Become besties with failure. The ones who are doing big things were just willing to fall harder and more often on their faces.
In this 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 Jamie King aka The Slay Coach. Jamie is a beauty school dropout and mom of three turned 7-figure online business owners. She is the founder of The Summit of Slay and the Chardonnay & Slay event series.
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’?
Ina nutshell, I knew at the age of sixteen that I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I was always a creative and goal-oriented person. I played basketball and I loved doing hair, I even went to hair school, but my scoliosis surgery prevented me from pursuing basketball or cosmetology professionally. I thought I would move to LA and be a famous makeup artist, but I got pregnant at 19 and left bartending to follow the corporate 9–5 dream. I realized I moved up the ladder very quickly but still didn’t quite fit in.
I had tons of side “businesses.” I sold vintage clothing, I baked, but it wasn’t until I got married and had my son that I knew I couldn’t meet the heavy demands of travel with my corporate career. So, I started online health coaching with a network marketing company. I loved helping people, but I was really in it to help other women grow their own business. I should be no one’s fitness coach, I mean, I own a networking series with “wine” in the name. After 3 years, I was able to supplement my corporate salary so that I could stay home.
After we had another daughter, she was 4 months old when she was diagnosed with infantile scoliosis. We were facing medical bills upwards of 24k within the next 6 months, and — instead of our first pick — I ended up choosing a charity hospital for her treatment, and friends started a GoFundMe for our bills. That was my rock bottom.
I always knew I was meant for greatness, but when I started receiving handouts, I decided to stop half-assing the work I wanted to do in the world. That’s when I hired a business coach and started the Slay Brands shortly after. It blew up to a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. I found the thing I was meant to be doing — developing women entrepreneurs into strong online leaders.
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?
The first coach I almost hired told me I couldn’t do the thing I knew I was meant to do. Without asking me any questions about my professional background, she looked at my current income and said: “No, you aren’t qualified.”
I was crushed. I looked up to her and respected her for years. I broke down for about 24 hours, called my husband crying, felt like a crazy imposter, and nearly threw all my ideas out the window.
Thank goodness I had the mental fortitude to say “eff you, watch me!”
So I hired someone else, and I got to thank that woman a year later at a convention. I walked up and told her that her “no” was the biggest driving factor to me hitting 6 figures in 6 months. I wanted so badly to prove her wrong, and I did. I’m still thankful for her to this day.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Community and collaboration for all different types of entrepreneurs.
My Summit of Slay was actually mentioned in the #1 best-selling book Girl on Fire. At my Summit, hundreds of women from all over the world came together. We had weavers, cake bakers, coaches, authors, network marketers, and everyone in between. There was even a drag show LOL — this is true inclusivity.
The speakers weren’t just on stage, they were in the crowd and at the after-parties. Women got to meet and hang out with their self-help gurus because there was no totem pole of success. We were all equal. A couple of the speakers even took some of the attendees out for drinks after! They talked, they laughed, they cried.
One speaker, Cara Leyba, mentioned she had never done that at a conference before because she never felt safe. The type of women there were so inviting and warm, the vibes made them feel like they could just be one of the girls. It was the highlight of my year.
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?
Cara Alwill Leyba, she was an early coach and mentor of mine. She’s the best-selling author of the book, Girl Code. I had looked up to her for the last 4 years, and she saw something in me that I didn’t quite see in myself. She believed in me, my event, and my mission, and she showed me what it meant to truly lead with service — and to do things my own way — without the rules or feeling like I need to fit in a certain online marketing box.
I asked her one day, “Why is it so hard to write the book?” And she said something that still sticks with me when I come against anything I am procrastinating or putting off, she said, “Because you’re telling yourself it’s hard. The hardest part of writing the book is to sit down and start.”
Now I remember to just start, start messy, start when you aren’t ready. Stop believing things are hard when they really aren’t.
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?
Resilience is believing in something even when you have no proof that it’s going to work out.
Resilience, to me, means a woman who doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s hearing no and saying thank you. It’s faith in knowing that every rejection is just a redirection to something greater. It’s saying I want it all now, but I’m also willing to wait for my time to come.
Resilient people can’t accept smallness, they grow even when buried six feet under the ground. It’s the only way they know how to be. It’s choosing to believe you were born for more, and that you are worthy of every ounce of each desire you have. It’s asking not “why me” but “why not me” every single day.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
My mom. She’s been through a lot, but she never let it keep her down. She has faith that it’s always going to work out for her and that she’s supported by something greater than herself. She was laid off and went back to school at 45. She earned 2 degrees in 4 years, and she’s been her own boss and massage therapist for the University of Louisville football and baseball teams for 10 years.
She showed me that I could pull off anything on my own if I was willing to put in the work.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I’ve always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I was bullied for being the kid that had scoliosis, and kids made fun of my back brace. Then I was the girl who decided not to go to college. I was always the only one of my coworkers or friends without a degree.
Deciding to prove everyone wrong has been a theme in my life. This beauty school dropout retired her master’s educated husband from his 6-figure corporate job. He works in my company now, and he’s actually my manager.
Who said you can’t achieve greatness without a degree? I’m addicted to learning, college just wasn’t my path. It was really scary to own that, unapologetically, when everyone around you thinks you’re just a dumb 17-year-old.
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.
- Lean on not your own strength. Strengthen your faith muscles. Faith in something bigger than you can support you when you feel like you can’t keep going.
- Decide. Every day is a conscious decision to show up as a better version of yourself. No one is naturally motivated, it’s an active choice to believe in yourself and your goals that get you moving in the right direction.
- Ask for help. Find a mentor, a truth-teller, or a coach that will show you the blind spots that you can’t see yet. Be open to receiving feedback, even when it hurts. Lizzo said it best, “Truth Hurts.”
- Become besties with failure. The ones who are doing big things were just willing to fall harder and more often on their faces.
- Have a clear vision of where you are going and why. You don’t need to know the exact steps of how to get there yet, but you do need an internal compass to point you in the right direction. When you know your Where (you are going), Who (is guiding you), and Why (you are going that way), you will become an unstoppable force.
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. 🙂
To make creative entrepreneurship attainable for every woman that wants it. I stay awake at night dreaming of all the women who felt stuck like I once did. The woman who just wants to be able to go to lunch during the day at her kids’ school, to not have to pump in a dirty airport bathroom as I did.
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 🙂
Lady Gaga! She did her own weird thing in music. She brands and launches her albums the way I do when I launch an online program. When producers told her she had to look a certain way, she went weird (remember the meat dress). She always has an artist’s vision with everything she creates. She’s not afraid to be weird, herself, and gives us all permission to do the same.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!