Jenaae Jackson is a model and former Miss Jamaica turned digital marketer, blogger, and multi-passionate entrepreneur. With over 7 years of experience working in the digital marketing space, Jenaae specializes in content marketing for both small businesses and individual industry thought leaders — developing strategies to help these entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses more effectively.
When she isn’t developing digital marketing strategies for small business owners and entrepreneurs, Jackson can be found sharing experiences on the popular women’s lifestyle blog she founded, Hello Bombshell. She describes herself as an unshakable optimist dedicated to empowering and inspiring women to start businesses and curate extraordinary lives.
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Table of Contents
Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Jenaae Jackson: I’ve been insatiably curious about everything since I can remember. I was that annoyingly nosy youngster who was always eavesdropping in adult conversations, only to follow up later with a slew of why’s for my mother.
As a teenager and young adult, I became more focused on personal development. I became obsessed with learning about all things personal development, self-help, style, and entrepreneurship; out of genuine fascination. I never imagined how one day I might be able to connect all these seemingly unrelated dots, or how to share my passion with the world.
After years as a model for mega-brands like JC Penny, representing my country as Miss Jamaica around the world, developing my career as an award-winning Destination Wedding Photographer and then later a Digital Marketer and Blogger.. I believe I’m finally beginning to connect those dots…
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Jenaae Jackson: I was in fact that child that wanted to be a CEO when I grew up. During the hot summer months when school was out, I’d make jugs and jogs of Kool-Aid in all the different colors and flavors, freeze my sweet treats overnight in small plastic cups, and sell them to the local kids in the neighborhood.
In middle school, I’d beg my mother to take me to Bj’s Wholesale Club after school each Friday so that I could buy those huge boxes of varied snacks and candy bars to sell in the bathroom during lunch break. As I got older, my passion for Entrepreneurship never diminished. I started (and failed at) so many businesses and side hustles.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Jenaae Jackson: Hello Bombshell is a lifestyle, style, and personal development space for women. We aim to build a community of like-minded women who share a passion for improving and curating their lives. We accomplish this by sharing inspiring ideas and personal stories (our own included).
We don’t desire to tell women how to live their lives. Instead, we strive to share varied and unique insights and inspire women to create the life that they want for themselves.
One of the core pillars of Hello Bombshell has been sharing with women guidance on how to create online revenue streams for themselves. From the overwhelming interest in this subject, Bombshell Entrepreneur was born, a platform created to help women learn how to start, grow, and scale a profitable business from scratch.
In this branch of the growing company and our varied start-up ventures, our team provides marketing, branding, and product development services for small business owners and thought leaders alike who want to grow profitable businesses.
Hello Bombshell is truly a lifestyle brand. We are constantly seeking new ideas and aim to positively influence our readers to live better lives and hopefully, help them achieve their dreams in the process.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Jenaae Jackson: It’s no secret that many people dream of becoming a CEO. The power, prestige, and money that comes with the job are attractive to those who want to achieve success in their career. However, not everyone can become a CEO simply because they desire it. There are certain requirements you must meet before you can apply for such an important role as head of your own company or organization.
The first thing to consider if you want to be a CEO is what type of CEO you want to be? Do you want to be an entrepreneurial, creative visionary who turns their own ideas into reality? Or are you more suited to be a CEO who steps into an existing role of growing an organization you believe in?
Either way, for both types of CEOs, you will require a very particular mindset, diligence, leadership skills, and grit. Ultimately ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Jenaae Jackson: There are many factors to becoming a successful CEO, and it can be difficult to know where to start. However, there are certain characteristics that all CEOs have in common. You may not be able to find all of these qualities within yourself at the beginning, but over time you will become more confident in your abilities if you work hard enough.
- Be driven
The first and most important quality that you need to become a CEO is an unyielding sense of determination. You must be willing to work the long hours and deal with stress and pressure on a daily basis if you want to get results. If you’re not passionate about your role in the business, then all the hard work you’re going to have to put in will certainly not be worth it.
- Be a self-starter
As a CEO, you will need to motivate and inspire the people around you so they can do their best work. This is often done through leading by example. The more confident and driven you are as a leader, the easier it will be to get results. Setting high standards of work for yourself, and then doing your best to meet them will help you teach others what is expected of them too. If you are not passionate about the project or business it’s unlikely that anyone else will be either.
- Be self-aware
It can be difficult for people in senior positions to admit when they are wrong or if they have made a mistake. However, being self-aware is one of the most important traits that any CEO can have. Being able to understand your own strengths and weaknesses will help you to become more aware of the limitations that you face as an individual, which is vital for success in business.
- Maintain focus
After being told to focus for so long during your previous academic life, it can be hard to know where to start when you begin working. However, being able to concentrate on the task at hand is one of the most important skills that a CEO needs in order to succeed. If you are easily distracted by an endless list of new tasks and never-ending phone calls, you will struggle to make good decisions.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Jenaae Jackson: At this stage in my entrepreneurial CEO journey, I have come to appreciate that one of the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs is to get great at the art of delegating.
In the past, I was used to handling everything myself. Handling each task needed to run a company was a job in itself and it could be exhausting and unproductive at the end of the day. The fact is that you can’t do everything yourself – and if you try, you will fail. And the higher up the CEO food chain you go, the more people report directly to you, and the more essential delegation becomes.
Once you master this skill (I continue to practice learning this skill), you will then be able to focus 100% of your time on what is truly important: building a business and cultivating new customers.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Jenaae Jackson: In lieu of the pandemic, one of the most difficult challenges that I have faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year has been minding my mental health.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our emotions; we’ve seen family and friends fall ill, plenty of tears, and an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness as ingredients for the perfect storm. We all like to think that we’re strong enough to handle what life throws at us but it turns out that is easier said than done.
Some days are better than others, and that’s ok. Every day doesn’t have to be perfectly productive. Some days it’s ok to take it easy and rest. Or to take a day off. It’s also ok if you rearrange your priorities. The most important thing is that you stay sane and do is best for your overall health and your mental health too.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Jenaae Jackson: One mistake I’ve seen some business leaders make during this unprecedented time has been not adjusting enough with the state of our society. With such a significant shift in the state of our health, both physical and mental, I think more business leaders could have adjusted their expectations of their team accordingly.
This is further validated in the great resignation movement we’re seeing now for many people.
I’ve seen work ethics and standards go down in general. People are stressed, tired and overworked – whether they’re employed or self-employed. To keep their teams happy and productive, now, more than ever, business leaders have to listen to their teams and adjust accordingly.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Jenaae Jackson: What has played the most critical role in my business surviving and remaining profitable during these times have been our commitment to the team’s humanity and having a certain level of flexibility and compassion built into our ethos of the team. We are not machines, and we don’t want to be. And without the team, my business, and any business for that matter, has a really significant problem, wouldn’t you say?
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Jenaae Jackson: With some new guidelines and a stellar team in place, at the moment, things are running smoothly on all fronts. For this, I’m grateful. Now the challenge is keeping this momentum so that we can continue to scale and grow well into the years to come.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Jenaae Jackson: In addition to the art of delegation, the most useful skill I continue to refine is the art of focus. Oftentimes, it’s not that we’re all too busy why sometimes we struggle to get the most important things done, it’s that we’re doing too many things at once and end up wasting our time and energy on the wrong things.
In such a distraction-filled world, being able to leverage your energy on the right things is going to make all the difference in terms of what you can get done and how productive you are on a daily basis.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Jenaae Jackson: One of the most difficult decisions I had to make, this past year, for our company that benefited our employees, was allowing our team more freedom in terms of their contribution. This was a difficult decision because it requires a level of faith and trust in the team members. With that said, I know that we are fortunate to have such a solid team that all have the same vision in mind — to win and to take our varied venture all to the next level and beyond.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jenaae Jackson for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Jenaae Jackson or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
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