Written by: Karin Eldor
Whether Jasmine Star waxes poetic about entrepreneurship on a podcast, offers up social media engagement tips in her Facebook Live workshops or talks about her dog Polo in her Insta Stories, one thing is clear: she speaks as she is. The wedding photographer and social media strategist has blazed a trail of authenticity, guts and determination.
Jasmine’s star rose to fame as a wedding photographer when she was 25 years old. But here’s the clincher: when she first picked up her camera, she was actually a UCLA law student who didn’t know the first thing about photography. Luckily, she’s into shots in the dark.
Talk about a pivot: Star took a life-changing leap of faith, without even knowing if photography was her passion.
“That's the crazy thing,” she admits. “I didn't know if photography was my passion... I believed it was my passion, I hoped it was my passion, but I didn't know it was my passion. However, I had to at least try to figure it out. I owed it to myself.”
Star explains: “When I was 25 years old, doctors said my mom was dying of brain cancer. She was only 50. In that moment, I thought I was having a midlife crisis. I was literally half the age of my dying mother… I understood how fast life flies by and I promised to do everything I could to ensure I didn't look back on my life from a hospital bed and wonder, What if…”
So she walked away from her UCLA law school scholarship to follow her heart.
“I believe entrepreneurs owe themselves the chance to try to pursue their curiosity,” Star continues. “Curiosity is the thing that leads to passion, so I'm hell-bent on chasing my interests to determine if they'll morph into my wildest passions.”
That Christmas, her husband JD gifted her with a camera, and the rest is her-story. Jasmine pursued her (then TBD) passion and clicked her way to become one of the world’s premier wedding photographers. Four years in, she became one of the most sought-after photographers in Cali and was voted “Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the World” and “Top 10 Most Socially Influential Photographer.”
Her advice to others also considering a pivot? “Release yourself from people's expectations of your decisions. If you're looking for people to ‘get’ you or applaud your career-switching decisions, you may be searching for a long time. The vast majority of people are afraid of trying something new, but -- more so -- afraid of failing publicly. Most people don't want to be vulnerable and run the risk of closing the doors to a dream.”
Star adds, “Your responsibility isn't to handle the naysayers, nor is it to convince others that your decision is right. Your only job is to do what you've been created to do. You must stand in the rightness of your vision and let your success silence their doubts.” (And, mic drop.)
But everything has its purpose and Star’s law school experience has impacted the businesswoman she is today:
“I firmly believe every experience helps me as an entrepreneur. For example… Being a waitress taught me how to hustle and smile when dealing with rude customers. Working in retail taught me how to dress for the job you want, not the job you have (and properly fold a T-shirt). Volunteering for a janitorial union in L.A. taught me to treat everyone with utmost respect, even if they're cleaning toilets. Law school taught me to think in non-emotional terms and see every situation in black and white.”
Amazingly, Star evolved from wedding photog to branding & social media strategist, helping other entrepreneurs and creatives build a brand and pursue their vision, with her Path to Profitability business summits and workshops. Her evolution from creative to consultant is proof that some of the best career transitions happen organically.
“It was natural. Totally. I built my brand from scratch and used social media to buttress it. Shortly thereafter I taught other photographers how to do it for their businesses and soon a variety of business owners asked for my help. I began consulting with creative entrepreneurs and saw their business explode with growth and entrepreneurial flair.”
Star explains: “The Path to Profitability was a labor of love and resulted with 12 hours of teaching content to entrepreneurs on how to build a brand and use social media to market it effectively. We hosted the workshop and recorded it to share it digitally with entrepreneurs. When I was creating it, I set aside two hours every day for four months to write and assemble the content.”
Star’s advice on how to maintain your voice as a brand?
“Write your copy like you're talking to a friend. There aren't rules for good writing. Actually, there are lots of rules. But ignore them. In today's digital world, the main goal is to get your point across as quickly as possible, in the strongest fashion… and write it the way you'd send an email to a good friend. Make jokes. Add smiley faces. Talk to, not down to, people. This makes a world of difference.”
Amazingly, with everything Star has on her plate, she still manages to answer all the emails to her website within 48 hours, all the while engaging with her over 160K Instagram followers.
And interaction and engagement seem to be what makes Jasmine Star the brand tick. Not only are her posts authentic, but she loves sharing nuggets of truth and wisdom for those who scroll her social media feeds. This is likely why her INSTA180 free 7-day challenge resonated with people.
“I love social media. Like, love it. I've been able to grow my social platforms with concentrated effort and dedication. Most of my marketing efforts are bolstered by social media, so I love teaching others how to use it. INSTA180 was created to teach entrepreneurs how to use Instagram for their businesses. I've learned being popular isn't as important as being profitable. Can I get an amen?!?”
But it’s not all roses, right? So how does Star deal with the thorns and keep viewing the world with rose-colored filters?
“You are enough. You have enough. You need to give yourself grace, in spite of your mistakes. Abundance flows through you. You need to celebrate others' successes as happily as you do your own.” This is Star’s own mantra.
As for the entrepreneur' mom:
“Here's some good news: my mother miraculously recovered from brain cancer… and she's the first person I call when I'm ready to make yet another pivot.” Which, happens to be her advice for surviving the daily hustle: “When you're down, get up. Take breaks when you need them. Call your mom. Invest in good coffee.”
Amen number two.
Karin Eldor is a coffee-addicted copywriter, with a long-time love for all things pop culture, fashion and tech. Ever since she got her first issues of YM (remember that one?) and Seventeen in the mail, she was hooked on the world of editorial content. After earning her Communications degree, she spent 6 years honing her craft as a Senior Editor for AskMen.com. More recently, Karin enjoyed gramming and strategizing as Social Media Manager at ALDO. Today, she is Chief Content Writer at 818 Agency and a social media consultant.