Jessica DeRose has a powerful story, and in our conversation, there are a lot of unique pieces you might find resonance with. Jess is clear that walking away from her secure career as a teacher wasn’t courageous, it was necessary. As I listened to her share, she also clarified that, although her results are astounding, there were years of experience and effort that coalesced to make it all possible. Perhaps the key was walking away from the safety net and focusing on the next part of her path. Jessica has continued to find ways to evolve, even moving past her impressive role as a celebrity personal trainer, to find new ways to grow and give back. You need to hear her explain it, but her perspective on how your willingness to grow determines the growth of everything around you; is powerful.
Our conversation is an excellent addition to your January arsenal of expanding your perspective and taking on 2023. Be sure to check out her reading vault, and learn more about The Digital Business Evolution, her way of inspiring change, making a massive impact and leaving a lasting legacy.
Since leaving her teaching job in 2017, Jessica turned her once “cute side hustle” into a multimillion dollar business. Read her full bio on her website.
Listen now to learn how a podcast was the final wake up call that led to her leaving her teaching career and how she found success by reverse engineering her goals.
Connect with Jessica
Resource mentioned: Reading Vault
Podcast: Digital Business Evolution with Jessica DeRose
[00:43] Introducing Jessica DeRose
[02:14] Leap of Faith
[13:21] About Digital Business Evolution
[16:18] The universe connecting her to Pencils of Promise
[19:53] Knowing yourself
[25:16] The growth of Jessica’s company
[32:30] Self-care is slowing down and getting quiet
[36:26] Trusting where you need to be
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[00:00:00] Jessica: When I look back on my journey of personal development or the business or anything, it’s really just been a reflection of me. And so when it comes to something like business, I believe that your business will only grow to the extent that you do in relationships. I believe your relationships will only grow to the extent that you do right. And we’re mirrors for one another. So whatever it is that you’re looking to do, if it’s on a personal level, if it’s a goal that you want to set out for, I really do deeply believe that the quicker you can get to know yourself and understand and discern how you view the world and maybe make some changes even right. Because we have the ability to rewrite and rewire the way that we think, the faster you’re going to see those results or feel that happiness or fulfillment or whatever that growth value might be for you.
[00:00:43] Shawna: Welcome to The Grit Show-Growth on Purpose. I’m your host, Shawna Rodrigues, and I’m happy to be here with you as your guide for all of us growing together as seekers and thrivers.
[00:00:59] Shawna: A former celebrity personal trainer and elementary school teacher just turned her once cute side hustle into a multimillion dollar business in 18 months. Since leaving her teaching job in 2017, she has hired a team of incredible, heart-centered leaders, served hundreds of clients, and helped them generate over 11 million in revenue. She is committed to helping 100 entrepreneurs create seven figure impact from businesses (nine down, 91 to go!) As a result of donations and awareness she and her company, the ‘Digital Business Evolution,’ have generated, Jessica is able to fund the building of a school in Ghana, Africa, with Pencils of Promise.
[00:01:37] Shawna: The school opened in January 2021 and is home to over 150 students and local staff. Jessica has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Yahoo Finance and The Today Show, Good Day New York, The New York Post, Sheet Magazine and Well + Good. As evident through her business, life and philanthropic endeavors, Jessica’s mission is to cause a ripple effect and inspire change for generations to come, making a massive impact along the way and leaving a lasting legacy beyond her singular actions. We are so grateful to have her as part of our launch of 2023. Thank you for being here today, Jess.
[00:01:50] Jessica: Oh, Shawna, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited.
[00:02:14] Shawna: Yes. I’m really excited to hear a little bit more about how you built all of this, and I love you have this focus on the philanthropy and pushing things forward. That is such a beautiful perspective to have, and I think that everyone here today is excited to learn more about that as well. So tell us a little more about how you made your transition in that 18-month period and what led you to find your purpose and find this new way of doing things in business.
[00:02:40] Jessica: Well, I don’t think I’ve found my purpose fully yet. I don’t know that I’ll ever. I don’t think it’s a destination to get to, I think it’s a journey to be on. I think the doing is in the destination. So I believe I’m still uncovering my purpose. I’ll be 39 in just a couple of months and I’m just figuring it out. I feel like Bambi. And I’m like on my little legs, all wiggly.
[00:02:58] Jessica: And I love the bio and I’m always super grateful when people read it and it’s really cool. And actually our numbers have changed quite a bit from what you read. So really inspiring---
[00:03:07] Shawna: Oh, that’s exciting!
[00:03:07] Jessica: Yeah. So really inspiring to see what we have built and how we’ve been able to help our clients and how they’re out there helping other people. But what I would say is, the sexy story is that it happened in 18 months, but the reality is it was years. I mean, I started in the online space in 2013, so a decade ago. And while I was in the online space, I was working full time as an elementary school teacher and I was a personal trainer after school and on weekends. And I was actually a bartender and a waitress. And so I did a lot of things to make ends meet.
[00:03:36] Jessica: And I started playing around in the online space because I was actually working with a coach in the online space. And so that was my first in 2012, it was my first experience having a coach in the online space. I was doing bodybuilding competitions. And so I lived in New Jersey at the time, my coach was in Massachusetts, and I paid her virtually and she would send me my workout programs and my macros. And at the time, I had been a personal trainer for about probably 13 years, 14 maybe. And so I had this light bulb moment of, “Well, I can do this too.”
[00:04:05] Jessica: So I started reaching out to some of my friends from college and high school who lived in different states. And I said, “You’ve always wanted me to be your trainer, but we don’t live in the same state. Would you be open to mailing me a check in the mail, like literally snail mail, and I’ll email you a workout program.” So I did that for many years and then I was just following the trends. So I got into blogging and then I was selling $79, 12-week workout guides. They were written out like e-books and it was just a natural progression. I didn’t grow up in a family of entrepreneurs. I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was. But I just was doing it because it fulfilled me and it was helping my friends and peers and clients and was bringing in a little bit of cash.
[00:04:44] Jessica: So when I left my job in 201, I want to be very clear because that’s where the quote unquote, “18 months started.” But it was 2017. So it was almost five years into this little dabbling of this side hustle. And I was in network marketing, and so I was taking a crash course on both personal development as well as digital marketing, and I really was learning a lot from network marketing. And when I left my job in 2017, I think my cute side hustle was bringing in anywhere from like $300 to $1,000 a month. So I did not replace my income. It was definitely a leap of faith.
[00:05:19] Jessica: And so when I quit in 2017, my mission was do whatever I need to do to make ends meet and remove my ego, and get jobs that I think I’m above or beyond or I maybe feel like I’m going backwards, but just do what I need to do to make ends meet. Because at the time, I was probably 32. I mean, I was an adult. My husband went to the house, we had a mortgage, so I had to be okay with removing my ego and going backwards. And that’s exactly what I did.
[00:05:45] Jessica: And so it was at that moment when I left my job, and went all in on my cute side hustle and actually had time to put towards it that I was able to scale to multiple to the first million in 18 months. But it was already five years behind the scenes of learning and trying and testing.
[00:06:01] Shawna: Yeah, but that leap of faith is huge to go from going, “I need to end that mindset of whatever it takes,” and not saying, “Oh, I’m going to make a million dollars doing this,” but I need to do whatever it takes to make this work because I need this shift. I need to find something that really makes me feel fulfilled and connected and doing what’s going to make me happy. And that’s what I’m going to go in for.
[00:06:24] Jessica: Yeah, but it’s really important. I’d love to share a quick story of the reason I quit my job, because people will often say, “Wow, you took that leap of faith and you’re so brave. How courageous. You grew your wings on the way down.” And for me, that was not the case at all. I never quit because I was brave. I didn’t quit because I thought I was going to build some big business. I quit because I was uncomfortable. I was so unhappy. I was so unfulfilled.
[00:06:46] Jessica: I had a great job, don’t get me wrong. I had a six-minute commute to work. We had the white picket fence. We were completely house poor, living paycheck to paycheck. It was the American dream, right? My husband commuted to New York City. He’d get home at 09:00 at night. And I just was unhappy. I felt like in the elementary school, the walls were like literally caving in and year after year, if you’ve been in an elementary school recently, the toilets are very small, the stalls are very low to the ground. And I just felt like I was sort of shrinking and just getting older in the same place while my students were actually growing up and leaving to go on into their lives.
[00:07:22] Jessica: And so, I was driving to work, October of 2016. I’ll never forget it. I had my coffee in hand, and I was listening to a podcast, and the podcast host was interviewing a woman, and she was a teacher, and she sold jewelry on Etsy. Now, I’ve lived a lot of lives. We didn’t get into it today, but I, too, was selling accessories. I actually went to accessory school, the FIT in New York City. And so I’m really listening, because this woman is me, and she wants to quit her job and go all in on her jewelry business, but she was afraid because she had pension and benefits and summers off.
[00:07:53] Jessica: So he said to her, if you gave yourself a year to go all in on the jewelry business and it didn’t work out, what would be your worst case scenario? So she responded and said, “Well, I’ll just go back to teaching. I’ve been a teacher for a decade. I know I can get a job. It might have to be a different district, but I know I can get a job.” And his answer is the thing that changed our life. He said, “Oh, so how does it feel to wake up every day and live in your worst case scenario?” What? I pulled the car over so fast, Shawna. I was hysterical, crying. I was on the highway. I texted my husband. I said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
[00:08:25] Jessica: I wasn’t living in my worst case scenario, but it was very clear that it wasn’t my best case scenario. And I had been a teacher for eight years, and I knew that I could go back and I could get a job, probably at the same district. In fact, when I walked in just a couple of weeks later and resigned with no plan, no plan, I just walked in and resigned. My principal thought it was crazy. He actually begged me to stay and offered to put me on a year of sabbatical so that I could work through whatever midlife crisis I was having or quarter life crisis I was having. And I respectfully declined that and said, “No, I need to burn the boats.” And so when I left, I didn’t leave because I was brave. I left because I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
[00:09:03] Shawna: That’s important. It’s important for people to hear that and for them to recognize and see themselves on that, because I think a lot of people end up in a place where they keep doing what they’re doing and don’t realize that they’re in the place where they can’t move and they can’t breathe, but they just can’t also leave it. And so burning the boats is huge, though. That feels courageous to me, burning the boats. That definitely feels courageous to me, but I can see where you’re saying like, “No, wasn’t from this brave...” you didn’t feel from a brave place doing it. You felt like there was no other choice when you did that.
[00:09:35] Jessica: Yeah, I guess.
[00:09:36] Shawna: And so how did that feel the next day after you did all that? The next day when you felt… Did you feel empowered the next day? Or did you feel like, “Oh, my gosh, what did I just do?”
[00:09:45] Jessica: You know what, I’ve lived so many lives since then. Our life has changed so drastically over the last five years. I don’t remember. I think I felt empowered. I think I was excited. I don’t remember ever feeling like, “Oh, gee, what did I just do? Did I mess up?” Again, because it was already my worst case scenario and I knew that I could always just go back or I can tell him “No,” my principle, or figure out something else. And I had been unhappy for two years or three years, and I knew what I was capable of doing.
[00:10:16] Jessica: And I don’t know, I don’t remember ever feeling nervous about it. I felt bad. I felt very bad. I was very nervous to tell the students. I was very nervous for the parents to find out. I felt like I was letting my kids down, my kids being at school. So I definitely felt a lot of that sort of guilt, and I felt like I was abandoning them. But I never worried about myself like I didn’t feel nervous. I don’t remember ever feeling nervous.
[00:10:41] Jessica: But also, from that day in October 2016 when Mike and I decided that night we started playing with numbers and math and figuring how long could we live without my salary, and I’m very also fortunate and aware that I had him and we were married, and he had a job, and so I had a safety net. I did not do this alone by any stretch of the imagination. But when we started to plug the numbers and figure things out, I started to recognize it wasn’t going to be as hard to replace my income from school. It wasn’t a huge income.
[00:11:10] Jessica: And so, reverse engineering. What would I actually need to bring in, in fitness as a trainer online, in person? And when I started to play around with that, it didn’t feel as scary. So what I started doing was going into New York City two or three times a week after school. So I would take the train in from New Jersey, I’d go into New York City, and I would take different fitness classes and test out different gyms and just start introducing myself to personal trainers. And a couple of weeks later, I had resigned right after our winter break. It was like January 2nd of 2017 that I resigned.
[00:11:39] Jessica: By the time that we moved into New York City and the school year was over, I had multiple job offers, I had already put myself in situations, I had networked. People didn’t even know that I didn’t live there because I was spending so much time there. So I did things that were uncomfortable temporarily for the more delayed sort of result of putting in the time and the effort. And I did take jobs that I didn’t really want to do at the time, but it was stepping stones.
[00:12:07] Shawna: Yes. And so your first step then was stuff in the fitness marketplace where you’ve been working and doing things for the past five years. Is that right? You’ve been doing that for some time then?
[00:12:20] Jessica: Yeah, about 13, 14 years. Yeah. So I had already been a trainer for well over a decade and it was just a very natural progression. I was even working as a trainer when I was a teacher. It was a side hustle. So I just continued that. I took on more clients and just switched the gym that I was at. And at the time, I was doing bodybuilding competitions and writing for fitness magazines and doing some fitness modeling. And so it was just a very natural and organic step for me to take.
[00:12:44] Jessica: One that actually later on, I realized was actually another worst case scenario situation where I was just replaced my job for another job that I knew I was good at. And I was using it as a safety net, again, a little bit of a cushion because it was easy for me. And so it wasn’t until I really pulled the plug on that and started to pull back on my client load that the business really exploded at that point.
[00:13:06] Shawna: Yeah, that’s great. That’s quite a journey to try and find your path and find the way that you’re supposed to be and to unplug all the things that you’re doing because they were safe and you are good at them. People told you could or you found your way in doing those and you still have all those things that are in the background.
[00:13:21] Shawna: So now, tell us more about where you’re at now and what you get to do now that you get to really live. Even though, like you said, you’re still finding your purpose, this is it for you on that path of you finding the things that you’re really good at that you really love and you’re passionate about.
[00:13:35] Jessica: Yeah, I would say part of my purpose is definitely teaching. I’ve always been a teacher, I’ve always been a leader. I love being in the forefront. I like to go first. I like to get the bumps and the bruises and then turn them into lessons and bring them back and let everybody know what happened out there. So it’s definitely part of my purpose.
[00:13:53] Jessica: And in what we do today, I actually get to help so many people create their own businesses that that ripple effect happens where now I’m not the only one teaching and sharing, but all of our clients are teaching and sharing. And so, even though I finally... After 18 years, I did leave the fitness industry officially in 2020, which was not that long ago, so many of our clients are still in the fitness industry, in health, in nutrition, in spirituality, dentists, doctors, lawyers, and so we get to just make a massive impact.
[00:14:21] Jessica: So what we do today, what I do today is actually solely business related. I am a business coach, mentor, consultant. And we have a company, Digital Business Evolution, which I’m the founder and CEO of some of the visionary officers. And we run this company. We’ve got a really incredible team. We’ve got an executive leadership team of five and then we have a coaching staff of about twelve.
[00:14:41] Jessica: And so we help people build businesses online from the ground up, from launching ideation phase of their concept, to all the legal, all the tech, all the financial, and actually launching programs, courses, using digital marketing, organic marketing, as all of their marketing platforms. And we’ve had now twelve clients scale to a million dollar business, which is pretty cool. And our clients have done now over 22 million in revenue, of known revenue. So that’s when they’re just working with us after they leave, I’m sure that continues to go up. But they’re in all different niches, all different industries. And so, that’s really what we’re doing but it’s solely based around education. So I’m still a teacher and I’m still educating. It’s just in a digital landscape now.
[00:15:24] Shawna: That’s so exciting. That’s one thing with our podcast, we’ve had different guests that we’ve really found with this idea of skill stacking where like as you’re finding your way that you take the different things you’ve done and the magic really happens when you start taking those things and putting them together and putting them on top of each other. So you take your experience as a teacher and your experience with fitness and in health and all those pieces and your experience with marketing, you were also good and you also loved and in business and you put them all together and you found this magic combination of all these things that you are so skilled at and so amazing at. And then you find a need where people really need all these things that you have. And you have created this incredible opportunity to connect and to give that has done beautiful things. That is so exciting.
[00:16:10] Jessica: Thank you. I love that skill stacking. Yeah, it’s the little toolbox, right? And I love that so much. I’m going to borrow that.
[00:16:15] Shawna: You can definitely take that and have that. It’s so exciting. And then you have this incredible project that you’ve done, it sounds like it’s the year anniversary of launching the school in Ghana. And so how did you find time? How did you manage to do that project? That is so exciting.
[00:16:31] Jessica: Yeah, I’m really proud of that. And I can’t wait to get over there and visit. We haven’t been able to go yet. But gosh, if we go back, I mean, even to our honeymoon, we honeymooned in Kenya. We fell in love with Africa. And when I left teaching, I knew I always wanted to be involved in education. And for years I was going back to my old school district and helping out with the Girl Scouts and just going to my old students’ sports games. And you know, I just loved it.
[00:16:55] Jessica: So the universe sort of dropped Pencils Promise in my lap. And it was a couple of different divine interventions where it just kept coming up all around the same time. And so I looked into it, and of course, when I started to make the decision of, “Oh, this would be really great to give back to Pencils of Promise.” I went out to dinner with a group of friends and was with a bunch of mutual friends and sitting next to a man I didn’t know. And we started chitchatting. And what do you do? What do you do? And at the time, we were giving back to different charities. So every month, we would let our clients pick the charity that they wanted. Give back has always just been a really big threat of ours.
[00:17:27] Jessica: And so, this idea came of, if I were to give to one charity and we go deep rather than wide, we could maybe make a bigger impact. And so this was when I was on the fence trying to pick the charity. And so, long story short, I was telling him this and he said, “Oh, have you thought about charity?” I said, “Yeah, I think Pencils of Promise, have you heard of it?” And he just ear to ear was grinning. And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, you’ve heard of it?” He’s like, “I’m on the board.” This random man at this dinner was on the board. So he connected me to the CEO and that was it. We just decided at that moment, we’re committed and we’re going to do a Tom situation. So one to one. So every client that we work with that comes through our programs, we donate education for one year for one student overseas.
[00:18:07] Jessica: And then in addition to that, we’ve been donating for the past three years, four years to our fund. And our fund was to hopefully one day, maybe 5,10 years down the road, build a school. And we were about a year into our fund and Pencils Promise called and said, “Hey, would you still be interested in building a school? We’d love to break ground.” So we actually broke ground in June of 2020, which was about a year and a half after our fund started.
[00:18:33] Jessica: And yeah, our doors opened in January of 2021. So pretty incredible. They’re anticipating about a thousand students will go through that school. And it’s all community driven. So we continue now to support the school, both the teachers, which are all local to the community. The WASH program, hygiene, sanitation. There’s a menstrual program for the girls, obviously, the books and the pencils and all of that. But now we sort of continue to give to that or anywhere else that the organization needs funding.
[00:19:00] Shawna: That’s wonderful. How exciting! And the way it used to came together and fell on your lap, that would be the right program for you guys to support, so focused in that way.
[00:19:10] Jessica: Yes, it’s really cool. And then we teach that within our programs, too. So of course, we can’t force you to do anything, but we love our clients to add a charitable component to their programs. So we’ve actually now had clients who’ve been able to help three or four kids get out of foster care or a certain amount of animals get adopted or a lot of our clients are also very involved with OUR, which we just went to Gala this past weekend for OUR, which is sex trafficking and removing those children. And so it’s really cool to see. And we have clients that work with like endometriosis and breast cancer and so all of our clients for the most part give back to different charities and it’s just really special.
[00:19:49] Shawna: Yeah, that great way to keep them connected to do that. That is so exciting. So for our folks are listening to The Grit Show and as they’re launching into 2023 and trying to figure out ways that they want to focus and better themselves, do you have resources and ideas and topics for them to kind of explore or ways that they can get closer to where they want to be in their goals?
[00:20:12] Jessica: Yeah, my best piece of advice would be it’s knowing yourself, right? It’s self awareness. And self awareness really is the biggest piece. And so, when I look back on my journey of personal development or the business or anything, it’s really just been a reflection of me. And so when it comes to something like business, I believe that your business will only grow to the extent that you do.
[00:20:32] Jessica: In relationships, I believe your relationships will only grow to the extent that you do. And we’re mirrors for one another. So whatever it is that you’re looking to do, if it’s on a personal level, if it’s a goal that you want to set out for, I really do deeply believe that the quicker you can get to know yourself, and understand, and discern how you view the world and maybe make some changes even right because we have the ability to rewrite and rewire the way that we think, the faster you’re going to see those results or feel that happiness or fulfillment or whatever that growth value might be for you.
[00:21:03] Jessica: So with that, I think great resources because they’re free are podcasts. I love podcasts. I mean, one literally changed my life. We have a podcast. You can come listen to ours. Digital Business Evolution podcast. It’s not all business stuff. It’s a lot of spirituality, and woo woo, and personal development as well.
[00:21:21] Jessica: But the other thing is books. I do believe that readers are leaders and I say it all the time notetakers are money makers. And there’s so much power in being able to collapse time. So when you read a book, you have the ability to read what someone maybe learned over a lifetime, like 30, 40, 70 years of life lessons and you can read it in 200 pages. I mean, that’s incredible. So I do love, love, love books. And I think it’s also a really great way for you to dip your toe into something new and see if you are interested, if you do like it, if you want to learn more about it. So, for me, it’s books all the way and podcasts all the way.
[00:21:56] Jessica: And the last part would be getting yourself around like minded people. So if you know that you maybe want to try something new, there are free Facebook groups, I mean, there are so many ways that you can connect with people on the internet looking up hashtags and just starting to reach out to people. But maybe you want to try knitting or you want to get into pottery or whatever that might be. A really great way to learn more about that and learn more about yourself is just to start putting yourself in the room, even if it’s a virtual room and you don’t have to pay for it. There’s so many free opportunities. So I would say reading, listening to things like podcasts and then connecting with like minded people would be a really great way for you to start that journey of what could be next.
[00:22:35] Shawna: That’s wonderful. And you have some reading resources that you’ve mentioned too, right?
[00:22:39] Jessica: Yes. We have something called the Reading Vault. It’s totally free and it’s two different things. The first thing is a reading list. So it’s some of my favorite books. I think there’s about 200 of them on there. I’ve read every single one that’s on there and they’re listed into categories. There’s eight different categories. There’s mindset, and health, and spirituality, but there’s also some business and marketing. So they’re broken into categories. They’re listed out with a quick link, you could just grab the book. And then I also put in there a speed reading training. So if you want to get stronger at reading and maybe a little bit faster, you actually don’t have to read every single word in a book to capture the essence of a book. So there’s a speed reading training. There’s a book list. I even have I don’t know if you’re into oracle cards, but with the book list there’s a tab that has Tarot oracle cards. Some of my favorite decks are in there, too. So super fun, it’s totally for free and we can show that in the show notes.
[00:23:30] Shawna: That’s perfect. Yeah, that’ll be very fun. That’s people looking at 2023 and even to inspire things you might want to focus on, to have that reading ball as a way to look and see what are some different areas to look at and say, “Oh yeah, this is an area I would like to focus on more in 2023,” to be able to develop and do that. And so as part of your work, you guys actually have you take people that are starting their own businesses and have a whole pathway that you can lead them on through Digital Business Evolution. Correct?
[00:23:59] Jessica: Yeah. All the way from crazy, stupid idea time is what we like to call it. Yeah. We take you from ideation phase all the way up. You could be scaling a company with a team. We can take you through the whole entire process.
[00:24:10] Shawna: That’s so exciting. And so that’s a good way to get connected. And you can get connected to that. We’ll have links in the show notes too, to learn more about that. And if you get on the list to get that information, even just with the Reading Vault, that will get you connected for emails for that, too, or?
[00:24:24] Jessica: Yes, absolutely. And we have text message lists where we also send out some goodies during the week. And I give you little mantras and affirmations and things to think about or business tips. So lots of different ways to connect. I’d say the place that I personally hang out most is Instagram. So if you want to talk directly to me, you can absolutely shoot me a DM. It’s me. I’ll talk to you. I love it. I love voice memos.
[00:24:45] Shawna: Oh, nice. Yes. The little tricks that are on there that people can check out and get to connect to other people, it’s amazing how much more connected we are than we ever imagined ten years ago to be able to do that like when you were first launching and thinking about your business, to be able to have all these tools.
[00:25:01] Jessica: I know. It’s crazy. Instagram wasn’t even around when I first started my business. It started, I think, a year or two after, which is so wild.
[00:25:10] Shawna: Yes. And all the tools keep evolving. You can hardly keep up with different options of being able to connect with.
[00:25:14]Jessica: I know that.
[00:25:15] Shawna: By doing that. So what are some of your favorite stories with your clients that you’ve been able to do the work and the ways that they’ve been able to evolve their businesses?
[00:25:24] Jessica: Oh, that’s a great question. I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is just some of their success stories. And so we’ve had clients, which is so crazy when you think about what I’m about to say. We’ve had clients leaving toxic relationships or going through a separation of a spouse, which ends up being the thing that they wanted to do all along or is the better choice for them. But it wasn’t until they were on this personal development journey of trying to build a business that they started to recognize that maybe their values weren’t the same anymore.
[00:25:52] Jessica: So we’ve had people end relationships. We’ve had countless people, I mean, absolutely countless people leaving their nine to five jobs or retire their spouse from their nine to five jobs, buying 2nd, 3rd, 4th homes, investment properties, maxing out 401 case, paying off student loans. I mean, that type of stuff happens every day in our company, which is really cool. But then when I think about the other side, which is what impact they’ve been able to make, like I said before, with the donations and the charities, but then also, just the work that they’re doing. Our company alone has had clients on every single continent except Antarctica. So if you’re in Antarctica and you’re listening, I’d love to have a conversation with you.
[00:26:31] Jessica: But yeah, it’s really cool. I mean, we’re super, super global. We have coaches on our team that are in different countries as well. So just being able to reach people, I mean, I’m on the phone every day with people in Dubai. It’s so wild. And so to think about the little pockets of the world that our clients are living in and what they’re creating and who they’re helping, again, through that ripple effect, I mean, I could never even have dreamt of being able to make an impact in some of these tiny little countries across the world, or even the big ones like Australia or New Zealand. It’s absolutely crazy. So again, it’s doctors, lawyers, nutritionists, real estate agents. I mean, we’ve worked with over 150 niches at this point. It’s so crazy to think about the work that they’re doing. So, yeah, I think it’s impacting.
[00:27:12] Shawna: That’s exciting. And is it largely, like you’ve mentioned, doctors, nutritionists and real estate agents? Is it people in the businesses that they’ve had all along? Or is it people starting with crazy ideas and going in different directions that you’re largely working with?
[00:27:28] Jessica: Yeah, it’s both, but I would say the majority is crazy, stupid idea time. We have dog trainers, we have home organizers. It’s people that are just like, “Wow, people are always asking me for this thing. I’m really good at this thing. I didn’t realize that this thing could be a business.” And so, left and right, we have lots of parents, too, who come in and they’re like, “Well, actually, I’m really good at making this product. I love making homemade food for my kids, homeschooling my kids, or creating new toys, building swing sets.” I mean, we’ve had some of the craziest niches, but it more often than not comes from people. It’s just your lived experience plus your unique perspective of the world, plus your knowledge base. And so when you add those things together, we all have things that we can teach. And so, yeah, we’ve had people building courses around how to start a podcast or how to monetize your YouTube. I mean, it’s just crazy.
[00:28:20] Shawna: That’s so exciting. And what moved for you to get you into the space of teaching others? Was it like from going from being the personal trainer and doing this in the fitness space to recognizing that other people needed the knowledge and what you had to offer? What was that shift for you?
[00:28:35] Jessica: Yeah, it was super organic, and it just happened because people were asking me. So, like we had said earlier, when I left my teaching job, and I was able to scale the business pretty quickly. It was in that time because that was all in health and fitness. And so, in that time, that a lot of the trainers that I worked with in New York were asking me, “What are you doing on the computer all the time?” Why are you on Zoom in between clients? How are you making all this money?” You know, that type of stuff.
[00:28:57] Jessica: And so, I just started helping friends for free, and one friend turned into three, and then five, and then seven. And every Thursday, we’re sitting behind my computer in between clients, on the fitness floor studio, and I was just teaching them how to build email lists and put together landing pages and how to use social media to market themselves. This was back in 2017.
[00:29:15] Jessica: And then I helped a friend launch a program, and she had an $80,000 launch. And it was in that moment that I was like, “Wow, I think I can charge for this.” And so my teacher brain went into curriculum writing mode, and I go to Curriculum, which is now our signature program in Power. We’re just about to graduate our 16th class of that program. And so that’s really where it was born, was out of just helping some of my friends and I was doing both for a while. Like I said, I didn’t stop the fitness stuff until 2020, so that was still pretty fresh that I have officially, finally closed that chapter after 18 years.
[00:29:53] Shawna: Was it really hard to close that chapter since you’ve been doing so much for so long in that space?
[00:29:58] Jessica: Closing the chapter, as in stopping to train clients and no longer offering things online was very easy. What was difficult was April of 2020 when I got a notification in the mail that I had ten different certifications and they were about to expire. That was really hard for me because it was the first time in almost two decades that I didn’t re-up them. And letting that go was very cathartic. I cried and I journaled it out, and I did feel like I was finally really, truly putting it down when I let those expire, and I could always get them again if I wanted to, but that was when it felt really real.
[00:30:33] Shawna: That’s interesting. So I have a clinical license and I haven’t let it expire because you can’t get it back if it expires, why I haven’t done it. But it’d be interesting if I ever get to the point where I do let that expire, this will be like, “Oh, yes, I finally did let it go.” So, yeah, I can see why that would be a big indicator of you actually letting it go to let that expire.
[00:30:52] Jessica: I think for me, there’s so much ego for all of us. But for me, I’m an Enneagram three, and I’m a control freak, and a perfectionist and a recovering eating disorder survivor to the max. Just absolutely got to be perfect. And so, awards and recognition and accolades have always been really big drivers of mine. And as I said earlier, I’m almost 39. I’m just finally sort of learning that I’m worthy regardless of those things. And it’s taken me a really long time to learn that.
[00:31:21] Jessica: And so the ego of the title, not trainer, but celebrity personal trainer, and being on the news and being in the magazines, because I had been many, many times over and all that I’ve seen on my website. It was like, “Oh, but I’m going to let that go, too. And then if I let that go, who am I?”
[00:31:40] Shawna: Yeah.
[00:31:42] Jessica: It’s hard.
[00:31:43] Shawna: It’s a big shift, and to hold on to the other pieces and let yourself evolve into this new space. Yeah, we talked about that. And so I’ve done an author and done writing and we talked about even with the author space and people’s websites and how it talks about them being a lawyer and talks about all the stuff instead of being the author. And it’s like you need to let go of those things and you need to be an author if you’re going to be this and let go and be this. And it’s hard. It’s hard for people that are progressing through these different phases as they stack their skills and find their way to let go of those other things that define them, to be able to embrace who they are and where they’re at now. And it can be a very hard thing to do. So...
[00:32:22] Jessica: Yeah, the evolution. That’s why they named the company that.
[00:32:26] Shawna: I love it. Yeah, it makes sense. I love that. I love that. That’s very good. So one thing we do in each of our episodes is we talk about self- care because we really love for the people here listening that are part of our conversation to reflect on self-care and how they take care of themselves and to be given ideas of different ways that we take care of ourselves. And I think it’s useful to hear different ways. So what are some of the ways you take care of yourself on a regular basis?
[00:32:51] Jessica: That’s a great question. This has changed so many times over the years as well. It’s funny if you ask this to me. Five years ago, I would have had some checklist of, ‘these are the five things that I do every single day, and they have to go in this order.’ And now it’s the opposite. So I actually am going to say, for me, it’s a little bit more intuitive. So self-care now is really asking myself what do I need? What do I need right now? What do I need today? And whether that is calling my mom, phoning a friend, journaling, meditating, going to take a dance class, taking the day off work. It’s literally, what do I need right now?
[00:33:22] Jessica: And hearing myself is the practice, because it’s really hard for me. I think a lot of us, there’s so much noise and movement and the to-do list and the go, go, go and all of it. It’s been very difficult for me to actually hear myself. And I’ve been saying for years, people are like, “Listen to your gut.” I’m like, “I can’t hear her.” I don’t hear my intuition. I don’t hear my gut.
[00:33:43] Jessica: And so, for me, self-care is slowing down and getting quiet. And if that’s three deep breaths or a 25 minutes meditation, again, it depends on the day. But it’s, how can I just slow down? How can I get quiet? And something that we didn’t talk about, we don’t need to.
[00:33:58] Jessica: We used to live in New York City. We left during August of 2020. We put all of our stuff in storage, and we bought a 40-foot motorhome. And we traveled the country for 14 months, and we went to 27 different states, and we were in the middle of nowhere a lot of the time. And I had been practicing meditation and breathwork for almost a decade at the time. Never missed a day in New York. Remember, I had a morning checklist for my self care, right?
[00:34:21] Shawna: Mm-hmm. (affirmative)
[00:34:22] Jessica: And when we hit the road, it was the first time in 36 years that I had actually heard my own thoughts. And it was like, “Whoa, I don’t know if I like what I hear.” And so the last couple of years, the self-care is, let me lean into that. Let me lean into that. Let me lean to that. What is she saying? How does she feel? What does she need?
[00:34:39] Shawna: Yes. That’s amazing. And just to realize that where you’re at can be such an important part of listening to yourself and hearing yourself, and to have that much environment, complain to those things. So that’s an important discovery.
[00:34:54] Jessica: Yeah. And we didn’t go back. Now we live in Arizona. We literally just never went home. We fell in love with it here. It felt good. It sounded good, so we stayed.
[00:35:02] Shawna: That makes perfect sense. That definitely makes perfect sense. You found your way to a place where it was quieter, and that’s what you needed. And you don’t know until you have the chance to travel and find that, it’s interesting how much things have changed for folks over the pandemic in different ways and what they found in that time. That’s exciting.
[00:35:20] Jessica: Absolutely.
[00:35:22] Shawna: Yes. So one thing that we do on our show is we actually offer all of our guests as a thank you for your time, because your time is very valuable for being here and sharing with our audiences. We actually offer you’ we have a series of coloring books called The Color of Grit.’ And so we offer you a coloring book.
[00:35:36] Jessica: Stop.
[00:35:38] Shawna: No, we do that. Isn’t that kind of fun?
[00:35:40] Jessica: That’s really fun.
[00:35:43] Shawna: That’s really fun. We have one of them. The two of them that we have, we have the Magnificent Ocean, the Vintage Mermaid, and Magnificent Ocean is one of them. And the other one is You’ve Got This, which is inspirational quotes and sayings. So which one of our coloring books can we send you as a thank you for being here?
[00:35:59] Jessica: Oh my gosh.
[00:35:59] Shawna: And to add to your self-care arsenal for you to listen and see if there’s days you feel like coloring.
[00:36:04] Jessica: I love that. I’m going to go with the You Got This.
[00:36:07] Shawna: All right. You got that. I will email you because we keep it as a surprise. You don’t know that I need your address, so I will get your address from you afterwards, and we can send that You Got This to you so you can get your inspirational quotes to have as well to help with your 2023 plan for self-care.
[00:36:24] Jessica: I love that so much. Thank you.
[00:36:24] Shawna: Yes, you’re welcome. So, for our audience, as they’re looking at 2023, what’s something you think we can give them as their takeaway that they can start doing? We talked a little bit about them getting to know themselves and reflection a little bit. So what’s a takeaway you can give them they can apply immediately for them to take away from this.
[00:36:43] Jessica: This is one of those weird takeaways because you can’t do it right now. So I’m a huge advocate and just lover of delayed gratification. Most people aren’t, especially in this day and age. So this comes from a Steve Jobs quote, which is like one of my favorite quotes and I live by it. And it goes something along the lines of, “You can’t connect the dots looking forwards. You can only connect them looking backwards, and you get to trust that the dots will appear.”
[00:37:05] Jessica: So as a teacher, I love analogies and metaphors. And so the way that I teach this, the way that I see this, is that life is like a river, and we’re inside the river during our life, and we’re jumping from one stone to another, and those can be our dots. And sometimes there’s even a tree branch that’s fallen down that maybe you could scurry 10 ft across instead of just one hop. Some of the rocks that you’re on are really big, and you could fit ten people on them. Sometimes you’re by yourself and your toes get wet because they’re really, really, really shallow. And sometimes you actually have to go backwards in order to go forwards, right? So when you’re imagining trying to cross this river, well, oftentimes, we’re in this race, we’re trying to get there really fast. And what we need to remember is the only way to get to the other end is to no longer be here.
[00:37:48] Jessica: And so, again, what I started with the doing is in the destination. It’s all happening inside the river, but you don’t necessarily know which rock you’re jumping on next. And as leaders, which we all are in our own right, it’s our only job is to turn around and yell to the people behind us and let them know that the green ones are really slippery, right? Or this one’s really wobbly, don’t jump on this one. And you have to sometimes go backwards or to the left or to the right. And it’s our job to yell to each other. It’s our job to reach out to each other and to hold our hands out and help each other across the river.
[00:38:17] Jessica: And so when you’re looking into your 2023, make all your goal lists and do your vision action boards and read the books and do the things and get in the room. But at the end of the day, there’s an element of depends what word will resonate with you. But trust or surrender or faith, whatever that might be, there’s definitely an element of that that I would encourage you to really lean into. Because what you said before, with skill stacking, every rock that you step on, every dot that appears is a skill. It’s a person, it’s a network. And you might not know what it’s going to turn into in the future, but it’s happening for you. And so, if you can just trust in that and just take that one tiny little baby step to the next rock in the next one and the next one and just enjoy the time that you’re doing it, it will all unfold as it should.
[00:39:01] Shawna: I love that. But trust that where you’re at and what you’re stepping on and the path that you’ve taken and that you are taking is where you need to be and it will lead you where you need to go. So you’re going to get there, just breathe and be where you’re at. So...
[00:39:14] Jessica: Yes.
[00:39:14] Shawna: I love that. That’s a great takeaway. Thank you so much, Jessica. That is wonderful. And we touched on this a little bit, but the best place to find you is Instagram, probably?
[00:39:23] Jessica: Yes. @iamjessicaderose. I’m on TikTok, same thing. Website, jessicaderose.com. We’re on YouTube. We’ve got our podcast, Digital Business Evolution with Jessica De Rose so come say hi.
[00:39:35] Shawna: That is perfect. And we’ll have all of that in the show notes, but I know that I’m auditory, so it’s always nice to get to hear them as well. This has been wonderful. I feel like there’s a lot of little nuggets that you’ve offered in our conversation to inspire people as we launch into 2023 from having this idea about ways to give back and keep this philanthropic lens on things as well as to have an idea about where we’re at being the right place and we’re getting where we’re going. And also to have this idea that it is okay to dream big and to not be living in our worst case scenario, that we can take steps to get us to bigger and different things if we just take those steps.
[00:40:10] Jessica: Yeah. I love it, Shawna. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:40:13] Shawna: Yes. Thank you, Jess.
[00:40:23] Shawna: Thanks again for being here. It’s so great to spend this time with all of you. I just want to take a minute and read to you some of the fantastic reviews that folks have been leaving us online. Again, if you’re on Spotify, you’re able to give us a rating, which we very much appreciate. You’re welcome to send us notes about what you think of the show. You can put reviews on Facebook. We also appreciate that. Or if you go on to Apple podcasts, they have a place for you to leave reviews there. And I’m going to read you a couple of those, but I really appreciate them.
[00:40:54] Shawna: We have one that says, “I’m in love with this show. It’s funny, witty, encouraging, and educational.” Thank you for that. And another one says, “Thank you for sharing your gift. The discussion in love languages is really fun. We use this in our family, even with our eight year old son.” That’s incredible. That applies so much for kids and I’m glad it’s being used in your family. Another one of them, “Truly fantastic podcasts that is sure to gain a ton of momentum. Every episode is engaging, gritty, and full of purposeful guests.” That is awesome. Another says, “So glad I found this show. Super helpful topics.” Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your words. We appreciate it. We love hearing from you and we appreciate the support. A lot of loving effort goes into this, and it’s nice to get feedback that you guys are enjoying it.
[00:41:44] Shawna: So take a moment, send us a DM or put a post up for us on one of those outlets. We love to hear from you. I hope your week continues to go wonderful. And in case no one told you lately, you’re the only one of you that this world has got, and that means something.