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From Employee to Entrepreneur: Charreah K. Jackson Talks Leaving Her 9-to-5 and Becoming the CEO of Her Life
by Myeisha Essex
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May 30, 2019

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10 Minute Read

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From Employee to Entrepreneur: Charreah K. Jackson Talks Leaving Her 9-to-5 and Becoming the CEO of Her Life

Ever thought about quitting your corporate job and turning your passion project into a full-time gig? Making the transition from employee to entrepreneur can be scary, but if you’ve reached the point where your passion and purpose is more important than a paycheck, who else is better to bet on than yourself?!

BlackLove.com caught up with author and former Essence Senior Editor, Charreah K. Jackson, and she shares how she stepped out on her own like a boss! Along with dropping a few gems from her first book, Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love and Success, she also breaks down the steps she took to become the CEO of her own life.

If you’ve been contemplating chucking the deuces to your 9-to-5 for self-employment, here are a few things to keep in mind. Just remember, you can do it too, sis!

Courtesy of Charreah K. Jackson

BL: You recently made a big career move. Can you tell us about your previous position, and what motivated you to step out on your own?

CJ: It’s been an exciting last year! My first book Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love and Success was published (free chapter at Bossbride.com) and has expanded my ability to serve women. I’ve spoken around the world from Amsterdam to South Africa. The book is in libraries from Los Angeles and Atlanta to Australia and New Zealand. In February, I transitioned from my role as Essence Senior Editor into my company Studio Social fulltime as CEO. I started the company almost 10 years ago as a communications consultant, corporate trainer, and coach. I’m excited to give it my full focus to continue to create connections and have already worked with amazing clients including Bumble, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Chase.

“Your spirit is always talking to you if you listen. I knew a year before that I was over New York City winter and a long daily commute.”

BL: How did you know the timing was right?

CJ: Your spirit is always talking to you if you listen. I knew a year before that I was over New York City winter and a long daily commute. I went to brunch over Christmas break with a good friend, and she asked me, “So when are you stepping out?” I answered with the first thing that came to mind, “By my birthday.” My last day at Essence was on February 6th. I left the office, dropped my stuff off, and went straight to the airport for my flight home to Atlanta – where I celebrated my new season on my birthday February 8th with a tea party.

BL:  What things did you have on your checklist before you made your decision?

CJ: For any employee, making the move to entrepreneur is a lot to consider. For me, it was about being able to afford to hire myself in the company. I had to plan for it for years and then months to be able to generate regular income. I tell all my clients the same thing and it’s in my book: have a life plan. When you take control of your life and put your vision to paper the vision will guide you. Think long-term, and realize it’s a blessing to have a job that can fuel your life until your business grows. My corporate paycheck was my first investor as I grew myself and my business.

Courtesy of Charreah K. Jackson

BL: What are three pieces of advice you’d give other women who may be nervous to leave their 9-to-5’s for entrepreneurship?

CJ: Have a plan and mentors. One of my mentors and coaches is Marsha Haygood. She always told me to be strategic and not emotional, and it saved me many times. Leave once you’ve gotten everything you went through that door to get. I added an extra $10,000 in compensation by leveraging all the resources one of my past employers offered – which included free therapy and gym reimbursement.

“My corporate paycheck was my first investor as I grew myself and my business.”

BL: How long have you had this passion, and how did you know you could turn it into a business?

CJ: A business should have passion, but what makes a business is profit. Before jumping into a business, make sure it has clear revenue streams that are running before you jump in.

I’ve spent the last 15 years in communications and focused on the power of relationships.

BL: What does your typical day look like?

CJ: I don’t have a typical day. It’s a range of activities and I work to have everything scheduled.

BL: In your book Boss Bride, you share how a breakup led you to finally fulfill your dream of writing your own book. Now looking back, in retrospect, are you grateful for that experience?

CJ: The same day I got the contract to write my book, I broke up with the man I was planning to marry. The good news was, I always knew being a Boss Bride was about a mentality, and not based on your relationship status or one day of your life. What led me on the path to studying relationships was seeing women in my family struggle with rebuilding their lives after a breakup. My biggest fear was heartbreak. So to go through it, come out stronger, and attract an amazing new love into my life, was the best gift I could ever give myself: to know my own strength.

Courtesy of @charreah

BL: You don’t have to be married to be a Boss Bride. Can you explain exactly what a Boss Bride is, and why it’s important for every woman to find her?

CJ: So, what is a Boss Bride? She’s a woman that fuses the characteristics of an effective boss – focused, strategic, delegator – with the best qualities of a bride at her wedding – happy, charming, living in the moment. Every woman can be a Boss Bride whether married ten years or unsure if she wants to head down the aisle. No matter your job title or relationship status, you can transform your life with the Boss Bride mentality and treat every day as your big day.

“Black love has survived the darkest of days and still smiles. That makes it supernatural, sacred and the sweetness of strength.”

BL: You drop so many gems in the book about striving to achieve success in both your personal and professional life. How do you find this balance in your own life?

CL: The goal is harmony and that the priorities in your life play together. Don’t treat your life and work as separate, and work to find ways to integrate. I just spoke at Steve Harvey’s Vault, and I brought my cousin with me, which was amazing. You have the power to plan your life and create a structure that works for you.

BL: What do you believe is at the heart of creating the life you want?

CJ: It starts with slowing down enough to listen to yourself. You have everything you need to create a life you love. That includes tapping into the people around you to get support. The last chapter of the book is Happily Ever Now, which breaks down how to fall in love with the life you have – and manifest your desires. The formula I share got me to Oprah’s house!

BL: Would you agree that Boss Bride is a great read even for men?

CJ: I have so enjoyed the incredible response to this book and the men who reached out and left reviews. This book looks at how our personal and professional lives intersect and contextualizes this new world we are all navigating.

BL: What makes Black love so beautiful?

CJ: Black love has survived the darkest of days and still smiles. That makes it supernatural, sacred, and the sweetness of strength.

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