With smiles and sound effects, Elder Jason and Sister Lindsey Bliss spoke to students on Sept. 5 during the semester’s first Entrepreneurship Lecture Series. Throughout their address, students learned Elder and Sister Bliss changed the direction of their lives so they could be new Entrepreneurs in Residence at the Willes Center.
In addition to the couple hosting each weekly Entrepreneurship Lecture Series, the Bliss’s said they want students to talk to them about their goals. They added since they are still investing in companies, they want to consider the ideas students have and what direction they want to go.
“We [started] a business with the 200,000 dollars we had, which was a great amount of what we had in the bank, and turned it into a 200 million dollar company in 10 years. It was an amazing experience, but along the way we learned giving time is the greatest pension. We are here to give our time.”
Willes Center Academic Director Jason Earl also shared his thoughts on how the couple is committed to BYUH and its mission. “They left their home in California. They moved here. They are invested.”
Jango Bazar, a sophomore from the Philippines majoring in business management, said he is grateful the Bliss’s came to BYU-Hawaii on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I feel so blessed and thankful to be in the place where people come and serve for free to help us become better. I appreciate those missionaries who gave their time and talent to help others and inspire me to do the same someday.”
During the lecture they shared moments in their lives that shaped who they are today. Due to Elder Bliss’s mission in Japan and Sister Bliss’s experience of meeting local people in places like India, Israel and Vietnam, Sister Bliss said they do not see the world myopically.
“The world showed Jason and I the broadminded, ever-reaching love of all our brothers and sisters. Ultimately, we found, regardless of a language barrier, culture, race, religion, sexual preference, social status or what kind of breakfast you ate this morning, that beneath all of it there was brotherly kindness that makes us a world family.”
Another experience the couple discussed was a trial they faced with their son. “We were faced with a mighty affliction when our son, Preston, was diagnosed with a kidney disease at age 2. Preston, who is here today, has had to fight for his life numerous times with us fighting just as hard.
“Regardless of how our lives parallel, one thing is for sure, we will all experience hardships — some more comfortable and others life-altering,” said Sister Bliss.
Although the Bliss’s said this was a difficult part of their lives, Preston’s illness is what gave birth to the idea of their first company.
Sister Bliss explained their son would scream and was frightened by doctor offices, but when he was given in-home care, “the difference in his demeanor was heavenly.” The couple decided they could get behind this type of a business and they created the Healthy Living Network.
According to the Healthy Living Network’s website, their mission is “to provide the highest quality of personalized in-home healthcare services with kindness and compassion.”
“Life will only become more complicated as we age,” remarked Elder Bliss. “Some of you might even have the opportunity of starting your own company and understand what we referenced as chaos earlier. Regardless, we need to remember to slow down.
“Slow down long enough so we don’t miss the moments that matter the most. A child urging for our attention when our phones consume us. A spouse that feels a disconnect when work takes precedence.”
The Bliss’s also shared with students some suggestions they had, naming their tips “Bliss tips.”
“Choose the right partner,” stated Elder Bliss. “You can have the most talented, proliferate partner in the world and still fail if you don’t have an eternal partner committed and interested in what you are doing entrepreneurially.”
Entrepreneurs should also know the people in their companies who seem invisible, added the couple. “From the lowest-paying job to the seven-figure salary, create a culture of seeing those that feel invisible.
“See the value each individual brings to the company. Know their names. Thank them publicly. Thank them privately, and when you think you thanked them enough, thank them again.”
Bazar said the Entrepreneurship Lecture Series keeps him motivated to continue to fulfill his dream.
“It’s my second time taking this class, and there are always new things that you can learn from every speaker. Keep learning even if you fail, don’t give up, ask for help and talk to God and other people that can help you. Learn to take the risk, and just do it.”