Married just three weeks, Jennifer Varner’s husband was diagnosed with cancer, given a slim chance of survival and told that children was not going to be a reality. Just a week before her husband was to start chemotherapy, it was discovered that they were expecting their first child. It was a win for the Varner family, overcoming odds and beating the doctor’s diagnosis, but it was just the beginning in a trial of obstacles for which Jennifer Varner would hurtle through, strengthening herself at every turn.
When Varner was pregnant with her third child she decided it was time to forge ahead a passion of hers and start her own ecommerce business. Wanting to stay at home with her children, Varner taught herself what was necessary to begin this new venture. With just $7,000 on a credit card and her kitchen table, she put together an online maternity clothing company that in just one month brought in $7,000 in sales; a year later that same month brought in $100,000 in sales. Varner’s company was booming at a rapid pace, proving to be a successful endeavor in a way that she could have never predicted. The success, however, was not all sunshine and roses.
“It grew too fast,” reflected Varner, who realized quickly that she did not understand how to effectively perform all the tasks at hand and made costly mistakes that brought her family into the throes of bankruptcy, using personal credit cards to keep their business afloat.
“With your first business, knowledge is power, learn as much as you can,” she said. “I was just focused on the things I liked.”
Letting other aspects outside of her personal interests of running an ecommerce business fall to the side, Varner what later learned was the start of a downfall she was luckily able to avoid. Refocusing her efforts and rising above, Varner was able to sell her company in its final hour without losing it completely. It was at this time, when most would have likened Varner’s experiences to failure, where a new project began taking shape. Amidst the trials of saving and selling a company that was beginning to wane, others looking for advice on starting an ecommerce company were approaching Varner, where her mistakes became their education. It didn’t take long for Varner to realize that she loved teaching others and her experiences were not for naught.
“I didn’t want to see other women make the same mistakes as me,” said Varner, who then founded Pure-Ecommerce, a company dedicated to assisting others with little to no experience set up and grow their own ecommerce business.
Pure-Ecommerce basically delivers to its customers a business in a box. Varner and her team acquire a domain name, vendors with products to sell (sought after at various trade shows around the country) and then work one on one with their customers teaching them all aspects necessary for running a successful business.
“The reality is that an ecommerce business is the freest form of entrepreneurship, but it is also a tremendous amount of work,” she said.
While running an ecommerce business may sound appealing to those who love the idea of making their own hours, Varner is quick to be up front about the amount of work it takes for one to be successful.
“People think it’s an easier ride but it requires real work and consistency,” Varner said. “ You’d show up everyday with a brick and mortar store, you wouldn’t close the doors for a week. Consistency is what makes you successful.”
Consistency and choosing an area that has good predicted growth is what Varner says makes for a smoother path to success. Many of her clients come from different educational backgrounds, some with no ecommerce experience at all, but thrive with hard work and the will to steadily learn and grow with their business.
Having found the perfect niche that married both her love to teach and help others with her constant need to create, Varner found herself on a personal upward swing, learning soon after that she was expecting her fourth child. It was during this pregnancy that she was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer. Having endured previous trials of strength, first with her husband’s cancer diagnosis and then her personal financial struggles, Varner felt tapped out of positivity.
“I was mad at the world, I stayed hidden,” Varner said. “I was on the phone with my mom and I told her I just wanted to stay in bed and be a flippin’ cancer victim. And my mom said, ‘You can’t.’ If I gave up on my business, cancer would have taken that as well.”
Pushing ahead once again Varner set goals. She was going to have a healthy baby, double the size of her company and get through it all.
“Cancer inspired me to live really big,” said Varner, who was determined to focus on positivity and take care of her children. “I wanted to leave behind my art, my legacy. I don’t sell success, I sell knowledge and training.”
Surpassing all her goals, beating cancer, raising four healthy children and leading her company to the paths of continued success, Varner found incredible strength in positivity and today leads a living example of a growing legacy of knowledge and determination.
“It’s more than a business of making money, this is leaving something behind, influencing people’s lives,” Varner said. “When you teach somebody and give them knowledge, nothing takes that away.”