Episode 50: Profit First For MBEs: Creating a New Legacy: Ed and Jane Harris

Episode 50: Profit First For MBEs: Creating a New Legacy: Ed and Jane Harris

I just kept making them and kept making them. And I remembered one of my clients at the shoe store was going through chemotherapy and her hair was falling out, and she was complaining about it and I said, “You can get a wig.” She was like, “What?” I was like, “Yeah, I have on a wig.” At this point, I had made like 10 of them. So I was a little better. She was like, “Can I buy that one off of your head?” I was like, “Uhh? It’s on used.” She’s like, “No, you don’t understand. That’s how desperate I am to get one.” And I remembered she offered me a thousand dollars for the one I had worn off of my head, and I sold it to her. And then, right at that moment, I got up, it was like an injection of ‘you just made money, and you just made her feel good,’ I was like, “This is like the best of both worlds.” So I told my husband that, “I’m going to start making wigs.” He looked at me like, “What? How?” So that was it. I started making them part-time and within three months I was able to make my monthly salary in a week. And I was like, “Okay, that’s it.”

Susanne Mariga:Welcome to The Profit Talk Show. In this show, we’re going to explore strategies to help you maximize profits in your business while scaling and creating the lifestyle that you want as an entrepreneur. I am your host, Susanne Mariga. I am a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Profit First Professional, and a Certified Tax Coach. Today, we’re going to talk about strategies to help you maximize profits in your business. 
Susanne Mariga:Hello, Profit First Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders. I am so excited because today I get the opportunity to interview two of my favorite clients, Ed and Jane Harris. They are part of our Profit First family, part of our journey, and I’m really excited about interviewing them because we’re going to be featuring them in our book, Profit First For Minority Business Enterprises. Now, a little background about Ed and Jane, they are a dynamic duel. 
Susanne Mariga:They’re a husband and wife couple. Isn’t that amazing? And they are the duel behind the brand ‘The Virgin Hair Fantasy.’ Now, Jane, the wigmaker and Chef Ed, they worked together, and they create these high quality haircare products, tools, and wigs. And they’re known by the brand Perucas, and they cater a diverse clientele. Now the duel continues to expand the TV HF brands to include more luxury beauty items from lashes to new spa, to press on nails, so their clients can look and feel beautiful and really present themselves the best from head to toe. Now, this husband and wife duel aims to create community by offering also ‘how to classes’ because they’re giving back to their community, which includes ‘how to start an e-commerce business.’ And they’re growing leaps and bounds every day through their exceptional customer service that is really the hallmark of their business. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jane and Ed for a year, and I have seen them grow a seven-figure business and really become the gen one millionaires of their family. So, please welcome Jane and Ed to our platform, where they’re going to share about their Profit First journey. Hi, Jane and Ed, how are you guys doing? 
Ed and Jane Harris:So excited to be here. How are you? 
Susanne Mariga:Hey, I’m excited to have you guys to do it and have your story be shared because that is such an amazing story and what you guys have done with your business and your product and how you’ve helped many women really look and feel and present their best is just phenomenal. I’m curious, tell us,  how did you start this business? What compelled you to get into this business?
Ed and Jane Harris:Well, it started with me because I was working in a shoe store. I had worked there for 13 years and I became store manager and I got transferred to Madison Avenue in New York and coming from Atlanta, Georgia to New York. I quickly realized the importance of fashion and looking good, especially being on 53rd and Madison Avenue right down the middle of everything fashion. So, I felt good everywhere else, but my hair, what I felt was my hair wasn’t up to par. I wasn’t able to do certain styles. And so, it got to a point where I wanted to own a wig, but I really couldn’t afford the one I wanted. I think it was $2,000 at the time from the one I researched. And then, I decided to make one, of course with no hair experience and not going to hair school, I went on YouTube.
Ed and Jane Harris:The first one I made was hideous. It was terrible. But at the time, even as bad as it looked, it felt better than my actual hair. So, I was like, “It’s not too bad. Let me just keep going.” And fast-forward, I just kept making them and kept making them. And I remembered one of my clients at the shoe store was going through chemotherapy and her hair was falling out, and she was complaining about it, I said, “You can get a wig.” She was like, “What?” I was like, “Yeah, I have on a wig.” At this point I had made like 10 of them. So, I was a little better. She was like, “Can I buy that one off of your head?” I was like, “Uh, It’s on used,” and she was like, “No, you don’t understand. That’s how desperate I am to get one.”
Ed and Jane Harris:one I had worn off of my head, and I sold it to her. And then right at that moment, I got up, like it was like an injection of ‘you just made money, and you just made her feel good,’ I was like, “This is like the best of both worlds.” So, I told my husband that, “I’m going to start making wigs.” He looked at me like, “What? How?” So, that was it. I started making them part-time and within three months, I was able to make my monthly salary in a week. And I was like, “Okay, that’s it.” And that was it. That’s how we got started.
Susanne Mariga:I love that, Jane. You’re going to make me cry. Someone that was losing her hair due to an illness that she couldn’t control, and you made this woman feel beautiful because of a talent that you didn’t even know you had, you didn’t even know that you were gifted in this. You changed this woman’s life and gave her that self-esteem to walk over head up high and gave her the hair of your own head. That is beautiful. So, tell me, what made you start off and start that Profit First journey. What prompted you to do that?
Ed and Jane Harris:We were always on a mission of trying to figure out how to be better with our money, and nothing really worked. Coming from families that really didn’t get it as well, it wasn’t something that was passed down in money management. So, we took it upon ourselves to really try to figure out what was the best way to go about it. So, I kept reading books, kept searching online and then of course, Profit First kind of just popped up. And, I’m like, “What is this?” And I kept digging. I kept reading. I saw Mike, and his book. It was this amazing. It just made sense. And then, the whole point of back in the day, when people would have envelopes or little packages that put money away, I was like, “I remembered seeing these kinds of things, but it wasn’t really a thing.”
Ed and Jane Harris:It was just, “This is what we do; put money away until you have enough to buy or, for whatever it is that you wanted.” And it just made sense to me internally. So, I kept reading, and I was like, “Jane, we have to go with this. We have to get it.” We got the book, we got two of them because we both would listen to it on our phones individually. That’s how we kind of read it, so we can race each other and see who finishes the book first. So, we both were reading the books, and it just made so much sense. We got another book that he did. Once we read the book, it wasn’t enough because we wanted to implement the steps and the processes that he went through. And we were like, “we need help.”
Ed and Jane Harris:So, the search ended up becoming an obsession until we found you and that just sealed the deal. I think we were so afraid because our parents, at some point, we knew they had money. And then all of a sudden they didn’t have money. We were like, “What happened from you had the money, and no money?” And as we started growing in our business, we started seeing our numbers go up and our disposable income making this kind of money and still struggling. And I’ll say, “Wait a minute, we’re doing something wrong.” For some reason, I just got a flashback. I’m like, “I don’t want to end up like my parents.” So that fear, just this beast of just like, “We got to get it right for our kids, we got to get it right.”
Susanne Mariga:And you had changed your family legacy. Your kids will be able to go to college, probably debt free, and do the things that they want to do and have gifts of home when they first get out and  those are things that most people don’t ever have, that starting point, and you’ve created that. You created a bigger self-discipline through Profit First. You’ve created that for yourself. So, congratulations on doing that. That is amazing. And, when you implement the Profit First journey, what overall were some of the benefits that you started to see? What were the things that was starting to happen and transformed and really moved your needle forward? What was happening there in Profit First for you?
Ed and Jane Harris:Once we implemented the process, and we had the different accounts to put money away, we started to actually seeing money that we didn’t have to touch before. There was never money anywhere before we even knew it. And now there’s literally money in accounts that we don’t ever touch. Before, that was not even a possibility at all.  We have travel vacation money put away that we’ve never had before. And we’re like, “We’re just to go on vacation because we don’t even have to worry about stress. The money’s there, it’s put away to save.” So, when we’re using Profit First, it really put in place systems that allowed us to be more comfortable in knowing that every week, every two weeks, there’s money going into these accounts and there are certain accounts you touch and certain accounts you don’t touch.
Ed and Jane Harris:And, that’s just how it is. And, having that discipline and be able to keep it, I think is the most important thing, because you can get Profit First, you can go through all the steps, but you still, as a person has to be able to say, “Okay, this account, I don’t touch regardless. This is the kind of use for operating expense for taxes, payroll, whatever the case may be.” And as a creative who needs to create to make money, the one thing that it did for me after speaking with you that first day, literally the first day, I slept like a baby. I didn’t even know what that, it was like, “Oh! You sleep like a baby,” I never experienced that because I was always stressed out. 
Ed and Jane Harris:There was this behind my head of, “You’re going to lose it all. You’re losing it.” It just was always there. And I didn’t even realize how much weight it was on my chest and my heart. And that night after we spoke with you, I slept worry free. I have slept worry free since that day. I haven’t looked back. But, as a creative, I need to feel that, so I can create, so I can make more money. That’s just what it did for me that before we even transferred anything, emotionally, I felt like for the first time there’s someone who cares and who’s holding my hand through this thing that’s been so vague and no one taught me. It’s almost like a trap, “Oh, you’re going to fall in there,” but I didn’t even know there was a hole there.
Susanne Mariga:That is amazing. It was implementing systems, a cash management system and working with your innate human tendencies. We talk about Parkinson’s law, where, as people, when our resources is a plenty, we use it. But when our resources is rare, we don’t use as much because we might run out. It’s just kind of like, I always say the buffet. You go to the buffet, and you’ve got endless plates and options, and you’re going to eat a lot more than if you go to a nice order of dinner that gives you literally a five-inch plate. You’re going to eat very different. You can make very different decisions. This is what Profit First did. It is created small plates for you. It gave you a small plate, and you go, “This is my profit. This is my operating expenses. This is my owner’s pay, and my tax account and what’s in my operating expenses account, that’s all I have that I can spend on inventory.”
Susanne Mariga:And, now, you have to make very strategic decisions on how to use that money. What is going to give you the best return on investment?  I love that, and I love being able to sleep at night, too. One of the things I’m really proud about you guys is, you’ve grown your business debt-free. I think that so many businesses in America, and I meet them all the time. I meet these seven figure businesses, approaching eight figures, I meet people that have huge government contracts, and when I looked at their tax return or income statement, their bottom line is way out of proportion than the top line revenue because literally they’re just not pricing right.
Susanne Mariga:They don’t have adequate margins. And this is the story of American business, whether they’re minority owned or not minority owned, and you guys have completely revamped that. And really, you’ve got the high numbers, the seven-figure mark, but also your bottom line, it’s a proportion with that, which is really, it’s a congratulation on that. Now, as you were implementing Profit First, there has to be some struggles with it, there has to be challenges in it. Tell me about those challenges. What were the challenges that you face, and how did you overcome those?
Ed and Jane Harris:So, I guess for me, the major challenge was figuring out the percentage for different accounts, and it’s one thing to say, your money’s going in there automatically and for you to do it yourself, because I’m sure in the future, it’s one thing I’ll be able to say, “Okay, transfer this account,” but in the beginning, I think that was definitely a major thing for me where knowing how much to transfer and just sticking with that and doing it consistently. And I think for me, it was more the discipline of trusting this partner now because we never had a partner before. It was just him and me, and now trusting that the partner, they understand what you’re trying to do, and they’re there to help you.
Ed and Jane Harris:Because when it comes to money, it was such a thing with me and him saying, “Oh,” we look like we’re doing good,’ but deep down and behind the scenes, we have no clue what we’re doing, which is winging it and trusting someone else who knows all the nitty-gritty details to say, ‘this is how you got to do it.” So, it was that trust and I think once we just let go of that trust of, “Okay, they’re really trying to help you,” it became really easy, but that was the main challenge in the beginning of disciplining and trusting. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. So, automating that process made it easier, too.
Ed and Jane Harris:A thousand percent, for sure.
Susanne Mariga:So, you hear that Profit First Entrepreneurs, automation, having systems in place that it’s your SOP, there are your standard operating procedures where money goes to accounts based upon their predetermined purposes and having the discipline to stay on that. And then the partnership, too, of that second opinion to look at things, look at ratios, that is also another key component towards achieving success because I remembered, Ed and Jane, as you guys were going, we had to make adjustments to how things were doing, to even our ratios with cost of goods sold versus revenue, we had to constantly make adjustments. How did it feel being in the moment of making those adjustments? I know a lot of people will tell me about that pull and that tug as they had to adjust.
Ed and Jane Harris:For us, it was like, when we signed up for Profit First and when we decided to work with you, I guess I wasn’t expecting the kind of assistance that you gave. I was like, now we’re talking margins. Now we’re talking actually, like I remembered, there was a program that we implemented that would have ultimately destroyed our business, that we worked so hard to build here. We are creating these cool apps and cool systems. We didn’t realize we didn’t see beyond what we were doing. And you were like, “That may not be a good idea.” And as you said it, it clicked, and we’re like, “Oh no!” But then you offered a solution like, “Don’t worry. You can fix it.” In our 12-year career with doing this, we’ve always felt like we are on our own, like this is it.
Ed and Jane Harris:You hit the wall, you just hit the wall. But then, you were like, “Well, you’re about to hit the wall, so this is how you can turn this way, so you don’t hit the wall.” So, I think for us, it wasn’t really a tug or pull thing, it was more like ‘somebody actually helping us,’ like we’re not used to that kind of assistance from being a small business and just used to just doing everything on our own. So, I think that was more, for us, a surprise and just gratitude of wow.
Susanne Mariga:And I think you bring up a really good point. There’s nothing that’s not fixable. You can always. If there are bumps in the road and there are hurdles, it’s never too late to adjust and pivot your strategy. And, I think, just watching you guys just pivot your strategy, it was incredible just how quickly you did it and how nimble you are to do that. Just amazing. Just watching you guys do that with your strategy and pivoting that. So, entrepreneurs, it’s never too late, if something’s not working to stop and switch. Now, what is in your opinion, now that you’ve gone through the Profit First journey, what would you say is the lasting impact of your Profit First journey? How has that changed your lives?
Ed and Jane Harris:I think for the first time since we’ve done our business, I don’t feel like I’m free-falling. I call myself a strategist like I know what I’m going to do in five years because I have accounts set up to do that. Ed and I, we just wrote down a five-year plan. And for the first time, we’re not like laughing at ourselves, like, “we’re not going to do that. We can barely even pay our rent.” So, for the first time we’re like, “actually we’re ready.” We’re working towards our five-year plan. And,  it feels natural. I feel like I know what I’m doing. I feel like the business is not running me, and I’m not chasing everything. I feel like I am planning ahead, which is the best feeling in the world for me, I think, is being ahead of things and being aware. That free-falling feeling that I’ve had for 11 years. I don’t ever want to feel that way again.
Susanne Mariga:In terms of speed, in terms of how long it took you to get from where you started to where you are today, what are your thoughts on, in terms of those that are starting their journey? What are your thoughts on the speed and the time it took to transition?
Ed and Jane Harris:I think within three months I started noticing things in terms of not just me feeling comfortable and sleeping well, it’s more like, “Oh, that account is not minus,” not seeing minus everywhere or overdraft fees coming out of my ears. I think the sixth month, however, was when I actually saw myself in five years, like, “Whoa, the money is in accounts now, not just a couple of hundred dollars, like thousands of dollars.” And what it did for our business was like you said, when you have this small plate to work out of, I started working harder, our sales improved overall because here I am sleeping well at night, waking up creative and excited about my business, not stressing that I’m going to lose it. It gave us an overall boost of confidence, which in turn gives you more energy to do the work that you need to do. It’s hard to generate money when you’re in debt, because mentally you’re messed up. So, you’re sitting there stressing. If you owe $500, you really owe $5,000 because that $500 debt is going to stop you from making $5,000. That’s just what it is.
Susanne Mariga:And you have an amazing brand, too. Stepping into that brand and knowing the value that you bring to this world and owning the brand, owning what you do and pricing it accordingly, too, I think was also a key strategy for you guys, too, because you do excellent work, you have an innate talent to do what you do. You make people that, like you said, in your first story, there was a woman that lost her hair because she was ill, and you literally gave her that motivation to go on and just owning it and knowing your value and being open to receiving as a result of the value that you provide. Now, Jane and Ed, as we wrap up today, what would be the piece of advice that you would leave to rising entrepreneurs, minority business enterprises, that are really looking to grow and scale their businesses? If you could leave them with any morsel device, and it can be personal, it can be business related. What would that advice be? 
Ed and Jane Harris:You are not a financial advisor. You are not supposed to be an expert in your business, not unless you went to school and have an MBA in Finance.  I feel like just when we realized that we needed help, when we saw all the pieces of the puzzle not matching up for us, that’s when we started seeking help and seeking help doesn’t make you weak. It makes you actually strong. I feel like as a small business, you’re wearing so many hats. This is one hat that you definitely need to delegate because there’s one of the hats that changes everything in your business. So, I think it’s not something that was, “Oh, I’ll handle it later.” No, you handle it first. Profit First.
Susanne Mariga:I love that, Jane. So, standing in your zone of genius and when something’s outside your zone of genius, it’s okay to get help to be able to enter into rooms that you wouldn’t normally have the skillset to do that. Now, you guys have a fabulous hair care line, and we all want to look beautiful. So, we want to contact you. How can our audience, our readers, our listeners, viewers, how can we reach out to you to contact you, to learn more about what you do and get some of this product line? How do we do that? 
Ed and Jane Harris:Go to our website, thevirginhairfantasy.com, or you can email us @ inquiriesatthevirginhairfantasy.com. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. thevirginhairfantasy.com is where you can reach Jane and Ed to order products and learn more about them, too, and get some tips on how to get styled. Thank you, Jane and Ed, for joining us today and sharing your knowledge, your experience, and all of your wisdom. 
Ed and Jane Harris:Thank you so much for having us.
Susanne Mariga:Thank you for the honor of being able to work with you.
Susanne Mariga:I want you to have your most profitable year ever. Yes, no matter what’s going on in the economy, no matter what’s going on in the world, you can have your best year ever. And I want to show you how. Join me in our private Facebook group where I will be hosting our Free, Yes, I said, Free Profit First Masterclass on Facebook. Please join the Profit First Master Class with Susanne Mariga. I look forward to seeing you there and watching you have your best year ever.

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