Life is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

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Executive Summary – Gerrie Barnes

B.S. in Education / Minor in Psychology
M.A. in Counseling

Educator – English, drama, journalism, business, relationship sales

Business Owner

New Concepts Employment Services
Barnes Ranch Equestrian Services
Progressive Horsemanship – Education and Equestrian Services
New Concepts – Consulting - Business Services – General Business and Equestrian Business


Athena Award – Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Business Leader of the Year – Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce
Horse Person of the Year – Colorado Horse Council
Riding Instructor of the Year – 2016 – Certified Horsemanship Association

I’ve owned three successful businesses. I retired from full time employment when I was 47 years old – selling a successful business for just shy of $1 million.

Just like many of you, I started out my life in a working class family.

I was a C+ student in high school and my guidance counselor suggested that I stay in the general track and work in the service industry. Although my grades were mediocre, my goal was to become a teacher. I loved my 2nd grade teacher and wanted to be just like her. I was the first child in my extended family to graduate from college with a B.S. in Education – with a solid B average.

I taught English, drama, and journalism for awhile and loved helping the students grow and learn. Life handed me some lemons – stumbling blocks – and I picked my head up and decided to get an advanced degree. While living in England and having a baby, I earned my MA in Counseling – with an A average.

I tell you about my education because it taught me a life lesson for being successful. I didn’t get any smarter on my journey from a C+ student in high school to a B student in college to an A student with an advanced degree. This is what I learned: Show up; have goals; work hard. No magic. No luck. Not being particularly gifted or having parents to make life easy for me.

Life did another 180 degree turn. I picked my head up, made an assessment of my strengths, and got a little job with a new employment service franchise opening in Tucson, AZ. I had never studied business, but I was good with helping people. I quickly became the manager. Corporate took notice and offered me a job – with their office building right on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale.

I didn’t have any business education or experience. I showed up, had goals, and worked hard.

An opportunity presented itself in a nearby small community of 20,000. I assessed my strengths and took a leap – opening my own employment service. I didn’t have experience starting a business or what it took to own a business. Yes, I showed up, had goals, and worked hard. But I also had to deal with competitors – large national and small business companies who wanted my market. I had to set myself apart. Again, I made a personal and business assessment. I chose to set myself apart by becoming very good at not only my business, but my ablity to advise my clients on legal issues and difficult employment issues. I spent my time and money getting certified with SHRM as an SPHR – the highest level of human resource professional. I attended lectures, went to symposiums, and researched employment issues including liability, law suits, federal and state employment laws, workers compensation, wage and hour laws, drug testing, and employment testing.

I customized my services to meet the specialized needs of each individual client company. I had to add staff and raise my fees. To my surprise, my client companies were willing to pay a higher fee for services that they valued - even when my competitors offered lower fees.

My employment service gave me the opportunity to work with many different industries and management philosophies and styles. I sat on several boards of directors and earned the Business Person of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

And I learned about ethics. . . about the guts it took to do the right thing. About walking away from bad business deals or people who did not understand that win/win was the best approach to customer retention. I learned the value of helping my clients reach their goals. In return, my business flourished.

After 10 years a national competitor offered to buy my business. I made the relatively easy decision to sell and retire.

Needing a hobby in my “retirement”, I chose horses – something I knew nothing about. I bought my first horse; took riding lessons; and joined an adult drill team. Never one to just have fun and relax, I researched the equine species, worked with veterinarians and farriers to expand my body of knowledge, and became a certified riding instructor.

Making it financially in the horse business is difficult. There’s a joke that horse people laugh about and begrudgingly know is true: How do you make a million dollars in the horse business? Start with $3 million! In 5 years I built my Colorado horse business to being financially successful and earning the 2012 Colorado Horse Council’s Horse Person of the Year award.

Life handed me another lemon. I moved to Houston, Texas, picked my head up again and made lemonade. In 2013 I opened up my third business, Progressive Horsemanship. Knowing the dance steps to starting and building a business, I fairly quickly established a student base in a specific horse industry niche. A horse accident caused me to close that business. In 2016 I received the Certified Horsemanship Association's prestigious award - Riding Instructor of the Year - from among the 3500+ national and international riding instructors.

I’m taking the knowledge and experience that I have gained throughout my three careers – teaching, business, horsemanship – and combining it to provide an umbrella of services under the name, New Concepts.

My new business has a simple mission: Helping people and businesses reach their goals.

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