Feature: Jaclyn Johnson
It is my absolute pleasure to share with you an interview with the ultimate girl boss who slays the game. Jaclyn Johnson is not only a role model to many she is also the brains and beauty behind Create and Cultivate; a conference of women who want to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. Let's take a dive into Jaclyn's journey and see how she spends her time when she isn't running the world.
Let’s start from the beginning. Can you give us a breakdown of your journey?
My journey certainly hasn’t been conventional, but they say every great entrepreneur has ‘the story’ that launched their business. I made a BIG move to LA from NY, and was let go shortly thereafter. Here I was on the West Coast, no job, and feeling a untethered, wondering if I made a massive mistake. But deep down I know I had the background, the wherewithal, and the scrappiness needed to launch my own company. My first company was a marketing co. called (No Subject). I started working with brands, reaching out to contacts, and that began my entrepreneurial journey. C&C came after a little while after that as a side project. I had SO many questions a green (and young) business owner that I want a community I could turn to.
What was the turning point that lead you to build your own company?
The turning point was knowing that if I had questions and couldn’t find answers that so many other women had to be in the boat. And I thought, why should we all be out at sea on our own? One of the things I’ve learned is that 99% of the time, people say ‘yes,’ when you ask them for help or advice. Most of us are too afraid to ask, out of fear that someone is too busy or we’ll seem like we don’t know what we’re doing. But you can’t know what you haven’t learned yet. That really launched C&C for me— saying, you know what, ‘I don’t know,’ and that is totally OK.
What are three things that your business couldn’t run without?
1. My trusted notebook. I still write everything down by hand. It’s a way to get it committed into my brain. I’m never without it.
2. A trusted staff. You’re only as good as your team. Hiring is hard work, but put in the work because you need smart, fearless, and creative people by your startup side.
3. Caffeine. Someone once told me that if you’re drinking at 4pm coffee you’re in trouble. But we burn the midnight oil over here. Conference weeks are about 80+ hours of hard work. A 4pm jolt is necessary.
Create and Cultivate is crushing the conference game. What makes it different from the rest?
Thank you. I think whenever your first to the pool, it sets you apart. You have a leg-up on the competition out of sheer timing. But I also think it’s because it didn’t start from a place of profit-only. Like I said, it started as a side hustle. I didn’t expect it to get this big. I thought (No Subject) was the money-maker. When you don’t start out with money as the end goal, people can see that. It makes a difference in the community you build, because it has an authentic foundation. Plus, we just work so freakin’ hard. The only way to truly crush the game is to put in the hours. There’s no shortcut.
With the influencer pool rapidly growing, what would you say sets someone apart from the rest?
Piggybacking on my last answer (and as something we’ve heard repeatedly from successful bloggers and influencers on panel at C&C events), you can’t get in it for the money. That comes later. Audiences are smart and getting smarter. They know when you’re schilling. They know when you’re doing something for a paycheck. And look, we are ALL about women making money. Make money. But make smart money.
What’s a piece of advice you would tell your younger self?
Get it all in writing, girl. Get it all in writing. No matter how long-standing a friendship or ‘safe’ something feels. When it comes to matters of business, you need it on paper.
Besides soaking in being a new bride, what else do you enjoy outside the walls of work?
Hanging out with my new hubby and our pup Noah in our new home! We recently bought and renovated our first house (which, is total madness!), so I’m spending any free time soaking in all of its magic. I travel so much for work, so the the time that I have at home is precious. We sit in the backyard. Drink some wine. And it feels like a dream.