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Hi there! I'm Molly: small town enthusiast, digital marketer, and mom of 4, passionate about helping local, small businesses thrive. Stick around to learn how YOU can flourish while living and doing business in a small town.

molly knuth

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Telling the Stories of Gutsy, Rural Women with Jan + Erin of TrailblazherCo 

Much like Chik-Fil-A, this week’s episode was a pleasure! Sincerely.

Today on the podcast, we welcome not one, but two guests: Jan + Erin Johnson of Trailblazher Co. They’re a mother daughter duo of multi-passionate women who have developed the grit, resilience, and gutsiness that comes from the ups and downs of being entrepreneurs over the past 24 years in business – together!

Jan and Erin Johnson, Traiblazher Co

As you’ll hear them share in today’s episode, Jan + Erin’s skillsets complement one another so well, and together they love to create and bring new ideas to life. While they love working alongside one another, their true joy comes from sharing stories of rural women across North America.

Through their work at Trailblazher Co, they not only publish a gorgeous quarterly magazine, host a weekly podcast and connect rural women, but they’re inspiring women along the way.  As you’ll hear in today’s episode, we cover a lot of ground, but the common thread is all about telling our stories as women. And how the peaks, the pits and everything in between can help the next generation of women who want to live rural and who want to grow rural businesses. 

This conversation is incredible, and I think you, like me will laugh, tear up, and feel so much joy and gratitude from the lessons Jan + Erin teach us in today’s episode of The Found Podcast with Molly Knuth. 

Key Takeaways

  • “We are storytellers”
  • “We use the word trailblazher because [the women we feature] have that grit and resilience and risk taking and bravery, and we’re astounded, honestly, every week with the women that we talked to and what they’re creating in their life and all the things that they have going on. And despite all of that, they’re so determined to bring their biggest dreams to life.”
  • “It hasn’t been a linear path. It’s been messy at times. It’s been on our knees like, Oh my gosh, what are we going to do next? But that thread that connects us is this purpose.  and drive to make an impact in women’s lives. And where does that come from? I’m not really sure. Maybe it is to grow ourselves into the biggest and best version of who we are.”
  • “No path is linear. No, it just, it just isn’t. And that’s what makes for great stories, right?”
  • “You have to go through some personal growth, some,  sometimes some dark valleys, sometimes you’re at the height of the mountaintop, but it’s in that, that you find yourself, you get even more grounded into your purpose. And then you’ve got these great stories to share with others.”
  • “How many other women have wares or goods like fresh produce that they want to sell and they need help with getting it out there? And so we actually started with, it was called at the time, The Rural Collective, and it was a directory to help rural women list their businesses so that we could find each other and have women in the cities find them rurally.”
  • “Stretch out. Reach out to people who are ahead of you, who could mentor you, help you, advise you, consult with you.”
  • “Every story of every person who you know, they have these same stories of times they tried things. They were gutsy, and they took a chance and they made it took a risk…maybe didn’t work, but it gave them the knowledge to try something else or to pivot just slightly into the thing that made it work.”
  • “Inspiration is at the root of creativity, inspiration, joy.”

More about Jan & Erin

Jan is the connector on the Trailblazher Co team. Her jam is content writing and ideas. Whether writing feature stories for Trailblazher magazine, web content or upcoming course materials, Jan is gifted with a pen! She is naturally skilled at connecting ideas in ways that influence the direction of the company. Jan is also a gifted people person and insightful communicator striving always to acknowledge and draw out the unique and highlight what makes people special (shaped by her 30 years as a lifeskills coach). Jan is fueled by exploring what is possible and bridging ideas into tangible, relevant offerings that set the business apart in this ever-changing economy.

Erin is the innovator on the team. Her passion lies in digital and print design and marketing. And showing the behind-the-scenes on social. She can be found spending most of her time at the keyboard creating a new company website, designing the next issue of Trailblazher magazine or brand graphics for Trailblazher Co. Erin brings the synergy to the team with her team spirit and ambitious goal markers for the next growth stage of the company. Apart from her role in the company, she juggles being a work-from-home mom, and caring for 80+ chickens and ducks, some days she manages better than others. Erin thrives on possibility, on pushing the envelope and creating something that’s never been done before. 

Together, with their tools and programs at Trailblazher Co, they want to help women explore the parts of themselves that are gutsy and resilient… the parts of that have been shaped by life experiences… the parts of that help women to live their life on purpose. If you want to take their quiz to find out what kind of Trailblazher you are, take their quiz here

Resources Mentioned in the Episode

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Hi there! I'm Molly: small town enthusiast, digital marketer, and mom of 4, passionate about helping local, small businesses thrive. Stick around to learn how YOU can flourish while living and doing business in a small town.

molly knuth

Meet the blogger