My daddy always told me that you should never spend more than you earn. But anyone who's ever owned a business knows that this simple rule can be easily offset by the day-to-day financial responsibilities of being an entrepreneur.
From administrative and marketing management to profit and loss, there's no expense too expensive when it comes to making your dream come true and while these obligations may put some pressure on your pockets Just Elope CEO Jennifer Allen knows that investing in yourself always pays off.
To date, Jennifer and her husband Tavarous have officiated 80 weddings, married dozens of happy couples all over the country, and maintained full-time jobs at the same damn time and she recently sat down with xoNecole to share the secret to her entrepreneurial success.
Jumping The Broom
In 2017, this Dallas-based pop-up wedding expert used her own elopement as an opportunity to launch a business that has more than doubled her income in 12 months, and according to Jennifer, it all started with her ability to meet a need.
After a surprise engagement to her soon-to-be deployed husband, the couple was left with little-to-no options when it came to finding a last-minute wedding planner and a seed was planted. Desperate to jump the broom, Jennifer was left to resort to her last (and honestly, most regrettable) option. She explained, "Our experience at the courthouse was very cold and that right there is what made me say, 'OK, something has to be different. It can't be either go to City Hall or run off to Vegas. There has to be a medium that can be met.'"
Little did Jennifer know, she would be the person to fill the void she so blatantly saw in the industry.
Taking The Leap
The mother-of-two shared that it wasn't until years after tying the knot that she decided that planning a wedding wasn't half as lucrative as launching a business. Jennifer told xoNecole, "One day, I was sitting in my living room, and it just clicked: 'Girl, let it go.' Stop trying to force this. Stop trying to plan a way to spend additional money––you need to figure out a way to make additional money."
In that moment, Just Elope was born and the rest, Jennifer says, is history. After designing a marketable brand and portfolio from scratch, Jennifer and her husband hit the ground running and it wasn't long before the couple snagged their first, second, and eventually, 80th client and this duo has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Although Jennifer and her husband may have chosen to take the road less traveled with the launch of their unconventional bridal business, this couple doesn't have all of their pennies in one bank. According to Jennifer, one of the most valuable lessons she's learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of keeping your day job. "Working full-time for me has allowed me to, number one, not be a slave to my business––in the sense of chasing the money, having to take on any and everybody because I jumped out there too quick. It has also allowed me to start building up that emergency fund."
"Working full-time for me has allowed me to, number one, not be a slave to my business––in the sense of chasing the money, having to take on any and everybody because I jumped out there too quick. It has also allowed me to start building up that emergency fund."
Jennifer said that because her children didn't sign up to have entrepreneurs as parents, it's up to her and her husband, who is currently in school to become a pediatric nurse, to make sure the bag is secured regardless, and working full-time jobs has allowed them to do exactly that. "I don't know what leap everybody is taking, but we have kids who depend on us and who depend on the stability that they are accustomed to. Man, I'm not gonna jeopardize their childhood and they have to grow up to be rappers and talk about how they struggled," she laughed. "That truly is our push."
Building The Empire
While today may not be the day that Jennifer and her husband quit their day jobs to pursue their business full-time, they are preparing diligently for when that time comes. Jennifer told xoNecole that along with maintaining multiple streams of income, setting healthy boundaries has been a superpower when it comes to developing her business acumen.
In the last year, Jennifer has more than doubled her salary and according to her, the secret to her success lies in her ability to unapologetically say, "Nah."
You will never be all things to all people, so you should pick who you want to be and stop apologizing for it. This, Jennifer, says, was a lesson that she learned early on in her career. She explained, "When we first started, I was chasing the money. But I quickly realized that the money is going to come as long as you are consistently putting out quality work and I could not put it out quality work and be my best self if I was not consistent in what the services were that I offered."
"When we first started, I was chasing the money. But I quickly realized that the money is going to come as long as you are consistently putting out quality work and I could not put it out quality work and be my best self if I was not consistent."
Jennifer shared that as soon as she found the courage to set boundaries for both herself and her business, she finally became confident in her ability to build an empire. "I set those boundaries and I got the confidence, that's the key, is getting the confidence to stick to your boundaries. My business flourishes so much because these are the rules."
She continued, "I'm a wife and a mom of boys [aged] seven and five. I cannot and will not allow myself to become emotionally invested in the back and forth that goes along with, 'Well what about this or what about that? This is what we offer. And our business was set up that way because I do have other obligations. So I had to make a business that works for me and my family. The couples that we've married have no complaints, all five-stars, all great reviews because we were for them. Right? And that's what made it work."
Solidifying The Legacy
Now that Jennifer has jumped the broom, taken the leap, and began building her empire, she is doing what it takes to solidify her legacy and create an environment for generational wealth. Self-sabotage is a creative entrepreneur's best friend, but Jennifer says that accountability might be the protection against deflection you didn't know you needed. "Be accountable for all of your actions. If you don't let yourself down, you can get so much done. We self-sabotage more than we know. And that's what keeps people from truly reaching the goals that they have set for themselves."
"Be accountable for all of your actions. If you don't let yourself down, you can get so much done. We self-sabotage more than we know. And that's what keeps people from truly reaching the goals that they have set for themselves."
According to Jennifer, her New Year's resolution is to become her own accountability partner and this year, she refuses to take excuses for an answer. "If I set a goal, I'm not going to let myself down by not accomplishing it because how can I expect to run a lucrative business If I'm not intentional––if I'm not intentional with my time, with my learning, with my surroundings? There's a lot of women out there that have great ideas and they are making excuses as to why they cannot get them done."
For more of Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @IAmJenniferAllen!
For more Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @IAmJenniferAllen!
Featured image courtesy of Jennifer Allen.