Teacher Turned Entrepreneur Helps Others Get Started in Business

By Erika Engle
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Former teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jennifer Varner of Maui has created a venture that gets other people started in their own turnkey online business.

If it sounds like one of those work-from-home opportunities that shows up as email spam, she assures that it most certainly is not.

She deals with such skepticism all the time, she said.

“We’re not selling success,” she said. “I’m not saying, ‘Buy a business from us and you’ll make a million dollars.'”

What she sells, she says, are “services and education.”

Varner, founder and CEO of, offers business-in-a-box opportunities, education and training on how to run them, and techniques to achieve work-life balance, she said.

“This is hard work. Real work. You work your booty off to make it successful,” she said.

Varner was a teacher of special-needs children when her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

She wanted to be able to be home with their children while he underwent treatment, so she established

Before selling the online maternity and baby products shop, she made mistakes, she said.

“With my first business I owned $100,000 in inventory,” a huge liability if it didn’t sell.

The turnkey online businesses she set up for sale now are “drop-ship” operations, meaning, when a client places an online order, it goes to the vendor who fills the order and sends it to the customer.

“You don’t have to hold any inventory,” which improves profit margins, she said.

She has more than 80 e-commerce sites available for sale doing all sorts of retail, including vintage baby clothing and furnishings, home bar accessories and equipment, boating gear, equipment and accessories, nautical-themed gifts and dozens of other sites.

Depending on which package a budding entrepreneur chooses, the four package options for the services and education will cost $3,900 to $6,900, with the two higher-level packages including more stuff and more help and resources.

Sites offered for sale typically are loaded with 800 to 1,000 items.

For others who want to do their own thing from start to finish, Varner also offers consultation services at an hourly rate she’ll discuss with clients.

Looping back to an earlier point in this column, Varner’s husband came out the other side of his cancer, and Varner too is a cancer survivor.

The experiences led her to establish Killian’s Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides laptops and other electronic gear to children with life-threatening illnesses so they can stay in touch with friends while hospitalized.

She constantly runs across people who have dreams of being an online mogul sitting around and making passive income.

Get all the way over it.

“There is no such thing,” except for the uber-wealthy, she said.

“I’m very passionate about teaching people” and giving them the ability to be their own boss, she said.


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