Understand your personality: If something doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. As an introvert myself, I thought having success was all about offices and staff, but they were just massive costs to my business. So I had to really understand what works best for me, which is running my business at home.
Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Williamson.
Jessica Williamson is an entrepreneur and a certified, award-winning mindset and business coach, located in Perth, Australia. Within the last 5 years, Jessica has built a successful portfolio of four different businesses in various industries, and now coaches women to push themselves professionally and personally.
Hailing from a background in digital marketing and advertising, with no formal training in fashion, at just 22-years old, Jess launched her first business in 2016, Ete Swimwear, with 0 dollars. Upon launching, Ete Swimwear received almost instantaneous success, thanks to the opportunity to make its first fashion week debut at New York Fashion Week in September 2016. In just her first year in business, she made over six figures in a highly competitive industry and built a following of over 54,000 followers on Instagram.
Since then, whilst growing her businesses, Jessica has become a role model for other business owners in the e-commerce industry. This has allowed Jessica to help other business owners who are looking to grow and scale their businesses online. Within the last two years, Jessica is still running Ete Swimwear and sold two businesses successfully but has made it her core focus to continue helping women in business. Working with other entrepreneurs to help them unleash their potential and believe that anything is truly possible; she has found her true passion in her work as a business coach.
Over the last five years, Jessica has been able to transform her life from being overworked, burnt-out, and working full-time whilst running her businesses on the side, to now achieving a successful work-life balance. Her mission is to help other female entrepreneurs to unleash their potential, so they reach their goals to live their dream life.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I started my first business, Ete Swimwear, at just 22 years old whilst working full-time in a low-income job. Within its first week of launching, I was really fortunate enough to be invited to showcase at New York Fashion Week, where we launched globally. Due to the mental exhaustion from working full time for the first year and having my start-up, I decided to leave my job and that’s where we had massive growth. Since then, five years later, I now help other female business owners with my own coaching program, to help them build their dream life and business.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
I was working with a mentor at the time who was constantly pushing me to be better. After growing my swimwear line, he suggested that I should go and look into coaching and help other women in the e-commerce space to grow their brands. So I enrolled in an NLP course, got certified, and then launched my coaching program. Since then, I’ve worked with incredible business owners who are getting amazing results, but at the same time, are really overcoming limiting beliefs and changing their whole life.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
I’ve always been a natural-born entrepreneur. I actually started my first business in primary school called ‘The Girls Club’ and everyone would pay 50 cents and I would use the funds to buy candy from the canteen for everyone and prizes for fun activities we could do at lunchtime.
I do, however, believe anyone can own a business. Some people might just take to it more naturally, while others may have to learn the skills over time and gain confidence. As long as they have a vision for themselves, their business, and their team, it’s just about learning. That’s where I find having coaches can help. Even those who are naturally born entrepreneurs also need help to get to the next stage of their business.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
I think overall we are a result of our environment and what we experience, coupled with our natural skills and interests. My parents have always been huge supporters and great examples of a strong work ethic and what is truly possible.
I feel like it’s just in my blood and I was destined to be a leader and entrepreneur but watching my parents own small businesses and encourage me was such a great motivator.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I focus on my clients, their needs and customize a plan that is really going to help them excel. I don’t use cookie-cutter strategies because every person and business is completely different, I formulate a custom success strategy per client. I am qualified as an NLP coach and other modalities in coaching, which means that I can adapt to my clients and teach them not just the tools to help their business, but also change and improve their lives for the better.
I have many coaching certifications under my belt but I have run not 1, but 4 highly successful businesses in varying industries such as a global product business, events, influencer travel agency, and coaching so I can pass these learnings on to my clients.
I use simple but effective strategies, experiences, trial, and error and combine that with mindset work to help my clients succeed in business but also find personal growth along the journey. The number one feedback I hear from my clients is that, yes, they have received business growth and income, but the main benefit they all come out with is the newfound confidence and belief in themselves and their potential, which is priceless and can be taken with them for the rest of their lives.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Self-belief, an eagerness to learn, and passion. A combination of all three of these traits is really what got me going. Without self-belief and passion, I would have never left my full-time job to take the leap into my own business. I really wanted more for myself and I wanted to take care of myself. Without my eagerness to learn, I would have never done my coaching certifications and continue exploring new ideas which are now helping countless women in business take their lives and business to new heights.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Sure! Getting an office. A coach of mine once told me “to be successful you need to work in an office and move out of home”, what I realize now is that is their perception of success, not mine. I am very much an introvert. I enjoy being at home and in the comfort of my home. I do not enjoy commuting anywhere and love to work alone, it is where I am most focused and efficient. I entered into a three-year lease a year before COVID hit and while it was exciting at the time, I quickly realized it was not comfortable; I had to drive there, I sat in the office alone with no real comforts that I would have at home and not to mention, an extra expense that I did not need. I was luckily able to get out of the least after 1.5 years and I take it as a learning opportunity.
This is something I pride myself on as a coach, there isn’t a one size fits all approach and through the mindset and self-discovery work I do with my clients we truly work out what their idea of success is. Often people do not know or aren’t clear on this so I work with them to dig deep and figure this out before we jump into new strategies. I want to create a sustainable future and success plan for them, not one they will change directions on next week because it was not truly aligned.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
I believe it’s all about learning when to stop, but most importantly, have rewards or milestones put into place to keep everyone working towards a goal. Sometimes stopping and walking away for a day is the best way to move forward. We live in a society where hustling is glorified, but at the cost of our health, it’s not worth it. Everyone needs time to switch off, have fun, and time to just relax. So I recommend learning when to stop and listen to what your body is telling you and having strategies put into place for self-care.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Be visible and be authentic. The way I have been able to grow my coaching business is by creating an Instagram account that is honest and shares valuable, informative information that attracts my ideal clientele. My approach is to acknowledge what problems people are currently facing and let them know that I have been through it too or apply what I have done to overcome something similar. By providing educational and relatable advice, I have become a thought leader within the coaching world in Australia.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
People want to work with people, not logos. They want to believe in someone who has done the hard work before and built success. By providing free advice and acknowledging the struggles I have been through in business, my audience will follow me wherever I go and whatever I do. It also makes them believe it’s possible for them too.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
I have noticed that people go into business without thinking about who their target audience is and it can really hinder their success. When I say ‘know your target audience’, I mean being able to pick them out from a crowd and keeping them in focus. Without knowing your audience, the challenges they’re facing, what they’re looking for and what platforms they use, you won’t be able to communicate with them. To avoid this, it’s important to sit down and learn about them. Give them a name, a personality, and then map out what their customer journey experience would look like. From there, you can identify your marketing strategy.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
When you’re in business, you never know what may come your way that day, that week, or even that month. You have to fight and work hard for your income, unlike when you’re in a salaried role at a company. When you’re employed by someone, you are hired for one role and know exactly what needs to be done and you do it.
When you’re in business, you have to wear the hats of so many roles that it can really take a toll on not just your mental health, but also how you balance your life and structure your day. Whilst I’m fortunate to have a team and an amazing following, there is always a bit of self-doubt that happens when you’re in business, and it can take a toll.
In addition to needing to be flexible, you do not have a boss that tells you when to arrive, what to do and when to go home. You never truly switch off because you are completely invested in your business, emotionally, physically, mentally, and this is something not a lot of people are used to. There is a huge stake in success or failure and so our emotions are more closely tied to outcomes or hiccups in the road. Every time you level up, you reach new challenges and so as long as you are growing, nothing remains the same.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
There are really so many! I have gotten better along my journey in acknowledging and celebrating the wins because often as entrepreneurs we tick off a goal, then put our heads back down and work toward the next. New York Fashion Week was definitely a highlight early on in my entrepreneurial journey, you can’t beat the feeling of being globally recognized at one of the largest fashion weeks in the world.
Since then I find true joy in helping my clients find success, it sounds cliché but giving and helping others is just a feeling you cannot beat! Just as I am writing this, I received a message from one of my clients that reads “Honestly Jess thank you so much, just that one session alone has changed everything in the best way 🙌🏽 I can’t wait for what’s to come”.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
During my first year in business I ‘accidentally’ emptied my life savings without realizing it. I arrived at work one day to pay for parking and my card was declined. I have always been a great saver and had worked since I was legally allowed to and I always had a healthy sense of financial security. That day was different because I had arrived at my full-time job and couldn’t pay the 12 dollars for parking and the worst part was, I didn’t realize until that moment and I was completely surprised.
It hit me hard because it came out of nowhere. I was so busy focusing on the growth, the opportunities, and investments in my business that I forgot to budget or keep an eye on the finances. I was severely burnt out, I had adrenal fatigue because I was juggling a full-time job with my growing global business, and that same day, I had planned to buy my lunch because I was too busy to get anything organized. So there I was with no money, zero lunch, and zero energy.
I had to hide my tears from my colleagues as I made an excuse as to why I needed to borrow 3 dollars to make up the 12 dollars to pay for parking that day. I had well and truly hit breaking point but I called my mom (thanks mom!) and she came to the rescue, drove one hour to bring me money to pay back my colleague, and also packed me lunch. This was the lowest I had felt in my journey but I now look back and it is a great learning opportunity.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
I took it as a learning experience. I wasn’t as equipped back then in regards to mindset practices as I am now and have many routines and rituals that I follow to keep my mindset in check, however that specific situation was challenging and a few months later my mindset got a little worse. I decided I needed to quit the job and take a leap. I asked myself “what is the worst that can happen?” and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made and don’t think I could ever work for anyone else again. Having the freedom to work on your time and follow my dreams is what I was missing and once I quit, my business grew 500% in that first month alone.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
1- A support network: I’m very lucky that I have a supportive partner, an amazing family, friends, and clients who are always there for me through the highs and lows. Plus I still always have mentors and coaches myself it’s something I think is key to invest in.
2- A great team: Without my team, I wouldn’t be able to get half of my workload done, and they really support me during the craziest of times.
3- A goal and vision: this sets you up for your why- and this why is the reason during the hardest of times, you can get out of bed and keep pushing through.
4- A routine: your routine is key to success; having consistent habits that you do every day, will keep you structured.
5- Understand your personality: If something doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. As an introvert myself, I thought having success was all about offices and staff, but they were just massive costs to my business. So I had to really understand what works best for me, which is running my business at home.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
To me, resilience is knowing that even in the most difficult of times, you will make it through it, no matter how hard it will get. It’s about recovering quickly and not letting certain situations define you or become an outcome for your life. You’re able to bounce back stronger. I believe that resilient people have a deep level of self-awareness, empathy, and optimism.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
I definitely try to, but I am also human. I think it’s also ok to be able to not always be positive and to have moments where you just want to shut down. However, I try not to let these negative moods get in the way; I always give myself some time to feel how I am feeling in that moment, but then always find a strategy or a plan to move forward. Even if that means I have to walk away from a situation for a while. I often practice meditation and affirmations when I feel stressed or overwhelmed by certain things and it definitely helps to refocus and get back on track.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
I believe if the leader is positive, then the team is positive and productive. If the leader is negative, then the team will be negative and unproductive. It’s almost like an offset of emotions that spirals down from the top to the bottom.
When a leader has a positive attitude, it makes it easier for their team to also want to participate in their vision and goals for the business. It keeps them motivated, focused and they also feel a sense of achievement as they’re working on something that is providing joy in their life.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
“Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitation on what you can be, have or do” Brian Tracy. I love this because it’s not just relevant to why I do what I do, but because it’s exactly what I teach my clients.
I have always believed that success to me is different from everyone else and I personally believe that is what I have today. By believing that I wanted more, when I was just 22 years old, was the moment I removed all limitations so I could and can be the best version of myself and life.
How can our readers further follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!