Desk job to Dream Digital Business with Jessica Hawks | Ep #23
While others were away at college, Jessica Hawks dropped out of nursing school and worked as an assistant at a chiropractor’s office while she searched for what she wanted out of life. She decided to try working as a virtual assistant, and after her videos on TikTok went viral, her business boomed. At just 23 years old, she was making $9,000 a month from the comfort of her couch. Two years later, Jessica has over 867,000 followers and now teaches others how to grow a successful online business. Let’s meet Jessica Hawks and listen to her Second Act Success Story!
CONNECT with Jessica Hawks
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/itsjessicahawks/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jessicaleighhawks/
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/itsjessicahawks/
Courses – https://itsjessicahawks.com/learn
PROFILE OF SUCCESS
Career Milestones: Launching her own online business
Personal Status: Married
Current Career Status: Entrepreneur
Future Plans: Continue to grow the business, build her dream house, and start a family
Advice: “Be really heavy with the boundaries that you have with the people around you. Your friends and family. Of course, it’s great if they’re supportive, but that’s not always the case and it’s not always coming from a place of meanness. Oftentimes it’s just coming from the fact that they love you and they are scared for you when anyone takes any big leap or makes any big change. So I think that you have to be really trustful of what you want and be really confident in that and work on your mindset a lot, because there are gonna be people, everyone giving you their opinions about what you should do, and you have to be able to navigate those without kind of wavering and giving in and giving up on something that you actually do wanna do.”
01:23 – Intro
02:25 – Childhood
03:15 – Graduating high school and starting to work / nursing school
04:44 – Learning about virtual assistant jobs
06:17 – Investing in a course to learn about starting a business
09:25 – Learning from what someone else has already done
09:57 – Launching her virtual assistant business
12:16 – Being booked out in months
12:39 – Having to learn so much to succeed at the business
15:36 – How the business evolved and all it offers now
19:46 – Speaking at VidCon
23:33 – Making more money and being able to help others at the same time
23:40 – Fear of success
25:56 – Dream life of traveling while earning money
28:18 – Clients
30:39 – Changing careers at any time
33:02 – What’s next?
33:57 – 5 Fast Qs
39:08 – Connect with Jessica Hawks
Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #23 Desk job to Dream Digital Business with Jessica Hawks
Guest: Jessica Hawks
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Shannon: Hey friend, think you're ready to start a second act? I created a freebie that will help. It's my Second Act Blueprint with five questions that you should ask yourself before you make this massive decision. To check it out, go to secondactsuccess.co and download the Second Act Blueprint today. Now it's onto the episode.
[00:00:18] Jessica Hawks: Be careful about making sure that you're not running away from things. By taking by making big life changes. If you are, running away from a situation instead of facing the way that you actually feel. But if you aren't doing that, then I think that big life changes are always the way to go.
[00:00:33] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.
I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in [00:01:00] life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.
It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get started.
Welcome to Second Act Success.
Hey, my friend, I have an incredible success story for you today. Jessica Hawks was in nursing school and working as an assistant in a chiropractor's office, searching for something more. She dropped out of nursing school and tried her hand at being a virtual assistant. She knew nothing about this up and coming profession, but she was eager to learn. Next thing she knew with the help of Tik TOK and some hard work. She was just 23 years old making $9,000 a month from the comfort of her couch. Two years later, Jessica has over 867,000 followers. And has grown an impressive online business. [00:02:00] educating others to do the same. Oh, and by the way, she now makes 15 times her corporate salary. well, let's just get to it. Here's Jessica Hawks.
[00:02:09] Shannon Russell: Jessica. Welcome to Second Act Success.
[00:02:11] Jessica Hawks: Thank you so much. I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
[00:02:15] Shannon Russell: I'm excited to hear all about your journey because I've been reading about you everywhere. So many news articles about you and your amazing business, but let's start from the beginning. What did you go to college to study?
[00:02:25] Jessica Hawks: It's a lot in a short amount of years, so I was, um, homeschooled in middle and high school. My parents owned their own business, Even though they were entrepreneurs. They never really encouraged me one way or the other to go to college or to, you know, take over their business, start my own business. A lot of that was because we had a really difficult home life. So That kind of was just like overtaking me and my brother's childhood for the most part. So there wasn't a lot of focus on what our future was gonna look like. I, there was never really one specific thing. A lot of people are like, I wanna be a doctor. I wanna be a lawyer or whatever. I never really had that. I kind of threw [00:03:00] around a few things, cosmetology Marine biology, but I was just kind of floating through. I started working full time at 16, I was working at a clothing store. I was working as a barista, a dog Walker. Just kind of doing a bunch of different things and I graduated high school and ended up moving to South Carolina for just kind of a fresh start. And I immediately got a job as a chiropractic assistant. I started, I think at around like $9 an hour. And eventually I was there for four years. At this point hadn't gone to college or anything. By the time I left, I was making $20 an hour, which I thought was pretty good for. Someone that didn't have a college degree, but for two of the years that I was at the chiropractic office, I went to college for nursing. I never grew up thinking I wanna be a nurse. I wanted to go for cosmetology, but the guy I was with was like, oh, well, nurses are like really hot. So I should do that. And me being, you know, young and naive, I was like, okay, I'll, I'll do that. Obviously we're not together anymore,
[00:03:59] Shannon Russell: [00:04:00] obviously,
[00:04:01] Jessica Hawks: but.
[00:04:01] Shannon Russell: go by what the guys want when we're at that age.
[00:04:03] Jessica Hawks: I know it was so ridiculous, I was just like, this is not what I like. I had started traveling around this time as well. And that kind of really opened my eyes to the fact that I didn't want to be really confined to having to be at 12 hour shifts. Multiple days a week, having to always ask off, you know, for traveling or just really, it wasn't my passion at all. So I dropped out of college at that point. Not really knowing what I would do. I was in my head putting a bookmark in it and thinking, okay, maybe I'll come back to this. Obviously that's not what ended up happening.
[00:04:38] Shannon Russell: You're out there on your own nursing school. Isn't what it's, cut out to be. So what did you decide next?
[00:04:44] Jessica Hawks: I think 2019 was the year that I ended up dropping out around that time. I had made a friend who I'm still friends with her and she has a business online. And I had been looking online for work from home jobs, remote jobs, [00:05:00] and in my head, the only way that you could really do that was to either be like a YouTuber or something like that, which felt very out of reach to me, or to just kind of stumble into a remote position still at some type of corporate company. I was d oing a lot of research, but I had never heard of virtual assistants before. And when she was explaining to me what it entailed and how much money she was making it completely blew my mind because I'm taking home, you know, after taxes like $2,200 working 50 to 55 hours a week. And she is just killing it making way more than I am making her own schedule, working with clients, having fun, you know, working like 30 hours a. Wherever you bring your laptop, you can do your work. And that was. Just this light bulb moment where I was like, oh my God, this is exactly what I've been looking for. It still felt very out of reach to me. It's just a very scary territory to get into. And I deal with this a lot now with the students that I work with, but it's so scary to start your own business and to have to put yourself out there, especially [00:06:00] if you're not used to doing that in that format. so I sat on it for around six months or so before I eventually ended up just kind of signing up for a program to teach me the basics and it all just kind of spiraled from there in a, in the best way.
[00:06:14] Shannon Russell: Yeah. A good spiral.
[00:06:16] Jessica Hawks: yes. A good spiral.
[00:06:17] Shannon Russell: so you decided to invest in a course then
[00:06:20] Jessica Hawks: Mm-hmm
[00:06:20] Shannon Russell: of teach you the steps. And do you think that was what you needed to kind of make it seem doable in your head?
[00:06:27] Jessica Hawks: I think so. I'm, I'm very much. An all or nothing person, but at the same time, having the accountability was something that really helped me. During that six months, I had been trying to do research on my own because I was scared to sign up for a course. I was scared to put the money into it. At the end of the day, it was so difficult for me to piece the puzzle together. As I started looking into this on Instagram, I kept seeing people who had started their own business or were just starting their business. And I would see them go through this evolution that I wanted to go through, which was starting their business quitting their nine to [00:07:00] five becoming booked out. Starting a team working with all these really cool people. And I was watching that process happen for so many other people. eventually it became this moment of why could that not be me? Because I kept telling myself, oh, well, it's working for them, but I just don't see that it would work the same way for me. And eventually there just became this crossroads of, I either have to do this now and see what happens or. Keep sitting on it. And every six months being like, I wish I would've started six months ago, you know? That course that I went through, it was really a lot of the basics of how to start your business, how to find clients, how to post on Instagram. And that was really the structure that I needed because once I dived into that, even just after a few modules, everything just starts clicking. It all seems very. Abstract in the beginning, but once you throw yourself into something like that, it's amazing how quickly you can catch on because of how much you can learn in the online space in a short amount of time, compared to the corporate space that you're used [00:08:00] to.
[00:08:00] Shannon Russell: We're the same exact way, because I took a course to start my podcast and it really launched me. It was the same thing. Like I knew I could do it, but I needed the pieces. Then I took another course for something which I love. I'm actually creating my own course now on how to have a. Roadmap to your Second Act. So I'm super excited to get that out in the fall, and I know now you have your own courses. So it's just really, is so valuable for people to be able to have something, to kind of just walk them through the steps to get there faster. You can probably figure it out on your own, but it would take so much longer and you'd be flailing. I feel like that was such a good investment that you made at that time.
[00:08:35] Jessica Hawks: It is, and courses are amazing. And I think that it's still something. I guess the volume of courses and the type of courses that we have available to us now is still very new. I would say within the last two or three years is when it really started to boom. I have this topic swirling around on TikTok all the time. In my comment section, I was literally just responding to TikTok before I hopped on here. It's interesting because you can kind of see [00:09:00] the difference in mindset of people. There's a lot of people who. Are really terrified to make the investment. So they will kind of sit on it, try to figure it out on their own for ages and then get discouraged and just kind of write it off and then there's the other group of people who see it as exactly that as a fast track to where you wanna be. Because at the end of the day, there are plenty of people that start their businesses for free from resources. it's invaluable to be able to learn from someone who has successfully done what you want to do and to be able to learn from what they did that worked, what doesn't work. I don't think I would've ever been able to become as successful as I did within a short amount of time. Had I not had that information? Like you said, it had been a lot of flailing around a lot of mistakes made and that usually leads to a lot of discouragement as.
[00:09:48] Shannon Russell: And then you're finished. And how did you actually get your business off the ground and what kind of business did you know you wanted to create?
[00:09:57] Jessica Hawks: I kind of went into it thinking, okay, well, I [00:10:00] know about virtual assistants and a lot of people will teach that it's important to niche down. So that was something that I wanted to do. Initially, I was thinking, oh, well maybe I'll work with health coaches or something like that because I had experience in the health field, but this is something that I teach my students all the time. It's important in my opinion, to not go just with what you know, but with something that actually excites you. And I think the health field is interesting, but it's not. Something that really excited me. At the end of the day, I ended up landing on wedding creatives. So wedding photographers, event planners florist, and that was not my forte. I knew nothing about it. But it was something really interesting to me that excited me. So I kind of just jumped in with that and went with my gut. It was interesting because, all of my students do as well is kind of creating your business alongside what you're learning in the course. This is something we've integrated a lot into our course now with the structure, but being able to kind of follow along with the diff with the different phases, as opposed to having to complete the course in completion before you [00:11:00] start.
The course that I took started in April. I was so impatient. I was like, okay, I'm just gonna start my Instagram in March. Not really knowing what I was doing, but just kind of trying to get by with what I did know. And I ended up getting my first client that same month. So by the time that I actually started the course, I already had two clients, which was a really great jump start to that. But there was a lot of the logistics and things that I. Really know how to do. And the course also, you know, had a lot of guest speakers about things like mindset and tech and things that were great for rounding out my business and my knowledge as a business owner and the experience I gave my clients. So I think all of that combined, I started in March officially by July slash August, I was completely booked out and I had raised my rates to $60 an hour and was making $9k a month, which was. Over quadruple what I was making at the chiropractic office working 50 to 55 hours a week. totally wild to me. And I think you probably can resonate [00:12:00] with the fact that sometimes in your business, you don't even realize what's happening until you are able to just like, take a breath and look back. And you're like, oh my God, how have I just done all of that in that short amount of time? It's, it's really crazy how quickly you can grow online.
[00:12:13] Shannon Russell: Wow. Wow And you hadn't even finished the course yet at that point.
[00:12:16] Jessica Hawks: I think we finished around June, but I was already booked out by June. I just hadn't raised my rates to what they were in July slash August. I was at that point had quit my nine to five. So I was just. Fully into my business. And I was doing all of these like crazy things for my clients. I remember my second client actually I would say is the one that I learned really the most from, because I was managing essentially three of her businesses. I had to learn WordPress in order to work with her. I had to learn about email marketing. I helped her set up an eCommerce business. I was working with the people to like manufacture those things she would say something to me. Like, can you do this? And I would be like, oh yeah, I got it. Meanwhile, knowing nothing about what I'm doing. So I would spend a day learning a specific [00:13:00] program and it was just so much information within that time that I was really able to expand my knowledge and become more so of like a strategist slash manager in their business versus just doing tasks for them.
[00:13:13] Shannon Russell: how incredible, learning skills, like WordPress, you might not have ever thought that you needed to learn that, that's so incredible to just lead you to the next step in the business.
[00:13:23] Jessica Hawks: Mm-hmm
[00:13:23] Shannon Russell: and being like, great. Now I can actually put a website together too.
[00:13:25] Jessica Hawks: Yeah I think that's one of the biggest fears that people have, whether you are wanting to become a service provider or, launch a podcast or whatever it is the fear of not knowing how to do things. And especially if you're working with clients, you're like, this person is relying on me. I don't wanna disappoint them. I think that's truly one of the last things that you should worry about in with starting a business because the resources that we have now are so limitless and 99% of the programs that you are gonna be using, whether it's for your own business or for your client's business are meant to be [00:14:00] user friendly. Right. They have built in tutorials. We have YouTube, we have Google. We literally have. Every piece of information that we would need at our fingertips. And we also have this skewed, vision of what learning looks like, because it takes us oftentimes so long to kind of climb the corporate ladder. And you have to be in this position for this long, and then maybe you'll get promoted. It all feels like a very slow timeline. So I think that we really underestimate how quickly we can learn that ability is placed in our hands versus someone else controlling the pace at which we're growing.
[00:14:34] Shannon Russell: that's so true, if you were still working in healthcare at the chiropractor, you'd be nowhere near the world that right now.
[00:14:42] Jessica Hawks: No, my God. No.
[00:14:44] Shannon Russell: so insane to think that you created this over the course of a couple months.
[00:14:47] Jessica Hawks: It is so crazy. And there's such a limit on how much you can grow in a lot of positions as well. I loved my. Bosses a lot. I actually learned a lot from them. So it wasn't a situation where it was like a toxic work environment or something like that. [00:15:00] They actually offered to pay for me to go through an x-ray tech course so that I could learn to do that with them. But I really couldn't have grown much more outside of that. And. The fact that I was making $20 an hour after four years of being there and then I started as a virtual assistant at $30 an hour with no knowledge of what I was doing, but with the drive to figure it out. It's just so, so different. Whenever you are in control of your own rates, you work harder, you deliver a better experience and you grow way, way faster.
[00:15:31] Shannon Russell: You no longer are a VA yourself, but now tell me how the business has kind of evolved.
[00:15:36] Jessica Hawks: I would say the evolution of it started in around. August, September of 2020. I was still a VA and this was obviously during the pandemic, everyone was on TikTok. It was blowing up. Hadn't been on it that much. I was just a user, but. I knew once I started my business, that I wanted to start teaching other people. And a big reason for that was because I saw a big gap in the industry, in [00:16:00] people who were teaching that were younger, who potentially had dropped out of college, who were maybe at that crossroads of do I go to college? Do I start my own business? Is there any other option for me? So I was like, okay, these people are probably on TikTok. And At the time it's weird now because every business pretty much is on TikTok, but at the time there really weren't that many mentors or educators on TikTok in general, it was more just kind of fun scrolling. So I made a video. I was living in, New Jersey for a little bit, and I had rented a, a office in Philly. So I made it in that office. It took me like three hours, which is hilarious compared to how long it takes me now. But I made it just kind of explaining what I had done and it started blowing up. After like three days, it kind of sat at like 300 views and I was. Yeah, that's pretty normal. Like, I wasn't expecting anything more than that, but it started growing and growing and growing. And eventually I think it hit like 150,000 views, which was wild to me at the [00:17:00] time. And all of a sudden I had this influx of people being like, I wanna do this. How do I learn how to do this? And I was like, oh, Crap. I had no plan for this, for what I was gonna do when this happened.
So I, at that point built out, a few passive guides to help people get started that were at a really low investment for people who, didn't have much to spare. also, I built out a masterclass with my previous mentor, Erin. That was really like a big hit for around a year and a half. And we've kind of put a pause on it cause we're just both working on other things, but it was a five, six hour master class where we just went through all the basics of starting your business. we taught thousands of people that went on to start their business.
I also started building out Digital Creatives Academy, which is my 10 slash 11 week course. Very bare bones, very just me in there teaching and also learning from my perspective, cuz you also can probably resonate with the fact that once you're deep into your business, it's hard to remember what it's like to be a [00:18:00] beginner. I had started, with my first one on one student Sydney who has gone on to build a six-figure business. She works with me now as well. That first group of students really helped me figure out where specifically they needed help from there. I actually built out the curriculum of the course and we are in. Eighth round of that right now, which is crazy. So it's almost been two years and it's grown a lot. It has changed in so many ways. We have guest experts. We have co-coaches, we have a full vault of trainings. We have, access to me. We have a ton of modules for them to go through and resources.
Um, From there, I also created Fluent University, which is kind of a, another business. That's the one that I own with Sydney, where we create marketing courses. We teach about Pinterest marketing blogging, and we have a bunch of other courses that we're gonna be creating as well.
Also launched. The Digital State of Mind Podcast, which is my podcast. We wrapped up the third season a little while ago. [00:19:00] I usually have on a lot of guests that are kind of in my atmosphere, in the online space. We talk about marketing brand design, sales, finances, copywriting, just mindset, all over the place. I also have some episodes with past students as well to kind of talk about where they're at now. It's a really cool way to kind of get some insight into. My world and the, the world of online business. Cause I think a lot of people struggle with where do I start? That's the biggest question that I get. And I think the biggest place to start is just familiarizing yourself with online businesses in general, the language around it, what people do, what the mindset is versus the corporate world. So we dive into that a lot and we're kind of prepping now for season four. So we'll see what comes in season four.
And my most recent exciting thing was being at VidCon as a speaker. Such a surreal experience to me because I remember being 15 and watching my, favorite YouTubers go to VidCon. And I was like, oh, that would be [00:20:00] so cool to be able to do that. So it's like I said, you don't even realize what's happening in the moment. Cause it's so crazy.
[00:20:06] Shannon Russell: What did you speak about?
[00:20:08] Jessica Hawks: I was actually hosted by Kajabi, which is the platform that I use to host all of my courses. So we were just kind of talking about how to leverage. Courses, how to leverage Kajabi, how to leverage marketing, TikTok, things like that. So I was on a panel with four people and I feel like I almost passed out. I was so scared it's so funny how easy it is to speak to people online, speak to like thousands of people on TikTok and then a room full of 200 people. You're like, I can't do it. There's a lot of sweating happening that day, but it was a really good experience. One of the things that I kind of took away from that experience was when they initially reached out to me, I was so scared. But it's interesting how initially in your business, you're scared to even start. You're scared to make your first post on Instagram and then eventually you're scared to speak at VidCon. Your [00:21:00] levels of what scares you or what intimidates you, how those grow and. The fact that I was scared along with the fact that it was a great opportunity, but the fact that I was terrified to do it was a huge indicator to me that I needed to do it for myself. It's harder in the beginning, but I think that that's a great kind of takeaway to take into the beginning of your business is if it scares you, but you want to do it, then you owe it to yourself to do it.
[00:21:25] Shannon Russell: Now the next time, if you go to podcast movement, whatever the next convention is and you speak, it's not gonna be as scary.
[00:21:32] Jessica Hawks: Right, right. You're exercising. Your fear muscles.
[00:21:35] Shannon Russell: Okay. I have to remind you that it's 2022 you started all of this in 2020, really? Like legit it off the ground. So in two years you've created this insane business. You've taught all these other people to make their own businesses. You've created all these courses. You've started another business. You've started a podcast. Would you have ever thought that within two years, all of this [00:22:00] would've come out of you?
[00:22:01] Jessica Hawks: No. I remember at the time that I was a VA and I was starting to grow and get more clients, I was like, oh my gosh, I'm eventually gonna hit a 10 K month. That was a goal of mine. Like, okay, this feels achievable, but that will just be mind blowing when that happens. It's so interesting how your mindset starts to shift because a 10 K month becomes a 100 K month becomes a 200 K month and your goals shift to things that are totally unbelievable. If you were to tell your past self that.
It makes sense to me now, because I feel like I'm meant to be doing this and The fact that I've been able to help people who are single moms who want to be able to work at home and be with their kids, that I've been able to help people in other countries who are really struggling and who aren't being paid, what they should be paid, who are able to start their own business. Those are always the situations that impact me the most are the people who are in bad situations, who are able to from my resources, make a life for [00:23:00] themselves where they can rely on themselves and be independent in that way and just do things that they never would've imagined. So I feel like I'm meant to be doing this, but I never would've thought. Most people will say that when they, accomplish really cool things, that if you had told my 15 year old self, this, you wouldn't believe it, and it's also wild to think about the opposite of that. If I hadn't started my business, where would I be? I probably would be very, very unhappy and feel very lost. I'm just so thankful that I decided to make that decision. That scared me so much initially.
[00:23:36] Shannon Russell: Because it's benefited so many people along the way.
[00:23:40] Jessica Hawks: There's that saying that is the fear of success is more than the fear of failure. I think that that's really true. It scares us what we potentially could accomplish because growing a business, having a successful business that is scary and intimidating in a lot of ways, because there's so much responsibility. We often tend to hold ourselves back from a lot of [00:24:00] experiences because we're. also afraid of what will happen if we succeed in those, in addition to what will happen if we fail
[00:24:07] Shannon Russell: you're so right. We're scared to take it to the next level, because what if we can't handle it. We get in our own heads and we think too much about it. Whereas you kind of just jumped in. Right. You didn't realize you were gonna get your first client before you even took the course. So the fact that you can really just leap and hopefully it's, it's meant to be in a sense, and it definitely was with you,
[00:24:29] Jessica Hawks: And it never goes away though that fear that, we're in the process now of bringing some more people onto the team. I have a team of around like eight or nine right now, and we're kind of starting to shift things and grow as of the past few weeks. And that also scares me. Even now at this point in my business, even after I've gone through that experience multiple times, it's always still scary. And I think that people kind of look at business owners who are successful as on this pedestal of, oh, they're not afraid to do anything they've just got it all down. That is so not true because every new level you [00:25:00] experience is so terrifying, especially once you've found that success in your business.
[00:25:05] Shannon Russell: If you have a nice small team of eight people that you probably really trust you all work well together. Add somebody new and then it's just like, okay, well now I have to trust them with everything and are they gonna leave? So I bet you, you have a lot of that going on too. Expansion does help you grow.
[00:25:20] Jessica Hawks: it does. And there's a lot of people that need to do it, that won't do it because of that. that are just dying, cuz they're doing everything themselves and need more help, but it's scary to give up control. It's scary to invest in team members. But it's scarier to do it all yourself. And then. You will eventually burn out and probably kind of spiral down from there.
[00:25:44] Shannon Russell: You had mentioned earlier in our conversation about wanting to travel and you know, not be tied down to something. now you're able to do that, but I bet you, you haven't been able to as much as you want, because you're so busy growing.
[00:25:56] Jessica Hawks: I've traveled a lot for work this year, which has been, or I would say in the [00:26:00] past year, especially for like photo shoots and things like that. And then VidCon was in California and then I went back to California right after that, cuz we had a team retreat. Even when I'm traveling, it's hard to kind of disconnect. I'm usually always working in some capacity, but I don't mind that because I feel so lucky to be able to do that. And that's always something that I wanted. I used to do that when I was working in my corporate job. I would go, I would always have to leave early. I would be like, stressing about the fact that I wasn't getting paid for that time that I was gone. I didn't have paid time off. I would dread when the weekend would come because I would be like, oh, I have to go back to work on Monday. And I. Try really hard not to take for granted that I never hopefully will never have to feel that way again, because I can take all of that with me. Even in the moments where I'm traveling and I have to respond to emails or respond to texts or whatever, I feel so grateful to be able to do that because that's what I always dreamed [00:27:00] of being able to do.
[00:27:01] Shannon Russell: I love that you're traveling and I have two upcoming work trips for both of my businesses and I'm just looking forward to. Being able to do what I'm doing now in a hotel room, I myself, like you can still get it done and be productive.
[00:27:14] Jessica Hawks: Yeah. It's fun. It's fun to do it. And it's. It's weird sometimes how easy it feels like it's, it's so difficult, but sometimes it feels so easy when you are on vacation and you are like looking at your income or something and you're like, wow, I'm out of town. And I made this amount of money today. We have this mindset of everything has to be so difficult. We have to suffer in order to reward ourselves with a vacation or to be able to just do things that we should naturally be able to do as humans. So I think that that's kind of a big shift that has taken place, but we'll continue taking place of realizing that it's not easy to start a business, but. Making money building a business, having a team. It can be easy in a lot of [00:28:00] ways if it's done the right way. And if you work on your mindset around that
[00:28:04] Shannon Russell: The people that take your courses, the people who work with you and want your advice, are they younger? Are they like right outta college? Are they, new moms that just wanna switch? Who is your ideal client?
[00:28:18] Jessica Hawks: It's interesting because I market a lot to younger people. I would say that's a huge chunk of the demographic of people that I work with and that I'm marketing towards are between the ages of, 17 to 30. Um, and. with that being said, I've had people in my courses that range from 16 years old to 60 years old. I get a lot of people who maybe dropped out of college who don't wanna go to college or who went to college and are like, okay, well, that degree was useless in my life right now, very similar situation to mine who start and just have the tenacity of like, okay, I'm creative. I am very in tune with social media and with tech in [00:29:00] general, they're able to pick it up so quickly. And just kind of be full-time in their business. I would also say I get a lot of people who are kind of 30 to 40 range, who maybe are parents who are moms who want to be able to spend more time with their family who want to make an income of their own and who wanna do it. Part-time so they are not necessarily full time in their business, but they are able to have their own career and have their own business. Still make really good money working part-time while being able to do whatever they want outside of that. And I also have interesting enough recently I've had quite a few people who are in, I would say like the 45 to 60 age range who are like, I missed a lot of opportunity because these opportunities weren't available to me when I was younger. But this is such an interesting world to me that I want to learn more about it and kind of see where it goes. So that's been kind of an interesting change up as well.
[00:29:57] Shannon Russell: I love that you have such a age range too, even [00:30:00] my listeners here, my mission is just to urge people to take that leap and change out of that toxic work relationship or just every day of dreading, like the Sunday scaries, where
[00:30:11] Jessica Hawks: it's the worst.
[00:30:12] Shannon Russell: it's the worst.
And we both know that from the past. And, and I feel like I have listeners who are right outta college and are like, okay, that degree, I. I don't want anything to do with it anymore. And then there are retirees or moms that are just like this isn't working. So I'm with you. There's such a range of people who I think from the generations before us, you pick what you wanna do and you do that till retirement. And it's so not the case. You can change at any point.
[00:30:38] Jessica Hawks: You can. Obviously talk a lot about how you don't have to go to college. And also not against college on the opposite side of that, but I've had people, or I know of people who were theater majors and now are finance experts. I know I've had people in my courses that went to school and work. NASA [00:31:00] and then wanna start their business online. Um, I've had people in my courses who are going to law school, but they're like, I wanna have my own business for right now. And who knows what'll happen. I'm still gonna go to law school. And so it's, it's super interesting because it can work. Having a business online can work really well with so many different lifestyles. It doesn't have to be all one thing or all another thing.
[00:31:24] Shannon Russell: Especially with what you're teaching your clients and your students. It's true. It can be just like, I just want this small little side business. That's gonna bring in a little bit extra for like my summer home, whatever it might be or, but you're right. It doesn't have to be everything. And I always try to teach my clients and my listeners that. You can do it all. Go to college and party and have fun and get a degree. You can get a different job. And then 10 years later you can switch again and do something else. I'm in this phase where several careers in that, I'm like, you can do it all and why not do it all? Spruce it up. Go to law school and start a business.
[00:31:58] Jessica Hawks: I was just listening to a podcast [00:32:00] yesterday of this guy. Who's a, he's a, um, psychologist and he didn't go to school for that until he was like 35 at 35, where like, I'm practically dead. Now. It's like, who knows?
I've thought about that in the future. Originally when I was becoming a nurse, I wanted to be a psychiatric nurse. So at the root of that, I was like, okay, well, this is clearly rooted in the fact that I like psychology. So I I've even thought about the idea of like, oh, maybe in, you know, 10 years when my business slows down, I'll wanna get a psychology degree just because it'll be interesting to me. So I agree. I think that that's really cool that you're teaching that because I think there's a lot of people who have stuck with one thing their whole life and have a lot of regrets for all of the things that they didn't do. And I think that's one of our biggest fears as humans is regret in general. And in order to not regret things, you have to really be in tune with yourself and, and try as many things as you possibly can, even though that can feel daunting. So.
[00:32:58] Shannon Russell: Yeah, but it's so well worth it at [00:33:00] the end. I think.
[00:33:01] Jessica Hawks: it is I feel like there's just been, the question of what's next? I get asked that a lot and. I feel like at this point, I've come to find that the answer is I have no idea because I feel like I will have this idea of what the next six months to a year will look like. And then it is just so completely different. And I also kind of don't wanna limit myself to what I. Think is next, because if you had asked me when I was in the chiropractic office, what's next, I would've been like, oh, well, do the x-ray tech thing. Maybe I'll go back to college. so I'm kind of like now I'm scared of putting that curse on my skull, like limiting myself to something that is maybe smaller than what I, I should be experiencing or could be experiencing. So that's kind of a what's next what's what's next question, mark.
[00:33:49] Shannon Russell: And once you decide it's like full blast off, you're running and you won't have another break. So enjoy little bit of regrouping.
[00:33:57] Shannon: Alright. It's time for our Five Fast Qs [00:34:00] of the Week. Here we go!
[00:34:02] Shannon Russell: Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.
[00:34:06] Jessica Hawks: I think the biggest thing that has taught me is to just trust myself, I spent, and I think that a lot of people spend their life focusing on other people. That was definitely the situation for me because especially with my home life and what I was experiencing with that. So I spent 99% of my life looking to other people, making sure they were okay.
focusing on what they wanted versus what I wanted the biggest thing. Throughout the growth in my business and even starting my business initially was trusting what I wanted and what I felt in my gut. Even in my business now where, you know, five months ago I had an idea and I'm like, okay, let's do this thing. And then by the time we're ready to actually start prepping for it. I'm like this. Feels wrong now. that can be really scary and can change a lot of things. But I've learned that by doing that things always fall into place, the way that they're supposed to. And then the opposite side of [00:35:00] that as well, following the things that feel really, really natural for me. I think I've learned to trust myself a lot over, over the past few years. And that was something that I had very, very little of when I was Younger than, than 21.
[00:35:16] Shannon Russell: would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend?
[00:35:20] Jessica Hawks: Yes. I do that literally all the time. I think , I'm always trying to convince my friends to serve online businesses. but yeah, definitely. The one caveat I will add to that is that I think that you should always be careful about making sure that you're not running away from things. By making big life changes. I've made that mistake before. You know, I've been divorced once before I'm remarried now happily, but I, I don't regret the fact that it happened, but I think a lot of, what was wrapped up in that was me running away from the current situation that I was in. so I think that you have to be really honest with yourself when you are doing things. If you are, you know, running away from a situation instead of [00:36:00] facing the way that you actually feel. But if you aren't doing that, then I think that big life changes are always the way to go
[00:36:06] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who's trying to start a second act?
[00:36:10] Jessica Hawks: That's a good one. I think that I would say to be really heavy with the boundaries that you have with the people around you. Your friends and family. Of course, it's great if they're supportive, but that's not always the case and it's not always coming from a place of meanness. Oftentimes it's just coming from the fact that they love you and they are scared for you when anyone, takes any big leap or makes any big change. So I think that you have to be really. trustful of what you want and be really confident in that and work on your mindset a lot, because there are gonna be people, everyone giving you their opinions about what you should do, and you have to be able to navigate those without kind of wavering and giving in and giving up on something that you actually do wanna do. I think that also has to be carried through, into even the tangible side of starting your business, you know, [00:37:00] block people from your story. If you don't want them to see it, like be careful about what information you give people, you have to kind of protect your mindset, especially when you're starting, because it's very shaky. because of the fact that your brain is like, what is happening? I'm so out of my comfort zone right now. That can come with guilt because you want to listen to the people you care about. You want them to know what's happening, but there's a balance between doing that and caring for them, but also caring more about yourself because that's always the best route in the long run.
[00:37:30] Shannon Russell: Jessica that's such good advice. And I haven't had any of my guests mention that. And I think. Important because your own wellbeing through this really crazy process is
[00:37:39] Jessica Hawks: They.
[00:37:40] Shannon Russell: And especially women just put everybody else first.
[00:37:43] Jessica Hawks: Oh my God all the time, literally all the time. And everyone, for some reason feels like they just have to give their opinion on what we're doing. So
[00:37:51] Shannon Russell: Yeah.
[00:37:52] Jessica Hawks: yeah. I live with my students. I'm like, yeah, just block everyone. There's nothing wrong with it. It's okay. To keep things for [00:38:00] yourself until you're ready to share.
[00:38:02] Shannon Russell: I agree. Absolutely. So what does the next chapter look like for you?
[00:38:06] Jessica Hawks: I really am open to anything. Like I said, I'm remarried. Me and my husband got married in, November. We've been friends for a really long time. And so we are in the process right now of starting to build a house. So that's kind of taken up a lot of our time. And in the next five years, something I know for sure that I want is kids and to start a family. So my goal, broad right now is to really grow my business as much as possible and make sure that it's running as smoothly as possible. And, you know, hopefully by the time that I do have kids, I'll be able to kind of take a step back from that and still provide students, everything that they need because I definitely want to be able to focus on a family in the future. So that's one of my biggest goals as well.
[00:38:54] Shannon Russell: Your business is your baby right now. And
[00:38:56] Jessica Hawks: Yeah.
[00:38:57] Shannon Russell: grow it so you can pass it off. your.[00:39:00]
[00:39:00] Jessica Hawks: So I can be independent.
[00:39:02] Shannon Russell: Well, congratulations. That's like a perfect
[00:39:04] Jessica Hawks: you.
[00:39:05] Shannon Russell: and you're setting yourself up for, for it to all happen.
Where can our audience connect with you? Where is the best place?
[00:39:11] Jessica Hawks: So it's, , @itsjessicahawks, its Jessica Hawks, H a w K S on pretty much everything I'm on Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. I'm probably on there. I would say I create the most content on TikTok and then I'm very active on Instagram as well. My website is www.itsjessicahawks.com and then my podcast is Digital State Of Mind on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and pretty much anywhere you listen to podcasts.
[00:39:41] Shannon Russell: Jessica, this has been such a great conversation. You're teaching so many people, such wonderful advice and leading them into businesses of their own online.
[00:39:49] Jessica Hawks: Thank you so much for having me. It's so nice to be on the, interviewee side instead of the interviewer side.
[00:39:56] Shannon Russell: Thank you so much.
[00:39:57] Jessica Hawks: Yeah, thank you for having me.
[00:39:59] Shannon: [00:40:00] Jessica's rise to success in her business is just inspiring. She has accomplished so much in the past few years, taking a leap to become a VA and then growing it into this lucrative online business that is now allowing her the freedom to work from anywhere. She employs a large team and she gets to teach others how to grow their own virtual assistant business for themselves. What really resonated with me is that Jessica is open to what the future may bring. She isn't stuck on having this business forever. Maybe she'll go back to school. Maybe she'll take some time off to start a family, but she took a risk to open this business and she said yes to every opportunity. Now her future is truly hers to create, and that is amazing. Visit Jessica on social at it's Jessica Hawks. And you can visit her website. It's Jessica hawks.com. Thanks again for listening. I'll chat with you next time.
Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act [00:41:00] Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.
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