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Leading Ladies - Jessica Lawlor

Photo Credit: Stephanie L. McNeil

Photo Credit: Stephanie L. McNeil

Jessica Lawlor has been a source of constant inspiration for me. PR maven by day, but running the Get Gutsy Blog every morning, night, and weekend. The way Jessica writes makes you think she is writing it just for YOU. You'll be ready to take action and of course, get GUTSY! Follow her on Twitter and check out her newest 30 Days of Gutsy program that begins March 1!

 

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

I started blogging in 2008 when I was a junior in college. It was just a personal blog, more like a diary, really, on Blogger, but that sparked my love for all things digital.

I quickly saw how writing online and developing a strong personal brand could make a huge difference when it came to career opportunities. I continued blogging and tweeting my way through college, which helped me land internships, leadership opportunities...and eventually, a full-time job.

Once I found my place in the working world, I took things up a notch and launched the Get Gutsy Blog in 2012, a community designed around helping people step outside their comfort zones to reach their goals and live a life that makes them truly happy.
 

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE?

Starting a new blog, after many years writing on a personal blog and later a book review blog, felt very risky to me. I actually took a six-month break from blogging because I felt burnt out and really wanted to figure out my next steps before jumping into a new project.

I finally decided I had to take the leap to just get started and figure it out later. That turned out to be the best thing I could have done for my brand. I simply started writing consistently and sure enough, a community began to develop. That community showed me that they were just as passionate about getting gutsy as I was and they really helped to define and solidify the brand. Now, the blog is more than just about me! It’s about the entire community.

If I hadn’t simply gotten started and hit publish on that first post, I may never have known all of the awesome and exciting opportunities that were just around the corner. This is why I always urge people to simply get started.
 

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU? 

This may seem silly, but I have a fear of saying no. This includes saying no to projects, opportunities or even plans with friends. I’m working on saying no more in 2015 to protect my energy and focus on my own projects (I’m even keeping a list of all the things I say no to, so I can look back on it with pride!) but saying no to opportunities is never easy. I think the reason saying no scares me so much is because I’m fearful that if I say no too often, the opportunities will stop coming. However, to combat this fear, I try to remind myself that when you say no, you are actually saying YES to the things that matter. I’m being strategic about the projects I take on to ensure they align with my personal goals.
 

LOOKING BACK ON YOUR CAREER, WHAT WAS A MAJOR TURNING POINT FOR YOU?

Launching the Get Gutsy Blog was definitely a major turning point for me. At that point, I had been working in public relations for a little more than two years and dabbled with blogging and freelancing, but starting this rebranded blog allowed me to take myself, my work and my goals seriously. After I launched the blog in 2012, I amped up my freelancing, took on new clients, was interviewed on podcasts, wrote guest posts and even started taking on public speaking gigs.

 

WHAT ARE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED THAT YOU'VE CARRIED WITH YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?

1. Get started. When you simply get started with whatever project or goal you can’t stop thinking about, you can reap the benefits much faster. Don’t wait! (I truly learned this lesson from Alexis Grant who urges people to “stop waiting until they’re ready.”)

2. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. I’ve found that this is true almost 100 percent of the time when it comes to all things including my career, relationships, business decisions, friendship and more. Our gut is way more powerful than even we know.

3. Wake up early to get your most important task done first. Once a night owl, I’ve converted myself into an early bird and wake up at 5 a.m. each day to focus on my most important personal project before expending my energy on anything else.
 

BIGGEST MISTAKE?

Not taking myself seriously sooner. Yes, I was blogging and tweeting and working on my personal brand, but I didn’t treat it like a business. As soon as I switched my mindset and began taking my blog and brand seriously, more and more opportunities started coming my way.