Jessica: Hey, welcome back to the Going Scared podcast. This is Jessica Honegger, your host and founder of the socially conscious fashion brand Noonday Collection. Welcome to the podcast where we cover all things, social impact, entrepreneurship, and courage. Today’s guest is such a treat. I love Jordan. I met her when I launched my own book called Imperfect Courage a few months ago, and she immediately invited me into her community. I was introduced to her via another friend on a text, and within hours I was on her Facebook doing a live. I was on her Instagram doing a live. She is that kind of women. I feel like we see a lot of memes. Her success doesn’t diminish mine. Jordan truly, truly lives that out, and she has just launched her newest and first book—author of Own Your Everyday: Overcome the Pressure to Prove and Show Up for What You Were Made to Do.
That’s a lot of what we ended up talking today. We talked about how we can celebrate this journey and not just get hung up on the outcomes. And she’s in her 20s, but I promise you she has wisdom so far beyond her years. She is such a cheerleader. She is such a voice of someone that I want to uplift in this world, and I know that you were going to gain so much from her wisdom, from her enthusiasm and please, go check out her book. I was able to endorse it. And it is just a really, really encouraging, uplifting, read. She’s also host of the very popular, the SHE Podcast and we actually talked about how she launched that podcast so successfully today. Here’s my conversation with Jordan
I wanted to start off just tell us, you are an entrepreneur, you are a content creator, you are an author, you are a speaker. Tell me first about your business. What is it and how did you launch that?
Storytelling: Humanity Behind the Brand
Jordan: So, the very beginning stages, it was just a side hustle. As most, I think sometimes can start off with just being almost an accidental entrepreneur. But I actually look back and it’s funny, I have very entrepreneurial parents, and so I actually was doing a lot of small businesses as a kid, everything from gumball machine businesses to so many other things. And so, I’ve done a lot of little things over the years. But then when I was in college, towards the end of college, I started an Etsy store. And what was so interesting to me is that Etsy store it was just a fun little side hobby. It wasn’t anything I planned on actually doing with my life. I have a healthcare administration degree, which is basically a business degree with a focus in the healthcare sector.
And so, I started a small business for fun, just do something creative, and it blew up. I mean, it literally blew up on social media. All of a sudden, I feel like within three or four months had like 10,000 Instagram followers and a ton of orders. And I was like, what am I doing? I have no idea.
Jessica: Hang on for one second when you say suddenly blew up, because I feel like woman don’t take credit for some of the things that you do do. And maybe they came intuitively to you. Maybe they were natural to you, but certainly there was something that led to this suddenly.
Jessica: Yes. So that’s kind of the fun part of the story and actually what has led to everything else that I’ve built. So, I still have the little store. It’s part of what I do, but the reason it blew up, I truly believe is I did, without even realizing it, I understood human-to-human marketing. Without even intending to say, “oh, I’m marketing all my stuff,” I actually got really stinking good at storytelling. And sure the products might be in a photo or it might not even be in a photo that I was sharing or, a video that I was sharing, but I was sharing stories because when I started this little thing, I was living in a sorority house with 100 sisters and 3 or 4 or 5, would come upstairs in this creepy storage closet and help me package items. And we would sit there and talk until all hours of the night packaging these things and building community. And so the lessons we were learning and the things we were talking about, the advice we were trading, and the dreams we were sharing I would write about in captions or blog posts or Facebook posts and waves that I was growing and all of these things that really connected on a human level.
So, people really connected with the human behind this little Etsy brand and would share the content with their friends. So, they could probably care less about the mug. I mean they ended up—they would still buy the mug or the, the canvas or whatever the item was at the time, but they would share these captions. And so, my media began to grow really, really fast. There was a lot of sharing happening. People really connected with it. And I realized these messages resonate with more than just the women in my AO-Pi storage closet, but also with women around the world. And so, learning the art of storytelling and creative content marketing without even intending to think I was marketing, I didn’t intend to feel like I’m trying to sell everybody … It was insane how fast it grew. And so that lets you really taking on a career in content creation, continuing to build my voice, my marketing strategies, creating various other resources. And in the midst of all of that, I started to look back at that time in that storage closet and I was like that place was like a safe place for women.
“The reason [my Etsy store] blew up, I truly believe is … I understood human-to-human marketing. … I actually got really stinking good at storytelling. … All of these things that really connected on a human level. So, people really connected with the human behind this little Etsy brand and would share the content with their friends.” Jordan Dooley
And so, we put this tagline on the shop brand, and we’ve made the tagline, "Your brokenness is welcomed here." And we chose that because a lot of women during that time were either going through breakups or struggling with body image issues or whatever. We were all like seniors in college and trying to figure out our lives and feeling completely a mess and thinking that as soon as we graduated it would all figure out, which is not the case. But I put that on there. I ended up sharing about that online and that actually really grew. Again, that was something, a movement, it was message that women could own as their own and that also share.
So, in addition to creating content that storytells and connects, also creating movement mentality, these two things really exploded my business, my online brand, my personal brand, not just a little shop. And that’s led to being able to have a top podcast in these other things, writing books that I never anticipated when I just decided I wanna start a small side hustle in college. So, I think the content, storytelling, and marketing around a movement, it’s really where the power is.
Space for Sisterhood
Jessica: Well and what you didn’t say, which I think is just because it’s intuitive to you, you started this to serve women, like that is your heart, and it is authentic and you are for others. Where did that come from? Because tell me a little bit more about your own, because you do talk about body image, you talk about dating, you talk about your relationship with your husband. Take us back a little bit more through that journey of what even led you, "My brokenness is welcomed here." What was that own journey in your life where you welcomed your own brokenness?
Jordan: Yeah, and I think that’s, like you said, it’s almost intuitive. Like, that tagline wasn’t something that was—it wasn’t meant to be a look at me, and it was more like, look at you. And I think the reason that became so powerful to me is because when I was building this little side hustle for fun. I had sisters and women who believed in it enough to forego their studies and their homework and sit upstairs on a cold tile floor and shove packing peanuts into tiny boxes and support me and drive me to the post office or come with me to the post office and do all the crazy, scrappy things.
And in the midst of it, there was this just understood welcomeness, there was this understood, I don’t even know if a welcomeness is a word, but like this openness and this like, "Hey, you don’t have to think the same way. You can be struggling with things and come in here and be a part of this little tribe of people that sitting here and chasing a dream and supporting someone’s dream." And I didn’t even really know what the dream was. I was just kinda like, this is fun, and I love it, you know? So, I think because of that, being part of a sister had liked that and then seeing how incredible it was to be supported and how it literally changed my life. Like Jessica, if I had not had that support, I probably would have closed up shop within the first few weeks because I wouldn’t have known what to do. I wouldn’t have had enough hands, and I couldn’t pay these girls. And so, other than like free pizza, you know.
So, to have the sisterhood support me and it literally be a catalyst that changed the trajectory of my entire life, gave me this passion and seeing how powerful it was when people felt welcomed and understood regardless of what brokenness they were experiencing or challenges or struggles they were walking through, that literally gave me such a passion for kind of turning around and giving that back. I wanted to give other women have space for sisterhood, support their dreams to really show them like, "Look, sister, I know this is hard. I know there’s a lot of boxes here and a ton of packing peanuts and you don’t know the first thing about shipping or whatever it is that they’re trying to chase, but I’m here for you and I’m cheering for you and you need to know you can do it."
“To have the sisterhood support me and it literally be a catalyst that changed the trajectory of my entire life … gave me such a passion for kind of turning around and giving that back. I wanted to give other women have space for sisterhood.” Jordan Dooley
And I think that for me, just, it sparked something in me and that’s why I wanna turn around and do that for women. And in addition to that, I also felt like even though I was supported in my dreams or in my idea or my crazy wacky side hustles, I also was supported and heard and understood through the real personal struggles that I also brought to the table in that, right? I carry those even though I was chasing these big dreams. And I think sometimes we forget about that. We talk so much about the dream and the going after this and the going after that, that we forget there’s a very human element behind all of that. And informing all of that there is body image struggles, there’s insecurities. There’s the pressure to prove, there’s comparison, there’s heartbreak. There’s all these things we walked through that really can affect not only our businesses, but just also our lives and our careers and our friendships.
And so, I felt like not only was I supported my dreams, but I was also kind of like, "Hey, J, you don’t have to be this perfect boss lady." You’re just figuring this out and you’re bringing your own insecurities and fears to the table and we’re here to support that. And so that space really inspired that for me. And it’s basically what I wanna provide for women and their businesses and in their lives.
Jessica: When you look back to that women packaging these Etsy shop items within a sorority house, with our sisters. I mean that wasn’t very long ago. How many years ago was that?
Jordan: Just under five years ago.
Jessica: OK. Well, tell me about the journey between that woman and then the woman you are today. What have you learned and now that you are adulting and a lot of people going, yeah, but you, you had a sorority you had like this built in group and so like how do you counsel them in now who are like not in the dorm room life where it does feel a little bit easier to create a sisterhood. But like then you get out into the adulting world, and it seems like everything is set up to not help you as such. So how has your message sort of translated over time as your stage of life has changed?
Jordan: Yes. So gosh, I remember after I graduated, or right around the time I was getting ready to graduate, I was also preparing to … I was seriously dating my husband at the time. And so, we knew we were working toward marriage and he was pursuing the NFL. And so that was a whole different can of worms to, a whole different roller coaster ride that was a very up and down. And so there was a lot of uncertainty I was about to walk into. And I also was about to leave a community of a bunch of supporters, right? Everyone was going their separate directions. And I remember feeling very, I think a little bit scared. And I also was like “I need to get realistic here.” And so, what I chose to do was I actually closed the Etsy store for awhile.
I was like, “I’m gonna continue stewarding this little online community,” that I felt like what I have and what I truly can practically do is not managing inventory and returns and shipping and all these things because I was about to be traveling a lot and trying to start. And I thought in my brain, “Well, now I need to go get a real job, right? If I like it, it can’t possibly be a job.” And so, I started to pursue that and work on that a little bit more. And in the middle of graduation, in between, there was like a bridge. I graduated in a little bit later, got married or engaged and then married. So, in that kind of gap season is when I started … I was like, what can I actually do that I can do myself because I don’t have all these hands to help me package dozens of items and do all of this and also have that support.
Scaling Back to Grow
So, I just decided to start a little photography company and that was something I could do more individually. And my husband was able to help support me when he had time off from football. And so, there was this kind of weird transitional phase where I was like, “OK, I need to look at my circumstances and think what can I actually do right now?” So I worked on photography, and I also really continued to work on and just storytelling and encouraging other women who did feel that isolation even though … because I was then feeling it like, well now I don’t have 10, 15 women right next to me cheering me on.
And then also I think over that time I really seeked out mentors. I had a woman who was the ultimate empowerer. And she started really encouraging me to use my voice. And so, I started learning from her. She had built communities of women and businesses and ministries and all of these things. And so, I think during that kind of transitional time, I scaled back, and I had to be OK with letting that go a little bit so that I could grow. I was talking to a friend about this. Sometimes I think you have to make less or do less in order to do more down the road. And I’m so glad I chose to do that because it helped me kind of explore the next best step rather than just holding so tightly to like, “No, this is my thing, and it makes good money, and I need to hold onto it,” but I really couldn’t do it on my own. And so, I need to think about “What can I do in this season?”
“I scaled back, and I had to be OK with letting that go a little bit so that I could grow. … Sometimes I think you have to make less or do less in order to do more down the road. And I’m so glad I chose to do that because it helped me kind of explore the next best step.” Jordan Dooley
And also, at the same time was learning to be coachable. And so, I really started seeking mentors in my life that have either gone ahead of me or done things that I really loved and wanting to do, and they really provided a lot of guidance, a lot of support. I was able to start speaking in that time because one of my mentors really encouraged me to do that and gave me some tools and provided some guidance on how to do that. And it’s crazy just how I think being coachable and being willing to let things go was really, really big for me because then two years later, that same mentor who was like, "Hey, we’re gonna work on your voice. We’re gonna continue to refine your message, as you’re kind of just supporting your early marriage." We were like, "Hey, let’s open the shop back up and really put this tagline on it."
So again, it was like, you can let things go for a season, grow, be coachable. That was a huge thing for me. It’s really shaped who I am and the overall direction built my, even just like you said, my marketing skills, like learned what actually resonates. Did a lot of education, invested in education with whenever disposable income I had, which was not much, especially that first year. But I literally almost bankrupted us. I spent like $1,000, and we had $2,000 and my husband runs in the door, like we’re married two months. I’m not used to consulting him on decisions. And he’s like, ”Did you just spend half our net worth?” I was like, ”Yeah, but I promise it’ll be really worth it.” And it really was, it taught me so much about it, what I needed to know rather than just throwing things on social media, really learning how to do it strategically, how to build out marketing and things like that.
So I was able to then think bigger picture than what I had been doing in college because I was able to let it go, seek those mentors, invest in that education, be coachable, and then slowly kind of start adding those elements into what I had currently. And that’s what allowed it to grow. And what’s allowed me to grow as a woman, knowing how important it is to be a constant student and let things go and then maybe pick them back up when the time is right.
Jessica: I think it is so powerful. We have the saying at Noonday where we say, "Go slow to go fast." And for you to learn that in your early 20s, that is such a huge takeaway because you were willing to let go of something that by all outside standards was successful, and it was doing well. So, for you to be willing to let go and become a learner again and to be adaptable and teachable, you say it with such ease, and yet I feel that, yeah, a lot of us aren’t willing to do that. A lot of us, we white knuckle. We white knuckle whatever it is, and we don’t wanna reach out for help. And I think that’s such a part of your success. And I’m also, I’m struck by the fact that you are a Three on the Enneagram. I didn’t know that.
Body Image and Vulnerability
Jessica: And I’m friends with very, very, very many Threes. It’s shameless Three. But I have to say you what I hear from my Three friends, I just had coffee with one of my Three friends this morning is that vulnerability can be challenging and just white knuckling your way to success is kind of like the typical path for a Three. But what I hear from you is there’s been this willingness to allow vulnerability and allow others into your vulnerability. Can you think back to your first time in your life where you realize like, I’ve gotta be vulnerable in order to be whole?
Jordan: Yeah. I actually wrote about this in my book because … so when I was in college before all of the Etsy store and all of that, I am such a goals person. As an Enneagram three, it’s like you need to have some lofty goals and you better achieve them, right? And so that’s just how my brain works. And I remember the year after … my grandma and I were very close, and she passed away my freshman year of college. And so that following fall about a year, the following summer, I’m sorry, I decided I want to get in better shape because freshman 15 is a real thing. And I also decided, know I want to do that by preparing to run a half marathon in honor of my grandmother’s life because the half marathon that I had seen was to take place or the one that I found online nearby was to take place the same weekend that my grandmother passed away a year prior.
So, to me that was a really special way to experience like endurance and really experiencing life and honoring her life. And it was honestly I think a really sweet way for me to grieve because I had kind of bottled a lot of that up for a long time. Being a Three, you kind of like, at least for me, I’m very image-based and so I’m like, "I’m good, I’m strong. I got all the things going on, like we got this," and I kind of buried my own pain for that whole first year especially that’s a very transitional time in a young woman’s life, going away to college, learning, figuring out what she wants to do, all those things. And so that following year and the following summer I said I’m gonna train for this half marathon. And secretly at the back of my mind I was like, I also wanna lose a lot of weight. Even though I was not overweight, I did not need to lose weight. Like, I mean I could have gotten in better shape per se, but I didn’t need to be, like, dropping 30 pounds, you know what I mean? But I decided that’s what I needed.
And so that whole summer I kind of masked what became an obsession with, I’m chasing a goal, and I need to be lean, and I need to be in shape. And so, I’d be running all these miles. I mean, I would run like 8, 10, 12 miles a day and eat like I would like net 250 calories, maybe 400 calories. I would basically not replenished because I heard somewhere that if you’re not eating as many calories as you burn, you’ll lose weight which I didn’t actually understand the true way to do that healthy. I just found it on Google and I was like, perfect. Got It.
So, I basically put my body through a living hell honestly, because I was just abusing it. I was running on pavement. I wasn’t taking care of it. I wasn’t nourishing it. I was literally just starving it, almost. But all because I had this goal of a certain weight, running a certain distance, all of that, and I became very obsessed with that goal and almost really hurt myself. My mom was very, very concerned. There was a lot of issues with that. And what was interesting is I thought, “Well, I won’t need to be this extreme after this half marathon because I will have accomplished the goal,” right? Well, what I found was that actually that mentality, that mindset, that kind of obsessiveness, how much I was tracking every calorie I was eating and all of that, literally making my life about data and how many calories I can burn and pounds on the scale and all this stuff, that didn’t just like turn off after I ran a half marathon. It actually was something that was like ingrained in my brain. And it definitely got less extreme afterwards, but it’s like once you know how many calories is in an apple, you’re mentally doing that, even if you’re not physically tracking it.
“I had this goal of a certain weight, running a certain distance, all of that, and I became very obsessed with that goal and almost really hurt myself.” Jordan Dooley
And so, it became something that was very, I think I was almost enslaved for a while, and I didn’t want to talk about that because that made me feel like, “Well, I don’t have a problem. I don’t have a problem, I’m good,” you know? And especially being the Three, people would say, “Oh my gosh, you’ve gotten so thin,” and they’re concerned. And I’m like, “Thank you. What a nice compliment.” So, it really almost like drove it and made it worse when people have expressed their concern because then I was like, “Cool, it’s working.”
So, all that to say, long story short, I really kind of buried that. And as it got less and less extreme, over the course of time, after that half marathon, I wasn’t as extreme with it and it definitely improved. And I got to a healthier place after a while. But then my senior year rolled around, and it wasn’t so much of an issue by that point, but I had never actually talked about it. I was like, "Well, it’s no longer a problem or it’s not that bad of a problem and other people have it worse. So, I just don’t need it. Like it’s fine, I don’t need to talk about it. It’s over, part of my story, done with it." But I still felt like I still had that mindset, like I mentioned where I still would kind of think about that, and I’d still get into these weeks where I get too extreme, and it’s still just, it wasn’t actually something I was free of.
And I think I was actually quite ashamed of it because I didn’t wanna be seen as someone who ever had a problem, like, God forbid, right? So, then it was crazy because that year, that spring I had become really close friends with a gal named Mel, and she’s one of my closest friends and absolutely love her. And I wrote about this in the book. And she and I were talking one day and she began to open up about some, I mean, I had a very personal experience with God that year that really opened my mind to what I had really been doing and kind of broke me in a way. So, I was definitely more humbled and willing to talk about it. But then she and I, a few months after that experience, she and I were talking, and she started opening up about things she was struggling with very related and very similar to what I had experienced. And I basically, finally was like, I just broke down, and she and I had this amazing conversation where for the first time I really kind of felt like I had a safe place to share that, kind of admitted to that in so many ways, “I have actually struggled with something like that, too.” And kind of being in that space and having someone kind of go first allowed me the freedom, I think, to open up about it more. And now I’m completely unashamed to share that part of my story.
And after that, I was sharing it with sorority sisters. I was talking about it when we were packing peanuts or packing peanuts into boxes. We were shipping stuff. And it really became actually a place of freedom. But almost being invited into that vulnerability by someone else saying, "Yeah, like me too, I’m here with you," was huge. And I think that really changed the whole way I see the power of vulnerability and why it matters and why it works.
“It really became actually a place of freedom. … being invited into that vulnerability by someone else saying, ‘Yeah, like me too, I’m here with you,’ was huge. And I think that really changed the whole way I see the power of vulnerability and why it matters and why it works.” Jordan Dooley
Jessica: So, so important. What would you say to the person listening right now who sees that friend and is like, “Oh my gosh, I know she’s obsessing, she’s lost way too much weight,” because you kind of said like people did come to you with concerns, but then you, because of where you were at that point in your story, you received that as almost fuel for the fire. What do you say to those of us that see those friends that are going down that road that you went down?
Jordan: Honestly, I think it’s really difficult to convince somebody in that space that there’s something wrong or that they need help or whatever. So, one of the best things I can say is just really loved them and kind of be like watching out. And I think the other piece, too, like one thing my mom did for me is she actually went to a doctor and she was like, "Hey, what should I be looking for? When should I intervene? This is what’s going on." And he gave her some things to help monitor without kind of overbearing, if that makes sense. And she actually did that without me even really knowing. And that’s why I think part of it was she really loved me well through it, too.
And I think one of the biggest things I can say is instead of maybe accusing or bringing it up is, not that we’re actually accusing, but I think sometimes it can be received as an accusation when all we’re trying to do is love and express our concern. One of two things I think one is just really love. Really remind them of the healthy behaviors that they do. Remind them of the things that are true. But the other thing is if you’ve ever experienced anything like that opening up about it is sometimes a way for them to get like a mirror rather than saying, "Hey, like, I’ve noticed you’ve been doing this, or I noticed you’re struggling with this." Or, "Hey, you’re getting really thin." I think a lot of times or whatever the situation might be, a lot of times using our own story can be a way to own it and not put them on the defense, but also offer them a mirror and a safe place to open up it, and even ask for help. So those two things really helped me. And so that’s probably the best thing I can say is different for everyone. But that definitely would be huge.
Jessica: Well, your new book, which is out in the world, Own Your Everyday. That’s very kind of like what you’re saying is we all every day have these struggles and I think the more we own our everyday, our everyday struggles, our everyday successes, all of those things, it does, it creates that space for someone else to go first, too. So, I think that’s really powerful. Don’t fixate on this girl’s problem and on what you’re seeing, but if you can find something relatable in your own life because really it’s a way to exhibit control, right? I mean, when you’re feeling out of control, you’re like, “What do I do with grief? Well, I don’t wanna deal with grief, so I’m gonna go and focus on this other thing that I can control.” I mean, that’s definitely how eating disorders showed up in my life and it can show up, once I became a parent, it was like, OK, well I’m just going to try to control my parenting and perfect parenting in perfect kids out. It’s like, no, whatever we’re trying to just white knuckle, those are the places where we need to become aware of where all of the places and those places in our lives. So, I love that your advice is just—you focus on your own struggle, open up about that, and then let that create a safe place for her is really powerful.
Jordan Dooley: Creative Entrepreneur and Educator
OK. So, you are multi-passionate, but I’m curious as a multi-passionate person, is there a title that you sort of when you try it on it feels you’re like, yeah, that feels good. Because like I’m an author, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a speaker, I’m multi-passionate as well, but like I don’t wear author. Like when I put that on, I’m like, “Hey, I wrote a book,” but it’s not like that. But when I wear entrepreneur, I’m like, “Yes, I like to build. I’m building something that matters like that,” you know what I mean? Is there something that excites you when you try it on?
Jordan: Yes. And that is actually something I’ve really been thinking about, and it’s so hard when we have these labels because it makes you feel like you have to like live in a box, right? So that’s why I totally resonate with you. If I just say author, it’s like, "Oh, OK, so all you do is write books." I’m like, "No, like I build brands, and I educate others, and I coach women. Like, hold on, you know?" So, I think the best way I can, I think the title or the, I guess the words that really resonate with me that make me go “Yes!” and it fires me up is Creative Entrepreneur and Educator. I’ve really loved getting to coach other women and provide marketing strategies and tools to help them really make impact. I mean, yes, like grow their brands and income, but how do you actually do human-to-human connection in marketing in such a way that it’s not even really marketing and it’s not the traditional way we think about it, that stuff fires me up. It’s what’s allowed me to really do what I do.
“I’ve really loved getting to coach other women and provide marketing strategies and tools to help them really make impact.” Jordan Dooley
And not only, I think a book is honestly another way, another channel to reach people and bring them into your ecosystem. And so, a lot of times I think we can look at that as like the thing, I look at it as like the door to the thing. So even just that mindset, I think it makes it a little bit different than how I would traditionally think of authors. So yeah, I definitely think Creative Entrepreneur and Educator is really what fires me up and what I’ve really been stepping into a lot more and where I’m continuing to go.
Jessica: And how are you monetizing coaching women?
Jordan: So, I have done a little bit, it’s gonna be a lot more of a focus in the next year, so it’s still a newer thing. But over the last year, I did a lot of one-on-one and kind of some group coaching. And I’ve done a lot for, like, influencers, too, one-on-one because I’m just become friends with them. And that’s just a different animal, different kind of direction to learn how to build a business from. It’s a different setup than traditional entrepreneurship. And so, a lot of that has been one-on-one. I have obviously in the season had to kind of pull back just as you want your book. That’s almost impossible as you know. But I am now really excited because I’ve had so many different requests for coaching programs and doing that online and workshops and things like that.
So that’s kind of the next goal. But then my shop, we also created a mentorship program, which isn’t business-specific, it’s more like life and faith-focused. But that is just a 12-month mentorship kind of membership program and that helps us support and sustain the shop element of things when we’re not doing big new launches or anything like that. And it really also provides women and just some practical life mentorship like I had in that closet. And so, we’re just recreating that there is really sweet. I have a couple of other women, one of which has been a mentor and a coach for me. She’s in those training videos as well as another friend of mine. So that’s been kind of a unique way to sustain things in seasons and also provide women with some life mentorship. And then this coming year we’ll do some really neat kind of coaching programs that I am dreaming up and building out but don’t have a whole lot to share on yet.
Jessica: Well, I am so excited because I feel like I love educators and influencers that are educating other women, but you do have a very distinct way of doing it with such authenticity and with such vulnerability. And I feel like that’s a little bit of what’s missing. So, I’m just really excited to support you in any way as you begin to monetize and really grow your gifts into something that can also support your family. OK.
So, you mentioned launches. So, let’s talk about launches because I have to admit, sometimes I’m like, "What? Did she just have the Midas’ touch?" Like, you watch your podcast and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m just, I can’t believe it. It’s like 100,000 downloads in like two weeks or whatever”. And I’m like, “OK, what is happening?” And then also you have multiple Instagram accounts too, like do you kind of, and I know that was probably very strategic. So, let’s say, I don’t know, we could take the podcast, and that’s a good thing to launch. What would be your way to, how would you advise someone that is launching? What’s some of your secret sauce that goes into these launches?
Jordan: It is so funny that you say this, Jessica. This is like affirmation from the good Lord, I’m telling you because I was sitting at the shake shack in Milwaukee with a friend of mine yesterday who’s also podcaster and influencer and I was mapping out strategies for her, new launch plans and how to build out our product and launch it the right way. She looks me, she’s like, ”You have to teach launching." She’s like, "You are a launch consultant.” That is something I never thought about.
Jessica: That is so crazy. That’s how I feel. I’m like, "Girlfriend knows how to launch."
Jordan: Oh my gosh. OK, so I’ll give a little quick. I’ll give the Sparknotes version of the strategic way that we launched a podcast and other things, but I’ll focus on that for the sake of the example. So, one thing that we did, and this was unintentional, but now I’m advising people to do it. I was planning on launching a podcast in September of 2018 and life happened, Jessica. I was struggling with massive anxiety, burnout. I had no idea where, even though, I didn’t even know what category I wanted to put this in, which is a kind of a minor detail, right? I’m like two days before we’re about to launch essentially the world, I’m like, hold up, hold the phone. I don’t know what we need to do. We need to stop.
And so, I just had massive uncertainty and a lot of burnout in my life and I just didn’t feel like I could really get behind you as well. And I look at launching a podcast, I think it can be so many people wanna do it kind of passively. I’m like, no, this is like the next media. We need to be doing this well. And I didn’t feel like I could do it well. So, I pulled the launch and I had been, like, kind of talking about it for several weeks on social media and my email list and all this stuff. So, I had a lot of people who were excited just because I had been kind of ramping it up and then I pulled it, which I thought was gonna completely ruin it. I’m like, "Oh my gosh, everyone’s gonna hate me.”
Well, what actually happened is people are like, "Oh my gosh, I’m so thankful that you did this because it gave me permission to maybe like kind of dial back and look at what I really wanna do and how I wanna do it, and I respect you a lot for that." So that was encouraging. But beyond that, it actually created this new excitement because that whole month I pushed it back four weeks and that whole month I was able to say like, guys, I’m so glad because we were making it so much better. This was so true. But I was like, I’m so glad we decided to hold off because there’s more to come super exciting. It’s gonna be so much better than it would’ve been. It will be so worth the wait. So, I was able to tell those people that authentically. And so, there was more and more excitement.
And then about three weeks before we actually launched it, I have this kind of crazy harebrained idea and I was like, “You know what, I know that next year …” because I was planning to launch Own Your Everyday … I was starting to think about marketing and whatnot. And I said “I know next year I’m gonna be launching a book, and I’ve also launched several courses and online programs over the years and apparel and all this stuff. And I was like, what has been the most successful or what do other people find to be successful? And one of the biggest things people do when they launch a book is they have a launch team. And I’m like, “Well, if people are gonna do that for one form of media, which is a book, why wouldn’t we do that for a course or for a podcast?” Why wouldn’t we give some people early access, get some testimonials, beta test it, right? Get some people loving it and then sharing it with their friends, provide them with the digital assets, the early clips, the previews, the graphics, the video, whatever. Let’s try that, and let’s not make it super big because I didn’t want it to be a stressful thing, but I just thought, let’s test it. Let’s see what happens.
So, I asked my assistant if she would help run this little Facebook group, and we got about 400 to 500 women in there. It wasn’t massive, but it wasn’t five people. It was a decent beta test group. And I said, “You guys are Team SHE because the podcast is called SHE,” and I said, “Y’all are going to help me launch this into the world.” And what they got in return is not only the community, which has now evolved and shifted into my actual podcast community, but it also was a place that they could connect, and I would do live videos in there. They would get early sneak peeks of episodes. There was just a bunch of little perks for them. They’ve had opportunities to win things if they subscribed and left a review or shared, had a friend subscribing to share about that. So, they were celebrating each others’ wins and then they were watching the podcast climb the charts when it went live because man, it went live, and those girls mobilized. I mean, the whole week prior we gave them the mission to just share about, “Hey, it’s coming on this day. It’s coming on this day. Get excited, you’re gonna love this podcast, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.”
And then on launch day, we had five episodes to go live. So, there was the opportunity to binge listen. And then we had them share whichever episode was their favorite. And what I loved about that is that each one of those episodes covered something different. We had kind of our introduction, like the why behind the podcast episode, and then we had our four core topics, made a podcast that covered health and wellness, and made a podcast that covers faith. We had podcasts that cover business, my early start story and journey and then we also had one that covered relationships. And so, those are kind of the four core topics we hit on in the podcast I have. And so, what I loved about that is women to share if they were in business that “You have to listen to this podcast on impostor syndrome and her story and starting a business at college,” or “Oh my gosh, I love this episode about friendship,” you know. And so whatever resonated with different types of women, they share those out with their friends.
And so it wasn’t just a one-size-fits all option and man those girls in that launch team just, it was so fun because they felt like there was, I mean they did, it was our community and Team SHE went to town and they would wash this podcast popped support number six on the top charts and then they would share about it with their friends like “You guys this podcasts is at number six.” And people were like, “Oh my gosh, that’s cool.” And they’d go check it out. And then it got to number three and then it got to number two. And it was a team effort watching this. And that’s the same thing that happens with book launches. And so, I was like, but I just kind of added a different spin. And because it was a digital resource, we could give them things early, and there was unique ways for them to get involved.
Building Family Rather Than Followers
And that was so incredibly huge for us. Having those few options and then having a team to rally behind it, giving them the assets they needed, the tools they needed, the benefits of community and live interaction with me and things like that. And I always advise women who wanna launch anything, that’s just one way. I mean there’s also all these other backend funnels and things you can do. But I think the most powerful thing is word of mouth. You don’t need to be a celebrity. And, I mean I think this is why I wanna say this, and I’m so passionate about it because a lot of people could look at me and be like, “Well you had 200,000 Instagram followers. Of course it was easy for you to launch a podcast.” And I’m like, “No, hold right there because I have a lot of people I know that have that too, and they didn’t have nearly that beginning.” Why? Because there was no true strategy, and there was no community buying it, and it was just like, “Hey guys, my podcast launches next week, swipe up.” You know? And it’s like nobody cares if there’s no buzz about it if there’s no true community around it.
And so, you can have the biggest following in the world and not have a family. And so, my biggest thing has been how do you create buy in and build a family and then give them the tools they need to get involved so that your success is their success. And they have a piece of it too, because that’s truly as you tap into other tribes, what makes your thing our thing and then what makes it so successful and carries it so fast.
“You can have the biggest following in the world and not have a family. And so, my biggest thing has been how do you create buy in and build a family and then give them the tools they need to get involved so that your success is their success.” Jordan Dooley
Jessica: I love this quote by Margaret Mead. It says, ”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." And I think we can focus on that number. You’ve been said, 500 people wasn’t anything mind blowing. But I mean 500 people can make a podcast go to the top of the charts, and just really focusing on building community and then harnessing community because it really just goes back to the college dorm room. I mean it’s the concept of being a sisterhood, putting your needs out there, inviting other people along to be a part of what you’re building. You know, people want to be asked. I did fundraising for a hot second in my early 20s for United Way. And one thing that we would go tell crowds is I would go, I would just do fundraising. So, it was during the dot-com, you were probably in elementary school.
“Building community and then harnessing community … really just goes back to the college dorm room. I mean it’s the concept of being a sisterhood, putting your needs out there, inviting other people along to be a part of what you’re building.” Jessica Honegger
Jordan: Probably in high school.
Jessica: Maybe high school OK. OK. So, I’d go to these huge tech companies based here in Austin and do these big pitches. And one thing they would tell us the United Way is that 95% of people don’t give just because they aren’t asked. And there’s just so much power in being invited into someone else’s store and saying, I’m not gonna be alone so come with me. And that really is what a launch is in finding other people and to launch it with you that you, I hate the term self-made. I think it’s so such a myth.
Jordan: Me too. So true. I honestly, just feel like even this is so powerful, and I forgot to mention this, I also picked a few people that I had built a relationship within anyway. And usually I tried to pick people who I have been able to serve and bless and cheer on first. I didn’t just call somebody that had a big following on Instagram and be like, “Hey, do you think you could share this? I know we don’t know each other.” No, I called you, I called my friend Audrey, and I called two or three other people, and I was like, “Hey y’all, do you mind sharing about this?” Because we have a connection, a relationship. And so, I was literally two days ago just speaking at a conference with hundreds of female entrepreneurs, we’re talking about this podcasting, and they were asking me, “How the heck did you do that?” Just like we were talking about.
And the other thing I told them was, “Look, you might have, let’s say you have 6,000 social media followers, for example, reach out to two or three other friends, A, be building relationships where you’re cheering for others first. Not because you hope they’ll do something for you, but that when you eventually you do need their support, it’s not like random or like you’re trying to mooch off them. Like that’s your relationship. It’s a give and a take, right?” And so, I told them, I said, “Find another couple of friends. You have 4,000, 6,000, 8,000, 3,000 followers or social or subscribers or whatever. And you find people in those circles with you.” Rather than just feeling like, “OK, I just gotta contact me, strangers, and hope they’ll share my stuff,” which they probably won’t, actually finding those friends and saying, "Hey sister, can you help me with this?"
And most people really want to. I loved getting to help promote your book because I believe in it, and I love what you’ve done. I’ve been inspired by your story. I love the way you’ve been focused on sisterhood and impacting women through the avenue of entrepreneurship. I think those two things together are wicked smart and incredibly impactful. And so, getting to come alongside that, I was like, "Someone I actually want to help support this new project would be someone like Jessica because I highly respect her. I am connected with her, I believe in her book," you know? And so, I even reached out to a couple of friends that are kind of in my niche, should have overlapping audiences. And that was also another big part. It hundreds of them, but I sent it to a couple people and said, "Hey, if you have a second, do you mind showing this on your story?" And that helps too. So, I think that’s another big piece is reaching out to reference to ask for help and being willing to help them, too.
Jessica: Totally. And when you did reach out, I was like 100,000% yes. Because you had shown up for me and it was, and you showed up for me and not in this way that was I’m gonna scratch your back. That’s not your heart, you know? And I think we can all see through that when that happens. And so, it really is like a matter of how are you authentically sistering other people and just reaching out, showing up for people in different ways, and then you’re building that relationship, and it does, just what it takes is putting yourself out there.
Jordan: Well, that’s the thing, too. I mean, I had no idea it was gonna be launching a podcast. When your book was launching wasn’t even a plan. You know what I mean? I was like, I didn’t have that in my brain. It was just like, “Oh my gosh.” I think actually, I think you reached out to me first, like “Your podcast is crushing,” or you said something, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, thank you. Would you be willing to share about it?” It wasn’t even a preconceived thing. And I think that’s one thing we have to remember as people. It’s like we have to be willing to give to give, and I think that’s a lost art, especially in this social media collaboration world. Like, yes, ask your friends for help and support on your things please. But they need to be people that you actually are willing to come alongside even if they never give something back to you.
And I think we forget that. But that’s the power of human connection. And actually, to be honest, there are many friends that have done things for me that I’ve never been able to repay and vice-versa. But we have some of the best relationships. And I think that’s the thing. It’s not like a, "Hey, can you do this for me, and I’ll do this for you, or blah, blah, blah." It’s like, "Hey, I just actually really think you’re awesome and let me support you because I know it’s hard or I’ve been there," and those are some of my best friendships that I’ve made online. And we don’t necessarily share each others’ stuff to do it or have to do favors for each other.
“We have to be willing to give to give. … Ask your friends for help and support on your things please. But they need to be people that you actually are willing to come alongside even if they never give something back to you. And I think we forget that. But that’s the power of human connection.” Jordan Dooley
And so, I think we have to remember that as business owners, as women, as friends, I think my mom always told me, she goes, don’t be a mooch. And that doesn’t mean don’t receive help from people, but like the word mooch basically means it’s someone who get it or takes and takes or hopes to basically take from others without ever really being willing to support even if they don’t get anything in return. And so, my mom always told me, she’s like, "You’re one of the best powers you’ll have when it comes to building relationships, which is ultimately what matters in the end is thinking about what you’re willing to bring to the table." And so, I always think about that, what do I have to bring to the table for someone else? Whether that’s helping promote their book or whether that’s giving them encouraging advice on a podcast episode or whatever it is and whatever situation it’s in. Really thinking about not “What can I get from the table?” but “What can I bring to the table?” not only sets you up for success in a way that you actually develop real connection, but it also, I think makes our life more fulfilling and more meaningful. And I think that’s what it’s all about in the end.
Jessica: Absolutely. And that’s yet another reason to own your every day, own your story, to own what you have to give. And I think when we’re so focused on what other people have to give, it causes us to not own what we have to give. And then we’re not showing up and we’re not experiencing connection. We’re not sistering. And then we keep saying, gosh, I’m just alone in the world or I don’t have sisters. Or how did you do that? And it’s like, “Girl, you gotta stand up and own what you’ve been given and quit focusing on what she’s been given, girl, because you’ve been given so freaking much,” you know?
Jordan: Yup, 100%.
Going Scared by Praying to Be Surprised
Jessica: Which is why I’m so excited about your book and the message of your book. And so, as we wrap up, we always ask our podcast guests, how are you going scared right now?
Jordan: I’m going scared into—OK, this has been my prayer. I’m gonna share this with you. My prayer has been, “God, surprise me.” Whether or not someone’s a believer or not listening, that has been a prayer of my heart because as a Three and as someone who’s ambitious and as someone who has big goals, it can be so easy, like we said, to white knuckle and be like, “I gotta control this launch, right?” I love launching, I love being like a launching guru. It’s so fun finding the new little strategy, learning and trying new things. But what I’ve found in the launch of this book and my heart and my hope is—the phrase "impact over outcomes" has been on my brain because I think when you launch a book or a podcast or a course or anything, it’s the world’s, it’s like, “Here’s my heart. Please don’t squash it.” You know? So that’s terrifying in and of itself.
And so, I’ve been going scared A, just being willing to relinquish it, and release it into the world. But also, obviously we have big goals. We would love to see things that it would do well, I think as every author does. And for me, I’ve been trying to remember, “impact over outcomes,” because we can focus so much on numbers and certain outcomes and goals we have for it. But I really hope that this becomes a book that women wanna pass on to other women, whether it’s as a gift, or they purchase it, or they get at their library, or whatever. And so that’s requiring me to let go of control and just go scared, and remember I can’t control the outcome, I can’t control what people’s opinions are, but I can pray that I be surprise and that … you can’t be surprised if you’re trying to control things and know everything. And so, I think it can be scary to be willing to let yourself be surprised by whatever outcome it could be. But I think remembering impacts ever outcomes has allowed me to slowly let go of control and just say, "OK, God, surprise me."
Jessica: I love that. I love how you’re framing surprise because I was getting ready for you to say like, "I just wanna be surprised and how amazing it’s gonna go." I just wanna be surprised that it does far better than even my greatest dream. But you’re just saying, "No, I wanna be surprised. I wanna be surprised." It just my own attitude, and just I’m gonna surrender this thing, and I want people to just put … I love that. I just downloaded, I’ve made this my new alarm, this is my anthem from this season I’m in right now, and it’s this old, old hymn. What is it called? It says, “Take my will” … it’s “Take my will and make it Thine. It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is Thine.” I’m not a singer. But just that whole deal, that whole idea of surrender, I think for those of us that are unabashedly ambitious and unabashedly in love with God and with people and with purpose and was using our lives to help create more opportunity for others, this whole surrendering journey it is like not my natural bent.
Jordan: Same, same. That’s what I mean, it’s work. That’s the thing. It’s scary. It’s not natural for me. I’m over here like, well we can strategize this launch and we could do this, and we can do that, and we need, and it’s like that’s the thing. You can be strategic and simultaneously surrender, and I don’t think we talk about that enough. I think you can be scared, strategic, and surrendered all at the same time because it’s not like, "Hey, God, surprise me, do this amazing thing, and I’m going to sit here and I’m gonna expect you to hand it to me on a silver platter." It’s like I have done what I can do. I have poured my heart into the book. I have strategized as much as I can when it comes to launching, but there has to come a point where I let it go and I’m like, "All right, now I have to surrender because I’ve done up to my capacity of control and now I have to release control." And that’s not easy. But I think knowing that and knowing, I feel like I’ve done everything I could do from literally even rewriting and re titling and recovering the book like that is no big or small thing, all that together. I’m like, all right, it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, and I have to believe in that.
“You can be strategic and simultaneously surrender, and I don’t think we talk about that enough. I think you can be scared, strategic, and surrendered all at the same time … It’s like I have done what I can do. I have poured my heart into the book. I have strategized as much as I can when it comes to launching, but there has to come a point where I let it go.” Jordan Dooley
Jessica: I’m gonna pray this with you because that is if you can hold onto this like every day and commit that attitude of surrender, you’re gonna have so much joy in this journey. And I started white knuckling, I had that attitude and then I white knuckled a bit and I found myself a few weeks in just feeling like that the oldest son in the prodigal son story. It’s like you’ve got the son who went off and squandered, and then he came back and the dad throws him this like huge party. And then the dad’s at the party, and he’s looking around and he’s like, "Man, where’s my other kid? Where did he go?" And like the dad notices someone’s missing from this party, and he goes out, and he finds his kid just hiding in the corner, and the dad’s like, "Why aren’t you partying with us?" And the kids like, ”Yeah, because I was with you this whole time, and you didn’t do anything for me." And the dad looks at him and says, ”Oh gosh, everything I’ve given you like is yours, and I’m with you. We are with each other.”
But I just find sometimes when we put so much effort into something, and then we start white knuckling, and we start attaching our identity to the outcome, and we start thinking, this is how it has to go. I’ve worked this hard, this is the way it’s supposed to go. Then if you don’t get that outcome that you exactly had, you find yourself in this entitled place, moping in the corner and God’s just like, “Dude, I’ve given you everything. You’ve got it all. Let’s party. Let’s celebrate,” you know? So, I just love that you’re aware of that and that that is your attitude because if you just make that your anthem, man, you’re gonna have so much fun and I’m excited for you.
Jordan: Well thank you. I will say one last thing because I know we’re wrapping up, but one tangible way that I’ve committed to doing that, and I’m going to say this on air so that I have to be held accountable to it. OK. So, my goal and a personal commitment that I made is that I’m not gonna watch charts. I’m not gonna ask for sales numbers. I’m not gonna do any of that the entire first week of this launch because I remember only watched the podcast or even when maybe announced period of bonuses for watching. Oh my gosh, where’s it at on Amazon, dah, dah, dah, dah. And I actually think that sucks the joy out of it because it’s cool you get to number three, but then, oh shoot, it changes every hour. Right now, you get down to number four, and it’s disheartening even though it’s like, “Holy cow, you’re up number four. That’s amazing.” You know?
So, I was like, man, I want you, if you need to be kept in touch or just kind of keeping tabs on things, go for it. But I don’t wanna know until you know, after this has happened, and I don’t really wanna keep a close eye on it. And that’s kind of counterintuitive because it’s like, when else would you be watching that stuff? But all it is is a ranking system. And I don’t think a ranking system is the fair estimate of how successful or impactful something is. So that’s really hard for me as a Three because I am so like, "Show me the numbers, show me the ranking. Are we in firsts?" I wanna win, right. I know that about myself and I know it’ll suck the joy out of me. It will keep me glued to my phone, and I’ll miss out on the actual experience of going on book tour and hugging women and handing them the book and signing and hearing their stories and celebrating the good products that it is because I’m focused on where it might end up in a ranking. And so that’s a personal commitment I made prior to even launching the book, and I think that’ll hopefully make the experience much more freeing and enjoyable for me.
Jessica: Girl, you are way ahead of your years. I’m like, how old are you? You’ve got to be like 60, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Jessica: Sixty-eight, isn’t that when wisdom sets in? Well, it got to you however old you are, 20 something whatever.
Jordan: It’s awesome. I’m so encouraged, to hear that.
Jessica: I love it. So, we’re all gonna go buy your book Own Your Everyday, which is available everywhere and we’ll follow you on Instagram. How else can we keep up with you?
Jordan: The podcast is SHE Podcast by Jordan Lee Dooley on all the podcasts platforms you could possibly imagine. And my website is jordanleedooley.com and that links out to my shop and other resources that in coaching and all that stuff we’ll have available this year as well.
Jessica: Awesome. Well this was such a great conversation so thanks for coming on.
Jordan: Hey, thanks for having me, Jessica.
Jessica: There were so many nuggets in today’s interview. Jordan talked about mentorship and why we need other people to speak into our lives. She talked about launching and asking other people to come alongside you. And we talked about what does it mean to network, not in this like icky way where people walk away feeling used, but what does it really mean to build relationships with other women and come alongside and support them. I would love for you to share this episode. I think it was just a really important one and one that other women are going to get so much from. Give it a screenshot, put it on your Instagram story. Pop on over to iTunes, tell us what you thought about this episode.
Leave a review for the podcast. I love Jordan, and I cannot wait for you to cheer her on and to get her latest book, which we talked about, it’s called Own Your Everyday. It just launched a couple of weeks ago, and I would love for you to go hop on over to Amazon and give it a buy. Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Our music for today’s podcast is by my friend Ellie Holcomb. The podcast was produced by Eddie Kaufholz, and I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.