Finding the courage to embrace change and take chances is the only way to succeed. We’ve asked some of our favorite industry power players and business innovators to share stories of how #MakingChange worked for them, as it relates to the ’10 Rules to Future-Proof yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty’.
Rule #4: Transform Failure into Success – with Jaclyn Johnson, Founder of No Subject / Create + Cultivate
Question: Give us a look into your professional background- how did you get to where you are today?
Jaclyn Johnson: I studied magazine production at NYU and interned at Condé Nast throughout college. I took my first job at Time Inc Interactive, at a think tank tasked with strategizing the relationship between print publications and online (this was a while ago).
From there, I took a job at an agency called ATTENTION, which at the time, was pioneering some of the first social media marketing and word-of-mouth campaigns. There, I worked with brands like Bluefly, M.A.C. cosmetics, and Hugo Boss, creating buzz-worthy online campaigns focused on social media platforms and influencer engagement. I later joined iCrossing to develop and head up their social media service lines for clients like CVS, Mazda, and Avery Dennison. Following that, I went in-house at Interactive Corporation, where I consulted on their online properties, Pronto and Citysearch. It later brought me to Los Angeles, and I started my own agency, No Subject a little over 5 years ago!
Q: What does being courageous in life and business mean to you? What are some of the biggest fears you’ve faced, and how have you overcome them?
JJ: Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of courage— mostly against the risk of failure. The biggest fears I face are not only about succeeding, but being happy with that success. My concern lies in eventually maybe not loving what I do, and I work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Q: Describe “transforming failure into success” in your own words. What are ways in which you have exemplified this rule in your life or career?
JJ: I’ve definitely faced some difficult moments in my career. When I moved out to LA to work at Citysearch it was a large risk—I was leaving behind my life in New York City and taking on a new position at a new company. I was laid off after only 3 months of working there when they changed their business model from B2C to B2B- I was devastated and in a new city with no contacts or any know how of companies I wanted to work for—by being in this position I was able to take on clients and eventually start my company.
Q: What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in life or business?
JJ: Going out on my own was a huge risk— I was 24 and had only 4 years of work experience under my belt. There were times when I wasn’t sure how to navigate certain situations, deal with growth, handle finances— and what I got was a crash course education. I was able to learn about facets of business that I wouldn’t otherwise, and it’s made me a better business person.
Q: What’s the surest way to innovate and stay ahead of the curve as a working professional, or business owner?
JJ: Surround yourself with good people. I learn everyday from my employees, colleagues, and friends. There is always a fear of becoming irrelevant, but I don’t think my curiosity of what’s happening within the cultural consciousness will ever fade.
How have you transformed failure into success? Use the hashtag#MakingChange to share your stories with us and find them on makechangeworkforyou.com/blog.