Taking Action

The Journey to Create and Cultivate (and All of the Messy Mistakes in the Middle) with Jaclyn Johnson

Emily Williams

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The messy mistakes of entrepreneurship go to show that everything evolves from nothing— or something we believe to be nothing. Mistakes are reminders that not everything is meant to work out the way we expect or want, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t meant for us. In many cases, like Jaclyn Johnson’s, the messy mistakes were integral to the trajectory of the beautiful journey to personal success!

“I am instinct all the way because I feel pulled in certain directions sometimes in my life where I’m like, ‘oh yeah, I gotta go do this. Like I gotta see it through and I think I can make this work’. So I think for me, I very much follow my gut and make things happen. And if they don’t work out, I always am like ‘that happens for a reason’, you know?” — Jaclyn Johnson

Jaclyn Johnson, “the ultimate multi-hyphenate”, never thought she would be an entrepreneur. After moving to LA and getting let go from her marketing job, she had no idea what was in store for her career. Meanwhile, she was circulating events as a blogger, at a time in which blogging was considered the wild west of the Internet. When she miraculously met another ambitious woman with an idea for a company (at one of these very same events), Jaclyn was in! Before she knew it, Jaclyn was running the social media and creative side of her very own marketing agency: No Subject.

It’s been over a decade since Jaclyn stepped into her role as a CEO, and has lived (and learned) to tell the tale! As someone who’s spearheaded what it means to be the modern-day working woman, Jaclyn knows what’s key to achieving personal, and professional, success. Which made her the most magnetic and amazing IHML Show guest! 

On this week’s episode of the IHML Show, I invite Jaclyn on to share how she’s personally navigated the messy mistakes of entrepreneurship. She’s detailing her early days in marketing, taking us behind-the-scenes of selling two successful companies, what’s key to personal success, and how to lean into your personal magnetism! I cannot emulate to you all enough how excited I am for this magnetic, magnificent woman to share her wisdom… and talk about the early 2000s blogging with me. If you’ve been following me since the early days, you know what I’m talking about!

If there’s to take away from Jaclyn’s insightful episode, it’s to embrace your messy mistakes— and make them into something beyond your wildest dreams!

In This Episode:

  • [1:21]  We warmly welcome Jaclyn onto the IHML Show/
  • [2:14] Jaclyn vividly details her entrepreneurial journey— and its unexpected start.
  • [7:32] This is how Jaclyn moved into freelancing and finding her creative space after moving to LA!
  • [10:51] Emily and Jaclyn bond over their early 2000s blogging days (awww).
  • [12:09] What was Jaclyn’s first business-like, and where is it now? Jaclyn tells us!
  • [13:34] Jaclyn spills her secret to being a magnetic force and making things happen… like selling her business and (unintentionally) creating a new one!
  • [17:51] What side does Jaclyn’s loyalty lie on when making decisions: the instinctive side, or the rational one? She confidently answers.
  • [18:41] This is what Create & Cultivate looked like in its early phases…
  • [23:57] Jaclyn reflects on what she would’ve done differently with C&C now having all her entrepreneurial knowledge!
  • [25:47] How Jaclyn attracted high-profile celebrities to be a part of her community!
  • [31:19] Jaclyn made the decision to sell Create & Cultivate, here’s why.
  • [35:40] The resilience, support, and reflection that got Jaclyn through the hardest period of her life and career.
  • [39:01] A behind-the-scenes look into Jaclyn’s other exciting projects!
  • [40:43] These are Jaclyn’s top three keys to personal success.
  • [42:36] If you know, you know… we asked Jaclyn for her advice on how to create a life better than your dreams!

Quotes:

“I had obviously worked in corporate the entire time; structure, steam, large companies. And so kind of going from that environment to a scrappy startup, you’re doing everything from the bookkeeping to the hiring to the firing, all of the things. The new business, all of it, was a lot, but it was something that was kind of a welcome challenge at the time.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“We ended up finding this really amazing loft in downtown LA, and it was like 800 bucks a month. And there was three of us; we had another guy that joined us too that split it. And I was like, ‘I can’t believe we have this space. Like, this is so crazy.’ It was nice because I was also new to the city, so I wanted to get out. So we had this creative space we created and branded the space and called it No Subject. And we all worked out of it. We hosted events during art week. It was like this really fun creative space. And then eventually I ended up starting my first business with the woman that I got the space with, which was then we called No Subject the agency. Her specialization was really like on the event side, I was the social media and marketing side. And so combined, we started to get clients together and ended up starting my first company kind of out of nowhere.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“Taking over the company [No Subject] by myself was super challenging when we had employees, like everyone, like lawsuits. It was intense, right? So, you make a lot of mistakes and you learn a lot about it. And I had a lot of shame around that like in the early days. Then once I started talking to people about what had happened, so many people were like, ‘oh yeah, that happened to my friend,’ or like, ‘that happened to this person,’ or like, ‘oh yep, totally.’ I was like,’ oh wait, this is like something that people go through.’ There’s always these messy mistakes you’re making in business.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“By wanting to have a community of entrepreneurs and women and freelancers that were kind of going through the same thing, I started Create & Cultivate to get women together. It was never intended to be a business. It was more just like a community building thing.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“I am instinct all the way because I feel pulled in certain directions sometimes in my life where I’m like, ‘oh yeah, I gotta go do this. Like I gotta see it through and I think I can make this work’. So I think for me, I very much follow my gut and make things happen. And if they don’t work out, I always am like ‘that happens for a reason’, you know?” — Jaclyn Johnson

“People started to be obsessed with Create & Cultivate and wanting to be part of that. The team was like, ‘are we working for that company?’ Or this guy, like everyone was confused including me and clients, it was like this kind of hodgepodge of things. And I was sort of figuring it out until it hit a boiling point where I was like, ‘okay, I need to actually hire people for this thing.’” — Jaclyn Johnson

“We [Create & Cultivate] were really first to market in creating an event and a site for modern working women. Now there’s like a thousand you can go to. We were the only one, it was Forbes or us [at the time].” — Jaclyn Johnson 

“I think the authenticity behind the brand, and the fact that it didn’t start with money as the motive, I think it honestly wasn’t the motive for like six years. It was just about creating community and doing cool things.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“We were approaching celebrities, which at the time was very novel as entrepreneurs, not just celebrities, right? We were really approaching it as like, this is an entrepreneur conference. This is not a fan conference. These are [for] women who want advice in that way.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“For us being a self-funded business, a high growth self-funded business, the natural trajectory is either to go raise money or sell. And we were in a position where we didn’t necessarily need money, but we did need a larger org to absorb us to get to that next level and provide sort of that larger framework that we would need to grow and build.” — Jaclyn Johnson

“I talk to people who sell their companies and I’m like, it’s so weird to wake up one day and not do what you’ve done for the last 10 years.” — Jaclyn Johnson

Links & Resources

Follow the I Heart My Life Show on Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/i-heart-my-life-show/id1569047758 

Subscribe to the I Heart My Life Show on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/1Zw6fI37FrfVjZMXlMiZZ6

Connect with Emily:

Emily Williams Website https://emilywilliams.com/ 

Emily on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/emilywilliams/ 

I Heart My Life Website https://www.iheartmylife.com/

I Heart My Life on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/iheartmylife/

I Heart My Life on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/iheartmylifenow

I Heart My Life on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/i-heart-my-life/

Join the IHML community to receive exclusive announcements and tips.

https://www.iheartmylife.com/newsletter

Email: info@iheartmylife.com 

Connect with Jaclyn:

Check out her official website!

Create & Cultivate’s official website 

Listen to her podcast on Apple Podcasts!  

Read Jaclyn’s best-selling memoir

Follow Jaclyn on Instagram

Try Maie, Jaclyn’s wine brand!

Check out her venture fund, New Money Ventures

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