We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeanelle Castro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeanelle, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
I disagree with people who say you have to go to school or get accredited before you can pursue a business or be successful. I’ve had previous executives strongly suggest that I get my MBA so I can be “successful”, but I felt like it was a waste of money and time when I could be spending both of those resources towards building an actual business. In my eyes, just because someone went to school for something doesn’t necessarily make them more capable in my book. I’d rather listen to someone with experience and success that actually did the work, versus someone who went to school but rarely applied it in real life. Now, I have over 1.5+ million views on my YouTube channel (Jeanelleats), an increasingly growing community across multiple social media channels, and met so many incredible creatives and entrepreneurs that I otherwise wouldn’t have met had I gone to business school instead. The beauty of our world today makes almost everything accessible online. You can learn ANYTHING you want by going to Google, or buying an online course that costs peanuts compared to going to a University. I’m building a digital course to help people create SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS and learn MARKETING for their brand. Can you imagine how much a traditional educational institution would charge to learn BUSINESS and MARKETING? A note on taking advice from people: the people who told me to get my MBA were living lives that I had no desire to pursue. It’s best to find someone who’s living the life you want, and follow their advice instead.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m the Host and Producer of Jeanelleats, a YouTube channel that showcases Filipino food and other delicious hidden gems from around the world. I am also a video marketer, and I help brands create social media videos through my coaching programs and courses. What sets me apart from others is that I place heavy importance on the substance of the story in videos, instead of the cinematography or aesthetic of the videos. I learned that imperfect videos can go viral, as long as the message you’re giving to the audience is useful or relatable. I have to give credit to my background as a digital product marketing manager for this knowledge. Before short-form videos like TikTok or Instagram Reels came out, I was already creating short-form videos to promote our company’s games and improve conversion rates to increase our revenue. While I was working at my previous company, I got the call to create a YouTube channel when I first watched “EmmyMade” on YouTube. I thought, “I could do that! I want to share my food with the world!”. I started the channel, my boyfriend Doug and I started traveling around the world, and I realized I HAD to go pursue a business helping others market their brand or make videos. I couldn’t sit in at my desk from Mon-Fri, 9-5 any longer. The toughest part of being an entrepreneur is battling your internal thoughts. There’s constant chatter in my head telling me that I’ll fail, or that success isn’t meant for me. This chatter doesn’t end, but you can take action to help silence it. Surround yourself with people who love you and support your CRAZY IDEAS. Having a strong support group around me is the biggest reason why I’m still doing this! One day, Jeanelleats will evolve to become a branded show with a full-production crew traveling around the small provinces across the Philippines, Asia, and the rest of the world to spotlight incredible foods and cultures that would otherwise remain in obscurity. My goal is to give back the knowledge and skills that I’ve learned throughout my journey and help millions of people around the world deliver their story and their message using videos, and provide them with the resources to help them succeed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m all about the food! For breakfast, maybe we can go to Gusto Bread in Long Beach for their incredible sourdough breads and pastries. Then let’s visit my friend Romeo at Romeo Chocolates while we’re in the area for his luscious Belgian chocolate creations! It’s probably a good idea to walk off all the sweets by the shoreline, or maybe we can visit the Aquarium Of The Pacific! For our lunch, let’s drive up and get a bunch of random food options in one area. We can go to either Grand Central Market or The Original Farmer’s Market. There’s something for everyone in either market! For a light snack, let’s hit up Dollar Hits in Temple Street so we can grill our own Filipino street food. You get to experience what it was like when my family and I enjoyed street food in the Philippines! Or maybe you want more desserts? Let’s hit up Cafe 86 in Artesia for BOSS Filipina chef Ginger’s famous ube flan cupcakes, or maybe some halo-halo! We also can’t go wrong with Porto’s…try the guava cheese strudel or medianoche sandwich instead of the typical cheese strudel and potato ball! For dinner, there’s sooo many options. My sister and I loved Republique’s ambiance and delicious food. We even saw Jacob Batalon having dinner there one night! Want something a big *fancier*? I really enjoyed Spago in Beverly Hills! Or do you want to try some Chinese food? Shaanxi Garden in San Gabriel has INCREDIBLE dishes, Omar Restaurant in San Gabriel serves up flavorful Uzbek food, and Savoy Kitchen in Alhambra is a MUST for their Hainan Chicken. I could write so much more, but I would never finish because there’s just so many delicious spots to try. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My families have been incredibly supportive of my business and YouTube career. My family is constantly hyping me up on social media, telling their friends, and sharing my links to local businesses. I am so amazed and blessed to have such a wonderful family backing me up. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my boyfriend’s family…I’m so blessed. A HUGE shout-out to my boyfriend Doug, who’s been my source of love, compassion, and inspiration. He helps me through the toughest moments of my business, and he cheers on every little win I get (more than I do!). Ladies, it’s so important to have a truly supportive partner – and they exist!! My sister Claudine was an entrepreneur before I was, and she gives me so much guidance and support throughout my entrepreneurial journey. I also can’t believe my best friend was literally my best friend since “Day 1”! Graham, my sister’s boyfriend, is a professional cinematographer and gaffer. He taught me SO much about how to improve filming my YouTube videos, the equipment I need, and tons of industry knowledge. I feel like he helped propel my video quality from 0 to 100! There’s so many other people who’ve helped me get here. In addition to my family, I’ve got my friends, mentors, acquaintances who have urged me to never give up, and continue down this path. My YouTube Coach TJ Lee (@CupOfTJ) and my Vlogger Academy siblings, my mentor Kalika Yap, my boyfriend’s family, Entrepinayship, Powerful Ladies… and so many other people! Thank you all!