Scrappy Ways To Build a Business When You’re Starting From Scratch


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If you’re looking for scrappy strategies to grow your business, you came to the right place. Today’s guest knows what it means to use what she has right in front of her, and turn it into something remarkable. Jess Ekstrom is the founder of Headbands of Hope as well as Bright Pages, the creator of Mic Drop Workshop (a program for women who want to become paid keynote speakers - I’m a student and love it!), and author of Chasing the Bright Side.

Headbands of Hope has been featured on national TV and worn by celebrities like Kelsea Ballerini & Khloe Kardashian, but more importantly, they’ve donated over 600,000 headbands to children with illnesses with their buy one give one model, reaching every single children's hospital in America and 22 countries.

Even more impressive? Jess started this company in 2012 from her dorm room as a 19 year old college student and had to get super creative with launching a product line and spreading the word on a nonexistent budget and social presence. Now after writing a book, creating a course, and launching a new business in the midst of the pandemic, Jess is sharing how she used what she had to make what she wanted, the reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) keep trying to build your business, and why you don’t want to be a Cheesecake Factory speaker (don’t worry you’ll get what I mean after listening). 

By the way, Jess is generously gifting our podcast community a one month subscription to her online journaling product, Bright Pages! Use the code “ELLEN” at checkout to redeem your free month! You can pick your prompt pathway based on what you want to currently achieve and then receive daily guided journal prompts designed to help you get clarity on what you want to do! 

Head to, create a free account, pick your prompt pathway, and then use my code “ELLEN” at checkout - this isn’t a sponsored plug, just an awesome gift from Jess to our listeners! 

Connect with Jess:


Favorite Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Since she started her business at 19  years old, she didn’t know you could raise money or have investors to start a business
    • Asked business professors for advice
    • Asked her design teacher if her class could design her logo
  • What was her biggest turning point for customer growth.
  • Saw an article with 5 bloggers to watch and emailed all of them asking if they could post about Headbands of Hope.
    • One said yes and got her $500 worth of business.
  • When she got sales from people who didn’t know her and didn’t just want to validate her made her realize she should keep doing it.
  • The lessons she learned from her first business that she is bringing to her new one.
  • “It can be a part of you, but not all of you.”
  • Advice on how to bounce back from negative situations that can hit you when you're an entrepreneur.
  • “I wanted to start this company because I wanted to solve a problem. The failure of the company isn’t about embarrassment, but a problem not being solved.”
  • “Quitting reminds us that we have a choice in our life and we aren’t stuck”
  • Sometimes we already have the answers, we just need to be asked the right questions.
  • When your writing a book, your coming up with a transformation you want someone to have and you're writing what they need to know to achieve that transformation.
  • What you need to know to be a paid professional speaker.
  • Her biggest advice for working with friends and family.


What Did You Think?

What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? Leave a comment below.


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