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Without headaches or hassles

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • How your spouse can help you unlock your full potential — particularly in business (7:51)
  • The trick to invite good fortune and blessings into your business (9:47)
  • How to create a culture where no employee wants to leave (even 20 years down the road) (10:31)
  • Two simple, but hard ways to make your employees feel like part of your family (12:14)
  • Why the “F-word” is the single best ways to make your employees excited to work for you (13:44)
  • The reason leadership skills beat management skills in entrepreneurship (16:50)
  • How your mindset is the difference between your business withering away or becoming super successful (21:02)

If you want to follow Rob, check him out on his Facebook Page. Or if you want to learn more about our Lancaster Greenhouse and Nursery, check out our website here https://lancastergreenhouse.com/ and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

If you’re looking for a rewarding side gig or a full time career that allows you the flexibility to have a lot of fun, reach out to me at jill@jillallencoaching.com or on the Jill Allen Coaching Facebook Page.

If you have zero energy to focus on yourself and need extra support and accountability from women who know what it’s like to juggle a crazy busy life, then go to https://befitandfierce.com and become unstoppable with us.

Or, if you want to join a sisterhood dedicated to growing our faith, join our Just Breathe Facebook Group.

Read Full Transcript

Hi there. I'm Jill Allen and this is find your fierce, the show designed for women to discover your fierce, unlock and unstoppable mindset. Build unbreakable courage and completely transform how you show up every single day. Each week I will bring ideas, methods and strategies that will inspire you to step into your greatness and live life on purpose. Let's be fit, fierce and unstoppable.

(00:35): Hey there. Welcome to find your fierce. Love it. That you are here with us today. I'm super excited to continue our business series, passion to profits. This is number three. So if you're new and just tuning in, we cover a lot of topics from health to fitness, to nutrition, to our faith or mindset, our family relationships. And in this series, passionate profits, we're going to continue to dive into our professional development. Talk a little bit about business startups, entrepreneurship, and what it takes to make it all happen. And you are going to love it. It today. I'm actually trying not to laugh here as I am interviewing my husband. He is a master at thinking outside of the box. We've been a power team. Absolutely love it. He's the owner of Lancaster greenhouse, a long time entrepreneur, a data, five best husband ever. Baseball coach.

(01:23): You name it. He's he's like, I'm just so glad that he's said yes to being here. We have Rob Allen here with us today. How you doing Rob? Hi, Jill. Thanks for having me on with you. I know this is crazy because let me give you guys a heads up on the last 10 minutes of what has been going on, and you want to talk about how husband and wives work together in all of this. And I had asked him a few weeks ago to be on this show and talk a little bit about business and you know, how we work together, how we can share with others, how to build a business and work together as a husband and wife, and these last 10 minutes, trying two, get the zoom and this interview process up and going. So he is in the office and one side of the house, I am hiding in my closet in a completely different room with my own computer.

(02:18): We have our speakers on ready to go and we're going to interview. He's not a techie guy. Okay. And so we're trying to get the zoom hookup. And so you could just see if you could be a fly on the wall, the last 10 minutes of how this works. I mean, Rob, do you want to share anything on that? You could have had a marriage counseling session for the last 10 minutes. Had we been recording live, but now it can kind of get down to some content and cover some stuff that's more interesting than marriage. No, I got, well, you know what, Greg touched on this last week because he said, you know, when the husband and wife work together, you're almost light and he, of course didn't have the scientific, you know, exact number, but he said you could add 40 to 50 years onto a marriage when husband and wives worked together from all the challenges that we go through, then the decisions that we have to make inside and outside the home when it comes to our team and the business and all that good stuff. So I know we just kind of proved that here with our zoom. Well, let's, let's kind of share with everybody. You know, I always, you know, they hear my side of the story about you and how we work together, but I just want you to fill everybody in a little bit about yourself, what you absolutely love when it comes to building a business, when your first business, it kind of came, Oh, together.

(03:45): Do you want to go into that a little bit? Yeah, basically I got started in a greenhouse nursery business locally here where we live and, you know, it was my plan a and at the time jail, you obviously had, you know, a full time career teaching, but we were kind of, I guess, blessed and cursed at the same time because we did start and build the business together. So there were a lot of challenges as well as a lot of positive that came out of, you know, building that together. And I think the biggest struggle. Yeah, you can probably agree with this is when you're building a business with your spouse, it's hard to kind of turn it off. It's hard to escape the work mode. You know, you'll be doing something in a social atmosphere or something with the kids, and then for no reason, something business pops into your head and all of a sudden you're having a three minute board meeting essentially.

(04:41): And, you know, we've kind of done that for, you know, 20 years strong now. And there's been struggles where at times at the board meeting, all the board members weren't getting along and we didn't have the same ideas, but we also had, you know, 90% of the ideas and things that came out of that were very strong. And I think most spouses can use that. You know, it's not something that has to be negative or nothing, you know, but struggles, I feel that you and I, you know, we've built through that and you know, we're stronger coming through all, you know, everything we've done together, business wise, as well as personally.

(05:18): Yeah. Well, you know, you actually had a little bit more experienced when it comes to the business side. You know, my only type of business, a entrepreneur ship take on was me raking leaves at the age of 10. And you know, I shared that story a couple of weeks back. And so when I was coming in, I had the mindset of being a teacher and an educator. And I, you know, was from one side of things, you actually had a business from the time of what you were 15, 16, you started your own landscaping company.

(05:52): Yeah. In high school, you know, started a small scale. It was, it's almost more of a handyman company, but

(05:58): You know, specialize more in marching and trimming and plannings and landscape work just because I grew up around that your family was involved. My uncle had a garden center. So I kind of, I wasn't around that a lot, but having started at a young age with that and know that it was a good, good way for me to learn a lot of the, the do's and don'ts of being a young entrepreneur and you touched on the leaf raking. And one of the things I learned early as being very transparent with pricing and having that all out ahead of time. So the consumer we're aware of what, you know, pricing was getting into and clearly your leaf raking, maybe that wasn't the case. I know, I don't think it was, but I do remember us having, and I think we have to have a combination. So when people are starting off in, on a business, we have to have the visionary, we have to have the dream, or we have to have like, in a sense, kind of like the architect.

(06:52): Okay. And then on the other side, we have the busy body, the worker that gets it done and the one that builds it. And I think with both of us, I think we're both the architects when it comes to this. And it's going to, we're going to actually talk a little bit about the builders here in a second, but I remember, well, we, it was right before we got married and we were supposed to get married that December. I was going to get my master's and, and all of that good stuff. And you were just going to come down to Lancaster and we know continue your landscape company at that point. And there was this greenhouse that was for sale. Now you gotta think back guys, when we talked about risks, we talked about putting yourself out there. We talked about putting, getting outside of your comfort zone, thinking outside of the box.

(07:41): And I remember calling you because you were up in Northwest Ohio at that time. And I said, God, you know, there's a greenhouse for sale. No, I wanted you to come back to our hometown. Right. I wanted to, I wanted to move back home. So I said there was a greenhouse for sale. And what did you say? Remember there might've been a little silence, you know, I kind of digested the initial thought and I, I want to stay my first, the thing I responded with was, well, I've never really worked in a greenhouse or run a greenhouse. Yeah. And I just kind of disregarded that and I said, well, there's an apartment there. We could live there. We could just make this run. You can run your greenhouse or your landscape company out of the greenhouse. And you said you are a landscaper, not a grower.

(08:24): Correct. Yeah. And I think the reason to end up kind of working out is because one, you sort of planted a seed like, Hey, we can do this. Yes. It basically would, would take me out of my comfort zone because I was more of the installation, the labor larger plant material side, but you're like, well, we can learn it, you know? And it was like, okay, if she believes in it, then I believe in it. And then, you know, together, we, you know, from there we started building off and, you know, didn't shut down the idea, You know, it's,

(08:56): It's hard to believe, you know, fast forward 20 some years later, I enjoy the greenhouse sound and the growing end and the retail and, you know, a hundred times more than I ever did the landscaping. So had I been closed off to your initial idea, then that would have never happened. And the doors that have opened because of that and us taking that step. Yeah. Will you talk about learning? And I think we have to constantly be in as entrepreneurs or even just a human being, if we can have the mindset of, okay, I want, I want to learn more. I want to become better. I am willing to do what it takes. I'm willing to learn on how to do things. I think that has been critical. I think in the steps, I want to touch base on something here. Okay. Because you know, we talk about the architects and the builders and when it comes to a business, we have been very, very, like you talk about fortunate and blessed, and I don't think it's by accident either.

(09:58): And I, of course we thought that maybe it was accident 20 years ago, but now 20 years later, we can look back and look at those things and actually kind of pay it forward here and share with all of you guys when it comes to building a culture and a team, because no matter what kind of business we have, no matter what we are doing, we cannot do it alone. And we have to have people you'll buy into the vision who believe in what we're doing, but then also are the ones that are the builders. Okay. So we might be the architects and all of this, but let's talk a little bit about the culture and the way you see things, because you have played such a critical role and why we still have the same team a retail store for 20 years. I mean, that's unheard of.

(10:47): And so I want to talk a little bit about culture. It truly is, and we've hundred percent been blessed. I like your word choice. And you know, it is not necessarily by accident having, since we did not have, I should say the experience on how to really truly run a retail garden center. I think I know I did. I'm sure we both did. We realized we're going to have to find other people that do have experience. You don't have to be the best at something, but you darn well better associate yourself with people who, who are, I think put a big importance on, you know, finding the right team members and staff members to get on board. In some of those, I know there's one or two ladies in particular that actually worked for the owner before us. So there were some initial struggles because we had a vision of where the garden center was going to go.

(11:41): And, you know, they may be had a vision of the way it was. So we kind of had to recreate where we wanted it to go and sort of get that vision, going, paint that vision as well as adding new members and create that family with everybody there, the new, the existing us, you know, being new leaders. And the ironic thing was, is we were half of the rage. So we were dealing with a lot of, you know, with that, you know, just not having experienced that they did, but as we built it, you know, because they're such a valuable tool. One of the most important thanks for everybody is time and being appreciated. So I know we a hundred percent appreciated them from day one day, two day. You know, even to this, you know, you're 20 years into it. Now we know that their family is extremely important.

(12:33): So things are going to come up in their world that they're going to have to drop what they do with us. And to be able to go, you know, tend to their family, whether it's a spouse or so we've always built in a lot of flexibility, you know, with our scheduling and responsibilities. And it took a while, but you know, over time I think that alone was a huge perk that they knew that we put family first and it wasn't just our family. It was theirs as well because their family became a part of ours. So, you know, really, truly valuing those employees and what was important to them. I knew kind of solidified their trust in us. Yeah. And another big thing kind of along the entire journey, we were always right in the trenches with them. I mean, it didn't matter if it was getting underneath some of our retail benches and pulling weeds or, you know, working 16 hour days or whatever it was. We were in there with them and still are to this day. And I know we're kind of leading from the front and, you know, I th I feel they were right there with them. It's not dislike us giving orders and directing and trying to force them into doing something.

(13:45): We mentioned flexibility. I want to go into that a little bit more for those who do have a business, you know, trying to create a team, the flexibility, I just think at any job or anybody that would love this type of flexibility, they get to choose their own hours Is, you know, take a step back. I know there are days to where you would be begging them to take a day off because they just love being there so much. Because I think with that flexibility and the trust that you built in the fact that we are all family, they want to be there, but at the same time they feel empowered and they take that list. Like they up level, they take that

(14:22): They have so much personal ownership. So

(14:25): Again, think about, you know, the current, maybe you're in a current career right now, how much personal ownership do you have? We always say the owners care more about the business,

(14:38): Then anyone out there.

(14:39): But I think I can honestly say our team at

(14:42): The greenhouse, they care about it just as much. Absolutely. And you know, that will, that plays into really any other position or career that everybody's involved in, in our specific case. You're exactly right. I mean, it's an every year thing. I'll be, you know, our peak seasons, April, may, and June. So sometimes I kind of lose track of, you know, all the details of what's going on. And every two weeks I'll do payroll and I'll, at that time notice there's two or three or four employees that haven't taken a day off in 20 some days, that's almost to the other extreme enough to talk to him. I'm like you guys, I really appreciate you pulling your blood, sweat, and tears of it. You gotta get out of here. I mean, you need, you know, some mental health days and their responses when I'm not here, I'm afraid it's not going to get done.

(15:31): Right. Yeah. Cause we've gotten to a place where we trust them so much that we give them sort of, I don't want to call them zones, but everybody sort of has the responsibility where they've taken upon themselves, different areas or key points of the business where, you know, for example, we have a gal that handles perennials succulents herbs, and she's got to the point where she does all the ordering. She does all the care, the trimming. I mean, it's, it's unbelievable. The amount of pressure that takes off of us out of owners is phenomenal. So that will also come into play with any other business, whether you're an employee or the CEO, just make sure that that culture and that environment is there where, you know, if you're the employee take that on our ship because the owners are going to be noticing it like we are, and you'll obviously be rewarded for it.

(16:22): Or if you're the CEO, if you create that culture, your employees will embrace it and, you know, reward you so passed along to the service of whatever business. Absolutely. So it'll trickle down into the end user, your customer. And that's what, we're where it really matters because without your true end user customer being satisfied, that's what truly builds the business. Yeah, no, I it's. Yeah. It gets you, it gets, you fired up about building a team. And I think there is a difference between leadership and management. And I think so many business owners come in the management mindset versus the leadership side. And I think that's where that leadership development, the personal development of how to empower and lift others up, we'll go beyond whatever it is that we can imagine. I think when in a team. So you definitely have got that going on when it comes to that. Let's shift gears here a little bit. So let me recap, let me recap on that first in terms of culture, and this is what I picked up the flexibility, having flexibility within a team, creating a family, creating a family, taking interest and your team's family. And I think you just become one big, large family. You get to know each other and the empowerment. And I think another one thing I took notes on was not only leading, but also getting in the trenches

(17:49): With your team and that trust that's where that trust really.

(17:53): And the commitment level I think is what really happens when it comes to your team. So I love that culture. You've done an amazing, awesome job when it comes to that. And I know our team at the greenhouse is absolutely phenomenal, so we love it. We love them as well. So let's shift gears here and talk a little bit about adapting because, you know, we're seeing trends, we're seeing things shifting when it comes to the retail and we're seeing trends and massive shifts in the consumer end, the service end and all of these things. And we know life happens, things are gonna change constantly. Okay. And as business owners, entrepreneurs, you need to be able to keep up, adapt, Ideally stay ahead of these massive shifts. So it is 2020. Okay. So we all know what's happened in 2020 and all the changes. I kind of want to go into a little bit about how you have adapted in a retail sense and why this was the best thing ever than being closed off and quit and not being

(18:56): Adaptive to change a little bit. This, this, this truly was a crazy, crazy spring for us at the garden center. You know, when everything started to unravel mid-March and you know, most retail environments were basically closed by that time. All of our young plants and things that we grow green, you know, eight, 10 different greenhouses, we were totally full and it was totally well underway and there was no turning back. So we basically had 24 or 48 hours to digest. Okay. We have, you know, all of this product and we no longer have a market for it. So that was a really big eye opening moment from, from a business leader type position, because one, okay, this is going to really hurt financially. And then two, this is really going to hurt him emotionally because touching back to the staff, it, all of a sudden comes into play and all of their family.

(19:58): So, it was like, okay, we got this going on. What are we going to do to fix it? I mean, it was that simple. And for years, three, four years, we knew the shift. You know, everybody knows online sales. It's just, it's, what's common. It's what's here. I shouldn't say common. It's, it's here upon us. And we've all, you know, taken advantage of it, you know, personal levels already, but we've never done it ourselves, you and I with our business. Right. And so basically in one week we created our entire garden center and put it online and said, okay, if you know companies, I don't eat, I don't even need to name names. If they're already out there shipping products, why can't our garden center? Do it. Yeah.

(20:42): That was the first time. That was the first time, I think in 20 years that I've seen, you have like, Oh, crowd look. I mean, I remember it cause it was touchy time. And it was like, what are we going to do? Now? I knew that we were always going to be okay, no matter what, we have our faith and you know, we were gonna, we had each other and all that good stuff, but that was, there was a moment. And I looked at you and you're like, Oh my gosh, I don't know what we're going to do. I am so thankful that you had the solution mindset versus I'm going to just shut down and become that victim of, wow. This is happening to me and is going to dictate my

(21:17): Future in the, in the circumstance is going to

(21:20): Dictate how we move forward or not move forward. So solution mindset guys was key in all of this. Okay. So fast forward. Okay. And this could be for any business

(21:30): In terms of adapting. Well, yeah. Cause truly every business is in a different playing field now. So whether we like it or not the entire world and every business is different and it's only going to continue to get more different as we go. So whatever it is, everybody needs to be readapting if we haven't already, or if you haven't already it's time. There's not a choice. Everybody must do it because the businesses that do adjust and adapt will be the ones that around two, three years from now, right. We were very fortunate. It was extremely well received. With rolling out the retail garden center, we absolutely blew the top off of our spring season. And it's crazy because we went from not knowing what was going on to being the busiest year we've ever dealt with by far. And we hired all of our staff back.

(22:23): So everybody was working. Then we hired anybody that worked five years ago back, and then anyone they knew back. I mean, it was almost like scrambling just to keep up and it was wild, but the entire time we, we had a direction, we knew where we're heading and you know, there was an organization in place, but there was also, you know, we knew it was going to work. Yeah. We, you know, as things changed, we kept adapting and we didn't have a delivery fleet of vehicles. So we got it. We didn't have the staff to run all these delivery. So when we started it, we got it. I mean, so there was a ton of learning going on and hopefully a lot of, you know, you, other folks that have businesses or, you know, how are dealing with change, you know, hopefully you've already started you know, implement a lot of different changes in your business, if not, there's still time, but you definitely want to be proactive and know that yes, you can do that. And now's the time.

(23:23): Well, and it, and it kind of is connect wine. It is connected to back to the culture.

(23:28): If we didn't have a good culture set and in place, and it was good, it's going to be that much more difficult when it comes into, because the team believes thanks if the greenhouse is there. Sure. Yeah. I mean, they paid, dug it, they dove in as much or more than we did because, you know, I made a comment like, wow, you ladies are counted. Like where does keeping up with you? I mean, so they saw us doing it. We saw them doing and it was just like, wow. I mean, it was amazing. I mean, but it was a clear switch that we flipped that something different is going to happen. Here's how it's going to work as best we can predict. And, you know, we all just kind of dove in and, you know, obviously there were meetings and, you know, things that took place to, to make it happen, but it wasn't by accident.

(24:16): Yeah. And just finding again, a solution versus, you know, sitting back and letting it happen to you. You know, I always said, you know, through this time that there were two different, you know, avenues you know, in this take away the health, the health scares and things like that. But during this time, people were either going to sit back and become stagnant, or they're going to turn this around shift and turn this into a blessing one way or the other. And, you know, change is a good thing. Change can, especially when you embrace it and it can become better than what you even could have imagined. And it was exactly what we needed. I looked at this change and it forced us to do something that we have talked about for doing the last couple years, but it forced us to grow. It forced us to stretch ourselves in growing in terms of personal growth.

(25:07): And I love that. And I, I saw you. I watched you, you guys were talking about zoom, trying to get on a zoom call here today to record this podcast. And it took 10 minutes to even download that. And I said, he wasn't a techie guy. I spoke too fast. He was a techie guy. He spent wow. Over a hundred hours uploading the entire greenhouse and retail store onto a commercial site. So it's talk about adapting. And he always said, is that he's not a techie guy. He proved himself wrong. I think, do you agree? You always say, you're not a techie guy, but you don't, you got a website.

(25:44): Definitely not. It's just amazing what we can accomplish when we really put our minds to it. Not me. I'm absolutely nothing special. It's just, I, I, there wasn't a choice. So I mean, we're all like that. We all have the tools you just, you know, we have to dig in and make it happen.

(26:01): Yeah, no, I love it. I love it. I love it. So, okay. So we talked about, you know, taking the risk, doing all that good stuff, the culture, creating a team, and then the adapting, when it comes to our business, I tell you, you guys, if you want to two follow Rob, check him out on Facebook, under Rob Allen or the Lancaster greenhouse and nursery Facebook page. We're also on Instagram. And I want to give you guys a heads up. I do encourage women to take that leap. I help bring out their entrepreneurial heart by helping them build a business while working from anywhere. We have one of the best teams out there that impact a lot of lives. So if you're looking for a rewarding side gig or a full time career, that allows you the flexibility and to have a lot fun, reach out to me at Joe at Joe Allen, coaching.com. Also, if you want to join a sisterhood dedicated to growing our faith, join our, just breathe. Facebook group heads up on the next episode, we're going to start a new series. We're going to have a chat on some tough current topics and events and how we can do our part. Thanks so much for joining us today. Rob, thanks so much for doing this with me. I absolutely love it. Please subscribe, share this episode, link on your social media. As we all know,

(27:10): Someone that can benefit and I would love it. If you would give some feedback and a review as well, talk with you next time. Be fit. Be here to be unstoppable. See ya.

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