YouTuber, Entrepreneur, Author / Study with Jess + seed.ED Educationary
Jessica Holsman, 26, better known as Study with Jess, started making YouTube videos in her bedroom in 2014, after graduating from Deakin University with a Post Graduate Degree in Psychology. Fast forward two years and Jessica now owns a successful stationary company, and has recently become an Author with the release of her first book The High School Survival Guide, did we mention that she is only 26?
A YouTube phenomenon, Jess’s channel reaches millions of people worldwide, her Instagram followers are 29,000+ deep and her fans are diehard. Being a YouTuber has flourished into a fully fledged career over the past 10 years, as young creators like Jess mature into savvy entrepreneurs. Jess has built her brand by putting into practice the skills that she has learnt at university, coupled with creating content and tools that help students enjoy their time at school.
We personally love Jess’s tips on how to stay focused, fuelled and become an A+ student. And please don’t even get us started on Jess’s rabbit Honey. If you don’t already, save her YouTube Channel in your favourites, her videos are essential.
We are so excited to share with you this #careerstory of Jessica Holsman. Let’s jump in.
Hi Jess, ahhh we love Study with Jess, can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne with my mum, dad and older sister. My parents always supported and encouraged my sister and I to do our best, though never put pressure on us to excel and get the highest grades in school or take on multiple extracurricular activities – that was something I seemed to do all on my own! I was always very determined, driven and dare I say also a little competitive, so I devoted myself to my studies from a young age and always applied myself at school. Growing up with a mother who was also a teacher certainly taught me the importance of an education and to see my time at school as something that should never be taken for granted. It’s no wonder I ended up following in her footsteps and delving into the realm of education shortly after finishing my university degree.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Mount Scopus Memorial College and loved it! From prep all the way through to my final year of high school I remember creating so many wonderful memories and forming lasting friendships. I felt very supported by the staff and although it’s a pretty large school, I never felt as though I got lost amongst the crowd of students. Also, in hindsight, having my mum at my school was also a bonus! I don’t think I really appreciated it at the time – as most teenagers wouldn’t – but it was nice to have her there whenever anything came up at school or I forgot to take my lunch!
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Well, sort of… My high school culture certainly emphasised the importance, if not the norm, of going on and enrolling in further education after school. Not only was this something that was stressed in most families, having an emphasis on further education at school meant almost every student in my year went on to study at university. In saying that, majority of my peers went on to study law, commerce, marketing, psychology – myself included – and creative or newly found areas of work were not brought to our attention. This is something I came across on my own when I discovered the wonderful world of YouTube and found a way to implement all of the skills I had acquired throughout my education while putting a creative twist on things!
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Although it would have been useful, I didn’t end up completing any internships or doing any work experience during high school, this is something that came when I started my university degree – unless babysitting my psychology teacher’s kids counts! I think that I was so consumed with my increasing workload at school as well as extracurricular activities that I was concerned about taking on too much and spreading myself too thin during what were very demanding years.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
After finishing high school I went straight into another busy academic year and soon completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at Monash University. I always wanted to study psychology and follow in my sister’s footsteps by studying at Monash University. These three years were particularly demanding however, as I did my best to balance a part time job and 3 volunteer jobs with full-time study. It is a really competitive course and a lot of students are trying to ‘one-up’ each other by having more experience and getting higher grades in order to secure themselves a spot in a postgraduate study afterwards. Thinking back, I don’t know why I was in such a rush to ‘beef up’ my resumé since it probably would have been better to pace myself and if need be, pick up some more volunteer work or secure an internship during the summer or following year.
After I completed my undergraduate degree I decided to move to Deakin University and enrolled in a postgraduate diploma of psychology – yep, I ended up right next door to my old high school! I chose to move because they are known for having a great psychology department and the supervisor I wanted also happened to be moving from Monash to Deakin so I followed suit! This was probably my most demanding and important academic year to date, as many of the skills I now share on my YouTube channel Study With Jess and which feature in my book The High School Survival Guide came from this time in my life. The faculty were incredibly supportive and encouraging and I made more of an effort to get to know my peers and make time to socialize as well. I saw a huge improvement in my grades and even finished with first class honours!
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
After completing my psychology degree things rapidly changed! I currently run a successful educational YouTube channel called Study With Jess, where I share weekly study tips and help students develop better study skills. I launched my channel early in 2015 and since then it has received over 7 million views which is crazy when you try to envision all of those faces staring back at you! I’ve also signed with Nickelodeon’s YouTube network AwesomenessTV and featured on their channel several times to provide their viewers with a dose of study inspiration too! I love being able to call myself a YouTuber because it not only means I get to be my own boss but also that I am able to deliver content creatively which inspires and motivates students globally.
YouTube is limitless and has brought many exciting opportunities my way in such a short time frame. In fact, shortly after I began my channel I launched my own educational stationery line, seed.ED Educationery. I wanted to create a product line that was the living and breathing templates of what I believe my YouTube persona embodies and I believe the two complement each other perfectly. The range consists of brightly coloured planners and exercise books that contain unique templates as well as feature study tips to help students complete major assignments and study for exams effectively.
Most recently, I signed with a publishing company in the US and have just released my debut study skills book The High School Survival Guide. I regularly receive study questions from students and had always wanted to create a resource in addition to my channel and stationery to assist them with further developing their study skills. It covers everything from how to get ready for a new school year, to how to structure your study sessions, study for exams and manage exam stress.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
I used to spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos – although I still do now! I noticed that while a lot of young girls would create a few videos about how to study or get ready for school during the US ‘back to school’ season, no one was creating videos that would support students throughout the busy school year. I saw a gap in the market and instantly felt inspired to create the first personable and education-based YouTube channel that not only delivered informative content but also did it in an engaging and creative manner.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
I think it’s easy to become completely immersed in something we feel so passionate towards and in doing so, neglect ourselves. It’s taken me a while to learn the importance of setting boundaries when it comes to my work, and not take on more than I can handle. There were times when I would work 14-hour days and prioritise my work over my personal life because it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of entrepreneurial life. I’ve learned to switch off my email notifications and schedule time to do my social media, as well as set time limits for when I need to finish working for the day. I love being my own boss and seeing my business grow, but I had to learn that I also need to be selfish and take better care of myself so that I don’t burn out, otherwise nothing will get done.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you at Study with Jess?
My days can be quite different depending on the projects I am working on. At the moment, I tend to wake up around 7.30am and take an hour to get myself organised for the day. I don’t like to jump straight into work so I typically make myself a cup of tea, sit on the couch and watch some TV, chat with my partner over breakfast and then get myself dressed before heading out the door to take a yoga class down the street. This is my “me-me” time as my mum and I like to call it! Once back from yoga, I flip open my diary and see what I have planned before beginning my work day. This week I have been filming and editing a lot of new footage for my channel so you’d likely find me glued to my laptop for most of the day, with a couple of overseas skype meetings with my publishers or network manager scheduled in between.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
I don’t really have one person in particular that comes to mind. If I had to choose, I would say that my family and partner Adam have inspired and supported me unconditionally throughout my life and have influenced me the most. It is thanks to them that I have been able to achieve everything I have so far and I am very grateful for them!
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
I would say, ‘be yourself!’ If you find the idea of being a YouTuber or entrepreneur exciting then ask yourself why and make sure your reason is closely tied to something you are passionate about. As long as your idea is something you are personally invested in and you stay true to yourself, you will feel a strong connection to your business. This is essentially what will help you persevere and push through any tough times or challenges you incur, because trust me, in business there are bound to be setbacks! Also, I feel as though we are always in such a hurry to reach our end goals. In business, things take time and it’s important to be patient. It took me two months to get my first 1,000 subscribers and one year later, it now takes me 1-2 days! If you truly believe in your business and you are willing to commit to it and see it through then it’s just a matter of time before you start to see results.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your life
- Favourite Blogs or Websites: I like reading articles on entrepreneur.com and find it very beneficial as a newbie in the business arena!
- Name an Instagram Account or Snapchat that you can’t go a day without checking: @seed.ed_educationery and @studywithjess of course!
- Books: For my soul, I would have to say ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle. For improving work habits, I would recommend ‘Work Smarter: Live Better’ by Cyril Peupion
- People: All of the creative individuals I have had the privilege of working with so far, as well as my amazing family and beautiful partner Adam.