Connector, supporter, and business grower, Jennifer’s driving force is helping business owners make meaningful connections, expand their referral base, and surpass their financial goals. She runs three NIA groups in Houston, Texas.
What’s your why?
I love this question. I know it sounds corny, but my why is that I love to help people. When I make an introduction that works and people make their business stronger, that’s the reason I get out of bed in the morning. Before I put my feet on the floor every single morning, I’m asking, Who can I help today? What difference can I make today? Whose business can I help today? That is such a great, satisfying, motivating factor. I just want to help people; I want to make a difference. It’s a passion of mine. I get goosebumps thinking about it.
Why did you buy an NIA franchise?
Before NIA, I was a realtor, and the best part of being a real estate agent was networking. In fact, I loved networking so much I launched a BNI Chapter—another networking organization— and was president of that chapter for about two years. I loved forming and managing the group, but it was purely a volunteer situation. I must have spent at least twenty-five hours a week running the chapter but never saw any income from that. After my terms were done, it was time to step back and re-evaluate what I wanted to do. I started to think, I’ve got to be able to make a living at this and turn it into a real business. I just wanted to do something I wanted to do. I’m fifty-four, and I just wanted to have a good time and love what I do every time I put my feet on the floor in the morning. Then somebody that we both know introduced me to you. I must say the world works in mysterious ways. You always have to be open and ready for an introduction and open to the possibilities. After I talked to you and learned more about Network In Action, I knew in my heart and my gut that I could do this—that I have to do this. It’s hard work—I’m on the phone or at appointments all day—but I’m loving it. I love meeting people and connecting them with each other.
How is owning a Network In Action franchise different than running a BNI group?
Other than getting paid well, I think the main difference is that I’m the membership committee, I’m the voting committee, I’m the recruiting committee, I make the final decision—good or bad—about who’s going to be in the group. Personally, I think I have a knack for that. I’m a Pisces, and I can tell pretty much 99 percent of the time if somebody is going to be a good fit or not— and not everybody is a good fit. Sometimes that’s a tough call, but you have to do what’s best for the group as a whole.
What jumps out at you as a big differentiator between Network In Action and traditional networking?
I think the most exclusive difference is the guaranteed ROI. What other networking group does this? I don’t know of anyone, and I’m out there a lot. That makes it a no-brainer. People literally have nothing to lose. Where else can you say that?
In your own words, tell me what you do within the context of your Network In Action franchise.
I’m absolutely living my best life. I’m having the most fun and really doing what I love, love, love to do—connecting people and helping their businesses grow. I’ve got three to five appointments a day, so I’m out of the house meeting people, having coffees and lunches, networking, going to events—I just go to everything I can because you never know who you’re going to meet and how that will help someone. I’m not just going out to recruit members—I’m also there representing the members who are already in my groups. Unlike other networking organizations, this is my full-time job and I’m working for my members. I’m out meeting people so I can make introductions that make their businesses stronger. I’ve got boots on the ground when they don’t have time to do that.
Tell me about one of your members’ success stories.
I tell my husband all day, “Oh, this person did that, and this person did this—here are all the success stories that people have experienced!” My group is only five months old and 99 percent of the members have already made their membership fee back— some by tens of thousands of dollars. A dear friend of mine who is a member has new clients she would have never met before, and her business is picking up. I also have a member who has gotten clients and she’s doing videos and hosting speaking engagements at seminars. My favorite story is that my new member gained four new clients during one happy hour event. As you can see, my members are just doing really well, and we’re all having so much fun.
What do you believe is the future of networking?
I think COVID taught us that we really do need each other. We need human interaction; whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we need to be together. We thrive on that, some more than others. But I think the future is that we’re building relationships—especially with NIA. This isn’t about tracking numbers or tracking dots or counting anything. This is about building long-lasting, beneficial relationships; and with beneficial relationships comes business. That’s how it works. I think that’s the model that we’re living in. In every meeting, we are a thriving group built on kindness, love, and support. That’s where business will come from—those three main components.
What would you say to business owners who haven’t had experience networking?
It will change your bottom lines drastically. When you go into a group, you’ve got a built-in marketing team, you’ve got a built- in mastermind team, you’ve got a built-in sales strategy team, all in one group. It’s amazing! You don’t have to go and do the hard work or the hard sell; just be yourself. From that, you will build relationships and those people will be your support team. Through thick or thin, they will be there for you. It will make a huge difference in your business, no matter what it is. If you’re a lawyer or a doctor or a vet or a mortgage person or a realtor—it will make a tremendous impact. Don’t be afraid to show up; people will take care of you.
What would you say to anyone considering joining Network In Action as a member?
Do it! Don’t waste another day of opportunity; join a group now. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, you will not find a better networking organization. I can speak truthfully about that because I attend many events, but nothing compares to NIA. Don’t be afraid of the price. It will pay for itself—tenfold, twenty-fold, a hundredfold—if you show up and build relationships. Even if you’re an introvert, you will succeed here.
On a scale of one to ten, how much freedom of time have you experienced being an NIA franchisee?
The freedom of time is very much my own, so I give it a 10- plus. I have the flexibility of traveling with my husband. In fact, I’ve already had a vacation or two since I started owning my franchise. I worked on vacation for a couple hours—it never, never turns off—but I have the flexibility to work anywhere, and I love the work, so I do a lot of it.
On a scale of one to ten, how much earning potential do you have with Network In Action?
It might be cliché to say the sky is the limit, but it really is, though. The earning potential of owning my franchise puts the control in my hands, and the potential is endless. In real estate, I was at the mercy of buyers and sellers who could be very fickle—but not here. I have control of when, what, and how money comes in. It’s all up to me and the effort I put in. And believe me, I’m going to do very well.
On a scale of one to ten, where are you in terms of being satisfied and being able to give back to your community?
I’m not just saying this, but I think one hundred. That’s the best part of this. The money is important; I appreciate that. Time, flexibility—it’s important. But giving back to my community is the most important thing to me. It’s beyond satisfying to know that we’re changing lives, changing the trajectory of families— we’re paying for college educations, we’re creating sound nest eggs, and we’re giving people freedom that they may not have had otherwise. And besides, I’m too old; I wouldn’t do this if it didn’t make that kind of difference.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could go back and start your franchise over?
I wouldn’t rely on my warm leads. Once you’ve given prospects the opportunity, that’s it. Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. If they’re interested, they’ll catch up with you. And they usually do!
What would you tell someone looking at Network In Action as a future franchisee?
Do it! Your life will never be the same, and I mean that in the most positive way. If you’re ready to take your future into your own hands, make a very good salary, meet amazing people, and make a huge difference in the lives of those in your community, then now is the time to invest in a NIA franchise.