Keep it simple, sister! — Why why why does everyone want to over-complicate business? I’ve done it too — and that’s what made business so hard. When things aren’t working, stop adding to them. Simplify, instead. What can you take out? What’s distracting your customers? Digital marketing is a lot like playing that game Telephone where you whisper a message down a chain of people and it’s mangled on the other side. A simple message translates better!
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Bird.
Jessica is the CEO of Pinspired Profits and has been studying and delivering permission marketing strategies for creative entrepreneurs since 2018. Unexpected given her giggly presentation, Jessica her teen years overcoming child abuse and neglect alongside chronic illness. Inspired by artists and entrepreneurs to create an impact from the pains of the past, Jessica is building an empire for those aspiring to create turn-around stories for their own lives.
Despite what she’s been through, Jessica remains positive. Her resilience is a source of inspiration, love, and kindness for those striving to live deeper lives.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Sure. I actually had a pretty nontraditional, borderline tragic childhood. I won’t bring us all down with the details today, though I share very openly in my books and blog posts. Suffice it to say I was born to a teenage mother and grew up the oldest of five kids in a home often torn by addiction and violence.
Between my home life and managing my cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that mainly affects my lungs and requires daily breathing treatments to manage, I didn’t have the same sort of childhood as my peers… but what I lacked in comfort and care, I made up for by seeking inspiration from books and artists in the world. I knew I wanted a life different than the kind I saw my parents living, and I took responsibility for that from a young age.
By the time I turned 18, I’d been awarded the Mayors Youth Award in Idaho, nominated by my teachers and community leaders for my dedication to making becoming a change maker and not just a statistic. Around that same time, I was awarded the Turn Around Scholarship for youth who turned impossible circumstances into something powerful to share with the world. These awards came not only from my dedication to overcoming the odds that were stacked against me, but also from my commitment to a gentle and kind approach to everyday encounters in life. Where I was hurt as a child, I insisted on becoming more soft to the world around me, rather than closed off to it, which can be so tempting in troubled times.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It is not about how much we do, but about how much love goes into the doing.” — Mother Theresa
When I took responsibility for my own life and impact in the world as a teenager, I looked for heroes and leaders I could learn from. The more I opened my eyes to the world around me, the more fear and overwhelm I felt, initially. It seemed like there was so much work to be done and so many people hurting, lost, or just blind to others. I wanted to be part of a world full of people who were present, awake and thriving in their day-to-day lives…
I remember reading a story where someone asked Mother Theresa how she was able to help so many people in India day after day without ever feeling defeated at how many more were still suffering. She responded by explaining that she focuses on the one person right in front of her. You help the many by helping one. “It is not about how much we do, but about how much love goes into the doing.”
I later learned Mother Theresa and her sisters were referred to as “the nuns who run,” and realized it’s possible to balance hustling, which is such a common thing in business, with deeply loving. Mother Theresa was a nun who ran, meaning she loved the one in front of her the best that she could, before moving right on to the next. This inspires me to keep going and focus on the task and mission at hand when overwhelm threatens to swallow up my mission.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Okay, this might sound super silly if you’re not a die-hard Swiftie, but hear me out: Taylor Swift’s Lover album.
Especially the track Daylight.
In July of 2019, I decided to change my whole life. I’d lived in land-locked Idaho my entire life, and had always dreamed of living near the ocean. I saw the ocean one time, at eleven years old on a trip with my grandpa, and I thought about it every single day for the next eleven years before finally going back — this time to live. I went from a married woman taking care of everyone around me to a woman on her own living in an RV on the Oregon coast… It was my social media management business that allowed me to do this independent of my (now ex) husband, who chose not to come with me to the coast for fear of the financial risk.
After the childhood I had, living a quiet mediocre life as a wife and mother seemed like more than I could ever dream. But I was still living in fear. I didn’t have normal friendships, I couldn’t leave the house without having an anxiety attack. I was the bubbliest person on the planet if you knew me, but if you didn’t, I probably kept a safe distance and smiled from afar. I never wanted to rock the boat or invite trouble.
When I left the only home I’d ever known for my new home on the coast, I decided to leave that fear behind. I embraced the Lover album with all its upbeat sparkle and, for the first time, I invited the daylight in. It was the beginning of a grand adventure, one that has me writing from Florida today! A long way from tinytown Idaho, and a freer woman than the girl I left behind would believe possible.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic, I was modestly getting by with my service business… but it was hard. I struggled a lot with impostor syndrome, never feeling like I was doing a good enough job even when my clients said they were impressed with my work. Just before the pandemic hit, I hit my own upper limit. I was so afraid of letting my clients down, that I froze completely. I didn’t do anything. I just apologized, refunded them, and took a break. I watched my savings dwindle and even applied for a home health job in my new home on the coast.
The day I was supposed to start my new job was the first day I got word of the pandemic becoming a serious concern in the U.S. Worried, I called and quit my job before even going to the first shift. I have cystic fibrosis, and a virus like this could cost me my life. It wasn’t worth the risk.
That day, I made $900 bringing in new clients. I didn’t know how I could sustain what I was doing, but I knew I didn’t have any other option. I wasn’t about to run back to the small life I’d left behind.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
I started taking my work a lot more seriously and joined an inedible membership for entrepreneurs that taught me how to work from my strengths and honor my energy while also making exponentially more money.
It was scary at first. One of my biggest fears in business was that what I had to offer wouldn’t feel worth it to my buyers. I spent two months just completing my new client work and working on my mindset around money and self-worth.
The result of this work simplified my business down into teaching! I developed a course called Pinspired Profits teaching heart-centered entrepreneurs how to market their products and services on Pinterest in a way that makes marketing easier and more human.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
There were so many, but one of the biggest ones was when Rachel Rodgers discussed the idea that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to include it in your offer.
Before that message, I’d been trying to combine my coaching education with my design skills and writing skills (I’ve published two books and have more on the way) and my digital marketing skills all into one offer for one audience. The result was always a mess. People loved my passion and heart, but didn’t really understand what I could offer them or why my products would be a good fit for them.
Free to simplify my offer, I realized what I truly wanted to do was create a way to earn my income from educating! Sharing ideas and inspiring people is in my top strengths, along with gathering and evaluating data. It was a no-brainier to simplify my offer into a course and then build my marketing around my strengths of sharing and inspiring others. Now my people know exactly how I can help them and they’re eager to buy to support my work and create their own impact while growing their business in a way they can feel good about.
How are things going with this new initiative?
It’s surreal, if I’m honest. Some days I see the Stripe notifications come in from course sales and have to look again because I don’t believe it. I’ve had to remove the app from my phone or turn off notifications just to keep my head on straight!
I’m still in the beginning stages of building an audience for this business now that I’ve separated it from everything I had going on before, but I’m no longer taking on service clients and burning myself out. I’m supporting myself and planning future travels with a new financial floor I never dreamed of having before… and I feel more confident and empowered when it comes to my ability to create abundance for my own life in a way that benefits others as well.
Instead of pinching pennies, I finally feel like a boss in my own business. That monkey on my back about whether or not I should be advertising and fear of annoying people with my sales posts is completely gone! I build this product based on feedback and strengths, so it just makes sense and I know it’s wanted. When I promote it, it’s a genuine gift to the people who get to see it. That’s how I believe marketing should feel; I can’t believe how simple it was to achieve once I was willing to let go of the need to do everything for everyone at once.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful to ConvertKit’s storyteller, Isa Adney.
In the summer of 2019, about a year after I’d visited the Oregon coast for the first time since I was eleven, I was invited by a social media client to attend ConvertKit’s annual Craft & Commerce conference. I was going through a really hard time as a creator. Impostor syndrome had killed my coaching business, and I was struggling to make ends meet through freelance social media management work as I battled depression, anxiety, and a flare up of my cystic fibrosis.
At the conference, I didn’t find the mass of pushy marketers in suits I expected. Instead, I found myself surrounded by powerful, gentle, terrified, and clever creators just like me. Hundreds of them. I actually burst into tears all over the emcee when I tried to express my gratitude and awe after the first day’s presentations. Oops.
The conference only lasted a weekend, but what happened there inspired me to start my business. I created the entire website the first night of the conference and left the conference two days later with many of my first clients. It’s what made me decided to move to the Oregon coast when I did, rather than a year (or three) later when my (now ex) husband said we might be able to.
Isa found me later, in an online group for conference attendees. A few weeks into my new business, I felt the impostor syndrome starting to creep in, so I turned back to the community that inspired me in the first place. Isa saw me sharing about my journey and reached out to me. She wanted to tell my story!
It was incredible being noticed and acknowledged as a creator for the first time. It changed everything. She came all the way out to my RV on the Oregon coast to interview me for the feature, which is now one of the first episodes in the I Am a Creator podcast.
I learned so much from her, the first thing being to believe in myself and keep going, even if it felt like nobody was paying attention.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing that has happened since I started in this new direction is how much more effectively I spend my time as an entrepreneur.
In the past, I spent most of my time on what I called “mindset work.” At the time, I really believed that’s what I was doing, but in hindsight and can see that I was procrastinating what I decided I couldn’t do perfectly.
Now, I start with action. I have a short morning routine and a fight song that gets me inspired, and then I get to work on active tasks!
My motto these days: done is more important than perfect! The people are waiting!
It’s incredible to do something I don’t think is anywhere near perfect, and then to get email responses like “this was the most incredible advice. I just accomplished three months worth of work in one afternoon and I feel energized! Thank you!” Every time I record a content upgrade or free training for my course, I feel like it was awkward and I could have definitely done it better. But I share it anyway.
And every single time, it has been met with thanks and awe! This time last year, I would not have believed anyone who told me I’d be earning 99% of my income selling a digital course.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) Keep it simple, sister!
Why why why does everyone want to over-complicate business? I’ve done it too — and that’s what made business so hard. When things aren’t working, stop adding to them. Simplify, instead. What can you take out? What’s distracting your customers? Digital marketing is a lot like playing that game Telephone where you whisper a message down a chain of people and it’s mangled on the other side. A simple message translates better!
2) Rest, and let it be enough.
If you can’t ever rest in your business, it’s not going to work for very long. Take it from someone very stubborn who has tried to force things to work in every direction again and again. Force isn’t half as powerful (or profitable) as flow.
3) Impact-driven doesn’t mean sacrificing profits.
When I started my business, I thought I had to put impact and compassion before profits. My first business died a quick death thanks to that attitude. Now I understand that profits are a part of my impact!
4) There’s always another way.
When it feels like an “either, or” situation, that’s almost always fear talking. There’s another way, probably a way better way. The stakes probably aren’t as high as they feel, and there’s definitely a way to break things down into smaller bite-sized pieces. Find the “both and more” before you take action. You’ll be glad you did.
5) No’s are gold.
This is something I learned from Natalie Miller, a coach at HelloSeven. She told this amazing story about how, when she told her troupe of girl scouts to start tracking how many “no” responses they got from potential buyers, they made records with their cookie sales and became super confident!
Now that I intentionally go out and invite people to try my product, I’m making more sales than ever. I’m becoming well-known for what I do. And I actually still don’t hear “no” very often! Collect no’s to grow your business.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
This is so important! For me, it comes down to boundaries.
I have a couple news sources I check at scheduled times throughout the week, and that’s it. If I’m not well enough to take care of myself, I don’t have space to consider the rest of the world. I take self-care seriously, because when I am well, then I can show up to make a difference in the world. You just have to put your own oxygen mask on first, you know?
I am also merciless with the “unsubscribe” and “unfollow” buttons in my power. I follow people who are considerate and creative with their content. A lot of artists, mostly.
Beyond this, I do my best to keep a routine going following The Habit’s Everyday Ayurveda insights. Carly Banks runs this amazing company focused on bringing the ancient science of Ayurveda into everyday life and it’s absolutely changed the way I live, think, and feel from day to day. There’s a lot to be said for simple, everyday self-care.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I just want to see more people being genuinely honest with themselves and the people around them.
I’ve written two self-improvement books; the first was a walk through overcoming the low self-esteem that often comes from growing up in a poor childhood environment, and the second was a walk through my journey of healing after sexual assault. In both books, I’m open about my struggles. I share the self-doubt and raw vulnerability as well as the tipping points where I finally opened up to healing and embraced myself in new ways.
What I discovered as I bared my soul to the world in these books is that vulnerability brings healing not only to the vulnerable, but to those who are able to witness it. When we are mindful and honest with ourselves, we can share that with others. When we share it with others, we give them permission to let their own guard down and suddenly there’s space for intimate, history-changing conversations to take place.
I believe change making can be an incredibly gentle and loving process when it’s done without fear of showing the whole truth.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I would love to have lunch with Rha Goddess! She’s an author and powerhouse leader of change in the world. Her book has inspired me to reconsider my own rippling impact and allowed me to see the importance of allowing abundance and beauty to come into my life just as much as I would give it to others.
She’s also showed me an example of honesty in action that I haven’t seen anywhere else. She’s able to inspire massive change on both inner and global levels, and that’s a quality I’d love to feel in person and have my own mission become laced with.
How can our readers follow you online?
The best place for readers to follow me online is by joining me on Instagram @pinspiredprofits and becoming a part of my email list.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!