Hey ladies, it’s Anna from Fash Boulevard again with another edition of our Ladies Who Laptop interview series. This month’s spotlight is a self-proclaimed ball of energy, who balances such a variety of hats when it comes to her successful career. Since her days as the fifth “Bachelorette” on the hit ABC show, Jillian Harris has done just about everything, except take a break. From overseeing her successful lifestyle blog to growing her interior design footprint to hosting HGTV’s Love It or List It Too, the stylish and energetic Canadian powerhouse has battled online bullies, dominated social media, and built a brand from the ground up. Let’s dive into Jillian’s world and learn more…
What inspired you to start your website?
Well, I started my website years ago. I would love to find a screen shot of what it looked like back then versus what it looks like now. It has evolved so many times to what it is today. I originally started it to drive my interior design business, but soon after the Bachelor and Bachelorette, I realized I wanted to create a space for my readers to catch up on what was important to me, what inspires me and things that I love!
What has been the most rewarding experience since launching your site?
The fact that somehow I have created a space that people crave to come and learn, see, shop, covet and just hang makes my heart go pitter-patter! But, lets be honest… I am a busy girl. I film full time for Love it or List it Vancouver, I commute about 8 hours a week, all while balancing speaking engagements, personal life and design projects. Having a branded website and fitting it in has not always been easy. There were tons of times that I was advised to ‘stop blogging’ because it wasn’t ‘worth it’. I knew there had to be a way to create this beautiful space I always dreamed of, keep it authentic and organic to my brand and be able to make money (and not feel guilty for it). For some messed up reason, bloggers have gotten some ‘flack’ for monetizing their sites and brands, but the bottom line is that it’s A LOT OF WORK. Whether it’s fun or not, blogging is time consuming and I always make sure to put my heart and soul into it.
On Jillianharris.com you share about fashion, food, décor, life and beauty. What is your favorite thing to blog about?
I have a ton of energy. Anyone who ever meets me always wants to know how many cups of coffee I’ve had that day. Sometimes it’s only one. But the thing is, I love to share the stuff that excites me. I love to communicate and I loooove to talk. I’m just passionate about a lot of things. Although many people know me as ‘just a designer’, I see myself as a little ball of energy that, like many women, is passionate about the perfect dress, the easiest margarita recipe, the most gorgeous kitchens, lip plumpers and relationship advice. It’s always been my dream to turn those passions into a brand. That being said, my favorite thing to blog about is probably the Bachelor and Bachelorette! It’s just easy and fun and funny! Next up would be fashion. I feel that fashion is like creating art instantly. Unlike design and décor, which take thousands of dollars (usually) and are typically longer projects, putting together an outfit can happen in seconds and I love creating those looks and inspiring my readers to have confidence to do the same.
Lets talk digital persona: What advice do you have for ladies about keeping things “real.”
HAVE FUN. BE GOOFY. Don’t let the world smack you down and turn you into a robot. I feel that the world has gotten SOOOOOO sensitive and offended over so much, that when you really put yourself out there sometimes you get people freaking out on you. For me, I created a filter so that my ‘fans’ only saw the ‘perfect’ Jill, but I honestly think they would like the whole Jill better. The Jill that thinks farting jokes are funny, who drops the ‘f’ bomb once in a while, who actually initiates the shots… who ISN’T perfect. I think the world is craving individuals who are real, imperfect and just themselves. The problem with that comes criticism and that is hard to take. As cliché as it sounds, be YOU be REAL, be offside (if that’s who you are) and own it. Be kind, laugh often and learn often.
Did you ever have regrets about doing the Bachelorette?
NONE. I am so happy I took a chance, I’m happy I was me, I’m happy I got heartbroken, I’m SO happy I never got married! LOL
We live in such a digital world, and you mentioned that online bullying pushed you to get a nose job. What advice would you give young girls that are dealing with online criticism?
1. BLOCK THE BULLIES.
2. If you don’t want to block them and you want to react, react ALWAYS with kindness. It is the most powerful thing ever. I found that once I stopped getting defensive and putting people down, I was in the driver’s seat. I reacted with kindness, compassion and showed my hurt in a gentle way. I almost always got an apology and almost always had people say they regretted what they said. It sounds cliché but kindness always wins.
We are all about helping ladies create a digital footprint here at LaurenConrad.com. Do you have any social media tips?
1. Invest in learning about photography; almost ALL digital outlets rely on visual impact. Bad lighting and a dirty lens are your worst enemies.
2. Also, post often. Digital branding is HARD. Let’s break it down: we’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram, your website, and Tumbler. Each one of those outlets have a slightly different audience, so you have to treat each differently.
3. Interact with your following, ask them questions and even though I just told you not to care what people think… take constructive criticism often. Don’t let it change you, but take it, process it and tweak your process if you truly feel you need to.
What is an interior design trend that you’re loving right now?
I’m still all over the all white trend. I can’t get enough. I love clean white fresh spaces mixed with light greys, oatmeals, mixed metals and mixed textures.
For all the young entrepreneurs out there, what advice would you give them?
Create a vision board! I know it’s cheesy, but I did it when I was 26 and literally EVERY SINGLE thing on it came true, except marriage (I’m still waiting!). Make your daily routine and intentions match up with what makes your heart go pitter-patter, with what makes you smile. Ask yourself if the things taking up most of your time are the things helping you get closer to your goals. Are they making your heart full? Don’t be afraid to edit, edit, edit your life. Change is hard, but if you move swiftly with love and kindness nothing really has to be permanent—except for babies and tattoos! And lastly, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are going to mess up and it will probably feel awful, but that is where you learn the good stuff!
Words to live by?
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Just go for it!
Who would you like to see me interview for my next Ladies Who Laptop?
Let me know in the comments below!