Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hello! My name is Jess. I am from Auckland, New Zealand but grew up in Liverpool, England. I am a Social Media Freelancer, focusing primarily on helping businesses with their paid advertising.
Outside of the business life, I love to travel and I am a huge advocate for exploring your own backyard. I like to live in each moment and practice being as mindful as possible.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
No absolutely not! I always knew I wanted to be in the creative space, that was super clear from an early age. I actually thought I would be a high school drama teacher but my path led me to this! I started my career in sales but my passion for social media and storytelling led to me creating my own role at the company I was working for. I created their social media profiles and proposed a marketing solution to the Directors of the board. So I kind of squished my way in there! From here I discovered an entire community of like-minded people online and evolved into the business owner I am today.
Were you scared to start the process?
Absolutely. I knew I wanted to start a business as I was desperate to work for myself and to live a life I created. However, the logistics of all of this were baffling. I worked it all out when I was on holiday in America, came back and set up my business bank account, registered with the companies office and set my mind to the dream. In 3 months I was able to quit my job and start working for myself! It was a risk, but the risks pay off and I am so grateful for my support network for always pushing and cheering for me!
Being scared is all part of the journey. It’s the same as jumping out a plane when you do a skydive. The initial jump is the hard part but when you get out there, it’s the best adventure.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I think the one thing no-one knows about me is that despite my love of social media, I like to send handwritten cards and letters to people. There is something so magical about writing and sending a letter!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
There is no ‘right’ time to do anything. Whether you want to have a business or a baby, you HAVE to take the leap. If you wait for the perfect moment, you will be waiting forever.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
I would tell 16 year old me that despite what people expect and want from you, you will have a very different life and that is what is going to make it so amazing. You are going to take the path less trodden and go through some hard times, but that is going to make you stronger and smarter than if you took the path well worn.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Yes of course I have! I think that is only human. In New Zealand there is a strong Tall Poppy culture and if you do something that is slightly different, people want to cut you down. I know when I started my business people questioned me (as I questioned myself too!) but I persevered and look at where I am now! I am lucky that my family and friends are so supportive and no one close to me doubted me.
I still struggle with doubting myself. I’m currently working on celebrating my own successes and talking to myself in the same way I would talk to someone else.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
Research has shown that men only think they need about 40-50% of the competencies and skills in a job advert to apply for it, women think they need 80-90%. This is the epitome of the confidence difference between men and women! Back yourself like every man backs himself, you don’t need to be perfect to be badass, and stop judging yourself! OR Uplift other women. Women in leadership and business is only a good thing if we are changing the game. It isn’t a weakness to be empathetic and kind. We don’t need to act more like men to be in leadership, otherwise why not just have more men.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
No! I have always pushed through the fear to ‘perform’ and this gives the illusion that I have confidence. But really, I haven’t always had that. In the last year though, I have felt like I have really grown in confidence and stopped giving a crap about other people. Learning to stand tall and be an authority figure in the Social Media space has helped me to stand taller in all aspects of my life.
What do you love most about yourself?
I love that I am unapologetically me. I have worked hard to learn to love myself and realize that all the mess and chaos is what sets me apart from the crowd.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Yes, absolutely. I went through a hard time in my early twenties but I was lucky as I was able to pull myself out and move forward. We will always have to face adversity throughout our lives, but it is how you deal with it that will define your path. Whether it is within yourself or with someone else, always communicate, listen and take time to respond to the situation. Allow yourself kindness, patience and always act with love. Do not ever act in anger or hate.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Just keep going. Don’t stop. One small action every single day can build into the greatest empire you have ever seen. Keep moving forward.
There is gonna be a lot of energy drinks, doubting yourself, crying, yelling at your partner for breathing too loud and wanting to give up. It doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. It means you are growing and learning.
What motivates you most?
What motivates me is the dream of freedom to live the life I want. I am so motivated by the vision that I can work and have adventures. Why can’t I enjoy a late brunch, go for a mountain bike, swim and the beach and then still work and earn my dollars?
Also I really want to go to Disney World in Florida. Like really badly.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Work-life balance – honestly, not very well! I am working hard at the moment to establish my business and work towards expansion. I am a workaholic and take pride in my work ethic. What can I say #CapricornLife.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Spending time outside in the fresh air.
Talking and reflecting with family and friends
Lists, lists, lists!
Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I don’t have one mentor, I have an entire team that together have mentored me throughout my entire journey.
In particular, I have a friend who has taught me the best lesson I have learnt this year. To never have any regrets as each and every moment has made you who you are today. She also taught me to have fun, be spontaneous and stop getting so caught up in productivity and work. It is okay to have a cocktail or get matching tattoos, because you can! Life is fun and it should be enjoyed.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
That I get socially anxious. Everyone thinks I am a confident badass with no fear or insecurity, which is true, but I can also get anxious and I care too much about what people think of me. Who doesn’t?
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I would either be miserable in my office job OR I would have chased my other dreams and gone down the path of teaching or the performing arts.
Who is your biggest role model? Why?
My biggest role model would be both of my parents. Cheesy but true! My parents have always followed their dreams and this has inspired me, and given me the space to do the same.
Also J.K Rowling, Louise Pentland, Emma Conway and Brogan Tate have all been role models to me throughout my life.
Where do you find inspiration?
I love following business woman and self employed hashtags on social media. It’s so great to see other young women killing the game, and hearing their own stories and experiences.
What are your biggest passions?
Documenting documenting documenting. Did I mention documenting? I love stories, and the mediums that tell them. Art, photos, writing.
Jessica Gibson is an entrepreneur + social media marketer with a vision of creating her online empire and travelling the world at the same time. She helps businesses to leverage social media platforms to tell their story and generate profit.