Growing, learning, practicing self-love and digging into your wounded soul so that you can be more effective as a leader.”
Janice Taylor is a social entrepreneur, mother, inspirational speaker, author and online safety advocate. Her credo of compassion, community and caring drives the vision of her company Mazu, a safe and fun online platform for families. Mazu gives parents a place to communicate, play and connect with their children in a starter social media environment. Her mission is to build a “digital village” – a movement around healthy, positive, and fun family engagement in today’s digital age.
Mazu pays tribute to traditional family values and brings “it takes a village” to today’s mobile era. This passion for connecting families stems from Taylor’s own upbringing in Saskatchewan, Canada, where despite the hard times her family faced, she found comfort and belonging in the arms of her neighborhood and community. Watching her two daughters grow up among the
isolation and pressures of childhood today, Taylor felt a need to provide a safe, digital village where parents still matter, and love reigns supreme.
The movement to bring parents and children together online has resonated with families from all walks of life. Sports teams and brands have used Mazu as a secure channel, to connect with fans and their kids, celebrating common interests and sharing content. Professional leagues such as the NHL, NBA, and MLS are just a few who have joined the movement, leveraging Mazu’s platform as their core engagement strategy for families.
Janice has brought this message to such esteemed conferences as TEDx, Marianne Williamson Events and Tech TO, among others. She has received many honors: named one of twelve extraordinary Women in Tech by the Consulate General of Canada, chosen as one of Oprah’s Ultimate Viewers, and selected as a finalist for the 2013 Woman of Worth Awards. Additionally, in 2016, Mazu was recognized as one of the five Most Innovative Companies in British Columbia.
Janice also founded a mentorship program called The Dream Project to inspire and guide women healing from addictions to achieve their dreams. As the author of Wisdom. Soul. Startup. Janice shared the life-lessons and unique perspectives to which she attributes her
success. In this inspiring book, Taylor shares wisdom gleaned from childhood struggles in small-town Canada. The book’s essays share how she found the courage and insight to turn her life around and grow into a successful entrepreneur and community leader.
Where did the idea for Mazu come from?
The idea for Mazu came about by observing changes in my physical neighborhood with my own children. I noticed kids were not outside as often, parents were in the cars on their cell phones and people became very addicted to their online lives. I wondered what the impact would be on children and how we raise kids. I felt I needed to tackle this community disconnect. I thought if technology made the problem worse, could it be used for good?
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day involves wearing many hats! As a CEO of tech startup I dig into product roadmaps, marketing, digital marketing, PR and then I am also juggling two growing daughters aged 14 and 10. Making a plethora of decisions every day that impact the direction and vision of this company is a never ending process.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My team will laugh at this but I tend to think in pictures, yet I cannot draw! So I scribble endlessly in notepads and whiteboards. I begin my morning with journaling and writing all my ideas down. In my imagination I imagine a giant puzzle that I am currently solving for the last 7 years and each day brings a new puzzle piece to the table and I examine through several avenues where this idea fits or if it does at all.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Sadly, the biggest trend I am excited about is the awareness of the impacts of social media on children and teens. I am excited to see people begin to awaken from the love affair to begin to ask questions around our data, our privacy and our relationship with technology.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My biggest secret weapon is my journaling/meditation practice. It is during this time I can really cycle through all the information I take in and remove it from my mind. Gaining clarity and grounding in truth free from ego is my saving grace.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would be kinder to myself. When I was younger I was so hard on myself. In a constant motion to be better that I rarely rested and accepted myself. This habit robbed me of the critical piece of self-love. A daily struggle today to be kinder to myself.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That you do not need Facebook at all! If the entire world deleted their account today and Facebook went away, absolutely nothing would happen to you.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Spend every day working on yourself! Growing, learning, practicing self-love and digging into your wounded soul so that you can be more effective as a leader.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that the great book Rich Dad, Poor Dad taught was leverage. Understanding the mechanics of leverage in business is a critical piece to gaining growth. Leverage is not a bad word yet many have thought it has a deceptive term. Leverage is understanding how the world works and how leverage can be used for so much good!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest failure is not understanding team dynamics in a creative experience well enough. I took a great deal for granted and also assumed people were like me. That was my biggest downfall and caused a great deal of failure. I have learned over time to take the time to understand teams better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea that I think someone should do is what Birchbox did for makeup, someone needs to do for awesome jammies and nighttime prep! I would pay monthly for a wonderful box of pajama awesomeness for my nighttime love! Getting ready for bed absolutely makes me giddy. I love great pajamas (no one is doing this well) and have a nighttime routine for my face etc… yet no one has cornered the surprise nighttime box of goodies.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Best $100 dollars I spent was on my daughter’s pink shiny coat. She asked me for a “real coat” not the practical keep you warm in Canadian winter coat. She wanted pretty, dressy and fancy. I found the best pink coat. She is wearing this coat everyday with the widest smile. It warms my heart every day despite it being expensive for a child’s coat!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Slack is a key piece of software we use for our office communication. It helps greatly for remote and travel work.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I think a great read for all of us is “The Power of Now”. We are spending so much of our time living in the past or wanting to escape our present situations by future living. Much of our world is living in an unconscious state that more presence, gratitude and awareness for the Now is needed.
What is your favorite quote?
“When you know better, you do better”. Maya Anjelou/Oprah
- Social media is having a negative effect on children and teens and we can create positive change and bring back the feeling of community.
- Look at problems as if they are a puzzle piece and take advantage of each day to solve a piece of that puzzle.
- Be kinder to yourself by practicing self love, learn and dig into your soul so that you can become a leader.
- Don’t take your team for granted. You should take the time to understand them and what their part is.
- Don’t look to your past, live in the now.
Janice Taylor on Twitter : @justbejanice