It’s with a great honor that I get to feature the most inspirational lady in my life. Meet my Mom, Elizabeth Frank. If it wasn’t for my mom’s entrepreneurial spirit and ambition throughout my childhood I never would have made the transition into entrepreneurship. Her fearlessness always inspired me and it’s been a great pleasure to share the journey and evolution with her as we grow Six Degrees Society! She’s a regular at our NYC events and is the best “Mombassador” a girl can ask for. On this Mother’s Day I invite you to read her incredible story from West Coast living to moving to NYC and starting her own business.
1. You had always dreamed of moving to NYC from California, what drew you to NYC and what was your story when you got here?
I came to NYC with my family when I was around 10 years old. I totally fell in love with the city on day one. I loved the hustle bustle and thought then that someday I was going to live here. I was always a career oriented type and I knew NYC was the place to challenge yourself with the best and the brightest. I was charged. There was no other place I would have wanted to live. This was the advertising center of the world and this is where I wanted to make my mark. The tricky part of the whole idea was that when I arrived in 1975 NYC was going bankrupt and the job I had been offered by Grey Advertising fell through. I was devastated! I came close to moving to Chicago where I received a bonafide job offer but then I came to my senses and remembered there is only one NYC and Chicago is not it! So, after arriving with six suitcases and a whole lot of hope, I hit the pavement. No one was hiring. It was heartbreaking. I went through the phone book and sent resumes to every company I found to be somewhat in line with my dreams. My pile of rejection letters was quite high. Finally after a Christmas job at the very first Pottery Barn store I landed my first real job in NYC. I was “Advertising Director” for a high end,old time Men’s store that had locations around the world. It was a job but NOT what I came to NYC to find. That was my opening story and what I encountered here in NYC. I also knew basically No One so it was lonely but exhilarating at the same time.
2. You were a pioneer in the health world in the late 70’s and early 80’s, how has the health scene changed since you were in it?
As a person interested in alternative forms of healing starting in the early 1970s, things were quite different then. People always thought what their doctor told them was sacred. No one questioned much more. There was a rumbling undercurrent of those that felt differently about that. California was the hot bed for those beliefs. San Diego was top of the list. In the 70s a friend of mine coined the term “holistic health”. This form of healing would incorporate one’s body/mind and spirit. It’s intention was to focus on the whole person and treat the cause of a problem not just the symptoms. He held a yearly conference for healthcare professionals to obtain continuing education credit. That was the only reason they attended. What they found was a weekend full of a new perspective on the future of healthcare. Many embraced this new way of thinking and took meditation, nutrition and other nuggets of new information back with them to their offices and started experimenting. This then created theripple effect that has led us to today.
To show you how backward places were back then I will share a story that I heard about in Dallas Texas. A “holistically oriented” dentist suggested his patient take vitamin C to protect his gums. Word got around and that dentist was soon picked up and put in jail! I was fortunate during the 70-80s to travel the country and see what was going on in the alternative health care world. I would see what areas had health food stores or natural food restaurants in their communities. There were pockets of our country where it was more accepted but not so much in NYC. A big conference/fair was put on in NYC by a group from London. It was called the “Festival of Mind,Body and Spirit”, it was quite new to NYC. It was much like a Home Show only it was health oriented. In 1979 I published a book called “The Natch Pack”, “New York’s Way to Beat Inflation Naturally”. It served as a guide book and also a discount coupon book. It enticed people to try natural food restaurants, health food stores and a slew of services from yoga to biofeedback. The book was very well received by those that understood it. Others just didn’t quite understand it all yet.
That brings us to today’s world. It’s all quite different. Organic foods didn’t exist in the 70s nor did the momentum to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s both easier and harder to be healthy today. Easier for there are so many books on various healing modalities and one can get great services of all sorts. Where it is hard is that junk food is EVERYWHERE and most people can’t discern what is good and what is not. Food is food.. Right?? Hardly! Children are being raised on garbage and even schools are providing empty food choices. That is starting to change and people are far more informed but it’s still a small percentage of the population. Doctors are still held up on a pedestal. I could go on and on but hopefully you can see the difference between then and now.
3. Tell us what drew you to body work like the services offered at the Upledger Institute? You were also forward thinking in the way you raised your kids as vegetarians–what inspired that move?
I always loved to learn more and more about bodywork. Long before my involvement with the Upledger Institute I studied massage, shiatsu and guided imagery. I loved helping people feel better. I, like you, always loved to rub someone’s shoulders when I could see they were not feeling well. I also found it fun to help people cure their headaches through imagery. It all came natural to me.
As for raising my kids vegetarians.. well, I was a vegetarian earlier in my life (before kids). I felt great then but life changed and so did my diet. After having kids there was a time I did a week long health cleanse program with your Dad and a group of others. We all felt so good after getting all the toxins out of our bodies. We decided to be very mindful of what we put into our body. For awhile our kids were eating a normal American diet when someone brought it to our attention on why were we feeding our kids semi junky food while we were eating such a pure diet. A light bulb went off in our heads and our children’s diet began to change accordingly. They also were around other kids we knew who also lived this way. It would have been a much harder choice had they not had vegetarian friends.
4. As a female entrepreneur and a mom, how did you balance your blooming menu cover business and being a mom full time? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
I was lucky in that I set up my business at home thus giving me the ability to go between my home life and my work life. That had it hitches for sure but I liked it the best rather than commuting to an outside office. A good portion of my work was done from my office. I would travel in “blitzes” where I would be away for a day or more and have solid days of meetings and then return home without having to travel for awhile.
What I wish I knew then that I know now…hum. That’s an interesting question. My business was started just as computers were starting to be used in businesses. Prior to that people used typewriters to send letters. In many ways things were getting easier. If I had taken a step back and looked at the big picture of raising a family, growing a business, running a household … I wish I could have seen the beauty of all that and allowed myself time to nurture myself so I could have been an even better nurturer to those around me. I wish I had taken more time off and delegated more to assistants in order to have shared more precious time with my children and family. Even on vacations being a business owner, the business came with me. The scenery changed but he workload did not. I was tired often and flat out was doing toooo much. I guess you could say that things were not all that balanced though possibly not noticeable to anyone but me and probably my family. Being an entrepreneur and working from home though very convenient it also poses problems in separating work life from home life. I was getting calls from west coast people thinking they were calling my west coast office. It was crazy at times, for sure.
5. Having attended several Six Degrees Society events, how has entrepreneurship changed since you had your own businesses. Would you ever start your own business again?
I loved and still love being an entrepreneur. It’s so exciting to build something from nothing. In today’s world everything is so transparent. People know all your product’s ingredients, where the products are manufactured, who works at the company and their bios. There is no mystery. People can google your office address and see it on google maps. It’s all so different. Websites are key and the Internet is a company’s biggest friend and from it customers can also learn of all your competitors in a click of the keyboard. Competition is fierce. Why your company is so special rules the game. Giving back is also another important and admirable activity in today’s businesses. It’s a very exciting time. Challenging but very exciting.
I love the enthusiasm of the attendees at Six Degrees Society events. Everyone is so much smarter, more knowledgeable in what it takes to run a business. I would have loved the support that I see happening in today’s world. Co-working spaces are brilliant and so much better that being isolated as a small business or working from home. Now working from home /home office is common place and something that doesn’t need to hidden like in the past. Venture capital and various forms of fund raising also change the game. A successful business in today’s world can have HUGE payoffs.
Would I every start my own business again.. Heck yes, though this go round I would like to do it with others and share the adventures and all the ups and downs. More can be done providing you find the right partner and or support team.