are terrible. As you go, you learn what you like. Sexy is subjective.

Choose your clients as wisely as you choose your lovers. Hone your skills in seduction…only then can you go after the sexiest clients in the world.

PS – Below is a photo from the fundraising speech I did during eMerge festivities last week on behalf of another perfect client, the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship. That night – the world premier of our NFTE video – we raised $150,000.

10x

Fellow Badass:

Last week I flew to Washington, D.C., to spend three days at an invite-only leadership institute with other female business owners looking to innovate the way they do business. The event was a collaboration between Count Me In, Massive Change Network, and Capital One.  The talks were facilitated by genius Bruce Mau and my friend/business guru Nell Merlino, creator of “Take Our Daughters to Work Day.” Because of Nell, I went to work with my dad on April 22, 1993. Nell’s ripple effects have been shaping my career for 21 years, and last week was no exception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a driving force in women’s economic empowerment for the last 25 years, Nell thinks that most of the problems female business owners face can be boiled down into four categories, one of which she calls, “Expanding beyond me.” In D.C., we listened to personal story after personal story of women facing just this issue.  As women, we most often build businesses that rely on us, then the more we try to grow, the more work we’re faced with. We all know we need to delegate more, but it’s painful. Oftentimes we do stuff best, and the thought of handing over the most important parts of our business – to anyone – is counterintuitive. We’ve almost all been burned (at one point or another) by an employee who screwed up something we trusted them to do. As a result, delegating becomes emotionally draining, even when we know it’s the only way to scale.

Those of you who know me can attest to how bossy I am. Though annoying to some, it’s a strength when it comes to delegation. I’ve been outsourcing pieces of my video production business locally and internationally for about 10 years. In addition to the high-caliber domestic talent I bring to the table, I’ve mastered the art of harnessing cheap international labor for as low as $3/hour. I’ve built a business out of hiring teams of sub-contractors upon which I make a profit margin. I love to delegate. I love making money while I sleep.

But there’s some work I don’t delegate. I’ve always been the direct contact point between my clients and the sub-contract teams. While I may have a team of 27 sub-contractors working on a project, my client deals with me…and me alone.

Though I’ve grown incrementally for many years, I went to D.C. last week asking the question, “How do I have to innovate the way I do business in order to grow earnings by 10x without dramatically decreasing my current profit margins?” And I’m clear…I can’t do 10x the stuff I’m already doing. I don’t have the bandwidth. It’s a simple mathematical equation.

This makes me a bottle neck. To grow, I have to change. To change, I have to cultivate talent I trust to do the jobs I’ve never trusted anyone to do.

Change is hard. As human animals, we’re neurologically wired to do things the same way we’ve done them in the past. That’s how our brain increases our chances of survival. To change, we have to fight against our own established brain patterns. The resistance we all feel inside is REAL…it’s our body and mind urging us to stay safe from *perceived* harm.

It’s much easier to stay small because we equate smallness to safety. However, often  smallness causes more stress than growth. Yeah it may suck to interview new people, hire new people, train new people, fire new people, document processes, make mistakes, clean up delegation disasters, etc, not to mention deal with the emotional challenge of giving up control. BUT…think about how much you stress about not having enough money in your bank account, or new clients, or new projects, or new prospects. Yet somehow the painful lack of financial security becomes seemingly “easier” than the effort it would take to build a company that’s bigger than you.

When you examine the psychological trap of business growth, it’s no shock that 80% of female owned businesses in the United States make less than $50,000 in annual revenue. On top of that, few solo-preneurs will ever exceed $250,000. That’s pretty much the earnings cap unless you really deal with this situation of stepping back and letting your employees do the things you’ve coveted for yourself.

So this week I gulped and took a big risk.

It made me nervous.

It challenged me.

For the first time in the history of working on a non-profit video project, I hired a project manager to interface directly with the client. Though I’ve worked with Jaren for many years as a Senior Producer on some of my most successful video projects, he’s never held the reins of the project. I’ve held the reins, and he’s reported to me. Now he’s holding the reins, and I’m reporting to him.

Yesterday he delivered his first pre-production meeting to the client, the client’s fundraising team, and the staff of the non-profit. It’s the kind of meeting I can lead in my sleep…but it was all in my head. Stuff stored in my head will forever saddle me, and is therefore no use to me as I scale. So the day before the meeting, Jaren and I spent close to six hours preparing. SIX. I don’t know about you, but six hours seems like an eternity of time spent on training one person. It took so long because in order to train him we had to work together to articulate and standardize how that kind of meeting is facilitated. It was six hours I would have loved to spend doing other stuff, but it was six hours I was investing in the future of my company.

Not only did Jaren do good. He did GREAT.

The client LOVED him.

I was so proud.

Immensely proud.

When I wrote him a text last night, I realized what a profound moment I was experiencing as a business owner. It was cathartic. I couldn’t help but be swept up in the emotions of it….exhilaration…relief…aliveness. I texted,

“Jaren, you CRUSHED it today.  NEVER have I sat back seat to a Two Parrot strategy meeting like that. NEVER. I am so proud. I hope you’ll do many, many, many more. Today you honored our brand, and you honored our family’s legacy. (And writing that actually just released a flood of tears from my eyes). Thank you. I love you.”

He responded, “It was an absolute pleasure. I hit my stride. Let’s do this. ;D”

Not only was I proud of Jaren, I was proud of myself. I was proud of myself for taking one more step towards building a business bigger than me. Because at this point in my career, I’m bored with incremental growth. Doubling my business is boring. Tripling my business is boring. I’m interested in 10x.

And I’m willing to do what it takes. So is Jaren.

Are you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Profound Trip

Fellow Badass:

On Monday I returned to my office after five-weeks away.
Chicago. Wisconsin. Amsterdam. Thailand. Nepal. Japan.
What a profound trip.

I had expected to be much more public about it…
To share my experiences in real time.
To write emails.
To create videos.
To post photos.
But instead I was very private.
I was introspective.

Instead of having my fingers glued to the laptop keyboard,
I carried with me a 10″ x 10″ sketchbook.
I wrote in pencil.
And I wrote a lot…
I filled 123 pages, to be exact.

I wrote about business.
I wrote about pleasure.
I wrote about spirit.
I wrote about purpose.

In many ways this trip was as much of a spiritual pilgrimage for me as it was a business pilgrimage. Instead of throwing another party in Miami, I decided to spend the 4-year anniversary abroad, spreading the word of Badass Businesswomen internationally and reflecting on what the next 4 years of this movement should look like.This trip made me think over and over again what the word Badass even really means. Around the world, I carried with me a little bag filled with pink and silver dog tags that read “I am a Badass Businesswoman.” Any time I met a woman who was doing a really Badass job at work, I took a few minutes to give one to her as a gift and explain what it meant.However – imagine my challenge when trying to translate the word Badass into Dutch…Thai…Nepali…Japanese. Everyone who didn’t know modern American slang divided it up into two words they did know: BAD. ASS. And neither of those words meant something empowering.In translating it over and over again, I used simple English words like “awesome” and “empowered” and “confident” and “strong” and “successful” as synonyms. But as I translated it wasn’t necessarily the words they resonated most with…it was the ENERGY of the words.When it comes down to it, the word “Badass” is a label. The thousands of women around the world who have labeled themselves as “Badass Businesswomen” have done it for one reason and one reason only: Because it empowers them. This idea of self-labels is something very profound, and after my trip I feel like I could write a PhD thesis about how the words we use to describe ourselves will make us or break us in business.Words matter.
Words shape our reality.
We think in words.
We write in words.
We speak in words.Words are incredibly important if we want to stay empowered
…no matter what language you speak.In September I will travel to Tokyo on behalf of the U.S. State Department to do 5-city speaking tour across Japan. My client, the United States government, is hiring me to empower young Japanese women to enter the workforce and start businesses.On that trip we won’t use the word “Badass”….we’ll pick a Japanese word that holds the same energy and cultural relevance. If we’re going to give young women in Japan the OK to dream a big dream and stand up for what they want in business, we have to give them a word to describe themselves….a word that they can use over and over and over again every time they look in the mirror.

The new “Ban Bossy” campaign founded by Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Anna Maria Chávez (Girl Scouts) proves exactly how important words can be to a girl’s desire to lead. The research is conclusive: Between elementary school and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’. As they are banning the word “bossy,” I’m thinking about the words we should inject.

In the end, it comes down to each one of us to label ourselves
…or risk the world labeling us.
Pick the words you use to relate to yourself powerfully.
Those words shape your entire notion of what you’re capable of.

And we here at Badass think YOU…the person sitting in your underwear…
Has something so unique and brilliant inside you
That you’d be doing the world a disservice
By being anything other than your BIGGEST, most BADASS self.
Go get ‘em, tiger.
The world needs you.

Badass world tour – in Amsterdam

 

Jessica here, in Amsterdam,
reporting in on the first day of the
Badass World Tour…

 

A bunch of people have asked me why
our team is doing a
19-day around-the-world trip.
Here’s the skinny so you can
live vicariously.

Reason #1.
The company I founded, Two Parrot Productions,
is on location filming and photographing for Read Global,
a charity that helps Nepali women and girls
learn to read.
FACT: In rural Nepal, only 36.5%
of Nepali women know how to read.
That’s a travesty… on so many levels.
Think about that for a moment.
Our films will help them tell that story.

Reason #2:
The movement I founded,
Badass Businesswomen,
this month celebrated its
4-year Anniversary.
We’re traveling around the world
interviewing young businesswomen on,
“What does being a
**Badass in Business**
mean to you?”

The first interview we did here in Amsterdam
threw me into a chuckle.
We interviewed a woman managing
a coffee shop here.

JESSICA:
“What does being a
**Badass in Business**
mean to you?”

BEARTHA:
“It means breaking the rules.
Doing it how you want it,
not how someone tells you
it’s supposed to be.”

And that’s the point.
Badass only means that you do business
how you want to.
And that you do it with style.
Modern style.
Youthful style.
…even a little Pop-culture style.

Because that’s how our next generation
of young women is thinking.
The girls and women who are now 15-35.
Are you thinking about how and what they’re thinking?
They want to be Badass.
For them badass means COOL.
Modern COOL.
Edgy COOL.
Talented COOL.
Capitalistic COOL.
Financially independent…which is COOL.

Meet our first newly inducted
Badass Businesswoman
- BEARTHA -
as I gifted her with a dog tag that reads.
“I Am A Badass Businesswoman.”
((For all you woo-woo people:
Strangely enough,
the first woman we gift a Badass dog tag to
is celebrating her birthday :))

She and I agree…
being a Badass in business means

Breaking.
The.
Rules.
This did NOT get lost in translation.

lol ;)
kisses from Amsterdam!
jess

Living the good life

Fellow Badass:

Are you living the good life?

I am.

I don’t say that
in a braggart kind of way.
I say it in a
straight-forward
authentic
no BS
kind of way.

As I depart for the
Badass 4 Year Anniversary World Tour…
…Amsterdam…
…Bangkok, Thailand…
…Himalaya mountains, Nepal…
…Tokyo, Japan…

I think about
how lucky I am
to live this life.

But it isn’t luck.
Not for me.
Not for you.
It takes courage.

It takes courage to
reach for your dreams.

I could just as easily
be working at a
dead-end job.

I could just as easily
never started Badass.

I could just as easily
be stuck behind a
desk. With two weeks
vacation.

But that’s not living
THE
GOOD
LIFE.

The good life must be:
envisioned (thanks Johnny Regan)
explored (thanks Bill Kizorek)
created (thanks Mike Firmature)
manifested (thanks Toma Rusk)

It’s not luck.
It’s intentional.
It’s courageous.
It’s Badass.

Badass world tour

Fellow Badass:

Good things are happening.

Very good things.

This month marks the
four-year anniversary of
Badass Businesswomen.

Four years of dreaming.
Four years of inspiring.
Four years of soul-searching.
Four years of standing for something.

I often talk about Miami.
I often talk about the United States.

But this blog is read in 30 countries,
and my own eyes have seen 62 countries.

62 different nationalities.
62 different flags.
62 different personalities.
62 different labels.

But what I really see
is these country walls
collapsing
falling
disappearing
like the Berlin wall
as we transcend
nationality
ethnicity
language
color
gender
and see each other as
Fellow Humans;
Fellow Badasses
…through the internet.

Six of the world’s seven billion people
have mobile phones
but only 4.5 billion have a toilet…
(according to a U.N. report)

The internet is
Everywhere.
Anywhere.
Now.

On our phone.
On our iPad.
On our laptop.

We hang out on digital playgrounds…
On YouTube.
On Facebook.
On Instagram.
On Twitter
On email.

We – Badass Businesswomen – exist
To stir things up.
To add a kick.
To spice business up.
To appeal to our future business leaders.

For a 33 year-old woman.
For a 53 year-old woman.
For a 14 year-old girl.
In Miami.
In Europe.
In Thailand.
In Nepal.
In Japan.

So that’s where team Badass is headed -

Amsterdam > Bangkok > Kathmandu > Tokyo

February 23 – March 13, 2014
to celebrate the 4-year anniversary
of an organization that is about adventure.

So let the adventure begin…

Stay tuned for the
Badass Businesswoman
WORLD TOUR.

Attitude

Fellow Badass:

This organization isn’t here to teach you *how* to make more money.

Yes…we’re all here to make good money. And there’s plenty of resources to teach you *how.*

Badass Businesswomen is about ATTITUDE, because ultimately your financial results will be a direct result of the ATTITUDE with which you approach growing your business. While many of us feel we can be self-expressed in most areas of our life, business is the #1 arena in which we feel inhibited…like we have to hold back and be who someone else wants us to be. So my advice has always been: Be bold. Be self-expressed. Be Badass.

Another woman who believes in the same vein is Suzanne Evans, a superstar when it comes to encouraging women to strive for outrageous success – both emotional and financial – in business. On Saturday, she’s hosting a “live party” online to answer one single question that will take 98% of the anxiety, fear and swirling emotions right out of your business.

I invite you to attend the virtual party on Saturday, January 11th at 1pm EST/10am PST.

You’ll dig Suzanne.  She’s ultra-Badass.

She’ll send you more juicy details if you request it on this page.

Massive Breakthrough

Fellow Badass:

Massive breakthroughs don’t happen by accident.

They are intentional.

They are planned.

My company just finished a video shoot for the NFTE (the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship), during which we interviewed the program’s superstar young entrepreneurs for an mini-documentary that will help NFTE raise money and expand its programs.

Meet Andres, one of NFTE’s success stories. But he didn’t start out as a business Badass. In fact, he started out in a big hole he had to dig himself out of. According to him, “Three years ago I lived in a one bedroom studio apartment in a rough Miami neighborhood with my mom and sister. My mom was working two or three jobs just to keep a roof over our head. There were nights I came home and we wouldn’t have enough food to feed all three of us. I would go without eating so my mom and sister could have a meal. When my mom lost her primary job, I had to step up to the plate. I was 17, and it was time for me to be the man of the house.” Andres knew it was time for a massive breakthrough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast-forward three years: “I worked hard to start my business. My basketball academy started with one student. Then there were three. At the beginning, when I tallied it up, I was working for 76 cents/hour. But I was hungry. I knew I could do it. Now, three years later, I have 150 students. My business is making close to six figures. I have employees. My family now lives in a three-bedroom home. I drive a Mercedes Benz. I am doing what I love. I am a role model for the kids in this neighborhood. I am happy. I am proud.”

Andres didn’t become a successful entrepreneur by accident. He took time to imagine and plan his future. He was intentional. He used every resource NFTE had to offer. He worked hard towards that goal. And he accomplished it.

But Andres isn’t sitting back on his heels. He’s leaning in. He’s planning for the next massive breakthrough. His business won’t reach $250,000 by accident. It will be intentional.

As you look ahead at 2014, consider what massive breakthrough you are ready for. Perhaps 2013 was your best year in business ever. Don’t lean back. Lean in. Plan. Be intentional.

Only then will that massive breakthrough arrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about NFTE and how you can get involved here.

[Dec.6] Save The Date

Fellow Badass:

To all you Make Them BEG students… a class reunion is long overdue!

On Friday evening, December 6th, we’re bringing together all of you Badasses who purchased any part of the Make Them BEG curriculum over the last three years. Each of you *official* students can bring a +1…but they have to be super cool. ;)

The get-together is purely social. No mastermind, so speeches, no exercises. Just fun… a chance for us to be in the same room at the same time.

Friday, December 6
7pm-10pm
Imperia Miami Restaurant + Lounge
20 Biscayne Boulevard (across from Biscayne Park)
Miami, FL 33136

Valet parking available

Can’t wait to see you guys!!!!!!!!

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