NOTE: This feature article first appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Based on the response to the information, more than 40 other Gannett newspapers ran the story as well.
COACH COUNSELS CLIENTS TO TAKE CONTROL
Cincinnati Enquirer - June 14, 1998
Entrepreneur Offers Some Ways to Find Satisfaction
by Lisa Biank Fasig
Four years ago, success to Jennifer White meant 80-hour workweeks, 48 straight months without a vacation, no hobbies and lots of money. She easily could have been a lot of people. Except that for her, on one day, all that changed.
"I was out drinking beer and eating pizza with my husband," she recalled on a recent rainy morning. "And he looked and me and said, 'When are you going to quit your job?'"
She tried to defend her lifestyle in terms of what she owned. He told her he didn't like who she was becoming.
"It was at that moment when I realized I had to find another way," she said. Sixty days later, she quit her marketing management job to seek out what she wanted to be and emerged six months after as a so-called success coach. That personal journey, and the following two years in her new profession formed the premise of a book, published this month, titled Work Less, Make More.
PAYING THE PRICE
"Most people who have success paid a massive price," she said. The book shows how to get it wihtout the huge personal expense. The reaction, naturally, would be that nothing comes easy. The old adage "It if sounds too good to be true, it is" isn't an old adage for nothing.
White agrees. Her passage, punctuated by countless budget dinners of macaroni and cheese, was not easy. But she maintains that if a person is willing to do the personal work, an alternative exists to two commonly perceived options: high-octane financial success or leisure at a low return.
The book is the middle road.
"It isn't about changing your job, it's about changing who you are," she said. In fact, leaving the job of business is not required. Only a change in mind-set is.
An edited summary: The book requires the reader to take stock in his values them. The premise is to discover what someone does best and then become a master at it. That way, White said, you work on your terms and demand a higher price. Rather than the job or business owning you, you own the business.
Small-business experts agree. "It's all about control," said James Morrow, associate editor of Success magazine. Many people become entrepreneurs so that they can work as much or as little as necessary to achievedefined goals, he said.
But, he concurred, entrepreneurs also get caught in the web of overtime, especially those that work at home. Like White, he said such people need to find their strengths and delegate the other tasks.
How does someone find her strength? The book offers seven questions as a guide: What is easy? What is natural? Trusted friends or family should be able to point out strengths and "brilliances."
White did that after quitting her job and found that people trusted her and valued her advice. This led to her professional coaching job and business, The JWC Group in Pleasant Ridge.
There are pitfalls. Watch out for the "sabotage team" that will argue transformation isn't possible. And then there is personal fear, which often propels a person back to his old lifestyle after a few weeks of initial elation. White knows of many people who hit this paralyzing wall.
After all, not everyone is designed for working less, for changing their values. White, too, had a hard time weaning herself from the ever-ringing cell phone and twilight presentations.
Here is how she arrived at the idea of a book: Evaluating her coaching practice, White asked 30 of her 40 clients to describe what she did for them. The responses fell into four points: they spent less time at the office; made more money; felt more fulfilled; and turned work into play.
It hit her: She helped them to work less and make more.
The writing came easily after that. White devised a 10-point plan on which the book is based and used many personal stories to illustrate. She studied client files to review the passage she took them through.
She wrote the 170-page book in about two months from November 1997 to January 1, 1998. She sent the outline, introduction and marketing plan to Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, which picked it up.
The first 5,000 runs of the book slipped into their jackets June 5 and should arrive at local bookstores by July 1. Half are already spoken for, going to readers of White's weekly column - found in five regional business papers - and her two electronic newsletters. She'll be promoting the text in New York in September.
The lifestyle that produced the book is one that is changed. Nowadays, White takes three vacations a year - scuba diving a few months ago, a visit to Sanibel Island, Fla, in two weeks. She won't work after 6:30 p.m. or on the weekends. She exercises four to five times a week, often paints and is nurturing friendships. She makes more money.
White is also toying with ideas for follow-up books: 101 Ways To Work Less, Make More will be next, she said. After that, Worry Less Live More, will help readers clear the fear hurdle.
But White will not allow her writing success to interfere with her new philosophy. Sipping a mocha coffee, she casually said she'll probably start writing after about six months.
Copyright ©1998 Cincinnati Enquirer.