Jill Johns International LLC
Studies indicate that many cancer survivors feel depressed and afraid. Our workshops and retreats show them how to be strong, healthy and inspired to find their new and unique identity after cancer.
What one unique aspect of your business will make you succeed over the next year?
Per the CDC, "nearly 14 million [people] who have been diagnosed with cancer are living in the United States." Because "people...are living longer after being told they have cancer, due to improvements in finding cancer early and better cancer treatments" it is imperative to help them improve their quality of life after cancer. Finally, "about two out of every three people who are diagnosed with cancer are expected to live at least five years after diagnosis" and in order to lead productive lives, they must learn to eat healthy, exercise and improve their mental well-being. The one unique aspect of our business that will make us succeed over the next year is our fleet of Standup Paddleboards (SUP). Many cancer survivors compare their after-cancer capabilities to their before-cancer experiences. Because most cancer survivors have not experienced SUP prior to cancer, they cannot compare their ability after cancer. This experience allows them to see themselves as capable versus broken. It allows them to see themselves as healthy and whole. They feel adventurous. They feel alive. And that feeling transfers into all aspects of their healing journey.
How does your business make a positive impact on the community?
When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, there are numerous online and offline resources to help them navigate their diagnosis and treatment. Once the "bandages come off," friends, family members and the medical community expect the newly-healed patient to return to "life as usual." Well, life is anything but usual after cancer and I know that firsthand. At Jill Johns International, we bridge the gap from cancer to normalcy by hosting weekend retreats for cancer survivors and caregivers, teaching them new life skills, exposing them to new, healthy activities and opening their hearts to see their life's purpose after cancer.
What would you do with a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, training, and help from a SCORE mentor to grow your business?
We would use the Sam's Club gift card in three areas. First we would use the gift card to buy a photocopier, reams of paper and ink cartridges in order to print our retreat materials. Second of all, we would use the gift card to buy vision board supplies such as poster board, markers, scissors and glue. Finally, we would use the gift card to buy healthy (and organic when possible) snacks for our participants.
We will continuously work with our SCORE mentors to identify strategies to reach our target market (both participants and sponsors) as well as identify opportunities to tell the success stories of our participants.
The following responses will be considered in judging for a SCORE Award.
How has working with a SCORE mentor helped your business?
As a creator and entrepreneur, I am constantly driving forward and looking for the next opportunity, the next idea and the next innovative way to reach my clients. The SCORE mentors have shown me the concrete sides of running my business. They have connected me with other business owners. They have provided resources that have allowed me to run my business "my way" as well as the "right way."
Have you had to overcome any obstacles along the way to build your business?
Eighteen months after I started my first business, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a solopreneur, taking time for self-care and healing was challenging. Fortunately, I was able to turn my "lemons into lemonade" and repurpose my business to not only help me heal myself but to create an environment to help others heal as well.
How will you utilize the marketing video and national recognition of winning a SCORE Award to help take your business to the next level?
Breast cancer affects women and men all over the United States. By creating a marketing video and having the national recognition, I would be able to share my vision of empowered survivorship with survivors, caregivers and and organizations across the entire country. The processes we have perfected over the past 18 months would allow us to easily replicate our experience, so the national exposure would afford us the opportunity to expand our team in order to reach a broader range of participants and sponsors.