Podcast

Stay at Home Mom to Self Made with Leadership Expert and Founder of Becoming Iconic Jen Szpigiel 

Listen now:

From stay at home mom to serial entrepreneur Jen Szpigiel created a 7 figure business called Becoming Iconic, all from the comfort of her home. In this episode Jen shares her personal story and how she helps female entrepreneurs build 6+ figure online businesses and brands. 

What you’ll learn:

  • Jen talks about starting her business from home after being a stay at home mom  
  • What is authenticity and what the word means and what if feels like 
  • Her changing relationship with social media and reframing it for expansion 
  • Raising children and building a business and balancing the two

To learn more about Victoria Amiya, visit her website Becoming Iconic and on social media here.

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Emily Merrell  0:04  

Welcome to the sixth degree Podcast, the podcast where we grill our guests about the things that make them tick, and find out how human connection plays a role in their life. I’m your host, Emily Merrill.

I’m your host, Emily Merrell. And today I’m thrilled to have Jen Spiegel, leadership expert for life and business, founder of becoming iconic, and a podcast host. Holy smokes. Jen, welcome to the show. Thanks, Emily. I’m so glad to be here. How does it feel for you when you are being interviewed versus doing interviews? Because I feel like it’s always different energy for me. Yeah, I have to say I love this kind of energy where I get to be with someone new. And I find it’s almost like a self-exploring, you know, just journey in itself, where when I’m hosting, I want to always edify that person and make sure I’m, I’m at the best cell for that person. This feels like I get to just sink into the conversation. And I really, I really love it. That’s good. So you can both be you’re not a backseat driver, you’re not going to try and backseat drive. Because I know for me, sometimes I’ll go to events. And I’m like, they should have welcomed people more, they should have done something XY and Z differently. Yeah, no, I am someone who I’m really grateful for this. I just don’t think it’s in my DNA to be judgmental. I always have always sought out the best in people. So to sit in your presence, it’s just about finding out about you as well and hopefully share some things that people who are listening in get to take with them in action and potentially give life to their business and their relationships and the things that they’re doing day in and day out. I love that. And I’m someone who’s very curious about knowing what makes people tick. And my husband thinks I’m a little too woo sometimes, but like, I love referencing Human Design and, and astrology. What astrological sign are you? I have a Gemini?

 

Jen Szpigiel  2:08  

Gemini. What’s your birthday? June the first June the first What’s your June 7? So we’re both looking at us in early June. And then what about your human design? I’m a manifesting generator. Oh, okay, cool. I’m a projector, that manifesting generator, if I understand correctly, that those are people who get shit done. Yeah, and lots of creative ideas. And we really love to be in the creative flow. So for feeling stifled, or we’re not energetically attached to what we’re putting out in the world, we quickly are able to pivot and shift and I feel like I’m a professional pivot, I feel like that’s been my life’s journey. We might add that to one of your expert titles as

 

well, it’s probably why I seem to attract a lot of people who are pivoting and wanting to have somebody to navigate through those territories with but my brand manager is a projector. And we do so well together because she is so good at nourishing herself and really honoring rest. As a manifesting generator. I require rest, but I’m not necessarily great at taking it because my energy can be very, very high. So I love being in a relationship with projectors, because I find the balance is so beautiful between the two. Oh, I

 

Emily Merrell  3:24  

love that. I think that’s a great observation that I didn’t even think about for myself. I’m a high energy person. And then I just need to like, isolate and recharge my batteries, so to speak. So I have so many questions to ask you. And my brain is like, which direction do I want to go in first, but before I get too carried away, I want to just make sure that we can introduce ourselves and who you are and what is becoming iconic? And what is a leadership expert for life in business.

 

Jen Szpigiel  3:56  

It’s a really great question and one that I’m still holding really, really I got. I’m sinking into this, I feel called to really be someone who shifts the paradigm and leadership. And what I mean by that is I’ve been an entrepreneur for 16 years, raising babies, multiple businesses, but I’ve helped 1000s of women at this point across the globe, build and grow sustainable businesses. And I feel really passionate and I’m really grateful to be standing in the online entrepreneurial space with incredible women. However, I have a big level of responsibility to hold the integrity of what it is we’re doing: the coaching industry, network marketers creatives, we have such big capacity and big opportunities to change the world. And there’s times where I’m noticing where we’re a little wobbly, or we’ve gone off track and so I feel I really do I feel called to step up in the wisdom and the maturity I have as an entrepreneur and really guide us to stay in alignment and stay in integrity and that we, we are enough as we are, you know, we sometimes feel like we need to exaggerate or show off our success versus just being in it, and who are we in the success that really matters.

 

Emily Merrell  5:18  

I think that’s a wonderful observation to be had. Because, you know, you look at social media and it a few years ago, it was all about kind of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, so to speak, and showing the high level of your life and the Lamborghini that you rented to photograph. So you can have a sense of something larger. And yet, it’s the people who are and I’m gonna say the word that I hate so much, but authentic and like are showing the underbelly of the hardships and the good moments and the bad moments and the the moments in between, that really seem to be resonating with others that are watching.

 

Jen Szpigiel  5:55  

Yeah, you know, what’s interesting about the word authentic, I’ve talked about this so much recently. It’s unfortunate that that word now has that connotation, but it’s because we toss it around, be authentic, be authentic, and we’re not witnessing authenticity. And so the word it’s so unfortunate, because it’s so potent, and it has so much power. And the meaning behind it is so important. So I almost want to reinvent that word, where again, we stand in that and realize, the private jet, the Lamborghini, the designer, handbag, those things are beautiful. I love those things, too. But to me, it’s what’s behind all of that, I think we lost focus of what we are actually striving for. And when I work with highly successful entrepreneurs, it’s always the feeling, the feeling of freedom, the feeling of choice, the feeling of experiences, of being able to live all out and collect these beautiful memories. It’s the feeling we’re seeking, not the actual private jet or fancy car. And I think when we come back to that, that anchoring in of what we really want out of our life, and how we want to lead our days, that’s when we kind of buckle in, and things start to really expand.

 

Emily Merrell  7:10  

And I like that, I like that. And I think I’m gonna start saying instead of, I’m gonna swap the word authentic for the feeling, you know, find those feelings, seek out the feeling because that feeling is so different and might mean something completely different for each and every person. No freedom might mean living in a van to fly in first class to other people or paying off their mortgage or whatever it may be. But I like the feeling. Yeah. Can we make the feeling authentic?

 

Jen Szpigiel  7:41  

Yeah, but isn’t that it? I mean, if you think about it, and social media is great, and I actually have a love affair with social media, I’m one of those people that sees the positive and they’re sure there’s some things that we need to correct. And that’s what I feel like I’m here for, but I love how it’s casted a vision for so many of us, like who would have thought you could take the interior of a van created into a living space and travel and be like a nomad Right? Or who would have thought that you could be a woman who steps in a private jet and flies to Las Vegas for the weekend to shop and go to your favorite restaurant. I mean, we can actually really start to find ourselves through social media as well, like that speaks to me. And there’s so many people, I have so many friends who are minimalist, like they don’t want to have the things of the world and they’re seeking that feeling. And I I do believe at the end of the day, we do all have a commonality. It’s just that adventure, seeking to stretch ourselves, what are we made of winners? What can we accomplish? Who can we meet, and it just looks different for different people.

 

Emily Merrell  8:46  

And I like that reframe to about social media where it can be a point of expansion, where you know, pre-social media, your expansive, expansive nurses was like looking at Vogue or was looking at a magazine which in a way was that much more unattainable than like seeing an average of every day? Joe and Jane being able to transform their lives so yeah, I love that I love that relook at social media. So Jen, one of the things that blows my mind and we were talking about before we got on started recording, but you’re a mom to four which I don’t know how you are. You also have so much energy and so much light about you. So can you tell me a little bit about how you went from you know 2003 You left your corporate marketing career to be a stay-at-home mom to now being a seven multiple seven-figure brand and leader and a mom to four amazing kids.

 

Jen Szpigiel  9:40  

Actually, when you say it, it gives me goosebumps because I’m really excited to talk about this and have this conversation. I remember every moment so vividly because when I started my entrepreneurial journey I remember that day I remember investing myself, my spirit, my finances, of which I had none. I was a stay-at-home mom so I opened up a credit card and put things on credit in order to get things started. And I remember finally feeling like I found something that I can sink into because I loved my corporate job marketing. And I was in the fashion industry for years, like I loved it. And then I had this little face looking at me and I felt as a woman I had to choose, I bought into the narrative, you’re either a really great mom, or you sacrifice being a mom to be a really great woman in your career. And so I chose my child, it was just Gracie, my oldest at the time, and then had no second. And I remember starting my entrepreneurial experience because I thought I get it, I actually can marry these two pieces of me, I’m not just a mom. And I’m not just a businesswoman, I am someone who wants to evolve and grow and see what I can do. I also loved being independent, staying home and being with my kids was great. But I had to ask permission, but it was just awkward. The money situation was awkward, and I didn’t like standing on my own two feet. I wanted to go shopping without justifying what I bought. So I felt really empowered. And I quickly realized how many people actually use their children as their excuse to not grow and go after their dreams and aspirations. It breaks my heart for multiple reasons, because number one, you can have the best of both worlds, those things actually get to blend beautifully. And also because how can we as women, and as moms, look at our children as they’re grown and say, Well, I never really fulfilled that goal and dream of mine because of you. I can’t lay that on my children’s shoulders. I have an 18-year-old now, which is so weird to say because it’s just weird. But I look at her. And I look at who she’s becoming, and how she sees the world because she’s been raised in a home where her mom talks to women and raises them up and finds solutions. She’s watched me cry and feel like I’m failing and pick myself back up and try again. She is the most tenacious human being I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life. And I don’t take credit for that. But I do believe the culture She was raised in in our home has a piece of who she became where she sees the world differently. She’s never boxed.

 

Emily Merrell  12:25  

Do you feel like she’s gonna follow in your shoes and become an entrepreneur? Or had, you know, seeing you go through all of the roller coaster of emotions of being an entrepreneur? Will it lead her to a corporate job?

 

Jen Szpigiel  12:38  

Well, she wants to get into medicine. Oh, wow.

 

Emily Merrell  12:40  

Or was the medicine for professional people?

 

Jen Szpigiel  12:44  

Yeah, my oldest son is definitely more of an entrepreneurial spirit. My oldest is wanting to go into medicine because she’s had some pretty traumatic events through her. She’s competitive horseback rider. She’s gone through a lot. Her journey is a podcast in itself. And through that experience in her healing her body and walking through the trauma of what’s happened to her multiple times. She has a real passion to get into medicine and support. Well, originally, it was orthopedics. But I think it’s evolving and growing as we speak. So it’ll be just curious to see what they do. But what I do know about them? Is they have no limits. I don’t see them go, Well, I guess I’ll be they look at the world as like, what if I did this mom? And what if I did that. And I think I want to do this. And they also have been raised like I tell them all the time. I told you, I’m a professional pivoter. I say, go into medicine. And in five years into medicine, that’s not your gig. Guess what, you’re not a tree, you can move and you can do something else. And so that is the joy and the experience of life.

 

Emily Merrell  13:51  

I love that. I love that lesson for them. It’s interesting thinking about your entrepreneurial journey in 2003, leaving the corporate world and the coaching industry wasn’t what it is now. Now, I believe it’s a $22 billion, billion or Yeah, I think it’s a billion. That’s billion billion dollar industry. And I don’t know about you, but when I was in the corporate world, when I thought of coaches, I was still thinking about, like my rowing coaches, or I was thinking of the basketball coach. And I remember my mom, meeting someone who was a life coach. I just was like, I guess this person didn’t know what they wanted to do with their life. So they became a life coach. This was my own judgment. And then in the last year or two years in particular, I feel like literally everyone and their mom is a coach. My mom is a coach now, which is hilarious. So that works really well for me. So how did you break into the coaching industry? And what did it look like? I guess in like, 2005 when you really started out

 

Jen Szpigiel  14:53  

Yeah, so it’s interesting because it was through my personal journey that I really started mentorship. I started my journey in network marketing. That’s where I started in 2003. And so that was really cool because it got me my footing. It taught me a lot about entrepreneurial ship. It’s not a true entrepreneurship journey, but it definitely gives you skills and tools and teaches you a lot of things. And my leadership journey, through that experience is what chiseled me into who I am today, for sure, because I walked through a lot in that journey. But as I was at the peak of my experience there, I went through a divorce. And because I was so highly successful in the company, I started being inundated with messages from women who were either unhappy in their marriages or wanting to separate and I didn’t feel qualified to hold those conversations, I had my personal experience. And I didn’t even really want to have those conversations, to be honest to I need to own that, because I thought, this is a chapter of my life. I don’t want to live in this chapter. You know, I want to go through the chapter. But it also stemmed something in me where I thought, I feel women are asking something, and they’re coming forward. And I’m not someone who wants to turn a woman away. I’m a massive champion for women. And I thought, what if I went back to school to be a life coach? And what if it just simply supported me to have a healthy conversation with someone where I didn’t have biases, where I could hold space for them, and also heal myself through the journey of becoming a life coach. And that was really what stemmed the coaching journey. For me, I didn’t have huge expectations of becoming a brand. I did it really for myself and those people that were coming forward. And I realized once I sort of pronounced that there were a lot of people on the sidelines watching me and watching my growth. And it just, it just happened. And I knew, then that I wanted to be available for everyone, not just someone who is interested in network marketing. I wanted to be a woman who was accessible. I wanted to really do something with my journey that I had just gone through with leadership as well as my life, I wanted to make gold out of everything that had happened. And so I knew for me, there had to be a bit of a pivot, I needed to shift out of the culture I was in and just create something for me a true legacy, something that I could own and be responsible for. And when I launched it, it took off. It was just incredible. It was like a rocket ship. And I, I am so grateful. So grateful for making the leap. And the step into that because it was scary. I was highly successful. So why would you move? Why not just be grateful for what you have. And, you know, it’s all these things we tell ourselves. But for me, it was so little to do with the wealth and the things and the success and it had everything to do with my soul calling me into something bigger.

 

Emily Merrell  17:52  

So it sounds like a lot of a lot of the success was also attributed to these people who had been paying attention to you over the years as you built your success. Where were they watching you? Where were they? Were they was this during Instagram? Was it Facebook? Was it YouTube? Like how did they know what you were doing?

 

Jen Szpigiel  18:10  

It was definitely a facebooker I really resisted Instagram. This is so interesting. This is a funny story. I think it’s important for someone listening. And it was just I would say 2019 where I really embraced Instagram. I was the most judgmental person of Instagram. I was like what a narcissistic thing, people taking selfies and posting. I judged like, total I was judgey judgey. Okay. And I’ve had some really big conversations around that. And then here I am with these curated pictures on Instagram. Yeah, well, and it’s interesting to me, because what I realized is I, I took the word humble, I just recorded a podcast on this. Have you ever read the definition of humble?

 

Emily Merrell  19:01  

I don’t think so. Not recently.

 

Jen Szpigiel  19:04  

I gotta pull this up. So I was the epitome of a humble leader. I took that word. And I ran with it like it was my badge of honor. And also the way I was raised I was raised in a Christian home and to be humble was a good you know, faithful servant and put other people before you and other people’s happiness is what matters more than your all like that was instilled in me. And so in my leadership, that was really how I lead I lead where I put myself behind other people. And it was in the art of learning to celebrate myself and realizing that by celebrating myself, I’m not even putting myself ahead of anybody else. I’m actually just standing beside my sisters like, I am not saying because I have had success that I am better than I’m just saying, Hey, I’ve had this success, and I can offer you some experience and some lessons and some things that I’ve gained and I’d love to teach. It’s like the most selfless thing, but I read This is This is wild. So the actual definition of humble is lower than in brackets of someone else. indignity or importance.

 

Emily Merrell  20:09  

Hmm. And that’s what you were doing. That’s what you were treating yourself as until what was the like catalyst that made you get on Instagram that made you say like enough of this bullshit, I’m not going to play small and limit myself.

 

Jen Szpigiel  20:28  

It was really self actualization and saying, What if I actually put myself out there and what would be seen again, see all of my trauma from my divorce and people judging me there was a lot of stuff in that whole story. And so what I did was sit uncomfort, Facebook was comfortable, I could post on there, I knew the community was big, but everybody knew me I knew them. And I really served to go over on Instagram was fresh new eyes, like a new opportunity to be seen and be heard. And what if someone sees me or hears me and disagrees with me or says something like, was paralyzed?

 

Emily Merrell  21:01  

Totally. And I think that’s one of the biggest fears that I’ve heard from someone who doesn’t want to post they’re like, Well, what if someone judges me? Like, then they judge you, and they unfollow you, but like, it’s their choice to continue following you. Heck, they can continue judging you every single day, and follow you that’s that’s their own decision. You don’t have to please everyone. You don’t have to make everyone your client either. So with the Facebook community that you cultivated, I’m always so fascinated by connection and community and inviting people in, you know, you inspired people you shared with them and your vulnerabilities going through your divorce going through one career to another career to another career. At what point did you invite them in and you say to them, like, I’m going to help you be X, Y, and Z?

 

Jen Szpigiel  21:48  

Well, I did a lot of personal healing, because that’s another thing I really stand for. In being a leadership expert, we have a level of responsibility to heal ourselves, how can we lead others when we are wounded. And it’s not that healing means you never are wounded again, or that it goes away. And you’re like, it’s rainbows and lollipops. It’s not that it’s that you’ve done a level of healing that you’re not projecting those wounds on to others. So how that looked for me was outward validation, because I was wounded. And I felt like people didn’t accept me for that period in my life. I was constantly seeking validation, like, tell me I’m doing a good job, you know, that sort of thing. And so what I did was I healed and I started to validate myself and I started to own my personal power.

 

Emily Merrell  22:34  

I was like, Wait,

 

Jen Szpigiel  22:36  

there’s another concept that was so foreign to me personal power. That sounds boastful. Like, what what do you mean powerful? Again, I have this concept that that meant I was standing above other people, like I had this image. And instead, what I realized, no, it’s actual empowerment, where you say, Hey, I’m Jen. And I’d love to be in conversation. And I really be I believe that energy exudes out of me. And so when people come forward, how I made that transition was just a lot of dialogue, a lot of relationship building a lot of behind the scenes. i It’s really interesting in my social media, it doesn’t have we don’t see what actually is happening in the becoming iconic brand. Most of the energy, most of the conversation is either through the podcast or in my DMs, because I love the art of conversation. So that is where a lot of the buzz is. And I’m really appreciative of that, because that means people feel connected. You’re

 

Emily Merrell  23:32  

such a Gemini, I love this so much. I’m like, we would be the worst people to sit next to on a plane, I think it’d be like, You guys keep it down. Just so many conversations happening. How do you help your clients? So you do so many different things? I feel like, you know, even reading off all the things that you do, you are a mom, you have four kids that you’re raising into being good humans? How do you work with your clients? And also, how do you find that time to do all of it? I know the word balance is also like an authentic word. I’ll put it in the same little bucket. But how do you do it?

 

Jen Szpigiel  24:09  

Yeah, well, I actually am the same as you. I don’t like the word balance. Because if we’re seeking balance, we’re always going to feel like we’re failing. And so for me, it’s about harm harmony. I always teach that. It’s like harmonious living where you feel like you’re caring for yourself, you’re caring for your family, you’re caring for your business, you’re caring for your clients. And that doesn’t mean everybody has equal parts of the pie. It’s depending on the day. So I am a master. And I’m just gonna proclaim it of time management. I really am. I have figured out a flow that I teach most of my clients now do it and within their businesses, that really creates space. Because we’ve built this busy culture, we’ve really fallen into the seduction of saying I’m busy with when you say that like it’s really quite a hit. Numerous, you’ll never think of it the same way. When you say like, Hey, Emily, how are you? A lot of people like, Oh, I’m so good, but I’m so busy. Like, it’s like, it’s the oddest thing when you think about it, but we say that without even really thinking, and also, it’s to me a sign of ego, it’s, it’s almost saying, I’m busy as though I have more on my plate than you or I’m busy. Can you tell me how great I’m doing? But there’s some form of ego in that. And I just don’t buy into those things. So instead, do I have a full life? Yes. But that’s what I want. I want to skip to the end of my life, I don’t want to be all rested. You know. And I want to like, squeeze out every last drop. So I really do master and guard my time. It is the most precious thing in my world. I create space for my family and my clients. And I’ve really learned I’ve really learned to be a master of it. I

 

Emily Merrell  25:55  

love that. And there’s, there’s a comedian, do you know John Mulaney, who that is? No, he’s, he’s wonderful. He used to be a writer for SNL. And he’s just, uh, I really liked the way that he is comedic, like, it’s very self deprecating, which is kind of my humor versus like making fun of other people. And he talks about busyness and you know, you’re an adult, when someone asks you how your weekend is, and you realize you’ve done nothing. And you’re so excited that you’ve done nothing. Versus when you’re in your early 20s. You list off like a laundry list of all the fun things that you did. But now when you’re like, I did nothing, it was wonderful. I did not mean and and nothingness is also like its own metric nowadays, nowadays, versus filling it with busyness. But I cannot agree with you more. I think we use busyness as an excuse for connection, or as an excuse not to connect and as a way to pat ourselves on our own back. And once you realize that you’re don’t have to be busy all the time that you can be full. I loved how you said, Life, you live a full life and you want to get to the end, but you don’t have to be busy. And that’s great. There’s another thing that I want to bring up to you know, we were talking earlier and I detect a slight Canadian accent. In fact, my husband’s Canadian so it is my my life’s goal to make fun of him when it pops out in opportune times. Yeah, about process process process process. He says process this process process. Yeah, you say? roof and you guys. ruse Ruff. Ruff. Oh, Costa Rica.

 

Jen Szpigiel  27:36  

Yeah, we say and we say Toronto, and a lot of people say Toronto. Like there’s announced the agents. So Bronco, Murano chia, and but there’s no CH, I know. But that’s what you say it’s Toronto.

 

Emily Merrell  27:50  

I think it’s amazing. And I Canadians, obviously, are the nicest humans in the world. They’re not sorry, they’re sorry, but not sorry, I found out at our wedding. And my father in law told me sorry, is not really an act of kindness. It’s just, it’s like a dig in some way. Anyways, my observation recently is that there have been some extraordinary female entrepreneurs coming out of Canada. And I’m, I have to ask you, do you think entrepreneurship is? I want to I don’t want to say easier because it’s not the case. But people are less risk averse to be an entrepreneur in Canada, because of the way that the healthcare system is structured?

 

Jen Szpigiel  28:36  

That’s a great question. And something really to consider. I definitely can’t say it’s easier because our population is so much smaller. So it’s definitely not an easier journey is definitely not. However, we do have some things on our side, like healthcare mean, we have an amazing health care system. And sure, there’s things that could improve, but that’s what everything Yeah. But if there is something to be said, where you know that if you are injured, or you’re having a baby, or you need surgery that you walk in, and you receive great care, and you walk out and there’s no bill, like that’s a really big deal. And when you don’t have it, you realize how big of a deal that is. So there’s there’s those things that I’m sure I didn’t even consider that until we were chit chatting about it. And I think those things that you just take for granted, it’s a really great thing for me just to sink in some gratitude with because that’s a beautiful thing just to know and acknowledge.

 

Emily Merrell  29:28  

I’d be curious to as you, you know, as more and more clients as you have clients from all over the world, just recognizing like, what are the patterns with these clients? Are they independent? Are they married and on their partner’s health in health care if they are in America? But one of the things I remember when I became an entrepreneur at like 28 years old, I went away for the weekend with two girlfriends who were both married, and they sat me down and they told me how brave I was to do it alone. And I was like, well I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was also on a health care plan that was $150 a month for catastrophe insurance, my deductible was over $7,000. And I, when I crossed the street, Jen, like, I crossed the street and looked six times before I crossed the street, I didn’t go skiing, I didn’t do anything that was dangerous. It definitely impacted the way I ran my life. But and also, the next year, my health insurance when I turned 30, it ended up going up to like $500 a month. So it definitely impacted, you know, where I lived in the country because it changed and it also my own behavior. So just something an observation I’ve had is all these really, really, really extraordinary entrepreneurs coming out of Canada recently.

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