The Becoming Ourselves Podcast

Ebbs & Flows of Being A Successful Mompreneur with Jesse Szymanski

March 10, 2021 Season 1 Episode 22
The Becoming Ourselves Podcast
Ebbs & Flows of Being A Successful Mompreneur with Jesse Szymanski
Chapters
The Becoming Ourselves Podcast
Ebbs & Flows of Being A Successful Mompreneur with Jesse Szymanski
Mar 10, 2021 Season 1 Episode 22

 Jesse is the CEO of Modern Muse Media, a broadcasting and media production company based in Edmonton. Jesse's story is one of creating and building an overcoming and not giving up. We talk about always being driven to lean into that space and create. We talk about being a mompreneur, a single mom and the challenges that show up in this space and creating a life that we dream of! 

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Jesse's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SzymanskiJesse/

Modern Muse Media Website: https://modernmusemedia.ca/

Be Nice to Yourself Workshop https://www.eventbrite.com/e/be-nicer-to-yourself-tickets-138337969591

CONNECT WITH ME

Instagram: @juliwenger

Facebook: - ww.facebook.com/becomingourselvespodcast

LinkedIn: Juli Wenger 

Website: https://www.juliwenger.com/

Show Notes Transcript

 Jesse is the CEO of Modern Muse Media, a broadcasting and media production company based in Edmonton. Jesse's story is one of creating and building an overcoming and not giving up. We talk about always being driven to lean into that space and create. We talk about being a mompreneur, a single mom and the challenges that show up in this space and creating a life that we dream of! 

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Jesse's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SzymanskiJesse/

Modern Muse Media Website: https://modernmusemedia.ca/

Be Nice to Yourself Workshop https://www.eventbrite.com/e/be-nicer-to-yourself-tickets-138337969591

CONNECT WITH ME

Instagram: @juliwenger

Facebook: - ww.facebook.com/becomingourselvespodcast

LinkedIn: Juli Wenger 

Website: https://www.juliwenger.com/

Juli Wenger:

Welcome to the becoming ourselves podcast where we believe that you were created on purpose with purpose and for

Unknown:

a purpose.

Juli Wenger:

I'm Julie winger and empowerment and identity coach and enneagram. Two committed to helping you step out of overwhelm perfectionism and self sabotage. listen in to learn how to take back your power, uncover the stories and patterns that keep you small, and lean in to living your most powerful, purposeful and passionate life. Let's dive in. Jesse, I'm so excited. Today, right? In the middle of pandemic, and all of the fun things in life. And so tell us a little bit about you. You run a company, you are a boss, lady, your mom. Hey, what's what's the scoop?

Unknown:

Well, yes, I own modern news media. And we are going into our fifth year. So this is really exciting. As you know, I think there's a huge statistic like 85% of businesses don't make it to the fifth year. So it's fantastic. We're an all female team, not exclusive to but inclusive of women and providing opportunities for women, especially starting their careers in industry. What's cool about this is that I've actually been shooting video since I was about 10 years old with my grandma and grandpa, grandpa's big VHS camcorder, which I can barely carry, and shooting commercials and music videos and fun little plays, and sketches with my cousins at a very young age, and it never went away. In fact, it just grew stronger. So I have had an incredibly successful career in media for over 22 years now.

Juli Wenger:

You've got this really cool. Business, you've also got family. So tell me about life as mom.

Unknown:

Life is mom. My daughter has always been a part of my career. I happen to be pregnant with her. When we shot the pilot, may 4 tonight 2009, a little television series called Blackstone, which ended up being a multi award winning national treasure. So we were nominated for what is the Emmy of Canada, the Canadian Screen Award for Best Dramatic series. And when we shot the pilot, I was so sick. I was so sick. And my daughter was born December 21, my little soulstice baby. And when she was about five, six months old, we had been greenlit for Season One Previous to that and we were going into production. So an opportunity like this for a young woman in Edmonton is chance of a lifetime these things happen in Toronto in Vancouver, these dreams come true to be working on a one hour dramatic television series in Edmonton was a total phenomenon. And I knew that my aunt ended up being my nanny, my mom's sister. And I went back to work when she was five, six months old. And so in my trailer on set was her exerciser. And toys and baby was basically strapped to my back with some definitely definitely with some help at a very young age, and has since been immersed with me in my career. watching me pursue my passion. So when Naomi my daughter was two, her father and I separated and divorced and have been for nine years. And so I have learned how to do this. Some days, the hard way, and other days the most rewarding way possible. So for the first few years after the divorce, of course it was a little bit easier to manage and juggle bringing her with me. I was vice president of Women in Film and Television of Alberta. She was the youngest card carrying member of that organization. She was just with me she was little and it was easy and it was manageable. And I had this tribe of women that were just there to support and to help. But then Naomi definitely grew into her own world and her own community and there was a realization that time of lugging her around with me was coming to an end where obviously she started school and she started her own extracurricular activity That was around the time when the show had hit its fifth and final season. And I needed to figure out what I was going to do. As somebody had said, What are you going to do now that you've reached the peak of your career at 35 years old. And for me, for anybody that knows me, that was gasoline. So thank you, whoever said that, because I don't even remember, I had really hit a very difficult place. And out of that rough came the diamond, which was my company. And, of course, owning a business, there's the flexibility to be able to manage and juggle my own schedule, that would be in accordance now with my daughter's schedule, and it was her time to shine as well. If I would have known then what I knew now and how tremendously difficult starting a business is. And getting to this point, I honestly don't know that I would have done it. It was so, so hard. Sometimes I was hospitalized with pneumonia for burnout, I just about lost everything, keeping in mind that I am a sole income provider, which means that if it's not coming in, then we're not paying the mortgage, and there's no food on the table. So that kind of pressure was so immense, as a single mom starting a business that the buck stopped here. There was no fallback, there was no secondary income. And that was incredibly stressful. I was actually just having a conversation with my father yesterday, in regards to this. Just seen a lot of abundance and great successes lately, the businesses taking off tremendously. But what I went through, there was a point where he had to say, where's the line just because if you're not going to draw it, we're going to draw it for you. Because I was very sick. And I was very depleted. And he was really scared that this could actually kill me. Because there was no lights.

Juli Wenger:

Yeah, it's an achiever thing, right? Of, but I just, I know I can, I know I have it in me to be able to step up and to do these things and build these things and, and dream, right to dream these audacious big dreams that are, they're doable, but it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of effort to get there. And personally, I found this too. And our communities, it's so important to have those people that will call us out and say, Hey, flag over here. Are you okay? Is this sustainable? Is this manageable? Is this serving you holistically? Because here's what I'm curious about. When you talk about your business, you light up, right, it's clear that you love it. And often, when I see that kind of calling, when I see that kind of passion show up for women in business, and there's a lot of mean, there's a lot of elements here that I'd love for us to touch on about momming and identity going through divorce and life transition and changes like that. And in terms of our businesses, you know, how have you found the time or the space to be able to pull back enough that you make sure you're taking care of yourself and you don't see that kind of burnout happen again.

Unknown:

It's funny, when you crash and burn hard enough, you never forget what the gravel feels like on your face. And so I'm at that point right now, we are scaling up. And I had a team meeting last week where I completely melted down. And I said, I'm at my capacity. And when I say I'm at my capacity that's massive, and but identifying those things and knowing them ahead of time. And so and what I often talk about is one of the biggest things that I needed to learn how to do was ask for help. I wasn't really good at it, I've become actually great at it. Whether that be, hey, my shoot is running late. I need help with somebody picking up my daughter or taking care of my dog or I need you to take on more to my team. So that was the conversation that we had and and I have the most incredible team and I didn't even need to ask that question. It was the first thing that they asked me is what can we do to help? And so this past weekend, I've actually given up teaching for now. Anyway, I taught my last workshop. And now my head of facilitation, Melissa is going to be handling all facilitation all workshops, and I and I cried the most wonderful group of ladies and I had a big cry after because yet I'm definitely going to miss it. But I need to let it go in order to create that change in order to create that space and capacity that I need in order to scale. And the same with the production sides, we have a training arm video training, where we teach people how to do video. And then we also have video production where we do awesome high end video. And my amazing Sarah is really handling that, and stepping up and I'm training her on how to script and work with the client so that when it comes in, I can just delegate and delegate. And so putting people in positions to to be able to, to help and to be able to support. Also, part of the conversation that I had, with my father yesterday was that there was a large investment that I had made. When I started the company, I didn't have capital, I was a single mom I had, I came from nothing, we needed to buy equipment we needed to bring on people, we needed to get office space and get an edit suite. And so there were loans, and there still are and these things outstanding. And so I think what held me back for a while, in a way, and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, I know that. But what held me back was that anything that came in, I can do it, I can do it, I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it because any extra ounce of money needed to go to paying down that investment. And I had never had debt. And I had, I'm the only entrepreneur in my family. And so where I'm at now, which is great, the progress over perfection is that it will get paid. But if I can bring people more people in, then it's going to free me up to bring even more revenue in to continue to pay it down. So just getting through some of those blocks.

Juli Wenger:

That's a hugely important piece that focusing on what's my highest and best, you know, as a CEO, as the head of a company, where does my time get to go? Because so many of those things are things that we can hire out the cost is way less than the value of our time. And often, I've found in my own journey, love your sense on this too. There are things that other people are better at than we are anyway. They get way more efficient at them. They're talented at them, they're not missing details that I'm missing. It's like, why did I ever do this, but there's this letting go of control of all of the things. So that takes a lot of intention. When we have really high standards.

Unknown:

There was also putting a support system in place, which was a coach, proper mentors, people who did go through this before me, and I've paved the way. So like I said, my family. You know, oftentimes your family is looking out for you and the best for you. But they're not coming from that business background. The first question that they ask is, when are you going to get a real job, it's often our family members that are the first people to ask you that. Not out of discouragement or critique but out of concern. You need to talk to the fellow entrepreneurs who have that grit, tenacity, and 10%. Crazy.

Juli Wenger:

Yeah, that you? Yeah, there's a community that calls us up. There are people who I think especially within the entrepreneur, community, there's a mindset there, of challenging and finding a way and up abundance and focusing on but what is possible, it's like playful, almost. And outside of the entrepreneur community. Sometimes I find that a little bit challenging to find. And it's so helpful to have those people that are around us for like, but what what could you do? What could you achieve? What could you come up with what, you know, creative other solution, what third option might exist. And it's just a different mentality.

Unknown:

And it's interesting, because since I have started my own business, my friends circles have changed since I have had the coaching and done some digging deep work on oneself and some of the trauma and some of my history. That's changed again. So where you are at, like attracts like, right? It's been now like it's been it's, it's been a roller coaster. Now, if you were to look at the support system, or friend circle or whatever that looks like, it very much is much more entrepreneurial. And I think it's just a natural occurrence because there's an understanding of this journey, which is, it's like having children and you really, really can't understand what it's like to run your own business, that whole roller coaster. Until you go through it.

Juli Wenger:

You're so let's jump to mompreneur for a minute back to this blog. And being mom identity pieces of you know, that is part of life, right? That is one of the roles that you hold not just business owner, but also mom to this really beautiful human. When you're looking at the mom angle, and I'm thinking about for our listeners that are looking at starting businesses or listeners that are early on in their businesses that are also in that space of, no, I have kids, how do I? How do we balance this? How do I create time and space for them and make sure I'm not neglecting them? What would you say to them about your journey?

Unknown:

I would say that one would need to expect almost an ebb and a flow consistently. So it's interesting that you bring up this question, because since January 2021 hit, it has just ramped up. And it's gotten busier and busier and busier. And I mean, without me having to go out and seek people. It's like that switch went off that people now know they need video, they need to know how to do it, they need to get into it, it needs to be on their website, it's the way this world is communicating, and they've embraced it. So there were some people that jumped on board as soon as the epidemic hit. And then there were some people that I think there was some stagnancy, a waiting to go back to normal. And when that didn't occur, and suddenly 2020, December 31, midnight struck, there was a switch that happened was letting go of that idea. And embracing this new communication, this new way of communication, which is here to stay, it's not going away. So it has been insane. And I had a moment with my daughter last weekend, I have her 5050 I've had, I've had the 5050 since she was two. And she said to me, Mom, I just spent the week with you. And I feel like I barely saw you. That sucked. It sucked. But she's been through this for me for long with me for a long time I was supposed to have. So this was on Thursday, and she goes she The next day, I sat down and I had a conversation with her. And I explained that basically the concept of the eye of the needle. And that right now it happens to be a really busy time. But then I'm bringing people and putting them in place. And it's not always going to be like this. But then I've also had the opportunity to prove that to her. Because when summer comes I very playful, like I'm the mom that gets on the trampoline with her and very active. And so when the sun comes up, I'm often playing hooky from the office, and we're going to find the hidden beaches of Edmonton. And so there's an ebb and flow that happens. And I needed to reflect on that with her and go, okay, remember, when I was able to do this, or how we got away to Jasper in the middle of the week, and, or this, that's because I have the flexibility. But what the the other side of that coin is, is this and it's been very busy. So I think really, really open communication. But knowing that there's going to be that contraction and swelling, that expansion and shrinking and that is completely a normal part of this process. And then watching those patterns and knowing when it's time to scale and when you bring in that support. So I guess to circle around and directly answer your question, just understand that the balance is the imbalance balances the imbalance. I love that.

Juli Wenger:

And I do, I do see this in my own experience to have their seasons where we have to lean in and build and create and it's heavy. And there's a lot to do, but our passion drives it. And our passion pulls us through. And then there's a season that's, you know, for the rest and for the play. And one of the things that I often challenge entrepreneurs with is no are you intentionally creating that space? When I hear you talk about it, it's on purpose. It's we're choosing to play hooky, it's we're choosing to go explore the city, it's we're choosing to not be working all the time, because we've put in the season of sowing the seeds of doing the work of hiring the people or buying our time back. That's one of the best things about hiring people is we get our time back whether we use it for the business or not. To say I'm going to take this time that like my assistant Sophie, that I've got her working on creating websites to just go sit on the couch with my kids or to go to the park or to Make a craft or to do nothing. And it's so important for us to have that quiet and have that time. And it's something I see a lot of entrepreneurs really struggle with, of giving themselves permission to slow down and trusting that things will come. So let's talk a little bit about trusting that things will come. How's that journey been for you?

Unknown:

a work in progress. But I'm very, very much there. Now, actually, my tattoo artist as we speak, is designing something for the inside of my wrists here that is symbolic of trust. Because I now immersed in trust, it took me a long time to get there. Something that one of my mentors who helped set up the training arm of the organization would say to me often, and I'd find myself repeating it over and over again. And it took a long time for me to actually hear it too, even though it was me saying it is that it's a marathon, not a sprint. It's a marathon, not a sprint. And I would say that again and again. And when you're running long distance, they'll need to be water breaks, and you're not going to reach that finish line like this, and everything is just going to be tickety. Boo, it's falling down. It's challenges, it's getting back up. And and that doesn't go away, either. So especially for an A type, strong personality, like myself, I love the end goal, I love the execution, the completion, when you own a business it that there's no finish line, it's that the marathon just keeps going. And it continues to evolve or shift or change, depending on the marketplace, depending on your client base, depending on what's going on in your own worlds. But you keep running. And so there's going to be those payoffs along the way. And it is incredibly important to celebrate the wins. Because we will oftentimes, like put our head down and just keep going next. That's right. So there's not going to be a finish line, unless you sell the business. Okay, and then whatever that looks like. And typically, if you're entrepreneurial, you're likely to just start from what I understand. But this is the journey. And so it is about the journey. And on this journey I have, I have not trusted, I've been paralyzed with anxiety where I couldn't even drive my car, I've been stressed out to hospitalization. And it was really working with a personal coach and a business coach and two different people actually, that were able to provide me with different things. And to do some of that work to really get in line and aligned with with that knowing of what trust feels like, what if it all worked out, it's gonna be okay, whatever that looks like. It's gonna be okay, even if I lose modern news media, and it all crumbles, I'm going to have my daughter, I'm going to have these incredible relationships, I forged I'm going to have all of these stories. And it's still going to be okay. So I feel like that's when you really can sink into the trust is let's worst case scenario, this, all right. And if that's the end game, then at least let me enjoy the ride along the way. And it's funny, because in that moment, where you actually let go and become Okay, with losing it, all I found was a real turning point, when things really just started at a point at which we can open those hands,

Juli Wenger:

right, we can let go and say, Okay, I'm here. And this receiving mode. That is the I can see what the other options are and what the opportunities are that are presenting right now because I'm not holding so tightly to a specific outcome. And there's all kinds of freedom in that and to what you're saying about worst case scenario. I love this one. I've done this a lot in my own businesses over the years. And it's really about seeing the resilience in ourselves to trust us. Right, not just trust the process, but trust us that will survive it. And that will overcome it and that we're capable of figuring out hope. Whatever comes we'll figure it out. And I think that entrepreneurship requires a high level of resilience. Some of those challenging things that, you know, you've been talking about being hospitalized from so much stress, but the anxiety, overcoming all of that creates so much resilience. I'd love for you to talk a little bit about, you'd mentioned your life coach, business coach doing some of the work and getting aligned. That's that stuff makes me excited. Like, that's the becoming ourselves work. Right. That's the taking off the layers. And it's getting clear on what drives us and what lights us up. And who are we? What did you discover about you, that helped you get aligned when you were doing some of the personal work?

Unknown:

That is such a great question. The the work that I did was in the modality of EFT, which is Emotional Freedom Techniques. So it's not just about tapping, it's actually based on quantum physics and leaping in that all time and space exists at the same time, so I had some pretty major trauma in my early years, and there was severe bullying before bullying was even termed. And also my mom passed away when I was very young, in my arms. And so the work that I needed to do and the things that were holding me back, were connected to these childhood traumas and experiences in my life that I needed to go back to, and deal with and let the 11 year old girl and let the 23 year old girl who was watching her mother's body be carried out of the home, she was raised on an a bag, let them know that it was all going to be okay. And that this is what it was going to look like. And create a sense of peace in those moments that caused such trajectory shifts within myself. So that was the beginning of that work. And there was a lot to be cleared. And what's interesting about the other coach that I had worked with is that everybody's experiences are different. So this was mine. But I honestly don't feel like the work that I did with my my other coach, business coach would have been as impactful if I hadn't done the Emotional Freedom Technique techniques first, because what needed to happen is that there was this clearing of all of these beliefs. I had a fellow classmate say to me, I don't know why you would even want to live if I were you, I'd want to die. And I had carried that rate. So clearing that space from some of those traumas, and then working with this other coach, it was actually filling the that now, open space with some tools and some mindset, the mindset work, right. But I don't know that one would have worked without the other at least on my path. And so it was really, really effective. And the timing of it was all divinely ordained, if you will, but it's, it was that too was a journey for me to go, Okay, I got over this. I don't, I don't think would be realistic, there's so much gray. Not to mention, again, that at one point in through this process, you know, my coach needed to say to me, just, you know, that like there's no certificate that you get that you're working towards, there's no, there's no metal that you're gonna get, you know that you're going to be able to, really you're going to get that participant ribbon because this is ongoing. And when you clear some of the the work and you feel you know that you've made progress, and that's great, then you'll find other things triggered by other things in your future and

Juli Wenger:

always another layer.

Unknown:

That's right, always another layer. So for me, yeah, I'm seeing a theme here, in that I was a person and it's still something that I work on. That satisfaction or that award or that affirmation for me, came with a completion or an end game, the execution, the finishing of banality. The work that I've done, and part of being entrepreneur for five years now has helped me enjoy the ride a bit more and we could also say be more present. We could also say celebrate the wins and recognize that sometimes there's so much on your plate that even the smallest thing like getting out of bed could be a winner. That day to landing your first $100,000 project could be a win for that day. They're all wins, but just not passing them over. Because it's not, it's not about the destination.

Juli Wenger:

Work is so often. I call this work on like tapping my chest, which I know our listeners can't see. But it's always the US work. It's the self work that exactly like you said, that creates the space for us to be able to figure out everything else. It's not all the time that we even need. And I am a huge fan of mentors, by the way. And it's not even that we always need people to tell us what to do. It's that we need to figure out how are we getting in our own way? And how do we get out of our own ways that we believe that we can figure things out, so that we can go looking for the answers that we can get creative and stop, you know, blocking ourselves. And so there's an opening that can happen, I see that in your story, it's like, it's exciting, because all of the work make regardless of some of the different techniques and different coaches and different perspectives and different techniques and tactics, and all of that. When we focus on taking the layers off, that you know, the layers of trauma, the layers of experience, the layers of story, and all the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we believe and what we think and who we think we're supposed to be. And what we think enoughness is, all of these pieces as we start to take some of that off, it does create that space. And in that space is all of this freedom and opportunity. Okay, what do I want to do with that? How am I going to expand into this? What is the next? The next expansion? What's the calling? Where do you see modern Muse going?

Unknown:

It's a great question. I've been asked this question so many times over this past week, especially. And that's the vision is not quite clear. What I do know, however, is that it was always meant to be something for me to build, but that I was going to be stepping away from it in the day to day capacity that I am, and finding the right and perfect person to run it to run the day to day operations, the systems procedures, the teams are all in place. And for me, what's on my bucket list is I have always wanted modern news media to be a revenue generator, so that I could go and play in back again in the film and television sandbox. So particularly film, I've done everything in this business from corporate oil and gas videos in for MacMurray to on camera entertainment reporting for city TV, to educational content and flying across Canada multiple times for access television, good old Channel Nine that had the dial switch. I've

Juli Wenger:

just aged myself. He wouldn't be both.

Unknown:

Right. But I haven't worked on a feature film. And so that's is that is definitely in the realm of possibility. There's actually a project that Netflix is looking at right now. So this is a really, really interesting time. And I'm being asked this question, because of the scaling that's occurring right now. And that I am putting different people into different positions who need to know this what what my vision is for, for modern news media. So that's pretty vague because it is yet because I actually want to build that with my team members. And it's my hope that one day my daughter will be involved, but there's absolutely zero pressure for her to do that she's witnessed something pretty profound, and has her own

Juli Wenger:

hopes and dreams are the people who are listening to this are like, what you don't know. Like, that's okay, this is their permission to not always know that's part of the journey too is we don't always know what the next thing is gonna look like. We don't know what the next project might look like. We don't know what the outcomes are going to look like and to hold that stuff loosely and say, What do I feel pulled to what do I have energy around? What do we want to do? What I feel called to right now, sometimes that's enough.

Unknown:

Something that I repeat often as well these days is what am i drawn to Rather than driven by, that is a question I ask for almost everything every project we take on every client we work with, do I feel drawn to? Or do I feel driven by, which means that's a push force energy rather than a

Juli Wenger:

flow provides a form of guardrails for you decision making lenses?

Unknown:

Huh? Yes, I love that guard rails, it actually made me think of like the bowling alley where you have the bumpers will trainer.

Juli Wenger:

That's how I ball by the way.

Unknown:

That's a roll. Yeah, love it. Yeah.

Juli Wenger:

Well, and I think it's, you know, for us to have and I mean, I teach this all the time for us to have a guard rails that really remind us of what's the point? What's the purpose? What's the intention? And what is the intention behind this year?

Unknown:

And

Juli Wenger:

for me, I picked three words this year, it's fun faith and flow. Do I enjoy it? Do I feel called to it? And does it have some ease to it? Not that things are always going to be easy. And if they're not easy, we just walk away or anything? But is there a push energy to it? Or is there a pull energy. And I love that. That's where you're at to, it's a big shift, going from push to pull. And I think that's a healing journey from that proving energy. Because we're so taught to be all of the things check all the boxes be amazing everywhere, the perfect mom, the perfect business owner or be perfect, this be perfect that it's impossible. It's a total load of crap. We need to let ourselves off the hook. So I love that you're leaning into flow.

Unknown:

It is a very different place to be and the paradigms want to pull you back often to what you know and what's comfortable. And but it's Yeah, it's a very conscious decision on a regular basis to choose differently and, and fight those fear based feelings that will present.

Juli Wenger:

Thanks so much for doing this with us today.

Unknown:

Hey, my pleasure, excited

Juli Wenger:

to see the unknown that plays out for you and your company. And all sorts of pictures of hidden beaches in Edmonton the summer.

Unknown:

You know it you know, it