Boss Lady is a series by Social Stylate that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Recently, we spoke with Jess Lively, the brains behind a life and business with intention. Put simply, Jess helps clients define their purpose in life, business, and space. Her “What I’m Learning Wednesday” e-mails are filled with useful knowledge regarding life and business. It’s always a thrill when her e-mail pops up in my inbox. I am thrilled to speak with Jess as she shares the secrets behind her booming business.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a consultant and writer living in Chicago with my husband and pup, (Ben) Franklin. I help people design lives, homes, and businesses with intention through consulting, live workshops, and design projects. It is a pretty varied career day-to-day across each area, but I love what I do and feel grateful for the chance to get to serve others in these ways.
You started a jewelry business at the age of 15. What prompted you to close shop after much success and how did you decide to turn your passion for helping people into a career?
Quite simply, the goal was never to run an accessory company for the rest of my life. I actually knew when I started the business that it was a vehicle for me to support myself while doing what I was meant to do: help people design lives with intention. When I closed the shop last year, I did so because my intuition told me to. It was a surprise to me at first, because I never ran it with any end date in mind. But once I heard that voice in my gut tell me to close it, I looked at the numbers and realized that my purpose-filled career was pulling in the same income as the accessory business, which meant I was able to shift all my attention on what really mattered while still meeting my financial obligations.
When it comes to deciding to turn my passion into a career, I didn’t really ever look at it like that as it happened. I simply gave as much as possible of myself and my purpose on my blog for free. Along the way, people started to ask for the consulting in the business and life areas, so they came naturally. The workshops were bit different because they weren’t requested, but I saw them as an extension of that one-on-one advice I was already given in a live group format. In addition, my design services actually happened because I received requests in that area as well. So really, by giving a ton of time and attention to others for years on the blog, my career naturally blossomed.
What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I think that my gut is my biggest source of inspiration on a daily basis. I do as much as possible to listen to that voice inside of me that has the wisdom that I need in order to do what I am mean to do in the present moment.
I also find The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to be the foundation of my life and principles. I do as much as I can to live out those seven habits in the book. When it comes to creativity, I get a lot of inspiration from other blogs that I read or business owners that I know.
What was the most successful form of marketing for your jewelry shop and what works best for you now?
For the jewelry business I found in-content mentions most effective on larger blogs with huge readerships. Sidebar ads and giveaways were also effective a few years back (more so than they are now). Now, I simply spend my time writing for my blog and do a spattering of column writing for other, larger websites. But really, people find out about me on my blog or features about my business or home on other blogs.
What would you recommend to those looking to start a business?
I could say this over and over again, start where you are and just keep going! I think a lot of people get too caught up in trying to make a ton of money right away, before honing their craft, delivering value, and cultivating an audience. And while that can work, I believe that natural prosperity emerges when you put service first and allow the path to be shown.
I also recommend getting connected to other business owners in some way and asking for help from friends or professionals, if needed.