Jaime Villalovos is a success story who is teaching others to redefine how they view what “success” truly means.
Growing up in a large, impoverished family in rural Montana, Jaime learned what it was like to be lacking both practical and emotional support. Even as she spent her early years trying to protect her younger siblings, she was dreaming of a better future. She’s built that future with her husband Shawn, and together they have become accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
In her new book Happy and Strong, Jaime offers a heart to heart look at what it truly means to be successful. She shares some of that insight with us in this episode of Trevor Talks.
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Jaime Villalovos 0:00 The key is that you keep moving, no matter how down you are, no matter you want to, like just crawl in bed and pull the covers over your head and just cry in to suck your thumb for a day or two. You just keep even if it's you're not running anymore, but maybe you're just falling today, but you keep progressing with faith. Trevor Tyson 0:19 What's up, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Trevor talks. I'm your host, Trevor Tyson. And I'm so glad that you're here today to join us for this amazing conversation. Today's guests is a powerhouse leader, philanthropist, entrepreneur with an amazing message that I believe will encourage you all to start dreaming a little bit bigger. Please help me welcome Miss Jamie Villalobos. Jamie, thank you so much for joining us today. Jaime Villalovos 0:46 Hi, thank you for having me. I'm excited to be with you guys today. Trevor Tyson 0:50 I'm excited that you're here. And I didn't butcher your last name did I? Jaime Villalovos 0:54 No it was perfect! Trevor Tyson 0:56 YES! I did it. Like, you know, these names out here. I'm telling you, and especially with maybe I'm from Georgia, it can get tricky. You know, I got a little southern accent going. And I'm just glad I didn't butcher that. So excellent way to start the show off right. Now. I get super excited about having entrepreneurs on the show specifically because so many people need to hear what it's like to escape the life that they feel stuck in right now. Right. And especially with your story that I want to dive into like, I think the perfect way to start this out is just like you tell us a little bit about you personally, and some of the backstory of where you came from. Not your full story, but just like an overview. We'll dive into that too, though. Right. Okay. Yeah, Jaime Villalovos 1:38 well, yeah, I've been I've been in business for myself for over 23 years. But I actually grew up in a very tiny little town in northeastern Montana, is actually a town of 325 people. So like, more like a village goes down or something. But yeah, it was very tiny town, very small thinking very rural farming type communities. And I grew up in a little trailer on the edge of town, very poor. And we grew up on you know, food stamps, welfare, WIC, those types of things. And I was the oldest of six kids. And there's a big age gap between me and the middle children. So I felt a very big sense of responsibility to to help them and to be successful. My dad was always in and out of work. And my stepmom had become very ill with the Senate twins, the youngest, and so So I grew up very poor, knowing that there was no money for college. And really, there's no opportunity for women out there it was, there was no jobs even. And I just saw my parents always struggle I saw them try to figure out which Bill could we pay. And, and I saw my parents and then my then my, my dad and my stepmom, divorce because of money and financial pressure in the home. And I just wanted more for my life. And so after high school, I moved to California with the idea of getting a good job being able to pay my way through school, being able to help my family back home. And, and so I started working different jobs, and then finally had enough money to buy a car to get a real job. I started working at a health club in in management and corporate America. And after about four and a half years there, realized I had hit an income ceiling and couldn't make much more money couldn't work any harder, and wanted something that was more fulfilling something that I could put my heart into something that I can be making an impact in the lives of others. But most most importantly, I wanted something where I could control my time. So I didn't have to have a job where everything revolved around that I wanted something where my faith and my family could come first. And I could control my time and my business would just be more of an extension of who I was and what I stood for. Trevor Tyson 3:57 And that's a whole lot different than what we're taught and like public schools and all of the above, like even when you get into college is oh, if you don't have a college degree, you can't do this. You can't do that for you. You didn't have that opportunity. I didn't go to college, a lot of our listeners did not go to college. So college is not the end all be all for everything. We just had. Dr. John bologna from the Dave Ramsey show Come on. And he was talking about the film that they did on the student debt crisis. And there's so many people that are struggling with debt as soon as they get out of college and it's like, for people that are close to me, they're like, Oh, I'm gonna go to college but so they go for a year and they drop out and they've got what $12,000 that are lower in school that they have to pay off and they're still paying off to this day. So like one of the things that I really want to unpack from your very in depth story like God's giving you such an amazing you're walking testimony whether you know it or not. Like when you say that your parents had the like have that discussion about bills. Which one are we gonna pay? Give us some examples? What were some of the trade offs and sacrifices that you actually got to live through with that bill payment thing? Jaime Villalovos 5:08 Well, I mean, I remember waking up. And I don't know if you've ever been to North Eastern Montana in the wintertime, the Alaskan wins cut through there. It's about 30 below sometimes. And I remember waking up and seeing my breath in the morning. And knowing, yep, just waking up and seeing my breath and thinking, Oh, we got, I guess we don't have enough money to even heat the house propane to heat the house. And I remember just how that felt, you know, I remember how it would feel like to go to school and have a little ticket instead of the punch cards like everybody else, because we were on government help, or to go back to school shopping at the thrift store instead. But that morning, that first time waking up, seeing my breath, I went and grabbed my sister's from each of their rooms. And I brought them into the bathroom. And I plugged in a little metal space heater in the wall, electric space heater. And I remember just kind of doing their hair and singing songs with them. To to hopefully make it for them that they don't feel this, they didn't know how bad off we were. I remember seeing like our swamp cooler caving in, or like the linoleum pulling up off the floor, or there was a drawer missing in the kitchen. And you could see the forks and I was like how poor are we we can't friggin just hammer something in there and cover that that drawer. And so I just that feeling of helplessness, sometimes we're in the wintertime, we couldn't get food from the garden, you know, my dad had to get a little pink from a friend, you know, I mean, so that we could eat. And so I just remember thinking in my house, this is not going to be an issue when I'm older, I want my husband and I to make decisions that are best for our family best for our future, not what we have to do right now because of our current financial circumstances. And I didn't want that pressure of arguing about money. So I had this idea of just again, being somehow successful. And being able to be an example to my younger sisters back home, I wanted to make money to help them maybe help them with college, help my own family. But more than that it was bigger than that I want it to be to be so successful that in their mind, there was no doubt that it doesn't matter what we went through. It doesn't matter where we came from. All that matters is where we wanted to go in life. And I wanted to be you know, my little sister's hero that way so that they can pull themselves out of that as well. Trevor Tyson 7:34 How old were you when you started to try to shield them from the knowledge of how poor you actually were growing up? Jaime Villalovos 7:41 No, I think it was always I just kind of it was always there. You know, my dad was always in and out of work, he'd be gone for weeks at a time again, my stepmom had become very ill. My little sisters were my nine year old sister was raising those twins, most of the time because my stepmom was so sick in bed most of the time. Trevor Tyson 8:04 That's, it's incredible. Because talking to you on the surface level, like if we, which we just did meet today, like, you would never know any of this was a reality for you. So first off, like you would never know, meeting you like on the street that you went through all of those circumstances. And then you're a walking testimony of what it looks like to actually pursue something that you feel is greater than you, right? You went through that poverty to realize like, Okay, I don't want to go through poverty, I do not want my kids to grow up in poverty, I'm gonna make a change for myself. But it wasn't just like Benny hand slapped you in the face, or Will Smith at this. And it happened for you. It was a lot of sacrifice, dedication, and really just realizing that God had a plan for you. Because the first thing that popped in my mind hearing this is like, you realize at a young age, like you report and you didn't want to be poor. So it wasn't somebody came up, hey, you're poor, not to my knowledge. It may happen or something. But Jaime Villalovos 9:12 yeah, we knew I knew it. I always do it. Yeah. And you still be poor and happy. You know? I mean, yeah, but what I didn't experience that as much in my household. You know, there was always disruption, there was chaos, there was divorce, you know what I mean? And so that's what I experienced from this. And so it wasn't like, I just wanted to be rich, I wanted to be happy. And so in my in my opinion, you know, success is becoming happy and strong. And that's why you know, the book came out about you know, happy and strong is coming out but it's because it's about people can be chasing big dreams, maybe they want money and maybe want this lifestyle, whatever it is. And they think well what I'll be happy when I'm making this much money or I'll be happy when I'm married or I'll be happy when I have kids or whatever and they happiness is this destination that they're trying to aim at. But that's not the case you can be happy in the journey as well. Right? But I think that when you get there, that not only, like, let's say your goal is to make a million bucks or whatever, well, what's the use of making a million bucks was when you get there, you're divorced, or you know you're miserable, or your kids won't talk to you, or you're unhealthy mentally or physically because you've, you paid too high of a price to get there. Trevor Tyson 10:27 And it's not a price of money, like this episode isn't all about like, hey, let's all be rich, like, exactly. We can have mental wealth, we can have physical wealth we can. It doesn't look like the same thing for everybody. We don't have a blueprint to success, like you said, you could be poor and happy. And if that's you like, Heck, yeah, like you figured it out, right. And so everyone has a goal or two in life that they feel is way too out of reach for them. And from a mental standpoint, and actually starting to pursue those big dreams? How can we connect our big goals and aspirations into the reality that we're living now? Jaime Villalovos 11:05 Yeah, well, I think one of the keys to happiness is progression. You know, I think sometimes we feel so unhappy or dissatisfied, because we feel stuck. Because we are the same as we were a year ago, or two years ago, or three years ago, where we feel like we're going through a rat race, or, you know, I'm saying there's, there's no progression, there's a lack of progression. And so that could be progressing spiritually, that could be progressing in your relationships. But if you feel stuck, you know, then there's this unhappiness that can kind of sit in and we know we, as human beings, we have this capacity for growth. And you know, our God wants us to grow to the best versions of ourselves to be able to contribute in and raise up others and lift others with our gifts and talents. And so when we're not growing, and we're not using those talents, then you know, that unhappiness will set in. And so I think, you know, for me, I happiness is, yes, you're happy in all those areas of life, yes, you can win in business. But that doesn't mean that the price is your marriage, relationships, your family or your relationship with God, faith has to come first. You know, your marriage has to come second, your your relationship, your kids, your family has to come next, and then all of these goals, but you can win big time, and whatever those big dreams are that you have, but also have all those other things in place, especially the wellness as well. You know, I went through some challenges with my physical health, and, and that and I learned a lot from those mistakes, but putting your your mental and your physical wellness as a priority ism is important too. Because if you're not physically or mentally, if you're unhealthy, in some way, you're not going to be the best business leader, you're not going to be the best mom, you're not going to be the best, you know, wife or husband that you could be as well. Trevor Tyson 12:55 Yeah. And when I was going through the book, like happy and strong number one is just an excellent title for this specifically, because your story and the principles that you're teaching, are all rooted from that, right? We all strive to be happy and strong, but what does it actually look like? And especially what you're talking about, even before this, like Jeremiah 17, like, starting with verse five says, This is what the Lord says, Cursed is the one who trusts in man who draw strength from mere flesh, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be a bush in the wastelands. They will not see prosperity when it comes, they will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives, but blessing are Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It is not fear when he comes it's leaves there always green. It is no worries and a year of drought and it never fails to bear fruit. Like if you root yourself and your faith, especially when it comes to this life. We only get one right before you go into heaven if you know Jesus, right? If we wrote it in faith, and I felt so convicted by that, because I'm the first one to admit like when it comes to running the media agency when it comes to doing this podcast, I get ahead of myself and like oftentimes find myself putting God on the backburner. That's just me being vulnerable. I'm like, Okay, I gotta hit this figure, I gotta hit this. I want to get this guest. I wanna have this conversation. And where am I asking God in that and that's me calling myself out. Jaime Villalovos 14:38 Yeah, it's also you're just getting too busy. Yeah, sometimes we want all these big things, but then there's life. You know, there's the kids and there's the business and there's all these things. Plus, there's also all the chaos in the world or COVID hits or, you know, all these other things on top of that, and so, you know, I I've learned to balance you know, and there of course, is no such thing Seeing as perfect balance, sometimes you're gonna have things going on with your family that you need to pay more attention here. Or maybe you have a big goal in business and you're going to tilt this way. But in the book, I, you know, let's really talk about how do you win big in all your chase your biggest goals and dreams, but learn how to balance and not become this, you know, burnt out crazy, miserable media. So, um, but you know, I've gone through this several times, you know, starting up my business, like, Okay, I'm learning all these new things, I'm a little overwhelmed. And how do I do that, and I've learned, you know, from mistakes, you know, along the way of 23 years of, you know, building a business and also through great mentors and examples. But then it's happened other times, like, when I got sick, they told me I had an incurable disease, that I had lupus, and that I was going to be on medication for the rest of my life. And I couldn't have kids anymore. And all these nones, this nonsense, and I learned a long time ago that I don't listen to negative people. So I'm like, that doesn't sound right. There's no cure, you know, I don't know. And, of course, you know, go see a doctor. And I did and I had great doctors, but I remember during that time, feeling, again, the chaos, and there's something wrong with your body. And of course, it's affecting my mental health and with with all of those, those stressors, and I remember trying all these different things, and reading these different books and going to different doctors, and I was sitting in church one, and I'm like, It's not that scripture, but one very, very similar. It made me think of that, and it's like, why am I putting my trust in man? Why am I going you know, all these doctors, I like know what put my trust in God. And so I just set a date to be, you know, I was gonna be healed, and then just kind of leaned, you know, through prayer on that, that I would be led and guided to the right things. And I, you know, cleaned up my, my, my eating habits and worked on my mental wellness, and slowly, you know, about 18 months later, I was cured from this autoimmune disease, I've been autoimmune free for about eight years, but that that scripture that you just read, reminded me of that, because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens your ego view is of your goals are good goals. And I mean, and you, you know, you have, you know, their worthy goals to again to lift others, then you're gonna get help, if you ask, you know, so I, you know, and all those things, even with this new thing with writing the book, you know, the book, it, you know, it's a lot of new, it's a new territory for me that I, you know, have to navigate. And so there's all this new stuff I have to learn every day, that's a little more than normal on my plate. And I felt myself getting a little stressed out, and I'm like, Hey, why am I again, go get the strength, where it comes from, right? And lean on that. And it's all going to be fine. Trevor Tyson 17:40 When it comes to writing a book, like, Was this something that you had on your mind for years? Or did you just get bored one day and decide I want to write a book? Jaime Villalovos 17:50 No, I'm happy and strong was born from the COVID. You know, unhappiness that was happening. Now, I've always been, I guess one of the secrets, I guess, for me, and my success in every area, is I've always been very clear on what I wanted. First things first, you get very clear on the dream life you want, whatever that happy and strong is for you, what you want for yourself, your marriage, your family, the dream life that you want to have, I got very clear on the business, I wanted to build the income, all those things, but I also got clear on again, the life that I wanted, and what it looked like, and I could play a picture in my mind of being able to retire my dad and the things I wanted to do for my sisters back home. So I got clarity on all those things. In my plan, I was going to write a book, possibly, but not till way later into the future when my kids are off to college. And out of my home, I have four little kids, two teenagers, you know, so it's, there's a lot on my plate. Writing a book was not something on, you know, anytime in the, you know, in the near future, but during COVID There was there was so much unhappiness. Trevor right now, we are more unhappy as a nation that we've been in over 50 years. Divorce rates are through the roof, suicide rates, youth suicide rates through the roof, alcoholism, you know, drug abuse, domestic violence, trafficking, all these things are on a rise. And so it's the spirit just kept weighing on my heart and mind that do it now. Do it now. And I'm like, I don't want to do it. Now. I don't know if I can do this. But I had a few less things on my plate because my mom called she's in Austin, Texas. She said, Hey, I'm going to come out on board in quarantine. I'm going to come be with the kids. I'm like, All right. So she was here to help me a little bit like, you know, maybe the drop offs or the pickups and helping with dinners. And so I was able to, to knock it out during that that that short time and COVID Trevor Tyson 19:48 And what an awesome partner to partner with forefront books on this. They've put out so many amazing books with so many amazing people. And with you being the oldest of six kids, I can only Imagine like, the thought of them being like, I remember my sister coming to get me and putting me in from that space heater and look at her now that have this book coming out telling that story and what an encouragement just the family nor the less the rest of the world, how does it feel to put this story out, so vulnerably, for everyone to be able to have access to, Jaime Villalovos 20:22 you know, this this story, you know, it's definitely the story. But there's so many tangible tips on how to create more, I have one chapter on the science of happiness, there's one called creating memories versus getting things done. Really, this is just a small piece of a bigger vision that I have, my vision is to now I have a business plan that goes even 100 years after I pass away, wow, with any of my posterity, any kids, you know, great, great, great grandkids and cousins, if they want to do any charity work, philanthropy mission work that this trust will pay for that. But my, my vision is to touch 100 million people some way, either through the education that, you know, my companies or my team does for families, or through the charity work that I'm doing all over the place, or just helping them to be more successful, or more happy and stronger in their financial future, that they don't have that type of stress in their home or stronger in their faith, you know, so that they have that, you know, to, you know, to help them. So that's kind of this is just again, a small piece of that, but I'm very happy about it. You know, I just remember, probably one of the biggest reasons of my wise, I guess, if you could call it, I remember starting off in business, I was not doing well yet. I was I was not even making $100,000 a year, pretty, you know, kind of in debt a little bit with my first little office. And I was I was in my office. And honestly, I think I even had my feet up that day. I don't think it's ever happened since but you know, it's kind of just talking to people in the office now just being very, very casual. And my little sister Jesse called me, and she was probably about nine. And she called and we were having a conversation on the phone and all of a sudden I heard mommy's dead, mommy's dead. The twins were screaming in the background, and she gets off the phone to take care of what was happening. And I hear all this chaos and the kids crying. And after a little bit, she comes back to the phone. She's like, okay, everything's better now and continues with the conversation. I said, what, what just happened? Tell me what happened is everything okay? And she said, Oh, my mom tried to get out of bed. So her mom has had probably over 50 surgeries. She at that point, the doctors had her put her on narcotics that she had gotten addicted to. And she was bedridden and unable to be a mother at that point. You know what I mean? So my nine year old sister was raising these babies. But she said she tried to get out of bed, I had to slap her and pour water in her face and bring her back to bed. I said, Why don't you call 911. Right. And she said, because they told me not to do that. Because they might take us away. And I finished the conversation with her. Trying not to cry. And after I hung up, I walked down the hall to the bathroom down the hall in our office building. And I just sat there in the sink, just crying in the mirror. Yeah, like mad at myself yelling at myself. And I said, you're wasting time, you're wasting this opportunity. You need to get to work the they are depending on you. If you don't do it, no one will. No one will. And so that kind of was a tipping point for me to have this strong. Why have if I didn't, if I didn't make it, no one was going to take care of them. No one was going to lift them out of that current situation. And so it drove me in business. So it wasn't like this book. I'm like, if my sisters read it, and whoever reads it, you know, I'm sure that they'll be happy, or whatever. But to me, it was it was it was what my story, you know, I mean of how these little things that you can find emotional motivators, not just a business plan, not just a game plan, not just a vision for your life, but so much clarity, and then so much emotional motivation that you can dig deep and find, and then the strength from coaches, mentors, God, you know, like, and you can make it happen, I think that would be my biggest message is like, you know, if I can do it, then you can do it. There's I promise, there's nothing, no special talents or abilities. I didn't finish college in any mean. I just had a big reason to win. And a lot of clarity along the way of where it was going. Trevor Tyson 24:43 Wow, thank you for sharing that. One of the things that it brings to mind is so many of us hit those breaking points. And for you it was like the stress of oh, I've got to help my family. I've got to get them out of this situation. But like for me, I've gone through depression and anxious So my wife and so many of us go through whether it's stress, anxiety, depression, whatever it is suicidal ideation. And we don't know how to get over that hump. Where do you think the motivation for you to actually get over that hump of stress came from? Jaime Villalovos 25:15 You know, there's a couple things, you know, if someone is clinically depressed, obviously, they need to have professional help. You know what I mean? We don't want to dismiss that. But unhappiness, it's just so you know, it's very common right now. It's, it's almost everybody, like I said, Everybody's, there's so much stuff, I think we were like, emotionally worn down with COVID, and with just all these other things that are going on out there. But for me, I just, I know, my biggest thing is my Savior, you know, that he already paid the price for, for all, not only our sins, but when he did that he felt all of our sorrows, which means he felt all of our stresses, he felt all of our hard things. He felt all of our temptations, you know, I mean, and so we can say, well, he already felt that he already went through it. And then in doing so he knows how to succor me, he knows how to help me through this exact hard thing, through this exact challenge to this exact temptation. Through this exact depression, he already felt it, he already overcame it. And he knows exactly how to pull me through it. So he's here, all they have to do is try and he'll fill in the gap. Does that make sense? So So for me, that's, that's the biggest thing. The other thing is I've reached out for support. You know, like I said earlier, clarity is your best friend, knowing what you want. There's a great quote by Mark Twain that says, I can help anyone get anything out of life. I just don't, I just don't know anybody who knows what they want, right? I can't find anybody who knows what they want. And so you have to get clarity, what where is it that you're going, not just what you want, like financially, but there's two of you, there's the guy or gal that is, and the guy or gal that is to be that second version of you. And when you can get clear on what he or she looks like, you know, the type of person the contributions that they're gonna make, you know, like the the type of communicator they are, the lifestyle, like the dream home you want to live in, I don't know, like, for me, I could play a picture in my mind, even when I was broke, living in a tiny little apartment of the dream home I wanted where my kids could ride their bikes out front and not have to worry about any cars driving by. And like, all we could hear was the bird chirping. And so get clarity on what you want. So then it's like, you're running this marathon, let's say, and there's hurdles, there's always going to be adversity, there's adversity is for your good. It's a gift, sometimes from God to help you grow into that second version of you. It's what you need. It doesn't feel good at the time. You're like, Why me when it happens, but it's a gift to help us grow into that second version, right? So if you're running this marathon, and here's the hurdle, the trial, the thing that's making you so depressed right now, when that happens, when the hurdle comes up, it's like this hurdle in your face is trial in your face. And that's all you can see. That's all you're focused on. And when you're focused on where you're at, guess what, that's where you stay. That's where you stay here, you're attracting more of that. But if you can focus on the finish line, the goal, the dream, the things that you want for your your family, your parents, your kids, and you're so excited about it every day, you're trying to move closer to it. So when the hurdle comes up, you're still looking at that finish line. And you say, All right, well, this is no fun. Right? Who? God obviously but who else can I? Who else can I look to for help with this? Who you know, maybe it's a mentor? Maybe it's a friend, maybe someone that you can unload some stuff off your plate? I don't know. But how can I get around this? How can I crawl under it? Maybe this time? How can someone maybe drag me across this one? I don't know. But the key is that you keep moving. No matter how down you are, no matter you want to like just crawl in bed and pull the covers over your head and just cry and to suck your thumb for a day or two. You just keep even if it's you're not running anymore, but maybe you're just falling today. But you keep progressing with faith. Wow. Trevor Tyson 29:15 Mic drop, I think how do you follow that? I mean, wow, like you are a world changer. And I'm just grateful that we got to have you on before this becomes a New York Times bestseller. Thank you so much for taking time out to join us today. And I'm gonna put the links for all of your social media, YouTube and the book in the description below. Where can people find more information about you and what you do? Jaime Villalovos 29:48 Yeah, I mean, I think I put stuff on Instagram all the time. That's you know, at Jaime dot Villalovos. Happy and strong.com website is really good. The book comes out May 17. It's on pre sale right now pretty much anywhere books are sold. But if you're feeling like, hey, I want more happiness, I need more balance, or you just want to get that how do I get to from here to here? Then it's going to be the step by steps of how to do that. Trevor Tyson 30:15 Come on. Well, Jaime, again, thank you so much for being here. And for the listeners. If you are focusing on that obstacle right now. Look a little bit further. There's so much more to life than whatever you're struggling with right now. Believe in yourself. Go after it. Know that God's got a plan for you. We will talk to you soon. Thank you so much for joining us again.
Jaime Villalovos grew up in rural Montana, the oldest of six kids. After she graduated high school, she moved to California, where she met her husband, Shawn. Together, they became successful entrepreneurs and she was a seven-figure earner before the age of 30. They are active philanthropists, serving on the board of the All For One foundation, as well as antibullying and children’s wellness organizations. They are also very active in their community. Their passion is to help people reach their biggest goals while finding true happiness. They currently live in Southern California with their four children. Jaime loves reading, working out, and traveling the world on fun adventures with her family.
The Happy & Strong mission is to touch 100 million lives through the education, philanthropy, and leadership efforts of Jaime and Shawn’s team.