“You won’t make any real money doing that!” Has someone said something like that to you when you revealed you want to pursue a creative career in something like art or music? So many people stop chasing their dreams because they’re afraid they won’t be able to make it work.
Today, I chat with one of the founding members of The CEO Collective, Jennet Ingle, who took her talent as a musician and turned it into a sustainable business. If you’re a creative person, you’ll love our conversation in this episode!
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
2:36 – You’d be surprised to know this about me. It’s why it always makes me happy to see others in musical careers.
6:29 – Traditional paths for musical majors are few and heavily guarded. Jennet reveals how she’s forged her own path.
10:20 – What was Jennet doing when she first came into my world and joined The CEO Collective? It’s such a niche thing that snowballed.
16:05 – Jennet reveals the surprising audience receptive to her programs and how the pandemic actually made it easier to reach and teach them.
21:05 – What’s happened for Jennet since she initially got serious about turning her passion into a business?
25:26 – Jennet offers wisdom for those who feel they can’t have a career or business as a musician/creative person due to their fear of financial insecurity.
28:27 – Jennet discusses what she learned from The CEO Collective that helped her solidify her business’s direction. With such a niche business, she found it indispensable!
33:45 – How do Jennet’s musician friends feel about what she’s created? She reveals what’s most unfamiliar to them about what she does.
35:02 – I ask Jennet a couple of questions about her CEO Collective experience. She talks about habits she’s kept and the biggest challenge she overcame.
Racheal Cook: I think a lot of kids who, like me, had a passion for music or the arts or drama growing up were often told that those are things that can't be a real career. You can't make any real money as a creative person. I have to say I think a lot of people stopped pursuing their passion because they were so worried that they couldn't make it.
Today I am thrilled to interview one of our founding CEOs of The CEO Collective, Jennet Ingle, who has taken this and completely turned it on its head. A professional oboist, she has created an incredible career as a professional musician, as a teacher, and now as an entrepreneur. If you are a creative, you are not going to want to miss this conversation.
Are you ready to grow from solopreneur to CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook. I've spent the last decade helping women entrepreneurs start and scale service-based businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
It's always funny to me how sometimes, things come around. We have these full circle moments where a part of something you were so passionate about in the past just comes back into your life. That's what happened when Jennet Ingle joined The CEO Collective. I was so excited to see a musician, who was taking her talent as a performer and as a teacher, finding a new way forward into creating a sustainable business.
I knew I had to have Jennet on the show because in the last few months, she released her first book called The Happiest Musician to help other creatives, to help other performers, musicians, and artists to find a new way forward in designing their career and creating what she calls a portfolio career where you're bringing together multiple different ways of generating revenue for yourself and still able to stay in your zone of genius and stay in this space of doing what you absolutely love.
I think as someone who also grew up with a performance background, you didn't know, I actually started playing piano when I was four, I have my mother's grand piano in my living room at home and my kids now get to play it, I started playing French horn when I was in middle school, so like 11 or 12. I played all the way up through college. In fact, I started also as a music performance major. I was going to be a major who played French horn. For me, I made the decision early on that it wasn't really the right path for me and I accidentally started a couple businesses along the way while I was still in college and then I switched to entrepreneurship and small business.
But it makes me so happy when I see people who did follow through and did continue with their dreams of performing and have found a way to continue music as a career. It's so funny now because it has been decades since I was in college and my husband and I both were music majors when we met. We have so many friends who are musicians, so many friends who either went into teaching for schools. We have friends who are composers. We have friends who are just doing so many cool different things with music. It always makes me happy when I get the opportunity to support them behind the scenes and finding unique creative different ways to make that a business.
Jennet was so much fun to work with and it was so cool to see how she applied what I had to share with her from The CEO Collective into her business and really making it work for her. If you are a creative, if you were someone who also had the things told to you all the time that this is just not possible, you can't make great money doing this, I think Jennet is here to really bust some myths and to share how it can actually work for you too. I hope you really loved this conversation as much as I did.
Jennet Ingle is the unfussy oboist. She is the founder of The Invincible Oboist where she demystifies the instrumental skills to help oboists get past the struggle to find more ease in their playing. She also has the Reed Club that meets every week for connection to discuss the intricate details of reedmaking for oboists and double reed musicians. She is just absolutely incredible. I know you're going to love this conversation.
Hey, CEOs. I hope you are super excited as I am to have this very special conversation with Jennet Ingle who is, hands down, one of my favorite clients who ever went through The CEO Collective. I have to say I'm a little bit biased because Jennet, when you came into my world, I think I told you I also have a background in music performance and very few people know that I actually have a degree in French horn performance, and business because why not?
But when you showed up in my world, and here you are this professional oboist who is now building out a whole business alongside your professional musician career, it just made my brain so happy to see the creativity and the thoughtfulness going into how we can help more musicians develop these really incredible impactful careers. Thank you, Jennet, so much for joining me today.
Jennet Ingle: Such a pleasure. Thank you so much for talking to me and for all of your help along the way.
Racheal Cook: Oh, my gosh. It's so funny because just before we hit record, we were talking about I think it's easy to believe that no one can do what you've done, that no one could make a business talking about how to be a musician much less an oboist. You have not only done that, but I think you found that there's a lot of people out there who want to make music their career and they just never could figure out how because it seems like the only paths coming out of music school is you go get a job at an orchestra or you play in a studio, band, orchestra, or something, or you go teach and that was it.
Jennet Ingle: Yeah. Those few paths are so heavily guarded by gatekeepers. To get a job in a professional orchestra, the kind that actually pays you a real salary and benefits like a grown-up, there's only 15, 20, maybe 25 actual orchestras like that in this country and every one of them only has, say, three oboe openings. Once a person has one of those jobs, they can keep it for life effectively. Some months, if I'm looking in The Union paper, it might turn out that there's one job opening available for a full-time professional orchestra for an oboist like me.
There's more than one oboist in the country looking for that job. The path to having that single paycheck job, that marker of credibility and grown-up-ness that we were all taught to want, or a tenured professorship at a major music school, the path is very narrow, very rocky, and very competitive. Like so many musicians, I came out of conservatory expecting that I would get that one big job.
Racheal Cook: Of course, because you're 22 and we know everything.
Jennet Ingle: Exactly. I had lots of advantages. I was smart and I was very good at what I do. But over and over again, I would go to auditions with 50-70 other people and I would be in the finals, which was great, and I would not quite get the job. For a long time it felt like that narrow definition of success, which was the only one that I believed counted was going to be close to me, but it turns out that there are so many ways to work in music.
By developing a portfolio career made up of a lot of different income streams, very unintentionally at first, I was just working and bringing in a little money and figuring out how to live as a grown-up in the world, but by developing those streams increasingly intentionally and then very intentionally, what I've built for myself is a really enjoyable creative business in which I perform as principal oboe all the time.
I perform solo recitals. I perform concertos. I can teach people in exactly the way I love to teach them. I have a business making and selling oboe reeds which is another thing that I'm good at and do easily and well. I speak. I have this book that just came out. I'm making group programs. I'm helping people all the time and it's bringing me so much joy and so much financial security.
Racheal Cook: I love this so much. I love how you call this a portfolio career because I think this is something a lot of creatives, a lot of musicians, a lot of performers I think worry that, “Well, if I'm going to start a business, does that mean I have to give up performing? Does that mean I have to give up all these other things that I really want to do? Because what I actually started this all for was to perform because that's the thing.”
I'd love for you to share a little bit, let's go back in time, when you first came into my world and joined us in The CEO Collective, I remember I looked at your website for the first time and we were talking about where people were finding you. You had this YouTube channel that is so niche where you were teaching people the five-minute reed maker, how to make oboe reeds.
If anybody does not know what an oboe is, it is an instrument where you don't just blow air through it like a flute or have one reed like a clarinet or a saxophone, it's two little pieces of wood strapped together that you blow through and you have to often make these because it's hard to get the ones that you like and you want to work the way you want them to work. So niche.
Jennet Ingle: It's so niche. The outside of my little oboe community, no one knows.
Racheal Cook: No one knows what you're talking about.
Jennet Ingle: No one knows what I'm talking about. But within my little oboe community, it's so important. The oboe reed is a double reed as you said. It is made entirely by hand from a bamboo plant and it is painstakingly hand scraped in a skill that is easily teachable but difficult to master. The reeds are very individualized. They're specific from one person to another, how responsive, how much resistance you like, how easy you want it to be to play, what sound you want to create. All of that comes from this reed which we build by hand tediously.
Racheal Cook: You need lots and lots and lots of them. If you're an oboe player, then this is a skill you learn if you're taking it seriously. If you get to the point where you're in college, a conservatory, or you actually are playing it long term as an adult, not just as a middle schooler, then you have to learn this skill. You had this little YouTube channel filled with all these videos.
Not only is it the topic so niche, it was the specific topics you were recording these videos on were all super niche, but I remember you were sharing like, “Okay, I started doing this, recording these little five-minute reed makers, and then people will go to my little e-commerce shop and they'll go buy all the tools they need because I have the bamboo and the little tiny tools that they need in order to do this.” That was I think one of those first little points where you were like, “Oh, there are people who want more than just me to perform. There's another thing I could sell here.”
Jennet Ingle: 100%, and really that YouTube channel came out of having been making reeds, I had been selling reeds to other people. That business evolved gradually way back in my 20s. When I started to get a lot of questions from people like, “Oh, I got your reeds. Thanks for sending them but they're a little too flat for me, they're a little too hard for me, they're a little too this or too that,” so instead of just writing a polite cheerful email back to them over and over again, I started making some instructional videos.
When those really took off, that's when I realized that, first of all, there was a huge market of people who were buying reeds but also needed to know how to deal with them once they got there, people who hadn't been as trained as well and thoroughly as I had in the making of reeds, and people who just didn't have time but were curious and wanted to be able to, because the reed can be such a barrier for oboists.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. I love that. That little insight you just gave is gold. Instead of just shipping it off and sending a nice little quick customer service email, you’re actually like, “You know what, I should make some content around this,” and that content started to attract more people into your whole little ecommerce shop with all the reed-making related things, and then you started creating classes. Tell us about how your suite of online classes and online courses developed.
Jennet Ingle: There are a couple of things that went into this. One is that early on, when I was teaching middle schoolers and high schoolers, over the summer, I ran an oboe reed boot camp because I was trying to empower my students, my in-person students to actually take charge of their own oboe destiny and make some reeds for themselves. That evolved. That was a live in-person thing, it's still going on. We’re doing it in June this year.
But what immediately started happening is that in addition to the teenagers that I was teaching who I expected would be my only audience, grown-ups started coming to oboe reed boot camp, and then I realized how joyful and how much fun it was to teach something that I know how to teach in a group, that there's that beautiful group energy to bounce off of and one person asks a question and everybody else pick up their pencils to take a note. It's something that hadn't occurred to me to say but that everyone wanted to know and that people could benefit by working together and getting ahas from each other. That group energy felt so exciting to me.
Even though I tried and tried to recreate that in other times of the year, not just one summer weekend, it was very difficult because geography is a problem for oboists. That was point one is I loved working in groups and struggled to do it because there's never more than a couple of oboists within a 50 mile radius and it's hard to persuade people to come and drive to make reeds.
Racheal Cook: I don't know why. They should totally be showing up in droves, make South Bend the oboe capital of the world.
Jennet Ingle: Right? The other thing was that just before the pandemic in early 2019, I became so exhausted and burned out with the model of teaching that I was doing already. I've been teaching middle schoolers and high schoolers private lessons one to one in my home every Tuesday at 4:15 PM. You show up, you play your solo for me, it's five percent better than last week. I help you a little bit and send you on your way and you give me money. It continues to infinity; this model.
It broke me. I loved my students, I loved teaching, I loved the creativity of teaching but it was so energy sapping. In 2019, I fired all of my private students lovingly and I sent them on to other people but I had to stop and take a break.
Racheal Cook: Sorry guys. I'm taking a break.
Jennet Ingle: Exactly. Then suddenly, poof, everything came together at once. I realized that I loved teaching groups. I loved teaching adults and I had all of this shtick about how to teach oboes to play the oboe and how to teach musicianship. I knew all of this stuff, I just couldn't stand the thought of working with 13-year-olds every single week anymore. Instead, I launched The Invincible Oboist, which was my very first group program, and Zoom is what made it possible.
Suddenly, I had oboist literally all over the world coming and joining me in a Zoom room. We had a group experience in which I could teach once how to form an oboe embouchure, how to nuance it, how to voice your your notes higher and lower, how to deal with your reeds and the problems that come up, and how to find the easy way to play the oboe. It's something that people wanted and it's something that I loved to do. That's where everything started.
Racheal Cook: So many things clicked at the same time like you said. The first thing that jumps out at me is you realize you liked working with adults. This is such a huge shift because I think, again, going back to what musicians are usually told is, you can perform and you're going to teach a bunch of middle and high schoolers how to perform, you'll be a private teacher for them, but that's it.
You discovered there were all these amazing adults who did not go into probably a professional musician career but they had this love for music and they wanted to continue it, whether it was just for their personal enjoyment or maybe they had found a local community orchestra, or ensemble they wanted to be a part of and they started finding you because of this YouTube channel, and now they're going, “How can I get more from you? I don't live anywhere near you,,” and then boom, pandemic, everybody uses Zoom already. Suddenly, there was no longer, “Well, what's Zoom? How do we do this over video?” Everybody gets it.
Jennet Ingle: Exactly. All of the magic came together all at once. I really have a suite of programs now. I have The Invincible Oboist, which is a three month program that deals with the oboe. I have a Zero to Reedmaker program. It's a beginner reedmaker program which is six weeks of Zoom plus some pre-recorded videos and work with it that way. I send out a bundle of cane and stuff so that people can experiment, make mistakes, and do what they need.
I have a Reed Club that meets every Monday night. It's a membership and it's just support and accountability. Here we all are working in a Zoom room and sometimes someone will crow their reed into the microphone and say, “Hey, what would you do with this?” I'll answer them. So fun. There’s an extension program called Invincible Oboist Flow which is my current version of private teaching, which isn't exactly private teaching, it's group master classes and a few one-to-one sessions. It's such a pleasure because I'm working with these wonderful people.
My ideal avatar person is someone who played the oboe seriously in high school, in college, loved it, and then put it down for 10, 15, 20 years to have their children, to raise a family, to have a career, to have a life, to do things outside of the oboe, and then found in their second act or third act when they suddenly had time again that what they wanted was the oboe and they needed support. It's not the support doesn't exist but the support isn't so obvious for adults as it is for high schoolers.
Racheal Cook: Absolutely. I think also when you're an adult who maybe had that interest as a teen or in your early adulthood, sometimes it doesn't occur to us that we can go back and pick up those things as just a hobby, just for the love of it. I think there's sometimes like, “Oh, yeah, there was a time I used to play,” and we just never go back in and do it again. I think it's so amazing that now people are finding you in all of these different ways.
What has happened for you since you initially really got serious about turning all these different things into a business? Turning not just the e-commerce reed store, but also the online courses. I wouldn't even call them a course, they're hybrid learning because you have some pre-recorded content, but a lot of it is still experiential. There's still a lot of interactive experiential in real time connection and coaching and learning with them. Now you're a few years into it, what has this done for you in your life to have this business?
Jennet Ingle: It's going to sound crazy what I'm going to say but I used to feel like a good musician and now I feel like a powerful leader, helper, coach, and supporter of people and a terrific musician. Everything that I've been doing these last few years has been additive, has brought me to a place where I feel like an authority in more things than only how to play the Saint-Saens Sonata.
Racheal Cook: I think it's been so fun to watch on my end because it's like you accidentally stepped into some of these areas. I don't think you started your YouTube channel out of some huge master plan, it was like, “Oh, I'll just do this real quick,” and so watching you on this side, it’s been like you've been following the breadcrumbs and paying attention to what people are asking from you and you also seem to follow what just lights you up. The minute you hit something that you're like, “How do I do more of this? I hadn't thought of this before,” then you just jump all over it, you're all in.
Jennet Ingle: That's my thing. That's the thing that I've been doing ever since I came out of conservatory, and frankly ever since I picked up the oboe at age 10. I just keep leaning toward the things that make me happy and away from the things that don't. The more I build the income streams so that financial stability exists, the easier it is to lean away from the things I don't like. I don't drive for Holiday Pops concerts anymore.
Maybe that sounds silly to our listeners too, but I'm like, “Nope, it's December, it's terrible outside, and I hate this music. I'm going to stay home instead of playing your stupid gig 50 miles, 100 miles, 200 miles from my house, not doing it.”
Racheal Cook: Amazing. That's freedom. That is true freedom as a professional musician to where you don't have to say yes to every gig because you're desperate for the cash flow, you can now say, “Nope, these are the things I will say yes to. These are things I will say no to.” If it's a distance, if it's the type of music, if I just really don't like this conductor, you can call your own shots instead of feeling like you have to say yes to everything.
Jennet Ingle: Because I'm coming from a place of abundance and not a place of scarcity anymore, it feels so different to me.
Racheal Cook: Oh my god. I love-love-love if more musicians felt this way. Can you imagine how much more fun life would be if more musicians were happy and abundant and could call their own shot, and creatively have the bandwidth, energy, and capacity to pour back into people who maybe didn't make it their profession but still have a love from passion for music?
Jennet Ingle: Racheal, this is exactly what I've been saying. I just wrote this book. It's called The Happiest Musician. It's exactly that. Please, please, creative people and musicians, lean toward the parts of your career that bring you joy and develop those to where you can thrive and shine in the world from that place of abundance and of doing the things that you love. Do we all have to make choices? Sure. When you're younger, do you have to make more bad choices than good choices? Maybe, yeah, but let's prioritize having the experience that you want to have.
Racheal Cook: Absolutely. What would you say to people who are like, “I could never make music my career because all musicians are broke, you can't make any money at that”?
Jennet Ingle: First I would say yeah, you can. It is possible that performing alone is not your path to real money because aside from the few performers that make tens of thousands of dollars for an appearance, most of us don't and there's an inherent limitation on your time and your capacity. There's only so many Saturday nights in a week and only so many concerts that you can play simultaneously. That'll be one and one.
But musicians and creative people, a musician, by the time they are a grown-up and by the time they are equipped to perform places, have so many transferable skills and they have no idea. We have all of these communication skills that we've honed by not only forcing ourselves to channel emotion and passion through our instruments, these highly abstract skills that bring communication and illicit emotion from people, we also have the communication skills to work interpersonally, we also have the empathy and the reading of body language and intuitive capability of doing so many things at once in real time in chamber music, in orchestral playing.
That's completely aside from all of the work that we've actually put in on our instruments, like problem solving, taking big challenges, like an entire sonata, an entire concerto, an entire orchestra concert, breaking it down into learnable, manageable, solvable chunks and solving them. The willpower, the work ethic, the ability to take highly abstract things and make them concrete, and make them real in the world, these are skills musicians have inherently, and sometimes I think they don't know that is the case but there are so many ways to use those skills in ways that light you up and make you happy and bring you money.
Racheal Cook: I love that so much. It's so absolutely true. The more I connect with you and other friends of mine who also have taken music into a career path, it is amazing to me the possibilities that open up when you let go of this old “there's only one way to do this”, and you're willing to get creative and lean into the opportunities that start showing up. I love that. When you first came into my world, you joined The CEO Collective, the first time I opened the doors, it was March 2020 right as the pandemic started.
Jennet Ingle: Good timing for everybody.
Racheal Cook: Good timing for all. It was just a great beginning of opening a whole new program, and it was a great opening of a whole new program though because we had so many interesting diverse types of businesses. I'd love to know in your year with us, and now you were with us as a founding member, what were you able to pull from that experience that really helped you to solidify where your business went?
Jennet Ingle: Hugely. You really helped me to zoom out of the weeds of my business and see that even though I felt like I was deep within this thing and trying to create it and trying to build the parachute as I was falling, I was trying to build everything and reinvent the wheel and create this thing that I had never seen. I didn't see other musicians building businesses like the one that I had. But you helped me to see that business is a thing that people do and that people know and that once I was able to zoom out and see that my business was not, I don't want to say it wasn't special because it was, it's so special, I love my business.
Racheal Cook: It's so special. It's the most special oboe business I know.
Jennet Ingle: Exactly, but that it wasn't some unique unicorn thing that I had to just continually invent as I went along but that there were actual principles, systems, and organizational tools that I could use to look at my business from outside. I really think actually that The CEO Collective was what let me see myself as a CEO. I still wear my CEO hat when I go running.
Racheal Cook: I love it.
Jennet Ingle: I really feel like that perspective shift might not have been possible without having that collective and seeing I had a small group mastermind that I still see those women regularly, but we're in vastly different businesses but we can see our same problems and solutions, potentials, and systems mirrored in each other's businesses, and being able to see that similarity between my business and other people's businesses that looked more like businesses to me because I understand what--what am I trying to say here?
Racheal Cook: Like what a lawyer does, that's a pretty straightforward thing.
Jennet Ingle: Exactly, like what a coach does. I'm like, “Okay, I get that.” It felt to me like I was inventing the whole thing as I went along but then I came to realize that no, this is actually just a thing and if I can zoom out, then I can use solutions that other people have come up with and I can systematize in a way like you walked us all through so carefully. It was transformational, honestly, that year in The CEO Collective, just in my ability to see that what I was doing was running a business and not just creating stuff out of my head all the time.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. I think this is so important because I often have clients who come to me and they're like, “I don't see anyone else doing what I'm doing. I end up with a lot of niche businesses,” which is super fun for me because it just makes my brain happy. I love the challenge of looking at how I can take what you're doing and pull things from other industries as the building blocks so that you're not starting from scratch.
Because some of these things are so universal but you're going to do it in a different way where most people, if you went out there and just signed up to work with somebody and they were just going to teach you how to build a course but that course, they trained you to do it in such a narrow specific way, you probably would have been like, “But this doesn't work for what I'm trying to do. This doesn't work for teaching music. I actually have to interact with people and I need to be able to give feedback. I need to be able to do all these different elements of it.”
Instead of saying, “How can I find a cookie-cutter system?” how can I find a bigger framework here where I can really cross-pollinate ideas from different industries? That's where the fun is for me because then I see the musician is taking ideas from the lawyer and the lawyer is taking the ideas from the voice over actor and the voice over actor is taking ideas from the interior designer.
It's not about necessarily what you do, it's about understanding the similarities and seeing like, “Oh, if this thing worked for them, here's how I might tweak it so that it could work for me,” and having the confidence to do those tweaks so that it truly is aligned with how you want to be showing up.
Jennet Ingle: Exactly. The thing that you said about seeing that there is a framework that is relatively universal and being able to cross-pollinate from those other businesses, that was the magic of The CEO Collective for me. Because prior to that, all of my friends, everybody in my circle was musicians and everyone was buried in the same scarcity stuff and everyone was freaking out when the pandemic hit and all the performances went away. Instead, I built an online empire.
Racheal Cook: You just created an online program. Oh my gosh. Now that your book is out, how are your musician friends reacting when they see and wrap their head around what you've created? What has the conversation been like with them now that they see what you did without knowing how you were going to do it?
Jennet Ingle: I feel like on a certain scale, most of the musicians in my world are freelance musicians who do a little teaching, who do a little stuff on the side, maybe they have a little computer, they do some coding on the side, they do a little day job here, they do some teaching over here. The concept of a portfolio career made up of income streams, they're like, “Uh-huh, yeah. I got it.”
Racheal Cook: That sounds hard, like a lot of work.
Jennet Ingle: But that's what they're doing already, that doesn't feel unfamiliar. I think the thing that feels unfamiliar and the thing that people react to when they do talk to me is the amount of joy I'm feeling in what I do, in how really intentionally I have been leaning into the things that feel really good for me to do and deliver. I hope that is opening possibility for people.
Racheal Cook: I love that. I have a few questions as we start to wrap up. What is one CEO habit or skill that you learned while you were with us inside of The CEO Collective that you continue to use in your business?
Jennet Ingle: CEO Date every single Sunday.
Racheal Cook: CEO Date every single Sunday.
Jennet Ingle: Uh-huh, and an extra one on the first of the month.
Racheal Cook: Look at you go. That is amazing.
Jennet Ingle: Yeah, planning a quarter at a time. Even if I throw that plan out the window once I get into the quarter and come up with a different idea, there's at least a plan and a structure in place. A lot of the concepts around the CEO Scorecard were prioritizing tasks that build the business over tasks that have me working in the business, which is not to say that I am perfect at this.
Racheal Cook: None of us are.
Jennet Ingle: But having that framework has been so helpful to say, “Okay, man, I've been working this entire week, did I actually do anything for my business or was I just making reeds for people?”
Racheal Cook: I love that. Those are some of our foundational practices that just can help you pull your head up out of the minutia day-to-day and make sure you're focused on what the next step is. I think one of the things when a lot of us are growing these businesses is there is still a point where you're in the day-to-day but if you're never pulling your head up, looking ahead, looking at what's coming, and keeping a finger on the pulse of what's next, then you can find that things can change really quickly and you don't know what to do next.
But you've been really good at staying tapped into “What are people asking from me? Where else could I go? I'm seeing some interest in this.” I think that only comes from keeping your head up on the big picture and paying attention to what people are interested in.
Jennet Ingle: I hope so. I hope that's working.
Racheal Cook: I love that. What was one huge CEO level challenge that you had to implement in your business that really had you doubting yourself or wondering if you could do it or just felt really uncomfortable?
Jennet Ingle: I was really uncomfortable hiring my virtual assistant over a year ago now I think. For a long time, we kept it on a very project-based level. I'm like, “Okay, I have this exact project to do and here is exactly how I want you to do it. We're going to check in every couple hours and we'll talk again on the other side.”
Now, the way that relationship has evolved, I could not do without this person in my business. She's wonderful. All of the front-facing things that I put out now, all of my social media, all of my landing pages, everything looks so much better than I could have ever done it by myself, happens faster than I could ever have done it by myself.
It turns out that in my whole mission of doing the things that I love doing and leaning away from the things I don't like doing, handing off the graphics and social media postings of my business has been the most freeing thing ever in the world.
Racheal Cook: I love that. That is another common challenge to get over, the feeling of like, “How can I let go of control? Can this person do it the way I want it done?” Especially your level of attention to detail is just so incredibly high in general, so I'm sure you're like, “Well, this is the way I need this thing to happen. Can they really do it as good as me?” And you're saying, “Oh, she's actually better than me.”
Jennet Ingle: She's way, way better than me.
Racheal Cook: At making it all look great.
Jennet Ingle: At making it look great. Because visual is not my strength.
Racheal Cook: Yeah. I love that so much and I think anybody who's been holding back on getting support, when you find the right person and they get what you're up to, they really understand what your business is about, I think that's a key too. There has to be that alignment because if they don't understand, they're not going to put as much effort into it, I feel. But if they really get it and they're on board, then they're excited to support you, they're excited to see you grow and be a part of that.
Jennet Ingle: Yeah, absolutely. Can I say one more thing?
Racheal Cook: Yes.
Jennet Ingle: Another thing that I really gained from The CEO Collective was the idea that it is worth paying money to get the help, the support, the guidance, and the professional development that I need.
Racheal Cook: Huge.
Jennet Ingle: Huge. I'd never spent so much as I spent on you and it was 100% worth it. I've spent more since on other people, but you’re my gateway drug to getting support.
Racheal Cook: I think it's true and this is the difference between being an entrepreneur and a business owner in so many other career paths because we don't often think about how we invest into ourselves and that having the return on the investment, but as you continue to grow your business, the thing that will always get you an ROI is investing in yourself. You might try investing in a strategy or investing in a tool or a specific tactic and not all of them are going to pan out.
At some point, something's not going to go 100% to plan, but when you invest in yourself and your own leadership, in your own mindset, and your own skill set as a CEO and as a small business owner, that will always come back to you and it's such a game changer when you have that mindset shift.
Jennet Ingle: Yeah. That was huge for me.
Racheal Cook: Jennet, thank you so much for jumping on with me today. How can everyone go learn more about you, and more importantly, if you are a musician or have a loved one or a friend who is a musician, how can they get a copy of your book The Happiest Musician: How to Thrive in Your Creative Career?
Jennet Ingle: Thank you, Racheal. That book, The Happiest Musician, is available on Amazon. It is available on my website which is jennetingle.com, which is also where everything on my online empire links from. You can get access to my podcast Crushing Classical. You can get access to all of my five-minute reedmaker videos. You can find me on the socials. You can order reeds, cane, the book, or whatever all from that very central link.
Racheal Cook: I love it. I was so excited to get a copy of this book because I have so many musician friends, of course. I'm sending this out to different people. I'm like, “Maybe you should check this out right now. This will be really helpful for you,” and I just am so impressed and blown away by how you have just continued to lean into taking these big steps towards developing something that, like you said, there was not this path that you saw anywhere else and you created it by putting yourself in The CEO Collective and surrounding yourself with other interesting women who could then feed you different ideas and you could take them and run with them, it has just been so cool to see how this is developed for you over the last few years, so I wish you nothing but the best and I hope every musician gets this book.
Jennet Ingle: Oh, thank you so, so much.