Have you ever felt stressed looking at your closet not knowing what to wear? Or maybe you don’t even know what looks “good” anymore? Do you get frustrated when you decide to go shopping for new pieces and just don’t know where to start?
This is the episode you’re not going to want to miss, my friends. My friend, Jeannie Stith (also known as The Color Guru!) has a colorful story to share with us about finding her true colors (both literally and figuratively)! You will hear how she was able to take her own experience with finding her colors and turn it into a thriving and impactful business too.
Jeannie Stith is the founder and CEO of Color Guru, where she helps people look and feel amazing in their clothes by analyzing their hair, skin, and eyes to match them with their ideal color palette for clothing, makeup, and accessories.
I can’t wait for you to listen to this episode because you’ll learn more about Jeannie’s journey and how she obtained a new sense of confidence and love for helping others find the colors that make them shine inside and out.
[2:21] - Colorful beginnings: The color analysis that started it all
[4:47] - A modern approach to color
[7:22] - From overwhelm and clutter to wardrobe peace
[12:37] - How Jeannie made color consulting a business
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Special Offer: Want to have more ease when selecting items to wear? I highly recommend pairing with Jeannie and her team and finding the colors that suit you best. Feel free to use my affiliate code SUCCESS10 for 10% all packages at www.yourcolorguru.com
Welcome back to the show. This is Episode 28. Have you ever found yourself torn between the desire to create something totally awesome, and the competing desire to stay safe and small? I think we've all been in that in between situation at some point or another. Today's guest founder of the company color guru, Jeannie stiff, is here to explain to us what turning a glimmer of an idea into a profitable and impactful company required from her. You're going to hear how she helps her clients to thrive not only in how they dress, but also and how they feel about themselves. And as a bonus, you're going to hear some top quality advice for turning your ideas into successes. Let's go listen to this episode, you're going to love Jeannie. Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they could begin working to their potential. In this podcast if you're going to learn powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The make time for success podcast. Today, I am welcoming my special guest Jeanie stepped to the show. She is known worldwide as the color guru. And I'm so excited to introduce her her beautiful personality and her business to you today. Welcome to the show. Jeannie. Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. Christine. Thank you for being here, please let us know more about you how you got to be the color guru, and what lights you up.
So I got to be the color guru, it really all started. Let me explain that the color Guru is so eye color guru, the the online business that I started, we analyze our clients hair, skin and eye color to give them their ideal color palettes for clothing. And for them that helps them look better in everything they were it simplifies shopping. And it also automatically creates a coordinated wardrobe when you're buying things that are all in the same color family. And the funny story actually about how it started is it started by I went shopping with my aunt, and she told me that I was wearing the wrong colors. She's like, I think you're picking all the wrong colors for you. And I was like What does that even mean? I didn't know there were right colors. I'm just picking colors. Isn't that what people do? And she's like, No, no, no, you have to get your colors done. It's so amazing, a total game changer for me. And I had to admit that like, she always looked so good. Like at family gatherings and stuff. She just always looked so good. And so I took her advice and started searching for somebody who did this like color analysis that she was telling me about. And we finally found somebody but I was living in the Philadelphia area. And we found one woman who was offering the service. She was retired and she was offering it out of her house. She was a retired image consultant. And so I went to her and got my first ever palette of colors. And over the following months, I saw that it was a total game changer for my wardrobe. In so many ways. I did not stress about shopping anymore. I had no confusion about what to choose. If the top came in 10 colors. I knew that these were the two that worked for me. And so it was an amazing experience. But the piece that actually helped start the business was the fact that my friends were saying like, you look better, what are you doing, and I ended up taking six friends to her to get their colors done. And it just stuck in my mind that like wow, in this Philadelphia area, a big city, right? There's one person doing this. And I just took six people to her without any problem like there is no desire for this service. And that really stuck with me over the next couple years. And then I kind of thought what a great business that would be to start to kind of create a more modern version of this because one of the things that did happen was some of the colors she gave me I literally they were so dated I couldn't find them in store. And so I thought this needs to be sort of reinvented in a fresh, modern way. But wouldn't it be cool if I could, like offer this, and then it just stuck in my mind. And then years later, I ended up starting color guru, you know, in order to do just that kind of recreated in a modern way, offer it virtually, which nobody, as far as I know at that time was kind of offering the service in a virtual way that was reliable. And that took some time to to figure out how to offer it in a reliable way. Because looking at somebody in person is a little different than looking at photos, you know, we have people submit photos to us. And, you know, we realized really quickly, oh, we need to have a lot of photos of people so that we can see like, you know, you ever take a picture of yourself outside and natural light, and then just picture inside, and you look really different. And your coloring looks really different, right? And so we realized really quickly, we need like a minimum of five photos, most people submit more like seven photos to us for the analysis. And then we also needed to ask a lot of questions of our clients, like, some people's hair color changes naturally throughout their life, like knowing what their hair color was, as a child can often help us, you know, knowing sort of what happens to their skin in the sun, does your skin burn? Does it tan does it burn then fade to a tan? You know, does it not change at all. We all kind of honed the system for the first couple years, but now it's working really beautifully. And I think we do the most accurate color analysis that's available online personally.
That's wonderful, wonderful. It's a wonderful story. It's a wonderful spark of creativity and entrepreneurship for you in Philadelphia. And I'm taking notes as you're talking and you said women were realizing they had a desire for this service. And I thought to myself, how would I know that I have a desire for this service? Because it's not like, you would know that there were so many color consultants available to you. And I may not know that I'm struggling to find the right wardrobe colors for myself. So can you talk about what is awakened in your customers when they come to you? What are they thinking they need?
Sure. So I think most of the people who come to us have felt overwhelmed while shopping, you know, you go to the store, and there's so many choices. And there are so many store choices too. There's just so many places to go. I think the people who find us are often overwhelmed by their own closets. Like they buy things and then they don't necessarily love them. And they sit there on worn and they don't really know why they don't love them. But often it's a color problem. Not always but often. And so there are people who want to look better, but they also want it to be easy. The clients who come to me are not looking at high fashion magazines, they don't care what's on the runways in Paris, they just want to look better and have it be easy because they're busy people who have a lot going on in their lives. And that's how I am too I am not a fashion person. But I love a good life hack. And for me, this was the absolute thing that transformed my clothes from being kind of confusing, kind of cluttered closet, I felt like I didn't look that good. Just knowing my colors made such a massive difference in how I chose clothes and how I felt in my clothes and what I chose to keep them what I chose to get rid of. And so that's what I feel like is kind of awakened in our clients. It's it's a confidence about what to buy. It's as they see themselves in the colors. They often I mean, I get so many emails that's just like, Oh my gosh, I feel so much better. I'm getting tons of compliments my clothes coordinate easily. This just makes it so easy. And so I love giving people that ease. I love the idea that I could, you know, it's my own little contribution to making people's lives better. But I love the idea that I could like, instead of somebody trying on 10 outfits in the morning, they know what works. And they go right to one and they have extra time for like time with their kids or like a cup of tea like their clothes are not confusing their life anymore. So that's what excites me.
That's wonderful. So now I'm thinking this is a beautiful story. But I know as a fellow entrepreneur, that there were probably hiccups along the way and some maybe resistance to doing this creative business that you just built from an idea could you take our listeners through that process and what you had to overcome to make this That's a beautiful story. Sure, sure.
I think the first thing, you're absolutely right, there were hiccups. And there were challenges. And there was fear, a lot of fear at the beginning. And honestly, the biggest fear that I started with was like, This isn't a big enough thing to do for the world. Right? I was like, is this superficial? It's about clothes. Is this just like a dumb thing we shouldn't care about Anyway, you know what I mean. But when it came down to it, I didn't care about it. I want it to look and feel good in my clothing. And I was like, if that's important to me, I think it's important to some other people too, you know, but that was my first hurdle I had to get over was like, Is this like a big enough contribution. And then, once I started doing it, I saw that it was because I got these emails that people were like, my life is easier now, thanks to you. And I feel really good. And I feel excited. And I feel excited about dressing again. And so I quickly saw that the right people were going to find it and feel drawn to it. And that's okay, if it wasn't for everybody, you know, nothing is for everybody. But there were a lot of hiccups and challenges about, you know, in terms of actually making the business profitable, which is a whole nother learning, right, you can have a spark and an excitement about starting something. But that doesn't mean you know how to do it. And I quickly saw that just putting up a website doesn't really do much. It's like, you build it, they will not come. And so I built this whole thing. And it was just like crickets for the first year. I mean, I just remember, like, we're doing like one or two consultations a month. And they were mostly like, friends of friends, you know, heard through the grapevine that I was doing this. So I realized, you know, I really needed to learn some things about online business. And I needed to really dedicate myself to making this work. And it was really a good four and a half years before it became extremely sort of profitable. But there was a couple years where we just didn't have much revenue at all. And then a year where we were sort of covering our expenses and making a small profit. And then the last year, we've really started making really solid profit. And I think that's the reality for a lot of business startups, you know. So yeah, do you want me to go into kind of the deeper challenges the specific challenges?
So I think that one of the major keys was learning that, first of all, I couldn't do it all myself, I needed a team, which is challenging when you feel like you're not making enough money to hire a team, right? That's a really challenging place to be. But what I learned very quickly was, when I invest in a team member, the business would grow. And I think it was literally sort of that idea of like, the universe hates a vacuum, right? Like there's a person sitting there ready to work. And I felt like energetically work was coming in from that sort of me doing that first, you know, hiring somebody. And so slowly, I sort of built a team. And the business grew exponentially, like the year that I really committed to building a team. The other thing was just I was not only trying to do everything myself, when it wasn't working, I was trying to do everything. So I kept looking at what other people were doing and ignoring my own intuition. And you know, I built a course because I felt like oh, people have courses like successful online businesses have courses. So I need a course. And even though it wasn't really in my heart, or like, it didn't feel 100% natural for me. So I sort of forced this course and had like, some mild success selling it. I was trying to do like all the social media stuff like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, like I just was like, oh, color guru needs to be everywhere. And I was writing a blogs that like nobody was reading. And you know, it was just kind of heading down all these paths, which may be is necessary, actually, as I look back to see what works, but you don't want to stay there too long. Because you can get stuck in that rut of like, trying to do everything when most of it isn't working. So I saw pretty quickly that Instagram was working for us. And that even though people kept telling me Pinterest was going to work for me really wasn't working for me. People were like, your stuff is so great for Pinterest. You're perfect for Pinterest. And I was like, you know, Pinterest hasn't brought in one consultation, you know? And so why am I putting all this time into Pinterest? The blog really wasn't working. People kind of weren't interested in that in the way that would move the business forward. Right. I was finding they were liking my content on Instagram more and so I would was like, What if I just get rid of all this other stuff and just try to do Instagram really, really well. And I saw a big jump in the business. And the next thing was kind of how to get more customers more clients. And what I noticed was, what was great and working about color guru was that when someone got their color card, you know, we give people their color palette on a card that they can have a digital version of, and a laminated version of. And when people would get their color card, they would often post about it somewhere like Instagram, right? And they would tell their friends, like, Look, I got, these are my colors, how cool, you know. And so what I noticed was like color guru was a very naturally shareable thing, people were interested and excited to share it. And what would often happen is after one of those posts, I would get a few sales. And we always ask people how they found us. And they would be like, Oh, my friend, Karen, like, posted about it or whatever. So then, from the coaching program, I was then I started to learn more about this idea of an affiliate strategy, where you know, other people tell their followers about their experience with your business. And I was like, Ah, what if I could try that? You know, because it's such a shareable thing, what if I could offer them a free consultation, they could experience the service. If they love it, they could share it with their followers in a really genuine way. Just saying, like, Hey, I got my colors done. And this is, you know, what came from it. And then I could give them a commission. Why not try that? And so I tried that for the sort of the first time, a little over a year ago. And that first quarter, our income just jumped, because so many people were coming from this one affiliate, and I was like, wow, maybe I could get to affiliates. You know, and since then, just every month, major growth, major growth, it's such a perfect way to share the service. And the beauty of the affiliate strategy is it's like, there's no limit to it, right? Like what happens when you have 50? affiliates? What happens when you have 200? affiliates, there's no reason you know, now that we've set up this system, for affiliates, there's no reason it couldn't just continue to grow, grow, grow. And so this is kind of what we're choosing to do, at this point, because it's working. And so we really simplified the business. And now literally, we just our focus is so crystal clear. We do the color consultations, that's what we offer. We may offer the course in the future, but we're not offering it right now. We do the affiliate strategy, and we do Instagram. And that is our business. And we have like 20 times our revenue, like in the last year. I mean, it's just crazy the amount that it's grown.
Congratulations. This is a beautiful story through and through, including the hiccups and the difficult parts. I feel like I've just gotten a business lesson from you. So thank you, I want to summarize, for myself and my listeners, the elements that Genie used. After the period of doing all the things and exploring what was needed. She used commitment, which you said both dedication and commitment. I agree with you that without that firm commitment, this is what I'm committing myself to. It's hard to move things forward, it's more difficult to move things forward. Well, the second thing that I heard was simplifying what you are doing, because not just in business, when we try to do all the things, we tend to feel like our energy is all over the place, our brain is all over the place, and that we're not getting anywhere. The third part was just using your creativity and intuition. And letting that guide the way without doubting without piling things on just saying Instagram is working for me. Let's go with Instagram affiliate sounds like a good idea. Let's go with affiliates. And what I love is that you told the story beautifully, it made so much sense. And I didn't hear that you were overwhelmed by fear. That fear was not part of your creative process. And then look where your business went that there was a need that there was a desire in the market for what you were doing that this is no small thing and that you're able to fulfill your wishes. So congratulations. Thank you. Yeah, thank you for explaining this all. I want to ask you what has been your personal development? How do you feel you've grown in doing all of this and finding this for yourself and sharing it with the world?
Yeah, I think the number one thing that comes to mind is just discipline. You know when I first started the business was a great starter, I was an idea person, I love to start projects and not finish them. You know, and that doesn't work. When you're running a business, I really had to learn like, no, I really need to work on this every day, I need to be committed to making this work. And I need to be disciplined, because now I have a team that's relying on me for certain things, and I can't always just do things when I feel like doing them, right. Sometimes it's like really important that I get a certain thing accomplished. So discipline has been huge. Also, what I've loved about this, and also what was challenging was just the personal growth that is required for starting a business like this, because you're constantly sort of moving up to a different level. And then there are new things to overcome. And so it just requires personal growth, I just don't think you can literally grow a business without sort of going through those personal growth journeys. And for me, that resulted in doing things I was scared of, I felt really nervous asking people if they wanted to be an affiliate, I felt nervous about that I felt nervous that I was going to get, you know, somebody who hated the color consultations, you know, in a scathing email that was like, this was horrible, and I want my money back, you know, and, and then it's just part of it, right? Like, that doesn't happen often. But once or twice, I've given a refund, because they just don't love it. And that's totally fine. And it's, what I've learned is that it's way less scary when it's actually happened, then you make it in your mind, you know, it's like, in my mind, I was like, Oh my god, like, they're just gonna like, like, you know, reach through the computer and like, grab me and shake me or whatever. And it's like, no, I read some words, this wasn't for them, it happens extremely rarely, most people absolutely love the service, or they wouldn't be buying it in the first place. And it's okay, it's okay to have somebody, like, be disappointed in you. But, you know, it's like, all those things about being perfect. And, you know, I had some perfectionist stuff for sure that it's like, if everybody isn't thrilled and happy with my product, they're, you know, something wrong with me or like, and I just have come to such a better place. And like, just understanding that, first of all, it's just not so personal. But second of all, it's okay, if everything's not perfect all the time. It's really okay. What you're offering still has value. And so there's just so much there's been so much, but those are kind of the things that stand out for me, when I look back,
I think you described how fear is in reality, so well, when you said it's way more scary in your mind, or way less scary, I think is what you said I forget. But I thought that was great. Because when things happen, and they don't go the way you like, it's actually survivable. And that it happens very rarely. And it's going to be okay. And it doesn't detract from what you are giving out to the world. And it's way more important that you put your product and your creativity out in the world than it is to protect yourself from things like perfectionism and people's errant comments.
Totally, absolutely. 100% It is your way of staying small, right. And I think at some point on this journey, I just decided, like, I'm just not gonna stay small, I'm just not willing to do that I would rather have just what comes to me and be with it and learn from it and grow from it. It's such a beautiful thing to grow. Because I was I now I see it in other areas of my life, like, Oh, I want that thing to be perfect. And I want that thing to be like tied up with a neat bow. And it's not like life can be messy. So I just feel like those lessons you learn in business, they really affect the rest of your life too, and your outlook on life. And they make you so much stronger. Like I feel like a much stronger person now than I was five years ago. And I'm sure I'll be stronger than I am now in 10 years. If you just keep kind of accepting the lessons.
I love it. Thank you so much. I'm going to ask one last question, which is on the topic of discipline, which you said was definitely required to move things forward for you? What tip would you give our listeners about developing that or strengthening that skill? If they're feeling like, I'm a little bit wobbly here, and I like to do all the things I like to create a lot of things.
Yeah, I think that you just need to maybe ask yourself like, how's that working out for you? Because if it's working out well, Hey, keep doing all the things and if you're happy and not stressed out? That wasn't the case for me. I was super stressed out. I mean, I remember a point where I was like, wow, maybe I just am not cut out to build business. And then at some point I realized No, I'm just not cut out to build the business that I'm building because I'm building it in a way that doesn't work for me. And I think a big part is listening to your intuition. I really needed to let go of what other people were doing, and just really get quiet with myself and say, like, what is it that I actually have to offer people like what is my best offer, and I knew it wasn't the course I knew it was the color consultations, that was my best offer for people that was coming from my heart. That was the thing that I worked on. I mean, I worked on those color palettes for like, almost a year straight, I was obsessed, like it was like I was in the flow, I just nothing could have kept me from it. Even if I had never made any money from those color palettes, I had such joy doing it. And I think that's when you know that that's your path. It's like it feels like your path. And the other thing is felt like pushing our boulder up a hill, you know. And so what I would say is, listen to your intuition, listen to yourself. And then focus on those things like put your attention on those things that a are working and be you feel like joy coming from, like you feel like you're offering something you feel like you're helping and then put your discipline there, you know, like really put your discipline there. Like we just got really committed to, you know, posting on Instagram really regularly. And let everything else fall away. You know, I'm really committed to having the color consultations be high quality and continuing to improve the quality of the color consultations. Like we just started working with a new printer who's printing like way even better color cards than we had last year. You know what I mean? higher quality, more beautiful color cards. And I just feel like those are the things that I want to be disciplined about. Because those are the important things for the business. There's a million things we could be doing. But that's not what works for us. What works for us is doing a couple things really, really well and being disciplined about those things.
Beautiful, beautiful, thank you for these business lessons and these life lessons. And I agree with you, you can't do a business without growing yourself. So thank you for sharing your personal journey, which is beautiful, and full of color. If I might say so myself, and I would like to just invite you to share how our followers can follow you. And perhaps you're going to get a few more affiliates out of this episode, because you've done such a great job with this.
Sure, yes, if you're interested in being an affiliate, please reach out to me. We're working with new affiliates all the time. And it's such a fun thing to share with your followers. You can find me on Instagram, as you know, that's now the kind of the only place you can find me. We do have a Facebook presence. But we really don't spend time there we spend our time on Instagram. So that's the place to find me. And then my website is your color guru.com
is Instagram, your color guru or color guru? Yeah, it's at your color guru. Okay, wonderful. So finding the at your color guru on Instagram and sometimes Facebook. And just join me in thanking Jeannie in your hearts because we can't see you for joining us today and sharing her joy and her wisdom with us. Genie, I wish you all the best as you move forward. Thank you so much for being here today.
Sure, thank you.
Well, my friends a little bit of time has passed since I recorded the lovely episode with Genie steth the color guru. And in that little bit of time she is totally won me over with her amazing product. Basically what happened is after we did the recording, I sent over a few photos of myself to her and her team. And Jeannie arranged to send me very quickly I should say, my custom palette of colors for both clothing and makeup on two different laminated cards. And since receiving them in the mail, I've been bringing these laminated cards with me everywhere. And I've purchased a new set of eyeglasses in the color of blue. And I've also shopped on Amazon for a summer hat in a really bright, brilliant color of red. And I have to say I wouldn't have chosen that red if it weren't for genies amazing suggestions. Because these cards and these custom colors that were selected just for me, have made my shopping decisions quicker and easier. I've decided to become one of Jamie's very happy Be affiliates because I appreciate her and her work so much. And these cards really have made shopping easier. So if you would like to have your own custom color consultation, I invite you to use my affiliate code its success 10 the word success and the number 10 for a 10% discount at genies website, which is your color guru.com. Again, you can use the code success 10 for a 10% discount on Genie services at your color guru.com I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I have. I will see you soon. Thank you for listening to this episode of The make time for success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website make time for success podcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.
CEO of Color Guru and Color Expert
Jeannie Stith-Mawhinney is founder and CEO of Color Guru, where she helps people look and feel amazing in their clothes by analyzing their hair, skin, and eyes to give them their ideal color palette for clothing, makeup, and accessories.
Jeannie’s color cards have simplified choosing clothes for people in 24 countries. Her course, Style Secrets, has transformed hundreds of wardrobes all around the world.
Color Guru has been featured in Design Mom, The Spark Joy Podcast, Philadelphia Style Magazine, and other high-profile publications.
Jeannie is a mother of two girls in Arden, Delaware. When she’s not analyzing colors, you can find her playing in the creek with her daughters, salsa dancing, or watering her current collection of 55 house plants.