The Story. The Call. The Startup.
Last summer I wrote an article: How Thrive Inspired Me to Create a Startup ... to help heal the world. Sounds ambitious for a one-woman bootstrapped startup, I know. Heck, maybe even impossible.
It was in that last article that I shared how the synchronicity of my personal story, the voice that guided the pivot from my last startup to following my life purpose, and the book Thrive, inspired me to build a soulful social network to help women and women-owned businesses flourish in their health, their hearts and their lives.
Our stories are so powerful. It's through our stories that we're truly able to empower, enrich, inspire, learn, heal and grow. We can use our stories to create a community where women share honestly, connect deeply and create positive change in their lives and the lives of women all of the world. Yes, I said the world because we can start the ripple effect of spreading so much love and compassion so people can start to heal.
I'm not a life coach or a spiritual guru, I'm a 44 year old woman whose journey has taken me from consulting in corporate America to creating a personal concierge company to building gutsy startups which have helped me stand in my true authentic self and fulfill my calling - and it's a huge calling no less!
How in the world am I going to execute this social networking platform without a team, money and the technical know-how? This was my challenge.
For 6 months, I was at every networking event imaginable. I sent endless emails that went unanswered. I even emailed Oprah! I thought why not, you have to think big.
In the midst of my striving, my old story started replaying in my head ... the one where I was unworthy and full of doubts and fears and limiting beliefs. I knew I had a choice. Marinade forever in my old story, or write a new one. I chose the latter.
I knew there was a Force behind me. After all, it was the Force that picked me up and carried me through the storms and so that I could stay in grace.
One night while I was lying in bed doing my belly breathing exercises (that helps relieves stress), I got the call.
Hello Jenny, it's me again.
The voice was louder this time than the first.
You need to build the platform yourself.
The platform needs to be built with love.
Seriously, God? Who me? You know I'm not a software engineer.
Am I going to wake up with the gift of technical know-how to build this platform?
Would it be the Immaculate Programming Language Conception?
God certainly does have a sense of humor, but the stress and frustration I'd been walking through had caused mine to wain.
Exhausted as I was, I was game. I told God, Let's have a board meeting in the morning while I'm journaling my prayers for the day.
The next day, like every other day, I started pecking away on my keyboard to research how to build BeOne ... because obviously I'm not a software engineer.
And then, the aha moment - Wordpress and plugins. The idea of a social networking site built by a non-software engineer on Wordpress and using plugins isn't exactly an investor's dream, but my choice was simple: give up or rise to the occasion and execute a product myself. And when you have God calling you ... well, you want to deliver.
No problem I thought, I have Wordpress, hosting, plugins and maintenance fees to run the site and I can learn HTML and CSS.
I need money.
After bootstrapping my last startup the year before and now launching this one, my bank account was definitely not as bountiful as it was during my days of running a small business or working as an independent consultant.
I'll tell you the story of how I overcame one of the hardest seasons of my life in another article, but what I want to share with you now, is that having the opportunity to activate an unwavering faith, belief and determination made me one resilient woman. Without the struggles, those qualities would have never become so strong in me.
I decided to consign nearly all of my wardrobe and my coveted shoe collection to finance BeOne myself. Where there's a will, there's a way and after all, it's just stuff. I've never been married so I didn't have the support of a husband or even a boyfriend. I mention this because I've been asked how I've been able to do what I'm doing without help.
When it comes to startups, it's so easy to look at the glitz and gloss and miss the craziness and sacrifice going on behind the scenes to bring it to life - especially when you're trying to create silk out of sow's ear.
Right before my eyes, my prayers were answered.
Not in a, "and then a million dollars dropped out of the sky, along with a software engineer who offered to create my vision for free" way ... but in a, "and then God opened my eyes to the resources I needed to make the vision happen" way - resources both inside of me and out in the world.
BeOne was about reconnecting with myself.
Yes, I built a platform using Wordpress. And yes, some people will snicker because it's not a robust platform by Silicon Valley standards.
But BeOne (the site) is just like BeOne (the community) - all about openness, starting right where you are and transformation. I can look at what's been built and the women flooding to it and know with confidence that BeOne will become a global company and brand.
The seed was planted, the call was executed and now it's your turn to stand in your power and help create the ripple effect to bring more love and compassion to each other and to the world.
My lesson is that we're all truly capable of so much more when we can get past our limiting beliefs. My advice is simple: go for it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Don't think about failing. And if you do fail, so what!? We've all have failed at something at one time or another. It's the invaluable experiences and lessons you learn that will help you rise again. It's the struggles that create an opportunity for you to rise to the occasion.
Remember, the Universe has your back. Trust, believe and keep your faith.
Struggles are real, but when you stay in Grace, you too will be able to overcome and accomplish anything.
Jennifer Taormina (Founder / CEO) is the social entrepreneur and global wellness advocate behind BeOne. She's a fast-talking native Texan whose journey has taken her from corporate America to a year-long sabbatical in Florence to gutsy startups to harnessing her superpowers to bring BeOne to life. In her own words, building BeOne was about reconnecting with myself.
Armed with an uncompromising work ethic and the belief that stories are powerful, Jennifer's aim is to inspire, empower, enrich and help heal women who're on a quest for personal and spiritual fulfillment.
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at JoinBeOne.