#GirlBOSS: Charreah Jackson, Founder of Boss Bride
As the founder of BossBride.com, a resource for women at the intersection of love and career, and the lifestyles and relationships editor for ESSENCE magazine, it's safe to say Charreah Jackson has a lot on her plate.
But she handles it all with a smile, gratitude and a positive outlook on life. Below, Charreah shares her insight on what it takes to be a Boss Bride, how to balance a #SideHustle with a full-time gig and career advice that will help you land that next promotion.
How did BossBride come about?
I was in a training course with business coach Jullien Gordon and he asked us to name our superhero. Boss Bride came about as I looked to identify the woman I wanted to serve and the woman I was becoming. I had done a lot of work and coaching around careers and relationships and wanted to explore the intersection of the two.
What makes someone a Boss Bride?
Whether married 10 years, a newlywed or never planning to tie the knot, women can adopt the boss-bride mentality to achieve harmony in a hectic life. She’s a woman that fuses the characteristics of an effective boss – focused, strategic, delegator – with the best qualities of a bride at her wedding – happy, charming, living in the moment.
How do you balance a full-time job with a side-hustle?
It's more of a dance than a balance. I am fortunate that my side-hustle and day job fuel one another. As an editor at ESSENCE, I am able to coach millions of women through content. And as a speaker and coach, I met women who inspire stories and also give me invaluable feedback on what women are searching for and what resonates with them. Also, Jullien taught us in our course to see your job as your biggest client. So being entrepreneurial has made me a better employee as I increase my productivity and also remain present while at work.
What advice do you have for women about disclosing their side gig to their full-time employer?
First, having a side-hustle means it's on the side and should not interfere with your job responsibilities. I get up early and work on my independent projects before going in. I use my lunch break for calls if needed. As your hustle grows, it can be helpful to let your team know and illustrate how your project makes you a stronger asset. Make your team feel a part of your journey instead of it being something taking you away from work.
That's great advice! What tips do you have for increasing productivity and remaining present at work when you have a side-hustle?
Be present wherever you are. When I am at work, I am at work. I schedule many things so that I am not tempted to waste time and clear what I have to get accomplished on a day. I've started using todoist for my daily to-do list.
Organization is key! What advice do you have for women trying to balance their career aspirations and romantic relationships?
It’s critical that as women we get our priorities straight and think long-term. It is so important that your personal life be a priority. Time with friends, family and dating make you a more centered and productive person. Self-care also boosts your confidence, which makes it easier to build your case and request that raise you’ve already earned. What do you want five and 10 years from now? If that includes marriage and children, then your decisions now should reflect those goals. Be focused on being centered internally instead of having a “balanced” life externally.
I remember you were laid off from ESSENCE some time ago and brought back on a few years later. What was the most important lesson you learned during that time?
My layoff was a gift. The biggest reminder was to not define myself by external things I couldn’t control. I had worked to be known for who I was and not just “Charreah from ESSENCE” and that still pays off. The second lesson was not to confuse colleagues with friends. There were people I didn’t hear a word from the two years I worked in PR and the second I returned to ESSENCE they invited me to lunch. That made me value my true friends who cared for me as a person and not for what I could do for them. Yes, I went on some of those lunches, but didn’t confuse the business relationship as a friendship.
What would you say to other women who've experienced setbacks in their careers?
Never let your circumstances define you and gain power through adversity. I am a cancer survivor, been laid off and weathered the bruises of my parents' divorce. And I would not be the woman I am today had I not gone through every valley and hill on my journey.
What has been your biggest risk so far? How did it turn out?
When I left my job as a social media manager to return to ESSENCE as relationships editor, the job started as freelance with a plan to go full-time once the new year began. For a few months I was without health insurance and benefits. It was a gamble that paid off. Also, the job I left went through restructuring as a big client took their social media in-house. So, had I not taken the risk I would have gone through a shift anyway. Sometimes it's less stressful just to jump.
Okay, I have a confession to make: I have a huge #GirlCrush on you! Who's your #GirlCrush and why?
So many! Of course right now I am soaking up every moment of our last year of first lady Michelle Obama. I love that she defies every label and continues to make her own rules.
Isn't she lovely? I'm going to miss the Obamas so much! What are you reading or listening to right now?
"Bevy Says" and "Great Girlfriends" for podcasts! Just read Bloggers Can't Be Trusted, a fun novel for any woman who has worked or desires to work in media. Also in a season of growing my relationship with God, so re-reading The Circle Maker and The Generosity Ladder on praying and tithing.
What's next for you and your career?
The Boss Bride book is coming! The book explores the intersection of love and career and how women can navigate the two. The things that get you ahead professionally are not always the things that work in relationships.
That's awesome, I can't wait to ready it! What is your life motto/mantra and why?
“Love makes your soul crawl out from it’s hiding place” by Zora Neale Hurston. I have many quotes and many inspirations. But these words by my beloved Zora capture the essence of life.
What do you do for fun when you're not busy being a boss?
Joy is a daily habit. I have fun A LOT. Time with friends and family, yoga and Zumba class, travel, new places and exhibits.