Jae Schaefer is a fireball.
At age 26 she’s running her own business and living life raw and unfiltered.
A speaker, writer and life coach currently based in a small beach town on the New South Wales border, Jae sat down with The Grapevine Club to share her biggest lessons on life, career and learning to back yourself.
Madeleine: So Jae most of us will have the speaker/writer part down pat. But for those of us unfamiliar with the life coaching space, what exactly does a life coach do?
Jae: Basically as a life coach I help awaken, enlighten and inspire millennials. I help to empower and equip people with the skills and confidence they need to make an impact.
What does that look like? Think of things like working through limiting self-beliefs, setting desire based goals and encouraging holistic wellness.
I help people work through the things holding them back. I help them build the confidence they need to go after what they want.
Madeleine: You’re a writer and a speaker for young people. What are some of the challenges you explore that other young people might relate to?
Jae: That so many of us are programmed to believe that we aren’t enough! So many of us determine our worth based on our achievements and what we appear to be, do or have.
But a lot of the time we’re chasing things we really don’t want or value. You can probably relate to thoughts of, “I will be enough when…”
We fill the blank with whatever sounds good. “I’ll be enough when… I’m earning six figures”.
“When I get that job.”
“When I get promoted to management.”
Lots of people are working really hard to prove something that doesn’t actually reflect what’s important to them.
We’re hustling for worthiness, when all along we’ve been worthy. It’s the made up expectations in our heads we can’t live up to.
Working as a coach I help people unravel those insecurities and help them see that we are enough. Exactly as we are. There’s no asterisks or caveat. We arrive in this world “enough”. And everything else we achieve is a bonus.
Coming from that foundation of “I am enough” is a really cool place to be because you start getting honest with yourself and doing things from a deeply connected place. If I don’t have to do x, y and z to “prove myself”, then what would I do?
Madeleine: What a job! How did you get into the industry?
Jae: I actually studied journalism and political science at university in Brisbane. Which was a blessing because it quickly taught me exactly what I didn’t want to do.
I was halfway through an internship in a TV newsroom when I quit and made the move to Sydney.
From there I studied an eight week online business course and then began my life coaching accreditation. Three years down the track I’m pleased to report it was exactly the right decision!
In terms of how I actually got into life coaching, I remember stumbling across a group of life coaches online one day. Those women were real pioneers in terms of forging a path for modern life coaching in Australia.
Women like Melissa Ambrosini, Tara Bliss, Rachel McDonald, Jess Ainscough and Nat Kringoudis…
Once I found them I devoured everything I could. I read their blog posts, trawled their websites and followed their social media accounts. I remember feeling so surprised that their work was actually a career. And that they made money doing it!
It sounds funny but I felt so relieved. I was relieved to see there was career choice that combined all the things I loved. Heart felt speaking, honest, raw and authentic writing and the ability to get out and help people.
From there it just clicked. I knew immediately it was what I wanted to do.
Madeleine: You started your own business when you were 22. What has that experience been like?
Jae: It’s been a real learning curve! Running your own business shines a light on all sides of your personality and limiting beliefs, and how they show up in your life, really really quickly.
Growing up I never saw myself running my own business and truthfully once I started, I didn’t take to it naturally. Entrepreneurship wasn’t something I EVER considered for myself, but it was part of the package deal of being a life coach so it was something I pursued.
Based on my background and experiences I really struggled with getting the business going because I had a lot of fear around failure. Fear around things like messing up, making the wrong decisions, taking the wrong risks and it not paying off.
That fear held me back for a really long time. Especially when I first started out.
As an entrepreneur it’s important that you’re not risk averse. You need to be okay with failing and learn to fail forward. It’s something I’ve been working on over the last few years.
Madeleine: Tell us about a recent career highlight.
Jae: I did an interview a few weeks ago with a girlfriend of mine, Alana Shegog from The Lazy Girl Boss. And it ended up being one of the things that I’m most proud of doing.
I didn’t go into it overly prepared but I’m really proud of it because I’ve never shown up in a more authentic way.
During the video interview I was so committed to being real, raw and vulnerable and exactly who I am. And that means a lot to me.
There’s some flashier highlights with the media or my social media channels but I’m trying to focus my achievements on the things that make me feel really good onthe inside. Not just the things that look good from the outside.
Madeleine: What has your experience been like being a young person in business?
Jae: There’s a lot of chatter about how age can influence your ability in business but to me being young brings a whole lot of goodness to being in business.
The positives are that you’re not jaded by the state of the world, or by the long list of stuff ups you’ve had in the past.
As a young person you tend to be more optimistic and enthusiastic. You’re wide eyed and excited about all the possibilities in front of you. Basically you’re a lot more uninhabited.
You’re less influenced by other people’s expectations or ways of doing business because you really haven’t really been around long enough to be indoctrinated by it all.
However being young in business does also come with downsides.
A big one for me is that being young can mean you don’t always back yourself as much as you should. Or as much as older people with more experience might.
When I started my business I felt like I didn’t have enough experience to give me the legitimacy and credibility I wanted. And I was also worried other people might think the same thing.
Madeleine: What would you say to other young people wanting to start their own business?
Jae: I would say to anyone wanting to launch something, start as young as you can, as soon as you can.
The sooner you start the further you’ll go! To me it doesn’t make sense to wait till you’ve had more life experience.
You build up business experience by being in the game. By being in business!
I will say it till my dying day – as soon as you have that desire, go for it!
Madeleine: Any advice for young people wanting to advance their career?
Jae: Yes! Find a mentor, or someone you look up to who you can connect with. Catch up with them once a week or as often as you can.
Find someone who is invested in who you are and how you’re going. Someone who’ll be there when things get tough. That’s something I have now that I wish I had more of when I was just starting out.
Madeleine: Any advice on being a young working woman?
Jae: Trust your feminine side, as well as your masculine side. Trusting my feminine qualities has been a real journey for me.
We’re taught to believe that masculine qualities are better suited to business and work. But I’ve been building up my feminine qualities at work too. Things like trusting my intuition and trusting the part of me that wants to enjoy the journey not just the end result.
Building up your feminine in business is challenging and sometimes contradictory but now days I really do trust that I am allowed to be in my feminine and love what I do. And that by being in my feminine I can still be productive and add value.
Madeleine: You spend a lot of time interacting with other people. Do you have any advice about networking and meeting other like-minded people?
I remember growing up and thinking that networking sounded like the worst thing in the world. I imagined everyone just stood around in blazers with really tacky name badges and made awkward small talk.
But I’ve actually discovered a new way of networking! Really cool, fun types of events that drive feminine connection. Beautiful locations, high value speakers, high vibe people. I usually walk away feeling inspired and on top of the world.
So my advice is, do a bit of research and find some fun events to go to. Travel if you have to. It’s worth it.
I’m not a fan of just adding random people on Facebook or LinkedIn. It doesn’t work. I’ve been on the receiving end of that and I’m always like, “Mate. What are you doing?”
In my experience it’s more about going to events and human connection. Meeting friends of friends. Or meeting people through passions and interests.
Madeleine: Have you ever approached someone you look up to that you didn’t know?
Jae: Yes, absolutely. I’ve never shied away from telling someone I admire them if I really do. I usually try and build genuine connections based on something I admire about their work or by letting them know how their work has impacted me and sharing my story. People love to know how their work is landing. And it’s created space for some really beautiful opportunities…
Madeleine: Best career advice you’ve been given?
Jae: You get to choose what success means to you!
There are so many ideas about what’s ‘legit’ or ok or acceptable about being successful.
But making the decision of what success means to you is so important.
It all starts with your mind and the thoughts in your head. You have the power to control your reality. You choose everything, either consciously or unconsciously.
And you can choose again. Always.
A tremendously big thank you to Jae for being so open and happy to share her experience with our team. If you’d like to read more interviews with real life career women, head on over to our latest installments, Meet Kate Williams, 25, Senior Corporate Finance Associate and Meet Naomi Lean, 26, Founder of L’Elu Skincare.
You can also read our latest work related pieces here in our Career section. Happy reading!
Until next time,