Jules Schroeder is the Founder of CreateU, an online platform out to reimagine higher education in collaboration with the People+ Planet Project affiliated with the United Nations. At 26, she has created a movement to empower Millennials to prosper and profit from doing what they are most passionate about through her podcast Unconventional Life, that profiles successful Millennials who earn their living in non traditional ways.
Like most of the millennials she interviews, Jules launched her first 6-figure company at the age of 18 and first 7-figure company at 22, while serving as a marketing consultant for many top companies. She is known for being a trailblazer and Millennial innovator with a unique ability to spot trends and create innovative global solutions.
When did you know you wanted to start your own business?
Ever since I was little I have had an entrepreneurial mind. My dad who worked on Wall Street in NYC taught me to think differently- seeing holes in systems, and where new opportunities could be created. At 14, my business adventures officially began. I was really into being crafty and got into selling jewelry. Once I started making some money from it I got curious on what other income streams I could set up.
My parents had a condo in Florida that they had trouble renting. They would always talk about how they needed help, so one day I set up an account at vacation rentals, found pictures of the condo, posted the ad, and negotiated a 10% rental fee. It started getting traction and I have been renting their condo for them ever since. It ultimately led me to start an Airbnb business a few years ago, helping others rent their properties, where I figured out how to make any property appear on the home page in 24 hours.
Tell us about your first business and how you were able to successfully exit the company.
I launched my first online business during my senior year of college, selling feather extensions to hair salons. The business took off making feather hair extensions an international trend in 2011. At the time, I didn’t know how to make a website but that didn’t matter; I had google.
I learned how to build a website, run some test ads, enlist my younger sister to model for the site, and within 8 hours of going live I got my first order. From there the business took off- I hired a team to pluck the feathers from the saddle, assemble them into matching clumps by hand with bonding glue (for weaves!), and ship them all over the world to places like China, Australia, Canada, the UK. I got a few buyout offers for my business, but ultimately decided to transfer it to my younger sis as the trend simmered down.
What motivated the decision to transition into radio with your show, Unconventional Life?
In August of 2015, I got into a serious wake boarding accident and had a near-death experience. I remember impacting the water and then waking up in the hospital getting an MRI, floating in and out of consciousness. A bright light came to me, surrounded by a council of six figures. It was the most love I have ever been present to in my life, absolutely beautiful, peaceful, and surreal. They asked me if I wanted to stay, and I said I felt I had more work to do, but only if my body was working.
Suddenly, I was zapped back into my body and was completely healed. The glimpse of the other side and shift in perspective connected a lot of dots for me — I realized the world needed to hear the stories of people who were leading by example, so I started Unconventional Life as a way to share those stories and inspire others to create the life of their dreams.
Describe the show and types of guest you feature.
Unconventional Life is a platform that brings the idea of earning a living in nontraditional ways to the mainstream. Twice a week, I feature two incredible Millennials who are living life on their own terms and profiting from their passions. It’s a way to inspire people that they have the power to live whatever kind of life they want, they don’t have to settle for a 9-5 or whatever they’ve been told constitutes “work.”
Work can be fun, a seamless expression of who you are. So far on the show we’ve had guests like Jenny Sauer-Klein, the creator of Acro-Yoga, Matt Gray, the CEO of the largest online cannabis community Herb, and Michael Grab, a professional stone balancer who travels the world along with other pro athletes, creatives, game changers.
Who has been your favorite guest and why?
My favorite guest on the show was Jordan Gray, a relationship coach who’s got a following of over 20 million from writing his blog the last 3 years. The reason I enjoyed having him on the show so much was because he doesn’t traditionally agree to do podcasts but he made an exception for Unconventional Life, so we got to drop in really deep together and explore rich content.
He shares about how being 100% yourself is the #1 life and business hack, which is truly groundbreaking in a world where so many people sell out and try to be someone else. He hasn’t done any marketing at all, and has got to where he is just by operating in his own genius and honoring himself, which is something I definitely try to emulate myself.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 3 years?
I’d like to build the Unconventional Life tribe so it becomes the norm and standard to earn a living in nontraditional ways. I see the expression of that being CreateU, an online education platform I’ve built in collaboration with the United Nations to empower students to learn the skills they need through classes, mentors, and experience, to create the career and lifestyle they want.
It’s my mission to make it a reality for people to get paid to do the passion-inspired work that they love. It’s incredibly important for me to lead by example, which is why I’ve dedicated so much energy to clearing space to make this possible for myself — particularly in the realm of relationships. Emotional intelligence and an entrepreneurial mindset are without a doubt my most powerful weapons to staying level headed, connected to people who support me, and empowered to pursue my dreams.
You can learn more about Jules and the Unconventional Life at www.julesschroeder.com.