Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello and welcome to being boss,
Emily Thompson 0:05
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.
Kathleen Shannon 0:08
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.
Jessica Lauren 0:11
I'm Jessica Lauren and I'm being boss.
Emily Thompson 0:17
Today we're talking about rejection and resilience with Jessica Lauren. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot bien boss
Unknown Speaker 0:27
Kathleen Shannon 0:30
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Emily Thompson 1:27
Jessica Lauren is the creator of lifestyle blog and business and no real jewelry calm. She is an actress living in Chicago trying to balance being balls while still chasing after her dreams of being a working actor.
Kathleen Shannon 1:41
Jessica has so excited to have you on being boss, so much for joining us. Thank
Jessica Lauren 1:47
you for having me. I've been listening to you guys since 2015. Like every episode when you slid in my DMS about coming on. I like was crying I have to send you guys a video of me like literally crying to my mother like they asked me to come
Kathleen Shannon 2:07
in I asked you I wanted you to come on the show. And maybe I ended up following you after you followed us on being boss. I don't remember how I came across you but I came across your blog. And I was really trying to like get back into my groove with being postpartum and trying to find my style again. So I was just trying to find all the style bloggers and really figure out what's my style again after having a baby and really just trying to freshen it up a little bit, I guess. Anyway, I came across your blog and your style and it really super resonated but then beyond that, following your creative journey was super intriguing to me. So let's start there. tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and the work that you do and your creative entrepreneurial journey.
Jessica Lauren 2:56
Okay, it is a journey so get ready. So um, I came out the womb like singing, dancing, acting, just being a complete ham. My mother is an artist she can draw do fashion illustrations saying cook. She's just a fabulous woman. And so I just grew up in that environment. So from day one, I was in tap class acting class like I was always in a creative environment. I wound up going to high school in Detroit is one of the best high schools ever is called Cass Tech. And I met my mentor Marilyn McCormick. She just won a Tony for being an active teacher in Detroit. So she is a heavy hitter.
Kathleen Shannon 3:39
So was this high school like fame? Is it this kind of like fame arts? Okay, well, this
Jessica Lauren 3:44
was a it was kind of like college so you had to test to get into it. We had a aerodynamic computer engineering curriculum, performing arts like it was just as huge as 10 floors. It was this insane institution. Like to get an A you have to have, like an A was 92%. and higher, like 90 wasn't cutting it.
Unknown Speaker 4:05
That was it was a scandal.
Kathleen Shannon 4:09
I remember hearing
Emily Thompson 4:09
about schools like that whenever I was in high school. I would not have been an A student if I had been.
Jessica Lauren 4:19
The standards were high. It felt like college. It was horrible in a good way.
Kathleen Shannon 4:25
But did you know that you wanted to be a performer like I did. It's hard enough for some kids to figure out what they want to do starting in college writing in high school.
Unknown Speaker 4:33
Unknown Speaker 4:33
your tracks early. Tell
Jessica Lauren 4:35
us a little bit about that. That's all I knew. My family like really bought into me being a ham like my mom was a single mom. She got divorced when I was like eight, and she had to raise three kids by herself. She worked like three jobs. So she'd be like, Listen, you're not about to go outside and play. They're all fast shooting. You could come in here and make a play. Let's put on a play together. Let's sing songs. So like she kind of pushed my sibling When I had to be creative, because I don't think she had the money to buy like toys, or she was scared of having us played outside in Detroit, it was really bad at the time. So I think I knew early on, because that's all I knew. So Performing Arts, it was in high school, and I did that got into college, went there and got my Bachelor of Fine Arts. And it was a rigorous, rigorous program, graduate in 2006. During I don't know if that was the height of the recession or the beginning of it.
Kathleen Shannon 5:32
I mean, I feel like it's been happening since
Jessica Lauren 5:35
life started, there was a recession. But I graduated and I'm like, I got my Bachelor of Fine Arts. I am a method actress. Where's my Oscar? Like, Oh, yeah. And I was really fortunate enough, like, the minute I stepped foot out of graduation, I got an agent, which is totally unheard of. So I'm really like, come on, y'all. Where's Hollywood? Let's do this. Why didn't that happen like
Kathleen Shannon 6:04
that? Okay, we got an agent while you were in Detroit or
Unknown Speaker 6:08
Chicago. Okay. So yeah.
Kathleen Shannon 6:10
An agent? Yeah, no, it's okay. I
Jessica Lauren 6:15
went to school in Illinois. I went to Northern Illinois University. And I got my agent. And as soon as I like, graduate, I'm going on a huge auditions in Chicago. And if any movie or sitcom you've seen that has filmed here, I've audition for it. And I never booked ever. I graduated in 2006. And did not book my first commercial until 2015. Oh, boy,
Unknown Speaker 6:44
yes. Nine years of rejection.
Jessica Lauren 6:49
So let me talk about that. So the audition process. So your agent will send you an email. Hey, Jessica, we got this audition is for the small movie is called divergent. They're gonna be paying 30 million, whatever, you see all the zeros. So you go in audition. And if they like you, you'll get a callback callbacks. I always got them after the callback and the callback your audition in front of the executive producers, the directors so this is huge. Your agent will call you and say hey Jessica, they really liked you if they like you. You're on hold and being a home on hold means that the network is making a decision on you the executive producers are making a decision on you like it's a long list of people deciding for nine years I was on hold for every I can't get a white castles commercial like so I always heard for nine years I heard the story you're good like but you're just not good enough. And that was horrible. I didn't know so for that nine years,
Emily Thompson 7:57
was it continuous? Did you take a hiatus like you stopped like nine years of continual going at it and
Jessica Lauren 8:04
nine years of continuously going I'm talking like Empire, just any show. Chicago met all of those shows. I would go get the car back beyond home and be released. Like it was to the point that my agent called me the on hold queen. I'm the on hold Queen of Chicago.
Emily Thompson 8:24
That is some beautiful persistence.
Unknown Speaker 8:26
I just sanity or
Emily Thompson 8:31
Unknown Speaker 8:31
There's fun there.
Kathleen Shannon 8:33
Okay, we get into some mindset stuff. How did you deal How did you emotionally and mentally and even maybe, what kind of habits and routines do you put in place to keep going?
Jessica Lauren 8:46
I think watching my mom just be a single mother and raising three little kids. I'm like, I kind of come from this heritage of just doing it even when you don't got it. So I think I just had that mindset of just like, well, this is what happens as an actor. Let me just keep going. But I definitely was depressed. I definitely want to be like screw you acting. You're not working out for me. And kind of the minute I kind of backed away from it is when I started booking like I was on Chicago PD and I got a McDonald's commercial and I got a Chucky cheese. Like it just started opening up once I stopped being so like, I gotta make it I'm gonna make it so I think just Okay, so then tell us about that. What
Kathleen Shannon 9:31
was your big break in 2015? What was that like? So
Jessica Lauren 9:34
that was the Chucky cheese commercial. And I got that. Yeah. I got that in December of 2015. But I started the blog in May of 2015. And so I'm like, oh, wait a minute. I can give myself permission when I get to create Hold on. Now. Wait, I was having to audition to get permission to be creative. But once I said started creating my own lane. I was like, I like this more. So for those months, I was still going to auditions. But I was kind of like, I still want to blog like that, that felt better to me. And I think again, once I kind of stopped being so desperate for acting, and I had something else kind of getting my attention, things just started falling in my lap kinda.
Kathleen Shannon 10:22
I don't know. Nice. Okay, so I have a question, then how are you paying the bills? Okay, those nine years,
Jessica Lauren 10:31
I paid the bills by wiping kids butts. I worked at a preschool for those nine years. And I've worked in the six week, six week old baby classroom and until they were like a year and a half. So I did that for like the first seven years at that daycare center. But I was always still trying to audition. And like that last year there my boss was like, why don't you work in the kitchen. If you work in the kitchen, you can cook their breakfast, cooked their lunch, and then for the rest of the day, do whatever you need to do, and then come back and clean up. So I would leave go to an audition then I would act at medical schools and Chicago Med schools hire actors to be called to do standardized patient work. And you're basically like, acting like you have tuberculosis or you're acting like your dad is about to die, and they have to break the news. So I was hustling. And I worked for a production company. So I was like touring with these shows like these random shows. I was working at hospitals witnessed students. And I was changing poopy diapers. And I was a barista at a tea cafe. So I was doing everything I was doing. Everything's
Kathleen Shannon 11:48
a lot of skills in those nine years.
Emily Thompson 11:50
I know we can change a diaper, I could change my life.
Kathleen Shannon 11:53
That's amazing, like a special skill section for actor. Things like where like you're like I know how to drive. You're like I know how to make a cup of tea.
Jessica Lauren 12:03
Yes. And change a diaper with one hand while holding another baby. And I can do that.
Emily Thompson 12:10
That's amazing. I so I want to hear though, when you decided to start your blog. So what was what have brought that around? And how did you begin your site.
Jessica Lauren 12:20
So I was definitely starting to become bitter with acting, I was starting to kind of get depressed because to hear is I almost wished I never got those callbacks or that I was never on a hole. Because then I know like I kind of suck. But to know, like, I'm actually doing a good job. And I'm not getting rewarded for that. That was not clicking in my head. For some reason. I was like, Wait, what? anywhere else, you work hard, and you get something in return. The theater business film business is not like that. So I work for a production company. And we tour for months on end, which shows and I was collecting all these hotel points. My computer was on a fridge. So I bought a computer. And I was with my hotel point. So I kind of got it for free. And I was like if my Instagram is already cute, why don't I start a fashion blog. So I started doing that. But then I would kind of talk about the depression and the anxiety and I would get letters and text like girl, I'm going through that too. And I was like this boats awakened up some form of purpose. Like, that feels better than me learning lines. Like it just it was just like I'm helping people I was. So that's how all that started is just I got points. And I was like, I just want to be cute. But then it the more I'd like was transparent and real about like emotional struggles. And people responded well to them. Like let's do that.
Emily Thompson 13:46
This is such a great lesson for me. It's so many of the people we talked to struggle so much with blending the professional with the idea of how much of themselves should they share. And I find that if people are sharing none of themselves, at least, at least in the creative entrepreneur world, then you have to you have to sort of give in that way in order for people to know how to receive it. Right. And so I love that you doing that allowed you to receive in ways that you had not previously been able to exactly
Jessica Lauren 14:21
It was amazing. I kind of found out that I was this three dimensional woman like I had only been a performer and to find out like, I'm good with photography. I know about flat ways and branding kind of turns me on. It was like, Oh my god, I'm a real person. Like it's more to me than just this layer that's been with me for so long.
Kathleen Shannon 14:43
Right? Because you know, almost in a way being an actor is being a two dimensional PR Yeah, that's not even your person. It's like how do I fit into this headshot and into this role? That isn't even mine is
Unknown Speaker 14:56
not even me.
Kathleen Shannon 14:58
But I have a couple of questions like having Follow your Instagram. I remember two things super impressed me and it's always in your stories. So you'll have to tell tell our listeners real quick what your Instagram handle is they need to follow you route
Jessica Lauren 15:11
is no real jewelry. And that's the name of the blog. My grandmother used to always buy me and my sister like diamonds and gold jewelry and I just wanted to fake stuff. So that's where that name comes from.
Kathleen Shannon 15:26
No, no. So I was following you on Instagram and two things came up probably I feel like almost within a week of each other. I could be wrong on that. One was you were on set of like a Sesame Street. Yeah. And I knew that you were an actor. Yeah. He was like, hold up. Are you on Sesame Street? And then you were like, no, I work for a production company. So tell us a little bit about that work. And are you still doing that?
Jessica Lauren 15:51
I am still doing it. So. So about, like 2008 ish audition for a Nickelodeon show. I booked that. But literally after one leg of it, it fizzled. But the production company was like, Hey, we really like you. How would you feel about being a crew member? And I was like, I don't care. It just pays the bills. I won't have to change diapers. Yes. So the production company works with different networks and children's brands and all kinds of stuff. So they'll email me and say, Hey, can you be gone for 20 weeks? We have this tour. Sometimes I'll add sometimes I'm the crew sometimes I'm a producer on it. So I still do that. That's mostly my main job now is that in the blog, all that other stuff by the grace of God is like leaving.
Kathleen Shannon 16:41
Okay, and so no more poopy diaper? No more. No real jewelry and no more people. Yes. And so then the second thing that really stood out to me on your Instagram is whenever you did a story and you were like you guys, I need to tell you something. I got therapy today. Oh, yes, opening up about those struggles. But it was almost like you did it in a way that's not floodlighting, your audience. Yeah. I don't know if it's just your general enthusiasm for life or like positivity that you just typically exude. But I think that there's a fine balance between sharing who you are, and floodlighting, the people that you're sharing to and floodlighting is a term that Renee brown uses in some of her books, where it's like, you're just turning a bright light of whatever despair or just things that are too intimate, and it goes beyond vulnerable and into intimate. So I'm curious how you ride that line of being real and keeping it real. But also, you know, maybe not, not going too far. Or I guess I'm curious, like, where your boundaries are with that?
Jessica Lauren 17:46
Yeah. I've never really had a problem with telling my business.
Emily Thompson 17:54
Maybe the same.
Unknown Speaker 17:58
Jessica Lauren 18:01
I don't have a problem with transparency. And it's my belief that we like kind of go through crap to help somebody else that's in crap. So I've always just been like God with this little platform I have of like, 2000 followers, like, help me help someone else out. So that day when I was like, I think earlier that day, I was like, Oh, look at me, I'm so pretty. And I was like, EFF that. therapy. Okay, my boyfriend just broke my heart. I had went through a sexual assault, like two or three months prior. And I was just trying to handle did that just blow my HR? I think I just did.
Unknown Speaker 18:39
Kathleen Shannon 18:42
17 we got to talk about this.
Jessica Lauren 18:45
So I was just like, screw that. Because my Instagram looks so pretty. And it's like, it's always gonna look pretty, because I like pretty things. But I was like, I feel so gross just being like, okay, when I'm about to head into my therapists office, and I was like, depressed and crying every day, and I couldn't, it was so bad that when I was driving, I couldn't even see where I was going. It was a mess. So I was like, why don't I tell them the truth? I'm also going to therapy. I do it every Monday, it really helps me out. Gosh, come to if you need help. And I don't I don't know if I answered that question. I don't have a problem sharing. But I did it in my own time. Like no one knew that any of that stuff was going on. It wasn't four months that I was like, hey, by the way. So I think
Kathleen Shannon 19:35
that's the trick is like doing it in your own time. And I feel like it always comes across like boundaries are crossed whenever you don't feel good about what you're doing, right. So as much as I wanted to share even about some of my struggles with having postpartum depression, I just wasn't ready and I felt like some people thought that was a disservice to them. And maybe even I thought it was a disservice but at the same time I wasn't ready. And now I can talk about it. Because it's behind me, it's not going to affect me anymore in the same way. So I think that that's two things is like time and then your own confidence around talking about
Jessica Lauren 20:11
Yeah, yeah, it just wasn't taught, I be like, maybe today is a good day to share or write about it and be like, nope, but that day, it just was, and in the black community therapy is synonymous with like, witch doctor or is just such a big taboo because we're supposed to pray about it. God got our back, you don't need therapy. So it also is to help my readership is predominantly African American women to just be like, you can still slay you can still love God, and but you can still go to a doctor when you need help, like it does doctors. So it was important for me to just like, share, like, Hey, I'm going to guys. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Emily Thompson 20:52
Yeah, and I feel like sharing in the right time is whatever the key was sharing online these days where so many people overshare before they've had time to actually process anything into words that will actually help anyone. Right. And I think that is kind of the key to about or but the key between there the key to differentiate between I guess oversharing too early and repelling everyone because everyone's going to think you're another sharing in the right time when you're ready with the words that have been have been crafted to actually help people or even just help yourself because honestly, that's those just as important if not more so. So I do think that that piece is super important with with sharing personally online, you don't have to share things in the moment you can wait, you can wait until you're ready and you have the words to to say to actually help others not turn everyone off to whatever it is you're going through.
Jessica Lauren 21:51
I agree and that's where I think a lot of those posts and deletes come from is out of like sheer emotion and like crap. Why did I put that out there? Delete it's like just chill just wait till the delete button. Thank God.
Unknown Speaker 22:05
Emily Thompson 22:05
and I feel like that's a that's a discernment. Everyone should practice I think a little bit more. Yes. Knowing when to say the things. Yeah. And when they exhibit, right and when to not say
Kathleen Shannon 22:20
I practice zipping it. I was off Instagram for like five days. Yes. I got real quiet. Okay, I want to keep I want to talk a little bit more about your blog and starting your blog. But I want to hang on to acting for just a second more. I'm curious to hear with being an actor in Chicago. And that nine years of being on all bliss. Did you ever think about moving to LA or New York or somewhere? I mean, tell me a little bit about that.
Jessica Lauren 22:50
That was the plan. Like when I graduated college, I had a college sweetheart. I was packing my bags to go to New York, but he was like, I love you. We'll get married. Stay here. So I stayed. And I was always like Mecca. Like I have to get there. All of my friends move there. And they were like booking like crazy. But when I was living in Chicago and was barely scraping by and a smaller market, I was like, it was always in the back of my head. But if I was on hold in Chicago, to me, it didn't make sense to leave. Like it was like, I can't make it here. So I prayed. I was like, God, if you want me to go to New York and LA make it happen, make work send me there. And that's exactly what kind of happened. Once I got with a production company. I would work in New York, and I would work in LA, but I was home in Chicago or just I was on the road. So it kind of worked out. But I always wanted to move until I didn't until I started going there. I was like, Oh, this doesn't feel like home. This doesn't feel right. But Chicago did. But I definitely want it to go. I was just like, that doesn't make sense sleeve. If you're not even doing that. Well here. Right? Negative Nancy?
Kathleen Shannon 24:05
No, you're literally in a holding pattern. Okay, so you've talked about God a couple of times. Yeah. I wanna ask you how faith plays into your business. This is something I think about a lot is kind of like letting go and letting God versus the free will of the hustle. So like, how do you balance hustle with faith?
Jessica Lauren 24:24
Um, I can feel when I'm doing too much like, I'll be like hustling and tired and I got to get it done. And my body is just like, bro, just sit down, like, chill out. And I think that's God has been like, I've got the rest like I've always felt like I need more followers I need to do it was working so hard for it. But I'm sitting here with you guys and I don't have all of that. I've I got sponsorships for companies that told me no as an actor. They sponsor the blog now. So I was just like, that wasn't my doing that was God kind of like connecting those dots. I just, I just do the work and try to just like, chill out when I need to stop, and it's really been working out for me. Alright, let's,
Kathleen Shannon 25:08
let's talk about the blog a little bit. So you started a blog in 2015? Which yes feels like, you know how, like, if you're going to be a ballerina, you got to start when you're
Jessica Lauren 25:17
Yes, that's exactly
Kathleen Shannon 25:20
like you're a little late to the game. Very late real. So tell us about that.
Jessica Lauren 25:26
Oh, it's so funny, because I think I was 30 when I started. And I think one of my friends told me that she was like, you're not gonna make any money. You're too Oh, it's oversaturated. And I was like, Yeah, but this is for me. It wasn't for a while that it turned out to be for everyone else. So I went to a conference recently, and some of the girls was like, 22. And I was like, I'm 32. And I was just like, whatever. But yeah, definitely felt that like, I might have jumped on a bandwagon late, but it's been working out. So
Kathleen Shannon 25:59
how much time a week do you spend on the blog? And how much I want to say like, how much money is it making you but like, maybe percentage of income? Like are you able to play with it?
Jessica Lauren 26:09
Um, I could, but I'm afraid to use it yet. So it's his nest egg like the sponsorships. I get I'm trying to I just say that I don't touch it. So it could pay a bill or two is not paying no rent yet, but it can definitely pay a cell phone bill. Okay. Well, Bill, but I've just chose not to. Yeah, I don't know why I just like no, I'm scared. It's such a just yet. I mean, it pays to run itself. But whatever. And acting Chicago PD paid me so well. And it wasn't supposed to. And I think that's also kind of the whole guy universe thing. I was like God, if if I want to try this, because I put in like 40 hours a week. I hate to say that out loud. But I work hard on it. Because it's video on the blog. Yeah, on the blog, I have like an hours tracker and I track it. I'll clock in at like seven in the morning. I'm done at three because the production company is is loosened up my schedule where I could kind of do this all day. And the production company, I get paid lump sums of money. And I was like God anyway, I need to make money. But I need to focus when I'm doing audit stuff. I can't make good stuff. So if I work really hard, can you provide the rest? Sure enough, I book Chicago PD, I was only supposed to make like 1000 bucks. But I had to film over the course of two weeks, it wound up being 1000s. It, it just blew my mind. And I think it was just because I like asked for something big and it didn't make sense. But the universe is like I Well, she asked for it. She's working hard boom. So I'm trying to get to the point where it's kind of full time me, but it's not there yet. Definitely full time work, though.
Emily Thompson 27:48
Right. And I also really love the idea of letting this be as organic as it can be. I feel like whenever people turn their creative side hustles when they very intentionally flip the switch from Lego just kind of making money that I can just tuck away or whatever into this is now a business model that must pay my bills. A lot of the magic disappears whenever you make whenever you flip that switch. So I love that you are just sort of even in a holding pattern with that in the moment
Unknown Speaker 28:17
Emily Thompson 28:21
Right? But doing it just because it's fulfilling and as much as you can. Because I think that whenever you do that you open yourself up to opportunities that you close yourself off to whenever you get super intentional about a business model. And yeah, and
Jessica Lauren 28:38
that's I was starting to go into that direction. Because you know, when you're starting off, you're like, I need to listen to being Boss, I need to listen to this person. She said, do a webinar. And I was just like, that sounds crazy. Like it was just like too much. So I was trying to go that route. And it just wasn't working. And again, once I stopped, people were kind of contacting me. And I was just like, Okay, let's do it this way. And I'm still figuring it out. I don't know what I'm doing. But I'm just working hard. And
Kathleen Shannon 29:05
I think all of us feel that way. One thing that I wanted to mention, though, is that your blog looks like you spend 40 hours a week on it. And I think that so many creative start projects, thinking that it might be easy like I had asked me Would it be easier to start a podcast and a blog? And I'm like, none of it's easy. None of it takes a whole lot of work. Yeah. And I feel like you're a shining example of how you take a passion project. You create habits and routines like you're clocking in for eight hours a day or whatever it is 40 hours a week. You're making it do and you're still paying your bills doing the other dream, which is acting even if it's not the kind of acting that you thought it would look like like you don't, you know, maybe you're not running around on the set of divergent. You're running around on the set of Sesame Street, right is that work. And I think that's just kind of the work ethic I saw in you through your Instagram. And also it looking beautiful. And also you keeping it real, that really super inspired me.
Unknown Speaker 30:11
Thank you, Kathleen.
Jessica Lauren 30:15
You ladies honestly inspire me, I think I started listening to you guys right at the beginning. And just hearing like, you guys will be like, you need to create systems. I'm like, what does that mean? But hearing that rhetoric from day one taught me how to have discipline like, Alright, I need to hammer stuff out, I need to do the work. Emily, you're always like, just do the work. And I always quote you, you're like, comparing yourself as just procrastination or whatever that is,
Emily Thompson 30:43
like drop moments.
Jessica Lauren 30:47
So I owe a lot of it to hearing people like you. And like Tara more you guys had on the show, I listen to plan bit all the time. And it's really helped me kind of look like I'm bigger than I am. You know what I mean? Because I've just heard this from the beginning like to be about my biz, you know?
Emily Thompson 31:06
Oh, I love that. And I love the thing you said a second ago about systems and discipline, because that is exactly what systems are in so many ways. It's about discipline and just forcing yourself to do the thing. So that you get that end result every single time. I might take that one.
Unknown Speaker 31:24
Is yours, girl.
Emily Thompson 31:28
Kathleen Shannon 31:29
Okay, I have a question kind of about blogging, or even podcasting. You're living in the online world right now. Like you've moved into this online business. And I'm curious to hear from your point of view, what you feel like is missing in the online world right now? Like, is there anything that you're like, I wish there was more of this or even creating your own blog? Was it because you're trying to fill? It sounds like it was sparked from a place of creativity? Yeah, but what do you feel like maybe your blog is trying to fill that just isn't happening enough.
Jessica Lauren 32:01
Um, I was always looking for somebody to say they were dealing with anxiety to or dealing with fear as much as I was, and I couldn't really find it. So I was definitely trying to add that element. But I also like when we get to hang out in real life, kind of like, when I get to hang out with the readers, or some of my Twitter friends that I met, like, in real life is like, Oh, my gosh, it's good to see you, as opposed to like writing, like now, like, I get to see you, but I see you only on Instagram. So it's cool to just like, be around this community you kind of built or are part of, but I definitely in the beginning was just looking for somebody to keep it like kind of real. I couldn't find a real I was looking for,
Emily Thompson 32:50
if that makes it? Yeah. No, it totally makes sense. And there's something that we're seeing a pattern of definitely is this idea of, you know, people have loved the online world for
Unknown Speaker 33:01
what a whole decade.
Emily Thompson 33:02
Yeah, yeah, whatever it may be. But but there is this drive to get offline and back into like actual hugs, and face to face chats, and all of those good things. So So I completely agree with you. I think there is, I think there is or I think the Internet has taken away some of the joy of actually being in the same physical space with people. Because I would much rather be recording this episode, like sitting at a table
Unknown Speaker 33:33
with you is
Emily Thompson 33:36
you know, over the Internet,
Jessica Lauren 33:38
right? Like because of the internet I have to wear glasses now. Like that's how much looking at my phone and the screen is like affecting my emotional being in my eyes. I'm like, I think
Emily Thompson 33:50
but it's flatter from sitting here in my chair. Trying not to pantsy I think my my office poof is flattening My gosh, I'm so I'm totally with you totally with you. And hanging out with friends has never made my backfill flatter.
Unknown Speaker 34:08
Kathleen Shannon 34:12
Okay, so I just want to kind of go back to like the Instagram and everything being so polished and pretty. And you do like, that's why that's kind of like what initially attracted me to your Instagram is that you had great style, and it was inspiring. And then what kept me around was that realness that you were sharing in your stories. And so I feel like I've kind of touched on this in our conversation already. But I just want to really dig into how you balance that keeping it real with the style and the pretty. You know what I mean? I know exactly what you mean. Because I was started looking at my Instagram feed. I
Jessica Lauren 34:50
was like, Oh my gosh, it's so beautiful. But that's not my real life. Like that's not what it looks like. I think it's always gonna look Pretty because I just like pretty things and I like editing and flatlays and all that stuff. But I try to balance it with my captions. I try not to post anything kind of frivolously, it'll always just be like, Hey, girl, today's a new day, let's get up, let's go make it or I feel like, I don't know, I just still try to balance it by just saying how I truly feel. And it doesn't have to be negative. I could just be like, so excited about today. But I definitely was starting to get worried like God, and let's just pretty, and I'm not even like that in real life. Like, I'll dress up. But I also like, no makeup, the same pajamas for the past five days. So I tried to like do more Facebook Lives where I'm like talking and people can like see my personality and my newsletter, I get pretty vulnerable in there. This past when I was talking about like why you can't tell people your business all the time. Like why do you have to keep like your vision guarded. And I talked to them about like, how a few friends like blogging is oversaturated. So I try to share like real stuff in the newsletter and on camera because the Instagram, I can't not make it
Kathleen Shannon 36:10
Emily Thompson 36:11
Yeah, I agree with that. I think there's a place for everything. And because I'm the same way I see my Instagram feed as like an art project. Yeah, like, I show my life possible. When I say it out loud,
Unknown Speaker 36:28
right, right. Like,
Emily Thompson 36:30
I don't see for me Instagram as the place where I need to share anything heavy, or anything like negatively heavy for sure. But I do think there are places where you can be can be more vulnerable and least less pretty. Like your newsletter or even your blog posts, or in those one on one conversations. I have no problem saving some of my actual feelings for my actual interactions with the people that I actually know. For sure, yeah. So I love that I agree that there's sort of a place for everything. And Instagram doesn't have to be that place or the place that you you can have a place that you designate as just pretty, right.
Jessica Lauren 37:13
That's definitely it for me just a pretty little collage, huh,
Kathleen Shannon 37:18
yeah, idea to have different platforms really serving different needs. And it used to be like, even two or three years ago, the kind of content that you're sharing strategically, as far as kind of not where it's not like overlapping, like on Instagram, you're going to share this. And on Facebook, you're going to share this and on your blog, you're going to share this. And to me, I don't think of it so much as those platforms being different content, but like what are the layers of platforms where I can get more vulnerable. So people who are in my inner circle, which is my newsletter, essentially, they're going to get more of that vulnerability, people who are willing to listen to the podcast for hours at a time, they're going to get more of that vulnerability. And that, you know, or even sense of humor, because they're getting to hear us talk. And so I think for me, and for following you, Jessica, I think that your Instagram Stories really balances out and I think on Instagram specifically, like that's a really great place to play around, and it only lasts 24 hours. So if you say something that's not so pretty, or if your makeup free, or whatever it is that might make you feel a little more insecure or vulnerable. It's not permanent. That's why but it makes it It still makes an impression.
Jessica Lauren 38:34
Yeah, yeah, I've really been a big fan of Insta stories for that reason. I like spend the day with me, I look crazy. My hair is messed up. Let's figure this out together what we do. And I like doing that better than like, here's another pretty picture. I love that too. But just like kind of being like this feels better.
Emily Thompson 38:53
Right? Nice. another layer of sharing. And I think that whenever you can, I feel like a lot of people will look at a social media platform, or we're just a content platform General, whether that's their blog, or their newsletter, whatever and think they need to do all the things in one place. Yeah, I like that. I like that you can't you have permission, I guess to to add the layers of your personality and of your brand in these different platforms.
Jessica Lauren 39:20
Yeah, it's pretty cool.
Kathleen Shannon 39:22
I want to talk a little bit more about the state of blogging and having started a blog in 2015. I feel like it's something that Emily and I were doing, like, a decade ago, and then we were like I don't even I almost feel like a grandma about blogging, but I feel like you're so new and fresh to it that maybe you have some insights or perspective. Yeah. On the trends of blogging or where blogging is going or even kind of how you're utilizing blogging now and where you see it going. Um, give me all your thoughts on blogging.
Jessica Lauren 39:54
Here we go exhibit a, um, I am at the point where I'm kind of trying to move a little bit torez video, because a few of my close friends and readers have been like, we just want to see more of you. And I don't know, if people are reading that much, I think my age group is they still read a little bit. But I don't know if the younger generation does, and I'm not necessarily marketing towards them. So that's I'm always kind of like it. But writing all of that I'm not naturally a writer, I just try to be really honest, but it's easier for me to speak. And so I'm like, do I, like start just trying to make more videos. So that's why I've been trying to be like, on the lives doing YouTubes and stuff like that, so that it can be like, this is the person behind the computer. And I think that might be going places, like, I was talking to my little brother, he was like, Instagram is so lame, like, you only look at pictures, because he's so used to Snapchat, you know, I mean, he's starting, he's starting, you know, so I was like, gosh, maybe that's where it's going unfortunate. But then they say the same thing about books and magazines, like I have a stack of magazines there. So it's all with a grain of salt. I guess I just try to do my blog, that's always gonna be there. But I've definitely been trying to be like, come see me.
Emily Thompson 41:14
Yeah, and I like that you haven't stopped blogging, or I like that you recognize that your people are the people who are probably most likely still reading blogs. And that just comes with knowing who your audience is. And knowing that a lot of the a lot of the tips that are coming from sharing content are pretty normally targeted to people who are younger than you like the super millennials who don't have attention spans longer, or probably not even long enough to listen to this episode,
Unknown Speaker 41:44
right? Maybe, but maybe not.
Emily Thompson 41:48
And so by knowing who your audience is, you can make wiser decisions around how it is that you're sharing your content.
Kathleen Shannon 41:56
So I know that you're writing a fine line between your blog being a creative expression, and then this thing that you can maybe grow as a business model. So I'm curious to hear from you. It sounds like creative creativity comes first and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But how did you start to dip your toe into the marketing side of thing? Like how are you starting to business model it? Is it just advertising? Or do you have thoughts on how you're going to grow and build the no real jewelry brand? And like even deciding or determining who you are marketing to? Is it other people like yourself? Or you know, what does that look like for you like the branding and business visioning side of it? Yeah,
Jessica Lauren 42:33
my idea is that one day it turns into like a Hello giggles or refinery 29 type situation where it stops kind of be in about Jessica and is more about other women that have a voice have a story. They're dealing with fear and they want to overcome all of that in our dream driven. So it, I kind of see it where it's always gonna be there but that I start doing speaking engagements. And as start maybe podcasts, I kind of see me be like Oprah. And I had the hardest time saying that out loud. But it's really true is like, Why can I do that? I don't have to be Oprah Winfrey. But
Emily Thompson 43:13
why do I have to tell you, I just followed you on Instagram. And the very first suggested like, after I followed you was Oprah. I shit you not.
Unknown Speaker 43:24
We have it here.
Emily Thompson 43:27
Unknown Speaker 43:29
Yeah, here for that.
Unknown Speaker 43:34
I love that.
Emily Thompson 43:35
I love that you have such a big vision for what you want this site to turn into. I think that whenever you can go into projects like this with that sort of vision. And really understanding that the world is your oyster. Again, this is also like my thing with like being so anti business model is that people will go in and be like, Alright, here are the next 18 steps I'm going to take and I'm going to end up this end goal. And then they close themselves off to all the opportunities. What do you like I you know, I'll do anything, whatever sounds amazing and will serve my people or whatever, I'll do that. So I think that even having that vision but not blocking it in with a model is important. I love it and go for Oprah dude,
Unknown Speaker 44:13
she just learned that.
Unknown Speaker 44:17
That is cruel.
Jessica Lauren 44:20
But yeah, I've been doing like little workshops here in Chicago. And I don't know if you guys are familiar with like creating cultivate how I think it just kind of started off as a blog. But now is a conference that other bloggers and creative entrepreneurs go to and all of that. It doesn't have to be that same thing. Oh my gosh, wouldn't it be cool if I could build this platform to encourage women to dream big and stop being scared and do whatever that thing is? So that's where I kind of see it going. I don't know how it's gonna happen. But I just have faith that it will.
Emily Thompson 44:55
Right, good, good. Then you just do the work in the process. Hey, no Unfold as it goes. So
Kathleen Shannon 45:01
another thing around like taking the blog seriously. So not only are you spending 40 hours a week really dedicating your time to this, you've also brought on I know at least one contributor, the editor, right? Yes. Tell us about kind of your vision for expanding it. So it's not just the Jessica show. Yeah, I think people want you obvious. If they're asking for video, and they want to know you, yeah, that's true. But tell us about it. I do want you to not forget about your own personal brand, like Oprah is not Oprah.
Jessica Lauren 45:35
She's not Oprah. That's true. That's true. And I think about that a lot. I brought to her name is Sierra, she's a beauty contributor. Because I'm not so much into beauty. I wear one red lipstick, and one mascara. And that's it. But she was on Snapchat every day like, Oh, look at this new product, new product. So I needed somebody that kind of was younger and have fresher eyes and knew what was happening in the beauty world. So I kind of hired her on. And that was ideas like that. Like if this could become like an online magazine, so to speak, or something along those lines. So that was the idea behind it was one I just don't do beauty that much. But people will people kind of ask me for tips. And I'm like, Oh, no, she does. So there you go. So that's kind of the plan for now is like, it'd be cool if other perspectives were on our side of mine. But like you said, it's like, but I am kind of the captain of the ship. So I'm I'm trying to figure that out. Like, where am I? Which way do I want to go? right with that step
Emily Thompson 46:40
is also the first step in building something larger than yourself, which I think is just as important. It's just you figuring out where you fit in that thing that's larger than
Kathleen Shannon 46:50
Yes, yes, yes. And kind of continuing to be the captain of the ship. But I'm curious just even logistically, like for our listeners who want to bring on contributors? Oh, yeah, even like, let's say being boss, we wanted to expand to include other podcasts, you know, in our network, things like that. I I've been thinking a lot about that. And it's kind of like a little bit of a dance. So I'm curious how your collaboration, if you're willing to share with your beauty editor works like, is it mutually beneficial? Are you paying her What does that look like? So
Jessica Lauren 47:22
I'm not at the point where I'm paying her but she so she's my best friend's little sister who I happen to be following on Snapchat. And like I said, she was always like, on Snapchat, just doing the makeup thing. And I was getting overwhelmed. Because I was when I first started off, I was trying to do a webinar, I was just trying to do everything. As far as like writing is a lot you guys know, because you write a book. Like you're somebody take this workload off of me. And if the idea is to expand, where it's not just my voice, let me ask her. And she was like, This is crazy. I've always wanted to blog, but I didn't want to be responsible for a blog. So I was like, cool. I'll teach you the tricks that I know. And I don't know much. Everything is shot on my iPhone. I shoot it by myself with a Bluetooth remote. You know, I don't know what I'm doing still. But that was our trade off. Like, you could come over. I'll teach you WordPress, I'll teach you blah, blah, blah. And that was kind of our working relationship. And now she's kind of doing her own microblogging thing as she does her own events and stuff like that. And that's how I always kind of wanted it. I don't want them to be a slave to no real jewelry is like, go do you young butterfly, but I definitely need it. Just workflow help. And I found her from Snapchat. And, you know, you go to people's Instagrams, and they're like, following 100 people, but they have a million followers. I try to, like, keep my eyes open, because people are doing cooler stuff than I am. And if an alliance I don't mind, just be like, hey, how do you like I'm kind of scouting people, too. So that's how I found her. So I'm not at the point of paying her and I told her that, like, I cannot pay you anything. But I could pay you in knowledge. So so she does like two posts a month. It was nothing major, give her deadlines, you know, if it's been working out pretty well.
Kathleen Shannon 49:15
Yeah. And I think that, you know, even just the experience, and I just wanted to dig into this a little bit because I think that sometimes we think of collaborations or partnerships or staff as being something bigger in our minds than it actually is. Sometimes it's literally contacting your best friend's little sister. Let's do this thing. Yeah, right. And so I just want to point that out as well. Like if you're wanting to collaborate with other people don't make it a bigger deal in your head then it needs to be but then also, I was impressed about how you did make it a big deal. On externally like oh, yeah, rolled it out like I brought on a beauty
really positions you in this plait says creating something bigger than yourself. So I kind of love seeing the behind the scenes and also the outward facing rollout of that.
Jessica Lauren 50:09
Thank you. I just wanted everybody know, like, hey, it's not just me anymore. It's somebody.
Kathleen Shannon 50:16
All right. Well, we're about to wrap up. Is there anything else has been on your mind that you just really want to share with our listeners? Emily, do you have any other questions? For Jessica,
Emily Thompson 50:25
I think I'm good.
Jessica Lauren 50:27
I think the one thing I wanted to share is if you show up and just work and just like, really kind of get specific about your vision, everything else will fall into place like some amazing opportunities have fallen in my lap without all the followers without all the things that you'd like stress about. And in your wildest dreams can happen with a little bit like everything is totally bootstrapped. And I pray to god it doesn't have to be that much longer. But you know, people are Wow, when they find out like, all that stuff is done on my phone. Everything is done with a rinky dinky Amazon tripod. So it really is, the possibilities are endless. You just cannot be lazy. You cannot blame other people or blame Instagrams algorithm, you just have to show up
Unknown Speaker 51:21
to all of that.
Unknown Speaker 51:24
Emily Thompson 51:27
so blaming this stupid ass algorithm is far more than I probably should thank you for so calling me.
Kathleen Shannon 51:37
Love. I love that tidbit. All right, Jessica. In closing, we want to hear what makes you feel most badass.
Jessica Lauren 51:48
Oh my gosh, uh, what makes me feel most boss is when I'm just having like a good ass boss day. Like when I'm just checking things off my to do list. I'm like, Yes. But another thing is just the wealth of freedom of time. My best friend, she's moving today to Arizona. And a couple months ago, she was like, you want to take one last road trip with me in the boys to the Mall of America, I was able to pack up my bags and go for like five days. And I don't have a million dollars, but the freedom to like move and shake I want to because I'm freelancing because I'm acting because of the blog. That made me feel like, Damn, this is the life right here to just be like, I'm up. I didn't have to ask for anybody's permission. That made me feel like okay, this is this is how I want life to be.
Emily Thompson 52:40
Sounds like you're doing it. Right. And that's something that I think that is the thing that I love most about living the creative life. Yes. Where, you know, we depend on our own skills and ingenuity to make money, whatever that may mean. Yeah, it all it gives us so much more flexibility. So I agree that is living it. Right there. For sure. Yes. Awesome. So where can people learn more about you?
Jessica Lauren 53:05
So go to my blog. It's no real jewelry, calm. It's so hard to say that fast. No real jewelry.com I'm on every social media except Snapchat. I'm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is at no real joy. And that's it. I got a couple workshops coming up in October in Chicago that I'm excited about and I don't know. I think that's
Emily Thompson 53:32
awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us. It was a pleasure to chat with you.
Kathleen Shannon 53:38
This episode of being boss was brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club.
Emily Thompson 53:59
If you're a creative entrepreneur, Freelancer or small business owner who is ready to take your goals to the next level, check out the being boss clubhouse, a two day online retreat followed by a year of community support monthly masterclasses book club secret episodes and optional in person retreats. Find more at www dot being boss dot club flash clubhouse.
Kathleen Shannon 54:22
Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey. And are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indie shop biography.
Emily Thompson 54:41
Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.