Rural Womens Magazine
Interview with Jen Corcoran: successful businesswoman, ambassador for youth, Permaculture designer, philanthropist, wife and mum.
I am sitting in a courtyard with the morning sun filtering in and the hum of bees going to work around me. This area seems to have such serenity, such an aura of peace that is somewhat alluring given that I have just driven 2 hours from Brisbane. I have arrived early to interview Jen Corcoran who lives on an organic permaculture farm, off grid with her husband Chris and their 4 kids. Jen greeted me at the door with a mug of organic coffee grown here, and some vegan muffins, despite the fact that I have arrived 30 minutes early. Like most Mums, her mornings can be hectic she tells me, would I mind waiting 10 minutes until the kids are off on the school bus and then we can sit and chat?
I am sitting in a courtyard with the morning sun filtering in and the hum of bees going to work around me. This area seems to have such serenity, such an aura of peace that is somewhat alluring given that I have just driven 2 hours from Brisbane. I have arrived early to interview Jen Corcoran who lives on an organic permaculture farm, off grid with her husband Chris and their 4 kids. Jen greeted me at the door with a mug of organic coffee grown here, and some vegan muffins, despite the fact that I have arrived 30 minutes early. Like most Mums, her mornings can be hectic she tells me, would I mind waiting 10 minutes until the kids are off on the school bus and then we can sit and chat? I could sit her forever. Sitting in this courtyard I feel weirdly protected from the world, like I am in a secret place that hasn’t been discovered yet.
As I admire the amazing amounts of plant life, Jen comes out with a huge smile. Liz, she says, so nice to finally meet you after our conversations on the phone. Thanks for coming all this way just to chat to me.
Considering all that Jen has accomplished in the past 2 years, I was surprised that she is so relaxed and calm. She is warmly greeting me like I am an old friend, inviting me into her home and life so she can explain to me ‘how everyone can live the life of their dreams’.
Here is how the interview went.
L: So Jen, I called you to ask for an interview when I read about the amazing work you have been doing with teenagers but we will get to that later. Can I just say this house is so peaceful?
J: Thanks Liz. We often joke that this is our little oasis, separate from the rest of the world. Chris and I wanted to create a home that really felt like home, like a sanctuary from the outside world, you know. We built it with straw bales and earth/lime render. The polished earthen floors are one of my favourite features and they feel so fabulous with bare feet in the summer. We set out to build a compound, rather than one big house building. So we have 2 large rectangle buildings. The first one serves as a living/kitchen and dining area and the second one is the bedroom wing. We have two guest huts and as the kids grow older we are adding a hut for each of them. We are totally self sufficient here. We collect our own water and energy; we have composting toilets and put our grey water to good use. The design of our farm means that we grow more food than we need all year round so we always have some food to give away. In fact I just harvested 4 big pumpkins, would you like to take one with you? They make fabulous soup.
L: Thanks, I will. So Jen, you seem to wear quite a few different hats, so to speak. You have your own business which is turning over more than $500,000 pa. You have this farm that you and Chris maintain and nurture. There is the work you do with teenagers, and then of course there is your Sunrider business. How on earth do you manage to fit everything in? I guess you are lucky to be one of those people who are naturally healthy and fit?
J: Oh Liz, I don’t know if there actually are people who are naturally healthy and fit without making that choice for themselves. Would you believe me if I told you only 14 months ago I weighed 132kg?
L: Um, to be honest, no. Are you serious?
J: Sure am. I’ll show you a photo here on my phone. I find it hard to believe myself sometimes. I was morbidly obese, borderline diabetic and taking medication for depression. Now I weigh 65kgs, am in great health and have found out that I love running. Who would have thought eh?
L: Wow. How did you make such a huge change in such a short amount of time? I mean, you don’t even seem to have any saggy skin! Are we talking surgery? You are literally glowing with health, is this secret something you are willing to share with our readers?
J: Absolutely I am happy to share. It is no secret; I am happy to tell anyone who is interested how I turned my life around. You see, I had been overweight for the majority of my life. Four pregnancies and postnatal depression saw me go from about 80kg to 132kg. Everything was a struggle, even doing up my shoes to be really honest. So by 2015 I had been at my heaviest for 5 years. I had tried many times to lose weight but achieved limited and short-lived success, always putting the weight back on with another piece of my self confidence lost.
Then two things happened. I started using Sunrider Health products daily and I did the Master Key Master Mind Alliance course with Mark J and his team. It was a 26-week course with daily requirements designed to show me how to guide my subconscious mind to help me achieve my goals instead of sabotaging me. You see, I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to feel good again but I kept making choices that had the opposite effect. I know a lot of other women who struggle with their health and weight as well. In fact, I have a couple of friends with whom we would talk about how we must be screwed up in the head to keep eating sugar and fat filled food when we knew we didn’t like the result.
Turns out, we aren’t screwed up at all. Most of us just don’t know how to train our subconscious. This was such a light bulb moment for me during the MKMMA. I could now actually train my subconscious to help me. What a breakthrough. After all those years of trying and failing, I finally had the information that I needed so badly. Once I spent the time to learn the lessons that were on offer, the world was my oyster. Making healthy food choices was no longer a struggle or even a conscious thought process. I would just naturally reach for fresh whole foods; I had no desire for chocolate or processed food. Now that is a big turnaround for someone who was eating more than a family block of chocolate every day! You know that old saying, ‘I loved the product so much I bought the company’? Well, I loved the course so much that I am now a guide, helping other people do the course and turn their lives into whatever they desire. It is such a fabulous group of people to spend time with, everyone striving to live a life of purpose. Empowering stuff I can tell you!
L: You mentioned Sunrider. I wanted to ask you about that as well, I have read that you are one of their top earners in Australia. I hadn’t heard of Sunrider before my research for this interview. From what I understand they are quite a big company in America?
J: Sunrider is a very large company with a fantastic profile in America. Drs Chen started it over 30 years ago. The exciting news for Australia is we are now growing incredibly fast here. Instead of spending big money on building a public profile, Sunrider pay their independent business owners really well.
L: That is what you do?
J: It is one of the things I am most proud of actually. The integrity and transparency of Sunrider appealed to me straight away. Basically I get paid for showing people how to feel better. It truly is that simple. I love that the business model is very clean and simple. I can confidently recommend the business to my loved ones, as I know it can be the path to amazing health and financial freedom if they chose to follow it.
L: Without being rude or putting you on the spot, what kind of money are you talking about?
J: Like most things in life you get back what you put in. There are some distributors that only just make enough to buy a coffee or two a week! At the other end there are business owners like me who decided to take this opportunity very seriously and now earn over $80,000 each month. The sky is the limit if you make the commitment to succeed. Unlike some others in direct marketing businesses, I am not interested in building an enormous team. I am only interested in building a team full of positive people who are prepared to follow the steps and do the work to get the results. No pressure selling ever, no cold calling. It is simply about using the products and sharing my story. As a result of skills I have learnt along the way, my team is the highest selling in Australia, even though we are far from the biggest. That is because we are all committed to following the basics on a daily basis, backing each other up and therefore we get results. It really is that simple once you know a few tricks.
L: I can understand how you have done so well because your enthusiasm and passion while speaking about the company even has me wanting to look into it further!
J Laughing: Well, you have come to the right place.
L: OK, for now though I am keen to hear about the work you are doing with teenagers. It was actually a letter from one of the kids you have worked with that initiated this interview. I won’t mention her name as she asked me not to but here is a part of the letter she wrote to our magazine.
‘Being involved with Jen and the MKMMA group has really changed me. I now feel like I can achieve whatever I focus on and I have a self-confidence that I could only have dreamed about before I started. The world needs more people like Jen to stand up and be a leader, to take action and make positive changes for others.’
So obviously Jen you have been doing something good! Can you tell me how the group works?
J: Wow, that is so nice to hear that feedback. I love that we get to see the changes in the kids but for them to recognize the changes in themselves, well that is awesome.
After I had done my MMMA course I really wanted to make it accessible to teenagers so I spoke to our local high school and put together a club. We meet 3 lunchtimes and one afternoon a week for 6 months. There is no cost involved and anyone is welcome to start with us at the beginning of the year but in order to remain in the group they must participate and contribute. We follow the course by Mark J, watching the webinars and doing the requirements just as anyone can but having the group really helps to keep the kids involved and on track. The results have been so heartening. After a few weeks our group has become smaller and that group of kids bonds so well together. They set goals for themselves and for community service and really power ahead with the information they receive. I am very excited for the next few years as my plan is to involve more schools and for the seniors to take up leadership roles within the groups so it becomes a self maintaining situation.
L: I am not sure what you mean by that, can you elaborate?
J: Sure. Say you are in year 10 and you have done the MKMMA group last year. Well this year, you would be encouraged to return as a guide to help the new students get the most out of the course.
Most teenagers and in fact most people, spend a considerable amount of time trying to blend in with everyone else, don’t be better then others or you will be brought down a peg or two. We even have a name for this in Australia for goodness sake, The Tall Poppy Syndrome. My answer to this is a quote from the movie Coach Carter that we say at the end of every meeting. It goes like this:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I know this will sound a little Mary Poppins but just imagine for a moment if we had large numbers of teenagers filled with positivity, wanting to serve others and themselves, I mean what a different world we could have!
L: So you are out to change the world??
J: I am out to help individuals change their worlds for the better, to let them shine as they were intended to do.
L: I wish there was something like that when I was a teenager.
J: Ha, me too! At least now we can put in this in place for this next generation and watch the magic happen.
L: Jen, your energy and passion just flows through you. I am sitting here finding myself wanting to get involved!
J: Perfect, there is room for everyone on this train!
L: Now, we haven’t even touched on your other business so you had best give me a quick description of that.
J: Absolutely. We sell three main products: A jigsaw puzzle case, a home hair styling station and a travel bag for kids car seats. Sounds like a crazy mix of products doesn’t it? You see, for many years I have thought of things that I could make (or have made) to sell. Each time I would get all excited and dream about how this idea would give us financial freedom and yet I would quit at the first tiny challenge of making that a reality. Then along came the MKMMA course and my mindset changed dramatically. So I picked the three best ideas I had and made them into reality. I am very proud to say that we are 100% Australian made. It means we are not the cheapest, but our product standard and customer care is second to none and that is what our customers have responded to. We employ local businesses and people to make our product and that puts money back into our local economy so everyone wins.
L: Now, I hear that you have an unusual common factor in your employees?
J: I decided very early that whenever possible, I wanted to employ individuals that may have found it difficult to gain employment otherwise. The majority of our employees have some kind of physical or mental challenge. Some people are really good at doing one specific job over and over, others have fabulous attention to detail etc. So we focus on each individual’s strengths. The result of this is that we have the most loyal, hard working, fun-loving group of workers who love coming to work each day and they make the best quality products. I call that a win win situation.
L: That does sound great. I must confess that I am exhausted just thinking of all the things you have achieved and get done on a daily basis, do you ever just want to curl up in a ball and sleep for a day or two?
J: Ah, the secret is that if you love what you are doing, it actually fills you with energy rather than draining you. You see, it is exciting for me to do these things; I get such a buzz from seeing people enjoying their life that it helps me enjoy mine. Don’t forget that none of us are getting out of life alive so now is the time to make your dreams a reality.
L: Well, that seems like the perfect place to end this interview. Thank you so much for your time and generosity of spirit. I am a bit sad to have to head back to the city life now.
J: Well, you are welcome here anytime, and don’t forget to grab one of those pumpkins at the gate.
I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Jen. I have a feeling I will be revisiting with her in a couple of years to see what amazing things she is up to by then.