If you truly follow your passion and put the work in, success will be hard to avoid.
Jessica Higgins is a highly credentialed and experienced business growth professional and serial entrepreneur. She gets involved in unique opportunities at the crossroads of finance, technology, and marketing to create and execute innovative, and often disruptive, business growth. She holds investment and advisory positions in a portfolio of companies and is best known for her work in marketing at Curated Advisory and her management of Curated Fund of Funds, LP. Her first book, The 10 Essential Business Communications Skills, released at #1 on Amazon New Releases for Communication and Behavior Skills. She lives in Charleston, SC and San Diego, CA and Charleston, SC.
Where did the idea for Curated Advisory come from?
I always wanted to be a writer, but my parents said “Jessica, you’re not going to be very good at being poor” which seemed like sound advice. So I went to law school, graduate business school, and thought I would have to follow a corporate track to reach success. At some point I remember a client deadline was near for some copywriting and I had to spend my weekend creating it. The client loved the work. That eventually lead to the creation of my marketing agency and advisory company, Curated Group, LP. Companies kept asking for it, so it was created for them. Then, some of my growth-stage clients needed investment, so I started reaching out to finance professionals and learning about investing. I eventually began seeing very interesting investment opportunities that others weren’t seeing. I am a bit of a cultural anthropologist and know that cultural norms cast certain ideas as favorable and everyone collectively just agrees, while few inspect for themselves. The housing market crash is one good example of this in the finance industry. Some of the generally accepted rules of finance seemed antiquated given the speed of technology and where we are in society at this moment. Investors believed in these strategies as well, which led to the creation of Curated Fund of Funds, LP, a mix of venture funds and hedge funds to balance the portfolio. Now I am a serial entrepreneur, fund of funds manager and venture capitalist. I think this is a good use case for the advice to follow your passion. I would NEVER have believed you if you told me I would find success through my passion of writing. My career is now a bit confusing for people. Don’t worry, it is for me as well.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My mantra is success and positivity, which I example and promote every day in our culture. We stay motivated by great results and gratitude for how lucky we are to have each other, and our lifestyles. We truly want to do good and make an impact on the world, which is how we stay motivated. Every day is full of me checking in with clients and teammates, creative writing and marketing, and checking in on investments. Some days I head into an office, which means I travel a lot. Other days I get so busy I don’t make it in at all. You can find me working at one of my homes, or a restaurant somewhere. Right now its 3pm: I’m still in pajamas and haven’t eaten yet. Oops.
How do you bring ideas to life?
You create them. I love that the results of great ideas and great execution never end. They are continuous. You just keep going and going.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The speed of technology and the results borne of it disrupting every industry. Fintech is especially interesting at the moment.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
What advice would you give your younger self?
I was always 100% just myself and never cared about social norms or popularity. Classmates would try to pick on me at times, but because I didn’t care it wouldn’t go far. I would tell the young, learning and technology-obsessed version of me: “You are absolutely right. The nerds will rule the world someday.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Can we all agree that climate change is real already? Seth Godin suggests we rename it Atmosphere Cancer so everyone can stop arguing, and work on solving this problem. We are absolutely going to die of Atmosphere Cancer otherwise, and I can’t think of a problem more important than that.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Set goals for yourself and then break them down to lists of actionable tasks. I am obsessed with list-making. Every day I start with my list and then work through checking items off it as I complete them. I have lists for days, weeks, months and the year, based on each goal I set. It keeps me so motivated. It’s also fun to look back at the month and see how far you’ve come.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Finding other brilliant people and building strong relationships. You will absolutely grow faster and better as a team then as an individual. When you create partnerships where you believe in each other and help each other, everything becomes so much easier. It also helps you feel safe. Safety is a concern for many entrepreneurs. Creating great connections with brilliant people helps you personally and professionally.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the early days I wasn’t careful about who I surrounded myself with, and got burned a few times, which was very hard. I used to be a very trusting person. Now, I let people show me who they are, over time, through their actions. There are some truly amazing people in the world, and now I can spot them, connect with them, and build strong relationships over time which has helped me tremendously.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Beauty Doordash. Every single busy mom and female business professional is in desperate need of nails, lashes, blowouts, professional makeup and personal shopping. You don’t even need to build an app, just form your business and put it in the Mind Body app. It’s the quickest way I can think of, off the top of my head, to become wealthy relatively quickly because the market opportunity is so large and underserved now. I can take this a step further and even structure the business model if you reach out to me. I need mobile beauty delivery so badly.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A massage. It’s my version of seeing a doctor for my stress. Stress is the #1 cause of health issues for driven people. We need to remember that, and take our health very seriously.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love Slack! We use it for all of our clients. It’s so fun and easy.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Mine! I put all of my best communication secrets into a short, fun book. 10 Skills for Effective Business Communication: Practical Strategies from the World’s Greatest Leaders. It released at #1 on Amazon New Releases for Communication. I run into people all the time who love it, which is really neat. A publisher reached out to me asking if I would create it. I am so grateful that I did.
What is your favorite quote?
“We honor the dream by doing the work.” – Cleo Wade. Her writing has a way of pulling every emotion out of me, and I am driven by passion. Her work is a motivation cocktail for business and life.
- If you truly follow your passion and put the work in, success will be hard to avoid
- Serving and helping others will take you further than trying to do it alone
- The easiest way to become wealthy right now: create a DoorDash for beauty services
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.