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JAMIE KERN LIMA: “All the forms of rejection in life, I think that when we get good at hearing our own knowing and our own truth, I think that is what gives us the strength to know if we're going in the right direction, to know if we're in the right relationship, if we're in the right friendship. You know what I mean? So for me, that's really the heart and soul of this book, because not everyone’s going to want to sell their company for a billion dollars, and everyone's going to want to work hundred–hour weeks or make all these mistakes that I made. But I do believe everyone is on the same journey of going, how can I become this person I know I was born to be when I keep doubting it? Like, so many people know they're made for more, but they still doubt it anyways. They still doubt themselves anyways. And to me, that's the journey, that's the victory, is breaking through that.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small–but–mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step–by–step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: For all my listeners who have big dreams and maybe struggle with a little self-doubt, fear of rejection, imposter syndrome, or have an inner critic that is known to be a little harsh, this episode is for you. Now, because I know my audience pretty well, my guess is that most of you just thought, “Yep. Amy, that is me all the way.” And I get it because it's me too. I deal with those same devils. In fact, as humans, I think we all do, which is why it's something that needs to be worked on day in and day out. And I know that it's easy to look at other successful entrepreneurs and think they just had it easy or it happened for them so quickly or they didn't have that many obstacles along the way. But often we're missing the whole story. And that's exactly how I can explain my guest today, Jamie Kern Lima.
You may recognize her name from being on my podcast last year, or maybe, more likely, you recognize her as the founder of IT Cosmetics and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of our time. I'm lucky enough to call her my friend. But here's the thing. Despite the success we see now, Jamie had her own journey that included self-doubt, fear of rejection, imposter syndrome, and an inner critic that didn't seem to be on her side. Plus, she had to deal with some mean girls along the way. And although she was the first CEO of L'Oréal—that's one–hundred–plus–year history of this business, and she was the first female CEO—she didn't get there overnight. And in today's episode, she's sharing the truth of her journey, the ups and downs and how she persisted. We'll talk about all of that along with her new book, Believe IT: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable. She's revealing it all, and you're going to love this chat we're going to have.
Now, I'm recording this intro after I recorded the interview with Jamie. Sometimes I do that just to really make sure I understand what we’re talking about and make sure I hit all the important points. And so what I want to tell you is at the very end of this interview, at the closing part where I'm just talking solo at the end, I'm going to share a tip for my course creators, those of you who are creating a course right now, or you've created and launched a course and maybe it wasn't as successful as you wanted, or you're out there doing your thing and you're looking for a little advice to keep on going, well, Jamie shares something in this interview that 100 percent can apply to you selling your course, whether it be through webinar, social media, email marketing. You're going to want to hear what Jamie shares, and then I'm going to bring it all back to you as a course creator at the very end. So stay with me throughout this entire episode. I think you're going to find it incredibly valuable.
And if you've ever struggled with any of the things I mentioned, the imposter syndrome, not believing in yourself, feeling like you're doubting yourself at every corner, just know that you'll walk away from today's episode with a new perspective and a new fire to keep going even when it gets tough. So let's go ahead and welcome my friend Jamie Kern Lima.
Well, hey, there, Jamie. Welcome back to the show. It’s so fun to have you back.
JAMIE: Amy, I am so excited. This is, like—this is such a big moment to share with you, and thank you so much for having me. And it's an honor to be here with your whole community. You know I love them.
AMY: Oh, I am delighted. This is going to be a great conversation because you have been up to a lot. You have been busy. So tell me about what's new.
JAMIE: I am launching my—
AMY: I love the big sigh. I love that. Take a deep breath.
JAMIE: A deep breath. Yeah. Launching my first-ever book called Believe IT: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable, and this has been a decades’—plural—decades’-long journey of doing this. And I'm so excited. It's really a story, my story, about a girl who went from not believing in herself to learning how to believe in herself, and not trusting herself to learning how to get still and hear my own gut and then trust it, and also just going from me of doubting I’m enough, on that journey to knowing I'm enough. And I poured literally my heart and soul into this book. I wrote every single word myself because I know that it's not just my story. It's the story of so many people out there who are on their own journey right now of learning to believe in themselves, trust themselves, and know they’re enough, and kind of on that journey of figuring out how to really step into the person who we are, all of who we are, and who we’re born to be.
And so it's really every single—literally Amy—every single personal and professional lesson I have learned many times the hard way, that if I knew these things years ago, I would have saved myself so many nights crying myself to sleep and so much time and so much money. And I’m so excited. This is the most meaningful work I've ever done, and I'm just, I'm so excited to share this. And my prayer for it, really, is, you know, I've spent so many years trying to figure out how to accomplish my own dreams, and now it's my greatest joy helping other people accomplish theirs. So I am so excited. It’s launching this week, so I’m really excited.
AMY: It’s such a big deal. Now, I got to get my hands on the book early. And let me tell you, it was moving, inspiring, heartbreaking at times, and it just took me through all the emotions. And although I haven't had the same experiences you have because you're in just this totally different world than I am for what you've been through in terms of starting your business and selling your business and all that good stuff, but what I will tell you is that I could totally relate to so much of it.
So, one of the things about the book, like you said, is that there's a lot of stories and insights around believing in yourself. And I know my audience. That alone can be one of their biggest challenges, and it was mine for so long. So can you share a little bit about how that journey was for you? My hope is that my audience will pull inspiration from what you talk about and apply it to where they are right now, because I want them to believe in their selves in such a big way. So tell me a little bit about that journey.
JAMIE: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, it's really—and that journey is in so many ways why I wrote the book, because, you know, Amy, when you look out there on online and the magazines or the stories, it's so often, if you see my story, it'll be like, oh, Denny's waitress became a billion–dollar entrepreneur. And it's kind of the headline. It's like the highlight reel. And I would often get so many DMs and messages or Instagram posts, everything, from people saying like, “Oh, congratulations. Did you get super lucky, or did it come easy, or have you always just believed in yourself?” and that kind of thing. And when I read those messages, I realize that if we never share the stories behind the stories, like the ones that don't make headlines, the ones that aren't glamorous, the ones that often people aren't proud of or they hide because they are too painful, if we don't share those things, then other people out there just see highlight reels and feel like they're alone in their own rejection or in their own lack of belief or in their own situation, where it's like, oh, it doesn't seem like their idea is gaining any traction, or they're not, you know, their company isn’t taking off like they thought it would, or experts are saying, “Oh, you should change this or change that.” And, you know, I think that after all the years of all the messages I've gotten, I just finally decided I want to just pull back the curtain because it's not about me. It's about every single one of us has our own story and our own journey. And I think when we share it, that's when it becomes, like, ten times more powerful and more meaningful because it can be of service to other people. So for everyone listening in your community who is struggling with self-doubt or not enough-ness or maybe lack of belief in their idea, they’re not quite sure, or no one has signed up for my course, or—
JAMIE: —any of those things that happen, right, that’s really why I want to share this book.
And then I share how I learn to go from not believing to believing, and not trusting myself to learning how to hear my own inner knowing and trust it, and I kind of share all the stories and all the tips. And so my journey was really one where, as you know, I started out, I love interviewing other people. So, like, since the time I was a little girl, I always—I'd watch Oprah in my living room every single day. She was my mentor from afar, and long before we ever met. And I just thought, “One day I’m going to grow up, and I’m going to tell other people’s stories to the world.” And I always knew I’d be a journalist, and I always thought I’d have a talk show. So that’s really what I was laser focused on.
And when I finally got into my dream job and I was working as a journalist and all that, that's when I got hereditary rosacea, which is a skin condition. It's bright red. And you and I have talked about this a little bit before, but I went through this season that I thought was a big setback, right? And sometimes we're in the middle of things that we feel, like, suck or are really big setbacks, and that's what was happening to me because I had this big, bright–red skin condition that no makeup was covering. And I'm sitting there in my dream job, anchoring the news and sharing other people's stories, and I'd be live on television, and I'd be hearing in my ear piece, from the producer, “Oh, there's something on your face. There’s something on your face. You need to wipe it off.” And they didn't know what I knew, which is that I couldn't wipe it off.
It was a—and I thought all the things. I started going through a big season of self-doubt where I thought, okay—because I met with, I saw a dermatologist and learned what it was and that there's no cure and all that. And whenever I tried makeup, it wouldn’t work, all the different brands. And so I went through this season, thinking, “Oh, is my career over? Am I going to lose ratings? Are people going to change the channel? Am I going to get fired?” All those things, right?
And sometimes, I think most of the time, I think almost all the time, out setbacks are really setups for either things we're supposed to do or strength that we need to gain to be able to carry things in the future that are part of our own calling. And for me, that's what it was. It was a big setback that turned into a setup. And I think a big thing at the time, and this is, I think, true for every one of us, is I thought that was my dream and my calling to be in that job. But what I did, Amy, that I think—and I talk so much about this in the book because so many of us—it's easy to not do this or to not know how to do this. I remember sitting there in what I thought was my dream job, but when I would get still and check in with my gut, my inner knowing was saying, you're supposed to figure out how to start a makeup company that solves your own skin problems and helps other people. It was, like, what? I kept feeling like I was supposed to start looking into—because I couldn't find a product that worked for me, and I figured there must be so many other people out there like this. But I didn't know anybody in the beauty industry. I didn't know anything about that industry. I didn't have any connections. I didn't have any money. And every time I would go back, “No, no, no, I'm in my dream job. I’m in my dream job,” I would just get this gut feeling of I'm supposed to be going in this new direction and starting this new chapter.
And it was really hard, and I think sometimes knowing when to give up on a dream is as important as knowing when to go after one. And it was just this moment where I kind of knew. And I just made the decision to trust myself in that moment, even though it didn't make any sense.
And here's what's hard on the topic of self–belief is, you know, the first three years of the journey of being an entrepreneur—because, you know, so many people now see the result, right? They're like, “Oh, IT Cosmetics is one of the largest brands in the country,” and all those things. But the first three years were noes from everybody. And it was three year—and here's the thing, Amy. One of the big themes of this book is learning how to believe yourself, how to trust yourself. And here's what's hard, right? I made the decision to trust myself and start this business. But then for three years, everything around me was telling me my gut was wrong.
AMY: Okay, so, in that moment—and so many of my listeners can relate. You had this calling. You had this, like, “I've got to start this makeup business. I don't know what to do. I don't have the money. I don't have the skill set in this area. But I've got to do it. I got to do it.” So you do it, and then everything is stacked against you. So how in that moment did you not say, “Wait a second. I am not making money. I just left a really good job. This is crazy”? Like, how did you keep going when the signs were not all pointing to yes and green lights ahead.
JAMIE: Right. And on top of that, all these signs were saying Wrong Way, like, do not proceed, like, all the warning signs everywhere. Yeah. I did so many things wrong. I made so many mistakes. And I talk a lot about those in the book as well, but the one thing that I did do right was every time—I learned to get still, and I learned to hear my inner knowing. And every time I would do that, in three years of having, you know—because I quit working as a news anchor and dove all in into creating this business from my living room and poured every penny I had in savings into creating a product. And when we finally had something that worked for me, I just thought it was going to be huge. And from that point forward, I didn't know it would be three years before I could pay myself. I didn't know that all of these experts I valued so much and put on a pedestal and adored and admired and spent my hard–earned money in their stores would all tell me no. Like, Sephora, Ulta, QVC, the department stores, for three years, every single time I got a meeting with them, they said no, or they said, “You're not”—literally, Amy, literally, “You're not the right fit. You're not the right fit, and your product is not the right fit for us or for our customers.” And this went on for three years.
And then I thought, “Oh,” and I talk about the real scrappy stuff in the book. So anybody who's at home right now who's like, “Okay, I can't afford to hire people. It's all on me,” anyone who’s in that situation, I share so much about what we did in those early years as well, for the first time ever, of what it was really like and how we figured out how to finally start getting press. There’s all those things. I talk about all that.
But during that three–year window, it was so hard because it's like when you're in a situation where you check in with your gut and your gut tells you you're supposed to be doing this, but then what happens, right? We hear the voices of everyone else around us. And in my case, and I know so many people's cases, sometimes that's your friends and family, and they're kind of worried about you. They're like, “You're doing what? Well, are you making any money? Are you qualified? How do you know what to do?” So you have all that going on. And then in our case, you know, we had some of the most brutal rejections and noes, like, flat–out noes. Not like, “Oh, maybe one day.” It was like, “No. You're not the right fit.” And so from Sephora to QVC to Ulta, hearing from all the places I dreamed of having them carry our product, for them to all say no. And then we were selling our product online, but getting such little traction. The most we ever got in our first three years was an average of two to three orders a day on our website. And when you have a twenty-dollar product, that’s not a lot, and so it was really tough.
And I think the biggest thing is I think when we go through these seasons of having this inner knowing that we’re supposed to do something but then literally everything else is telling us our gut is wrong—whether it’s other people’s opinions, whether it’s lack of success or proof our idea’s any good, whether it's the experts saying, “No, you're not the right fit,” all those things, I think that it is so easy for us to literally not even be able to hear our own gut anymore, right? So many people are like, “I don't trust my own instincts,” or “I think my gut is wrong. “And I think what happens is we end up turning up the volume on all the things around us, whether it's the experts or the lack of proof right in front of us or any of those things, and we end up literally talking ourselves out of our own truth. We end up not tuning into and hearing our gut anymore, and deciding it must be wrong. And then at the end of the day, the worst thing I think that happens is so many people never actually end up becoming the person they're born to be, because they literally talk themselves out of it.
JAMIE: You know what I mean? And when I look back on this whole journey, again, so many things that we did wrong, but when it comes to learning to believe in yourself and trust yourself, for me, the biggest thing came down to learning that discipline of literally getting still and checking in with my gut.
So there was one big example of when we finally got, after a couple years of noes, that I finally got this big phone call with the head of beauty at QVC. His name is Allen Burke. And I just thought, “Oh, my gosh. He's built this multibillion–dollar division. And if he's willing to get on the phone with me and spend his precious time, this must be a good sign. This is going to be a yes.” And I remember finally getting on the phone, and I was pacing around our office, which was—I was so nervous—which was our living room. And I was trying to pump myself up. I was like, “They’re lucky to have us.” All these things, right? And then he gets on the phone, and he’s like, “Hello, Jamie. This is Allen Burke from QVC.” And I’m like, “Allen, it’s so great to talk with you.” And anyways, he got right to the point, and he said, “We’ve reviewed your product with all of our buyers, and it’s unanimous that you’re not the right fit. It’s a no. You’re not the right fit for QVC or for our customers. But I wish you all the best.” And I remember—
JAMIE: Yeah. And I remember literally just trying to pitch him right away. I'm like, “Oh, oh. But, but I am the right fit,” and I just, like, dove into all the reasons that IT Cosmetics was different and all this kind of stuff. And he thanked me for loving QVC, but it was a definite no. And I just remember—I don't know if you ever had this, a phone call, where tears are streaming down your face, and you're trying so hard to not have that person know on the other end.
AMY: Yes, yes.
JAMIE: And I was— Right? And I'm just like—and I remember going to bed that night, sick to my stomach, not knowing how we're going to stay in business. And I remember thinking, you know—and self-doubt creeps in, right? And I remember thinking, “Is my gut wrong? Why is it that every time I get still and I check in with that knowing, it says, ‘Jamie, you are supposed to be on QVC. You are going to sell this product on QVC. You're going to crush it’?” I kept having that feeling, but for three years they said no. And then when I finally got the head guy—literally, Allen Burke is a legend in the beauty industry—and finally got him on the phone, he said, “You're not the right fit for QVC or for our customers.” And when someone tells you those words, you're not the right fit, I think that it can trigger so many things, from you're not—you know, those feelings that we have inside of us, whether they come from events in our childhood or a lot of things, that we tell ourselves, “Oh, I'm not enough.”
AMY: You're not enough, or you can't sit at this table, or you're not cool enough to be here, or you're not smart enough. Like, in that moment, I might have had a thought of “I’m not cut out to do this. I’m not right for this.” When you go to the highest of highest with this guy, and he tells you this, how do you keep going? And the fact that you did get on QVC, so what the heck? How did that happen?
JAMIE: Yeah, yeah. And I did have those thoughts, I felt that feeling of, “You're not enough. You don't belong.” I felt like those were the words I was hearing, right? And that is so hard when we hear those things and when we feel those things.
And by the way, a big reason I wrote this book is I want to share all those things because what I've learned, and especially of women but really of everyone, when we are told we’re not enough or we don't belong or we're not the right fit or we feel excluded by mean girls or all these things I talk about in the book that have happened—even grown women that are mean girls. I talk about all of it—but when those things happen, so many of us, we hide it because it's embarrassing and we don't share it. And the problem with that is then we feel alone in what we're going through, and then we go on social media and see everyone's successes and highlight reels, and we think that we're the only ones, you know? And that's really why I'm sharing all this, because at the end of the day, like, I think knowing these things is more powerful even than the parts of the book where I talk about building a billion–dollar business. You know what I mean?
JAMIE: I think that at the end of the day, how we navigate stepping into the person that we're all born to be is, like, that's the journey. You know what I mean? And so anyhow, so, I cried myself to sleep that night, and I woke up the next morning. I don’t know if you’ve had this experience, Amy or everyone who’s listening, but if you've ever gotten super–bad news and then you wake up and you hope it was a dream.
AMY: Yes. I’ve so done that. And then you relive the whole thing, because you're like, oh, my god, it was real.
JAMIE: It was real. And then you’re like, ugh. And it’s like a punch in the gut again. So that happened to me three days in a row, after the Allen Burke call, because I just kept—
And here is how I got through that. Yes, it hurt. Yes, I let self–doubt enter my head for a moment. But what I did is I have this imaginary toolbox of things that I go to when I need to be reminded of who I am. I talk a lot about this in the book because I think this is so important. But, you know, like your students. I think any time you say something in your Digital Course Academy or on one of your social posts, and it just profoundly impacts them, write it down. Like, I keep a toolbox of things that are inspiring, that are true, that are true about who I am, that remind me of who I am.
And in that moment where I, three days in a row, cry myself to sleep, one of the things that I did that's one of the tools I always go to is I literally would check in and be like, “Okay, God, this does not— Are You sure this is what I'm supposed to be doing? because this doesn't make sense, right? And there's no proof around me.” And every time I would get still—and sometimes I do that through prayer, and sometimes I do it, I literally just getting still—even if it's for five minutes, even if it's you've got to go in a closet somewhere, or you got to go in the bathroom and shut the door—and just, like, start a practice, even if it's five minutes a day, of learning to get still, because hearing ourselves and then trusting it, to me, is literally life or death. It’s literally the one biggest thing that is the difference between the life you’re called or born to live and the one you're not.
And I think most people never learn how to do it and never end up becoming all of who they are, because it’s never about becoming someone else. It's never about trying to strive for success or a dollar amount or this or that or a job title or six–pack abs or whatever the F, right? It’s really about, are you stepping into all of who you are? And I think right now, I know, Amy, I know I'm not there yet. I know I'm not yet all of who I am.
And one of the things—not to change topics, really fast, but just on the topic of mean girls. I have a whole chapter about adult mean girls—
AMY: Right, right.
JAMIE: —and what happened to me when I finally did start having a lot of success and all of that. And I had this massive epiphany that I talk about in that chapter, where I'm like, “Oh, I'm not here to compete with anybody else. I’m literally here to compete with who God made me capable of being. Like, that’s it.”
AMY: Wow. That’s big. That’s big.
JAMIE: That’s big, right? And I feel like when we all get that lesson, (a) it's freeing because what anyone else is doing doesn't matter. It’s just great fuel for inspiration to cheer someone else on or to inspire us with what feels right for us. But when we’re on this journey, of only competing with who we're born capable of becoming, like, to me, that's why it's so important to learn to hear ourselves and to learn to trust ourselves, right, because the journey and the victory is never changing who we are. It's never trying to do something that other people make us feel significant for. It's not trying to hit some number or some target. For me, the biggest victory is all of us, every person, literally becoming all of who they are.
And so for me, building that muscle is a tactical thing I talk about in the book, building that muscle of learning to get still and hear yourself, right? Learning to turn down the volume on all the noise around us, the people fighting on the news, what's going on in politics, what the ATM receipt just said at the freakin’ ATM. Like, turning down the volume on all of it and learning to hear that voice inside, that's always right. That's always true. And in those three nights of crying myself to sleep, with Allen Burke saying I'm not the right fit for QVC, every time I would check in and hear my own voice, it would tell me, you're supposed to be doing this, and you're going to be on QVC. And that’s really hard to not start doubting our own self and thinking we're crazy and not trusting our gut when it's telling us one thing and everyone else is telling us another. And so, you know, when he said that to me, I just kept that knowing, and I kept going forward, even though it was hard, even though at one point we got down to under $1,000 in our bank account, which was our company and our personal when combined.
And there was a big beauty show where there were 6,000 women there, and you entered your product to demonstrate, and you got to stand at this three–foot table, and all the thousands of women walk by and tested your product. And the reason you go there and enter is you hope you win one of these big awards, and then you can get more sales that way; and then, also, you hope that one of the retailers will be there and they'll see your product, and maybe they'll carry it in their stores.
And so this was less than a year after this big, heart–crushing no from Allen Burke, and I was at this beauty expo. And QVC happened to have this massive booth there. And as the thousands of women were walking by—and I'm sitting there in my mind, not present. I should have been present, but I wasn't. I was literally just praying about, how can I get out of my booth and go to the QVC booth and meet a buyer? That's all I was thinking about—so I was on autopilot, talking to all these women stopping by. One of the women happened to be a show host from QVC. I didn't even recognize her because I wasn't paying attention, and I'm just talking and [trill] whatever. And anyhow, I eventually went over to the buyer at the QVC booth, and she was lovely. And I came back to my booth after meeting her, hoping that she meant what she said, because she said, “Oh, maybe we could set up a meeting some time.” I hoped that that was true.
All of a sudden, the host came up to me, introduced herself, said, “I'm a QVC show host.” She'd been a show host for seventeen years at that point. And I looked at her, and she said, “I just want to let you know right now I think your concealer, your Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, is amazing. And I think our QVC customers will love it. And I want to let you know I just went up to our head buyer, and I told her.” And I just looked at this host, and I just really started—like, tears started streaming down my face, and I think I freaked her out. She’s like, “Oh, oh, oh, honey. I have no power here. I just want to let you know.” I think she was like, “Oh, shit.” You know what I mean? She didn’t know what I knew, which was that I’d been hearing noes for three years, I had no money, I didn’t know how we were going to stay in business, and she just told me she went up to the head buyer, as a QVC host, and said, “This product's amazing.” So I literally couldn't even not cry. I was crying.
And long story short, that's how we got a meeting, in–person meeting. It was our first in-person meeting at QVC, which is in Pennsylvania. And we got a yes. And what that meant, though, was we had one shot at this ten–minute airing on QVC.
And one thing I want to share about this, well, actually two things, that are kind of fun. For anyone out there right now who's in the spot of, you know you're on the right track, but you're not seeing how is it going to work out. And I think for me at the time, and I think so many people also share this experience, where you're, like, that success feels like it happens to other people. It feels like it's so far away. It's hard to imagine it happening to me or my idea. And when you go through years of not seeing it, it becomes harder to see it, right? And that's why I think it's even more important to learn how to check in and hear your own inner knowing.
But anyhow, we got this one shot, and it was a ten-minute window on QVC. We were down to no money at this point. We had to borrow. We had to get an SBA loan—which the first twenty-two banks said no. It was our twenty-third bank that said yes to fund an SBA loan—just to cover the inventory we had to manufacture for this one shot in ten minutes. And, Amy, we were doing about two to three sales a day on our website, but QVC is live to one hundred million homes, and so we had to manufacture over 6,000 units of our concealer to sell in this ten—
JAMIE: Yeah. —to sell in this ten-minute window in order to hit their sales goal, or not come back. And so, not only that, but—and so, you should never take a purchase order you can't afford to lose. And we definitely couldn't afford to lose it, right? It was consignment. If it didn't sell, we wouldn't get paid for it, and it would all be shipped back to us. But by that point, we really had no other options other than to potentially just go bankrupt anyway. So we took the huge risk.
And we met with third-party consultants that are amazing. They helped so many people sell their products on television and in stores. And every time we would meet with them, they would all tell me the same thing, which was to use the kind of models I had seen my whole life in the magazine ads and the commercials, with perfect skin. And they wanted us to win, but that’s, like, the only thing that had ever been successful before, and that’s not why we created this company. I told them, I want to show my bright–red rosacea so people who have skin issues like me can actually see live that the product works, and I want to show women of all ages and sizes and skin tones and skin challenges. And they literally thought I was crazy. And they're like—and we would argue about it, because, like, well, if I don't see someone who looks like me, and I'm sitting at home watching this, how do I know the product’s going to work for me?
JAMIE: And bigger than that was just the goal of not just creating a company with a great product, but trying to shift culture and beauty around inclusivity and around the images little girls and women and every person sees, because my whole life, they always kind of made me feel like I wasn't enough. And so if I was going to launch my own company, I wanted to try to change that the best I could, like, for, you know, for little girls out there who were about to start seeing these images and start doubting themselves too, and for all the grown people who still do. But it was a big risk.
And I think in my whole journey as an entrepreneur—and I know in the book, oh, my gosh, there's so much personal stuff and crazy stuff in there. It’s, like, 85 percent stuff I've never shared before, so I’m freaking out about it, to be honest. But again, it’s not about me. So I have to remember it’s not about me. It’s about all of us sharing and connecting and serving each other through the power of story.
But anyways, it came down to that one shot on QVC in ten minutes, and I decided every time I would check in with that inner knowing, it would say, like, “Okay, you have to stay authentic to why you created this brand. I know you don't want to go out of business. I know you don't want to go bankrupt. I know you're tempted to show these perfect–skin models without any blemishes and definitely without any rosacea. But that is not why you created this brand.” And I decided to trust myself when everything was on the line.
And when we went live in that ten-minute airing, that one shot we got, I showed my bare face, my bright–red rosacea, on national television and showed women of every age and skin tone and skin challenge and size. And I remember, it was like a minute later—
And the ten-minute clock, by the way, the ten–minute clock, when it started, Amy, live, if you're not selling well, it's no joke. Like, if you're not selling well and hitting their sales goals, you know, you might be a minute or two minutes into your sell, and if you're not doing well, your ten–minute clock, maybe it's down to nine or eight minutes, it'll jump all the way down to two minutes, and you'll lose—
AMY: Stop it. Stop it.
JAMIE: Yeah. —you’ll lose all that time—
JAMIE: —because they don’t mess around. And then they’re on to the next product, whether it’s Dyson vacuum or Apple iPhone. Like, their air time is so precious, and so the pressure’s really high.
And I just remember the ten-minute clock starting, and it’s at 9:59, 9:58. And I remember there was about—I remember my bright-red rosacea, my Before shot came up on national television, and I was shaking like a leaf. And everything was on the line. And I remember there was about a minute left, and the host was like, “The tan shade is almost gone. The deep shade is almost sold out.” And I remember the whole Sold Out sign came up across the screen, and my husband came running in, and he’s like, “We’re not going bankrupt.” And I was like, “Real women have spoken.” And that one airing, after hearing no for three years, that one airing turned into five that year and 101 the next year. And we eventually grew to do—we still to this day—do over 250 live shows a year on QVC. And we grew it to be the largest beauty brand in QVC’s history, and it is right now at this moment. And the reason I want to share that part is it was three years of them not just saying, “Oh, no, maybe later,” but like, “You are not the right fit.” It was so cringey.
AMY: One thing I was thinking of is you were told you were not the right fit, from the guy, like, the top of the top. And so if I got your story right, so then you went on, and you took action, and you were going to this other beauty conference where they were going to choose different products so women could sample. So you went on, and you took action, and you kept moving forward, and in that, the opportunity of QVC came. So, like, I always say, if you move forward, motion creates more clarity, and doors start to open as long as you keep taking action. And that's exactly what you were doing.
JAMIE: Exactly. Yes. And the other beautiful part about this was after we launched on QVC, Allen Burke actually ended up becoming—he was the guy that said no, and I cried myself to sleep for three nights in a row—he ended up becoming one of my greatest mentors and Paulo’s, my husband's, one of my dearest friends, and he to this day is one of my greatest mentors ever.
JAMIE: He ended up giving me so much great advice. And here's the crazy thing, Amy, and this is what's so fun. Oh, my gosh. Okay, I'm so excited because this is such a big week for the book launching for everyone reading these stories. I can't wait to hear everyone else's stories that has these types of full–circle moments, because there's the beauty in these types of rejections when we have a deep trust and belief in our self. And what I mean by that is Allen Burke ended up becoming not just one of my greatest mentors, but he retired from QVC, and then after he retired, we hired him in a paid position on our advisory board. And so the guy that rejected—
JAMIE: —me is now working for me, right, which is crazy.
JAMIE: And here's the best thing is—so, two things on this, just to share, because this happened in a lot of other stories of rejection and noes and not enough–ness in the book is when you are an entrepreneur, these noes can feel personal, and the humanness inside of us wants to be, like, F you or get upset or get resentful or get vengeful or get—like, I mean, Sephora told us no. By the way, even after we became the largest beauty brand in QVC’s history, it was still another, I think, three years before we got a yes from Sephora. So it was six years of noes from Sephora. Had I ever taken it personally or gotten resentful or being like, “Oh, you don't deserve us,” and you're all the things the humanness in us wants to do.—
JAMIE: —I would have never been able to cultivate the relationships the way I did to eventually turn them all into yeses. And that's what happened. And I'm not saying it didn't hurt. I'm not saying it didn't feel unfair. And there were times, I mean, oh, gosh, there's some stories I share in this book where I don't know how it wasn't personal. Do you know what I mean?
JAMIE: Like, there was some rejection that I just don’t know how it wasn’t personal. But I think that when you're an entrepreneur, one of the most important things is to, you know, you can have your human moments and your personal moments. But when it comes to your business, I think you have to absolutely figure out how to not take rejection personally, how to not get emotional about it, and how to really take a big step back and trust in the journey.
And what I did, in case this is helpful for anyone out there, too—because, again, I detail so much I did wrong, which is a lot—but one of the things that I look back and go, “Oh, that was really smart. It was the right thing to do,” was even in the midst of these noes and this rejection and people telling me you're not the right fit period, don't come back, those kind of things, I literally made the decision to still believe, “Oh, it's just a matter of time. We will be partners one day. So because of that, I'm going to keep sending you any time we get a big press placement for a product, and say ‘Great news! Look at this press placement.’
AMY: So good.
JAMIE: ‘So excited to serve your customers one day.’” I would send them new product launches. “I can't wait to send you a sample.” Like, I was unremitting, and I just literally refused to think that we weren't going to be partners one day.
And the other thing I'll say, and a lot of people are hesitant to sell, right, they’re hesitant to sell their product or this or that, especially after you've been rejected, I just made the decision—I talk about belief a lot in the book—but I made the decision to literally believe that if a retailer said no to us again, I decided I felt bad for them because they were robbing their customers of a great product and a great experience.
AMY: Whoa. What a great twist. Yeah, I love that.
JAMIE: I just decided that. And so I just decided I was doing them favors until they finally realized that they were actually going to give their customers a better experience if they started carrying our products. I just made the decision to believe that even when they didn't and even when there wasn't proof around. And I think that half the time just not giving up and just making the decision to believe. And again, listen, I gave up on my dream as a news anchor, right? And so I'm not saying, “Oh, just don't quit.” What I'm saying is check in, learn how to check in with your truth, and then trust it.
And for me in this whole journey, whether it's the stories that I share in the book Believe IT, for the first time about adoption, finding out I was adopted by accident, and all the thousands of women that hung up on me in the five–year journey to try to find my birth mom and all the forms of rejection, and then what happened when I found her, which was even more painful in some ways, and just all the forms of rejection in life, I think that when we get good at hearing our own knowing and our own truth, I think that is what gives us the strength to know if we're going in the right direction, to know if we're in the right relationship, if we're in the right friendship. So for me, that's really the heart and soul of this book, because not everyone’s going to want to sell their company for a billion dollars, and everyone's going to want to work hundred–hour weeks or make all these mistakes that I made. But I do believe everyone is on the same journey of going, how can I become the person I know I was born to be when I keep doubting it? Like, so many people know they're made for more, but they still doubt it anyways. They still doubt themselves anyways. And to me, that's the journey, that's the victory, is breaking through that.
AMY: Oh, so good. I was going to ask you, why is this a must read for any entrepreneur? But I think that's it. Like, that is exactly it, that people, they know they're made for more, but they keep doubting it or they keep taking action to self–sabotage because they don't feel like they're enough, or because they feel like they've gotten so many noes, it must mean they're not cut out to do this. A lot of my listeners get to the point that they think, “You know what, I should go back to my nine–to–five job. I'm not cut out to be an entrepreneur or an online marketer,” or whatever it is that they're doing and building online. That's why I wanted to do this interview. I wanted my audience to hear from somebody who got the noes slammed in her face over and over and over again. But you kept going, and you kept taking action and pounding the pavement, and look what happened.
But I think the coolest thing about this book is all the very personal stories, like you said, stories that I've never heard you talk about with me when we've just been together or in the last podcast that you did with me or in any of the interviews you've done. So that's why you guys have to get this book. And Jamie, tell everybody, where can they find this book? And I know you've got some cool things when people do order the book.
JAMIE: Yeah. Thank you so much. It's, yeah, and really fast, too, on that. It's, like, not just, should you go back to your job or should you keep pounding the pavement?, but how do you know what the right answer is? How do you know how to hear your truth and what you're supposed to do? For me, that is just the most important part, because I don't think it's a failure to give up on this dream and go back to your nine to five or to stay pounding the pavement and getting no traction. I don't think either’s a failure. I think the failure is never actually learning to hear who you're called to be, who you're created to be, and the truth of who you are on your own journey to stepping into all of it. Because I think at the end of the day, you know, if you know in your heart you're supposed to keep doing the thing that you're getting no traction over, well, that's your truth. That's the journey you're supposed to be on, and that's the victory. You know what I mean?
JAMIE: That's the victory, and that’s how to feel fulfilled, right? So many people—I think that's why there's even people out there with monetary success and everything else but they're not happy and they're not fulfilled, and I think it's because they're not living in congruency with their own authentic truth of what they're called to be. And for most people, they don't ever even learn how to tune into it.
So, anyways, oh, my gosh, I'm going to get so fired up. I talk about that with everything. And I love that you share that, because the other thing is for entrepreneurs, too, I share all the stuff I've never shared before about the impact on my marriage and how we navigated it and what we did right and what we did wrong and all of that, because at the end of the day, we're all in this together. And I think the power of story is really what can elevate all of us on our own journeys and connect all of us.
So, anyhow, yes, Believe IT is, okay, so the book—I’m getting so hyper—literally this is my whole heart and soul in this book, so I’m just so fired up about it.
AMY: I love that.
JAMIE: So Believe IT is out. It launches this week. And you can get—so the easiest way, you can get it anywhere books are sold, but the website believeit.com, just like the book name Believe IT. You got to believeit.com. We're doing a special big launch bonuses that are all free just for the big–launch timing. So definitely grab them now. But when you go there, I did add this whole workbook. It's, like, a ninety-page workbook that's like an action plan on how to implement all the lessons from the book into your real life.
JAMIE: So you can get that for free. And then I also did a course called Becoming Unstoppable: How to Overcome the Things Holding You Back. And that's just a big-launch bonus for the book. So you get that for free as well if you head to believeit.com now. And I'm so excited. I am donating 100 percent of the proceeds from this book, and I'm literally just doing it because I think every one of us has a story that can truly be of service to other people in their own journey, and we're all in this together.
And Amy, I'm grateful for you, by the way. I'm grateful—
JAMIE: —for our talks off podcast. You are the most incredible human being. So generous, so smart, so brilliant. And it's an honor. It's an honor to call you a friend. So I just want to say that to you.
AMY: I was going to say that to you. It's such an honor to call you a friend. I love that we've gotten to know each other even more so even when we're not in interviews. And it's just so fun to see you shine and do what you do. You have the biggest heart, and you have always supported me. You guys, she calls or texts me all the time and says, “Amy, are you going to write a book? Amy, are you going to write a book?” It’s like, I absolutely love it, I need that encouragement, and so that's one of my most favorite things about you. Like, you'll be at the grocery store. “Hey, so are you going to write a book?” I’m like, oh, I need friends like that.
JAMIE: And let me just get your community to validate this right now. Okay. Ms. Amy Porterfield, a freakin’ star, her voice, her faith, everything. I can watch her and listen to her both, like, all day long, right? Like, literally the way I would watch Oprah every day, like, it's like that. And so I hope everyone in your community hearing this can, if you agree with me, let Amy know because it's so true. You know it's so true. And don't cut this part out from the show, please, either.
AMY: Oh, that is too funny that you said that. Like, okay, so, we’re moving on.
Jamie, thank you so much for being such a true, true friend. Your book is incredible. You guys, you have to get your hands on it. Believeit.com. Go check it out, get the bonuses, get it right now, and tell me all about how much you love it. And I can't wait. You're right, Jamie. I can't wait to hear other people's full–circle stories. So, like, the stories of it all came full circle, and it all made sense at the end, I think you’re going to start to hear more and more stories like that because you shared yours. It's going to be pretty powerful.
Thank you so, so very much. I can’t wait to connect with you again soon.
JAMIE: Okay. Thank you so much, Amy.
AMY: So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this chat with Jamie as much as I have. And honestly, every time I sit down with her, I'm in awe and beyond inspired. I mean, her stories are incredible. And I promised in the intro I was going to share something before I let you go here, and that is for all of my potential or soon–to–be course creators or for those of you who have created your course and you have launched it. And every time somebody doesn't buy from you, or when you do a webinar and it doesn't do as well as you had hoped, especially in the early days of creating and launching your course, sometimes it's tough.
Now, remember what Jamie said. Remember how she said that when she would get a no from a big makeup company, she would think, “I feel bad for you. You're cheating your customers out of this amazing product that they need, or they're not going to get the opportunity to try something that could really make them feel better and look better.” So she said that she would feel bad for those that would tell her no. I thought that was an interesting concept for those of you who are doing webinars and who are selling your courses online.
What if after a not–so–successful launch or a tough webinar or when you don't hit your numbers because it happens to all of us, just for the record, at one point or another, what if you said, “I feel bad for all those people that didn't buy my course, because I believe in my product so much and I know what it will do for them. So because I feel so bad for them, what can I do to really help them understand that this is what they need?”
And so maybe you are done with your launch, but then you go into that period where you're just giving value and you're not launching, you're not selling anything. It's that one, two, three months where you're just doing all the things you do to give value: podcasting, blogging, videos, social media, all that stuff. It's the period when you're not launching that's the most important to your business. I really firmly believe that. So what if during that period you think, “I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that my ideal community, my ideal customer, really understands the value that I'm offering here. I'm going to tell stories, I'm going to make it relevant, I'm going to give examples, I'm going to create freebies that really helps them in the moment so that next time I sell my course, they get it, they understand it, they're connected to me, they will not pass up this opportunity, because they know they need it.
Sometimes it's the work we do when we're not launching, the value we add when we're not selling, that helps our audience really understand what we can do for them so that when you do your launching, your webinars, they get it. They're listening at a higher level. They're connected to you. They're engaged. They know they need what you have to sell. So sometimes that happens when you're not launching over a period of time.
And that's exactly what Jamie did, in a different way, of course. She wasn't selling courses, she wasn't doing webinars, but she was helping her audience understand how valuable her product was to them.
All right. Just a thought I had while Jamie was sharing her stories, and I wanted to share it with you.
So, there you have it. I hope you go out and grab this book. You're going to learn so many lessons. You're going to be inspired. You're going to laugh. You're going to cry. But most importantly, you’re going to remember why you love being an entrepreneur, why you love what you do, and how proud you should be of building the business that you're building. So go check it out. Believeit.com. I think you're going to love it.
All right, my friend. I cannot wait to connect with you same time, same place next week. Bye for now.