Jessica Defeo is a life and mindset coach that is incredibly passionate about coaching and leading women to live their absolute best lives. Jessica helps ambitious women finally discover and live their purpose and passion as instead of just existing and following the rules that are set out for us. Along with being an online coach, Jessica’s a single mom and founder of 2 grassroots social justice groups in Houston, Texas.
Hey Jessica, can you introduce yourself to us?
My name is Jess and I am the founder of Leading Her Way, a community for ambitious women who want to turn wishing into action by discovering their purpose, talent, and passion and create a profitable business they love.
I am a life and mindset coach, activist, and multi-passionate entrepreneur that is fiercely committed to helping women discover what they are meant to do in this life and turn it into a lifestyle they love and thrive from.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
The journey that has led me to this point is far from over! And in fact, I feel like it’s really just getting started. My professional career over the last 18 years has been in leadership and management and I have had the amazing opportunity to coach hundreds of people in their professional development. Coupled with my personal life experiences of being a single mom, founding 2 grassroots social justice groups in 2016, and witnessing too many women stifling their own passion and talents because they think they’re not good enough, or their life isn’t good enough, I knew I had to be a part of that change to support women in leading their best lives. Hence Leading Her Way was born.
What is a day in the life of you like?
It’s constant change! I am still working full time to support my son and I, along with building and growing Leading Her Way, as well as being a leader for 2 social justice groups in the 4th biggest city in the country. So my day is organised, planned and always leaving room for unexpected moments so I can make sure all the balls stay in the air. My first priority is my son, so I make sure that time with him is intentional even though it may be shorter than I’d like it to be when he’s with me. I really thrive off of having so much t do, and getting myself involved.
I feel it helps to lead by example for other women who think they don’t have the time or they don’t know how they would fit in their new passion. But it’s filled with work, coaching calls, following up and organising actions within the city depending on what’s happening in the country or Houston, and then fitting in time for self-care.
What was the concept behind launching Leading Her Way?
I have seen so many women through the years through personal and professional experience give up or never even get started on what they really love doing.
They talk themselves out of it for one reason or another, and they convince themselves that they can’t do it, shouldn’t do it, have too much to do already, or their idea/talent/passion isn’t good enough. I’m so tired of women convincing themselves they aren’t incredible. Through my activism work and working with literally thousands of women in social justice, I’ve had the new experience now of seeing women step up with their work, their voice and getting out of their comfort zone to make a lasting and positive change. Putting these two experience together was life changing for me. I saw how when we are able to have the tools and support needed to put ourselves and our passions first, we really can change not only our personal world but the world.
How is Leading Her Way funded, is it bootstrapped, self-funded ect?
It is all self-funded! This started from my kitchen on New Years Day 2017 when I decided that I was done just talking about what I wanted to do, and I knew it was time to get started.
Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos at Leading Her Way?
The brand DNA for Leading Her Way is rooted in women’s liberation. I say that because each of us desires freedom in a deep and personal way. And it’s so important to honor each other’s journey in getting to that freedom, however, we choose to define it. I feel that when we are thriving in our passion and god given talent, there is a power there that no one can take from us. When we stand in our power and channel that energy, there is no stopping you. But so many women don’t ever get to that place. They stop themselves from even taking the first step (which is always the scariest). So Leading Her Way is about defining how you want to lead your life, your career, your freedom, your way.
How are you helping ambitious women who want to turn wishing into action by discovering their purpose, talent, and passion and create a profitable business and lifestyle they love?
I support women in several ways. Social media is always such a great way to give out content that inspires and moves people to make decisions in a moment’s notice. So I use my Instagram page to intentionally deliver messages that not only have helped me with my own struggles and challenges, but I know will connect with others.
I offer two free mini-courses that help you get started on discovering what it is you even want to do, and then how to apply it immediately, even when you’re super busy and not sure how to begin.
I then have a 12 week paid personal coaching and support program that gives my clients the opportunity to work with me one on one for 3 months. We dig deep into what’s holding you back from starting your new passion, discover what that even is if you’re unsure, and then we put into action the exact steps you need to take to get started. So whether it’s turning it in a business, a non-profit, blog, etc. we get you from where you are now to where you want to be in 90 days.
Can you give us 3 useful tips for launching a career as a mindset coach?
- First is define your message and make it specific. Don’t try to message everybody because then it will fall on no one. As a mindset coach for women, I tailor my message and programs to women who are seeking to discover their talent and passion and then turn it into a business or concept that will allow them to live and love their life on their terms. I help them not only define what that is, but I give them specific tools and practices to shift their mindset so that they can make it wildly successful.
- Be yourself. I know this sounds cheesy and super cliche but it’s so true. Learning to bring your authentic self to a very public space can be incredibly intimidating, but it is so necessary for bringing through the authenticity of your message.
- Know you’re not perfect, you never will be, and people need to see it. I think there’s a misconception for a mindset coach that we have to have all the answers all the time and that our lives are perfect because we’re a mindset coach. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, instead of pretending on social media or through our blog/videos that everything is ok when it’s not, let’s share that experience with our followers and community. There’s nothing more powerful than vulnerability.
Who does the team involve behind you Leading Her Way?
The team right now is just me, which is why I have to stay very organised to keep everything going and consistent.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I see myself speaking in front of hundreds if not thousands of women doing live events and workshops. I’d like to take my programs offline at some point and do them in person. I have a mad crazy passion for public speaking and being in front of people, and I want to translate that into my programs live.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of Leading Her Way?
From my perspective now, it’s all about networking and building my message consistently. That could be through social media, people I meet here in Houston and beyond, etc. I think what is key to building any business is that while you have to have a plan in place to grow, you also have to stay very open and flexible to what that plan could shift and evolve into over time.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
You know when life gets messy, it’s very easy to shift your business to the back burner because there’s no boss telling you to keep your deadlines and stay on target. Working for yourself is hard. It takes copious amounts of self-discipline. That has been my biggest struggle so far professionally is the consistency and discipline with being your own boss.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
I’ve had several mentors over the years in a variety of ways and professions. I’ve had mentors in my professional career, mentors as some of my best friends, and I’ve invested in coaches for myself as well. I can’t say enough about having that level of support and more important accountability when growing and learning in this life.
What outlets do use to market Leading Her Way?
I use Instagram and Facebook primarily. I’m also looking into other outlets to share my writing and connect with other women that way as well.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I‘m connecting with other women entrepreneurs primarily through Instagram, it’s such an amazing platform for so many reasons. I’ve had so many other women reach out through seeing my posts.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about the coaching industry and how are you using your platform and voice to educate people more?
I think the biggest misconception is that you have to be old enough to have experienced enough to be a coach, also that you have to go through a certification process to be “legit” Also that you have to know all things about life in order to be coaching others on it and then lastly that you have to have your shit together.
None of this is true and yet I still had to talk myself through all of these to get myself to a place where I didn’t believe them and I could still be successful. I want to call truth to these misconceptions through social media, my coaching programs, and videos I share with my followers and clients. Let’s breathe life and truth into these false statements and beliefs and allow others to start their dreams.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
The best piece of advice I’ve received is don’t wait to begin until you think you’re the expert in something. I think we wait too long because we think we have to have all the answers in order to provide support and knowledge for others in that field. While experience is certainly necessary so you can provide the appropriate support and help others succeed, don’t wait until you feel you’re ready or the expert. Because I doubt that day will ever come.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Time management is everything. There is time to do all the work, make time for you and your family, build your life and business that you love, you just have to make time to plan it. Plan the work and work the plan! It sounds so simple, but that is what keeps you on track and accountable to your business.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I make the time for personal time. I’m an extroverted introvert, which means I thrive on being with other people and their energy, but I have to recharge and reflect by myself in order to do that. I’ve learned that lesson through the years that if you don’t make yourself and your mental and physical health a priority, no one else will. And if you’re not feeding yourself, you have nothing to give. You put the guilt aside and take care of yourself and those that you love.
The highlight of your career so far?
I think witnessing the success and breakthroughs of the women in my life that I have helped to coach or support through my business and through my activism work. When I get personal messages and emails from women regarding how they’ve changed or done something that they are incredibly proud of because of my messaging or personal support, that is a gift.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
I live for other women stepping fully into their light and their power and feeling that energy of being completely connected to a power that is outside of themselves. It’s in that space where they feel they are contributing to a greater world not only for themselves but for the people around them. That’s what I believe we are capable of in this life. If I can help others get there, then there is never a greater feeling…other than my son’s hugs of course.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of Leading Her Way?
Challenges are what you make them. I could name several that most would define as a challenge, but honestly, I had to very quickly understand that if I didn’t get my mindset in a place where the “challenges” were just disguised as quick growth for me and my business, I could easily give up. Everything from tech issues, to not gaining clients as fast, marketing not working as well, etc. could all be major setbacks and frustrations. But you learn to learn, adapt quickly and move forward knowing more.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Women like Glennon Doyle, Marie Forleo, Layla Saad, and Luvvie Ajayi are some of the women who just do their thing. No apologies, real AF, and stand in their power and in doing so give full permission to everyone around them to do the same.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- ‘Rants And Randomness’ by Luvvie.
- ‘Pod Save America.’
- ‘The Goal Digger Podcast.’
How do you measure your own terms of success?
My definition and measure of success changes as I grow and learn more about my business, what I enjoy and don’t, how I want to change my business or add things in. I think success for me is more of a feeling. Not my bank account filled with a certain number, or a certain amount of clients per month. Success to me is inspiring other women to live the life they dream about, wish for and know they deserve. If I’m doing that through a blog post, Instagram post, or personal coaching, then I consider myself successful.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
#BEYOUROWN to me is all about you being true to you: your truth, your power, your success, your joy. I believe that women will change the world for the better. I think #BEYOUROWN has a massive part to play in inspiring and encouraging women to do just that.
Lastly, what is next for you?
My next goals are to keep getting out of my comfort zone to help others do the same. I can’t wait to reach more women, make my goals and help so many women reach theirs. We are in a place in history where we can achieve literally anything we want with the right support and incredible people around us. I can’t wait to continue to be that person for someone else.
Website link: https://www.jessicadefeo.com