Julie Gordon White Is an award-winning entrepreneur, bestselling business author, and speaker. Julie has felt the entrepreneurial pull her whole life; She wrote her first business plan and started her first business when she was 10. Julie founded The WELL for Women Entrepreneurs, to teach female founders how to crack the code of growing to a million and someday selling for a million.
She’s had corporate careers as director of marketing for an international hotel group, ran a funeral home, and worked as a business broker. She’s been a coach for high-level women entrepreneurs for more than a decade now and has run several of her own businesses. Her favorite moments have been serving as a proponent for girls and sharing in the success of other women.
She’s been fortunate to do that through her TEDx talk, and serving as an expert for Google Small Business, as well as a host to Intuit QuickBooks Momentum to $1 Million Community. As an advisor, podcast host and keynote speaker at her own conferences she has been able to focus on her passion for spotlighting the success of women.
All of that, in addition to being an empty nester, mother of 3, gave her the freedom to ask herself: What’s next?! In August 2020, she started her latest business, BOSSA BARS – female formulated energy bars that help women navigate the menopause years.
You started a new business during the pandemic, how was the experience compared to other businesses you have started
Believe it or not, it was actually easier because I had more time on my hands that usual. I was able to spend large, focused blocks of time, so was able to complete the business and marketing plan much faster. I was also able to find suppliers and meet them over Zoom which saved both time and travel dollars. I am grateful that we were healthy and didn’t want to waste such a unique experience.
Please share with us your entrepreneurship Journey
My entrepreneurial journey started when I was 10 years old. I started selling flower seeds and greeting cards door to door and LOVED the feeling of making my own money! After college, I entered the corporate world and loved it, but after having my first son, I wanted a more flexible life, so I left my high-level job and went back to my entrepreneurial roots. To be honest, my first 5+ business (emphasis on the plus!) failed! I was very used to making decision in my corporate position but needed to become more confident making decision on behalf on my own company. Fast forward, I have now built 2 very successful companies – a business brokerage, mergers and acquisitions firm and a business coaching company for women. And in 2021, I started a new company, Bossa Bars Menopause Energy Bars. Bossa Bars is my first product venture and although I am a very seasoned entrepreneur, everything feels brand new again, which is very exciting.
What have you observed from working with the community of women and the challenges women face in building their businesses?
First and foremost, women don’t think big enough. Women often start businesses for flexibility, just like I did, which often results in their desire to just replace their current salary when in actuality, the sky is limit! In my coaching company, I taught women how to grow million dollar plus service businesses that are someday sellable, because with the right strategy, it is absolutely possible. I know because I have done it myself. To go a little deeper, I have discovered that the reason women get stuck is because they usually want to help too many people instead of becoming an expert in a smaller niche and then unapologetically charging what their worth. In addition, they are not comfortable with talking about money and if they do have big goals, fear and self-doubt tend to creep in. As I shared in my TEDx talk, I believe that women MUST know how to make their own money because money gives your choices, and choices give you freedom.
What was the most difficult time in your life as a mother and entrepreneur, how did you overcome it and what did you learn about yourself during that time?
Growing my mergers and acquisitions firm was definitely the most challenging time of my entrepreneurial journey. Our 3 children were between 1 and 8 years old, and when you are selling someone’s company, it’s all hands on deck during deal time. At one point, my husband even brought my youngest son to a conference so I could breast feed! It was a pretty intense time! I also had to deal with the 2008 recession which was extremely difficult because when loans aren’t available to pay for an acquisition, no deals can be done. Fortunately, I have a very supportive husband, so we were able to navigate it all, but I definitely missed some sports games and never made homemade cookies for school events! I’m guessing that this is why I am so resourceful and resilient now. Challenging times made me stronger and now I know that I can handle anything if I just approach it one step at a time.
As a driven and very accomplished entrepreneur what have you been able to instill to your children from an early age?
In a nutshell, I remind them constantly to follow their dreams and trust that good things will come from it! I am careful not to say “passion” because I think that word can come with a lot of pressure if they don’t know what that is, so it’s better to just encourage them follow what appeals to them, learn, and adjust as necessary. Lastly, I assure them that they can absolutely make a living out of anything they love to do because that love will keep them going when the going gets tough – and it always does – so plan for it and embrace it.
What are the one misconceptions of entrepreneurship you constantly come across
The main misconception is that you have to start with a lot of capital, especially if you offer a service. Service companies, where you use your knowledge and expertise to make a particular type of client or customer’s life better is a great way to start because all you really need is a mobile phone, a computer, and an desire to serve. Also, the profit margins for a service or consulting company are very large which allows for a lot of mistakes as you grow, versus a product business with very slim margins and no room for error. A secondary misconception but equally important, is that if you build it, they will come which is NOT TRUE! As a business owner, you must believe in what you offer so much that you almost can’t hold yourself back from telling people about it and inviting them to become a client. You may have heard that “selling is serving” and I agree completely. You can’t impact a person’s life with your superpowers until a sale is made so, don’t hold back!
Why BOSSA BARS for menopause? What’s the story behind this and why is it important?
Bossa Bars menopause energy bars was created in my kitchen last year because at 55, my sugar cravings were out of control and I was worried that the 10 plus pounds that had formed around my middle was only going to get grow unless I found a way to make a better choice than cookies and brownies. After adjusting the recipe a few times, I landed a delicious and healthy “bar” that not only satisfied my sugar monsters, it made me feel better because it was packed with nutrients and ultimately allowed me to finally shed the weight. And once they began disappearing from the refrigerator because my husband was eating them all, I new I was on to something both healthy and delicious.
In addition to wanting to manage my weight, after a bit of research I learned that a waist size over 34” can contribute to heart disease which is the number one killer of women, so not only are Bossa Bars enjoyable, they also contribute to supporting a critical aspect of women’s health.
Last but not least, I want the bars to facilitate open conversations about our menopause journeys – good and difficult. We all seem to experience the symptoms differently and even now; women are still suffering alone. This is why we created our MenoLounge Talks on Zoom and coming soon to social media. It’s time to break the stigma, empower ourselves, and as we like to say, #MenopauseLikeaBoss! We even wrote a “MenoFesta” and you can find it on our website.
What inspires/ drives you?
Great question! It sounds corny but I would have to say… life! I feel so fortunate to have a wonderful family and get to live out my dreams of empowering women from business to menopause, so I wake up grateful every day. It’s also super fun growing companies because you can really make an impactful with wealth, so I never shy away from going for big goals. Men do it all the time, so why not?
What have been the highlights of your career?
My business highlights (so far!) have been growing my own multimillion dollar company and helping other women grow their million-dollar companies. The look on their faces when they realize that they have exceeded 7 figures is pure joy for them and me! There have been many other highlights, but I’m a forward looking person, so am definitely excited about the highlights to come!
What does Julie do on her off days?
I’m in the middle of a startup so pretty much, no days off! Truthfully, I try to unplug on Sundays so I can recharge and prepare for the week ahead. Fortunately for me, growing Bossa Bars is so exciting that it doesn’t feel like work. Also, I intentionally built the company to operate remotely, so even though I’m working, I might be working from the beach! 🙂