Learn How To Manage Your Mind. Our brains are not wired to help us. They are wired to keep us safe. This means, our brains are always on the lookout for danger; and to a brain that evolved millions (and millions) of years ago, change equals danger. That’s why whenever we are met with a challenge or uncertainty or even a positive change in our lives, our brains start to freak out because they don’t like unpredictability. They tend to operate from a place of comfort and control. Here’s the thing though: Our futures (and our goals and dreams) are created in the unknown. They are forged through uncertainty and unpredictability, and if we truly want to master the skill of resilience we need to learn how to become more aware of the thoughts we’re thinking. One of my favorite ways of doing this is to notice when I start to feel off, low energy, anxious, frustrated or sad. I view those low-vibe emotions as my body’s “alarm” that my thoughts are off and it’s my trigger to check in with myself and ask “what was I just thinking there” or even more accurate, “how was I thinking?” I find when you ask yourself these questions it empowers you to become more aware of the thoughts you think so you can catch them in the moment, cancel them and create a new way of thinking (or a new belief) to replace the disempowering thought. This way of thinking is the first step to building resilience because it will help you frame your challenges and setbacks in a more empowering light because you won’t view them as detrimental to your growth. Instead, you’ll see them as fuel to get to the next level in your life.
Inthis interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Stanton. Jill is the co-founder of Screw The Nine To Five where she helps unsatisfied employees quit their jobs and start online businesses. Coined by Forbes as “a destination for up-and-coming online entrepreneurs,” Screw The Nine To Five has inspired tens of thousands of new entrepreneurs to quit their jobs, build thriving businesses, and live lives of meaning and purpose. In addition to her chart-topping podcast, her honest-yet-cheeky style has landed her on shows like The Sunny Show, Entrepreneurs On Fire, and Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy to name a few. Jill has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and Digital Marketer.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?
Back in Toronto, the year 2009. I met this guy on a blind date.
I (Jill) was 2 months away from moving from Toronto to Australia to do a year-long trip with a friend. At the time Josh (an Australian) was living in China (managing his team of programmers) and conveniently making his way back to Australia for a visit around the
time I was going to arrive.
When we first met, Josh wanted nothing to do with this blind date (which apparently he knew nothing of) and barely spoke to me until the end of the night.
Fortunately, once we finally start talking, we hit it off and made a plan to meet back up a few days later.
After that next date we knew there was something there and when he went back to China, we talked on Skype every day for hours.
In October 2009, I made the move over to Australia and traveled up and down the east coast, eventually finding my way back to Sydney where a few days later Josh showed up on my doorstep to surprise me!
The rest is history and we’ve been traveling the world (having lived in 14 countries together so far), running our businesses and raising our little guy from anywhere with a wifi connection.
Speaking of businesses…
We started our first business together in 2012 on a whim when Josh pitched me the idea of starting a skincare affiliate site together as a way of replacing the income we were each making from our individual businesses at that time.
I didn’t have any experience in blogging (or skincare, for that matter), but I knew I wanted out of my business so I leaped at the chance.
On January 4, 2012, we launched our first ever website together and proceeded to fall, stumble, fail and navigated through our process until we finally figured out how to make money with our website.
Four months later our business celebrated its first $1,000 month and Josh and I decided to double-down on what we had learned and started a second website.
We rinsed and repeated this process until we had over 30 websites in different niches from skincare to weight loss and supplements to personal hygiene and high heels. We felt like we were on top of the world! We had all these websites that were funding our lifestyle and allowing us the freedom to travel and work from anywhere in the world!
And then it happened…
In December 2012, we were in Costa Rica for our wedding. We were sitting on our balcony, having a quiet moment before welcoming our guests and we started talking about starting ANOTHER website.
This time though our site would share our story and everything we had learned building these sites while traveling the world. In the pursuit of finding the “perfect name”, we started tossing around ideas for what this site could be when the words “screw the nine to five” fell out of my mouth (thank you, Costa Rican rum).
We scrambled to get our computers to see if the URL was taken. It wasn’t. So we snatched it up and slowly but surely, started building out this new brand.
You see, up until that point all of our sites were written under a pen name and all of our photos were from stock photography sites. We were so nervous to put ourselves out there that for the first year, our business struggled…HARD!
Our first online course launch sold precisely ZERO and while that nearly took us out of the game (because we felt SO defeated), it was one of the best lessons we learned because it taught us the importance of teaching what you know.
From that moment forward things started to change for us.
We pivoted our business to start teaching affiliate marketing, had our first successful launch (a whopping $8,400!) and then our second ($38,000), started a podcast, a free FB group (which grew to over 45,000 members) and then kicked the doors open to a monthly membership community we affectionately called, Screw U.
That membership was what gave Screw The Nine To Five a quantum leap in exposure, revenue and impact and helped hundreds of unsatisfied 9-to-5’ers quit their jobs and go full-time into their businesses.
It also taught us some of the most fundamental lessons we’ve learned as entrepreneurs and the closing of it (which I’ll explain below) was the catalyst for the current stage of growth and impact we are experiencing as a brand!
And to think it all started on a blind date.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Hands down it has to be the moment we decided to shut down every single piece of our business that was no longer serving us.
Remember that membership (Screw U) I mentioned above?
Well, that membership helped put Screw The Nine To Five on the map, made us more money than we had ever made at that point ($332,000/year) and gave us the opportunity to serve thousands of die-hard members who called themselves Scroupies (a.k.a. Screw Groupies)!
For 3 years we served that community day in and day out. We would host coaching calls, create courses, host an annual members-only live event and even created a virtual co-working space where members could hang out online and “co-work” together.
It was a magical time in our business.
And then our son was born in February 2018 and all of a sudden things started feeling “off”.
We no longer felt aligned with the business we had built or the work we were doing; which caused us a ton of stress because we couldn’t figure out WHY we were feeling this way. All we knew was that something needed to change.
Fast-forward to July 2018 and we finally had a breakthrough moment of clarity and realized (or gave ourselves permission to admit) we no longer wanted to run Screw The Nine To Five the way it was built.
We didn’t want our membership site anymore …or our courses, our coaching services or even our free Facebook Group!
So we did the only thing we could think of: We told everyone inside our membership, our courses and our free community that as of December 31, 2018, we would be shutting down every single piece of our business that no longer aligned with our values, who we wanted to be and what we wanted to create inside Screw The Nine To Five.
It’s now 11 months after making that decision and our business is more successful than it’s ever been (we even surpassed 2018’s revenue in the first 8 months of 2019), we’re happier than we’ve ever been and our vision for our mission is clearer than it’s ever been.
The main lesson we’ve learned though is, you need to get clear on what YOU want for your business and your life.
I know it sounds so cliche, but it’s 10000% true!
Ask yourself what do you REALLY want to create? What lights YOU up? What feels “light” vs “heavy” to you.
Ask yourself those questions over and over until you have an answer…and then take action from that place of clarity.
I promise, building your business from a place of alignment and ease (and creating something that serves YOU as the founder) is the best “success hack” you’ll ever find.
And THAT has been the biggest lesson we’ve learned (so far) as entrepreneurs.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe what makes Screw The Nine To Five stand out is our commitment to transparency and honesty, even when it feels scary.
There are SO many brands in our space that paint this unrealistic rosy picture of what entrepreneurship looks like (hot chicks + fast cars, anyone?) and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
We’re committed to pulling back the veil and showing the real side of entrepreneurship — the challenging parts, the fulfilling parts, the exciting parts, the stresses, the successes and how it helps you become the best version of yourself.
An example of this is one of our most recent podcast episodes where Josh and I recorded a couples counseling session we had that let our listeners into our biggest struggles as a couple who is also running a business, raising a toddler and somehow trying to keep the fire alive in our marriage.
It’s our most downloaded episode ever and we received so much feedback from other “couplepreneurs” that this gave them insight into how they’ve been showing up in their own relationships and the tools to improve their communication, intimacy, and relationship as a whole.
To us, that’s a HUGE win and is one of our driving forces for how we aim to be different in a sea of sameness.
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?
I know this is going to sound so cheesy and cliche, but it’s my husband, Josh.
He’s been on this entrepreneurial journey with me for the last 8 years. He’s been in the ring with me, going the rounds with me, wading through the uncertainty with me, navigating the ups and downs with me, celebrating the wins with me, pouring me a tall glass of wine when things feel challenging, and building this movement with me.
He’s taught me so much about managing and leading a team, creating the right business systems and structure, and the importance of always reinvesting in yourself as an entrepreneur.
He’s been my greatest teacher and mentor and is one of the smartest and most talented entrepreneurs I know.
Alright, I’ll cool it on the sappy answers from now on. *wink*
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I would define resilience as one’s ability to adapt, pivot and bounce back when things don’t go the way it was planned or hoped. It’s the ability to learn from a situation objectively without assigning a disempowering meaning to the situation, such as “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not good enough” or “maybe I’m not cut out for this” or even “I knew I would fail, I’m so stupid!”
It’s an inner strength that helps those who have it move forward (even when faced with uncertainty) and not get caught up in any wallowing, pitying or “woe is me” behavior.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
The first person who comes to mind when I think of resilience is JK Rowling.
She transformed her circumstances (and life in general) from being a single mom struggling on welfare, barely able to support her family to one of the world’s most famous (and wealthiest) authors.
What I love about her story and inner strength is that she never let her countless rejections (12 to be exact) from publishers, or the fact that she couldn’t afford a computer or the printing costs to print her book (she ended up manually typing up each copy to send to publishers) stop her.
She kept going, no after no. She never let the disbelief, rejection or failures dissuade her.
Each time she experienced a setback, roadblock or obstacle she would pick herself back up and try again.
Imagine if she didn’t have the resilience and the belief in herself to keep trying!
Imagine not having Harry Potter and the countless dreams that born out of that series!
That is a true testament to the power of resilience and what separates those who truly experience life from those who let life just happen to them.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
I’m going to take us back to my high school years to a moment in grade 12 when I was talking to the school’s Guidance Counsellor.
She had brought me in to talk about my post-secondary plans and I mentioned that I had my eye on a few schools that had Radio and Television Broadcast programs.
I had told her that for years I dreamt of doing something that made an impact on people. Something that would light up their screens and bring joy into their lives AND wouldn’t have me clocking hours upon hours at a drab corporate job I hated.
She looked me dead in the face, with a faint look of disbelief and just said “Jill, sweetie, I think it’s time to start considering a more realistic path. What about a communications degree? Those kinds of degrees are what lead to real careers.”
Fortunately, I was a stubborn (and slightly sassy) teenager who always knew deep down that a “real career” wasn’t the path for me. So I nodded my way through that 20-minute “career counseling” session, thanked her for her guidance, took the stack of brochures she handed me, walked out, turned down another hallway and threw them all out.
That was a pivotal (and memorable) moment for me because it made me realize that I would never choose a conventional path for my life. And while my small screen ambitions took me down many paths (landing me various commercials, small TV gigs, a stint on Deal Or No Deal, 2 web TV shows and now into the very, VERY early planning phases of a docuseries), the real lesson I took away from that day (which took me years to realize) is we need to be aware of who we are taking advice from.
If someone is not in the ring with you, taking the punches with you, fighting for a dream with you, creating the uncreated with you and wading through the uncertainty with you, they don’t get to tell you what you are (or are not) capable of; what you can or cannot achieve.
That is for YOU to determine and as long as you have a clear vision for what you want your life to look and feel like, and you are detached from how (or when) you get there, then you can create magic in your life and achieve the impossible.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
It was November 19, 2013, when Josh and I went to launch our first-ever online course, Badass Guest Blogging.
(The name should have been our first clue this program was doomed, haha!)
We had just spent three straight months of our time creating course content, shooting videos, creating a 3-part free training series, writing email sequences and sales copy, creating checkout pages, pitching ourselves to podcasts and getting everything ready to go live.
We were SO sure this launch was going to crush our goals and get our business out there in an even bigger way.
In fact, we believed that so hard that we invested $5,000 just to get our members portal created, pictures shot and workbooks designed.
Yet, when launch day rolled around, nothing happened.
No customers. No sales. Not even a visitor to our sales page.
We were absolutely devastated.
In fact, I ugly-cried for an entire day because I felt so embarrassed, and for a second I toyed with the idea that maybe Screw The Nine To Five wasn’t meant to be.
Fortunately, we were living in Thailand at that time and so we hit our local “cocktail van”, indulged in a stiff drink or two to take our mind off what had happened.
The next day we hit our favorite cafe to take an honest look at what went wrong and had one of the most impactful realizations to date: We had to start teaching what we knew, which at that time was affiliate marketing.
So we formulated a plan for how we would start to shift the focus of Screw The Nine To Five, sent out an email to our audience (which was a couple of hundred people at the time), announced our new direction and invited those who were interested to join us for the ride.
That decision led us to create two new (successful) courses the next year and set us on the path to building Screw The Nine To Five into the movement it is today!
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I was bullied in school for 8 years straight. From girls locking me in bathrooms at parties (so I couldn’t find my friends to help me) to girls swarming around my car (so I couldn’t drive away) to girls spray painting the words “Jill is a slut” on the walls of my high school (so that I would be humiliated in front of the whole school), my resilience was built as a result of having to fend for myself during some of my most formative years.
It was those experiences over the course of 8 years that gave me tough skin, my strength of character, my no-nonsense attitude and my drive for creating a place where up-and-coming entrepreneurs feel seen, heard and supported.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
If you want to strengthen your resilience muscle, here are 5 steps I believe anyone can take to adopt this characteristic:
1 . Learn How To Manage Your Mind
I had to put this one first as I truly believe it is the catalyst for massive transformation in anyone’s life.
Our brains are not wired to help us. They are wired to keep us safe. This means, our brains are always on the lookout for danger; and to a brain that evolved millions (and millions) of years ago, change equals danger.
That’s why whenever we are met with a challenge or uncertainty or even a positive change in our lives, our brains start to freak out because they don’t like unpredictability. They tend to operate from a place of comfort and control.
Here’s the thing though: Our futures (and our goals and dreams) are created in the unknown. They are forged through uncertainty and unpredictability, and if we truly want to master the skill of resilience we need to learn how to become more aware of the thoughts we’re thinking.
One of my favorite ways of doing this is to notice when I start to feel off, low energy, anxious, frustrated or sad. I view those low-vibe emotions as my body’s “alarm” that my thoughts are off and it’s my trigger to check in with myself and ask “what was I just thinking there” or even more accurate, “how was I thinking?”
I find when you ask yourself these questions it empowers you to become more aware of the thoughts you think so you can catch them in the moment, cancel them and create a new way of thinking (or a new belief) to replace the disempowering thought.
This way of thinking is the first step to building resilience because it will help you frame your challenges and setbacks in a more empowering light because you won’t view them as detrimental to your growth. Instead, you’ll see them as fuel to get to the next level in your life.
2 . Celebrate The Small Wins
Let’s keep it real, so many of us tend to overlook the “small” wins because they don’t seem as impactful as some of our bigger wins.
However, some of the most resilient people I know celebrate all their wins — big or small — because they know that acknowledging their wins is what builds momentum and keeps them motivated to continue reaching for bigger and bigger goals.
If you don’t celebrate the small wins, you’ll easily lose perspective on how far you’ve come and you’ll get in your head thinking you haven’t accomplished much when in reality you’re creating massive change…even in the day to day of your life.
3 . Surround Yourself With People Who Are Where You Want To Be
Here’s the truth, one of the easiest ways to build resilience is to surround yourself with people who live and breathe that trait; people who are where you want to be.
The reason this is so key is that people who have achieved greatness or success in their life have typically done that by overcoming obstacles and viewing challenges as mere stumbling blocks that help them become better versions of themselves.
They don’t let these roadblocks or obstacles stop them. They don’t make those setbacks mean that they can’t do something or that they “don’t have what it takes to succeed”.
They see those experiences as opportunities to become even better versions of themselves and if you can put yourself in situations where you are surrounded by these kind of people, those beliefs and ways of be’ing will start to rub off on you and soon enough you’ll notice that what once used to stress you out or cause you to second guess yourself no longer has a negative effect on you.
4 . Cultivate Commitment
I’ve found over the years that the most resilient people I know all possess unwavering commitment to achieving their dreams and goals.
They have a purpose, a reason to get out of bed and a mission that fuels them and carries them through those moments where they get knocked down and it’s that level of commitment that separates them from the people who say they want something, but never take any action to make it happen.
It’s that commitment to following through and staying in integrity that makes those who are resilient some of the happiest, most centered and purpose-driven people you’ll meet.
Wanting isn’t enough for them.
They commit and they follow through. No BS excuses. No maybes. No moments of “if I feel like it”.
And that is what separates them from those who allow their circumstances to control their lives and dictate their futures.
5 . Take Care Of Yourself
This one should go without saying, however sometimes one of the hardest things to do is prioritize yourself.
Yet, it’s a common trait amongst successful people because they know that in order to perform at their highest, they need to guard their energy, their spirit and prioritize things that give them mental whitespace and make them happy.
This kind of self-care allows high achievers to stay effective and engaged in their lives so they aren’t phased by outside circumstances and can maintain unwavering resilience.
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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love this question because I believe we ARE building a movement.
Our mission with Screw The Nine To Five is to help unsatisfied employees quit their jobs, build an online business and create lives of meaning and purpose.
We do this because we know there are millions of people who feel trapped (and absolutely miserable) in their jobs and if we can give the ones who want to change their lives the tools to do so, they can create something that gives them the financial freedom, time freedom, location freedom and personal freedom they crave.
And while entrepreneurship definitely has its challenging moments, it also transforms you into the best version of yourself as you learn more about yourself — the way you think, the value you’re offering, the impact you’re creating, the lives you’re affecting and the wealth you’re building. All of these lessons, skills, and traits stack upon each other to create a life that is dripping with meaning and purpose.
That is the movement we are building and the impact I want to continue making!
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Rachel Hollis! I love her message, her drive, grit, determination and the fact that she was in this game for over 10 years before she had her first “big break”.
Her dreams of building a media empire very much vibe with what my husband and I want to build and I have so much respect for the fact that she’s accomplished all of this while also raising FOUR kids!
I’m still trying to figure out how to CEO with one kid!
I also appreciate her no-BS approach, her transparency around what she had to overcome or sacrifice in order to get to where she is and what she still has to learn and lean into in order to get to where she wants to go. To me, that is true leadership and I feel like she would be a riot to have brunch and mimosas with.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Here are our top 3 platforms we hang out on most:
On IG: Instagram.com/screwtheninetofive
On FB: facebook.com/saynotoninetofive
On YouTube: youtube.com/user/screwtheninetofive
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us