Jess O’Connell started her business after her husband lost his job in 2018 and they went on government assistance. Her first launch generated $1500 in revenue, and it was the proof she needed to give it her full attention. After six months of testing and iterating her signature formula, Jess found herself generating $10K per month but she didn’t enjoy running her business. After launching no less than 10 programs in that six months, she was spinning many plates at once, trying to keep it all going, terrified to let one stop and drop. Then she started questioning whether being an entrepreneur is what she really wanted.
Jess took some time to close down her offers and dedicated herself to making that one offer as profitable as possible before starting anything else new. By the end of her first year in business, she reached that highly coveted six figures. In 2020, Jess shifted her business serving a more aligned audience. One launch at a time, she narrowed her focus and re-built her business in a new niche. Now Jess helps clients create more revenue with their launches so they can get out of the cycle of feast and famine and start creating stacked launch revenue in their business. She has been featured in top-tier media including Yahoo! Finance, Today.com, and more.
Jess holds a bachelor’s degree in earth science from the University of Northern Colorado. She is married with two children and lives in Denver.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ihave always had a knack for growing an audience online. In my 20’s, I started a blog sharing my fitness journey and grew it to over 100,000 monthly readers. I had no clue about things like marketing or funnels, but I knew how to grow an audience and connect with other people online. That’s really how I got started. My blog was a hobby for a long time, and after I had kids, my priorities changed and I became a stay at home mom. While I let go of the blog, I maintained those relationships and connections with Instagram. When my husband lost his job in 2018, I decided to ever let anyone else have control over my family’s security, and I started my business. The most natural place to start was doing what I knew best. Building an audience online.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
It came down to that same decision I made that day. When my husband lost his job, we lost everything. We had to file for government assistance and Medicaid. We thought we were going to lose our house, and everything was uncertain. It really shook me and made me realize that our life was not in our hands. We were at the mercy of whatever employer my husband was working for. The idea of losing everything again scared the hell out of me, and it changed me. I like to say the magic happens when your back’s against the wall. I didn’t have a choice to quit. I knew that I could do hard things and that I could do anything I set my mind to. So I pushed through every obstacle and made it happen.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Our life today looks completely different than it did just two years ago. My husband is now a stay at home dad and I run my business full time. My kids have both parents home full time, and the freedom to go on adventures and vacation (ya know, when it’s not a pandemic). We recently sold the house we almost lost, and are now in a house three times the size, and I no longer have to work out of a closet.
We have the security we were looking for, and we know that no matter what we could never be in a situation like that again because we can always make more money. Grit is one of my core values and never letting a setback turn into more. I truly believe everything is happening for us to teach us the lessons we need to learn to grow. It’s like when you’re playing a video game, you have to beat the “boss” before you can level up. I know that when things are getting really tough, I’m about to grow, and that’s always been true.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I’ve made a LOT of mistakes along the way, but I know that’s the best way I learn. I’d say one of the funniest mistakes I’ve ever made was when I moved my website to a course hosting platform, I accidentally granted access to my course to my whole list. I had to email everyone and apologize and take everyone who hadn’t bought it out of the program, it was kind of a mess haha. But learned a great lesson about not sweating the small stuff. I was so afraid people would be upset that I was taking it away, but they were way more understanding than I gave them credit for.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
One of the biggest ways my company stands out is by going against the status quo. So many people tell you to not ruffle feathers or say anything that upsets anyone, but I actually believe and do the exact opposite. Everyone wants to become a client magnet, but no one is willing to be polarizing. Ever seen a magnet that didn’t repel?
Magnets only attract with the same force with which they repel, and the same is true for business. If you want to be a client magnet, you have to be polarizing. And I don’t mean controversial or crass, but you have to take a stand for the beliefs you have that are counter to the status quo. Your ideal clients will be galvanized by your message, and the wrong people will just keep scrolling. Either way, you win.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned in business is the difference between movement and action. Movement is busy work. It’s doing the things that keep you feeling busy but you’re truly just spinning your wheels. Action is a movement with intention. It’s the stuff you’re probably avoiding doing my staying busy. When you spend more time in action, you get more done without burnout. I also can’t recommend hiring help enough. I hired a VA before I was making more than $1500 a month, and my first month after hiring her my business tripled. I have not had at least one person helping me in my business since, and it allows me to stay in action.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
This is 100% going to sound cheesy but my husband is the real MVP. When I started my business, I was a stay at home mom. Which meant that I worked during nap time and once the kids were asleep. That first year, my husband started driving Uber at night to make ends meet, and it gave me the time to work. 8 pm-midnight was my work time and had we not taken that year of hard to really get going, I’m not sure we would have grown as we have. In January, before Covid, he quit his job and driving Uber to stay home with the kids so I could work more during the day. He has been the most supportive partner, and I really couldn’t imagine growing this business without him.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I love this question because giving is also a core value of mine. When I was a kid, my parents were going through a particularly rough time with money. I remember them managing our expectations and telling us that Christmas was going to be small that year. But on Christmas Eve, we came home and there was a Santa bag of presents on our front porch, with an unsigned note. Someone had blessed my family with the most amazing gifts. That experience instilled in me an incredible spirit of giving. Every year since starting my business, we’ve been able to pay that forward in the most beautiful ways. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to give back.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- 1. Reaching your goals will never make you feel successful. When I hit my first $100K, I was expecting some kind of fireworks or a sense of relief like “I made it!” And that didn’t come. It was right before Christmas and I realized that feeling successful is like feeling like Christmas. You have to decide to feel it. It never “feels like Christmas” until you decide it does. I didn’t feel successful at $100K because I didn’t choose to feel successful first. Never let reaching a certain goal keep you from feeling successful now.
- 2. Money is a renewable resource, time is not. I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to do something that I could have paid to learn faster. Or paid someone else to do. We treat money like we’re going to run out of it, and waste time like we have an endless supply. This is totally backward. Covet your time, you’ll never get it back, and spend the money to get back more of it.
- 3. Hire early. This goes back to the last one, but hiring is absolutely key to scaling your business. Even if it’s just a part-time VA, giving over those tasks that are keeping you busy will free you up to be the visionary in your business.
- 4. What feels like common sense to you is likely your secret genius. You might not know this, but that thing that comes easily to you doesn’t come easily to everyone. Not all of us have the same brain or set of skills. Lean into your secret genius, and share it with the world.
- 5. Don’t worry about finding your niche. So many people get stuck in the weeds trying to find the right niche. When you become known for what you do, your niche becomes irrelevant. Own your genius, take a stand for your polarizing beliefs, and become known for what you do. The niche doesn’t matter.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I believe the way we learn is changing. We all have a skill set we can share with the world. I would love to start a movement empowering more people to join the peer to peer education economy, sharing their gifts with the world and creating their own financial freedom. I see peer to peer education is the next rideshare industry. I’d love to be a part of making that happen.
How can our readers get in touch with you?