Founding an idea and finding joy with Jiive CEO, Jhanelle Elissa
"Being mission-driven in anything and existing right in your element will keep you going. When you’re really living in alignment with what you’re meant to do, it’s a lot easier to just keep going."
Jhanelle Elissa is an actress, director, producer, and the founder of the new live events platform for making real-life friends, Jiive! Jiive is a new type of live events platform that facilitates real life connection, an in-person friendship, for people of all ages. Jhanelle's mission is to provide widespread access to social experiences at low-cost, and to put an end to the exorbitant ticket fees customary to early pre launch events. We spoke with Jhanelle about the ideation phase and how entrepreneurs can continue to find joy in their work.
On ideating Jiive
How did the idea of Jiive come to you?
"Even before the pandemic, I was noticing that it was just getting really hard to meet my friends in person. My friends were getting very comfortable talking to me through texts and DM’s, but didn’t want to meet for coffee and have real life interactions.
Just before the pandemic, I was just starting to experience a lot of loneliness living in LA, and I’m in my 20s! I’m like I'm in a time of my life where I should be having a lot of friends and getting outside and interacting with these people on a regular basis. And it just wasn't my reality.
I talked to my friend's parents, and they talked about how as an adult it’s really hard to make new friends and no one offers up a solution. I love offering solutions. I don't really like talking about things without resolving them and people are just learning how to cope with loneliness these days but no one wants to solve it. Everyone talks about how big social media is, how much of a business it is, but we just talk about it and don't actually do anything to truly tangibly and effectively help people overcome the challenges that are being created by these large companies that are pushing interaction with life through this."
How did you know it was and idea to move forward with?
I have this list of 'Maybe One Day' ideas that Jiive has sat in since I was 17. I found myself sending myself voice messages and creating notes that eventually became 70 pages worth of ideation and data. I showed it to my best friend and she convinced me I had to move forward with Jive, and that I was the right person to bring it to life.
How far along are you with Jiive?
I finalized the concept in November last year. From January to May 2021 I did things like opening an LLC, securing my provisional patent and trademark. I've designed wireframes and found developers. We just need capital so the plan is to host events and field days where we can interact with customers and create data to show investors that there is all this activity to move in on. Right now I'm in a space of studying the best way to build this thing by looking at what has and hasn't worked at other companies.
How do you balance being an early stage entrepreneur with your role?
One of the first people I asked for advice is the founder of a dating app, who also used to be an actor. She said that if she took a call with an investor and she was on set, suddenly, the investor discounts her because she's doing something else. That scared me because I love acting and I’m super passionate about it. I’ve built my career now and I have great reps. I just don't see myself ever giving up acting nor storytelling.
How have you been able to continue finding joy in your work when the nature of your industry is that it can be quite deterring?
It’s just who I am to be joyful. I figure out how to smile and how to smile until it’s real. Yes, the entertainment industry can be quite brutal. But being mission-driven in anything and existing right in your element will keep you going. When you’re really living in alignment with what you’re meant to do, it’s a lot easier to just keep going.