Jenna took the leap and left Corporate America to start her own Media Company! Learn what it took for this woman to trust herself and follow her vision.
Jenna is a Salinas, CA native who I met working along side on the Marketing team at Excellingence Learning Corporation (ELC) an early child development supply company. Jenna has since left corporate to follow her Rebel Soul urge to start her own media company, Mavelle Media. She now helps clients with their Marketing Communication initiatives. A few weeks ago I sat down with Jenna to talk about her soul journey and taking the plunge. You can view her interview below or read through the interview questions.
Jenna had so many gems of truth but one that really spoke to my heart was having faith and believing in yourself is key to take your leap of faith and following your heart!
What is your purpose and mission?
I don't really have a mission statement for my business but my WHY for walking away from the corporate world to work for myself was wanting to create my own opportunity where I would be able to be involved in my children's (future children at the time) day-to-day life while having a career and making my own money and having my own purpose. I also wanted to be more involved within my community and Mavelle Media has given me the opportunity to work with several local businesses and associations.
Tell us a little bit about how you discovered your purpose and mission?
My journey to working for myself began years before I actually took the leap into entrepreneurship.
In 2009 I was doing marketing and public relations for a local hotel and I was one of the "lucky" ones to be laid off during the economic recession. Shortly after that I met a female entrepreneur, mother and creative at a party and got to chatting and she was actually looking for someone to add to her team. We met on a Saturday, I came in and interviewed at her home office on Monday and my first day was Wednesday.
I accepted the independent contract position as a wedding and event floral designer and marketer with the intent that it would be a job until I found my way back into corporate marketing. I ended up staying four years. During those four years I learned so much about being an entrepreneur and the perks and downside to running a small business. I was given creative freedom and even encouraged to be creative. But most importantly I was inspired. My former boss and eventually friend, the female entrepreneur, mother and creative I mentioned above, showed me what it was like to "have it all" as some would say.
She ran her own business, had creative freedom AND was home for her kid. We worked out of her home office and typically started the day after school drop off and ended before dinner. I admired the balance and I knew I wanted the same for myself and my future family. At the time I was in my early-to-mid-20's so I didn't necessarily have babies on the brain but I am a planner.
Fast forward four years and I found myself back in the corporate world. It didn't take long for me to miss the creativity that had fueled my soul for the past four years so I decided to start my blog and Instagram, Mavelle Style. My initial intent with the blog was to share my everyday fashion style with the occasional recipe thrown in to inspire others and really to just have fun with it. I had no idea that Mavelle Style, my very part-time passion would eventually turn into Mavelle Media, my full-time gig but over the course of time the brand that I was creating for myself just kept evolving and eventually played a big role in inspiring me to go from blogger on the side to full time social media manager for locally owned small businesses and then eventually to becoming an all encompassing marketing and public relations consultant.
Corporate has a lot of perks and although I found my passion and figured out my dream of one day working for myself while working in the small business side of things it was in the corporate world where I learned an immeasurable amount of knowledge in the marketing and public relations industry. Every position that I have had and company that I have worked for has helped build me to be the woman I am today. I truly don't think I would be where I am in business if it weren't for every step I took to get here. Including being laid off and having a few very difficult superiors. I would not trade even the most difficult of bosses because I learned so much from them and can respect their experience and knowledge. I have been so lucky to have majority female superiors to look up to and I have learned so much from each and every one of them. They are all badass women in their own right and have each inspired me in different ways.
How did you feel in your body and in your life before you found your purpose? Who were you hanging out with, what things where you doing?
Right before I took the leap of working for myself I was super stressed out. It was a very intense and stressful time in my life both personally and career wise. I honestly had been pushed to my max and felt like I was going to break numerous times. I still don't know how I didn't break. It was at this time that I realized how strong I actually am and I think that helped to give me confidence to start my own business. I was kind of just done with how things were and in a sense this was my way of taking control.
But even before this moment... I was young when I figured out what I wanted. In fact, I am probably one of the few people who is actually building a career in what I went to college for. I have always known I wanted to do marketing and public relations and a part of me has always wanted to work for myself. Because of this, before I graduated college, I only worked jobs that would look good on my résumé for when I hit the job search. I did a lot of events, marketing and PR internships and summer gigs. I was always so focused on building my resumé and contact list. I even made sure the roles I took on in my sorority fit the narrative of my résumé, VP Communications and Social Chair.
I honestly think I had the career side of my life figured out long before I knew what I wanted personally.
I have always surrounded myself with people who were on the same page as me or brought positivity into my life in some way. To be honest I don't think I have ever had time for the bullshit. The people in my inner-circle today have been in my inner-circle for 10+ years, some even 30+. We have had A LOT of fun together and they have stories on me that probably don't necessarily fit the narrative of who I am today but that is why they are in my inner circle. They are my people. The ones that can motivate and guide me to be the woman I strive to be but also the ones who can laugh with me, not at me when I make mistakes. I feel like my friendships have evolved with me.
How was your confidence and self-love when you decided to go for your dreams? And what steps did you take to evolve your self?
I am not a risk taker, I don't care for change, I rarely put myself first and I am not a gambler so walking away from a consistent paycheck with zero clients lined up was extremely difficult and frightening for me but also a decision I felt so confident about. I believed in myself and I think that self confidence was key.
To this day, 4+ years into working for myself, there are really hard days and days of uncertainty. A pandemic hasn't helped. But, I still believe in myself and feel confident in my work and my hustle which is key.
What main events happened to lead you on your spiritual journey?
Oh man, well, somewhere between my first and third EKG I realized how stressed out I was. I can laugh about this now.
I am pretty good about walking away from toxic situations and once my workplace at the time was creating me more stress (hints the EKG's) than opportunity I knew it was time to move on. I spent months weighing the pros and cons of staying put, finding a new corporate position or going out on my own. I spoke endlessly with friends, family and colleagues about the idea of starting my own business and finally with encouragement from everyone around me I decided it was time to just do it.
I was in my early 30's and knew if I waited any longer to start my business I would be trying to start a business AND a family at the same time which didn't seem realistic to me. I didn't want either one to be put on hold for the other. I knew I wanted both a family and a career so for me the timing to start my business was now (or then rather) or wait 10+ years when my kids were grown and I wasn't willing to wait.
What's been some of your most soul crushing moments and how did you turn these into gems of wisdom?
On the business side of things I am crushed every time I don't get a contract that I was super excited about or I part ways with a client. Okay, maybe not every time I part ways with a client. I am really passionate about what I do and pour a lot of myself into my work so when the work is done or I never even get a chance to do it a little piece of me is slightly heartbroken (not to sound too dramatic). Over the years though I have learned that I cannot take business personal which is sometimes still difficult but I have developed quite the thick skin and have learned to look at "no" as motivation versus defeat.
On a personal and a business level I have definitely been let down, deceived and hurt by others and with each one I learned a different lesson. I definitely trust my gut more than I did 10- 15 years ago and I am not as afraid to say no if something doesn't align with life and business I am trying to build for myself. I think we as humans, especially women, have pretty good instincts we just tend to ignore them out of fear of failure or disapproval but as I mentioned above there is no time for bullshit and sometimes you just have to walk away from toxic situations.
If you could give the younger version of you any advice what would it be and why?
Hmmm... this is a tough one. I made a lot of mistakes and thoughtless decisions but I wouldn't change anything because I don't want to change who I am today. Maybe, I would tell myself about Facebook so that I could create it before Mark Zuckerberg. Also, to invest some time in learning how to create aps and code websites. I have always wished I was a little more tech savvy so I guess I would try to convince the younger me to get on that.
What are you eager to work on next?
I am always excited about the next client or challenge and I am always open to taking on new business and projects but ever since the pandemic I have slowed down a bit and I am really focused on maintaining the business and clientele that I have while taking care of my 10 month old baby girl. I am actually really looking forward to working on my daughter's baby book and planning her a socially distance pandemic friendly 1st birthday.
What are some of your BIG aspirational dreams?
I would love to travel more and keep growing Mavelle Media. It would be awesome to have employees and an office outside of the home one day but this may be a while because I am also loving being so hands on with my daughter.
What are some steps you are taking today to become that next evolved version of you?
I am not sure we can control the way we evolve because I think it is our life experiences that evolve us into who we are.
With that said though I want to keep growing as a wife, mother and a consultant. Everyday I am working on slowing down and living more in the moment with my family without sacrificing my business. Sounds easier than it is. My daughter is only 10 months old and juggling being a mother and being self employed is a big struggle majority of the time but I just keep reminding myself that she is so young and she will only be little for a brief moment in time and there is plenty of time to grow Mavelle. I find time everyday to be grateful for where I am in my life and in business today.
Shannon McAlister | Educator, wifey and conscious mama who is practicing mindful living + appreciating the everyday magic!