Good Morning, Unique Ones! Happy Friday. Cheers to the weekend but first, let’s get the day started with some inspiration!
I’m back with the first of this month’s latest installment of She Who Creates.
This week, I am excited to introduce everyone to another fellow creative mind. She’s a mother, wife and a hardworking entrepreneur!
Unique Ones, say hello to Julie Holloway:
I met Julie through our fellow mentor, Donna Smith Bellinger. After meeting with Julie at the celebration of her and her daughter (yes, her daughter is an entrepreneur too!) book releases, I knew that there was something special about her.
I purchased her first book, TEW: The Entrepreneur Within and to this day, I reference this book while on the road to entrepreneurship.
Julie’s creativity is contagious one that should be shared with the world!
Julie M. Holloway is a multi-passion creative author, graphic and web designer and artist based in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. In 2011, she opened JMH Cre8ive Solutions, a full service boutique creative agency. In November, 2011 she published a book titled The Entrepreneur Within You, new inspirational business anthology series featuring stories and experiences told by herself and 18 contributing authors. The second book in the TEW series will launch June, 2014. With an enormous heart and hunger for collaborating and assisting entrepreneurs carry through their creative vision, the business continues to flourish. Julie loves spending family time with her husband Darnell and children Jasmine & DJ and also loves to write, paint, travel, spend time outdoors and listen to music!
I couldn’t wait to find out what Julie had to say about finding her inspiration and how she’s able to not only balance work and life but also infuse creativity into her family life:
As a mother, what has been the hardest part about chasing your dreams?
I am a mother, a wife, an owner of a creative graphic arts company as well as a painter and an author. I grew up with the love of painting abstract and colorful works of art. After sixteen years of sitting in cubicles in corporate America, I taught myself graphic design. I have been growing our graphics business steadily for the past six years, now with the help of my husband and a great team. I live for creativity and am so glad that I found a way to make money while doing the things I love most. The hardest part about getting to this point was figuring out HOW to do it, and getting through the debilitating FEAR of the unknown. Once I got my plan together, and had a little courage coaching, I was good to go!
How do you balance family and work?
It’s hard. Honestly. I have tried many different scenarios over the past few years. When I was working in corporate, and running my business, I had much more of a schedule. I worked harder in fewer hours. In my first two years as a full-time entrepreneur, I started a shirt line called They Sleep We Grind. The shirts are very sought after, because that’s what entrepreneurs do. Well, at the end of my second year full-time, my husband said, enough is enough. You are hardly enjoying time for yourself, you are not exercising, and you are working when you should be hanging with the family. So he, the planner that he is, helped me to devise a plan, and a schedule. I work Monday through Friday now from 9am-6pm; no weekends unless it’s a dire emergency that is going to have a good ROI. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to the gym from 8:30-10:30. So on some of those days, I might sneak in a few extra work hours at night, but not many. I have taken up my painting again, so I find things to do at night that I simply love, and only do them for ME. That makes me feel so much more balanced!
What inspired you to chase your dreams?
I was inspired by all of my clients. The experiences that I have endured in living in the corporate world gave me strengths that I never knew I had. Both personally and professionally, good and bad experiences have built me into the business person that I am today. When I faced quitting my job 2.5 years ago, I had to pull from strength that may not have even existed yet. What inspired me, was to see that others were already doing this. I had to really look around, talk to others and find out how they were doing it. Once I heard enough I knew it was my time. I was inspired to chase after my dreams feverishly, because I could not bear to work in the corporate environment that I was in any longer. I was sick, not eating, and literally dreaming of driving off a cliff on the way to work so that I would not have to END UP at work. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but it’s the truth. That is how badly I wanted to escape and do my own thing; expand my creative business. My only way to go at that point in my life was up!
What’s your favorite “me-time” activity?
I love to sit on my bed with my Nook, a few books, my journals and Super Soul Sunday! Secondly, I love to work in my art studio and paint. That is my ultimate release. Third, my favorite places are Starbucks and LA Fitness, because there I can fall into my own little world, away from the business!
What’s the best advice your mother gave you?
I always remember her saying “everything happens for a reason, just believe” and I love that quote to this day. My parents encouraged us so much throughout our lives, and still do. I know that whatever I desire to try, to experience, to learn in my life, that my parents will support me, even if the rest of the world thinks I am crazy. The day I told them I was quitting my job, in corporate America, I sat in McDonald’s with them. We were having lunch across the street from my office and they encouraged me to go for it. I will never forget that day. It gave me so much hope.
What advice can you give mothers out there who are looking to start a business or pursue their passions?
I would tell them to stay empowered and connected to other entrepreneurs. My sense of empowerment comes from so many areas. Being that I am a very visual person, it comes from things that I see every day. From browsing online, to visiting the library, to hanging out at the gym, or at Starbucks, I always have things to take “away” and bring back to my work. I am very empowered by hearing others’ stories of success, trials and tribulations. I enjoy learning from both men and women who have had successful businesses, some, much longer than I have. I truly enjoy engaging online with colleagues, family and friends where we share many commonalities, and diverse experiences. My latest dose of empowerment comes from watching Shark Tank, Super Soul Sunday and some of the other shows on the OWN Network and I am hardly a TV person! I just really enjoy positive energy that I can channel back to my creativity and my own daily goals. Most recently, I have been invited to speak on a few panels with other entrepreneurs and it has been the most rewarding and empowering experiences to date, to be able to also share my story. I feel that if mothers see success and hope for their future, that it is possible for them to attain it. However, they must put in the work, establish that team and surround themselves with the resources they need. We can all do anything that we want to do; and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
For more on Julie Holloway, TEW and more, check out these links below:
Are you a creative, entrepreneurial woman? Share your story and your business with me for a chance to be featured in future installments of She Who Creates. Send an email to email@example.com SUBJECT: She Who Creates
Until next time, stay blessed and unique!