There are thousands of women filling seats for inspiring panels at Create and Cultivate, eager for business advice from powerhouses in the room like Jenna Dewan, Deepica Mutyala, Kourtney Kardashian, and Cindy Eckert, and in the center of it all is Jaclyn Johnson. The powerhouse in her own right is the founder of the company, which is an online platform and offline conference for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. You might also know Jaclyn from her book WorkParty or the popular podcast of the same name.
How did she get here? Jaclyn's story is an inspiring one, and advice from her is abundant on the internet (lucky for you). After she was laid off from a job four months after moving from NYC to LA, Jaclyn's entrepreneurial instincts kicked in and ultimately led to her to creating a successful business and landing a spot on Forbes 30 under 30 in 2015. POPSUGAR got down to the nitty-gritty with the busy CEO during San Francisco's C&C conference on Sept. 21 with a chat about self-care, screen time, and saying "no."
POPSUGAR: How do you know what to say "yes" to and what to say "no" to, especially in the age of burnout? Are you one of those "say no to everything" people?
Jaclyn Johnson: I'm the opposite. I'm almost like, "Say yes to everything," which is probably to a fault. I think I've gotten better as time goes on to really think about what is going to make an impact, both personally and professionally for the brand and business and myself and where I spend my time. As someone who asks a lot of other people to come and share their time and wisdom, I'm very much wanting to give back in those ways, too. So I really try and prioritize.
"Sometimes by sheer luck, which is very much like my story, your passion project can become your full-time job."
PS: How do you reprioritize when there are too many things on your plate?
JJ: It's just being able to push back politely. Figuring out your own deadlines. I think we live in a culture where everything's due ASAP. Everyone needs things right now. And I think the reality is we've just gotten used to that. There is opportunity to say, "I can do this, but I can't get it to you until this time" or whatever it might be.
PS: In that same vein, what does self-care look like for you?
JJ: For me, I would say sleep is my biggest form of self-care. I need eight hours — it's something that I am 100 percent religious about. But I think also just downtime; I'm a huge fan, and my husband makes fun of me, but after a long event like this, I will stay in bed and binge-watch Netflix and order Thai food and not move, and that feels really good to me.
PS: Do you believe in limiting screen time, or is it impossible when you have to be plugged in constantly?
JJ: I do. I feel like I have more screen time on my computer than I do on my phone. I'm really good about disconnecting on the weekends, and now that it tells you how much time you're spending, it's been a really big eye-opening experience. I'm not one of those people that's constantly filming — I love watching people do that. It's really fun, but at the same time, for me, I go so hard in my professional life, I feel like it's very challenging for me to do both.
PS: What do you tell young people or recent college grads who don't have as much direction yet? Follow your passions? Get a "practical" job first? Both?
JJ: I think both. At the end of the day, it's really important, especially for women, to set yourself up for financial freedom. My mom taught me early on to be financially independent no matter what, so that's been something that has been really important to me — and then figuring out what your passion is and how you can profit from your passion if that's a possibility, or having a corporate job and having your passion on the side. I think all of those can really intersect. And then sometimes by sheer luck, which is very much like my story, your passion project can become your full-time job, which is amazing. It's really about finding that balance.
It's a different world now. I graduated college during the recession. So it was like, if you got a job, you were lucky, and now it's like no, I can be an influencer, I can do all these things, which is amazing to level the playing field across the board. But at the same time, there's a lot of risk — not stability. So there are pros and cons.
PS: What gets you excited about where the next generation is heading?
JJ: What I love about Gen Z is they're so empowered. I grew up in fashion-magazine culture — skinny, skinny, skinny. Diet, diet, diet. That's what we knew. The fact that [we have] this body positivity movement and are embracing gender in different ways is amazing. I'm so curious to see a group of women grow up without those beauty standards and what they'll do with that, because I think it's going to completely shift the industry.