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Show Notes:

Strap in an get ready to learn how to chart your own path to success with Jaclyn Harper! In a world of excuses, fear, and “I’m not good enough”, Jaclyn stands out as an example of what to do to achieve your goals. This conversation was so loaded with actionable advice and great stories that I had to split it into 2 parts! I just adore this lady, and you will too!


Jaclyn’s recommended resources:

Tik Tok – social media app – social media scheduling
Inshot app – simple video creation
Passion Planner

Connect with Jaclyn:

Connect with Elaine:

Get a free chapter from Elaine’s book, Sell Your Passion:

This episode sponsored by TruShield Insurance, get a free and easy online quote to protect your business at

Announcer 00:00

Welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table. This is where we share tips about business and parenting. Being a mom of three CEO of the award winning company Easy Daysies, speaker and educator, you're going to learn the tips and secrets of successful and incredible people. Elaine wants you to be inspired, challenged and motivated, and that person you want your kids to grow up to be. This is real talk for real life.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 00:24

Hi, welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table where we talk about how to create better: how to create better family, how to create better health, how to create better business and better self. My guest today is a rock star. I'm so excited to have her on this show and she's going to share such great stories that I cannot wait to share with you because it's going to inspire you to be better in business. She's going to share how she got her dream job, even though that was not her background training and she's successful at it being a mom of two as well. Jaclyn Harper, HGTV stylist and owner of Harper Designs helps families love their homes. She even helped design with the Property Brothers and she's going to share a story about that. A great story about being a mom entrepreneur while working with the Property Brothers. I cannot wait to share that with you. She is highly recognized for her television career hosting shows like Morning Live First Edition, Tiny Talent Time and she was also the host for The Shopping Channel. Today you'll see Jaclyn as a design expert on shows like Breakfast Television, CTV Your Morning, Global Morning and CHCH Morning Live. And without further ado, I'm going to share first a word from our sponsor partner. And then I cannot wait also to share Jaclyn with you.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 01:47

Hi, I just wanted to say I am so honored to have Jaclyn here with me today. Jaclyn, welcome to Create Better.

Jaclyn Harper: 01:57

Thank you so much for having me, Elaine.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 01:59

I am just so excited, now this woman is really hard to get ahold of because she is busy. She is busy being a design expert on so many different television shows and platforms and I won't even share that she she is a busy mom of like multiple children. And of course she has her husband and she's cooking and cleaning. And on top of all of that she's doing a renovation on her house. So I am so honored and blessed to have Jaclyn with us today. Thank you for joining us, Jaclyn, you are amazing. And I love, if you are watching a video right now you're seeing the beautiful home that's behind her.

Jaclyn Harper: 02:42

It's not finished. But we're very close. We're near the end now. It's been a long process.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 02:48

So what are you renovating right now?

Jaclyn Harper: 02:52

So we just did a full home reno. We actually I didn't even get to tell you this. We lived with my parents for about five months. With the two kids during the pandemic. Running my own business. It's been a lot. So we are thankful to be back in our home. Even though we don't have the fridge we don't have our backsplash finished. There's just a few things left to be completed. But we lived in this home for about a year. And we knew we needed more space. So we built a big addition off the back of our house. And we reconfigured so right now through that arch there you can see my dining room. That used to be our family room. And yeah, we've completely reconfigured the space.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 03:35

Yeah, you just said you do not have a fridge. I cannot imagine what that would be like you have children where are you storing the milk and the eggs?

Jaclyn Harper: 03:47

True. Okay, so let me confirm, change that wording for a second. We don't have a fridge in our kitchen. We kept the fridge that we had in our former home or when this used to be our home, and it's in our garage. It's still really inconvenient. But yes, we need somewhere for the milk. My kids go through a lot of milk.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 04:06

Sure. I was gonna say we're going back to the pioneer days and you have an ice block in the bathtub.

Jaclyn Harper: 04:10

Yeah, I'm making my butter.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 04:13

Yes, now Jaclyn, you have an incredible story. And I would love for you to start from wherever you want. But tell us how you got to where you are right now in your dream job. And, how did that happen? Like, where did you start?

Jaclyn Harper: 04:31

I appreciate that. I actually went to school for television broadcasting, believe it or not. So in regards to broadcasting versus journalism, you're behind the scenes. I was the camera operator. I was the director. I was the production assistant. And I did a collaborative program at Western and Fanshawe. So, it was 4 years I learned the ins and outs of TV. But my background wasn't to be on television. So I started out I did an internship at a local TV station, did that internship for about a year, and I was behind the scenes. I was the production assistant. I did the camera. I was running tapes up and down the stairs. And on the weekend, I started practicing in front of the green screen, thinking, you know what? I think I want to do the weather. And I mean I am not a meteorologist. I did not go to school for that. But I started getting out books from the library on the weekend, I was teaching myself how to use the programs to create my own radar, to create my own graphics. And the people, you really build relationships with the TV station. I still to this day, call them my second family. Wow. But the people that I knew, oh, I've got a dog too. So you may hear him barking. I do. So sorry about that. Okay. Okay. Right. That's life right now. We're everybody's home. So I, some of my friends would start helping me film demos during the week in front of the green screen pointing, doing everything that I needed to do. And I built up a demo, really.

Jaclyn Harper: 06:11

So within that first year, I was practicing, I was still working every day. And they had a new position coming up. That was the earliest morning show in all of Canada. I already had a demo. I submitted my demo. I friggin got the gig. I could not believe it. Elaine, I was 23 years old. And I was going to be co-hosting the earliest morning show in all of Canada. Wild seeing my face is on buses, billboards, just insane. Now, it was great. But then I got on camera. And I was so timid and nervous. And I look back at that first episode and think, What was I thinking, Oh, my gosh, what was I doing? Because you're just so nervous. It was a big role for me. And so we did that show for I'd say about four and a half years, almost five years. I should also mention, it started at 4am. But I was waking up at one in the morning and showing up at two every day.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 07:12

Oh My Goodness. Goodness.

Jaclyn Harper: 07:15

Oh, yeah. And as much as I loved the role, and I love the people, the hours were hard, really hard. So at the end of the day, I'd be exhausted, I would yeah, yeah. I know. So yeah, it's just a crazy life when I look back at it, because I'm so happy where I am now. But it was so important to get me to where I am now. Absolutely. So what what happened was, is the company went bankrupt. And that early morning show was one of the shows that got cut. I also host a kids show on their channel. So actually, that's still kind of in production, we're on season four. But that's like a bonus. Because for me, I know once I'm out of TV, it is very, very hard to get back in, so I still have this amazing community and a great network of people that I'm still able to keep a toe in. Yeah. So when they went bankrupt, I thought, Oh my gosh, what like what am I going to do here? Where is my life going? I ended up working for The Shopping Channel part time for a year, I was a host on The Shopping Channel. And then and honestly, I don't think that was my best role to date. I'm not really a sales person. I really like to help people. So if that steamer really isn't great, I don't feel so great selling you that steamer. You know what I mean? Yes. That's funny. So that that was an interesting role for me kind of a good transition because it forced me to pick something else. And my co host on my morning show, he was like, Jac, you got to do your passion. You have to start helping people with their homes. You're so good at it. This is your chance. So I heard it from a lot of different people. But for him to tell me that he was really like a big brother to me.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 09:12

So how did he know you were designing or decorating? What were you doing?

Jaclyn Harper: 09:15

Because I was helping him! Tim and I we would have like therapy sessions in the morning. We'd be in the makeup room at 3:30 in the morning before we went live at four. And I would basically just vent like he was my therapy - Tim, I think I should be painting this white or I should be painting this grey and he's like, Yeah, but then he would start coming to me asking for tips. Jac, can you come over you know, we'll pay you on a bottle of wine or come up for dinner. I need help with my kitchen and it just kind of again, this cycle of me helping people and then realizing you know what? I think I could do this for a living. Now I didn't just jump into it on my own. And looking back there's no way that I could have. I didn't know enough about the industry. And what I've come to learn is in interior design, it's really 80% business. And then 20% of the fun stuff. Not necessarily what you'd think, right? You're running your own business, there's a lot of the business and admin that you have to do. Mm hmm. So I worked for a local interior design firm. There's my kids, can you hear them doodling? It's just a full house right now.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 09:51

I love it.

Jaclyn Harper: 10:29

Oh, so I worked for the local interior design firm. And because I was really social media savvy, working in TV, building, my own brand, really my personal brand, building an audience of my own. I said to her, look, I will run your social media. I will film you, I will manage your Instagram. Can you teach me interior design? And that was kind of our trade off. Wow. So I helped her build her brand, brought a lot of recognition to her because that was my next step from TV. And I had my following. And we'd be on site and I'd be filming or photographing, literally bookshelves that we had just done. And she would say, Okay, do you like you do it, Jac, show me what you can do. And very quickly, we learned, wow, I love styling. I'm pretty good at styling. And we just we made a really good team.

Jaclyn Harper: 11:26

But I still wanted the TV aspect of it. And I still had my network. And I started appearing as a design expert on TV. Because now I had two years under my belt. I'm learning the trade. Excellent. And helping run this business for my boss, that we both kind of agreed. It was time for me to go on my own and hone in on my personal brand and keep doing the TV stuff. Right? Yes. So crazy. So about three, almost three years ago now, I've been doing this for five. In my mind, I can't even believe it's been almost five years, because that's essentially how long I was doing the morning show. Wow. Just a crazy turn of events. But as I said, I wouldn't be here today. If I didn't have my TV presence. I'm still doing those TV segments. I still do a lot of brand deals. And I think that's kind of an illusion. People see me on Instagram and think, Wow, she's doing her interior design business. And she's making all this money. And it's all interior design. I'm lucky I'm still technically starting out. I'm only two and a half years in. But I can offset that and take the pressure off of myself to have so much design clients by doing brand deals. Right?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 12:44

Wow, I love your story. And I love how you brought so much to the table to someone you wanted to learn from. And I think that's a very beautiful example.

Jaclyn Harper: 12:54

But it was mutual, right?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 12:56

Yes. And I love that.

Jaclyn Harper: 12:58

Thank you. But you know what, Elaine? I think for anyone listening that's thinking about a career change. You want to offer as much as you can. So what are those assets that you can offer? Let's say you want to get into accounting, okay, maybe you're not fully trained in accounting, right? You might want to get your training in that. But what can you bring to the table? How can you make a network that you can start learning and get your foot in the door? Even if it's part time, even if it's one day a week? Are you going to do that for free? And bring something to the table. You know?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 13:32

I love that bring something to the table and that is very beautiful.

Jaclyn Harper: 13:37

To Elaine's Kitchen Table!

Elaine Tan Comeau: 13:40

Yes, it's so true. I know. Like, sometimes it does make me cringe. And I'm sure you have a lot of people who say Oh, Jaclyn, can I just pick your brain? And oh, yeah, because you obviously have three hours to spare. With nothing else to do. And I am like you in that I love helping people. I love it. This is something I just, it excites me to help people. But it is something that you have to give time towards. When you do you have children when you do have your own business when you have so much else on your plate. So I love what you have just shared about bringing something to the table. And that is so beautiful. And it's a great reminder to all of us. And I love that nugget. So thank you for sharing that.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 14:30

I want to ask you, as you were just mentioning, you know, people see you on Instagram, and social media. They're like Wow, she's beautiful. She's successful. Life must be so easy. It all just fell on her lap. But we know that is not always the case. Yeah. And there are mistakes that we make in business. Can you share one big mistake that you made in business and what it was?

Jaclyn Harper: 14:55

I've gotten lots of mistakes to share. Which one?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 14:59

What did you learn from it that you can share with us?

Jaclyn Harper: 15:04

I think a most recent mistake that I'm finding out, and I'm kind of learning the hard way, but in a good way, is maybe I waited too long to get some help. So just this past year I've hired - well, I shouldn't say hired, I did hire one person to help me more on the business. How do I explain that she helped me project my numbers. I never had this before. And at first, it felt very strange, letting someone see the back end of my business, to see actually what I'm bringing in, actually what my expenses are. But now that she's kind of come in to help me and I've decided to pay for that help. It has helped me tenfold. I've completely transitioned my business, the way that I quote, she helped me come up with a quoting template. I'm landing way more jobs than I ever did before. And I wish I did it sooner.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 15:59

That is, that's great advice. Now, is she more of an accountant or a business coach?

Jaclyn Harper: 16:06

She's really a business coach. That's what I would call her. So she's helped me in several different facets of my business, one creating that template for quoting so that I can kind of transition and do things a bit differently. Before I was quoting, a consultation to start every single project. Now I'm quoting more like a contractor. So they get an all in one fee. And I find it really helping me because people know how much it's gonna cost. It's not an hourly rate that they don't know. That's great. She's also she helps me project my budget. So we've looked back at 2018, 2019, 2020. And then we can project for 2021. How many client jobs do I need? How many brand deals do I need? What are my expenses so that I know exactly where I'm at? It's fantastic.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 16:54

Yes. And that is that makes the business, right?

Jaclyn Harper: 17:00

It's true. Yeah. But anyone could just start an interior design business. But if you don't have the business behind it, you're gonna fall flat very quickly.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 17:10

I love how you worded it earlier, when you said it's 80/20 it's you know you, you go out and you say, Okay, I'm gonna start this great business because I love to bake pies. And I make really good pies, people want to buy my pies. And I love making pies. But you know, that's gonna be 20% of being a business is that part that you love to do, the creative part. And then the 80% is oh my goodness the projections, the sales and the numbers and making a profit?

Jaclyn Harper: 17:37

How are you going to sell those pies? What are you going to wrap those pies in? Are they going in a box? How much money do you have for those boxes? How much money are you actually making off the pies? Right? Yeah, can you afford to make a living off these pies? So there's so many pieces to the puzzle?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 17:53

Great advice, asking for help sooner. And you know, I think I fallen into that too is you know, yeah, asking for help sooner. And it's okay to ask for help. And you know, I think as women we need to be more open to asking for help, because we're so great at being the nurturer and taking care of it and not bothering people. But it's okay. Find your weaknesses, know your strengths and find someone to help you with those areas that you are weakened. I love it.

Jaclyn Harper: 18:24

We don't have to just figure it out on our own. And Elaine, I should say it doesn't have to be hired help. So right now I do have an intern working for me. And it's also a game changer. She's been so wonderful, so helpful. I bring her to client meetings with me. She's able to take notes, she writes it up after the fact. And that's all admin that I would have been doing before. Yes. There are different ways to get help. And I think I waited a little too long to do that.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 18:52

No, I love that. Great, great advice. And so going on that advice, I would love to ask what would your three habits of being a successful woman mom entrepreneur be? Because it is a juggle. And I know there's no such thing as what do people say? How do you balance it all? You pick one and you do it well.

Jaclyn Harper: 19:20

It's ture, how do you balance it all? Right. Some days I even ask myself that I'm like, how do I do this? I don't know. But for me what I find essential in my business. Number one tip, if you took anything from this, I hope this is it is to stick to your business hours. That recently I've been breaking this just a little bit and I keep kind of smacking my hand saying stick to your guns get back to those business hours because there's that balance. How do you balance it all? Well you balance it by setting your limitations. So working nine to five and if those are my hours, you need to be very transparent. You need to be consistent, and you need to educate your clients that I might not get back to you after five because I'm spending time with my kids. But I'll get back to you at my earliest convenience, right? Mm hmm. Or that you don't work the weekend?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 20:17

Yes, I love that have business hours. And I share that often too, as when I'm asked to speak to women entrepreneurs and people who work from home. Have those business hours. That's I'm just gonna up there we go.

Jaclyn Harper: 20:34

Did you lose me? My mom was calling.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 20:40

I love it. Yes, I did. It's okay. I can hear you.

Jaclyn Harper: 20:43

Call you back Mom? Okay, okay. That was number one. Okay. Yeah. Tip number one. Tip number two is about organization. So find a system that really works for you. For me, Elaine, have you ever heard of a Passion Planner?

Elaine Tan Comeau: 21:01

A Passion Planner? No, I have not.

Jaclyn Harper: 21:02

Okay. It's, it's basically just a fancy agenda that I've fallen in love with. I tell everyone about it. Because it really helps me with my goals. So first of all, fine tuning what that goal is, for three months, a year, three years, and even your lifetime. So it's got an exercise in the front that helps you kind of nail down those goals. And then it helps you set targets. So in three months, let's say I want to be in a magazine, and I want to be in a specific magazine. What are you going to do to get there? You can't just put it out there and hope it happens. Are you reaching out to one magazine company a week? Are you investing money in photography, and you're going to get something shot every single week? What's going to get you to that magazine? I just love it. And of course it's an agenda. So it kind of sets blocks of time in the day, just being organized and finding a system that's really good for you.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 21:08

Love it. Love it very much. And I fully understand systems and routines as you know, I created Easy Daysies Yeah, for children to say Oh, I love it. have a visual indicator to bring the anxiety melt it away and we as adults, we need that. And I love how you said that. Block chunks of time. And you need to have a target whether it's in three months from now or in three years from now, so that you have a target to hit. Otherwise you're just shooting aimlessly and being busy towards nothing. So I love love, love that. I can see one day that Jaclyn that you might create your own planner, the Jaclyn Harper Planner. Just saying, putting it out there.

Jaclyn Harper: 22:44

You know what? Elaine. Oh my gosh. We could be on to something it could be a reno planner.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 22:50

There you go. I love it, love it love it, shared here for the first time.

Jaclyn Harper: 23:00

Now I have to be accountable for it. Once you say it out loud! That's a great idea.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 23:04

Yes. Because now you're gonna be late I guess when you have that done and you can share all right, you're beautiful reno planner.

Jaclyn Harper: 23:11

Okay, putting it in my Passion Planner as my goal. All right. Okay, and then tip number three is all about having a fantastic website. So a lot of people skimp out when it comes to a website, it is going to sell you tenfold. Do you know how many people, you hear their name, you go right to their website. I mean, nowadays, it's really more Instagram, but then you click on the website. And I feel like a lot of people don't invest the money, cuz it's an expense, or even just to teach yourself how to do a little bit of coding to just amp your website up a little bit more. Photography can go such a long way. If you are in your business and you're using stock photos, take it up just one notch, get your face in there, get your friends in their plan to shoot and make it happen. I think a website is essential, a good website is essential.

Elaine Tan Comeau: 24:06

Love it. But that is that is your storefront isn't it? It's like if you're walking down the street, and you stop. I mean, there are some storefronts that the facade itself just takes my breath away because I'm like, Oh, I love this stone that they used or something just captured me and made me want to like check it out further, right. And that's what your website is like. Love it. I want to check I want to click in because I want to go inside.

Jaclyn Harper: 24:08

Especially if it's interactive. If you can get something moving. If you can encourage someone to sign up for a newsletter if you can encourage them to check out your social media. If they are clicking, that's good. Also, bonus tip. If you have a blog, I mean not everybody has a blog, but one if you are posting a blog let's say weekly or even monthly, you're going to boost your SEO, you're going to be more searchable which is fantastic. And if you don't and that's okay, not everybody wants a blog. If you are just updating the verbiage on your site, again, those keywords will be searchable. You're going to update your SEO it will be good for business.