Lalanii Wilson Jones Talks About Healthcare, Business & Her Book
Lalanii Wilson Jones is a woman who wears many hats. She runs a business called Mogul 24/7 which is home to a bevy of brands that she holds ownership of. With so many companies underneath her belt, it’s a surprise and peaks sheer curiosity as to how she is able to balance life as a whole. I sat down with the entrepreneur, her publicist Kayla Tucker Adams and Brand Manager Trea Davenport for some input on her journey, upcoming book, the myths on home health care and the romantic relationship of the successful woman.
I understand that you run 12 companies, is that correct?
Well, I do have multiple brands and some divisions fall under each brand, so I do. I have my finger on a lot of things.
I see most of your businesses are in health and wellness. What made you go into the field?
Well, I grew up in the health care business, so it was an easy route for me to go into. I’ve been in health care since I was roughly 13 or 14. My mother was a registered nurse and that was the business that she went into, so I learned a lot from her and her partner at a very early age.
You started out as a start-up company. How hard was it to build up?
Well, it’s always been hard as a start up because the biggest challenges in establishing a new business are money and how you’re going to create what’s needed with limited resources, so a lot of times you do have to start on a different level, but it’s a lot of work and you have to be willing to put it in.
Did you ever think that you would be down the road of philanthropy and entrepreneurship?
I did know because I grew up with my mother, so it wasn’t hard for me to transition to that. What I didn’t know is how wide my brand would become and how much it would branch out. I did not anticipate that.
Let’s say that you took an alternative route in your life. What do you think you would be doing if you wasn’t running a business?
I wanted to be a broker on Wall Street. (laughs) I wanted to be an attorney or a broker. I went to a university in New York for a little while when I first graduated high school and I love the whole East Coast vibe, the hustle and bustle, and for some reason, I thought that being a economist or a Wall Street broker would be the thing to do. I just wasn’t that great with math, so those dreams dwindled quickly.
You featured your Kanvas Skin Care line at Essence Street Style. What was that feeling like?
That was an amazing feeling. It had been a long time coming. Kayla and Trea have worked very hard to secure that activation. We had tried to do some things for the Essence Festival in New Orleans but we ran into some kinks. However I’m so glad that Nicole Arceneaux from Essence kept us in mind and has a natural affinity for us, that led to us being able to participate in this installment. I’m grateful for any opportunity to build with Essence and other national outlets. It’s always an amazing feeling when you work on projects where you might think “This is never gonna work. This is never gonna happen. Nothing is gonna break,” and finally things come together, my Kanvas Co-Owner Thai Morrison and our team are truly humbled that we did get a break.
Does Kanvas deal with people of color or is it for everybody?
Well, certainly, it’s geared towards people of color because me and my partner Thai are women of color. We deal with a lot of hyper-pigmentation issues, but it’s for anyone across the board. The ingredients are the key to the product and we have awesome ingredients and you get awesome results. Our product suite runs the full gambit, meaning we have a complete medical grade line, an anti-aging line, pore control and a bit of everything. Normal to dry, whatever your skin conditions are, we can address that.
You deal with people with eczema, too?
Explain what Mogul 24/7 is about.
Overall we offer a lot of business advice and development nuggets due to our success and building my business profile so that we can not only thrive and generate revenue but create teaching opportunities and seminars. Eventually, that is the goal, to start host massive conferences and seminars. Mogul 24/7 is the umbrella of everything. There’s Altrust Home Health Care, Tender Hands Home Health, Stepping Stones Urban Child Development, Briar Patch Learning Center, a Hospice service, Koffee Day Spa, which Kanvas is a subdivision of. I also have artists under Mogul 24/7’s entertainment division, where we represent prominent talent like Sacci Racci.
People of color, we do not have much when it comes to healthcare. How critical is all of this in the Black community?
It’s very critical because we are under served in the Black community. I think that we as a people don’t see how underserved we are. My clientele in Dallas is primarily Medicare/Medicaid mix, but I do take some private insurances. Home Health Care consists of skilled nurses, social work and primary care service for non-skilled attendant program that is paid by Medicare. It’s a waiver based program from the State, and we do offer that. We are now venturing into hospice, which is acute care for the terminally ill. Hopefully, that will do well and our community will definitely benefit from my comprehensive and compassionate program. I do my best to get the word out on the industry, I spoke at the Motivated Moms retreat in Dallas, as part of a panelist group on self-care, making sure that the whole person is healthy, so what I cover is nutrition, including medical visits and following up with the physician, making sure that you are taking care of yourself on a whole basis. Nutrition, exercise, doctor visits. If your wellness includes going to the spa, getting that massage or facial whatever it is you need to do to stay healthy and take care of yourself as a whole, is what you need to be doing.
What are some of the myths about home health care?
I think some of the myths are that it’s not beneficial when it is because it’s an extension to keep you out of the hospital. Let’s say you come home from the hospital and you’re on home health. If you have a good team in place, they’re gonna prevent you from going to the hospital. Everybody knows all insurances have cutbacks so when you are at home, you are getting the best health care. The other thing is that home health care, in the sense of nurses coming to visit, it’s intermittent care. it’s not designed to be a long-term care program, so you may stay on a few weeks to a few months, but it shouldn’t be something that you’re on for years unless you have a chronic illness.
What about people that are looking to enter the home health field as a profession and a way to expand their income?
In the profession, they need to be prepared to drive and be committed because it is different from working in hospital, so if they are a nurse of therapist, they need to be prepared. It’s more independent versus being in a clinical environment where you’re there, do your work and then you leave. You have a little leeway as far as getting your documentation, bu some of the problems that we see on the back end is that the clinics don’t do their documentation daily. Whereas when you’re in a hospital the nurse comes and does the documentation right then and there.
You’re also coming out with a book.
Yes, It’s been a long time coming. I’m excited. We are working wrap up the book this Fall. It’s gonna be dynamic and most telling.
The name of the book is called Sugar Mama. Can you give a little synopsis of it?
I can’t drop too many nuggets, but what I will say that it’s based about my life, and how I ended up taking care of a husband that didn’t contribute financially and when things didn’t go his way, how we tried to play me and ended up playing himself. What I realized at some point is that he wanted a “sugar mama”. During our tumultuous and sometimes even comical divorce I saw him for who he really is. The book tells how I was used as a woman, as a female, as a breadwinner, and it’s just a cautionary tale for women.
Do you feel that a lot of professional women go through the same thing that you went through?
Kayla: I think that, I’m gonna interject here, that is a side that really flips the tables of women that are a lot more aggressive, business-wise, these days and we create our own opportunities, so we have a lot of opportunities for high levels of success. Even in the corporate lane, they do very well, get promoted well and producing situations where women are the primary breadwinners in their homes, so I do think there are cases where the role are reversed in traditional and it can cause challenges, and there are, unfortunately, some men out there that want to be kept vs. in the past, where you hear about women being kept.
Lalanii: From my perspective, there are women from all cultures and all over the world. I was at the Atlantis in the Bahamas this summer, by the pool with a woman who was telling me about her divorce, her marriage and how her husband took her for a lot and she was just like “I’m so glad I’m out of it,” and so I can relate. The thing is you don’t harbor the grudge. That’s the most important thing, that and maintaining your self respect.
But on the flip side there are some men who are intimidated by successful women. I had a conversation with a few friends of mine who told me that some men like their women “dumbed down” in order to date them. I was intrigued by it. What is your take on that?
I think some men would like their women “dumbed down” and they would definitely rather you be basic. A brother really close to me told me that his “next wife is gonna be a Walmart cashier that I don’t care about anything.” He was married to an architect with a very powerful job and he just felt like she never loved nor respected him for what he did. I can definitely see it. I heard it, but fortunately the men I deal with as far as my personal relationships, family wise, they aren’t like that. The wives are successful women and they aren’t intimidated by them, so I know it’s from both ends of the spectrum.
How do you find the time for yourself while managing all of these companies?
There’s really not a lot of personal time. I’ve come to accept that. I do have kids, so I try to have, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a normal life, but I do try to have somewhat of a family life. It’s not your typical come home from work and chill thing, but it is the life that we structured, it works for us and I’m grateful for it.
Kayla: To elaborate on that a little bit, Lalanii does a great job of balancing business and pleasure. She may book a suite at the Dallas Mavericks game where her guest will be a mixture of her clients and her family. She is a season ticket holder for the Cowboys so she may tailgate and combine an elaborate party where she entertains business colleagues, family and friends. So she is maximizes the opportunity to still do business and spend time with loved one, but make no mistake about it-she’s always working. How are you able to manage multiple successful brands? I put leaders in place that are able to run the businesses. I just have to keep my fingers on the pulse by doing weekly meetings.
What was the first piece of advice that was given to you that you remember?
I’ve had a lot of good advice. My mother, when I was small, wrote in one of those journals. I don’t know if you had one of those when you was a kid, but everybody used to have a journal when I was little and it had everybody write something in it and the thing that she wrote was “Try, try, try, and if you don’t succeed, try again.” That was when I was about 6 years old. I always remembered that.
What would be your advice for somebody who’s an aspiring entrepreneur?
If they are truly ready to get started, I say go for it. You do have to be prepared to work. People think having your own business is easy, but it’s not because everything revolves around you and it’s a reflection of you, so you have to be willing to work 10 times harder than if you would go somewhere else for a paycheck. So, go for it. Commit to it, get into it 150% and do what you have to do to make it successful.