Jeff Benedek on Anxiety and Being a Fashionable Entrepreneur
Jeff Benedek was close to earning his MBA and working a great job when he physically couldn’t stand anymore. He discovered internet marketing. His story.
Thanks so much for doing this interview, Jeff! We’ve known each other for awhile now through Facebook and I’m excited that I get to really hear your full story now. So, let’s get started!
Where were you born and raised, what was childhood like, and what did you want to become when you grew up?
I was born in chicago but moved to the suburbs right before I started 6th grade….so about 11. I guess I had a normal childhood. I had a few friends I played with a lot. I had a dog who lived with us for 16 years. From first grade until after I graduated college. I liked to read a lot and watch cartoons.
My childhood kind of influences my interest in fashion. Before 12 I had no clue about fashion. I didn’t even care if my stuff matched! In Chicago even though we lived in a nice neighborhood and my parents weren’t poor, kids didn’t wear expensive clothes.
It was very different when I moved to the suburbs. All the kids wore cool clothes from the mall and all I had were clothes from Kmart for the most part.
So, in seventh grade I got really into clothes and dressing like the cool kids. My grandmother and aunt taught me how to match my clothes and how to put things together. My aunt even bought me a pair of air Jordan’s for my birthday.
As a kid I was really smart and always did well in school. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer but when I learned more about the profession I decided it wasn’t for me.
I went to a private university and majored in finance. I did well and graduated magna cume laude. I wanted to be a banker or work in a company’s finance department as a financial analyst.
It’s funny. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. In college a lot of my friends wanted to be financial advisors (stock brokers). That didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t like the idea of not having a set wage. Look at me now lol.
What did your parents do for a living, and was there any Entrepreneurship in the family?
My father worked in a hospital lab and my mother was a nurse until we moved to the suburbs and she became a stay at home mom.
The only entrepreneur in my immediate family is my uncle. He started a company that made parts for Volkswagen beetle’s in the 70s. It grew to making all kinds of auto parts and is quite successful.
He and my aunt still own the company and work very hard everyday. I didn’t really learn much about running a business from him as I only saw him a couple times a year.
You were on your way to earning your MBA, what happened?
I was on my way to getting an mba but it was at a hard time in my life. I was working in retail and had recently injured my back along with other health issues. I tried classes at a couple different schools both online and in person. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do well.
What were your first two years like in internet/network marketing, what was the biggest lesson you learned, and what is the best advice you have for new marketers?
Well, I tried a lot of companies until I found my home. Got scammed a couple times. I guess I learned to trust my instincts.
For new marketers I’d say always remember it takes a lot of time and work to be successful. Even if you do the exact same things as someone who’s doing very well you might not get their results. You have to adjust things to fit you.
Also if someone says you’ll make a lot of money quickly and easily stay away. It’s not true and there’s most likely something that’s not right about that opportunity.
What does fashion mean to you, and how did the fashionable entrepreneur begin?
Well fashion has a lot of importance to me, but it’s not the most important thing. Fashion has been a big boost in my self esteem. I had awkward stages growing up, but if I was wearing a cool outfit I felt good about myself.
I know the industry gets a lot of hate for promoting unrealistic body images and that it’s damaging to people’s self esteem, but I think it’s the opposite. Models are what is considered the ideal body type at the time, but we’re all not like that. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you.
Fashion is about the clothes. Anyone will look better and feel better if they are wearing a well put together outfit. Fashion is also about the art and designers showing us how they want the world to look like.
The Fashionable Entrepreneur doesn’t really have a great creation story. I wanted to do a blog about fashion and entrepreneurship and that name was my second choice. My first choice of a brand name was being used by one of my senior business partners.
How does network marketing and fashion work together? Do you need to buy a certain item each month to stay active as a distributor?
Well I work with the only luxury fashion network marketing company, global wealth trade. Www.gwtcorp.com/flywithjaebek.
Basically when you join you get an online mall to sell the company’s products and you can also build a team. No monthly autoship or purchase is required. You just choose a level to join at and you can begin promoting the products. The higher levels cost money but they give you a shopping spree to choose some products that are worth more than what you pay.
I love your blog! When did you start blogging, how many posts are on the fashionable blog, and what is your traffic like?
Thanks. I’ve been blogging on different blogs since 2012. I actually first started writing for examiner.com on luxury fashion in Naperville il. I think The Fashionable Entrepreneur has well over 100 posts but I’m not sure.
It’s mostly fashion with some marketing and mindset.
I don’t get a lot of traffic.
At most, 1000 visitors a month, but I have a pretty low bounce rate and the average visitor stays for a couple minutes according to Google analytics.
What are the 3 best tips for optimizing your blog and getting more traffic?
Hmmm. I don’t know a whole lot about this. I guess writing great content regularly and letting others know about it. I get some search engine traffic but never know what keywords they search for. So I just write what I think people want to read.
What is your favorite platform right now for generating leads, and can you tell us how you use it?
Well I use Facebook to network and talk about my business. That seems to work good for me. I’ve been doing that since I started online. For a couple months I was getting a couple leads a day on autopilot from Twitter, but Twitter changed so I can’t do what I was doing there anymore.
I read a personal post you wrote on FB the other day and I was humbled by your honesty. Can you tell us how you personally know depression and anxiety, and what can someone do if they have anxiety or depression?
Ok well I was officially diagnosed with depression in my junior or senior year in high school. I was officially diagnosed with anxiety right after college.
I was told that I had both all my life after the doctor asked some questions. It honestly never caught because I thought everyone felt as bad as I did. I thought it was normal to be really sad a lot or get really nervous and worry a lot.
During my first job when I was in banking I was having panic attacks a lot. At the time I didn’t know what it was. Back then I thought something was wrong with my heart because it would race a lot, so I went to the doctors office.
She had a feeling it was anxiety and gave me some medicine and recommended a clinic where I could talk to someone if I needed to talk to someone more often than once every couple months.
So I ended up seeing a doctor there and after a while he told me I was all better and that I didn’t have to see him anymore. About 8 months after that I had a major panic attack and went to the hospital.
They told me that I would always have anxiety and depression and that I would always need to see a doctor regularly for it even if I didn’t have symptoms because I could feel fine and it could suddenly hit me. They gave me a new medicine that really helped more than the one I had before. I haven’t had any major issues since then.
They also told me I shouldn’t be working and that I should apply for disability. I did and got it after a couple years. So I have some money every month but not enough to live by myself.
I do internet marketing because that’s about the only thing I can do to work from home somehow. I want to eventually be able to make enough from my business to cover all my expenses and not depend on my family.
If you feel sad most of the time or worry and feel anxious most of the time it’s not normal. Tell your doctor about it so he or she can advise if you need medication or therapy.
Society places a stigma on any form of mental illness, but it’s not your fault. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain that is treatable.
Don’t feel ashamed for seeking treatment. It’s like if you have a cold or allergies or a heart problem. You wouldn’t feel ashamed to go to the doctor or take medicine for that. It’s the same way if you feel anxious or depressed. Just talk to a doctor so you can start getting well.
Also a lot of people have some form of anxiety or depression. Just because I need a lot of treatment and can’t work a regular job doesn’t mean that will happen to you. A lot of people have anxiety and or depression and lead typical lives.
What is your favorite book right now and why?
Well I read a lot, both business books and novels for pleasure. Right now I really like Go Pro by Eric Worre. It gives a lot of good advice about internet marketing.
What are your goals for 2017?
- Consistently make $10k a month from all my businesses by the end of the year. Nowhere near that yet. That’s actually one of the first goals I set for myself when I started with my first internet marketing company.
- Achieve a 28 inch or less waist. I know that sounds extreme but that’s what my waist size was up until a few years ago. I was really lean. I’m also short so it doesn’t look too thin on me. I’ve also talked to my Dr. And he said there’s no reason I can’t do that and I would still be healthy if I was that lean as long as I lost weight in a healthy way.
- Move to San Francisco to be with my fiance and plan our wedding.
What is your favorite quote and why?
Oh I have a few. I’ll tell you a couple of the more amusing ones.
One is from the devil wears Prada. I can’t remember it exactly but here’s a paraphrase. Nigel was talking to Andy and said something like, Fashion is greater than art because you live your life in it. Just goes along with what fashion is to me.
Here’s another. “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Marilyn Monroe
This one just reminds me of myself at times. I know I can be tough to live with, love, or be friends with at times but when I’m at my best I’m amazing. I think a lot of people could say the same thing too.
Thank so much for this powerful interview, Jeff!
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