A CERTIFIED CONSULTANT WITH THE REVOLUTIONARY SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING PHENOMENON INFUSIONSOFT, ARIZONA BASED ENTREPRENEUR, COACH, SPEAKER, AUTHOR (AND WORKING MOM! ) JANETTE GLEASON CONTINUES HER LIFELONG MISSION OF EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS
Providing a web based all-in-one sales and marketing software for small businesses since 2004, Infusionsoft’s revolutionary approach helps their clients automatically market to secure more customers, grow their sales and save precious time. Among the high profile guest speakers at the company’s annual User Conference in 2011 were renowned motivational speakers Brian Tracy, who has conducted seminars and workshops in 61 countries worldwide; and James Malinchak, known to millions via his appearance on ABC’s “The Secret Millionaire.”
Even with all that star power at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, it was Janette Gleason, an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant and Ultimate Marketer Finalist 2011, who earned the event’s only standing ovation from the audience of a thousand people for her powerful, honest and intimate presentation.
In her 24 minute speech, she spoke about her background and journey to become one of three finalists in the year’s annual marketing competition. She talked about the campaigns she worked on and the creative marketing strategies she launched in Infusionsoft in only 30 days – which completely revitalized the marketing of Gleason Financial Group, LLC, the umbrella company owned by her and her husband Joe, after a slide related to the Great Recession. On a moving personal note, the Chicago native (who grew up in the Northwest suburb of Schaumburg, IL) detailed the challenges of balancing life as an entrepreneur and mother of three young children, including the Gleasons’ older son (now 11), who is high functioning autistic.
Truly a modern Renaissance woman for the modern age (entrepreneur, small business owner, marketer, consultant, coach, speaker, teacher, author, wife and mother), Janette covers all of these topics and more in her recently published book “Confessions of a Mompreneur: My Journey from Stressed-Out, Stay-at-Home Mom to Successful Entrepreneur.”
The book tells the background story of Gleason, a former elementary school teacher who met her future husband Joe at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. There is also a section about the lessons and blessings of being a parent of an autistic child. She calls her son, who was diagnosed at age four, “an amazing person who changed my life and who has taught me more about myself than anything else.” The third part tells the empowering story of how Janette became an Ultimate Marketer Finalist and turned their business around, and the final section talks about what her life is like now as she skillfully navigates her life as a “mompreneur.”
After becoming a Certified Infusion Consultant late in 2011, she began coaching other Infusionsoft entrepreneurs as part of their “kickstart” using the system—helping everyone from massage therapists and realtors to travel agents and weight loss coaches take their businesses to the next level.
Janette, still a partner with Joe in Gleason Financial Group and its subsidiaries, Gleason Tax Advisory Group and Gleason Investment Advisory, currently works with a customized vertical/niche marketing version of Infusionsoft that she created to work exclusively with estate planning attorneys and financial planners, two industries that she is intimately familiar with. She is working to create a “small army” of virtual assistants, stay at home moms with entrepreneurial skills who can execute the nuts of bolts of the “sandbox application” and customize it for each client.
The Gleasons’ story is similar to that of millions of other Americans whose financial lives were rocked by the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. When Joe, an veteran independent financial planner, had an opportunity to secure his own sales territory with the company he was affiliated with, he and Janette chose Arizona, where they had honeymooned. They settled in the Phoenix suburb of Surprise.
“We sold our house in Chicago, packed up the kids and moved West like the Beverly Hillbillies,” she laughs. “When we launched our business there in 2005, I soon became pregnant with our third baby, our daughter who was born premature and our son had just been diagnosed. We were on a mission to help him with as much therapy as we could, and I did what I could to help Joe with payroll and marketing. Things were going well until the crash, which hit everything related to the financial world, including of course, Joe’s commissions. We had bought our house at the peak of the market in 2006 and ultimately had to make the decision to foreclose. It was a really scary time for us and so many others.”
As The Gleasons started dabbling in email marketing blasts to boost prospective clientele, their friend Steve Heideman of the social media/web development company Mint Social shared the powerful results he had achieved using Infusionsoft. Janette and Joe signed up with the company (which has since grown from 100 employees to 400) but didn’t take full advantage of its powerful tools. At first, the Gleasons just used their data migration software as a glorified rolodex with names and numbers of customers, and the calendar function. In early 2009, in the throes of the economy’s toughest months, they continued to invest thousands in traditional marketing techniques (mailings and steak dinner seminars) with no results or new clients.
“We were spending tons of money to get contacts, but failed to keep in touch,” she says. “We didn’t have the money to invest in direct mail but we had a database of clients who loved us and great prospects. We began doing monthly promotional newsletters – anything to help us stay afloat.”
The Gleasons’ businesses plodded along until a defining moment late in 2010, when Joe’s office manager quit suddenly and Janette filled in during the holidays, answering phones and doing basic admin work.
“Joe hadn’t had time to dig deep into the system, but I started playing around with the Infusionsoft software and watching the webinars and tutorials,” says Janette. “I began telling him about unique features like setting up a sequence of emails we could send every few days and creating a task it would later alert you to. I entered my name and did a trial run and saw how it worked. Our tax advisory service, which often helps us gain financial planning clients, is an important part of our business. With tax season coming up and short on marketing funds, I turned to the database and generated two to three emails per prospect. That year we boldly doubled the cost of our tax planning, but between using Infusionsoft to send out emails to our database and my idea to give a ten dollar gas card to clients who gave successful referrals, we secured over 800 tax preparation appointments!”
Janette had built these new campaigns and sequences from Infusionsoft training in only 30 days – and these tax clients generated a snowball effect and Janette and Joe converted a good number of them into financial planning clients. Knowing that the Infusionsoft Annual User Conference was coming up, Janette was excited about these results and wanted to fill out the application for the Ultimate Marketer competition. She infused her application story with a marketing flow chart full of smiley faces and hearts—and personal details about the challenges of working while raising a special needs son—and she soon heard from Infusionsoft’s Event Manager Nicole Shoots, who informed Janette she was one of eight finalists. After a subsequent phone interview, she was chosen as one of the Top Three, which earned her the invitation to speak at the conference.
When she lived in the Chicago area, Janette was not only chosen “Teacher of the Year” for her work with her students, she also was skilled at teaching her colleagues about technical things, including how to use Powerpoint in the classroom. Her questions to them were always: What are the practical applications of this? And: How do I make it easy for you? Her driving passion has always been empowering others to achieve their goals – and she has been engaged in a whirlwind of opportunity to do that since becoming an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant in December, 2011.
In her time as a consultant helping “kickstart” Infusionsoft clients (generally those who have been in business at least a year with a database of at least 1,000 names), Janette enjoyed learning about many businesses outside her realm of expertise as she coached them in building web forms, implementing a sequence of follow-up emails, and creating strategies and campaigns. The key was to help them automate their marketing so that they had time to do other things – and both she and her clients had specific assignments to accomplish between consultations.
She decided to take her game to the next level—and thus launched into her current role doing the vertical marketing, industry specific version of Infusionsoft—when people in the Gleasons’ home industries (financial planners and estate planning) heard about her success story and sought her marketing expertise. “Some truly great opportunities presented themselves for me to help other moms by turning them into virtual assistants that help me build out the strategies I devise for our clients,” says Janette. “I created the system, customized the database and created the campaigns with emails ready to go, but all of that has to be put into Infusionsoft and be customized for each business owner. This is the system we replicate for each company that wants the system, and it’s my virtual assistants who customize the software.
“Once the system is replicated,” she adds, “I train coaches to do the kickstarting agendas like I used to do for all six calls they have to make. I am training these mothers to be independent contractors, business owners who can take care of their children at home while using their degrees and specialized skills to provide additional family income. I’m very goal driven, and am proud to say I earned a Camaro in a recent contest sponsored by Infusionsoft (The Big Drive) for being #1 in sales.”
Janette says that as early as second grade, she was looking around her classroom and imagining how her own classroom would someday be arranged when she was a teacher. She majored in elementary education and Spanish and one of her earliest teaching jobs was in bilingual education.
“I know I have the gift of teaching, and if I can’t explain things correctly one way, I can explain it another way until my students, or these days my virtual assistants and coaches, understand,” she says. “In my current role, I can fine tune those skills. I feel so fulfilled right now with my career and family. Some may call me a ‘superwoman’ but I’m still a mom who makes homemade waffles for the kids every morning. Then I’m invited to speak before 1,000 people and find that fulfilling in a different way. Yet there is so much more I want to accomplish. I am currently working on a second book and hope to secure more motivational speaking gigs so that I can inspire people with this success story that can someday be theirs as well.”
The Big Drive Contest 2013
Ultimate Marketer Contest 2011
View the presentation that earned Janette a standing ovation!
In this video you will learn:
- About Janette’s background and her journey to become a finalist in Infusionsoft’s Ultimate Marketer Contest 2011.
- The campaigns and marketing strategies she launched in Infusionsoft in only 30 days!
- Janette’s personal story describing the challenges of having a child with autism and the major turning point in her life.
- Her story of success and heartfelt gratitude for the support from her family, friends, and the Infusionsoft community.