Jacobs is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and holds over a dozen certifications recognized internationally spanning from Strength & Conditioning Coach to Performance Enhancement Specialist.
She taught for 3 years as a very popular Peloton instructor.
Dairy Farm to France to Instagram
In my interview, Jennifer talks about how she went from growing up on a dairy farm. She then found herself living in the south of France teaching fitness classes in person and online.
She recalls, “The freshman 15 definitely hit me. So, sophomore year, I joined a 24 Hour Fitness. I gained access to 5 training sessions and the manager of the personal trainers offered me a role as a personal trainer. So, that is how I got into personal training. And six months later, I was running my own independent personal training business.”
Jennifer discusses how video training has evolved from the time that Jane Fonda and Tony Little did their exercise videos. Now, the training is on your iPad or the exercise equipment.
She says, “The platforms have changed. Now, instead of popping in the VHS of Jane Fonda or plugging in the ’90s DVDs of P90X, we now have platforms. Equipment that have the training on it. So, it makes it even more portable,” adds.
“You can’t take your television with you wherever you go. But now, it’s on your phone, even. You have no excuses,” she says. “You’re also able to reach and motivate more people especially with the use of social media as a combination with video training.”
Personal Fitness Trainers as Motivators
Personal trainers have become personal motivators.
Jennifer says, “Each of my client’s goals become my own goals. Each struggle, my struggle. Each challenge, my challenge.”
On social media, she says, “For a person who’s looking for someone to motivate them, they can now scroll through their Instagram feed and try to find someone who’s inspiring. It also allows you to train in the comfort of your own home. And it provides you with a wealth of knowledge if you find the right people to follow on social media, that they’re educating you on how to better yourself.
“It’s definitely changed the game and it’s really an exciting time with a combination of online training and social media,” she says.
Importance of Overcoming Fear
Jennifer talks about what holds people back from accomplishing anything.
She says, “It could be fear. But it could also be that the fitness industry has become a very daunting place, in the sense that there are so many options, so many diets, so many methods that it becomes a bit confusing for the user.
“So, the person who’s wanting to make that first step, first they have to get over the fear of ‘Oh, I’m going to feel awkward. I’m going to feel bad.’ Any time you do anything new, when you start boxing, if you start jump roping, any new thing you do, you’re going to be a little awkward at it.,” Jacobs says.
Helping People Reach Their Start
At some point, people have to overcome their fears. That’s when they can get started.
“Once you allow your body to adapt, you become better,” she says in our interview. “Once you get past that, it’s ‘Where do I start?’ There’s so much out there. My focus is to really simplify things, provide people with the knowledge so that it’s easier to start.”
Jennifer gives advice to professionals that want to become personal trainers.
She says, “I think the first bit of advice is to have a purpose. I always say to my own clients that you must train with a purpose. Whatever movement it is, there needs to be a purpose to this movement. Same goes if you want to be a trainer, have a purpose. From there, find your voice, find the platform so you can speak. Now with all of the advancements of video training and social media, you have the ability to be as loud as you want.”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act drastically cut the corporate tax rate. But it also introduced the qualified business income (QBI) deduction. The QBI offers a way to lower the effective tax rate on the profits of owners of pass-through entities. These include sole proprietorships (including independent contractors), partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations.
The QBI deduction can prove a helpful tax reduction for those owners who qualify for it. But because it remains a deduction and not a tax rate reduction. So its effectiveness depends on an owner’s tax bracket. It represents a temporary measure in the tax law. And it sunsets after 2025 unless Congress acts. It also can prove very, very complicated.
What the Qualified Business Income Deduction is all about
Some also refer to the QBI deduction as the Section 199A deduction. But it doesn’t really fit the description of a business deduction even though it’s based on business income. And it doesn’t reduce gross income like other business-related deductions. Take for example the self-employed health insurance deduction, and one-half of self-employment tax. It doesn’t impact self-employment tax.
The QBI deduction offers a personal tax deduction based on business income. You claim it on your own personal income tax return as the owner whether you use the standard deduction or itemizes personal deductions.
You get to take the deduction if you qualify for it. But claiming the deduction doesn’t require any purchase or outlay of cash, as with other types of deductions.
Do you qualify for the QBI deduction?
You have to be an owner of a pass-through entity within the U.S. You don’t qualify if your business is a C corporation or if you’re simply an employee who does not own an interest in a pass-through entity. It doesn’t matter whether you are active in the day-to-day activities of the business or merely a silent investor.
You need to have qualified business income (QBI), explained next, and not be barred from taking the deduction due to having substantial income and operating in a certain type of business, also explained later.
What is QBI
Qualified business income (QBI) represents the net amount of income, gain, deduction, and loss from a trade or business in the U.S. But you don’t take certain items into account in figuring QBI, including:
Capital gains and losses
Certain dividends and interest income
Reasonable compensation received by S corporation owner-employees and guaranteed payments received by partners
Then you must reduce QBI by personal deductions connected to having business income, which include:
Deduction for one-half of self-employment tax
Deduction for self-employed SEP, SIMPLE, or other qualified retirement plan
Self-employed health insurance deduction
There are also special rules for the treatment of multiple businesses, the impact of losses, and having rental real estate.
Importance of taxable income
Taxable income governs eligibility for the credit. Owners with taxable income (without regard to the QBI deduction) that does not exceed a set amount, which depends on their filing status, can take a 20% deduction of qualified business income (explained later), plus 20% of qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership (PTP) income. The taxable income amounts are adjusted annually for inflation. This straightforward deduction applies regardless of the type of business you’re in. For those with taxable income over their applicable limit, things are not so straightforward.
If taxable income exceeds the taxable income amount for your filing status, then use the following formula to figure the QBI deduction (subject to additional limits for specified service trades or businesses explained below).
The deduction is the greater of: (1) 50% of W-2 wages (wages paid by the business, including amounts to S corporation owner-employees), or (2) 25% of W-2 wages, plus 2.5% of the unadjusted basis (usually cost without regard to any depreciation) of property that hasn’t reached the end of its recovery period set by law.
Specified service trades or businesses (SSTBs)
If you are in an SSTB and your taxable income exceeds your applicable limit, then the items taken into account in figuring the QBI deduction—QBI, W-2 wages, unadjusted basis of certain property—are phased out. Once taxable income reaches a certain limit, no QBI deduction can be claimed by an owner of an SSTB.
SSTBs refer to businesses providing services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services, investment and investment management, trading, and dealing in securities. They also include any business where the principal asset is the reputation and skill of one or more owners or employees. Of course, every business depends on the reputation and skill of these individuals. Fortunately, regulations say that an activity is an SSTB only if the person receives fees or compensation for endorsing a product or service, licensing his or her image, voice, etc., or receiving compensation for appearing at an event or in the media.
If you’re confused about the QBI deduction, you’re not alone. It’s a very complex write-off. The good news is that your tax return preparer or tax software figures the deduction for you. To learn more about the QBI deduction, check out IRS FAQs, as well as instructions to Form 8995 and Form 8995-A.
ARTWORK: Thomas Jackson, Cheese Balls, Napanoch, New York, 2012. Courtesy of Ellen Miller Gallery.
Climate change is catastrophic for the economy. Moody’s recently warned that climate change will cause $69 trillion in economic damage globally by 2100, even with warming held to only 2 degrees Celsius. In May, the European Central Bank warned of climate risks to the economy, asset values, and financial stability; the longer we wait, the ECB reported, the more it will cost to protect ourselves. Almost 30 central banks have made similar warnings.
This is the cliff fossil fuel companies are driving the world toward, while executives in the rest of corporate America wring their hands. Even the companies that have committed to cutting their emissions have failed to prompt any serious action in one place that matters: Washington. In the halls of Congress, I see firsthand where big companies are putting their lobbying might, and it’s not behind climate legislation. To get us to where the science tells us we need to be, current corporate efforts are not going to cut it. In fact, taken as a whole, corporate America is doing more political harm than good in Congress.
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That’s because the fossil fuel industry still funds a vast anti-climate lobbying and political spending machinery. When it comes to climate action, there is probably nothing to be done about this sector: Fossil fuel interests use their enormous influence to protect a subsidy the International Monetary Fund estimated to be $650 billion in 2015 in the U.S. alone.
The bigger problem, however, is that America’s top corporate trade associations follow the fossil fuel industry’s lead. Such trade groups wield massive power in Washington because of the money they spend on lobbying, elections, and other influence activities, and because of their carefully cultivated relationships with key policy makers.
The biggest federal lobbying spender in the country over the past 20 years — by a factor of three — is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which claims to represent 3 million businesses. For years it has directly aligned with fossil fuel industry positions. The Chamber has spent almost $150 million on congressional races since the Citizens United decision of 2010. In most congressional election cycles it is the biggest spender of dark money (election spending by entities that don’t reveal their donors) and it has been inveterately anti-climate. The Chamber has even run political attack ads deriding politicians for seeking climate action.
The nonpartisan watchdog InfluenceMap has found that the Chamber and another powerful trade group, the National Association of Manufacturers, are the two worst climate obstructers in America due to their relentless anti-climate lobbying, political spending, and other influence efforts. According to the watchdog, the Chamber pursues “wide-ranging strategies to undermine climate leadership and install a deeply pro-fossil fuel legal framework in the country,” adding that it does more to obstruct climate action than the fossil fuel industry’s own trade groups.
With so many economic and scientific warnings out there about climate change, America’s corporate trade associations should be steering Congress toward the safe harbor of a strong climate bill. But that’s not what’s happening now — in fact, the opposite is true.
While the Chamber, in response to pressure from some of its larger member companies, now says it will support a number of innovation-focused bills, it continues to oppose comprehensive legislation to reduce carbon pollution on the scale the science tells us is necessary to avoid the worst of climate change. Most leading economists argue that this legislation must include a carbon fee that would tax big polluters. The proceeds could go toward individual tax credits, assistance to affected industry workers and communities, and funding to help states deal with the costly state-level challenges presented by climate change. In early 2019, I introduced a bill that would do much of this. What’s more, the Chamber continues to use its considerable influence to push anti-climate policies, including litigating in support of the Trump administration’s do-nothing replacement for the Clean Power Plan, advocating for offshore drilling, and supporting the Trump administration’s proposal to prevent environmental reviews from considering climate effects.
The corporations pushing the Chamber to evolve on climate should give it an ultimatum: Support comprehensive policies to reduce carbon pollution consistent with what the best available science says we need to achieve, by a specified date, or we quit. Such a step would not be unprecedented. In recent years, a number of blue-chip companies have left the Chamber, entirely or partly over climate. If the dozens of S&P 500 Chamber members with good internal climate policies collectively considered doing something similar, it is hard to see how the organization could refuse to take action. But the unpleasant truth today is that no American corporation lobbies Congress on climate with any force.
The fossil fuel industry doesn’t have a monopoly on influence. Other big corporate interests with plenty of exposure to climate risk — agriculture and financial services, for example — know very well how lobbying and politics work. In my experience on Capitol Hill, they just haven’t tried to get involved on climate. If they did, by forming and funding new industry collaborations or joining groups like the Climate Leadership Council, the CEO Climate Dialogue, the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, or Ceres, I believe Congress’s priorities would change. The conditions for a successful and comprehensive climate bill would quickly emerge. But they’d have to mean it.
Absent strong action in Washington, we are spinning toward catastrophe. The Bank of England says that “climate change will threaten financial resilience and longer term prosperity,” and the government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac has warned that rising sea levels will prompt a crash in coastal property values greater than the 2008 housing crash. With these predictions and others looming, it is time for corporate America to rise to the occasion and unite around real climate legislation — with or without the trade organizations. At the moment, the corporate political silence is deafening.TheBig Idea
About the author: Sheldon Whitehouse is a United States senator from the state of Rhode Island. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was elected in 2006. In the Senate, he has been a vocal proponent of curbing the effects of climate change.
Trust is the social glue that holds business relationships together. Business partners who trust each other spend less time and energy protecting themselves from being exploited, and both sides achieve better economic outcomes in negotiations. But, how do managers decide whether to trust a potential partner outside of their business? And how does culture influence this decision-making process?
To answer these questions, we interviewed 82 managers from 33 different nations in four regions of the world identified by the World Bank as the engines of the global economy: East Asia, the Middle East and South Asia, North America and Europe, and Latin America. These managers were diverse in terms of gender and age, and they represented various industries and business functions.
We asked them, “How do people in your culture determine if a potential business partner is trustworthy?” Their answers revealed systematic cultural differences in how trustworthiness is judged that have implications for how managers should approach these partnerships. Our findings have been published in The International Journal of Conflict Management.
Although not everyone in a cultural region determines trustworthiness in the same way, the cultural similarities and differences we observed led us to several conclusions, building on the previous work of one of us (Jeanne). The variations we observed — in both the criteria that managers used to assess trustworthiness and the way they collected information to make that assessment — are associated with two cultural factors. The first factor is how much people in that culture are willing to trust strangers in everyday social interactions. The second is what’s called cultural tightness-looseness, which is the extent to which social behavior is closely monitored in a particular culture and violations of social norms are sanctioned.
Here is an overview of what we found in each region. Further below we discuss what this means for managers looking to build business partnerships across cultures.
North American and European Cultures: Openness
Managers from Western cultures told us they generally assumed a potential new business partner would be trustworthy. For example, one respondent from the U.S. said, “We operate under the principle [that] everyone can be trusted until proven otherwise.” Another person from Italy said something similar: “We tend to believe that people are trustworthy.”
Nevertheless, managers in this region also tested those assumptions; “trust but verify,” as one U.S. respondent told us. They did so primarily by evaluating the potential partner’s behavior at the negotiation table: “See if [the] person is forthcoming; ask a question you know the answer to,” a U.S. manager advised. A respondent from Germany explained, “If you have someone who’s pretty open to you, who shares a lot of information, I think it feels like he’s trusting in you, so you trust in him. … If it’s only give, and there’s no take, or if there’s only a take from his side and no give, then it’s not a fair dialogue.”
Managers in Western culture do not rely on a social relationship to ensure trust — in fact, it’s just the opposite. “It doesn’t matter how nice the people are, or how much you like them. If they don’t have enough business, they don’t have enough business,” a respondent from the U.S. said. An Italian manager explained: “You have to separate the personal relationship from the work.”
East Asian Cultures: Competency
East Asian managers described what amounted to a three-stage process to determine trustworthiness. First, they seek information about a potential business partner’s reputation. “In order to trust, we have to know the [person] first,” said a Korean manager. A favored way to do this is to rely on a third-party introduction, which we call “brokerage.” A Japanese respondent explained it this way: “If Mr. B introduces Mr. C to Mr. A, then Mr. A would trust Mr. C, because Mr. A trusts Mr. B. And Mr. A knows that if Mr. C performs very badly, then Mr. B will be very embarrassed, and the relationship between Mr. A and Mr. B gets very weak.”
Reputation, East Asian managers explained, is hard to establish, so people and companies with good reputations are intent on maintaining them.
Meeting the potential partner to test their competency is stage two of the trust-building process. Since it is difficult to explicitly say no in these cultures, East Asian managers seek to determine whether the potential partner can deliver the business. They explained:
“It’s not like [I’m] testing [whether] I trust you, [I’m] testing if you can do it.” — manager from China
“Chinese exaggerate so [you] have to check [them] out yourself. Focus on their capabilities.” — manager from China
“Sometimes people [say they can do] things [that] they cannot do. It’s a big mistake and you lose trust completely [in these people].” — manager from Japan
If the potential partner’s competency checks out, East Asian managers move to the third stage, where they engage in more social, relationship-building activities. A manager from Japan explained that they tend to socialize after the business meeting, so as not to do anything to upset the burgeoning relationship. “[Having a] business dinner after successful or important meetings is fairly typical,” they said.
Middle Eastern and South Asian Cultures: Respect
Respect is the primary criterion we found Middle Eastern and South Asian managers use to judge trustworthiness. Managers from these cultures explained that to expand their businesses they had to work with others who were not members of their immediate family, clan, or tribe. They understood that a potential business partner might not share their values, but they sought out people who at least respected their values. “Show[ing] that you respect their way of living can play a big role in smoothing the [beginning of the relationship],” as one manager from India told us.
Middle Eastern and South Asian managers said that they verify, before they trust. “It’s not, I trust, [then] I verify; it’s I verify first, then I trust,” said a manager from Lebanon.
As in East Asia, managers from this region research their potential partner’s reputation. One respondent from Palestine said, “I talk to other people in the community who might know this person, ask them about him [and] whether I should move forward or not.” This process might include brokerage: “I try to always build [a] personal relationship with my clients. They don’t always become friends, but … when they introduce me to potential clients, my potential clients trust me because there’s someone in the middle [whom they] trust,” said a manager from Turkey.
Negative information at this stage of the process is a signal to move on, but positive information then needs to be confirmed. “You should double-check or ask more than one person…” a manager from Kuwait cautioned.
The final judgment of trustworthiness in this region often comes after a series of social engagements that provide an opportunity to assess respect:
“People go [to] … dinners. … They have a couple [of] drinks. They talk about stuff, life and everything. So they try to get to know each other’s character, and so … decide there whether to trust that person or not.” — manager from Turkey
“We like hospitality, so you should show some generosity, so people feel that … you’re willing to give.” — manager from Saudi Arabia
Latin American Cultures: Similar Values
In Latin American cultures, the social relationship comes first, and the business after. Shared values are the primary criteria for judging trustworthiness:
“Find out if (they) have same values as you do.” — manager from Brazil
“They trust me because they think that I am similar to them.” — manager from Colombia
“If you perceive that there are values that are not shared … that is where you decide [whether] things can continue … or [whether you’re] not really willing to have the next conversation.” — manager from Bolivia
Latin American managers rely on the opinions of others as a first step in determining the trustworthiness of a potential new business partner. The primary focus of managers in this region was weeding out those with poor reputations. A manager from Mexico told us, “If you heard one guy wants to make an alliance with you, and three or four former shareholders say that he’s very corrupt … I think that’s very, very important, because … if he stole from other guys, he will [probably] do it to you.”
Assessing shared values, however, required making a personal connection:
“Before negotiation, engage in social contact — no business talk.” — manager from Nicaragua
“[Small talk] in Latin America is very important…and a good way that we’ve found to do it is by sharing a meal. We try not to talk business. We just get to meet each other … see if we have things in common. Most of the times, we do.” — manager from Mexico
“When you get them talking about their family, about something that they like talking about … even if you try … you cannot hide yourself … for the whole two hours. There will be like five minutes where you’re going to show your true colors, right? That’s what you want to see. … Are they open? Are they transparent? Or are they shady? Are they suspicious? [You want to see] their true self, the one that you’re going to be working with.” — manager from Chile
What Explains the Differences?
The differences we observed are connected to cultural levels of trust and how “tight” or “loose” the culture is. Again, those terms refer to the extent to which social behavior is monitored and violations of social norms carry consequences.
How Do You Assess Trust with Potential Business Partners?
In North America or Europe: Recognize that the test for trustworthiness is openness and consistency at the negotiation table. Be prepared to share business-relevant information regarding priorities and the reasons behind them, and it’s fair to expect the same in return. Accept that a cordial social relationship is a benefit but not necessary for trust between business partners.
In East Asia: Ask someone who has worked with you and the other party to make an introduction. Be prepared to demonstrate your competency to deliver your end of the new business relationship, by showing examples or providing prototypes. Join in post-negotiation social events to celebrate the new relationship.
In the Middle East or South Asia: Understand that respect reigns. Actively seek opportunities to signal respect for differences in cultural norms. Offering or reciprocating hospitality is a good start.
In Latin America: Participate fully in social activities. Be prepared to be open about yourself, your interests and hobbies, and your family situation. Learn about the partner’s business and community, including their family and values, so that you can move the conversation beyond small talk.
Keep in mind that cultural differences are a matter of emphasis. For example, our findings do not imply that respect, which we found to be key in the Middle East and South Asian cultures, is altogether unimportant in Western culture; just that it is more important in Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures. Likewise, our research does not imply that every manager in every country in a region is going to approach the challenge of determining whether you are a trustworthy potential business partner exactly as we described. That said, understanding what is normative in a culture can give you useful information as you endeavor to build trust with counterparts in different parts of the world.
If you want to explore these concepts further and understand how they apply to you, you can join this simulation and webinar taught by Jeanne.
You probably heard the advice for entrepreneurs that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” That phrase is a misleading myth at best and actively dangerous at worst. Making plans is important, but our gut reaction is to plan for the best-case outcomes, ignoring the high likelihood that things will go wrong.
A much better phrase is “failing to plan for problems is planning to fail.” To address the very high likelihood that problems will crop up, you need to plan for contingencies.
When was the last time you saw a major planned project suffer from a cost overrun? It’s not as common as you might think for a project with a clear plan to come in at or under budget.
For instance, a 2002 study of major construction projects found that 86% went over budget. In turn, a 2014 study of IT projects found that only 16.2% succeeded in meeting the original planned resource expenditure. Of the 83.8% of projects that did not, the average IT project suffered from a cost overrun of 189%.
Such cost overruns can seriously damage your bottom line. Imagine if a serious IT project such as implementing a new database at your organization goes even 50% over budget, which is much less than the average cost overrun. You might be facing many thousands or even millions of dollars in unplanned expenses, causing you to draw on funds assigned for other purposes and harming all of your plans going forward.
What explains cost overruns? They largely stem from the planning fallacy, our intuitive belief that everything will go according to plan, whether in IT projects or in other areas of business and life.
The planning fallacy is one of many dangerous judgment errors, which are mental blindspots resulting from how our brain is wired that scholars in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics call cognitive biases. We make these mistakes not only in work, but also in other life areas, for example in our shopping choices, as revealed by a series of studies done by a shopping comparison website.
Solving the Planning Fallacy
First, break down each project into component parts. An IT firm struggled with a pattern of taking on projects that ended up losing money for the company. We evaluated the specific component parts of the projects that had cost overruns, and found that the biggest unanticipated money drain came from permitting the client to make too many changes at the final stages of the project. As a result, the IT firm changed their process to minimize any changes at the tail end of the project.
Second, use your past experience with similar projects to inform your estimates for future projects. A heavy equipment manufacturer had a systemic struggle with underestimating project costs. In one example, a project that was estimated to cost $2 million ended up costing $3 million. We suggested making it a requirement for project managers to use past project costs to inform future projections. Doing so resulted in much more accurate project cost estimates.
Third, for projects with which you have little past experience, use an external perspective from a trusted and objective source. A financial services firm whose CEO I coached wanted to move its headquarters after it outgrew its current building. I connected the CEO with a couple of other CEO clients who recently moved and expressed a willingness to share their experience. This experience helped the financial services CEO anticipate contingencies he didn’t previously consider, ranging from additional marketing expenses to print new collateral with the updated address to lost employee productivity due to changing schedules as a result of a different commute.
If you take away one message from this article, remember that the key to addressing cost overruns is to remember that “failing to plan for problems is planning to fail.” Use this phrase as your guide to prevent cost overruns and avoid falling prey to the dangerous judgment error of planning fallacy.
Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is on a mission to protect leaders from dangerous judgment errors known as cognitive biases by developing the most effective decision-making strategies. His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 400 articles and 350 interviews in Time, Fast Company, CBS News, Inc. Magazine, and CNBC. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training experience as the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, along with over 15 years in academia as a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist. A bestselling author, he is best known for The Truth Seeker’s Handbook (2017). His new book, published November 2019 with Career Press, is Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters. It’s the first book to focus on cognitive biases in business leadership and reveal how leaders can overcome these dangerous judgment errors effectively. Contact him at Gleb at DisasterAvoidanceExperts.com, follow him on Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, on Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and visit https://DisasterAvoidanceExperts.com/GlebTsipursky.