Our guest today: Jennifer Dziura
Jennifer Dziura is our guest for today’s episode. A fearless woman, who is the founder of GetBullish.com and the annual Bullish Conference. When I Google “bullish girl” just to make sure that it doesn’t sound offensive, Jen’s website, GetBullish.com ranked #2 (Good job Jen!), and number one is Wall Street Crowds Bullish on “Fearless Girl” Statue.
“Bullish is feminism and justice-minded work talk from someone who believes in examining our relationship to corporations.”Jennifer Dziura
Here are some of Jennifer’s beliefs and a cheatsheet to our conversation:
- You can make money and influence the world without being a jerk.
- Starting businesses on zero dollars
- Selling expensive things to rich people, and doing real things in the world rather than trying to “manifest your dreams.”
- Helping other women (Bisila Bokoko talked about the same on an interview earlier)
Jennifer Dziura: Listen to the full episode
Jennifer openly writes about class and gender issues in business, assertiveness, sexual ethics, multiple income streams, and the value of women talking openly about money, careers, privilege, and influence.
If any of these topics sounds good to you, we bet you’ll enjoy this conversation. Please share this episode with one other woman, or man. Perhaps a friend, a daughter, a girlfriend. We thank you for choosing to spend your precious time with us.
- [06:00] What’s your take on some people’s reactions toward “working women”? What’s your experience?
- [07:00] How do you usually introduce yourself?
- [11:00] As the first person in your family to go to college, how did they react to you going to an Ivy League school – Dartmouth?
- [15:00] How long have you worked on your company GetBullish, and how did this start?
- [21:00] Fei and Jen talk about the value of women in money, careers, privilege, and influence.
- [25:00] How do people react to your blog? Do you get hate mails these days?
- [30:00] Fei and Jen relating to the book “Stumbling on Happiness”
- [35:00] What’s the business model behind GetBullish.com? What’s your revenue model?
- [10:00] A lot of those random experiences have come back to be very helpful in my entrepreneurial endeavors today. You could make a period in your life just to try everything…
- [13:00] I wanna think that people can change, but people don’t change maybe that much, they just find a better way to succeed.
- [18:00] This business column I was writing was very different because I was reaching a very different audience. I was able to take some ideas that were mine, and some ideas that were common in business and express in a way that was really palatable to people who don’t read business sites.
- [26:00] I believe that feminism is not succeeding for your own self. Feminism is about tearing down barriers for other women.
Welcome to the Feisworld podcast, engaging conversations that cross the boundaries between business.
Art, and the digital world.
A lot of those experiences have come back to be very helpful in my entrepreneurial endeavors today. I feel like just really there’s a period in life, or you could make a period in your life to just try everything and kind of see how different businesses work and just get a little hand in a lot of things. And that has really helped me. I want to think that people can change and they can change themselves in some ways, but people don’t change themselves maybe that much. They just find a better place for themselves to succeed. This business call I was writing, I mean, it sort of fit in in the sense that there were a lot of things on the site, but it was very different in the sense that I was reaching an audience of people who were not looking for career in business information. They were on a beauty and a fashion website. And so I was reaching a really different audience of people who maybe hadn’t heard of a lot of ideas that would be common on business websites or on life hacker or something like that. And that was really great. Like, I was able to take some ideas that were mine originally and some ideas that are just common kind of in business and express them in a way that was really palatable to people who maybe don’t read business sites.
Feminism is not just succeeding for your own self. Feminism is tearing down barriers for other women.
Hey, it’s Fei from Feisworld. Welcome to another episode of our podcast.
You know what?
It’s summer in Boston right now, a season we get to enjoy for maybe two months out of the year. If you have a podcast like me and living in a cold climate, get outside while it lasts. On the flip side, people like me also have more excuses to stay indoors to work on our podcasts blogs when the weather isn’t being so kind, I guess. So draw me a line if you agree or disagree. Today on the show, we have a fearless woman named Jennifer Dezora, who is the founder of Getbooklish.com and the annual bullish conference. When I googled bullish girl just to make sure that doesn’t sound offensive, I welcomed results that are completely unexpected. Jennifer’s website, get bullish.com ranked number two. Good job, Jen. And number one is wall street. Crowds bullish on fearless girl statue. Apparently stage three built a statue of a young girl to promote gender equality right on wall street. Staring down on the famous wall street bull. Bullish is feminism and justice minded WorkTalk. From somebody who believes in examining our relationship to corporations, here are some Jennifer’s beliefs. You can make money and influence the world without being a jerk.
Starting business on $0, selling expensive things to rich people, and doing real things in the world rather than trying to manifest your dreams, helping other women. By the way, Bicyla Bukoko also talked about this subject on an earlier interview. This conversation turned out to be not only informative, but also fun, as you can imagine. It’s just so refreshing when you can speak your mind without fearing others judgment. So Jennifer openly writes about class and gender issues in business assertiveness, sexual ethics, multiple income streams, and the value of women talking openly about money, careers, privilege, and influence. If any of those topics sounds good to you, we bet you will enjoy this conversation. If so, please share with one other kogan or man, perhaps a friend, a daughter, a girlfriend? We thank you for choosing to spend your precious hour with us. Without further ado, please welcome Jennifer Desura to the Phase World podcast.
Interesting, about a year ago, there were a number of women who reach out to me to share their experience as entrepreneurs and women who work. There’s one particular woman with three children under the age of ten, and she’s been running her real estate business way before she had kids. And the decision process, even until today, of managing both. You know, the question sometimes I posed is, like, can women have both? Is it okay for women to have both? And this is an area where obviously, in a way, people are very open about transitions and changes. But still, I find it surprising that sometimes through casual conversation with people, that some still feel like there’s enough money in the family. Why should the woman work? And it surprises me, I think that.
I had a hard time understanding that at all before I had children, but now that I have them, I feel like I understand the decision of every woman ever. One of those women, if there were a job, if they could have the same job, but like 25 hours a week so they could live, then they would take it. But it’s like 40 hours a week or nothing in the most professional jobs. And I mean, even from my own perspective, with all the resources that I have, I do have a husband who has a job, even with all the resources I have. Like, if we both had full time, regular full time jobs with bosses, it would be impossible. I mean, it’s it’s there are all kinds of social cultural forces leading to it being women who always end up taking the hit. It’s not exactly a free choice.
Absolutely. That’s one of the reasons why I started freelancing almost two years ago, because I don’t have children yet, to be honest. And just by me spending ten plus years in the professional working world and watching women coming from marriage to pregnancy and the amount of help that they need at work even, and then I didn’t realize that was the easy part. Being pregnant, it’s more when the baby comes out that’s way more challenging. So let me backtrack to when you were first introduced to me. Of course, I immediately visited your website, Get Bullish.com, and I was intrigued immediately. So how do you go about introducing yourself to people you meet for the first time?
Yeah, welcome to my lifelong problem. I think that it’s a good marketing lesson and a business lesson for anybody that when people meet you, they don’t want to know everything about you. When people meet you, they want to know the one thing that they can use to remember you, and hopefully that will help them. And so it’s totally reasonable if you do a lot of things. When you go to a particular networking event, you pick one thing that you’re going to represent while you’re at that event. And so I’m trying to incorporate that in my life a little more. So my story is that I was the first person in my family to go to college. And while I was in college, I taught myself HTML and started making websites. And so from there, maybe six or twelve months after I learned to make websites myself, I started taking on clients and getting other students to work for me. And I had a little web development company that by the time I graduated, I had, I think, eight students working part time in their dorm rooms. And I had clients that were from the college, clients from the local area, and I was really running a little company there with no overhead.
It was a great business model. So I once started out being entrepreneur, very young, and one thing that was interesting to me about that was that I met Dartmouth. There are a lot of people going into investment banking, going through corporate recruiting, and I honestly did not understand why more people weren’t running company. And they said, oh, aren’t we supposed to be the brightest and the best or something? Wasn’t that the idea behind this college admissions process that got us in here? How come more people aren’t taking advantage of the first dot.com bubble? How come more people aren’t doing this? And I just didn’t understand the class implications of like, your father was an investment banker, and now you too will be an investment banker. I just had no context for where I was or what I was, you know, what environment I got myself into. So I felt really alone in a way, at the time when I was running my first company in Dartmouth. But it was a great experience. I felt like I had no mentors, I had no one to talk to. I had a subscription to Fast Company magazine, and I’m just sitting in my dorm room in New Hampshire.
I was really cut off, like there was no way I was ever going to get venture capital. But I still was able to figure out enough things on my own to build a sustainable business. And so that was my first company. After that company eventually failed, I moved to New York and did a bunch of weird things. So if you’re reading about me, and yes, I did, once you stand up comedy for the US troops in the Middle East. So I moved to New York and I got a job as a director of marketing for a Prefacebook social network for Ivy League graduates. And so I worked there for a little while, and then when that company started going under, they started laying everybody off. I’m just sitting there in New York, and obviously it’s very expensive to live in New York. And I said, what am I going to do with myself? And so I started just doing every weird thing. And because I started my first company at the age of 19 or something, I really just had not had a normal youth. Like, I had never been to a concert or just like worn cool clothes, like just a bunch of normal stuff that young people do, I had not done.
And so I just tried everything. I took a stand up comedy class and kept doing comedy. I was an art model for art schools. Like, there are weird paintings of me that art students did. I just did all kinds of I was in somebody’s short film, like, all kinds of random stuff. And a lot of those experiences have come back to be very helpful in my entrepreneurial endeavors today. I feel like just really there’s a period in life where you could make a period in your life to just try everything and kind of see how different businesses work and just get a little hand in a lot of things. And that has really helped me.
You mentioned briefly that you were the first person in your family to go to college. And you didn’t just go to any college, you went to Darma’s, which is highly competitive. So how did your family respond to that, by the way?
In some ways, it was really a blessing in the sense of that my parents had no real educational expectations for me. Like, if I came home with a C, they would say, well, did you try? And I’d say, yeah, I’m just not good at this. And they were like, well, that’s nice. So, yeah, my parents were just like, they wanted their kids to grow up to be nice and pay their taxes. Nice and responsible, don’t hurt anybody. There’s no pressure put on me educationally. And I think that made me rebel. I was just like, I don’t want to be average. So I rebelled. I mean, I didn’t really have the information on how to get into college. I really, honestly didn’t know what a GPA was or that it was a thing or that anyone would ever care about it. So I didn’t even figure that out until halfway through high school when my GPA was terrible because I’ve been doing all kinds of weird stuff like writing articles in the newspaper. So I had some problems with my college application just from a lack of knowledge, but I also had some really cool, weird stuff I’d been doing.
So it’s one of those kind of risky applications. It’s like, should we let in this C student who could have been an A student but didn’t bother, but did this other weird stuff instead? That was my situation.
They did. And honestly, that perfectly described me as an adult. Like, in some ways, people do not change. Yeah.
Do you still remember what you wrote in your essay to Dharma?
I do, actually, and it worked really well for me. So I had written a more I didn’t know the essay was really all that important either, so I had written them more by the book essay for other schools. But then Dartmouth had this weird question, and the question was, write your own question and answer it. And I love this question because what most people are going to do is they’re going to use that as an excuse to submit an essay they already wrote for another school. But I was feeling creative that day, and so I saw this question and I had a flash of inspiration. And so the question that I wrote was, imagine that aliens with no knowledge of human culture are observing you from outer space for 24 hours, replicate their report. And so I wrote this essay that was like, Star date 7975. That’s star Trek. That’s a Star Trek thing. But anyway, galactic time 7927 B. And then it was like human female subject. And there was this whole description that, you know, from Aliens, it justified me playing the violin, and it was like, human female subject opens a case and pulls out a hollow wooden box shaped roughly like an eight, you know.
So I was describing it like aliens would. And then I just described 24 hours in my own life kind of going to school and studying and having an annoying little brother and that kind of thing. So it was very creative. And so that’s why I got into darkness. I mean, I wouldn’t think that people can change. They can change themselves in some ways, but I don’t know. I mean, people don’t change themselves maybe that much. They just find a better place for themselves to succeed, ideally. And so as soon as I got to Dartmouth, I did exactly the same thing with a C student who was running a company and doing a bunch of weird, cool stuff. So that has always been my deal. And I feel like now being an entrepreneur is perfect for someone like that. Then there are a lot of people who are entrepreneurs, who have ADB, for instance, but also people who need to do something new every couple of months, which, if you’re in a job, could be a big problem, or if you’re in school, it could be a big problem. It is great when you’re, you know, when you’re an entrepreneur.
It’s so funny that I grew up in beijing, so at a lot of traditional schools and spend a number of years living with my grandparents, who were particularly traditional. So that combination for me was a struggle for all that time. And now just hearing you articulate why I felt the way I did, it kind of all makes sense. But I think one of my biggest escape living with them as well as when I returned home. Was that. Like you. I started a lot of small projects not initiated by anybody else but me and weird little projects. Doing the school radio show. Set up some separate newspaper and just do something different. Like a little english corner to teach kids how to speak English instead of just being a tester. And at the time, you know, I remember a lot of people, including my, quoteunquote, best friends, were kind of making fun of me to say, I mean, literally, what the hell is wrong with you, and what are you doing? What’s the point of this? And these days, I look around, especially the teenage girls, everybody’s trying to fit in desperately, and I realized I was going the opposite way.
Not to say it was easy. Like you said, there were struggles and in some point, but it was so worth it. That was the only way. So I think that really transitions to get bullish. How many years has it been? How did you start this venture?
Sure. So there was a time in new york where I was doing a bunch of weird things, and sat tutoring, teaching sat classes, really started working for me, and it’s because it was something that I had always been good at, but also I felt strongly about it. It’s something that really benefited me in my life. And so I was teaching the sat and then the GMAD and a bunch of other tests. And the GMAT, of course, is a test for adults who have graduated from college to go to business school. So it’s a very different audience. And so when I started getting into that, I actually spent a couple of years as, like, 25, 26 year old mastering the GMAT. So I spent some time really mastering the GMAT to get a job teaching the GMAT for the top GMAT company in New York. And that was really turned a corner for me. And all of a sudden, I had this successful career in education. Also around the time I was the head of english curriculum at a korean american study academy in queens, so I actually taught in a cram school, which is a little culture clash, as you can imagine.
So I had developed this education career that was going stunningly well. And while I was doing that, I wrote some notes for a book I wanted to write called how to make money without becoming a Republican. And I was like, thank you. So there are a lot of liberals and artistic people, just progressive feminists, who obviously want to get paid, want to be paid barely for their work, want to negotiate better, want to not be living with roommates when they’re 30. A lot of people want those things. But if you have really conflicted ideas about capitalism, really conflicted ideas about money, if you kind of hate all rich people, then you’re going to have a hard time advocating for yourself. And at the time, I had a successful career in educating, in private education, and I had a lot of things to say about being a business person, both as a freelancer as well as working for a company without having them own your life. I was like, yeah, I have a job for a company, but I don’t need them. Therefore, it’s more of a PeerToPeer relationship. And I think that’s really respectful for everyone.
So I had all these ideas that I wanted to share, but I was like a GMAT teacher who was going to listen to me. And so then I happened to meet the editor in chief of a women’s blog at a networking event. I remember this networking event. A friend of mine was putting it on, and I said, oh, like I should go to a networking event every now and then. And I said, all right, I’ll go for 30 minutes, I will meet two people, and then I get to leave. And I really don’t like these things so much. And sure enough, I went for a brief period of time, I met a small handful of people, and one of them was the editor in chief of this woman’s blog, who, it turned out, was looking for someone to write business and career articles. So I started out writing a column that I called Bullish on a website called The Gloss. That website now is entirely about makeup and beauty. But at the time, in 2010 when I started writing, they had articles about feminism and culture and things like that. And so this business column I was writing, I mean, it sort of fit in in the sense that there were a lot of things on the site, but it was very different in the sense that I was reaching an audience of people who were not necessarily looking for career in business information.
They were on a beauty and a fashion website. And so I was reaching a really different audience of people who maybe hadn’t heard of a lot of ideas that would be common on business websites or on life hacker or something like that. And that was really great. Like, I was able to take some ideas that were mine originally and some ideas that are just common kind of in business and express them in a way that was really palatable to people who maybe don’t read business sites. So the column that I wrote called Bullish started taking off. And I was in 2010 and started getting people writing in Q and A, people writing and writing in questions, asking for advice. And eventually I made my own website and started publishing the articles there. And the first thing I did that really turned Bullish from an advice column into a business was I planned and produced a 2013 Bullish Conference. So the Bullish Conference is a feminist career conference, and the first one happened in Miami in 2013. And we’re about to do our fifth one in this November in Washington, DC. And the Bullish Conference, I said there are people who like reading about this.
They like reading about careers and business from a feminist perspective. And a lot of the ideas that are in common in these articles, I think, are things that are worth discussing in person. For instance, having a career without being beholden to your job is a big one. Having entrepreneurial plan or a backup plan in your back pocket when you go into negotiation and just not taking shit in general, not taking bullshit from people you’re dating, not taking it from your job, not taking it from men who shout at you on the street. It’s all the same thing to me. If you decide to live a life of zero bullshit, there are ways that you can ways that you can do that, ways you can deflect bullshit, ways that you can turn other people’s bullshit back around on them. And I feel like that encompasses so much of life.
Wow. You know, this morning I read one of the articles on your homepage where you shared an example of why when a man offers a woman a drink to buy them a drink, but instead of the woman turns it around and get, I don’t know, orange juice with sparkling water or something non alcoholic. And then we’ll get really angry. I thought it was so fascinating because this has happened to me multiple times. Not because I do that kind of purposely, but simply because I don’t really drink. So if that was ever offered, I probably would turn to that, and I never thought about it that way. And another dimension of your advice is because you’re turning something around to be something very useful, very actionable, that women could at least experiment just to see how their reactions or how the situation would change.
Yeah, thank you for bringing that up. You know that piece that I wrote? So there was a meme going around that was like, why don’t men buy women books in bookstores instead of drinks in bars? And it seems sort of harmless. It was like, books books are nice. And I was like, no, no, I’ll tell you why. I mean, other than buying someone a book is really weird. Like, are you going to exchange numbers? And they have to read the book now you have a 20 hours chore because someone bought you a book and awkward, so homey levels of awkwardness. And I know some people about books, and, like, this could be really cute. And that’s the story you tell at your wedding. Like, oh, like, I’ve never read Middlemarch, but then I did that’s great. But for the most part, there are very good reasons that people don’t do this. But anyway, I mean, the thing about alcohol in bars is that I also have had this experience where, you know, sometimes when someone offers to buy you a drink, they really are just being nice. They’re just being nice, and there’s nothing more to say.
But in a lot of cases, you know what, and I’ve really only personally seen this with men buying drinks for women, but I suppose it could happen with samesex couples or women and men. But one of the anecdotes I told in the piece was a man who offered to buy me a drink after I did a standup set. And he’s like, yeah, I love your comedy. Let me buy you a drink. And if that had been I mean, that’s something that you could see with, like, two straight men, you know, like, a man does a cool comedy set, and the other man’s like, I like your work. Let me buy you a drink. Buy you someone a drink is a socially recognized way to say congratulations or good job or thanks, you know, so I didn’t necessarily interpret it as a flirty man kogan kind of thing. I was just like, I did a good job on stage. Someone wants to buy me a drink, I deserve it because I did a good job. I said to him, I said, actually, I haven’t eaten anything all day. I would love some popcorn. Popcorn was being sold at the bar.
Like, it was right there where he was sitting. He was sitting in front of a popcorn machine, and popcorn was $2. So the man wanted to buy me a drink. I asked for popcorn, which cost less than a drink and was in the same location, and he got really mad. He just wanted me to be drunk. My point is that not taking bullshit from people is global. It’s your personal life. It’s your business life. And having the kind of skill that deal with that situation is good practice for things that you will deal with in your job. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of crossover between sleepy dating behavior and sleepy business behavior. I mean, if you’re a woman looking for investors for your company, oh, my God, it’s the same as the guy who doesn’t want to buy you popcorn. Like, it’s the guy who has you know, he wants to lead a first round for your startup, but only if you come back to his hotel room to have a quote, unquote meeting. There is a lot. And so I feel like at this stage in my life, I get a different version of sexism.
And you can talk to women over 50 who get a totally different version of sexism, where people just ignore or dismiss them. There are a lot of articles written about that. Sexism can take wildly different forms based on your age and how people perceive you in a variety of different ways and what you look like and how you present yourself and the stereotypes that other people unfairly have about you.
I mean, it just fascinated to hear you say these things. I come from a family where my mom has always made more money. Which was. I think. Definitely put a lot of pressure and unnecessary stress on my dad. Because when you think about it. You know. When one person contributes so much more you know. My dad I’m 34. So my parents were you know. I’m not a young millennial by any stretch. So things were. I guess. Really tough. And there are people pitying my dad to say, wow, it really must be very hard to be in this position. Now, fast forward 30 years later. My mom is a good friend with a woman who is an incredibly successful hedge fund manager in Boston. In fact, she may be one of the most successful in New England. Right? And they live in penthouse and $10 million and vacation homes everywhere. But I noticed in a rare occasions when I introduced her to some of my friends or everybody’s question is, wow, what does he do? What does the husband do? Without exception, and we’re talking about 2015 1617, it really hit me that I had to correct them every single time.
It’s not about him. It’s all her. And you just see, like, people just feel like the wall behind them just kind of collapse and disappear and have to kind of fall into a hole. And that is a phenomenon going around the world. It’s not just in the US. It’s in China. It’s in developing countries. So I think people need to adjust rather quickly to not make the assumption. But at the same time, I guess I was dying to ask you this question, being in your position, and that people challenged you when you were 13 for writing one or two articles, given the way that you are so forward and very transparent on your website. Are you getting hate mails these days?
Yeah, not a huge amount. I think that because I write more about careers in business, even though I feel like my message is more progressive than a lot of the sort of lean in. Like, everything is just dependent on women working harder. Women should just work harder. My message is more about systemic change. Like, yes, you can work harder while you’re waiting for these systemic changes to happen, and here are some clever ways to do that. But also, I do believe in systemic change, and I believe in feminism is not just succeeding for your own self. Feminism is tearing. Down barriers for other women. And so I feel like the message that I’m putting out there is progressive, but I think that because I am writing about careers in business, I don’t necessarily get the same kind of hate mail that a lot of other female writers get. That said, I mean, the most interesting piece of hate mail I got, I thought this was amazing. And I don’t know if the writer was a man or woman or what, but it was like, it said, you are only successful because of your looks, but you’re getting old, and like, when you’re ugly, no one will pay attention to you.
I was like, Wait, my entire audience is women? What are you talking about? Like, you know, this doesn’t make any sense. It was like a piece of hate mail about how I was getting old and less attractive, and I was like, yes, I am. So is everyone. I’m not embarrassed by that. Like, I’m obviously less goodlooking than I was ten years ago because almost everyone is, and that’s just how things work. And I’m happy to talk about that. I think it’s actually a really interesting topic that you get treated very differently based on your appearance. And from my own perspective, I mean, ten years ago, if I tried to tell a man about my business, in almost every case I would get a reaction like I was doing something sexually provocative. I could say, yeah, I’m starting a GMAT startup. And people would be like, Sexy, sexy. And it was like a really unwelcome component of almost every single conversation. And now I feel like being 38 and being a married woman, I’m pleasant enough that nobody’s going to not put me in an educational video. I feel like I can just talk normally to men now.
And it’s great. Like, we can just be human beings. I mean, definitely not all the time, but enough of the time that I notice it. And I’m just like, yeah, I think we just had an almost ungendered conversation.
Told several people in recent conversations how wonderful it is to be in my 30s compared to being my 20s. There are things I couldn’t control. There’s the knowledge and sort of wisdom that I felt, especially through running a podcast, and just be vulnerable and trying to connect with people around the world. People never met, probably never will meet in some cases, and still have these authentic conversations, have those kind of transform our relationship for the rest of our lives is really interesting to me. I don’t think I had this thing in me necessarily, especially in my early to mid twenty s. And I look at myself differently in front of the mirror these days.
There’s a book that I refer to all the time. It’s a very well known book. Probably many of your readers have listeners have read it, but it’s called Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.
I love it. I read that book, I think twice. So well written. Yeah, yeah.
I mean, I love that it’s a book about happiness science, but it’s very dark and sarcastic, honestly. And there’s an introduction to the book where he’s like, well, this isn’t a howtobook on how to be happy. If you bought that, you’re kind of an idiot. He’s like, this is about science and you’re probably not going to like it. So these are the facts. That’s his introduction. So I really enjoyed that. It wasn’t like a positive thinking, manifesting crystal healing manual. But one of those things that he says and backed up with research is that we are really, really bad at anticipating what our future selves will want. So that’s why you have a closet full of clothes that don’t appeal to you. We all make decisions for our future selves that are bad. And so he’s like, well, what can you do about that? And he was a little bit fatalistic about it. He gave an example, if you want to know if you will enjoy law school or being a lawyer. Basically you think that you’re so unique and so special because everyone does, but you’re actually more like other people than you think.
So basically, just go talk to some lawyers. If they’re happy, you’ll probably be happy. Other people in your future position are more like you than you are now, like yourself in a future position. I hope I did that.
No, that makes perfect sense. No, it’s interesting because you can sort of see yourself almost ahead of time. And I’ve always for example, when I was 18, all my friends were 28, were older. A lot of them concentrated around the area of exactly ten years ahead of me. And that was a magical thing because instead of setting myself up or just hang out exclusively with people my age, share my exact set of anxieties and problems and issues and fear, I was talking to people exactly ten years ahead of me who I respect. Yeah, very, very interesting. And I heard that feedback again and again from some of the guests. To position themselves with someone, it doesn’t have to be an age thing, but someone career wise oftentimes results in someone who is a little bit older who’s ahead of you. And that’s so interesting.
I hate to say things that are so unachievable or difficult to achieve. But in an ideal world. If you are full of energy and unencumbered responsibilities at the time that you are listening to this. I mean. Yeah. You want to be a boss by the time you have kids. Whether it’s running your own company or being in a managerial position at your company. You don’t want to be someone who has to deal with like a timesheet or asking permission to take a half day to work at home. If your kid gets sick in daycare, you want to just go get them. That’s a big thing, by the way. So if you’re imagining your future life and you’re like, oh, me and my spouse, we will have these exciting jobs and we’ll just make enough money to pay for daycare or nanny or something like that’s, great. But if your kids in daycare or at public school or whatever, your kids at school and make it sick, someone has to go get them. And that means you or your spouse are leading your job to do that. And some people can do that, and it doesn’t affect anything, and some people can do that, and now their boss thinks that they’re a total asshole for leaving.
It’s so interesting that what I’ve seen as kind of occurring worldwide is what we used to know were defined as, you know, masculine versus feminine. What if we turn it around? What if feeding a baby, what if going grocery shopping and play with the kids are considered super masculine and historically right? And now I think it’s really about how we define it. And when a group of cohort of people used to be empowered, in this case men who were given opportunities that were not available for women, now that shift is going on with or without them, and it is driving a lot of fear internally that I think maybe there needs to be a course or some additional support for men to cope with that. Maybe that’s a better way.
You’re absolutely right. And a lot of the jobs that are becoming they’re still available in the economy are service jobs and caring jobs that a lot of men don’t feel comfortable taking or don’t want to take. So actually, I read an article about the attempt to get more men to be nurses, and basically, whoever does that, the Nursing Board of America, whatever it’s called, put out an advertising campaign to try to get men to go to nursing schools. And what they tried to do was focus on the emergency aspects of nursing. It was like constant adrenaline. You’re a nurse. So they had a male emergency nurse, and it was just like, yeah, when that call comes, we are ready. Like, they tried to make it sound super masculine, and they tried it right, which not saying that’s not true. It’s just like women also are sometimes filled with adrenaline. Dealing with emergencies like that is part of nursing. Some kinds of nursing have that and sometimes don’t. But, yeah, you’re right. There are a lot of these traditional concepts of masculinity that are like working with your hands and not having to have people skills and especially not having to, quote, unquote, serve someone.
And a lot of men are I feel like the New York Times write an article about this every week, which is why I feel so wellversed in it. The New York Times is like, yes, there are lots of jobs available at home, health, AIDS. But basically when women become unemployed, even from high level jobs, they tend to find some other kind of job. If women get laid off from a high level job, if they can’t get another high level job, they will take a lower level job, and they usually get back into the job market at higher rates than men, where it’s like, they’re like, I’m as a machinist and the plant is closed, so I will be unemployed for the rest of my life. Like, they’re less willing to retrain or to take caring type jobs or to develop the people skills that you would need for a service or caring type job. So I find that a very interesting topic. A lot of our ideals of masculinity are leading men to desire jobs that no longer exist. Ideals of masculinity are certainly in keeping with very high level jobs. Like, sure, you could be a tighten of industry, but not everyone can be a tighten of industry.
And we just don’t have those factory jobs anymore. So gender roles, fuck them on every level. Gender roles hurt everyone. That’s my position. Like ethanol. And I feel like we were talking earlier about that kind of dinner party situation. And I feel like every time you get one of these questions, it’s like, wow, you have a job and children, how do you do it? Just make if you are a woman with a male partner, make half that question about him and vice versa. You got to train your partner. Again, if you’re a woman with a male partner, when your partner gets asked, wow, your wife’s going back to work, how’s that going to be? He needs to be like, well, we’re both going back to work, and this is how we’re doing it. Both of us contribute part of our salaries in daycare, and I’m going to do the pickup and she’s going to do the drop off or something like that. But questions about career, questions about child care, you got to just make it about both of you and get people used to that. So, like, how do you do it? Well, here’s how I do it and here’s how he does it.
I love that this is such great advice, and I think people need to hear it more often, just like, oh, if you know that I love you. But it’s nice to say every once in a while, you know, and to acknowledge that. And I think a lot of people are dying to know that at the beginning you mentioned just by looking at get bullish, I know intimately well how much work there is to be done. So how are you running the business from a revenue model standpoint?
Yeah, so the first thing that made bullish a business was the conference that I ran in 2013. Conferences by themselves are not a great way to make money, at least not at first. And so basically, I lost a good amount of money on the first conference. Second conference in 2014. I lost a little less money. So, I mean, does that even count as a business at that point? Other than inviting people on a cool business vacation with me? So the first couple of conferences were fantastic, but not profitable. Around that time I started the online retail store that I didn’t plan to be a major revenue stream. The online retail store sold originally, like key chains and t shirts, and it was kind of small. Today the online retail store does. I mean, this year, probably $200,000 in revenue.
Revenue in revenue. And that’s off top of my head, but I think probably about 200,000. And so we have a warehouse here that has probably $100,000 in inventory stored here. And yeah, so we’re shipping out packages every single day from this little warehouse in the DJ City, brooklyn. That grew, it turns out. I really love running an Ecommerce business. Out of the 1800 products that we sell, about 30 of them are things that I designed where I wrote a slogan. For instance, we have this mug that says we will dance on the graves with the patriarchy and drink the bitter tears of mediocre men. And honestly, it’s so much easier for me to write a slogan than a whole article. It’s like you write a whole article, you put it out there, and, like, six months later, someone’s like this really help me.
I love the products. They’re very compelling. I never thought about it that way, though.
So, yeah, we curate things from other artists and so we have 18 other products. Again. About 30 of them are things that I’ve made and the rest we have curated. Or I have curated. So I’m really heavily involved in the Ecommerce business. I have people who come in and actually physically ship the packages. But in terms of actually what we sell, in terms of buying, I think I do 100% of the buying for the store anyway. So back to the revenue model. So the online retail store became successful. Kind of. During one holiday season. So we just had this bang up, like, holiday season in it, I think, in 2014. And I said, oh, my God. So I started buying more products and getting ready for the holidays in 20 15. 20. 16 were really big. So the online retail store is one big part of the business. The conference. We’re coming into our fifth year, and, I mean, I would say that it’s kind of breakeven financially for us. And then the third thing that we do is the online membership site, which is called the Bullish Society Bullishsociety.com. And that is an online membership site where people pay $10 a month and they’re receiving career support.
We have an expert in residence every month who weighs in on a different career topic, and it’s a tightly focused place for career support and career Q and A. Getting advice on things you’re not going to be overwhelmed with. So much like social media. So really a tightly focused feminist career network and that has been pretty successful for us as well. We’re at about 360 people in there. And so, yeah, it’s a good sized audience. Like, it’s enough people that if you have a problem, someone will know the answer, but it’s not, you know, tens of thousands of people where you kind of get lost in there. So those are the three things that we do on a revenue model and then we’re actually creating a food startup right now. It is a slow cooker meal kit plan. So, like HelloFresh or Blue Apron, but you just dump it in the Crock Pot and go to work and you come back and you have food. So I was inspired to do this because there is actually a lot of crossover with people in our audience who are very frustrated by meal kit plans and all the prep and all the chopping and just want to focus on their careers.
Come home to food, have it all done for you. So it’s called busybowl club. Busybowlclub.com. And right now we’re like, people are joining a list for invites. We’re going to be inviting people to join in the fall. We have 20 customers right now and a waiting list of people waiting to be let in. So we literally have an office full of food products and we have a membership at a commercial kitchen that is also in Industry City here in Brooklyn. And we have health inspectors who come and I mean, all the stuff you have to do to start a food business, like, it’s happening.
Yeah. So being bullish is those three things, the conference, the retail store and the membership site. But we also have spinoffs that we’re working on and I just love to do new things and make it all work together.
Wow, that’s incredible. Thank you so much for your time and staying on. I love the message.
Thank you for having me.
Hey, it’s Faye. I am back for a few words at the end of the show. I hope you enjoy what you heard. You can visit us [email protected] where social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also under Face World. To keep things simple, I personally review and respond to all the messages. Love to hear from you. Thank you and lots of hugs. See you next week.
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