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What It Takes to Be a Successful Female Entrepreneur with Jill Morenz, Aviatra Accelerators: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Sep 05, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking being a successful female entrepreneur with Jill Morenz. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

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Marketing Smarts: What It Takes to Be a Successful Female Entrepreneur with Jill Morenz, Aviatra Accelerators

This week, we’re back with another Marketing Smarts Moment that’s an entire episode. We’re thrilled to welcome special guest Jill Morenz, the President and CEO of Aviatra Accelerators. Jill and Aviatra are all about supporting, enabling, and lifting female entrepreneurs. Hear the biggest challenges female entrepreneurs face, how to get started, focus on your mission, why women give up, and how to find the community that supports you during the good and bad times. This episode covers everything from entrepreneurship to perseverance. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you become a successful female entrepreneur?
  • What are the biggest challenges female entrepreneurs face?
  • How did Jill find Aviatra Accelerators?
  • What does it take to become a successful female entrepreneur?
  • How do you tackle Impostor Syndrome?
  • What advantages do women have at entrepreneurship?
  • How do you go about networking?
  • What is Jill’s favorite way to unwind?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you miss anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I’m Anne Candido and I am April Martini. And today we’re gonna do a another Marketing Smarts Moment. This one is focused on entrepreneurship, and specifically female entrepreneurship and what it takes to be successful. I mean, entrepreneurship isn’t easy, no matter your gender. But if we are real, and that’s how me and April roll. Yes, it is. The business world can still be a little bit of a hustle place for ambitious women, especially those looking to rise and especially especially those who are looking to do their own thing, which is why we formed ForthRight Women, frankly. And if you want more on that, you could check out our website, which is Yes, so definitely check that out. And I echo everything that Anne said, because entrepreneurship sure is a beast all on its own. And while we absolutely love it at forthright people, we are also quick to qualify that it takes a different mindset and set of skills when you actually make that decision to go on your own, regardless of what you were doing before that point, which is a lot of what we’re gonna get into in today’s conversation. Yeah, and if it’s not just us as April said, who are really passionate about this, we have another organization is practicing our marketing smarts in pursuit of supporting enabling and lifting female entrepreneurs. And that is Aviatra. And today we have their CEO and President Jill Morenz to discuss this important topic. So thanks for being with us today, Jill, and would you like to introduce yourself and tell us more about Aviatra?

Jill Morenz 1:53
yeah, thank you both so much for this opportunity. I’m so excited to talk with you about this. So Aviatra Accelerators. We’re actually 13 years old organization. We’re a nonprofit in the Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Dayton, Ohio region. And we provide education and connections and resources to help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses faster and with more confidence.

Anne Candido 2:17
That’s fabulous. And maybe tell me you and tell us a little bit about how you found Aviatra and how you got to be the president and CEO.

Jill Morenz 2:24
So it was founded, as I said, 13 years ago in 2010. And it was really back then, you know, it was it was an even more challenging environment for women entrepreneurs. And the founder, really was looking around the ecosystem and saw all these women with these really great ideas and a ton of hustle. And they were kind of working in a vacuum. And so, you know, nowadays, there’s a lot more resources for entrepreneurs in general. But back then it was it was really hard, especially with the funding piece. And so, which is still a challenge. I’m sure we can talk about that later. But that’s what it was originally started as kind of a path to capital. And we’ve continued that our main program as an accelerator that’s been happening ever since 2010. And then we have a lot of other programs for women at different stages of their business.

Anne Candido 3:17
Yeah, we’re gonna get into all of those. So delicious. Start with what you mentioned already, which is some of the big challenges. And we know that there when you guys got founded, there was some massive challenges. And the challenges have evolved since then. So what do you currently seeing right now that female entrepreneurs are really facing? And, frankly, how are they overcoming them?

Jill Morenz 3:38
So as I mentioned, you know, the biggest one is funding, you know, starting a business, kind of, like you mentioned, the beginning is is a challenge for both men and women. And there’s not that much difference there when it comes to to starting the business. But when it comes to being ready to grow, and accessing funding, it’s that’s where the gender difference really shows up. So this is just a really startling statistic that I wanted to share with you. So in 2021, out of all the business loans, all the small business loans given across the country, only 5% of them were given to women, even though women owned 30% of the small businesses in America. Oh, wow. So you know, part of that is because of the types of businesses that women tend to start, you know, they may not really need capital, because they’re, you know, like providing a service much like yours where you sort of capitalize it with your customers, right like that your customers are your capital, you don’t need to borrow. But there’s a lot of situations where people do need to borrow especially if they’re doing like a product or if they’re, you know, owning like a food business where they need equipment, that kind of thing or you know other all content businesses, you know, any other kind of business that you can think of a lot of them when it comes time to grow. They Need to get funding. And that’s that’s where the challenge is to. And you know, the way we help is by helping women get their business to the point where lenders will take them seriously. So that’s, you know, having a really robust business plan with realistic financial projections, not just, you know, kind of wishes, and, you know, having a strong story and a strong presence in the community. So, I think that’s the biggest gender difference, but then we also see a lot, you know, women, I think everybody across the board tends to struggle, from time to time with imposter syndrome. But I think women tend to perhaps suffer from that more than men do in the business community. And I think that is really the way to address that is really by by connecting with other women entrepreneurs, and saying, you know, there’s they can do it, I can do it, I don’t have to do it alone. That’s the biggest part of it, I think, is just reassuring them that you don’t do this alone. And then the third thing is, you know, women, as you guys know, especially with your focus on executive moms, you know, the women are doing all the things truly all the thing, yeah, oh, yes, if they are expected also, or want to also build a business, the time management becomes absolutely critical. And so we talk a lot about that, and about the systems that you can implement, you know, perhaps hiring more sooner than you would have. And now that you know, vas, or, you know, virtual work is very easy to find, you know, that’s one way to get started with that you don’t have to hire a full time employee or a W two or anything. And then really, a lot of women just deal with it by overworking. And so that’s a danger that we really have to be aware of. And it’s the burnout rate is really high. And just for all aspects, and finding the ways to manage their time better and prioritize I think is a really big season. And that’s kind of something that you would learn as you go. But there are strategies to help clarify that I think for for people also, that we can teach.

April Martini 7:17
Yeah, I mean, I think that while all the points you brought up are so super important, but I have a couple of them that I think really resonate is, or the way I was thinking about it is there are so many different types of barriers that come at us. And then when we are trying to do it all really having the resources, like you said, and I think one of the big things that you guys provide, and it’s similar to why we started fourth grade women, was to make sure that we can look around and see more others like us, right? Because that seems to be one of the perpetual problems is that if you can’t see others, and you’re dealing with the imposter syndrome, at the same time, it becomes kind of a self fulfilling prophecy, if you will, where it’s like, I don’t have the competence here, I need to find it elsewhere where I can’t find it elsewhere. So now, you know, what am I going to do about this? And so those are the things that just came to mind as you were running through all the challenges.

Jill Morenz 8:15
Yeah, I absolutely agree.

Anne Candido 8:18
Yeah, I had to just build on that as like, there’s such an internal external struggle, I feel. And I feel like that does like continue to sometimes keep women stock eat, whether they’re female entrepreneurs, or whether or not they’re females who are trying to rise to leadership positions. I definitely think because there doesn’t seem to be as much of a model for that, that kind of is lifting and pulling up. But then also, it feels like we’re still in this place internally, that maybe we don’t don’t feel like we belong quite yet. Either, right. And so it’s kind of just standing into the power that you you possess a new exhibit, because it’s not going to be easy. And I think that’s the, the one thing that also kind of keeps a lot of women stuck is like, Oh, this is so much harder than I expected it to be and it and it feels like it’s easier for so and so on the other side who may be male, because they have that already that existing support structure or that model or these other things. So I think internally in order to be able to validate and really bring the external to life, we kind of have to start internally, it feels like an order to really kind of step into that and really wanted and I feel like that could be a really hard decision for many. And so Jen, I’d love to get your take on that about where you’re seeing like female entrepreneurs really getting stuck. Like there’s a long process on this, like even from just getting started to, you know, and then getting into a business and then scaling the business like where are you seeing entrepreneurs really getting stuck in this process and how are you helping them overcome being stuck?

Jill Morenz 9:57
That’s a great question. And in fact, we are We address this on our website, because there are such a, there’s this that kind of continuum of stages, from thinking, thinking, thinking about starting a business, having a new business, being in business for several years, and then you know, continuing to grow and scale and, and so on our website, we’ve created these pathways, it’s four pathways, and we provide resources and programs for each one for wherever a woman is, which when she comes into when she discovers us, you know, wherever she is on her entrepreneurship journey. And because there are the the needs of, of the women as they go through each of those stages is very different. Generally speaking, I think there’s some, there’s definitely some overall pieces of it like that community piece. But for when they’re just getting started, we really see we call them the three eyes. So we see that they need inspiration, ideation and instruction. So inspiration is exactly like what you were saying, who is doing it, who can I meet and see that they’re doing it and hear their story and realize that they’re not that they’re a real person, just like I am with all kinds of real responsibilities, and, you know, considerations, and they are doing it and so that’s inspiring, and then the ideation. So you know, a lot of times people have some kind of an idea about what they might want to do, sometimes it’s not very formed, or they have several ideas or too many ideas, right. And so how to how to refine their idea, do a little bit of, you know, maybe market research, to see if how realistic that is to turn that particular idea into a business. So that’s the ideation piece. And then the nuts and bolts of actually getting started, you know, like, literally, where do I go? What do I have to do? Do I have to be an LLC should I don’t have to have a business bank account, you know, really basic stuff, that that’s really helpful. You have to know it, and I think people get stuck on it, you know, like, Oh, it’s too much trouble. And you know, and I get that, and there’s, there’s a lot of little details there. We do have a program, that’s a half day workshop, and it’s called, explore your business idea. It’s just $50. And we just take people’s kind of through all these things, exactly, that the inspiration, and then refining their idea, and then just you know, Okay, now let’s get down to it. What do you do first, you know, where, where you have to file? What do you have to file so. So those are the spaces for the people who are just getting started. So then the women who have a new business, you know, that’s where they’re really like, oh, my gosh, as you said, this is hard, I didn’t really know that it’s gonna be this hard. I love doing the thing that I do. And then there’s so much else, right, there’s marketing piece of it, and invoicing and billing and contracts and on and on and on us. And so that overwhelm, and then the time management thing is, that’s really where I think women just tend to either go, Oh, that’s okay. I’m not gonna really do this, after all, or they, they keep they persevere, which, you know, more power to them. But sometimes they’re working, you know, that old chestnut of working harder, not smarter, right? And they’re, they’re just burning themselves out. And they don’t necessarily have to do all that. So I think it’s a little bit of focus, you know, like, where should they focus their energy. So we say at Aviatra, we help women with the three essential types of connections that they need to be an entrepreneur. So the first one has connections to experts. So you know, like, you’re thinking, Okay, I’m done with bookkeeping, trying to do my bookkeeping myself, or designing my website or doing my social media. So what do you get to start doing, like, how to, you know, who can help me do my social media on Google and you know, you don’t know who to trust or anything. So, you know, we tried to connect people with all of our instructors are experts in their fields. And so we’re connecting people with actual experts, and they can get to know them a little bit, you know, see if they want to work with them, and if they like them, so connected to experts is the first type of connection connections to funding sources is the next one. So just exactly like we talked about connections to lenders, grantors investors, and really customers too. I mean, that’s the most critical funding source. And then connections to other entrepreneurs, just like we talked about our aviator community is just full of women that are, you know, doing big things and hustlin and really want to support other women. So that’s, that’s the other big piece of it is just, you know, we have mastermind we have like a mastermind program and some other things. And I’ve been in a mastermind for years and years, I was not only if I worked for 10 years in the in the nonprofit space here, but I also had my own side businesses for 17 years. And I’ve been in a mastermind for a long time and one of my cohort one of my people in the mastermind, she doesn’t really share a whole lot like she’s very, I love her dad. We all I love her. But you know, she’s not. She doesn’t bring us like really thorny questions. She’s just kind of like, what does it cost us blue green? And then we give our opinion. She goes, Okay, great, thanks. We’re like, Well, are you really getting anything out of this? And she said, Oh, you have no idea. Nobody else in my life is an entrepreneur. And so when I talk to you guys, I feel like, like, I’m not crazy. Yeah. Like, there’s just nobody else. And another woman I was talking to she, she does has a grant writing business. And she told me and I go home, I talk to my husband about all this stuff. Well, do you think I should go on you do a Facebook ad campaign? Or should I make it live on LinkedIn? And he’s like, Honey, what? I don’t know, whatever, whatever. I love you no matter what, right? And she’s like, well, thank you. But that’s not really helpful. I think that’s a big piece of it is like, you know, who am I going to ask these questions to? Right. And so when you’re right, in the thick of things in that new business, the first couple of years, oh, my gosh, there’s so many questions, and you just really have to, not, you know, remember, you don’t have to figure this out yourself. People have done it before you just find those people and they’re happy to help the third stage, so that ready to grow, I look at three things there, I look at assets, people and money. So the assets, I think are like the thing that you make or do so you know, your your own skills, or products, your intellectual property. So that kind of thing, like kind of like, really getting that dialed in protecting your assets with insurance or patents. So whatever, you know, contracts, then people when you’re really ready to grow, you need a team, right? We’ve talked about like doing these 10, nine nines and stuff. But when you get really serious, you’re gonna need it a team. And that could still be tenant, United’s, but they need to be really focused on you, you know? So building that team, and also just that on, you know, the community of experts. And who do you turn to when you need, you know, when you have an insurance question, or when you need your website updated, or whatever. And then the money is, you know, your pricing, is your pricing, right? Are your margins good? And, you know, are you ready to go for some funding to borrow some money to really make some, some big moves? So I think those are the three kind of like buckets, and then the struggles for each one. What are you all hearing?

April Martini 17:22
Yeah, I mean, you said so many things there, I was, like, trying to get my head as you were going, all the things to react to. But I’ll touch on the ones that, you know, resonate with me. And then you know, and I’m sure we’ll have some, but first and foremost, the when to stop working harder and start working smarter, I think is really, really difficult. I think it ties to your whole thing about the simple questions to get you started, because I do think a ton of people really get stuck there. And I totally appreciate the three phases and what can happen in each one. But I remember back for me, how I didn’t want to feel and look stupid. And I think that’s a lot of it, right? It’s like I have done X, Y and Z before now. And I’m capable. And I should be able to figure this out. But I think the two things go hand in hand, which is ask people who have been there before you and leverage other people’s expertise as well. And one of the things that I’m so proud of myself for doing which sounds so silly when I first went on my own was, I was like, I don’t want anyone else to go through this. So I made like a 20 point checklist of all the things that you need to do when you’re starting your own business. And it was the things you talked about the LLC, when do I start a bank account? Do I need a credit card? How do I need business insurance, like all of that kind of stuff? And how many people since then, over the years, I’ve been like, just take this sheet, please. Of course I’m using it and she’s like, why were you not monetizing that and I’m like, okay.

Jill Morenz 18:58
There wasn’t a book right there.

April Martini 19:01
But there’s that piece of it. But then also to your point as you get going and knowing when you’ve hit a next gate, I think is tremendously challenging. And then also you go through all the emotions, right? It’s like you’re lucky, and to the point of your friend that you weren’t sure in the mastermind, if she’s getting anything out of it, but it’s like, well, I’m looking around and who else is there, right. And that was a big part of what led me to an was a year and a half after doing it myself. I was probably in a little bit of like the second to third of what you outlined. But it was feelings of I’m looking around and I don’t have anyone else and I’m running a successful gig, but I’m making all the decisions and I’m not growing. And I got here quicker than I thought I was. So now what’s next? And then where do you go from there? And so for me at that point in time, it was taking any meeting that was put on my plate because there weren’t organizations or you were here, but I wasn’t aware of it. So I think that these types of things that you’re talking about are so important and just the pure community Aspect paired with the expertise and the people that can fill in the gaps for you whether it’s virtual assistant type stuff, or it’s tax law or whatever it is, then the having been there before and learning from those that came before you, and people willing to do that, because you’re exactly right. There are tons of us out there. I do tons of these types of meetings, because I don’t want people to feel the way that I felt in the beginning. Yeah,

Anne Candido 20:25
I did a similar thing I called my friend Amy who had had her business for like, 10 years, I was actually in the airport coming home from an agency meeting for P&G, when I was still in P&G. And I’m like, Alright, tell me everything I need to do in order to start a business. It was an hour conversation, and I’m tapping it in into my notes, I probably still have the note in my phone about all the things I’m like, this seems like a lot of things she goes on. No, it’s complicated. It’s not that hard at all sounds very complicated and hard. But actually, when you get in it, it’s actually a lot easier than you think. So sometimes it’s just kind of overcoming like the the trepidation and nervousness of like, I don’t know, this space, or I don’t feel comfortable in this space quite yet. Or maybe I don’t consider myself an independent businesswoman yet. And those are the going back to a little bit of those feelings of impostor syndrome. But it’s also like, with knowledge comes power, and with knowledge comes confidence. And so sometimes for me, when I feel very much like I don’t even know what this looks like, I just go Google something, just to get a little bit of knowledge like that, once I get a little bit of knowledge about it, it kind of takes away a little bit of that mystique about how complicated really is because really, there isn’t anything very hard about starting the business from a technical standpoint, which is where I’ve seen a lot of people get stuck. But where then it kind of quickly kind of follows up behind that is a lot of these things that we’ve talked about is how do I get that credibility? How do I get the you know, build that reputation? And my my own? How do I break through a lot of the clutter and the noise and, and that I think becomes a the bigger question almost because you need the foundation by which to build everything. And that’s why we always say to start with brand and why brand is so incredibly important. Because it becomes the foundation in the groundwork for where everything comes from. So without a y without a purpose, without a mission without a vision, it’s kind of like you just you’re selling and you’re just selling your stuff, and but really what people are buying is that emotional connection, that that stuff delivers, whether it’s a service or a product. So when you can get to that level, all of a sudden, your business has a magnitude of value that it didn’t have before. And it rises from being a commoditized business, which I mean, a lot of I mean, we see women and men alike, I mean, everything’s a commodity, a commodity at some point would mean a produce a commodity, and every every business has some level of commodity. But in order for it to get to be a brand, you really need to invest in all of those brand foundational elements about its identity, its story and his character and his tone of voice, which makes it start to kind of take on a personality of its own. So I think it’s like, you know, the two things, it’s always like the things and it’s always like, What even is this? And, and so it is a hard thing to kind of go back and forth. And because for a long time, it’s just you, it’s just you in the business, and it’s very, very hard to work in your business and on your business at the same time.

Jill Morenz 23:15
Yeah, it’s a really, it really is impossible, which is why everybody gets overwhelmed, because you have to do both, and you can’t do them at the same time. So it takes twice as long, you know, essentially you figure like, well, now now I you know, I spent 40 hours working in the business to have to spend 40 hours on the business. So yeah, that’s really true.

Anne Candido 23:33
And that’s where it comes to, like you guys said about kind of bring those people in the fold as soon as possible. There’s a lot of ways of being able to do that economically. But there is some element of investment. And I think everybody tries to start a business on like a shoestring budget to some extent. And they’re they kind of scuze me, but half assed everything, but then wonder why the business doesn’t do well, right? So it’s also been being very mindful about what does it take to build my credibility to build my reputation, it doesn’t have to be everything. You don’t have to have a website and social and flyers and events and everything going on at once. But being very strategic about what it takes. And that goes back to what you were saying I think Jill about really understanding and doing that market research, understanding my customer, my client, my consumer, where’s their mindset? Where would they want to hear from me and building those vehicles that are going to reach them?

Jill Morenz 24:22
Yes, that’s a great point about figuring out where you need to be. And then the rest of it is optional. So you don’t you know, if you’re targeting, you know, 70 year old veterans, you probably don’t need to be on Instagram, you know? Yeah, so you just let that go. And then focus on the stuff that you need to be, you know, like, you know, I don’t know what do you might be on but like, you know, newspaper ads, right? Maybe.

Anne Candido 24:50
Right, you know, so they come to look for a way of being able to engage, right but you need to understand your consumer, your client, your customer in order to be able to most effectively reach them. engage them.

Jill Morenz 25:01
Yeah. And then and it helps you focus away from this cool new sexy stuff like, oh, maybe I should be on Tik Tok? Well, that seven year old veteran man is not gonna see it ever unless his grandson comes and shows it to him. Right? Exactly. No, really, like, we’re being honest. That’s way. That’s right. And so, exactly have to understand your customer. And, you know, to your point, also, and I think that whole idea of the why that, why are you doing this your mission, that’s what is going to see you through the ups and downs? Exactly. Yeah, if you don’t have a strong connection to it, if you just said, I just, I’m gonna start selling this thing, because I can sell it, I get it cheaper, whenever you know, that that’s not going to be enough. That’s not enough commitment, it’s not enough your own internal motivation to really give you any reason to, you know, come back after a setback, or, you know, we have another pandemic are, right, like, it’s just not enough. And so, but if you, like you, too, are very committed to your mission. You know, that’s gonna stop you.

Anne Candido 26:06
I think that’s a really good point. And I think that is one element of what we see in successful entrepreneurs, is a really crystal clear mission. And, you know, just for all of us listeners, just remind you, a mission is externally motivated. A mission is about the impact you plan to have. And when your keep your eye on that impact, everything else feels like part of the journey to get there. But it’s harder to get stopped if you feel like you’re delivering some level of impact that people feel like they need. So do I expand upon that, or give us some other commonalities or themes that you’ve seen among female entrepreneurs? Because I think a lot of them say, you know, I’m just don’t know if I’m made for this, or I just don’t know if I have what it takes. So, in your opinion, what does it take?

Jill Morenz 26:56
Yeah, I do think that there’s an absolute lay, you need to have a connection with what you’re doing. That’s huge. And if you if you don’t have it, that’s okay. You can do it as a side hustle or something, right? Like, if you just need want to just toe dip and, you know, get into something, I teach a workshop free workshop called Side Hustle without the hustle. And it’s just for people who want to get into, you know, just testing and, you know, it’s a lot of times it’s like, well, you know, I grow pumpkins on a Salomon Halloween, great, that’s probably not connected to a larger mission, right. It’s just Halloween, right. So but I think that when you really are getting serious about it, that’s a big piece of it is are you connected to your mission, and another piece of it is taking advantage of, of the resources that are available. So actually, our date and program manager was when she’s an alum of our accelerator, and she drove all the way down to Dayton, once a week for 10 weeks to be part of the program back in 2019. Because she said it was just all together, like it had all the stuff. But it was all together, I could have gotten it in all these different ways. And I just didn’t want to go that I didn’t, I don’t have time to mess around. And, you know, try this, try that try that is one go to one program. And you know, we’re not the only program out there. There’s so many this our region, we are very fortunate our region to have a very strong entrepreneurial support system right now community. And so there’s, you know, from Dayton, down all the way down here to through Cincinnati into Northern Kentucky, there’s, there’s so many resources, and a lot of them are free. And most of those are excellent. There’s paid ones also excellent. And it just depends on what you need. But when you were saying April, how you didn’t want to look stupid, right? That’s so common, so common, who does, right? Who wants to look stupid, nobody wants to look stupid. But I think it’s just remembering, you know, every single successful entrepreneur has started out where you are not knowing anything. So you have to remind yourself that a lot of it’s that self talk, you know, like, oh, I can’t do this. I may sound dumb right now. But I know that there’s three other people in this room who haven’t spoken up who had that exact same question. I will, I’m the brave one to say it aloud. So I think that the strong mission, the taking advantage of resources, and then you know, gathering a community around yourself, whether it’s community of experts that you pay, or just advisors, mentors, friends, that community that can support you when you know, both when you’re having a success and when you’re encountering a roadblock. I think those are the three things that successful women do when it comes to the women who who kind of give up or don’t make it I think what what they’re looking at what we see a lot of times there is overwhelm and that’s because they weren’t focusing on the own you know, not system They weren’t focusing on the right things, but they weren’t only focusing on the right things, not being able to pivot and and return from a setback. That’s another big piece. And some of that is, is their choice, right? Like if the guy who’s growing pumpkins, nobody wants pumpkins in July, and he’s like, forget it, I’m not going to help you that I’m done. You know, okay, well, he didn’t want to grow strawberries. That was what was, you know, people want in July, right? But that’s his choice. He wants to focus on pumpkin sounds okay. But a lot of times, it’s just, you know, they can’t let go of this vision that they had, and they, they aren’t able to listen to the market tell them? Well, it’s not quite that it’s something similar. It’s this. And they just are willing to listen to that. So that’s unfortunate. And then giving up without reaching out for help. There’s so much help so much help. And, you know, again, you may feel like you look stupid, but nobody thinks that you are, everybody understands, there’s so much help. So I really think I really think that’s critical. Our marketing strategist here at Aviatrix, she, her name is Jasmine, and she put it like this. She said, a lot of the early work when you’re starting a business happens underground, like growing the roots. You know, it’s making these connections, strengthening your own support network, and then that will eventually bear bear fruit and support you when you need it. I thought that was a lovely vision.

April Martini 31:24
Yeah, I mean, I think the under estimating that sometimes can happen when you have the idea that you want to go ahead and hit go, is a really big barrier. And as you were talking, I again, was thinking through my journey, and what you just said about the sort of, quote unquote, underground. I mean, I was working at an agency. And alongside that, I was doing exactly that. I was reinvigorating connections reaching out to people that, you know, networking, I will say, first of all the community aspect, but the networking and keeping that community strong, regardless of where you are, is hugely important. That’s kind of my smart and on my soapbox,

Jill Morenz 32:04
but, but it was critical for you. Right?

April Martini 32:08
Yeah, that sort of cultivating and thinking through things. And doing the hard work associated with that before it becomes a real thing can be challenging, but there is nothing else that propels you forward faster. Because you do your you haven’t yet put it out there to say you’re gonna go and do it. And yes, that moment in time is hugely important, for sure. And some people never get there. So you know, there’s that piece of it. And that’s another piece of being brave. But all of that sort of incubator, I guess is was my word for it time. And I think for me, it did a couple of things. One, it reminded me that I had a community and people that were supportive, it made me feel like I wasn’t crazy, because every time I pitched it, and people would say, yeah, that totally makes sense. I can see it. And then I could practice a little bit, right, I didn’t have to automatically say I’m pressing the button and going, it allowed for a lot more of a runway. That’s lovely to speak to that part of what you said. And then the other part of what you said around the pivoting I think is really, really important. I was having a conversation with someone who’s not an entrepreneur recently. And he was talking about how he thinks kind of like people are one or the other, right? Like you have it or you don’t have it. And we got into the whole thing around pivoting. And I said one of the things I love and hate the most is when I feel like I’m on my heels, because it is a moment where I know to your point about there’s something here, but I’m not there yet. And it drives me crazy. Anyway, that’s just how I’m built when I know there’s a solution, and I can’t. But embracing those pivot moments as opportunities instead of being disappointed when something doesn’t work out. And I think as entrepreneurs in the way our world moves today, and how fast it is, you have to constantly be anticipating that things are going to continue to change. That’s true. Regardless, it’s definitely true in the entrepreneurial journey.

Jill Morenz 34:05
That’s absolutely right.

Anne Candido 34:06
Yeah, and I’m gonna build a couple on this, because we’ve had several clients who are entrepreneurs and doing their own thing and asked us to consult on their business. And this is gonna lead very nicely into our next my next question, but some of them, these two examples happen to be more male, oh, they’re not more males, they are males. That being said, they weren’t willing to do what it takes in order to be successful, because they were too stuck in what they felt comfortable with. And so I think people, people who really succeed here, females specifically and why I think they’re built for being entrepreneurs, is that there is more of a tendency to be a little bit more uncomfortable because just as a gender, we’ve had to kind of endure being a little bit more comfortable but when you’re not willing to do what it takes in this specific instance, We’d set up a marketing plan and he’s like, I don’t, I don’t feel comfortable doing that, that’s just not me. And I’m like, but you got to do that, like, you cannot not do that, and then expect people to actually hire your business. And I think it was more of a getting out into the community and make and do it and making relationships happen. And in connecting, I’m like, you can’t be where you’re at who’s gonna be in a real estate area, where you’re at and not be willing to talk to people. I’m like, I’m sorry. So add that to the what we’ve been talking about is that you have to be okay, feeling uncomfortable, you have to be trying new things. And if it doesn’t feel like something exactly, that is like in line with what you like to do. Like, I tend to be more introverted. I, I don’t like, you know, necessarily, like if somebody’s gonna say, Hey, you want to go speak in front of like, 10,000 people? I’m like, yeah, no, that’s okay. But like, so do that. But I know I need to in some aspects, because it’s important for the business. And so you have to train yourself to get comfortable with that, it’s not necessarily something I still like, raise my hand and want to go do but it’s still something that I know that it’s going to generate what we need for the business. So it’s thinking about it from that business mindset, not necessarily like what you want to do and what you feel comfortable with. What but like what I was saying, um, I think that’s gonna be really nice. And the next point, I think, sometimes we kind of talk about all the ways why females are kind of behind the eight ball when it comes to being female entrepreneurs. But I actually and I know April and I are the same way is that we believe women are specifically built to be fabulous entrepreneurs. So Dell, I’d love to get your thoughts here about like, where do you feel like females have more advantages than males? And being entrepreneurs? Like, where are you seeing them really kind of accelerate and, and really leave kind of their male guys in the dust a little bit?

Jill Morenz 36:48
I think it’s a great question. And I absolutely agree that a big part of that is that that perseverance, because we as a gender have been struggling for, you know, all of time to get to get heard and seen and some power and, and so I think we know how to do it. And we also just kind of as a gender also have a little something to prove, right? Like, we can do this, we can do this. So I think that perseverance is absolutely absolutely a huge component to that. I think there’s another piece of it, where women in general tend to have an abundance mindset, as opposed to a scarcity mindset. So we, you know, when you feel like, there’s scarce resources, or not enough customers, you have, you know, then all you’re doing is competing, right. And I feel like that’s competition is very male thing, of course, when men compete and compete well, and you know, rise to the top all the time. But I think just in general, like our, our instinct is a little bit more like, I don’t have to be the only one doing this, we can all do it. And we can be successful, we each have our own place where we excel, and like, there’s not it, like you just said, like there’s a bunch of other marketing, or, you know, companies, but none of them is like you. Right? So you’re gonna find your people, and they’re gonna find you. So, you know, it’s not like you’re really competing with other I mean, you are to some degree, right, but once they get to know you, you’re not. And I think that’s a big piece of mindset that women have, that men sometimes have to strive to achieve. And then I think the third thing is that tendency to gather with other women. So that community aspect that we’ve been talking about all along is, is that comes really easily to us in general, and we want to gather and learn from each other and tell our story, share our stories, and, and support each other. And so I think that, you know, we’re not doing these, this entrepreneurship thing in a vacuum, and we’re not raising our children in a vacuum, and we’re not, you know, keeping a house in a vacuum and etc. But we are all leaning on each other for all these things. And I think that’s really Another huge advantage that women have when it comes to entrepreneurship and life in general. Yeah, I

April Martini 39:03
mean, it’s so true. I was with a client, female client yesterday, we were talking about us in the portfolio, the other people they work with, and I could tell there was a little bit of uncomfortableness about if that’s a word, you know, talking about the other groups, and I said exactly that I was like, listen, but there’s enough work to go around. I’m not worried about that. We want to make sure that we get to the right solution for you. And if that’s us, or them or whatever, it really doesn’t matter, because it’ll come back around. And I think that that is absolutely I mean, it’s for sure the philosophy of our business, but I do think that is a more female led way of being and then one of the other things you said, I mean, just chatting with a girlfriend yesterday, and we were kind of talking and laughing about how we can laugh at when everything becomes a shit show, right? Yeah, so we kind of you know, we don’t get a lot of time or often to catch up, but when we do, it’s like a rapid fire and suddenly we’re like, well, the hours up it’s time to go We got to move on next thing, but it was about the keeping it real, another this realness of what actually happened and having those people that you can go and have those conversations with. Sometimes it’s blowing off steam. And sometimes it’s really looking for solutions. But no matter what it is, it’s about having that outlet to be able to go and do that. And I do not think that guys do that as well. I think sometimes they’re better at letting things roll off. And, you know, that’s true, you know, punch each other and move on. No, I don’t know, whatever. Whatever the things are, but I think there’s a richness to that in women, especially when we are executive moms, which is one of our focuses. Yeah, she said to me at the end, like, I will always make time for this, even though I don’t have time for this, because I need this in order to do all the other things that I’m doing. And I think that’s a lot of the essence of what you just said and why we are different and and to your point uniquely positioned as entrepreneurs as well.

Jill Morenz 40:58
Yeah, and I just wanted to interject that we actually have a new ish program called Real Talk for wives and wives as women owned businesses. And it’s just that we get together and we dish, you know, it’s like this is, you know, everybody signs a confidentiality agreement. This is a safe space where you can talk about how it’s really going, you know, you don’t have to put on a happy face, or you can share, you can put up on your happy face and share the successes. But you don’t have to write like, this is real, like, if you are having a problem. In your business, this is the place to come. And we’ll support you and help you get through it. Yeah, that’s awesome.

Anne Candido 41:35
Yeah, I love that. And I think that also does is it it starts to kind of make that that triangle peak a little bit flatter for us as women because I feel like, a lot of times we get stuck in this alpha female syndrome, where there can only be one, right, and I have to be one. And so as becomes more of like, you need to lose in order for me to win, right. But if we can all like work together, we can all win. And this remember who the like the real quote unquote enemy is. It’s not each other. So like, you know, when we can bring a lot of that fantastic energy, that intelligence that savviness together, I mean, that lifts everybody’s boats. So I think that’s extremely important to remember. I also think there’s an element, though, you guys were talking about before, too, which I do think is very unique for women is that I think women tend to, they can see the long term value much better than our male counterparts, who tend to think very much in the short term, like, I need to sell this. So therefore, you need to buy it right now. I’m not really caring too much about like the relationship necessarily, because I’m just about making that transaction. Now, I know, I’m being very stereotypical here. And you know, but I mean, frankly, and if we’re going to be real, like we said at the beginning of this episode, I mean, that’s what we tend to see a lot of is that men to be tend to be very transactional, women tend to be very much more relationship oriented. So they’re looking for the long term benefit, not just what can you do for me right now? Now, there are women that can be more on that short term side of my say that they don’t but that’s just in our, in general, how we’ve seen the behaviors kind of manifest themselves.

Jill Morenz 43:13
I think that’s absolutely right. And I think that men who are, you know, are trying for that quick sale, they tend to, a lot of that might be because the fields that they that are traditionally masculine, were, you know, celebrate that a reward that very true, I think, when you see the women having that I can I can, there can be only one and it will be me, right? I think when you have that attitude of a lot of times it’s a it’s at a in a corporate setting, where there really is only one person who can be the top salesperson or whatever. But when you’re in an entrepreneurial situation, you guys can make exactly the same amount of money as another marketing firm, and you’re all happy, right? Like, that’s great, like no losers here ever, you know, your clients benefit, you benefit. There’s no problem. So I think part of that is once you come out of that corporate setting, you you can make your own rules and your own definition of success. No, I love that.

Anne Candido 44:14
I love that. So I know, Joe, you have another program that you’re getting ready to launch. It’s really very, very, very cool. Well, you tell everybody about that.

Jill Morenz 44:24
So there’s actually a couple programs I’d love to talk with you about but the one that we have not yet launched is called Second Act Bootcamp. And this came about because a friend of mine is a career coach and she mentioned to me that so many women that she was seeing lately are getting ready to change careers. So some of them are doing it unwillingly because they’re being they’re feeling edged out, you know, ageism is a real thing still, and or, you know, perhaps they’ve been in their job for long enough so they’re making them the most money and that’s of course, then the targets on in the back for that, when it comes to budget cuts, and some women are just like, you know, I’ve been doing this thing for 20 years or 30 years, and I’m ready to do something else. And maybe now I get to, to embrace my passion and make a big impact on the world. So that I the the process, though, you know, as you were talking about your runway, April, when you went, even though you weren’t really switching careers, you still were being very intentional about creating a runway for yourself. And I think those are the kinds of things that that women need to think through. And so in this Second Act Bootcamp, we’re going to focus, you know, certainly there’s going to be a lot of you can do this. And, and we’re, although we would love for them to, you know, choose entrepreneurship, because that’s the type of woman that we serve. But, and, you know, this is not pushing people toward entrepreneurship at all, it’s really just about, let’s talk through the thought process, like different processes, there are actual exercises you can do to kind of like, you know, think of the important things, think about think through the important things like your skills, what are your skills that could translate to another career? What do you want in a job? What is your history of work? Like? What are your accomplishments, but not just the resume type accomplishments, but like, what are you proud of? And not just in work, but in your life, right? And so there’s going to be a lot of that a lot of ideation, there’s going to be a lot of inspiration with women who are doing second acts really successfully, kind of crushing it, and then some more. Okay, so then really, what what are your options? As a second act? And what, how do you decide what you’re going to do next, I think it’s going to be really powerful. There’s, there are a few consultants in the region who are doing this, but there’s not a program like this, that is formalized program where women can get together and really think through these things. So we’re really excited about that, if anybody’s interested, the URL for that is And that’s going to be in September.

Anne Candido 47:05
Now, I was just saying, I love that I’m writing it down, so we can put it in.

Jill Morenz 47:07
Thank you. We have another program that I’m really excited about that. We just it’s not a new program, but it’s a reconfigured program. Because, you know, really, this is for those women that we talked about that are at the start of their they have a business, but they’re just in the beginning of it first couple of years. And they are overwhelmed. And they’re the time pressure is really the really feeling that time pressure, they’re feeling the money pressure, and just, you know, want to have some answers. But we we have it originally as a in person bootcamp. And the women that we were talking to, it was an all day boot camp, and they were like, you know, I theoretically, have a day that I could like a whole day, I make my own schedule. So I theoretically have a day I could do this. But it might not be that day that you’re having it. If I were to register for that, and then I have a client gig come up, I would have to do the client gig. So we totally get that. So we changed. It’s called fuel your startup. And it’s now a hybrid program that has six live webinars that we’re recording also. So you can go back and you can submit, like, if you can’t attend that one, you can submit questions to ask to be answered during the webinar. And then at the end, there’s an in person celebration, so you get to meet all the people that you’ve been zooming with a couple times. So that’s a really, I think we’re really excited about that re reimagining of that program. And I think it’s really going to be impactful. So we talked about a lot about like, find your customers. And that part is very much what you all do all the times, you know, who are you trying to serve with this business? And then how do you track them? You know, how do you manage your time? How do you protect your assets, that kind of thing. So it’s really, really valuable, and it’s $149. So it’s not a huge investment either. So those are two big new programs.

Anne Candido 49:01
I love it. And I highly encourage everybody to go check those out. Because I have gone to several aviator meetings, I could speak firsthand about how fabulous the community is. Everything that you said is fully realized within that that group and being able to have access to people who are like you going through the same thing. Getting that support, getting that expertise, getting that inspiration, all of those things that you said are you guys deliver. So I highly suggest get involved, sign up for the newsletter, you’re just to stay informed. And really, if you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, or even if you just want another group of women who are high achievers and looking to kind of be in it, do it. I mean, I found them extremely helpful, both for my mental sanity,

Jill Morenz 49:50
so Oh, thank you. That’s wonderful. I’m so glad we actually have a free gift for your listeners. It’s it’s a PDF so we I enter Due to a lot of our alumni when I came on, so I haven’t been with the organization for all 13 years. And so I went back when I joined. And, you know, we talked with a lot of our alumni, and I asked them to give me some advice that they would give to other women entrepreneurs. And so we it’s a PDF that’s downloadable, it’s, it’s called Women to Women advice from female entrepreneurs. And we have a direct URL, which is women, plural. So women, business, and you can download it there. And then that’ll get you on our email list. And you’ll hear about so we share our events, but we also share all kinds of other events that happen in the Cincinnati for entrepreneurs in the Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Dayton areas. So, that’s a great way to get started. And another thing that we offer too, is free one on one business coaching, you know, we have, we’re supported by two grants, one from Ohio, and one from Kentucky, and it’s just to help women start and grow their businesses. So we do this free one on one business coaching. And, you know, it’s been really so much fun to hear about all the things the cool things that women are doing around the region and, and help in whatever way I can. So that’s another invitation for your listeners.

Anne Candido 51:11
I love it. And we always like to end with a few rapid fire questions. And I didn’t give this to you on your, your preview. So just to get a little to know a little bit about you. So this is how we always like to wrap up when we’re when we’re doing these. So what is your favorite book to recommend for female entrepreneurs, especially new female entrepreneurs?

Jill Morenz 51:30
Will It Fly? So, Will It Fly? is a book by Pat Flynn. It’s excellent. It talks about different ways that you can validate the market for whatever it is you’re creating. So he’s got to just hold that whole collection of different exercises that you can do. And you can do some of them, all of them, one of them, but they all give you a lot of really good advice on a lot of good insights. They’ll lead to a lot of good insights about your particular market. And if you know if you start down the path with one idea, and it’s just not being validated to your satisfaction, hey, just go back to the book and start over with another idea. I

Anne Candido 52:09
love that great suggestion. What is your favorite way to unwind?

Jill Morenz 52:16
Reading? I mostly read fiction. Oh, yeah. My favorite thing is curling up on my couch. My husband’s watching football, which I don’t like so I don’t pay attention. And my cats all snuggled up on I have a buck. It’s like heaven. So I love

Anne Candido 52:34
you speaking our language except for we’d have a glass of wine too. And being a fellow executive Mom, what’s your biggest life hack? Especially as an executive mom?

Jill Morenz 52:46
Hmm, that’s a great question. So my kids, I’m an I’m an empty nester, my kids are 21 and 26. So I guess I don’t really have that time pressure and my husband is retired. So he does literally everything around the house. Pretty enviable position. And I know and I’m very grateful. But I think the challenge for me is keeping, keeping balance, you know, I could work all the time. And I often do either that or just lay around and read. So those are my two activities. So I think the balancing thing is really the challenge. And for me, i i My hack is just to try to set up activities with friends. So I get out of the house and I do something else that’s not work related. That’s friend related. And I and I, you know, I actually put on real clothes on the weekend and stuff. Goals. There we go. That said goals. That’s right.

Anne Candido 53:40
That’s fantastic deal. This has been a huge, huge pleasure. Like I said, I highly encourage everybody to go and check out Aviatra to check out the programs that Joe mentioned. Like I said, I can speak firsthand at they have a tremendous amount of value, no matter where you are in your journey. And with that we’ll say go and exercise your marketing smarts.

April Martini 54:01
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