Born and raised in Jamaica, Yvonne A Jones, Founder of My Success Circle Marketing, the parent company of 50 and Wiser Coaching.com and YvonneAJones.com, learned the importance of customer service at a young age. As an employee with one of the largest banks in Jamaica, she went through customer service training that “transformed” her and ultimately led her down a path of helping others. Jones shared the story behind her entrepreneurial journey and how, through coaching and mentoring, she’s empowering others to succeed and do more than they ever thought possible.
“Starting with my job at the bank and going through my 16 years with Nestle, I spent time in Human Resources and Customer Service and saw first-hand how helping other people could make a difference,” Jones said. “Just by saying hello to someone and acknowledging their presence made them feel valued.”
In 1989, Jones and her three daughters moved to Fort Lauderdale to join her husband who moved a few years prior for employment reasons. She spent 16 years living and working in Broward County before moving to Port Saint Lucie – in search of a quieter place to live. It was here, in St. Lucie County, where Jones’ entrepreneurial spirit came to life.
“For the first year after we moved to Port Saint Lucie I worked for multiple companies, including in a role as Real Estate Closing Coordinator, to find the ‘right’ company, and finally worked with a company in Stuart doing accounts receivables,” she said. “I was handling hundreds of thousands of dollars daily, but I didn’t like it. It wasn’t me. I had very limited contact with customers and was not passionate about working with numbers. My strength is working with people. That’s when I decided to leave that company to do my own thing.”
Jones had been a Mary Kay consultant since 1999 part-time, even as she worked in Corporate America in Broward County. She decided, however, that now was the right time to go full-time. She also created a business providing inbound customer service, as an independent contractor, for several major companies. However, after two years in business, she discovered that the priorities of the companies she worked with in delivering customer service were not aligned with hers.
“They were happy with what I was doing, but thought I spent too much time with the customer,” she said. “That’s when I dissolved that business and, in 2008, started a quest to learn online marketing. I started writing articles for companies and began to promote affiliate products. I learned as much as I could about these topics and marketing. I then started to teach people how to become an online marketer and also worked with brick-and-mortar businesses to help them build their online business.”
Jones shared that some of her early challenges with growing the business included not knowing exactly where to focus her energy and time. Fortunately, she connected with a mentor in 2009 – an experience that proved to be a pivotal moment in her journey.
“Honestly, I didn’t have a business plan and I didn’t really know what I was going to do,” she said. “I was searching. I spent a lot of money taking numerous courses – some were helpful and some weren’t. It wasn’t until I got a mentor that things started to click. I received guidance as to what I needed to do to establish and grow a real business. After floundering for a while, I finally had a plan and the business started to grow. This process taught me that, if you want to grow, it’s important to align yourself with someone who is where you want to be. Most people don’t know what they don’t know. This makes the learning curve much higher. It costs money upfront, but in the long-run, you’re saving money and time with a coach.”
Jones joined a BNI networking group, the Chamber, and focused on networking and building relationships. She hosted workshops and formed Meetup groups that were focused and revolved around training on key topics. She also helped businesses get and become more successful online. She learned about reputation management, SEO, social media marketing and trained other business owners on these topics.
“I love to empower my clients,” Jones said. “I’m of the philosophy that it’s important to give them a fishing pole so they can keep catching fish.”
After 15 years in Port Saint Lucie, Jones and her husband decided to scale down again and went searching for new place to call home. They found what they were looking for in Lake Wales. Since making the move in March 2020, Jones has formed a Facebook page called ‘Lake Wales Local News and Events’ and is working hard to establish her presence and her business in her new community. She’s excited about the opportunity to help business owners, as well as individuals accomplish their objectives.
“I love to empower others – especially older women like myself,” she said. “That’s where 50 and Wiser Coaching came from. In 2016 I partnered with another woman and published a book called ‘Remarkable Insider Secrets from Women Forty and Wiser’, which became a Best Seller in four categories in one day. We asked women two questions: ‘If any woman came to you and asked for your #1 insider secret to being wiser, what would you say?’; and ‘What would you say to your younger self?’.”
“I’ve heard so many women say they’re too old to change or to start something new. A lot of women at this age had put their dreams aside to support their family years ago. Through 50 and Wiser Coaching, I’m on a mission to show these women that it’s never too late. I help them bring that passion to the surface so they can support others and achieve their dreams.”
Looking ahead, Jones is still focused as ever on growing her business. She wants to continue coaching and mentoring, but also working with business owners struggling to acquire new clients and help them retain those clients. “In the digital world, your customer is only a click away from doing business with someone else,” she said. “Businesses need to up their game now more than ever. The customer experience needs to be a priority.
What advice does Jones have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “First of all, take some time to identify your ‘why’,” she said. “Your ‘why’ cannot be to just make money. That won’t sustain you when the challenges come. It needs to be much deeper than that. To discover this, you might need to peel back the onion layers to know why you want to be in business. From there, develop a business plan. You don’t need a 100-page document – just one that guides you. Identify short-term and long-term goals, as well as the people you’re trying to reach. Also, identify the problem you’re trying to solve. Unless you have a business that solves a problem, it won’t succeed. Lastly, be able to pay your bills without income from your business for at least six months and separate your money right away. Set up a business checking account so you’re not co-mingling your money. This will save you time and frustration in the long-run.”