Follow my blog with BloglovinWhenever I’m in need of a total life overhaul or a serious dose of inspiration, I turn to the darling Jess Lively. Sweet Jess has made it her mission to spread positivity and light, all while helping men and women from all walks of life live with intention and fulfill their dreams. Captured by Yazy Jo, Jess recently invited us into her Chicago abode to take a peek at some behind the scenes action.

SMP: Tell us a little about Jess Lively!
I’m a Chicago-based writer and teacher helping people approach life from an intention-based perspective. In addition to working with clients through my course, Life with Intention Online, I write on my blog and have a weekly podcast called The Lively Show.

 Offline, I’m also the creative director for a local boutique hotel, The Guesthouse Hotel. I’ve guided their rebranding and I’m now designing and decorating their soon-to-be completed lobby! It’s a dream project for a design buff like myself. Beyond work, I am also a wife to Mr. Lively and a “pup mom” to Benjamin Franklin.

SMP: One thing you wish you had known when you first started your blog?
That’s a great question. I wish I had known that offering an option to follow the blog by email would be really important (even more important than any particular social media platform, in my case).

SMP: The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You can do everything perfectly, but you cannot do everything all at once. 

SMP: One thing you hope people take away from your blog each day?
An action or habit that can help them live according to their values and find more peace in their lives.

SMP: The most amazing thing that has come out of blogging?
My career!

When I started my blog in 2009 I was an accessory designer selling my products to stores via sales reps. It was nice, but it made me heavily reliant on the reps to performance in order to grow my business. Once I started blogging and marketing my company by advertising on other blogs, I regained control over the sales channel and had a personal relationship with my customers all over the world. 

Blogging also allowed me to begin consulting for business owners to the point where my income from that equalled my accessory company. This allowed me to eventually close the accessory company (which was always a stepping stone in the first place) and begin helping people design lives and businesses with intention. — A dream that I didn’t think was possible without traditional media channels like book writing and television shows.  

SMP: What’s your secret to success?
Connection to my intuition (and the willingness to act on it) and my ability to just keep going.

SMP: One thing you’d tell a blogger who’s just starting out?
Talk to your gut. Find out what you are supposed to do from within rather than trying to over think your way into something that might not be the right path for you in the first place.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and life?
Determine your priorities, live by them, and hire (or ask) for help when you need it.

SMP: What’s the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learnt?
As a young female business owner, it is difficult to be assertive and understanding, particularly in big business situations or in the manufacturing industry. You don’t want to be taken advantage of, but you also want to be seen as easy to work with. It’s a tricky balance to do both well when you are working with people who are older than you, or have more power.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?
A home. With a white marble kitchen and master bathroom. (Hey, you said at any cost, right?)

SMP: Why do you think Jess Lively has done so well?
I think it has done so well because I’ve been able to consume information and apply it in my life and business in pretty equal measure. Often, we can get on one end of the spectrum and feel stuck. Either we only care about executing, but never learn better ways to do things, or we learn so much but execute little of what we learn. Finding the balance where I can consume content and act on it has been key. 

Also, I think my ability to check in with my gut and act on my intuition has allowed me to make difficult choices and take risks that may seem scary to some people. For example, closing Jess LC while it was at it’s peak in order to consult full-time instead was something many people didn’t understand. Just like when I graduated and went full-time with Jess LC was also seen as a scary move just five years before. 

I’ve learned that I can do hard things if I know why I’m doing them and I have faith that I’m moving in the direction I am meant to go. Self reflection and spirituality has helped me do this consistently.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question: what’s one drink you’d take with you!
Okay, so I probably should say clean drinking water… but I’d rather have a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc instead!

I’ve created a SMP Intention Quick Start Guide filled with my favorite links, books, ideas, and videos to help you add a little more intention to to your home and life! You can get the free guide here. 

Photography: Yazy Jo | Blogger: Jessica Lively

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