Goli: Hello my beautiful friends. I hope you are all doing well in this interesting, uncertain and often anxiety-inducing time. If you are listening from the future it is March 2020 and we are going through the Coronavirus crisis where everybody is self-quarantined. I hope that when you are listening you will laugh at how ridiculous we are being and it all turned out much better than we expected. That is my hope. But I know for a lot of us in this current crisis, it is a very uncertain time and I've thought a lot about how to proceed with the podcast during this time and obviously it's very fluid. It is ever-changing so we will deal with it as it comes. But this week I wanted to do another episode and I thought what better person than my friend, Janelle Copeland. I will tell you why I think it's the perfect episode and the perfect person for this time.
Janelle started out her career in retail and she'll talk about how she was a retail manager and kind of moved up the ranks at her company and was making a great six-figure salary and her husband was working at the same company also making a six-figure salary and then the 2008 recession hit and they both lost their jobs in 2009 and we'll go into what that was like when there really were no jobs to be had. So it's not like you could just apply for another job and how they ultimately had to file bankruptcy and the mental toll that takes on you - really getting to a place of work, realizing you may have to move out of your house. They had their car repossessed, all of the things and thinking that a lot of us get to a point where we think that's the end of the world for us.
And we will talk about how that ended up being the catalyst for such an unbelievable turn of events that has created this beautiful life for Janell and her husband. She, through a passion project of baking, learned that she was very good at making cakes and started making it for friends and family. She ended up turning that into a career and started the Cake Mamas with none other than her husband's ex-wife. We will talk about that. She's such an incredible person that they partnered up together, started it out of their house, grew it to such a big business that needed its own bakery. They opened up their own bakery as Cake Mamas and have run it for 10 years. She's been featured a bunch of times on the Food Network. I mean she's created this incredible brand and this incredible business and in that time she still transitioned and changed and we'll talk about the big news that she's revealed about the Cake Mamas and her path now, which is also so relevant for so many of us quitters.
But really the reason I wanted her on is that I think right now there's a lot of anxiety, not only about the virus and the health implications but more so the economic implications because it does seem like we are going into a recession and how big that will be. Nobody knows. But I know a lot of people are feeling very uneasy about layoffs and firings and all that. And I talked about it in the last episode. We've had a number of guests on previous episodes that have also lost their jobs in the 2008 recession and they turned that into this huge opportunity to start the career of their dreams or the lives of their dreams. And I want you to be thinking about it the same way. I'm not saying that it's not hard and that it's not... there is an anxiety in it and there is fear or uncertainty.
But I think that people always say that people get rich in recessions because there are opportunities. Tons of businesses came out of the 2008 recession because there are ways to innovate. And so, when you are looking for opportunities as opposed to sitting in fear and anxiety and panicking, a lot of beautiful things can happen. And I think that Janell is the perfect person to kind of give us that perspective and let us know what she went through and the life that she's built. So I will stop rambling so you can get all of the wonderful wisdom from Janelle.
Hi Janelle. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Janelle: Hey Goli, I'm happy to be here.
Goli: I'm so excited to have you, especially in these crazy times. I think that your story is usually inspirational, but even more so today. So I'm excited that you're here to kind of maybe help stop some of the panic for other people going through maybe some of the stuff that you've gone through. So we're going to get through all that, but why don't we start back for the 2008 recession, what your career was, what was the type of work you were doing, who you're working for and all that good stuff.
Janelle: Yeah, so I was in retail management. I was a store manager for Best Buy and I worked in one of the largest stores in Southern California. My husband also worked for Best Buy and I'll just kind of paint a picture. In 2005 we got married, we got pregnant, I inherited two stepdaughters and then we were also recruited by our mentor who worked for Best Buy. He jumped ship to go save Circuit City. I say that in air quotes that he recruited us. So in 2005, it was a crazy pivotal time for us. We changed careers and we started working for Circuit City. I was a store leader there and then became a member of the team that was looking to expand Circuit City. So they implemented these stores called The City and it was just very kind of Apple-esque and we were recruiting new talent and it was just a really fun time. And then, you know, 2008 hit and things started to take a dive.
In 2009, my husband and I both were laid off from our very high-paying corporate jobs and we were left with three small children, an over $5,000 mortgage, two car payments, all of the bills, all of the things. And it was scary, to say the least, but it wound up in hindsight being the biggest blessing that God's ever given us.
Goli: Oh my God. Okay. Well, I really want to get into that because I think that is the crux of all of this. So yeah, tell us a little bit about what you guys, 'cause you're, you're both laid off at the same time and it's not like other people were hiring at that time. That's the problem with a lot of these recession-type layoffs.
Janelle: That's exactly what kind of created a little bit of the panic in us is that you know, 13,000 people alone just in LA County, which is the County we live in, 13,000 people were displaced from my company alone. So my company alone, there were 13,000 of us with the same skills, the same knowledge, the same experience, all looking for the same jobs and there weren't enough to go around because you couple that with the unemployment rate already being sky-high. I remember this pivotal moment where we were sitting on the couch in our living room and we were both, my husband and I had our laptops up and we were applying for jobs and you know, I hit send on an application, he hit send at the same time and we looked at each other and I go, where was that one too? And he said, 24-hour fitness. And I'm like, shit, me too. And you know, they're not gonna hire two Copeland's. So at that moment, I broke down a little and I was like, we are literally competing with each other for jobs, honey.
I don't even know how we're going to make it through this. What are we going to do? And it was also our district managers, our regional managers, people who were way more highly-skilled and qualified and have these amazing resumes. They were applying for the same positions that we were and it just kind of felt hopeless. And when you're in the thick of things, it feels like you're never ever going to get through. And it feels very doom and gloom, especially when you're calculating the bills and all of the things. And you've got these three little kids looking at you waiting to get fed and you're just like, literally, we don't have a reserve button. So it was a huge crash course, a lesson for being responsible with your money. I mean, hindsight shifted the way we spend money, how we were consumers. And we learned so many lessons, but you never ever get that in the thick of things.
Goli: Absolutely. Yeah. I love that you say that because I think it's funny that intellectually we can see that things are cyclical and what goes up comes down. And it always happens. And yet when you find yourself in it, you really do feel like it's the end of the world. And I think, you know, there's a lot of this gloom and doom right now happening. And I think people don't realize that yes, it can be bad. I don't want to belittle that and say like, that's not a scary place to be or those feelings are not real and very hard to go through. But at the end of the day, you come out of it somehow. And so, the question is what are you going to do to come out of it and do you come out stronger learning the lessons of how do we better manage our finances or our lives so that we're more in control? Or what is it that I have in my control? So when you're in the thick of that, what did you guys do? What were the options?
Janelle: Mmm, well, let's see. So you know, the mortgage still comes, the car payments still come. We had a car that was repossessed in the middle of the night that we just, we'd normally never park on the side of the street that happened. That was mortifying because now at that time we had decided we needed to file bankruptcy. We were just too far in debt and there was just no way of getting out of that with no salaries. So we filed bankruptcy. I think, honestly, it might sound superficial, but that was one of the hardest things for me. I came from a family where we didn't have a lot of money. And so at a very young age, someone told me you need really solid credit. And I spent from 18 to, at the time I think I was in my early thirties, building credit.
And when we got approved for our house, everything was under my credit and I was really proud of that. And so now that set in, in the time where you actually need credits, that you can take out loans and you need to be able to leverage your credit score. I literally had nothing. And so now that this bankruptcy was on my record, we lost a car... I will tell you that I called our mortgage company every Monday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 10 Hey, it's Janelle Copeland. Again, just calling to let you know we still have no jobs, still have no money. Can you please note my account? And I think we did that for maybe 11 months and I remember bringing boxes home, Goli, from the warehouse at Circuit City and I had taken them home just in case we needed to move and they were sitting in my backyard in my patio area.
We had sat down our children who at the time were four, six and eight and we told them we're probably going to move out of our house, but it'll be fun. We went apartment hunting and we were just ready. And so I think the steps we took were, you know, you've got to get to radical acceptance. Some point you can grieve and I think the quicker you or the better you can shorten that period of grieving and just get to the acceptance level. Then I think the creative juices will start to flow and then your resourcefulness will kick in. They always say, you don't grow your wings or develop your wings until it's time for you to actually fly. And I can't tell you how true that was for us.
Goli: I love that. I mean knowing you, it all makes sense because I think you're such a go-getter and you're such a person that takes action. But, and I think that that's really what I want people to take away though, is that the thing is, whatever can't control, first of all we'd never really had control. Right? You never know day to day what's going to happen. And a lot of times we have this illusion of control and then it's like the thing that you can control is how you show up and how you act. Right? And things are hard. Yes, things can be very hard. And I'm not saying don't put in a place for the grieving or processing the emotion. You absolutely should. And I don't mean it to say that you should have a happy face on like this is all great, but at the end of the day it's you either curl up and don't do anything, or kind of you go into this freeze mode where you figure out like this is the situation, what can I do?
I feel like that's the only way you actually see an opportunity or the creative juices start flowing. I feel like so many of us stay in this panicked frenetic emotive energy and you're just constantly sitting and talking about all the problems and talking to each other about the problems. And it's like, okay, but in that situation, you're never going to be able to see what are some things you can do. What are the things you can control? What is out there for you? And I think at that time, especially like now, there are so many things you can do online. There's so many gig economy, there's other stuff. Whereas I feel like in 2008, if you didn't have a traditional job, there weren’t that many alternate avenues.
Janelle: Yeah. I just want to say that our society today, for the most part, we try to pray our problems away. And I think that what we have learned, and I will say this, the more experience you go through, the greater understanding you have. Right? So because I went through that experience in 2008 it taught us so much to where now a decade later, 12 years later, we're able to have a different perspective. So I do want to say this quote, my pastor shared a long time ago. Your tolerance for tension determines your potential for growth. And if we spend less time praying our problems away and actually just coming to a level of acceptance and realizing, okay, I literally have no control over this whatsoever. So let me surrender to this. Let me accept this. And whatever it is that you need to do, do you need to pray? Do you need to meditate? Do you need to read? Do you need to seek comfort in loved ones? I think that that's important because your environment dictates your perspective. And if you are surrounded by a bunch of people who also want to perpetuate the negativity or the pessimism, it's not going to pull you through faster. It's going to keep you stagnant and stuck. And oftentimes, especially when we're in times of tragedy, sometimes we just need to talk about it and get it through and complain about it. But the people that you go to and their response is really important. And it's so funny because I have an 18 almost 19-year-old daughter and I've been in her life since she was three. You know, the whole background on the Cake Mamas and how my business got started, I started the business with her mom and she's had the privilege and I say privileged.
So any of you step-moms and blended families out there listening, this is important. I tell her all the time, you have the privilege of learning from your mom and her perspective and her reactions and all of the things that she does naturally to her. And you have the privilege of also learning that for me and your dad. And so we were talking the other day and she said, I found myself like when I know that I'm angry about something and I just want to kind of vent and I need somebody to kind of be on my side. She said I've found myself calling my mom because I know she's my biggest supporter. And she's gonna say, yeah, I can't believe they did that right. And it was a great lesson for her as a human because I said, well honey, you have to recognize in yourself, are you the kind of person that's seeking validation or commiseration because that could breed something negative inside of you if you're always looking for someone to be on your side.
And it was a mindblowing, you know, revelation for her. And I said, it's always good to have somebody that's validating you, but also you need somebody that's gonna push you back too. And we need to choose friends like that, you know? So when you're in tragedies like this, at the time, I'll just tell you, everybody was going through it. So everybody wanted to complain about it. That's when we really started kind of stumbling across Ted talks. We started stumbling across books and I realize that in my opinion, you know, my faith has developed through this, but only because I saw God show up in ways that was proving to me like, Oh, okay, when you're really open and receptive and you're accepting, then I'm going to bring things into your path that you get to either make an opportunity or you get to sit there and complain about and miss the opportunity.
So that's really where the shift came is I was like, you know, I can't control this. What can I do? Well, I got to keep myself busy because if I sit at home, calculate my bills, I already know callers are not coming in. There's nothing I can do about it. So back to the acceptance and the surrender. So literally, I went to the local community college and I said, I'm going to take a couple of classes cause I need to stay busy, I need to get out of my house and I can't just sit here and look at my problems. So I re-enrolled back into community college. Literally I took a PE class and then a freaking Spanish class. And then in the evening times I was like, well, I get to meal prep and I get to cook dinner with my kids and I'm trying to find the blessings.
And you know, I was a career working mom and so I missed - I remembered how much I was crying constantly because I was missing milestones with my kids when my baby rolled over for the first time, I was at work. When - and this is before FaceTime - So I was putting myself in a state of, I kind of prayed for this, I needed a break. And I honestly think that that's the perspective that I've chosen for this whole, you know, COVID-19 thing. I literally told my husband the other day, yes, it's tragic. Yes we need to stay at home. Yes, it's scary. But at the same time, what if God is sitting there literally laughing with his arms crossed his arms saying y'all are too busy and you just need a break. I have, you are all praying for this. I made it happen for you. Find the blessing and that's what we're doing. You know?
Goli: And I love that you raised that. I mean I just did an episode about what does the law of polarity mean and the thing is, you don't see the blessings if you don't see the other side. You can never see. If we were always happy, we wouldn't understand what happiness is. Right? You wouldn't actually be happy. The only reason joy is so much sweeter is because you've experienced sadness. And so I think a lot of people are showing that on social media too. I love seeing that, where it's like you're seeing that the planet is taking a breath. They're seeing dolphins in the canals in Venice for the first time cause it's not as polluted. They're seeing that there are all these amazing things happening and yes, there are a lot of tragic things happening as well, you know. But it's what you're focusing on. And again, it's like what can you control? We can't control a lot of this stuff. Like a week you can control is staying in your house and working on your own peace of mind or doing the things that you need to do to set yourself up when this is over.
Goli: I love that perspective that you had that. So you start taking these classes and how does that lead you to The Cake Mamas?
Janelle: So I was at home cooking dinner, I had the TV on in the background and I never watched TV cause I never had time. And now it's on, playing in the background. And there was this show that came on, The Cake Boss, you know, famous guy covering cakes in fondant. And I'm just watching him. I've always been creative. I've been a scrapbooker, I've made rhinestone belt buckles, you know, whatever the trend was. And so I'm watching it and I'm like, I could make that. So I went out and I bought a bucket of fondant. I made a cake and I covered it and I was pretty good at it. So, you know, I just kinda started practicing. My husband had an aunt who had a birthday coming up. I made her a cheetah print cake. It looked trashy, but it was like, I still had never taken a class or anything.
It was just self-taught. Mind you, this was before YouTube was a huge deal. And so everything I did, I Google searched it or read a blog and you know, one person saw a cake and then they said, Oh, I have a party next week. Can you make a cake? I was doing it to keep busy, but the thing was my creative juices were flowing and it felt good and I didn't realize that it was an opportunity, I think that God had kind of opened up and said, well, let's see what she does with this. I'm going to put this inspiration in front of her. Let's see what she does. I fell in love with it. And then about a month later, you know, I'd made several cakes. I had a random dream about my husband's ex, who again is the mother of my stepdaughters and she and I, for whatever reason, owned a bakery and the kids were in the bakery after school helping to ring customers up and put frosting on cakes and cupcakes and stuff.
It was really, really vivid. And I woke up and I said, Oh my God, I had a dream about Fabiola it was so weird. Of course, my husband looks at me like, why the hell are you dreaming about my ex? Right? And so I tell him the dream and he said, that's so strange. Did you know that she was a baker? And I was like, what? And so he said, yeah, her only job, up until last year when this bakery closed, she had only ever worked for this small bakery and she loved it and she's really good at it. And long story short, it wound up turning into a conversation with her. And by the end of the week, we had... Our children had heard us talking about it and they ran over after playing and they were sweaty, but they had heard us and they said, so we were thinking, if you guys are going to make cakes together and you're both our mamas, you should just name yourselves The Cake Mamas.
And so that's how the name came. I looked it up. I trademarked it, didn't know how to trademark, did it. Didn't know how to register a business, Googled it, figured it out. And it just kind of snowballed from there. By the end of the week, the girl that sat next to me in my Spanish class happened to be a graphic designer. She created our first logo for us. The girl that was on the treadmill next to me in PE, I overheard her talking about her son's birthday party. I hit stop. I handed her a card and I said, Hey, I have a baking business. She was our very first paying client and I still have her contact with her. It's still made. And so that's how the business was born. And then it was, you know, I do think necessity and tension create the most amazing outcomes.
And so yeah, you know, my back was against the wall and I was trying to figure out what's the next thing? And instead of focusing on, Oh, I could make this a business, it was just something that naturally kind of progressed and you know, the right people fell into my pathway because I think, I think it's only because I was pursuing something that was occupying my time that was distracting me, that wasn't, it was giving me the opportunity to not focus on all of the doom and gloom that was really happening in the background. And so I think that's my biggest advice. When people go through things like a layoff or a loss or a huge setback, I always ask them, well, what were you praying for before this happened? I ran into this woman a few months ago in Costco. She knew who I was from The Cake Mamas and she was like, how do you stay so positive?
You know, my husband and I lost our jobs and I was like, Oh SIS, let me tell you, you need a hobby. I can distract you. You need to put one foot in front of the next. And by the way, what were you saying that you wish you had time to do before this whole thing happened? She had a list of 20 things, right? I always wanted to take a hip hop class. I always wanted to, you know, pursue this. I love gardening. Okay. Get your ass in the back, pick up a shovel. And that's really what I think the secret sauce is, is like she's so paralyzed in and stuck in the shit storm. Can I cuss on this? I don't even know. You know, we get so paralyzed in the midst of the storm that we can't literally move. And so if you just wake up, you feel the weight of your problems from yesterday, great. Go outside and garden and try to look at the beauty from mother nature, try to do something else, go cook whatever it is. And I honestly think your creativity starts to flow and I think that God, the universe, whatever you believe in, starts to see and reward your action. Like, Oh wow, good job girlfriend. You just, I'm going to put this opportunity. This inspiration in front of me.
Goli: Totally. It's funny to say that cause I mean, I don't come from a faith background to this, but I, it's funny because in my coaching programs in the, in my group program, this is what we talk about. I love that you were talking about it in times of hardship or let's say you’re doing this to distract yourself. And I think that even in normal times, people always come to me and ask me, how do I figure out what I want to do? How do I figure out what the thing is? How do I figure out the next thing? Just start doing stuff. Just do things that you like, get a hobby. Because what happens, like what we were just talking about, I think a couple of things I've noticed just in your periphery.
I look at more, I think from just mindset stuff and the way that you know, our brains work. And so a lot of times when you have the blinders on and you're working all the time, you're coming home and you're watching Netflix and just complaining about the job and whatnot. There are so many opportunities out there, but you don't see them. Right? And then when you start getting those creative juices flowing, even if it's not the thing you cause people want to find that thing and start doing that thing. And I'm like, no, just start gardening. Because when you're out in the garden or you're out in nature, you're baking a cake or you're doing something that you love, you let the panic go, you let the thoughts go and it opens you up to like, huh, could this be a thing?
Oh, look what this other person is doing. It just opens up this whole world because you've taken off these blinders and so I love that that is yours cause I really do think that's the secret sauce too. And I think that you're right that maybe the thing that you are praying for like you want it all this time or a lot of times, you know, we get really stuck in complacency. Even if we're unhappy, it's comfortable. We know what it is. We know what to do. And sometimes it's that nudge because you're not going to get up and just try a bunch of hobbies. Right? So maybe it is like that layoff or whatever. That is where it's like now I have a bunch of time on my hands, so why not take this time to start doing all the things that I am just interested in? It doesn't have to be the next big thing. It could just be something to take your mind off all the crap.
Janelle: Yeah, I mean I just think disruption is so necessary because when we like harmony we like feel-good things. But can I just tell you like everything that feels good is generally bad for you. Too much sex, bad for you. Too much alcohol, bad for you. Too many cupcakes, bad for you. Right. And so we need the disruption. We need the discomfort. That's where the growth comes. And you know, you said yourself a little while ago, it's not really, you're not really faith-based, but I can just tell you, even if, you know, if you're a walking person on the planet, you know a little bit about the Bible and like I heard this pastor say, you know if Jesus came down and was the father of God himself and was told to preach the good gospel and he went through all of these people chastising him and you know, doing all these terrible things and this man got crucified, why would we for one second think that our life is supposed to be the problem. And then I just kind of shifted my perspective like, Oh, problems are good. Yeah, you're right. This gives us a perspective. It shows us the good and the bad and that there is no harmony unless you see the disruption.
Goli: I think we talked about this actually on your podcast, which we will talk about. And I was on there and I had so much fun with you and Eddie, but we talked about this even when you think about it with anything and people, you know, this can be related to starting a new business. And I see this a lot with people that are starting a high side hustle and we're so hell-bent on trying to anticipate and prevent every problem. And I always say, have you heard of a business? Say, Oh yeah, we started, we'd never had a problem. Everything has been smooth sailing. That has never happened. Or in life nobody will ever say, yeah, I've never had a sad day in my life. I've never had a problem. Everything has been all, you know, it's like we understand that.
Like I was saying in the beginning, you know in the market life, everything is cyclical, right? I think that you do control... I know for myself that doing a lot of work on my thoughts, doing a lot of work on my mindset, doing a lot of work on personal development.... It's helped me get off of the crazy train. I don't feel as much of a roller coaster because I think my highs, it's not, I don't have the high of highs and the low of lows. So I kind of see like, Oh this is the human experience. Okay. I can take a step back and be like, okay, this is a period of a little bit of anxiety. That's okay. But then also when there are times where it's super high, I also realize, okay, this is great, but it doesn't define me. It's not, I'm not chasing it. I'm going to enjoy it and I know it's going to be fleeting just like everything else. And so I do think you can kind of help manage that. But if you're trying to prevent a problem or you're trying to prevent any hardship in your life, good luck. That's not going to happen. So stop wasting your energy.
Janelle: And it's with anything. You get married, you take a risk, you have a kid, you get pregnant, you don't know if it's going to be healthy, you start a job, you don't know if you're going to hate your boss. Like everything we do, there's some sort of risk involved. And I think submitting to the fact that it doesn't have to be perfect and you have to figure out how you're going to show up in those situations because that's just what life's about and it's more about your character and how you move about your life. That's going to define whether happy or completely miserable. And I just also want to say, things like COVID-19 or the crash in 2008... Those are the times where amazing businesses are born. Those are the times where ideas and creativity shoot through the roof.
Those are the times when innovation and inventions and all of this stuff can really surface because you are minimizing the chatter, minimizing the pollution, minimizing the traffic, minimizing your brain activity, minimizing your responsibilities. And I think like, you know, if you're a minimalist, I've been reading all these articles about minimalists and how they're kind of annoyed because people like us who are super busy all the time, they're like, okay, look at these idiots. Now they want to slow down because now all of a sudden they're grateful and it’s comical to see that we're all human, but we're all experiencing this in a different way. And there are going to be some people that are sitting at home depressed. And then there are some people that are like, this is a great opportunity for me to hang out with my kids. And some people, their kids are getting on their nerves and you're like, I need to get out of the house, right? So you're going to start hiking and then you're going to realize that nature's beautiful. And then next time you're going to bring a camera and before you know it, you're going to be changing from this shitty job that you have. And now you're a photographer. Those are the blessings you find.
Goli: Oh my God. So I love it so much. And one thing that I also think is going to be great is that for anyone that's listening in the future to this cause I think, you know, people go back and listen to podcast episodes. I'm also hoping you look back and you realize how crazy everybody is, right? Whatever the future ends up happening. When we're in it, you're doomsday-ing it. You're thinking about every scenario. You're trying to predict a year in advance what's going to happen with the economy. And you know, a lot of times when we look back at 2008... Not that it wasn't bad, not that people didn't go through hard things, but the world didn't end. We got through it. And so it behooves all of us to look back at when we are in a panic state and think like, Oh Hey, I blew that out of proportion. So maybe the next time that I'm feeling panicked. I can remember that.
Janelle: There's a really great exercise that people can do. You take a piece of paper folded in half on the left side, you write down, here were all of the times that I've overcome like the hardest things in your life. You just make a list and then on the other side you make a list of like, who did I have to be? Who was I at that time? For me, when I started my business, who was I? I was someone who was searching for something out of necessity. Right. I was someone who was not willing to take no, I was someone who didn't have anything but time to figure things out. I was someone who was willing to research until two, three in the morning I was someone and then you start to see, Oh, I'm capable of really hard things and then you have to ask yourself, okay, could I shift my perspective about the crazy stuff I'm going through right now? Because I know that if at one point I possessed these skills and traits, then that means they're in me and I'm just being tested for promotion again.
Goli: Yeah. I love that. I love that so much. I think everybody should absolutely do that exercise one to see that. But I've heard other people say just making a list of all the stuff that you have overcome and the things that you've done. Cause a lot of times, the way that our brain is wired, we constantly have that negative voice and we're always looking at all of the things that we haven't done and the projects we didn't finish and how we failed at this and how we're not strong enough. And it really, honestly, it is worth making a list of everything that you have accomplished are the things that were really special to you to remind yourself that you're a badass and you can do it and you can do whatever you want. And so I, I love that exercise, but okay. I want people to really understand how cool... First of all, the story of The Cake Mamas, the fact that you work with your, you know, husband's ex-wife is, I mean it just shows what a unicorn of a human being you are. And how amazing for your daughters.
Janelle: And you know, she's listening to this. I want to tell you that she and I went through some massive challenges. You know, we were completely different and at the end of the day, the partnership didn't work out, but we realize that being parents and being role models for our kids was the most important thing. And so anytime I travel or go out of town with my husband, she comes to my house and she stays with my kids. So that relationship is something that has inspired thousands and thousands of people and it would have never ever been what it is today had we not gone through all of those problems. You know, there was a point where it was like, okay, I'm either going to kill you or you're going to kill me and we don't like to talk about that. But those problems really helped breed and develop the relationship that we're able to show people today and be really authentic with. It's not fake.
Goli: Right. Right. Well, and I mean, again, that's just a kudos to you guys for going through that and then being able to - I think it takes a lot of personal development and self-awareness to be able to avoid get stuck in a blame and shame game and, and be able to move back and see the importance and then what an example for people especially, you know, for the children so that people see a different way and it's not this us tired story of like, you know, hate and fighting all the time and how much everyone benefits. I think that is just such an incredible Testament to all of you guys and such an incredible example that hopefully more people will start following because it's just so, I mean, outside of business and all this other stuff like that, this is what is important. So that's amazing. And I mean, you were saying this, a lot of business partners who don't have these types of relationships want to kill each other. So I don't think that that... I think it's just hard to be in business with people.
Janelle: For sure.
Goli: Before that. So when you started this, were you doing it out of the house? Did you guys get a kitchen? Did you have a bakery? What'd you do?
Janelle: Girl, I completely obliterated my house. At one point it had beautiful pictures and the kitchen and the dining area and I started getting these industrial shelves from Costco because now I was buying 50 pound bags of flour and sugar and all this stuff. And so we got to the point where we had so much business coming in. And the goal was always to outgrow the house so we could start looking for retail space. And you know, we started getting to the point where we were generating nearly $10,000 a month from home with three refrigerators in the garage and just a constant flow of business that we were saying no to. And when my house looked like an industrial bakery, both in the house and also in the garage, then we were like, okay, we literally can't do this anymore. So we started looking for spaces and I'll tell you, just because you decide to pursue something does not mean the universe is going to open up all of the [inaudible] for you. I have to tell people that because at one point we had enough money, we went to an auction. We were so excited and proud cause we won all these bids and we wound up with all this equipment. And then we found this amazing space and we were like, Oh my God, it's all falling together perfectly.
And I'm just going to tell you on my birthday in 2010 or 11, I think it was, you know, we were ready to move into this space and I was leaving to go sign the documents and we had literally goalie everything planned out, drawn-out, like we were ready to open. We had a grand opening plans all in this one space. I go to call the guy just to make sure, Hey, we're still on for 10. And he goes, Oh, actually we decided to go with a different tenant over the weekend. And I was like, wait, what? We have drawings, we already know where the refrigerators are going. And so I remember we both kind of cried and we were like, what's the deal with all this equipment? I'm talking massive, you know, industrial freezers, commercial freezers. And now it's on my patio. And we had to buy a storage unit and figure things out and pay for moving trucks.
And you know, we were really limited on capital, but also that was such a huge heartbreak and I can tell you it happened three more times. And so now I'm a coach and a mentor for female, small business owners that are looking to take their passions and turn them into profitable businesses. And I tell them constantly a few of the same things. Like one, you have to have faith, not so much in the godly fashion, faith, but you need to have faith that someone somehow some way is going to step in and at some point favor will open for you because you can't control everything. The next thing you need to know is that things are not going to go as you plan. So you need to prepare and buckle up for some very hard, tough, challenging times.
And you also need to get to the mindset as quickly as possible that things are happening for you, not to you. And so I don't work with people that can't comprehend those three things because I don't have time for you to be complaining and crying about every lease that got ripped away from you or, and so, you know, most of my work comes from helping them develop that resilience, but it's only from experience goalie. Like I, yeah, someone would have held my hand 11 years ago and said, girlfriend, pick up, pick it up. You can take two minutes, but don't sit there. Right. I wish someone would've held my hand and said, why did you think this was going to be easy? Like why are you so hard on yourself thinking that this is the universe’s way of shutting the door and maybe you should do it. This is just how it works, right?
Goli: Yes. Oh my God, that's so important.
Janelle: So important. And everybody needs a cheerleader in there that is telling them, girlfriend or boyfriend, suck it up because this is part of the journey and that's really what happened. Like we had to just, we didn't realize at the time, again in the thick of things that it was the resilience that required to build a business that was going to withstand 11 years of growth and lulls, we didn't know that that was, you know, the universe or God testing us for promotion.
Goli: I love that. I love that so much. And yeah, I do think that like you can't grow until you kind of obtain a certain amount of skill or understanding or a mental shift. And so all of these things prepare you.
Janelle: And that only comes from tension.
Goli: Absolutely. And one thing though that I love that I talk about a lot that I see and what you're talking about too, is because we're so hard on ourselves because we've been taught by society, whatever that inner voice is so mean. What happens so often that I really want people to understand, I think you could take so much of the drama out of your life if you stop attaching meaning to things that don't have meaning, right? So it's like when something fails, let's say like when you were talking back about the bankruptcy, you know, like that was a, you know, yes. The hundreds of thousands of where the whole world was going down, right? And yet when you're going through that, we I’m not saying it's just you. Everybody would go through that shame of like, I failed or I'm a loser. I didn't do the right...
You know? And we start attaching these meanings of what something means as opposed to like, okay, this is just the situation. Right. And I think in business too, when you're saying that, it's like when you're going into business for yourself knowing that things aren't going to turn outright. It's just part of the process. And then if you cannot attach a meaning to that as like, I'm not smart enough to be in business, I don't know what the hell I'm doing, or I'm never going to make this work or whatever. And it could just be like, Oh, this lease didn't work onto the next one. You know, you could just bounce back a lot easier. But we're just not trained for that and we're so hard on ourselves and we're so worried about what other people think and failing and like, what's it going to mean? So we just don't take any action as opposed to like, okay, it's just taking a step and then it takes two setbacks and then he'd keep going, you know?
Janelle: Well, can I just say, the rejection at the time feels debilitating, right? But I can tell you that if you pay attention to the signs and all of the doors and the rejection and things that have been closed, they have happened in your favor. All the boyfriends you cried over that were cheating on you. Thank God that you didn't marry that fool. And so back to that lease, you know, thank God we didn't get that because in the last 11 years it has been six different things. And I realize now that I know so much more about real estate and traffic and I wasn't equipped at that time. It wasn't a blessing that was being blocked for me. It was, girl, please avoid this. And I strongly believe that if people lean into the fact that you know, doors are shut to kind of help save you from some massive right versus you saying, Oh my God, it's not meant to be. Why is this happening?
And you just have to learn how to shift your perspective. So eventually we found the best location eventually. And you know, truth be told it's not the freaking best location. Right. I had built enough skill and knowledge at that time to learn how to make, do with what was available to us because we were so under-capitalized and I couldn't afford to build a dream bakery in the dream location. And so, you know, I made it work and I figured if I could be doing that type of revenue from home, all I needed was to be doing it legally in a commercial thing. Yeah. And if people needed to Google or I needed to send them instructions on how to find us cause it was a bad location, they were finding me in my house. So then at that point, it doesn't even matter if it's a good or a bad location.
So some things that you think are super important when you're starting a business, they're just not really that big of a deal and you make them or deal so well, you know, we had pursued and you know, there were, I could talk to you for 18 hours.
Goli: No. Yeah, let’s just jump into - so you guys opened the bakery in 2011. October. Okay. 2011 and when did you end up on the Food Network?
Janelle: Very shortly after. So the moment we opened, well actually from home they were calling us and I said absolutely not. We can't afford any more visibility. At the time we were literally making cakes at home illegally because there was no such thing as a cottage law. Now you can have your house inspected. And so I was like somebody is going to be jealous and they're going to report us.
Actually an older mentor that I had who technically was my competition had given me that advice. She said, I'm telling you right now, if someone reports you to the health department, it's going to be really bad for you. So you need to find a space as soon as possible. And we did and we opened, you know, then Food Network reached out again. We went on Cupcake Wars together and I can tell you that challenge alone was just like, is this real life? There's this funny thing they do before they start the actual camera rolling. They have the medic team come out and they say, if at any point you cut yourself, you burn yourself, you need to raise your hand and call for a medic and we're going to remove you from the set. But the timer does not stop. Like you don't, you know. So I look at my partner, Fabiola and I just give her a look like don't you hurt yourself, you know, and who do you think freaking hurt herself?
So she gets hurt onset. She reached into this bin to grab something and there was a knife and it sliced her finger and we wanted to win so bad she went to the refrigerator, grabbed a handful of strawberries and just held the strawberries so that way it would mask the blood. Yeah, like so ridiculous. But we were so desperate to win. Right. And so finally she shows me and she can't stop the bleeding. And so I raised my hand, I scream out medic and I'm pissed. Cause now she's gotten and I'm by myself. So long story short, it's like this is what pressure, like pressure, intention, create victory. And so we wound up winning, which was amazing, unbelievable and we're still really good friends with the people that we competed with. And that's important that you meet these competitors along the way that will become your biggest advocates and cheerleaders. And that's important to remember.
Goli: So you've had the bakery now for 10 years. So tell us what's happening now. You said that you mentor other people that are starting these types of companies. So tell us how you got into that kind of business and what your big announcement is for The Cake Mamas and what you're doing now.
Janelle: So in 2017 well you know from the time that we went on Cupcake Wars, we then went onto Cake Wars. We did several other shows. I've done so many shows with Food Network that some of them didn't even wind up on the air, but they're really great. And so we've had a lot of fun with that. But it's given us great visibility. Our community definitely loves The Cake Mamas and we've got tons of followers on social media. So people that are getting into business, you know, they reach out over the years and it's like, I'm going to give you some quick tips but I can't really mentor you cause I have an entire business and a staff of 14 that I'm managing by myself. And if I take my eyes off of my ball, then my business, you know, slips. So I'd help when I could, but I couldn't really dedicate a ton of time in 2017.
So from ‘11 to ‘17 I had obviously realized that my role as a business owner had shifted many times. You know, when I first, and this is super important too, when I started the bakery, it was because I loved art and I loved being creative. You know, that was what I had leaned into because I was displaced, you know, with my job. Then when I got into the bakery I realized, Oh, I don't really have time for that. I need to learn and teach my staff about customer service and we need to really get down and dirty in the community and like, you know, provide the most amazing service. Then my role shifted. Then my role had shifted to, Oh, we need to expand our staff. And I needed to get really good at being a leader and employee development for retention. And then my role had shifted.
So I say this to tell people, if you start a business because of one thing that you love, you're not going to be doing that for very long. Right. And so my roles had shifted and shifted and shifted and shifted. So then in 2017 I got to a point where I was able to work on the business instead of working in the business. And that's when I started learning that, wow, I could actually be a mentor and a coach online. I don't have to fly to these people's bakeries and go be there to support them. And so I started coaching and consulting a little bit on the side in 2017 and then it brought me so much joy to watch people overcome the obstacles that took me freaking 11 years. And I fell in love with it. And so to be truthful, from ‘17 till recently my business was suffering, not so much financially, but because now I was a great leader and I wasn't there to pour into my employees.
And then I was like, okay, well I'm going to throw some money and I'm going to hire a manager to run it. And then guess what, the manager is not me. The employees’ culture starts to shift and so things for the last few years I've watched them and it's been slightly breaking because I think I underestimated the influence that I had on all of the employees, the customers, the community. And so, where it used to be, me or a manager going to a chamber of commerce meeting and networking, you send somebody else that doesn't do it like you and it's not as effective. And P.S. it costs me more money. And so I've been seeing and realizing that I could impact the world and the industry in a greater way than I can, being in a small business in the corner of Glendora.
And so I made the announcement with your help honestly. And this is again why it's so important to have friends that are not just going to tell you what you think you need to hear that are going to challenge you. So I want to thank you for that, but you've inspired me to be a quitter. And so I had spoken with a few people, honestly, some of my students that I really confide in and I said, Hey, so here's my situation. I'm going to announce that I'm closing the bakery. I can't tell you that all of them said, like every one of them did say, I don't know if that's a good idea, Janelle. I think you should sell it on the side. All of the other mergers or acquisitions that happen, they're done privately. It might disrupt your employees or the community.
And I just felt in my heart that honesty was the best policy. And then remember back to you, the 2009 thing where we lost our corporate jobs, right? When I lost my job, we went into, or when the company announced they were closing, we went into liquidation. And I remember having to step into a new side of my leadership, a new level because now I had employees that could come to work disgruntled if they came to work because they weren't going to have a job in 30 days and they could start stealing. So shrink was a huge thing. Huge concern. And I just remember having to step into a new level of leadership to keep them motivated, to inspire them, to stay into integrity, to get them to see that we were all in this together. And so that in 2009, Goli, prepared me to have a different perspective in 2020 that nobody else had because I had gone through that.
What I considered a shitty time. Right. So this is what I'm trying to tell you that hopefully your listeners gett. Oh, she's not just standing on some soapbox telling you to get over it and go through your problems and find the blessings. She's actually saying, Oh my God. Something that I went through 10 years ago was able to prepare me to have a different perspective that nobody else saw. So what happened was a couple of weeks ago, I launched it on my podcast. I put a YouTube video up. I had a sign made saying The Cake Mamas is for sale. We have had the biggest outpour of support, of interest, of so much. Obviously my staff is a little worried because what happens if they get a new owner and they don't like the new owner? And so it's a tough transition. I'm not saying that it's easy, but what I'm saying is had I kept myself quiet and followed suit with everybody who said that I should do it, then I wouldn't have three buyers that have surfaced. I wouldn't be able to position my business in a way that shows, Hey, look at the power of the social media following that I've created. By the way, that's value. Do you want to buy that or not? You know? And so it's created great transparency and you know, it was a big risk.
Goli: Totally. I love that. I mean I know we've spoken a lot privately and I was very, very supportive of you basically one selling and doing it publicly for a couple of reasons. I mean one of the reasons is why I'm doing this podcast because I think that so many people still have, you know, the people that are giving you this advice. There is this hush hush-ness about quitting or changing, and just doing it quietly and not scaring people and all this stuff. And one of the reasons I'm doing this podcast is to take off all of the stigma or whatever it is, you know? And you've already transitioned into this incredible new business and because I know Janelle, and obviously now you all get a taste of how motivating she is and how much she can inspire people and get them to really be more of a go getter of the way that she is.
You've evolved over the last 10 years and it is very difficult to make a decision to leave a working business like a profitable good business. Right. But the whole point of this podcast is that it's still okay. You are allowed to grow, you're allowed to evolve, you're allowed to change your life to see like, Hey now the person that Janelle is in 2020 is different than the person that you were in 2010 and it's okay to say I've learned all of these skills and I want to utilize it in a new way and how amazing and brave and fun and just the fact that your life can constantly transform like it should.
Janelle: And that’s the missing ingredient, you know, is, it should. And the thing is, you have to understand your community. You guys might be listening to this podcast because you want to quit something. And I'm just telling you if you've been doing something for 10 years, it is time for because you have developed new skills, you've got new experiences, you've gone through so much that is, it's PR, it's shifting you to show you that something else is available to you. And so you have to lean into that and get out of the comfort of the safety and the repetition and you know, truth be told like you're complaining about it all the time anyway, so you may as well, you know, blow it up and move on to something new. And so that's what we decided to do. And then, you know, Hey, I don't know what the next step is going to be.
And I’m completely okay with that because I know that chapter is done. And I also want to be very clear that there's a difference in quitting and finishing. And so for me and we had done a whole podcast episode on this, but for me finishing something means it's complete. And I completed my project with the cake mamas and it took over a decade to complete and I'm so proud of it and I've learned and gained so many tools and knowledge and a network and so many things that will help me in the next season of life. And I think that that is truly what we should all be doing is figuring out how to keep your eyes on the horizon at least like what could be my next thing. And then being open to magic.
Goli: Yes. Oh my God. All of it is so good. But one thing I want to ask you because I want people to really understand this, and I think coming to this decision is like, I think people think when you see other people that, Oh, it was just this easy decision. She knew she got to, she got to the end like, Oh, now I know.... Were you certain, you know where you're in this place where you're like, Oh, this is the decision and this is the quote-unquote right choice. Or how long did you struggle with the decision of actually selling the business and moving on to coaching?
Janelle: Yeah. Okay. So here's another really quick story. In 2005 I got inspired to start working out like crazy and then I decided to do a bodybuilding competition. So get this, you know, it gets challenging. She does that bodybuilding competition, doesn't eat her own cupcakes. At that point, I had the most amazing body. When you go through a transition, especially a physical one, everybody wants to know how you did it. So there's a bit of significance. There's a bit of like, Oh wow, this feels really good that I can serve. We all want to be of service. I wanted to blow up my bakery in 2015 because I wanted to show everybody that, you know, you could transform your body and live healthier and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. And I started another business in that timeframe where it was a meal prep company and I wasn't paying attention to what were my big goals and desires.
And at the time Goli, I was already overworked and had too many juggling plates in the air. And I realize the moment I started the business, the second business, and it got a little out of control as far as it was busy, it was supposed to be good. And I had this huge sense of, Oh my God, I don't want to do this. I don't even have time as it is. Why did I do this? So I had to eventually close down that business. It was not a failure. It was something that I leaned into. So again, be open to the inspiration, but also know what your values are. I was valuing the fact that I needed to be home with my kids at that stage and I didn't listen to it. And so that to me it wasn't a failure.
Again, it was a lesson and that has happened so many times. So then in 2017 I started, I got a little taste of what it was like to help other people and I did the same thing. Oh my God, I'm going to, I'm going to totally sell it and we can be distracted by that. But I wasn't quite finished because I knew that there was still so much to do and I knew that I hadn't found my sea legs yet with the new thing. So I think there's a really important discernment that has to come and that's only going to be if you're trying to juggle the things and you're trying to dip your toes in and then you'll realize at some point, okay, I got to go in all in. Because truthfully, my business, the baking business, although I didn't have the best leaders in place, although, you know, the culture was shifting, the business was still doing fine and it wasn't experiencing the growth that it had when I was here, but it was still doing pretty flat-lined.
So I thought it was good. And then I realized last year when it took a little bit of a hit, I was like, Oh, I don't want this to happen. And that doesn't feel good, but I know it's because I took my eye off the ball. I know it's because my foot's not on the gas anymore. And so I would be doing a disservice to the community and my employees and I need to find somebody who can come in and fuse new ideas, you know, give the employees the time and the energy that they need. And so I knew in 2018 but I wasn't quite ready, so I juggled them. So again, to your point, it's like, it's not an immediate epiphany.
Goli: Absolutely. It's, and there's a right answer, right? So we're all figuring it out. Yeah. And then you just make the decision. But even that, I think people think that they're going to have this clarity. All of a sudden they're going to know like, you know the seas are going to part and they're going to know. No. You just have to make a decision and do it at some point.
Janelle: So, right. And I will say this, if you're the kind of person searching for clarity, you know what brings the most clarity, failure, diversity. Your hand gets burned and you're like, Oh shit. Okay, don't get it. That is extreme clarity, right? So if I announced that I was selling the bakery and the backlash was terrible, I would've been like, Ooh, maybe that wasn't the right thing to do. Okay, don't do that again. Right? But see, for me and for you, we have been through so much that we know how to not attach meaning to the outcome. And that is something I think you have to practice. You've got to be in constant pursuit of practicing, removing the meaning. You know you fail a test, great. It doesn't mean you're a failure. It means you didn't prepare well enough. You have a business that failed or you know, you had to shut down. It doesn't mean you're a failure. It means you maybe you didn't have the proper skills to create a withstanding business. Like, you know, you have a badass kid. Maybe you just didn't have enough maternal parenting instincts and you should have read some books. Like, I don't know, it could apply to anything. And I think we need to stop and just remove the meaning and just say, okay, what could I do to actually get better at this thing that I'm not so great at right now?
Goli: Right, right. I love that. Oh my God. So much good wisdom. Janelle. Thank you so much. I mean, clearly, everybody knows now that you're the go-getter and the pusher, so why don't you tell them about your podcast and how you help people and where they can find you.
Janelle: Yeah. So I realized through my business coaching that people just need a friendly nudge. They need a push and I want to help people get their shit together. And it starts really with your perspective and your mindset. And so on the Push Podcast, I hope everyone goes and listens. We recently interviewed Goli about being a quitter and all of her magic was shared with our community. But you know, we show up weekly to tell everybody that we all need a friendly push. And so the whole podcast is just about perspective shifts and whatever you're thinking about this wrong. And here's another thing to try on, and maybe it's not the right fit for you, but what if you looked at it this way and it's been so amazing and fulfilling to be able to impact on a greater scale. So please go listen to the Push Podcast.
Goli: Yes, definitely. Go listen to it. It's such a good one. You're going to love it. I loved being on you and your husband are so much fun. And where can they find you on social media or you know, where's the best way or place to contact you?
Janelle: Yeah. Jenelle Copeland. I'm Janell Copeland. J, A, N, E L,L, E, Copeland on Instagram, on Facebook everywhere. And then The Cake Mamas is the business, and, I don’t know, we'll see what's to come. But for right now and enjoying the journey and I'm so glad to be doing life with you.
Goli: Oh, same. I'm so excited. And me and Janelle actually met at a conference, we sat next to each other.
Janelle: You know why? It’s because we were both in search of growth.
Goli: Yes, exactly. I always talk about being in places with people that are doing the things that you want to do and how magical it is and the friendships that form. And I'm just so grateful that we are now friends and going through this journey together and I'm so proud of you. I'm so excited to see what you're going to do. I will link to all of your links in the show notes in case people couldn't write it down. You should 100% follow and use her vast wisdom to help you in your day to day life. So Janelle thank you so much.
Janelle: Thank you, friend. I appreciate you and I love what you're doing. Get people to finish and then quit things.
Goli: You’re so sweet, thank you.
Janelle: Thank you!
Goli: You guys, how wonderful is Janelle? Honestly, I have a million takeaways. She is like a motivational speaker, so I'm sure you took away a lot. But here are my top three obviously. The first one is that things that we think are the end of the world aren't always that bad. I mean that is where the phrase blessing in disguise came from, right? It's happened to so many of us. What are the things that we thought were the end of our life or the biggest heartbreak or whatever turned out to be such incredible blessings. And in hindsight, that's easy to see. But once you've gone through it a couple of times, when you're going through that tough season, remember that, ask yourself like, how is this maybe helping me? How is this opening a door for me? How is this setting me up to grow?
That is where you get all of the most growth and development and next levels. So as we all go through some difficult times I want you to try to remember that two, just start doing things. I love that she said the secret sauce is just getting out there and doing the things that you want to do. It does get the creative juices going. It does open up opportunities to you. It does let the universe or God or whoever reward you because you are actually taking action and not sitting and sulking in your own misery. So start doing whatever brings you joy. It doesn't have to be the thing that you're going to do for the rest of your life. Three, stop attaching meanings to things that don't mean that, right? You have setbacks. Take a day to cry and dust yourself off and take another step. If we don't make things mean something bigger than it actually is and we just take it as, you know, an obstacle or a detour and we will all have them in our lives, it makes it easier to take the next step and take the next step and take the next step. I hope you guys liked this episode. If you did reach out and let Janelle know, and go follow her Push Podcast.
I'm sure you'll get so much more value by listening to her weekly. So let her know, let me know and I will see you next week for another episode. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook @lessonsfromaquitter and on Twitter @quitterpodcast.