Bringing ideas to life is about doing it now, today. Make a decision to simply put one foot in front of another.”
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence and sustaining today’s marriages, Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues. Her passion is contagious and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe.
In addition to being a busy wife and mother of three, she is the founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a global nonprofit that has helped thousands of churches in 19 countries effectively minister to single moms in their community. She has written for countless single parents, women, parenting, and discipleship training magazines and sites.
Jennifer has been featured in hundreds of media venues in print, television, and radio with The New York Times, Focus on the Family, The 700 Club, Moody Radio, Family Life Radio, Power Women, and many others.
- 2016 Influential Woman in Business Award (Business Report)
- 11-Time Circle of Excellence Winner in Corporate America
- 2015, 2017 Named Top 10 Most Influential Leaders in America by John Maxwell
- 2015 Women’s Legislative Hero of Excellence Award
- 2014 Blue Cross Blue Shield Angel Award Winner
- Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries
- 2012 Business Report Magazine’s Rising Star Award
- 2011 recipient of the Mother of All Ideas Award
- Considered one of the nation’s leading authority on single parent and women’s issues
- 4-time award-winning author
Where did the idea for The Life of a Single Mom come from?
Having once been a homeless, abused, single mom of two children who used government assistance to make ends meet, I know what it’s like to feel unseen, unnoticed, and overwhelmed. I never forgot those moments I spent alone on my bathroom floor, as a young single mom, crying and worrying. I wanted to ensure no single mom ever walked alone.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I come in to work at 7am. This gives me time to organize my day, prior to staff’s arrival. My years in Corporate America taught me many things, one of which was working smart. Focusing on time-sensitive tasks first, I work from a to-do list (I’m a hopeless planner).
How do you bring ideas to life?
I love feedback, brainstorming sessions, and input from staff and volunteers. I like to hear others’ perceptions from varying backgrounds and points of view. But then, I make a decision and run with it. It drives me insane when people brainstorm but don’t execute. Bringing ideas to life is about doing it now, today. Make a decision to simply put one foot in front of another. The idea doesn’t have to be fleshed out in its entirety.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Social awareness is more the norm now than the exception. Whether in private or public sector, employers are pushing their employees to be involved in philanthropy. A growing number of people seem to have an awareness beyond their own needs, looking to make real changes in the world. That is great news for nonprofits who depend on the generosity of others to exist.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Work longer hours than anyone who works for me. Don’t ask others to do things I’m unwilling to do. Vacuum. Take out the trash. Make others feel heard and important. To-do lists can wait, when someone is hurting or broken or angry or overwhelmed. Take the time to hear those around you.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Relax. I had a former boss that told me I’d have a heart attack by the time I was 30! I have always been a high-strung, goal-oriented, multi-tasker! Over the years, I’ve learned everything isn’t a fire that needs to put out today. I’ve learned to stop and truly smell the roses (occasionally). I’ve learned that everything and everyone doesn’t need to be fixed. Some people aren’t ready for their a-ha moment and that’s okay. Take the time to journey with people versus needing to always help them.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Boudin Balls taste terrible. (They are a Cajun Cuisine that Louisianans love!)
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Pray daily. My faith has sustained me when nothing else could or would.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Stay the course. Do what you know to do and keep doing it. We live in a time when patience is no longer a virtue. People expect instant success and when it isn’t achieved, we abandon the idea or concept in search of instant gratification elsewhere. Sometimes, in fact, most times, there is no easy answer. It takes rolling up your sleeves, staying committed to the project, and working harder than you’ll ever get credit for.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It’s easy for be to become passionate about “my” ideas. I become married to them, seeing them as hard to let go. Change has always been harder for me than it should be. I’ve lost time and money on projects that weren’t worth it in the end, because I couldn’t see beyond the passion. Learning when to let go has been a steady process that has become easier over time. The other thing is in failing to see the value others bring. This is my “baby”. I want to nurse it and rear it and ensure it’s success, but in the past, I’ve sometimes failed to see the assets I’ve had in my team. I’ve slowly learned to let my “baby” go and let the village help me raise it!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m a Type-A Personality. If I had a great business idea, I’d likely already have started it by now!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a single mom groceries. The best money spent is often what we spend on others, not thinking about ourselves.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
ZohoCRM was a life-saver when I first started. Under a certain number of users, it’s completely free. It’s easy-to-use and can track customers and clients, no matter what type of business you have.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love Blue Ocean Shift by Renee Mauborgne.
What is your favorite quote? Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn. ~ Author Unknown
- Pray daily.
- Work longer hours than anyone who works for you.
- Everything and everyone doesn’t need to be fixed.
- Growing your business means rolling up your sleeves, staying committed to the project, and working harder than you’ll ever get credit for.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.