Healthy CEOI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM816- Founder Helps Women Find Their confidence Through Clothing

Podcast Interview with Amber Duncan

Amber Duncan is the Founder and CEO of Newborn Consulting and Jackie Subscription Styling. With over 20 years of business experience, Amber has revitalized business after business in her pursuit of entrepreneurship. Amber began her entrepreneurial journey while seeking to solve a problem that so many Americans were facing during the housing market crash in 2008. In response, she and her business partners built one of the most well-known and highly-regarded debt settlement companies nationwide. Jackie is her passion business as she loves helping women find their confidence through clothing.

  • CEO Hack: I am always trying to pick up tips from others. Every day is a growing process
  • CEO Nugget: Treating every customer well as gift and therefore I ensure I ensure I consider this when putting together my team
  • CEO Defined: Flexibility to coming into an environment and having a team that will help you get to where you want to go as a brand and also empowering them in the process

Websitehttps://shopjackie.com/

Instagram: @shop.jackie
Instagram: @amberdunc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u-had8Eq2Y&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3eLwn-Yh12YL4wZgAgV5i3tdgAPPFVlkD0p2kG3FI3E3Zb9J0f_8uWd9M
https://www.blog.shopjackie.com/blog/story-behind-the-name

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Transcript

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00:02 – 00:26
Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

00:30 – 00:38
Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Amber Duncan of ShopJackie.com. Amber, it's awesome to have you on the show.

00:38 – 00:42
Amber Duncan

Thank you so much, Gresh, for having me on. I'm super excited to talk with you.

00:42 – 01:26
Gresham Harkless

Definitely super excited to have you on as well. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Amber so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Amber is the founder and CEO of Newborn Consulting and Jackie's subscription styling. With over 20 years of business experience, Amber has revitalized business after business in her pursuit of entrepreneurship. Amber began her entrepreneurial journey while seeking to solve a problem that so many Americans were facing during the housing market crisis in 2008. In response, she and her business partners built 1 of the most well-known and highly regarded debt settlement companies worldwide, and it's called ReduceMyDents.com. Jackie is her passion in her fashion business and she loves helping women find their confidence through clothing. Amber, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

01:26 – 01:47
Amber Duncan

Yes, so I'm super excited to share my journey because I know we all have a story. And I think you said it best, just in reference to, it was built out of a problem that we ran into with the housing market crashing. So good things always come out of bad things. That's the way I see it.

01:47 – 01:53
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. Some of the most successful businesses were started during some of the darkest moments. And I wanted to hear a little bit more about that story. Could you take through a little bit more of what I call your CEO story and we'll let you get started?

01:53 – 03:24
Amber Duncan

Sure. So my husband and I were both mortgage brokers at the time in 2008 and we had mortgages closing. And that day when the bank shut everything off, it's like everything came to a grinding halt, but there was nothing we could do with everything we had acquired over the last 10 years. And so, you know, we were faced with some really big obstacles over that next year after blowing through our savings, living on credit cards, we ended up filing bankruptcy in 2009. And I'll never forget that moment because I stood in front of a trustee and he looked at me and he said, well, I feel confident I'll see you here again. And I said you can bet your bottom dollar.

You're not gonna see me or anybody else I can help avoid having to stand in front of you. And Out of that moment, that sliding door moment, as I refer to it, we launched what is now 1 of the largest debt settlement companies, settling unsecured credit card debt for individuals like myself across the country at 42% or less. So it makes me really happy at the end of the day to be able to provide a service for people that release that stress, credit cards, and what it does to someone's wellbeing.

And that's where it all started. And from there, I went on, I actually own a couple of Gigi's cupcakes here in the Florida area. We have 2, 1 in South Tampa, 1 in Gainesville. And then I went on to do my passion project, which is shopjockey.com. And so for me, it was about empowering women across the country in whatever role that they play, whether it's a mom, a business owner, a teacher, whatever that is, But I wanted them to feel like a million bucks in the role that they were in and so ShopJackie is personal for me. It's about the empowerment of women and clothes. It's just the vehicle.

03:24 – 03:39
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. I love that you've been able to kind of obviously take That situation and then you know create a business create, you know other brands and businesses and kind of run with it. And I know you touch a little bit, could you take us through some of the different brands and how exactly you serve the clients you work with?

03:39 – 04:54
Amber Duncan

Sure, so Shop Jacky is really boutique styling. It's a concierge service that's based on lifestyle. So we're about the relationship. When we have clients, we build relationships with them via the phone, whatever form of communication they prefer. We don't run on an algorithm. It's not computer-picked. And we really try to learn from our clients. And then from there, how they live their life is how we prepare their boxes. So we pull items and we're very texture-oriented, brand-oriented. We want the highest quality of clothing, but we also want something that's fashionable whether they're dropping the kids off or going for cocktails with friends. So we really do our research and read the stories behind the brands that we select.

We've got some great ones, such as this, which is 1 of our biggest Upleisure Wear lines that we use. Cleo Bella, for a more bohemian client. And then we also, for those who are more CEO-minded, really jump into Black Halo and try to make sure that their wardrobe reflects their role. We send those clothes out to them directly to their home. They can try them on in the comfort of their home. They only pay for the ones that they keep and return the ones that they don't love to us with the return label enclosed. So we really love what we do and to hear the response from the women who use our service, it makes it all worthwhile.

04:54 – 05:05
Gresham Harkless

Absolutely, yeah. And I definitely love that. And I love how you kind of talked about, you know, it's not just clothing, but it's representative of so much more. And I love how you're able to kind of manifest itself in your clients and people you work with.

05:05 – 05:39
Amber Duncan

Yeah, I mean, confidence is a big thing amongst women and so many women walk around and think, well, I'm just a mom or I'm just a teacher and I'm not that CEO, and I don't have the confidence that this CEO has and I'm here to tell you that, you know, for me, being a mom is the hardest role out there. And I look at those who are stay-at-home moms like that's like the trophy. I could never be that person. So for me, it's very, very eye-opening to where I just want to make them feel like regardless of what hat they wear, they're going to feel like a million bucks out of it.

05:39 – 06:00
Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And especially in this time, it's where not only are you the stay-at-home mom, but There are so many different other hats that women are holding on and managing as well. It could definitely be a hectic time, but I love again that confidence because I think so many times with the hecticness of the world and things that are happening, you sometimes want to be able to lean on that.

06:00 – 06:16
Amber Duncan

Yeah, definitely. I love being able to hear the feedback that we receive from these women with COVID and everything else going on too. It's a lonely time for a lot of people. So I really feel blessed that we're in this position to provide a smile to these women and remind them who they are.

06:16 – 06:25
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And so I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself personally or your business. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

06:26 – 08:24
Amber Duncan

For me, I always do something I'm passionate about. And if you look at my track record of businesses that I've been involved with. It's about doing 1 thing, finding a problem and offering a solution, but offering a solution that relieves someone of any stress or makes someone feel a certain way. So to go a little bit deeper with that, you know, the debt settlement company, man, there's something really rewarding about calling a client and saying, this is Jones, I've just settled your $10,000 credit card debt for $2,000. And listening to the tears on the other line, like, I can't believe you were able to do this for me. For me, that's what it's all about, you know, bringing joy to people with whatever services I offer. And, you know, ironically cupcakes, it doesn't matter what kind of day you could have when someone walks into a Gee-Gees and gets a cupcake from us, they're smiling.

It doesn't even matter. They could be broken. But you know what? It brings a smile to their face. And it's the same with Jackie. It's the same underlying theme. It's about making people feel great about themselves. As a child, I can remember, I've always been like this, you know, even amongst my friends, I always wanted to do something to make them feel good. So that's really my secret sauce and everything that I touch, everything that I do. I love to see other people succeed. I love to pour into people with whatever gifts I've been blessed with to watch them flourish. It's more rewarding to me than anything. Yeah, it's absolutely powerful. And I love how you kind of talked about, what I believe is at the heart and foundation of entrepreneurship is being able to solve those problems.

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And the quote that was kind of, you know, coming to mind and I hear it evidenced and you know, that your brands and the businesses you have is just people don't care how much you know, they know how much you care. And I think we're able to kind of showcase that in so many different ways, it creates a really infectious environment. You know, it's really true. It doesn't even feel like work. We don't try to sell. We don't have something to where this is how we put ourselves out there. We're just authentic in our communication. I believe in open and honest communication in every business that I have from my employees to my customers. And as long as you remain in that, that to me is the secret sauce of success.

08:24 – 08:35
Gresham Harkless

Absolutely, absolutely. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

08:35 – 09:47
Amber Duncan

So for me, I'm always trying to learn. I'm always trying to pick up 1 tidbit from those around me who have been successful as entrepreneurs, and business individuals out in the world. And I think as someone who's been in business now for 20 years, it's very easy to get comfortable and complacent and think, hey, you know what, we got to figure it out. But the truth is, I wake up every single day like I'm at 0 like I have nothing. And I chase that day like I'm building all over again. Because for me, it's about continuing to grow as a professional so that I can continue to pour into my businesses. And I never want to get to the point and I never do. I'm never satisfied with just the results.

If we're not beating every single month from the month prior, then I'm digging in and I'm getting dirty and I'm in the trenches. And if it means I'm taking out the garbage, great. Whatever that looks like, I don't let off the gas. I know for me, I just recently read this book and it was a great indication of how my brain fires off. It's called Good to Great. And I can't think of a better book for CEOs to pick up every now and then because we can get so complacent with good results that we forget what it looks like to be great. And for me, if I'm not gonna be great at building an organization and keeping it great, then I have no business doing it.

09:47 – 10:13
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. And I always hear and you know, you read and you witness some of the most successful people have that insatiable appetite where they're always craving for more and they always know that there's another level. And I love you know, that book because it evidence that so well and sometimes gives you some of the, I guess characteristics are the things that we sometimes see within our businesses and organizations and how we can change from not just being okay with okay, but actually taking it a step level, a step above and being great.

10:13 – 10:35
Amber Duncan

Yeah. And it's, it's uncomfortable, right? I mean, if it was easy, everybody would do it, but it's uncomfortable. And so going to that uncomfortable space for a business owner, that's where the magic happens. But we're all, and even myself sometimes, it's gooey. But you know what? Once I get in and dig my heels in do the work and turn some tables over, things happen. And it's really a beautiful process.

10:35 – 10:57
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. You kind of have to be comfortable being uncomfortable, so to speak, and understand that success is not always a clean road. And a lot of times you have to get your hands dirty and roll up your sleeves in order to make that happen. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget and this could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something if you were to hop into a time machine you would tell your younger business self.

10:58 – 11:55
Amber Duncan

Yeah, so I just recently kind of coined a phrase that people know I operate by. And that is, you know, I have 5 children myself. And I said to myself 1 day, if I went and hired someone to watch my children, why am I hiring them to take care of my customers? And so I started using that as 1 of the lines that when I speak with other business owners, my peers are, if you wouldn't have them watch your children, why are you having them tend to your customers? Because really that is what we do as business owners.

We hire people, we fill positions, but really these people, these customers are gifts and they're our children. And if we don't nurture them the same way we would our children, we won't have them. And so treating every customer like they're the only 1 is truly a motto. I have banners in every 1 of my companies that state that. And I hire now based on that question I asked, would I leave these people with my kids? And if I can't say yes to that, they're not in my organization.

11:55 – 12:24
Gresham Harkless

That's so powerful. And I think that so many times we forget that, you know, our most precious, you know, the gift that, you know, our children and people that we love and we care about if we wouldn't leave that person around them, why would we, you know, have them to tend what our precious kind of, I guess, assets, that makes it too technical, but just something that people really value, they care about, they want to see prosper and grow. If you wouldn't do that, you know, for your personal ones, why would you want them to do it for you as well too, or the people on your team?

12:24 – 12:25
Amber Duncan

That's right.

12:26 – 12:36
Gresham Harkless

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Amber, what does being a CEO mean to you?

12:36 – 13:15
Amber Duncan

So for me, I'm not driven by title. And having the title of CEO for me has always been just back in the background. I always operate as Amber. And I always, being a CEO is one's ability to come into an environment and create a team dynamic that empowers those around you to operate to get you to the space you want to be in. And So it's way easier said than done. It's very difficult to come into a room, properly pick the right team members, and lead that team to the finish line. And for me, that's a successful definition of a CEO.

13:15 – 13:42
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of times, 1 of the habits of highly effective people is beginning with the end in mind. And when you understand that, hey, this is the finish line, this is where we want to get to and figure out how best to make that happen with the people that are around you and on your team and making those decisions. It's so powerful. And it's a lot more, as you said, and as you referenced in that title, it's so much more action and understanding people and putting the people in the right place and empowering them to be successful.

13:42 – 14:09
Amber Duncan

It is, and I think some CEOs can get so hung up on their title that they lose sight of the impact that they can make if they stay down in the trenches. And so while I may be a CEO of several companies, the truth is when I walk into a room, I'm part of the team and I'll do whatever. And I know everything about the business and I could jump in and help out in any way, shape or form. And out of that comes a lot of respect from those who work for you. Because they recognize that and they really want to please and jump on board with whatever direction you point them.

14:09 – 14:22
Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people can get behind when they know that the person that is leading would do the same thing if not more than what they would do. And I think it creates that infectious energy and that phenomenal business and organization being able to kind of serve our clients and customers.

14:22 – 14:23
Amber Duncan

Yeah, definitely.

14:24 – 14:40
Gresham Harkless

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, Amber, truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get a hold of you, find out about all the awesome things you're working on and everything you're doing to make the world better.

14:40 – 15:53
Amber Duncan

I would like to just add, you know, there are no credentials for being a CEO and an entrepreneur. And I know a lot of people have some brilliant ideas and some great thoughts that they just haven't put into place and they don't know yet what they're going to do with those thoughts. But I'm here to tell you, just get out there. Just take the first step. Surround yourself with people who can help you understand the best way to put it out to the world. Because you know, I am a college dropout, you know, I didn't finish college. I was a single mom for a while. I have 5 children. I could give you every reason why I should not be where I am today. But the truth is, The reason I am where I am is because I chased it.

I chased it and didn't take no for an answer and I pushed and pushed and pushed because I knew what I was capable of. So for those who are listening who have the ideas but just don't know where to go, you know, team up, even reach out to someone like myself. I love talking through the process of building a company with people. You can reach me at Amber at ShopJackie.com. You can visit ShopJackie.com. You can visit ReduceMyDebt.com if debt is something you're struggling with. And then I have a consulting company, Newboard Consulting, where I do work 1 on 1 with people with ideas or entrepreneurs or businesses that just wanna take their company to the next level. So please feel free to reach out.

15:53 – 16:22
Gresham Harkless

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thank you so much again, Jackie. We will have the links and information, the show notes as well too, so that everybody can follow up with you. But I truly appreciate that last reminder. I think so many times we can always create a really long list of why we can't do something, but there's an even longer list sometimes too of why we can do it. And I think if we remind ourselves of that and know that we can have success stories like you've been able to accomplish, then it reminds us of the ability we have within ourselves. So truly appreciate you again and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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16:22 – 16:57
Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

00:02 - 00:26

Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

00:30 - 00:38

Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Amber Duncan of ShopJackie.com. Amber, it's awesome to have you on the show. 

00:38 - 00:42

Amber Duncan

Thank you so much, Gresh, for having me on. I'm super excited to talk with you.

00:42 - 01:26

Gresham Harkless

Definitely super excited to have you on as well. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Amber so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Amber is the founder and CEO of Newborn Consulting and Jackie's subscription styling. With over 20 years of business experience, Amber has revitalized business after business in her pursuit of entrepreneurship. Amber began her entrepreneurial journey while seeking to solve a problem that so many Americans were facing during the housing market crisis in 2008. In response, she and her business partners built 1 of the most well-known and highly regarded debt settlement companies worldwide, and it's called ReduceMyDents.com. Jackie is her passion in her fashion business and she loves helping women find their confidence through clothing. Amber, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

01:26 - 01:47

Amber Duncan

Yes, so I'm super excited to share my journey because I know we all have a story. And I think you said it best, just in reference to, it was built out of a problem that we ran into with the housing market crashing. So good things always come out of bad things. That's the way I see it. 

01:47 - 01:53

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. Some of the most successful businesses were started during some of the darkest moments. And I wanted to hear a little bit more about that story. Could you take through a little bit more of what I call your CEO story and we'll let you get started?

01:53 - 03:24

Amber Duncan

Sure. So my husband and I were both mortgage brokers at the time in 2008 and we had mortgages closing. And that day when the bank shut everything off, it's like everything came to a grinding halt, but there was nothing we could do with everything we had acquired over the last 10 years. And so, you know, we were faced with some really big obstacles over that next year after blowing through our savings, living on credit cards, we ended up filing bankruptcy in 2009. And I'll never forget that moment because I stood in front of a trustee and he looked at me and he said, well, I feel confident I'll see you here again. And I said you can bet your bottom dollar.

You're not gonna see me or anybody else I can help avoid having to stand in front of you. And Out of that moment, that sliding door moment, as I refer to it, we launched what is now 1 of the largest debt settlement companies, settling unsecured credit card debt for individuals like myself across the country at 42% or less. So it makes me really happy at the end of the day to be able to provide a service for people that release that stress, credit cards and what it does to someone's wellbeing.

And that's where it all started. And from there, I went on, I actually own a couple of Gigi's cupcakes here in the Florida area. We have 2, 1 in South Tampa, 1 in Gainesville. And then I went on to do my passion project, which is shopjockey.com. And so for me, it was about empowering women across the country in whatever role that they play, whether it's a mom, a business owner, a teacher, whatever that is, But I wanted them to feel like a million bucks in the role that they were in and so ShopJackie is personal for me. It's about the empowerment of women and clothes. It's just the vehicle.

03:24 - 03:39

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. I love that you've been able to kind of obviously take That situation and then you know create a business create, you know other brands and businesses and kind of run with it. And I know you touch a little bit, could you take us through some of the different brands and how exactly you serve the clients you work with? 

03:39 - 04:54

Amber Duncan

Sure, so Shop Jacky is really boutique styling. It's a concierge service that's based on lifestyle. So we're about the relationship. When we have clients, we build relationships with them via the phone, whatever form of communication they prefer. We don't run on an algorithm. It's not computer-picked. And we really try to learn from our clients. And then from there, how they live their life is how we prepare their boxes. So we pull items and we're very texture-oriented, brand-oriented. We want the highest quality of clothing, but we also want something that's fashionable whether they're dropping the kids off or going for cocktails with friends. So we really do our research and read the stories behind the brands that we select.

We've got some great ones, such as this, which is 1 of our biggest Upleisure Wear lines that we use. Cleo Bella, for a more bohemian client. And then we also, for those who are more CEO-minded, really jump into Black Halo and try to make sure that their wardrobe reflects their role. We send those clothes out to them directly to their home. They can try them on in the comfort of their home. They only pay for the ones that they keep and return the ones that they don't love to us with the return label enclosed. So we really love what we do and to hear the response from the women that use our service, it makes it all worthwhile.

04:54 - 05:05

Gresham Harkless

Absolutely, yeah. And I definitely love that. And I love how you kind of talked about, you know, it's not just clothing, but it's representative of so much more. And I love how you're able to kind of manifest itself in your clients and people you work with.

05:05 - 05:39

Amber Duncan

Yeah, I mean, confidence is a big thing amongst women and so many women walk around and think, well, I'm just a mom or I'm just a teacher and I'm not that CEO and I don't have the confidence that this CEO has and I'm here to tell you that, you know, for me, being a mom is the hardest role out there. And I look at those who are stay-at-home moms like that's like the trophy. I could never be that person. So for me, it's very, very eye-opening to where I just want to make them feel like regardless of what hat they wear, they're going to feel like a million bucks out of it.

05:39 - 06:00

Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And especially in this time, it's where not only are you the stay-at-home mom, but There are so many different other hats that women are holding on and managing as well. It could definitely be a hectic time, but I love again that confidence because I think so many times with the hecticness of the world and things that are happening, you sometimes want to be able to lean on that.

06:00 - 06:16

Amber Duncan

Yeah, definitely. I love being able to hear the feedback that we receive from these women with COVID and everything else going on too. It's a lonely time for a lot of people. So I really feel blessed that we're in this position to provide a smile to these women and remind them who they are.

06:16 - 06:25

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And so I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself personally or your business. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

06:26 - 08:24

Amber Duncan

For me, I always do something I'm passionate about. And if you look at my track record of businesses that I've been involved with. It's about doing 1 thing, finding a problem and offering a solution, but offering a solution that relieves someone of any stress or makes someone feel a certain way. So to go a little bit deeper with that, you know, the debt settlement company, man, there's something really rewarding about calling a client and saying, this is Jones, I've just settled your $10,000 credit card debt for $2,000. And listening to the tears on the other line, like, I can't believe you were able to do this for me. For me, that's what it's all about, you know, bringing joy to people with whatever services I offer. And, you know, ironically cupcakes, it doesn't matter what kind of day you could have when someone walks into a Gee-Gees and gets a cupcake from us, they're smiling.

It doesn't even matter. They could be broken. But you know what? It brings a smile to their face. And it's the same with Jackie. It's the same underlying theme. It's about making people feel great about themselves. As a child, I can remember, I've always been like this, you know, even amongst my friends, I always wanted to do something to make them feel good. So that's really my secret sauce and everything that I touch, everything that I do. I love to see other people succeed. I love to pour into people with whatever gifts I've been blessed with to watch them flourish. It's more rewarding to me than anything. Yeah, it's absolutely powerful. And I love how you kind of talked about, what I believe is at the heart and foundation of entrepreneurship is being able to solve those problems.

And the quote that was kind of, you know, coming to mind and I hear it evidenced and you know, that your brands and the businesses you have is just people don't care how much you know, they know how much you care. And I think we're able to kind of showcase that in so many different ways, it creates a really infectious environment. You know, it's really true. It doesn't even feel like work. We don't try to sell. We don't have something to where this is how we put ourselves out there. We're just authentic in our communication. I believe in open and honest communication in every business that I have from my employees to my customers. And as long as you remain in that, that to me is the secret sauce of success.

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08:24 - 08:35

Gresham Harkless

Absolutely, absolutely. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

08:35 - 09:47

Amber Duncan

So for me, I'm always trying to learn. I'm always trying to pick up 1 tidbit from those around me who have been successful as entrepreneurs, and business individuals out in the world. And I think as someone who's been in business now for 20 years, it's very easy to get comfortable and complacent and think, hey, you know what, we got to figure it out. But the truth is, I wake up every single day like I'm at 0 like I have nothing. And I chase that day like I'm building all over again. Because for me, it's about continuing to grow as a professional so that I can continue to pour into my businesses. And I never want to get to the point and I never do. I'm never satisfied with just the results.

If we're not beating every single month from the month prior, then I'm digging in and I'm getting dirty and I'm in the trenches. And if it means I'm taking out the garbage, great. Whatever that looks like, I don't let off the gas. I know for me, I just recently read this book and it was a great indication of how my brain fires off. It's called Good to Great. And I can't think of a better book for CEOs to pick up every now and then because we can get so complacent with good results that we forget what it looks like to be great. And for me, if I'm not gonna be great at building an organization and keeping it great, then I have no business doing it.

09:47 - 10:13

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. And I always hear and you know, you read and you witness some of the most successful people have that insatiable appetite where they're always craving for more and they always know that there's another level. And I love you know, that book because it evidence that so well and sometimes gives you some of the, I guess characteristics are the things that we sometimes see within our businesses and organizations and how we can change from not just being okay with okay, but actually taking it a step level, a step above and being great.

10:13 - 10:35

Amber Duncan

Yeah. And it's, it's uncomfortable, right? I mean, if it was easy, everybody would do it, but it's uncomfortable. And so going to that uncomfortable space for a business owner, that's where the magic happens. But we're all, and even myself sometimes, it's gooey. But you know what? Once I get in and dig my heels in do the work and turn some tables over, things happen. And it's really a beautiful process.

10:35 - 10:57

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. You kind of have to be comfortable being uncomfortable, so to speak, and understand that success is not always a clean road. And a lot of times you have to get your hands dirty and roll up your sleeves in order to make that happen. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget and this could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something if you were to hop into a time machine you would tell your younger business self.

10:58 - 11:55

Amber Duncan

Yeah, so I just recently kind of coined a phrase that people know I operate by. And that is, you know, I have 5 children myself. And I said to myself 1 day, if I went and hired someone to watch my children, why am I hiring them to take care of my customers? And so I started using that as 1 of the lines that when I speak with other business owners, my peers are, if you wouldn't have them watch your children, why are you having them tend to your customers? Because really that is what we do as business owners.

We hire people, we fill positions, but really these people, these customers are gifts and they're our children. And if we don't nurture them the same way we would our children, we won't have them. And so treating every customer like they're the only 1 is truly a motto. I have banners in every 1 of my companies that state that. And I hire now based on that question I asked, would I leave these people with my kids? And if I can't say yes to that, they're not in my organization.

11:55 - 12:24

Gresham Harkless

That's so powerful. And I think that so many times we forget that, you know, our most precious, you know, the gift that, you know, our children and people that we love and we care about if we wouldn't leave that person around them, why would we, you know, have them to tend what our precious kind of, I guess, assets, that makes it too technical, but just something that people really value, they care about, they want to see prosper and grow. If you wouldn't do that, you know, for your personal ones, why would you want them to do it for you as well too, or the people on your team?

12:24 - 12:25

Amber Duncan

That's right.

12:26 - 12:36

Gresham Harkless

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Amber, what does being a CEO mean to you?

12:36 - 13:15

Amber Duncan

So for me, I'm not driven by title. And having the title of CEO for me has always been just back in the background. I always operate as Amber. And I always, being a CEO is one's ability to come into an environment and create a team dynamic that empowers those around you to operate to get you to the space you want to be in. And So it's way easier said than done. It's very difficult to come into a room, properly pick the right team members, and lead that team to the finish line. And for me, that's a successful definition of a CEO.

13:15 - 13:42

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of times, 1 of the habits of highly effective people is beginning with the end in mind. And when you understand that, hey, this is the finish line, this is where we want to get to and figure out how best to make that happen with the people that are around you and on your team and making those decisions. It's so powerful. And it's a lot more, as you said, and as you referenced in that title, it's so much more action and understanding people and putting the people in the right place and empowering them to be successful.

13:42 - 14:09

Amber Duncan

It is, and I think some CEOs can get so hung up on their title that they lose sight of the impact that they can make if they stay down in the trenches. And so while I may be a CEO of several companies, the truth is when I walk into a room, I'm part of the team and I'll do whatever. And I know everything about the business and I could jump in and help out in any way, shape or form. And out of that comes a lot of respect from those who work for you. Because they recognize that and they really want to please and jump on board with whatever direction you point them.

14:09 - 14:22

Gresham Harkless

Yeah, absolutely. A lot of people can get behind when they know that the person that is leading would do the same thing if not more than what they would do. And I think it creates that infectious energy and that phenomenal business and organization being able to kind of serve our clients and customers.

14:22 - 14:23

Amber Duncan

Yeah, definitely.

14:24 - 14:40

Gresham Harkless

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, Amber, truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get a hold of you, find out about all the awesome things you're working on and everything you're doing to make the world better.

14:40 - 15:53

Amber Duncan

I would like to just add, you know, there are no credentials for being a CEO and an entrepreneur. And I know a lot of people have some brilliant ideas and some great thoughts that they just haven't put into place and they don't know yet what they're going to do with those thoughts. But I'm here to tell you, just get out there. Just take the first step. Surround yourself with people who can help you understand the best way to put it out to the world. Because you know, I am a college dropout, you know, I didn't finish college. I was a single mom for a while. I have 5 children. I could give you every reason why I should not be where I am today. But the truth is, The reason I am where I am is because I chased it.

I chased it and didn't take no for an answer and I pushed and pushed and pushed because I knew what I was capable of. So for those who are listening who have the ideas but just don't know where to go, you know, team up, even reach out to someone like myself. I love talking through the process of building a company with people. You can reach me at Amber at ShopJackie.com. You can visit ShopJackie.com. You can visit ReduceMyDebt.com if debt is something you're struggling with. And then I have a consulting company, Newboard Consulting, where I do work 1 on 1 with people with ideas or entrepreneurs or businesses that just wanna take their company to the next level. So please feel free to reach out.

15:53 - 16:22

Gresham Harkless

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thank you so much again, Jackie. We will have the links and information, the show notes as well too, so that everybody can follow up with you. But I truly appreciate that last reminder. I think so many times we can always create a really long list of why we can't do something, but there's an even longer list sometimes too of why we can do it. And I think if we remind ourselves of that and know that we can have success stories like you've been able to accomplish, then it reminds us of the ability we have within ourselves. So truly appreciate you again and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

16:22 - 16:57

Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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