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OMG, you guys! I CAN’T BELIEVE your responses to my last blog with Mackenzie Wilson. I was so overwhelmed and surprised by how many of you could relate, were inspired and totally get me! With negativity being spread around the Internet like it’s going out of style…comments like this:

“Your brand is great, but the real Jillian is what inspires people. You’re living your purpose woman! Keep being you and keep showing us more Jillian!”

… make me wanna shout, WOOOOO HOOOO!!!

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Ok, we need to keep this shiz going right?! I’m sure people think I don’t read all the comments, but I actually DO get around to reading MOST of them… finding time to respond on every channel and post is next to impossible but i do want to say I LOVE hearing your feedback! THANK YOU THANK YOU! So, I picked some comments that kept coming up about the Behind-The-Scenes With Jilly: Life Before The Bachelor blog from my website and Facebook page and answered them. Here goes nothing … the second to the series “Your Questions Answered”…


Q: How might you recommend people break the “corporate” mold and create their own schedule/career/lifestyle without the exposure you have received on TV? -Sarah S.

A: You know, the Bachelorette was definitely a springboard for my career but I wouldn’t give it 100% of the credit. I took a crap-ton of risks and I’m no stranger to hard work. Pushing myself through the tiny ‘Reality TV’ funnel to where I am now was a challenge, in fact I worried at first that being on TV would HURT my career.


I can’t even count the times my family stressed about my decisions to quit my job, move, sell my condo or try my own thing. I think taking a risk is my biggest piece of advice – like good ol’ Wayne Gretzky says (Yaaahhh, I say it, ALL THE TIME…) “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, agreed! Come up with a plan, save a little money to support yourself while you get up and going and then pull the trigger. All I can say is working for yourself takes an extreme amount of dedication, organization and self control — which I don’t have anything of, LOL… what I DO have is a healthy addiction to what I do, so it drives me. I crave it and live for it and so it became a part of my life.

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You have to LOVE to work, be motivated and KNOW you can drive your own bus. That role isn’t for everyone and that’s OK. Some people need consistency, direction and structure. Figure out if you’re really craving being an entrepreneur or if maybe it’s just a career shift you are actually in need of.


Q: Have you ever had a creative block and if so, where did you find inspiration again? – Tali G.

A: Of course I get creative blocks all the time!!! I am so lucky to have a fantastic team and they help to keep the fresh ideas flowing. It took me a long time, but I had to recognize that growing my team and brand meant trusting people with my business. Now, I trust my team to make decisions, calls and moves without me hovering over them 24/7. But YES, I have creative blocks ALL the time and it gives me mad anxiety. It’s usually because I’m overwhelmed, in that case I just shut it down for a day… sometimes two… until something comes to me.


The thing about being creative is sometimes it comes all at once, that’s when you pull the all nighters. Sometimes it doesn’t come at all and you have to recognize that and accept it instead of being so hard on yourself. One thing I will say is a good diet, lots of water, sleep and shutting it down to just have some personal time is key to a healthy brain! Don’t push yourself too hard!!!


Q: I’m really thinking about going to the conference you’re speaking at in Vancouver…Do you think there will be a lot of good feedback for someone who is new to blogging but knows how to use social media? -Danielle P.

A: Honestly, I want to share ALL the tips and tricks and lessons I’ve learned. I have already started making a list and will not hold back ANY secrets at BlogPodium! I’m SO excited to share what I’ve learned and hopefully do some learning myself! Yes… PLEASE COME, it’s going to be awesome!

blog podium

Q: I would love to find out your design education and training please! -Karen I.

A: I got my certificate in Interior Design from BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology). I wish I would have gotten my degree but I was too impatient and jumped back into the field the second I got a chance! My role has changed from a designer to the brand leader. I don’t “CAD” (interior design software – computer aided drafting/design), but I do have an amazing team that takes my design mantras and esthetics and we work together to create spaces! While it’s hard to let go of the product shopping trips etc. I am happy to be growing a team, inspiring them and taking on new projects!


Q: Do you find that you rely on the skills you learned with your degree or do you think experience could teach you what you need to know to be successful in the design industry? -Janelle M.

A: I learned SO much more in the field for SURE, but the education helped me get that confidence I didn’t have; I think both are monumental. The level of education is really up to you, I chose to jump back into the field, but you might want to get the full degree. There are some extremely successful designers out there with no degree or education at all. For me, my success as a designer goes out to MY TEAM. I’m lucky enough to exclusively contribute my time to the creative side of things. I am job-spoiled!


Q: I absolutely loved this post!! Such great advice! I was wondering if you had any advice for women like myself who are just out of university and trying to figure out what’s next? -Paige M.

A: Paige, I feel ya! This is the question we all want answers to but unfortunately…and fortunately… life lessons are the only answer. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself!!!  Start doing whatever the heck you want… be it flower arranging, blogging, landscaping, interning, ANYTHING! I always compare myself to Forrest Gump, you know how he had SO many jobs? I’ve done it all, at least it feels that way. Here’s how my path has gone so far. Get ready it’s LOOONNNGGGG!…

Hair Dresser’s Assistant — Beer Cart Girl — Janitor — Nanny — Assistant Golf Club Restaurant  Manager — ** Graduated High School** — decided not to go to college right away which made my parents upset — Construction Flagger — Camp Cook — Heavy Machinery Operator — **Attended College (General Studies)** — Self-Employed House Cleaner — Server — Bartender — Restaurant Manager — **Changed courses to Travel and Tourism** — Tried out self-employed interior design but had no clue what I was doing — Waitress — Got Job with Cactus Club Cafe being an Executive Assistant — moved to Vancouver — got let go from above DREAM JOB for not being “corporate” enough — was devastated, but now I understand — Project Manager for custom art company (basically was a personal assistant) — **went back to school for Interior Design** — Restaurant Designer & Project Manager for Browns Socialhouse — Self Employed Interior Designer — back to restaurant designer & project manager — ***GETS TIPSY & APPLIES FOR BACHELOR*** — goes on The Bachelor — goes on The Bachelorette Stresses about a job doesn’t want to end up like Snookie — Moves to Chicago — Gets a job in Chicago for a design firm — got hired on Extreme Makeover Home Edition — EMHE gets cancelled — **stresses about a job again** — Hosts Canada’s Next Handyman for two seasons — **stresses about a job** — Contacted by Love It Or List It Vancouver — Hosts LIOLIVExpands !!!

photo credit: Janis Nicolay & Kristin Sarna

SO…. As you can see, it wasn’t really a straight path! LOL, sometimes you have to give yourself the freedom to find your way. My parents always said if I did what I loved I wouldn’t work a day in my life. With bags under my eyes, no sleep, grimey teeth and a filthy house… I can confidently say, THEY WERE RIGHT!  Take your time. More importantly, take the time to look into your heart and find what drives your soul.

 What’s your career path been like and where do you hope to go? Tell me in the comments below!




Leave a Reply

  1. Such a great post. Very inspiring to see, like you I wore many hats before figuring out which one suited me best. Thanks for keeping it real!

  2. I look forward to your posts from my desk each and every day, and these new open and honest posts are definitely the best. You and Kate Middleton are my style icons so I always pop in for fashion/design posts, but I love how I feel like I’ve got to know the real you too! Liz

  3. Thank you so much for this post Jill!! For many of us taking the journey can seem so daunting….I have always looked up to people who have just “known” what career path was right for them. I’m a creative type and so my path has never been liner….it’s refreshing to read your blog posts and now understand that you have ventured in all different directions and came out doing what you love. Thanks for sharing parts of your story again. All of us who look up to you really appreciate your honesty!

  4. Another great post. I love the job map. Mine looks quite similar. Hitting your 30’s and finding your unique stride is the best. Thanks for keeping it real 😉

  5. Jilly: Thanks for the recommendation for a restaurant in Vancouver. My Grandson loved it. We spent Monday am on Grandville Island. My daughter got me one of those absolutely awful donuts covered in Maple frosting. I had to stop at just 1 because I would have gained many, many pounds if I had stayed and had a dozen or more. The trip on Disney to Alaska was great. The weather was perfect. Tracy Arm was spectacular. Our 50th wedding celebration could not have been better. Hope all is well with you. xoxo Pat and Gil Harris and family

  6. Thank you Jillian!
    You are amazing and this post is amazing!! It is awesome to know a bit more of your story and how HARD you have worked for all that you have.
    My journey has been..
    Paper route – dog sitter – soccer/ bball ref – Tim hortons – graduated high school – worked at the athletic center at university – kids camp counsellor – landscaping- graduated uni – went to teachers college – soccer coach – tutor – volunteered three years – got a supply job – got a long term
    occasional contract last year – this sept.. Starting supplying again- looking into getting an interior design degree/ certificate at night but don’t know where to start in Toronto!! – keep crossing my fingers in the next five years to get a permanent teaching job.
    Any suggestions on design cert vs degree?
    Thank you for being my design, fashion and all around badass inspiration. 🙂

  7. Oh Jillian! I love your advice, you’re story is so inspiring and relatable! BTW i am obsessed with love it or list it vancouver..amazing show and you are so great on it!! 🙂

  8. You’re amazing, thank you for sharing your story!! I am in the middle of being fresh out of school and trying to “break out on my own” but sometimes (most of the time) I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing – I’m just running on an inexplicable drive and a gut feeling. It is extremely comforting to know that someone with your success (and someone that I look up to) went through the same struggles, and it’s always good to remember that these things take time. XO keep doing what you’re doing!!

  9. I’m glad new episodes of love it or list it too are back! I think the time that you took to answer some questions really goes a long way in the person that you are and your career!

  10. Seriously love this post Jillian! Your career path is so inspiring, showing that it’s not just a straight arrow to your dream job (which I need to be reminded of all the time!)

    I have worked at Dairy Queen, Best Buy, a local plant nursery, a collegiate athletics ticket office, children’s hospital, wedding gown shop, as a nanny, montessori preschool and finally doing social media at a recruiting firm and blogging for a local wedding site! (whew!)

  11. Hi Jilly! I am LOVING these posts – it’s so great to learn more about your life and your work. I will be graduating from the University of Calgary next year and feel overwhelmed by all of my interests and potential career paths – it’s so nice hearing about someone who’s hopped around and found work they’re truly passionate about! Thanks so much for always being so incredibly inspiring Jillian <3

  12. Wahoo! Just registered for the BlogPodium conference! Jillian you’re such a fantastic role model, and I can’t wait to hear your keynote speech! 🙂

  13. I don’t think this post could have come at a better time. I just got laid off from my corporate job. A job in which I was very unhappy in for a whole 6 years! I believe this was a blessing in disguise as I was always too scared to leave even though I was unhappy.

    I’m currently searching for a career path and purpose. You have inspired me to start creating a blog and actually doing something I love. I hope to see you at Blogpodium and learn as much as I can from you!!

    Thank you for being such a great inspiration!


  14. I’ve had a few jobs… lifeguard at Legoland, acrobatic instructor at a small dance studio. Now i’m applying for an on campus job at USF as the marketing coordinator. I’m still a student.

    After a bad experience at a small PR firm in downtown Orlando, I’m completely lost in what/where I want to work after I graduate in May. Seeing your career path and being reassured that it’s OK if you havent figured everything yet is a breath of fresh air. As long as I’m doing something I love, or love at the time.

    Let me know if you need a personal assistant ;D

  15. This is probably the most authentic posts I’ve ever read. Just keep doing what you’re doing… okay? 🙂

  16. My career path has been rocky, however I’m learning so much about myself and what I want in my career and out of life in general. Reading stories like yours keeps me grounded in a fast paced world of wanting everything right now. Thank you for being you. 🙂

  17. LOVE you Jilly! Love watching you on Love it or List, snapchat and of course reading your blog! You inspire me daily girl! I agree with the quote above, your brand is great but you my friend are fabulous!
    I also had a million jobs! Lol Finally my husband and I have decided to become entrepreneurs and are opening up our very own British style Gastropub! (He’s English lol)
    Anyway it’s taken me a long time to get here but I’ve always known I wanted to be my own boss! As Beyoncé would say ” I’m not bossy, I’m THE boss!” LOL LOVE IT!
    It’s so refreshing to see women like yourself showing the world that we can do anything we want if we put our mind to it.
    Thank you Jill! And keep it up lady! Xo

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Jillian! I giggled at your job chronology. I just graduated high school and starting college, but I truly don’t know where my journey is taking me. Like you, I am a busy bee with lots of ideas and just need to figure out how to cultivate them into something I enjoy and find meaningful. I hope to attend Blogpodium and I guess I should get my ticket soon!

  19. Thank you Jillian! I truly enjoyed your entire post – particularly the job chronology. I think we can all say that our futures terrify us but I’m so happy that you had the courage to share your ups and downs within your career with your readers. It is refreshing to see! I think knowing that other people are going through the same crossroads and challenges is reassuring that eventually if you push yourself enough, you will find what you truly love! Thank you for sharing — it has been a delight getting to know more about you through snapchat, instagram and your blog!

    Question for you though: What drove you to pursue your career in interior design? Did you have that AH-HA moment or was it a combination of crossing other jobs you’ve tried off the list?

  20. You are so inspiring!! I have been at a desk job since I graduated college with a useless criminal justice degree and I’m fed up!! I am taking my Real Estate test at the end of the month and my parents haven’t been the most supportive of it. They are worried that I won’t have the steady income that a 9-5 would give me. I am excited to pursue my new career path and I’m even more excited to get out of my 9-5 and be my own boss! You are completely relatable and I’m so glad you took time to share your thoughts and write this blog. You’re amazing and inspiring and I hope that people will look up to me one day the same I look up to you.

    Thanks, Jillian!

  21. These posts are great. The list of all your jobs – that is so awesome to see!! You wonder about other peoples’ paths and so fun to see!!

  22. Jillian –

    New reader here, but longtime fan! THANK YOU. Thank you for listing your career path. I constantly question what I’m doing (just graduated this May with Bachelor’s of Interior Design now working for a commercial firm and (trying) running my own design business on the side). I look up to you & other successful designers (Emily Henderson/Joanna Gaines) and get so eager to want to “get there” but realizing it takes time and HARD WORK. Thanks for this inspiration, motivation and constant reminders!

    Keep it up! 🙂


  23. Jillian, I never watched the Bachelorette shows, so not a fan, but I am a huge fan of Love It or List It Vancouver. You and Todd are a great team and I am always looking forward to the next show. I love the banter between you both. Your designs are inspirational and the homes Todd finds for the homeowners are sometimes remarkable. You’re both professional but fun, never stuffy. I hope your show continues to have great success!
    I’ll be watching.
    Lynn in Mississauga .

  24. Jillian
    You are an inspiration to me. You have amazing style and ideas! You are your own kind of degree. You don’t need the piece of paper to be relevant. You are a winner, it’s just in you! Thanks for keeping it real. You should be proud to be you.
    I wish I could do what you do.
    And I love love love your new home!!

  25. I noticed from a post on twitter that you use a design program on your iPad called Floor Plans.
    Can you please tell me a little more about who provides the software as there are severa,l programs with
    that name.

    Thanks so much

    Love your show!

  26. It was so amazing to hear your story and see the journey you’ve been on to creating your dream job and life. It’s given me some confidence in where I’m currently at. I’m just finishing my interior design certificate at BCIT, and interning with Northland properties assisting with Moxies and Shark club restaurant design! I remember you told me in a meet and greet that jumping right into the industry is the best thing to do. REAL work experience. 🙂 The end goal for me is similar to where you are at now, I feel there are so many things I want to do! I’ve always wanted to have my own company and be boss woman. I find I struggle some days just wondering what to do and how to get there. I’ve wanted to freelance for staging homes , have my own design company , freelance & be a wiz at sketchup and create 3D rendering, create a cookbook.. the list goes on. Long story short, after all my rambling, it’s comforting hearing your journey hasn’t been an easy one, but you knew what your passion was and you stuck to it , having many opportunities come your way, taking advantage of them and leading to the success that you are today! Thankyou for being real!

  27. Jillain Harris, ever since I watchd you on Love it or List it I have been a huge fan of yours and was always looking forward to seeing what kind of design/decor change you were going to do next. Watching you turn houses around has inspired to me to pursue a career in this field. Guess my question is how you get started for I have no education or experience in that industry but I enjoy it and want to let out my creative side by helping create dream homes for others and myself also.

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