When Explore ProTech member Linda Dent invited Janine Lingenfelder to attend the Global Online Speed Networking event (GOSN) in May of 2021, Janine had no idea where it would lead: new clients, profitable offerings, fruitful collaborations, and meaningful friendships. “There’s still a word in the dictionary that needs to be invented for what you guys are doing and touching so many people’s lives. It is remarkable,” she said.
Janine spoke highly of the Global Online Speed Networking experience: “If you have an off day, and you’re at GOSN, it will definitely change your vibe to the positive.”
Immediately after attending, Janine wanted to join, so she began the process of “dating the tribe,” as founders Nestene and Peter often call it. Her dream for her business, Jelani Sales, was to become international. Even without sharing her goal with Nestene and Peter, she landed her first Canadian client just four months later.
When Janine had left the corporate world in 2020, she could not have envisioned her future. “Not having Explore ProTech as part of my journey, I know my business would not have been where it is today. When I joined Explore ProTech, so many things developed, in such an amazing way that I’ve added more services to my business. It’s purely because of the guidance given by the members in the tribe. Since that day, Explore ProTech made me global. It’s never stopped.” She now runs her global business from Dubai and has served clients from the USA and Germany as well.
Speaking about her business, Janine said, “It’s a definite 10+. My husband and I can go out more on weekends where we’re not stressed about finances. It’s not always about the money. It’s about the quality that it brings to your life.”
Increased Trust, Increased Collaboration
Explore ProTech is so much more than an international networking group. Janine is especially grateful for what she referred to as “endless” collaboration opportunities that membership has led to. “The more commitment I showed towards the members within Explore ProTech, people realised that… Janine’s here to stay.”
It’s so important to tell others about our dreams, and a simple conversation can go a long way. Janine knew she wanted to launch something new, and her dream team vision began to take shape the day she had that simple conversation with Nestene and Peter, who she called “the heart of Explore ProTech” and “such givers.” Four months later, Explore Virtual Assistant Network (Explore VAN) was born, as a collaborative project between Janine, Nestene, Peter, and fellow Explore ProTech member Sommerville Lombard of The Sommerville Agency. Sommerville, too, has her own powerful Explore ProTech success story: 11 global clients in 3 months.
In addition to offering a supportive, educational space for global virtual assistants, Explore VAN has also become Janine’s virtual assistant team. Whenever she has overflow work, she’s glad to send it to an Explore VAN member. Guests and new members are welcome to try Explore VAN. “Virtual assistants, whether they are startups or established businesses, it doesn’t matter because we can still learn from one another, and the whole point of growing for me is to collaborate with the same business owners, because there’s enough for everybody. There’s truly enough, and if everybody can see and understand that, the world would just be such a better place.”
Along with virtual assistants, business and life coaches are good business allies for her, because “Sometimes, it’s the actions that client fails in, and that’s where I can have a fantastic collaboration opportunity.”
From the start, Janine has felt safe and comfortable to simply be herself. “Every day, I wake up feeling excited to be working for myself, because I know I have the support structure that is Explore ProTech,” Janine said. “The energy that Explore ProTech brings, the positive vibes, the support, you can’t find a better place to have your business go to the next level. … It’s not a selling machine. You can just be you, tell your story, and the connections will happen, and that’s exactly what happened with me.”
This is why Janine feels so strongly about nurturing the connections gained through Explore ProTech. “As humans, we are meant to have relationships, and what better place to be than Explore ProTech? You provided me with clients, relationships, and true friends that I can phone any time, any day.”
Along with virtual assistants, business and life coaches are good business allies for Janine, because “Sometimes, it’s the actions that client fails in, and that’s where I can have a fantastic collaboration opportunity.”
Being Seen and Heard on Social
Janine expressed gratitude for another Explore ProTech benefit: “being visible on YouTube without effort.” Explore ProTech regularly showcases members on YouTube and other social media, with informative, congenial programming that empowers small business owners to succeed. The FBiz Show, co-hosted on the Explore ProTech YouTube channel by Janine and fellow member Chris Kolbe of Live2Dream, featured fun interviews with successful entrepreneurs.
Through Jelani Sales, Janine and her team offer social media management and sales advisory sessions, along with some done-for-you services like social media management and cold calling. Here’s what her business name means: “’Jelani’ means ‘strong’ in the African language, Swahili, and the word ‘lani’ means ‘caring…’. Being in sales, you have to be strong and care about your clients! … The ‘JE’ is also for my daughter, Jessica.”
All too often, startups and other busy entrepreneurs focus first on their website, their technology, and everything else but sales, Janine told us. Instead, her goal is to empower clients to get leads, even before they put the website in place. “I really help you to embrace your own sales process… and not feel overwhelmed with sales, because sales can actually be fun.”
For Janine, social media management is about so much more than likes. “People follow you for a reason. Let’s find out why. Is it because they like the color of your hair, or is it because they actually want to know what you have to say about the services that you offer.”
Another bit of advice: move towards growth. “If you can’t see the fruit, you can’t taste it either. So be part of something that’s growing, and that’s what Explore ProTech is all about, because the growth is still endless.”
Finally, Janine recommended to keep a collaboration mindset as you connect. “…without that, you are going to fail. You have to know that collaboration is one of the key factors for any business to continue,” she said. “Connect with the right people, and this is the right people within the tribe. They will see your values. They will help you reach your goals. It will take time. Sometimes, it will take longer. Sometimes, it’s quick. For me, it took four months.”
“As an entrepreneur, you always have that moment when you feel alone, and being a part of Explore ProTech, that feeling is non-existent because you’re constantly connected with the right people.”
If you’re ready to connect with the right people, be sure to book a coffee with Janine.