It’s time to listen to your intuition and stand your ground! If you feel strongly about a business decision, don’t let others try to sway you. This is how Judi Missett lost $500k on an informercial investment and still is going strong in business 50 years later!
Judi Missett graduated with a BS in Radio and TV Production and theater from Northwestern University. In 1969, she started teaching a dance fitness class in Chicago. When demand quickly boomed, those classes grew into the dance fitness company that would become a cultural phenomenon. 50 years later, Jazzercise still leads the pack in health and fitness. As CEO, Judi manages a 125-person corporate team, oversees more than 8,200 franchises, choreographs Jazzercise routines, teaches classes and writes for the Huffington Post. Together with Jazzercise instructors, Judi has helped raise over $28M for a wide range of charitable organizations. Among her honors are Lifetime Achievement Awards from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; Enterprising Women’s Hall of Fame; The President’s Award from the Women President’s Organization, twice winning San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Award; and the Commmittee of 200’s Entrepreneurial Champion Luminary Award.
Here are a few key secrets we talked about in this episode:
- Michelle introduces Judi Missett, founder of Jazzercise.
- Judi has been in business for 50 years: this is hard to do in the fitness and wellness industry or let alone any industry.
- Before founding Jazzercise, Judi would teach dance fitness classes at the local Parks and Recreation department. She had a contract with them for a percentage of all revenue, but when she went to pick up her check, they said NO!
- The Parks and Recreation department said that the amount was too high, and they didn’t want to give it to her.
- Judi stood her ground, and told the Parks and Recreation guy that she would be back later in the day to pick up her check, or she would take action.
- When she went to pick up her check, the guy wasn’t even there, but he left an envelope with the check.
- For Judi, that NO was not a real NO, but rather one where she was not given the respect that she had earned.
- Since that time, Judi has remembered who she is, and what she has to offer, and NO one can take that away from her.
- When Jazzercise was growing, the team decided to do an infomercial. But it ended badly! Judi said NO to continuing the infomercial, and decided to listen to her gut.
- “[I learned to] listen to my intuition and to believe in myself when that little voice inside says NO don’t do this even if everybody else who has lots of knowledge tells you you need to. If it feels like it’s not right that voice inside is the voice of truth and it won’t ever lead you astray.” ~ Judi Missett
- That lesson cost her half a million dollars, but she had carried that truth with her ever since.
- When it comes to vetting investors or situations like Judi, with the infomercial, you should get to know the core of the company. Jazzercise is about connecting people: the infomercials were about selling product. The two did not go together.
- When things seem too difficult, it might be a sign that they are not working.
- How do you know when to pull the plug on your business? Judi says to be watching for signs: there will always be signs and messages for you!
- “Every step up has required saying NO” ~ Judi Missett
- Even when Jazzercise had to lay off people, they still kept growing. In fact, many of the employees that they laid off became franchisees.
- “Once you start to make those changes and move forward, even though it’s hard, people trust more and more and more and then the changes aren’t as difficult anymore.” ~ Judi Missett
- Change is hard, but you can find ways to make it a win-win for everyone!
- Judi shares what she would tell her younger self.
Connect with Judi Missett:
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