Women @ Work: Jessica Lauren of No Real Jewelry

Headshot  - Jessica Lauren East.JPG

We’re back with another edition of Women @ Work! This month I’m so excited to feature my friend and fellow blogger Jessica Lauren of No Real Jewelry. I’m still not entirely sure how or when I stumbled across Jessica’s Instagram, but it’s safe to say I’ve been following ever since.

You know the friends who keep it real and lift you up all at the same time? Jessica is that! Learn more about this Detroit native…

Fast Facts:

Name: Jessica Lauren

Where You Know Her From: No Real Jewelry

Where to Follow: @norealjewelry

I’ve been loving your blog for a while and your podcast is one of my favorites! What inspired you to create No Real Jewelry?

I was sick and tired of hearing "No." I'm an actress here in Chicago and at the time I wasn't booking any professional acting gigs. I was auditioning ALL THE TIME, but I couldn't get cast in anything to save my life. I was tired of waiting around for some casting director to grant me the permission to create so I decided to book my damn self. I started the blog as a creative outlet and as a way to give myself the "yes" I was praying that someone else would give me. And you know what? The very second I decided to focus on creating my own content casting directors started knocking down my doors. Funny how that works, huh?

Totally! What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?

I wish I knew that it was okay to grow slow. You know we are constantly bombarded with mesages like "get a million followers in five days" or "how to create a six-figure launch," so I put myself under a lot of pressure to have Rome built in a day and business just doesn't always work like that.

I was constantly stressed, overwhelmed and burned the hell out because I thought I had to have it all figured out on day one. Not true at all. I was listening to “How I Built This,” my fave podcast, and a common theme on most episodes is that it takes anywhere between five to 10 years to make a profitable business. Let Instagram tell it, it happens overnight. Yeah, right. Business is a marathon not a sprint.

Girl, I know that’s right! Beyoncé was not built in a day and neither were we. What is the best advice you've ever received and who gave it to you?

My momma has been telling me "It takes 10 years to be an overnight success" FOR YEARS! She was saying that for my acting career, but it still rings true for business. And honestly I attribute me not taking career rejection so personally because of her. She did such a good job of reminding me of that, now i'm not afraid of rejection or hard work.

Moms really do know best! What is your favorite quote and why?

I have a Post-It note on my computer that says, "Make it simple, but significant." I got that little gem from my boy Don Draper from Mad Men. I love this quote because it reminds not to overcomplicate things while i'm working.      

Make it simple, but significant.

So what are some obstacles you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

I haven't had a traditional 9-to-5 since 2013. Aside from running NRJ and The Sunday Jumpstart Podcast, I also work as a freelancer for a production company and a few other companies. There are times when I am booked and busy for six months straight. And times when I don't have any work in sight. So you know what that means right?

Some months my money be acting real funny! Some months i'm rich rich and others I'm brokeity broke. It's not like a 9-to-5 when you know your money is coming every other Friday. There have been assignments that I've worked on where I don't receive payment until the project is over and the project can be a couple months long. Yikes, right?! So having to learn how to save, plan ahead, budget ahead and how to stay on top of companies/people for payment has been a challenge but one that I'm finally getting the hang of. Thank God!

I hear that! Tell us about a time you failed, what did you learn from that experience?

Phew! I just had a major fail that I recently talked about on my podcast. I came up with this pretty cool, in real life, accountability group and it flopped. I worked hard on it, secured sponsors, got a few sign-ups but in the end it just didn't work out. My ego was bruised big time, but in the end it taught me to fail fast. It's okay to be disappointed, sad, angry. You can wallow, binge watch Netflix and whatever else. But the key is to get back up and get back to work!

It’s okay to be disappointed, sad, angry. You can wallow, binge watch Netflix and whatever else. But the key is to get back up and get back to work!

Seriously, it takes courage to get up and get back out there, but that’s really the only way. What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?

My high school drama teacher and mentor Marilyn McCormick would always remind us before every show that we were performing because of those that came before us. She'd make us a take a pause and think about the people that made some sort of sacrifice in their life so that we could be on stage.

She called it "standing on the backs of others" and that has always stuck with me. So whenever I think about giving up I always think about those who came before me that had to sacrifice majorly so that I could be here. I think of my grandmothers, my momma, my aunties and my ancestors. And when I think of how they never gave up it gives me the push to keep going, too!  

What are you most proud of in your life thus far?

I'm proud of the little slice of the internet that i've created. I took a chance on myself and to see how it's blossomed these past three-and-a-half years is amazing!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love to put on some heels and do the Beychella dance routine. I mean who doesn't like to do that? I also love to cook after a long day of work. It helps me relax.  

Just breathe and trust that everything will work out.

I mean, that is pretty much the best dance routine of all time! To close us out, what advice would you give your 25-year-old self?

I was the ultimate worrier back then. I'd tell my 25-year-old self to just breathe and trust that everything will work out. Wait, I'm still telling my 34-year-old self that!