“I came from a background of hard knocks,” begins 25-year-old Arizona entrepreneur Tessabella Jelten. “I grew up very poor, and endured many challenges by the time I was 14–15 years old.” While many might view those early struggles as obstacles, Tessabella chose to see them as education. “I was fortunate to experience all of these things at such a young age because it taught me so much about tenacity, perseverance and hard work,” she recalls. At 18, while a freshman at Arizona State University, she began her first home renovation, or “flip,” as they’re often called, with negative thirty-six cents in her bank account. Seven years later, she has grossed more than $20 million in sales in a single year, has been the official real estate partner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns before, and started multiple companies to help other aspiring entrepreneurs.
A Student of Life
With such success in a relatively short period, it might be easy to feel as if she had it all figured out. Tessabella is adamant, however, that learning and growing never end. “I always say that I am a student of life. I go into every interaction with massive confidence, because I know that I am the best at what I do, and that I have massive value to bring to every relationship,” she begins. “However, I am always open-minded, and embrace the notion that there are multiple ways to do things, and many different viewpoints. I think that keeping a student mentality, and constantly seeking to be better in all areas of life will keep you on a winning streak.”
Wisdom So Far
Although she insists that she learns something new every day, Tessabella does have advice to offer when asked what she would tell those hoping to emulate her success. “Start!” she says emphatically. “One of my favorite things to tell my clients is that ‘ready is a lie’ if we all waited until we felt ‘ready’ to start the business, or host the podcast, or do the interview, we’d be waiting for eternity!” Instead, she says, take fast action and don’t be afraid to fail. “That’s one of my keys to success,” she adds.
Part of being a student of life, Tessabella explains, is to always be finding the next challenge or opportunity to learn. In her case, this has taken her away from the real estate market she knows into an entirely new world of nutrition, serving as Vice President of brand development for OSNAP Active Lifestyle. “It’s a revolutionary new way to experience nutrition while working to build a community of better minds, bodies, and bank accounts,” Tessabella explains. “I’ve been with this company since it was merely an idea across the dinner table, and it’s been an honor to work with an incredible team to bring the vision to life.”