Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Women Entrepreneurs: Jesse Lee Gray

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the incredibly smart and talented Jesse Lee Gray. I had the pleasure of meeting Jesse Lee at an Alexandra Franzen workshop and I was immediately struck by this cool, interesting chick. So, I had to interview her.

Take it away, Jesse Lee!



1.     What is the name of your business and what do you tell other people you do? (such as author, teacher, designer)
Im currently using my name: Jesse Lee Gray.  Im kicking around some ideas for a business name, but havent settled on anything yet.  To keep it simple in a social context, I say freelance writer.  However if Im networking, I say Im an organizational consultant with a writing focus.  I help businesses get organized for scale, without losing the authentic something special that made them successful in the first place.


2.     How long have you been self-employed? What convinced you to become an entrepreneur?
Ive been self-employed exclusively as a freelance writer for a little over a year.  Before that I owned a triple-bottom-line, residential cleaning company for 8 and a half years. 

Entrepreneurship provides me the freedom to decide how I do things and talk to people. I also get bored with a lot of repetition so the ever-changing challenges of self-employment keep my attention focused and my imagination firing at full tilt.


3.     Entrepreneurs rarely stay in one place. How many careers have you had?
Hmmm.  Student, teacher (briefly), house cleaner, cleaning service owner, freelance writer.  Thats 5.  If you count wife (which should totally count), its 6 :)

4.     What are some of the aspects of your current job that people dont see? For example, most people dont understand how much marketing is done by the authors themselves instead of a publisher.
Lots of flexibility and emotional intelligence are required.  My process cant be exactly the same with every person or business: I have to adjust my communication style/ mode to fit each clients needs. I have to *get* them quickly so I can understand them and get to work! When youre good at adjusting nimbly, people dont necessarily notice because the process seems organic.



5.     Who and what inspires you on those inevitable rough days?
Ash Ambirge of The MiddleFinger Project.  She highlights and provides sage advice about the challenges of business ownership and never fails to make me smile with her irreverent and humorous anecdotes.


6.     Name a few of your current projects. For example, conferences, publicity, design process, what you have for sale.
        Orange PoppySkincare: Ive been doing guest blog reviews of their spa services.  Its been really fun to pamper myself with facials for work.
        Online classes.  In April I took a class through the Freelance Writers Den on writing White Papers and am currently working through the Six AppealProcess in order to revamp my website to have more emotional appeal.
        The Garden: a neighborhood farmhouse.  This organization is going through a rebranding and restructuring process as they switch from a for-profit restaurant to a non-profit, food-centered neighborhood resource, education and event center.  I helped them organize New Member information into a 2-part Welcome Guide and will likely continue to help them streamline their communications.
        TheUnreasonable Institute: I have a long-term, part-time gig as their Scale Systems Maverick.  To achieve their mission to tackle the worlds biggest problems through entrepreneurship, they need a lot more locations than they currently have. To set new locations up for success, they needed a training package that encapsulates who they are and how they do their thing for each their programs.  A big piece has been codifying the curriculum that each location teaches to entrepreneurs. 
        Final edits and finishing touches on two collections of my poetry. 
        Go Should Yourself (hat tip to Ms. Mercury for pushing me to do this one)
        Sand in My Teeth


7.     What are your recommendations for women who are interested in pursuing self-employment?
Its a big jump, especially if its your first time, but dont overthink it.  Listen to your gut, your heart, or whatever body part (thats not your head) talks to you.  If it says Do it,then start making serious strides toward the big jump.  No matter how much research you do, youll never be ready for everything a freelance life will throw you.  But if youre brave enough to take the plunge, trust that youll also be smart enough to figure things out as you go and nimble enough to adjust whats not working. 


Monday, August 10, 2015

Women Entrepreneurs: Tina Jacobsen of Jacobsen's Books!

Jacobsen's Books; the perfect little local bookstore.
Welcome back to Women Entrepreneurs, my series on women in business! Here are my back issues:

Natasha Lakos
Alexandra Franzen
Nancy Brophy

And to add to their august company, Tina Jacobsen of Jacobsen's Books & More in Hillsboro, Oregon!



1.      What is the name of your business and what do you tell other people you do? 
Jacobsen’s Books & MoreI own a bookstore! 

2. How long have you been self-employed? What convinced you to become an entrepreneur?

 
I purchased an online book company in February 2009 and in April I quit my full time job to focus on my family and business.  Then in May 2010 I opened Jacobsen’s Books.  
I was raised in a family business and have strong business values and have been told that I am a workaholic.  I have always worked in management positions and like to be able to make my own  decisions.  Owning my own business is just natural.

3. Entrepreneurs rarely stay in one place. How many careers have you had? 

That is interesting, by the age of 20 I had already had 11 different jobs (I left all on my own and for a better position).  I started with the family business which I continued to work through most of high school.  The day after my 15th birthday I started working in fast food and have held jobs in retail, at a fabric store and day care.  I worked in many restaurants as cooks, server and manager, and eventually an office job as a customer service manager in a printing facility.
Check out the family behind this powerhouse lady!

4. What are some of the aspects of your current job that people don’t see? \

I love this question because a lot of people think that working in a bookstore means that you get to sit around and read all day, unfortunately that is not the case.  Contrary to popular belief I have not read every book in the store, in fact I probably have less reading time than most people.  Everything that happens in the business I do myself.  Ordering books, shelving, paying bills, bookkeeping, marketing, events, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming the floor, helping customers, social media, building website etc.  As much as I would love to hire out some of these positions it is a bookstore and unfortunately it’s a hard to survive!

5. Who and what inspires you on those inevitable rough days?

My community of regular customers and my desire to succeed. 

6. Name a few of your current projects.

Summers are busy!  We are sponsoring the Find Waldo Hillsboro event in which 25 businesses in Hillsboro have a Waldo Hidden.  We also have a summer reading program and some game events to compliment it.  I also have Local Authors during the Farmer’s Market every Saturday. 

7. What are your recommendations for women who are interested in pursuing self-employment? 

I say you have to do it for passion, not for money.  Some make it huge, some just barely make it and for a lot it is more of a hobby.  It is awesome to follow your dreams but you have to be sure that you have the means to do so J  Educate yourself and look to the leaders in whatever you want to do for advice.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Jacobsen's Books & More supports local writers. Come on down and buy some books. :)
Thank you for interviewing me! 




Monday, August 3, 2015

Women Entrepreneurs: Banu Ramkrishna

Dr. Ramnkrishna is on the right.
The Women Entrepreneur series is back and I'm thrilled to present Banu Ramkrishna, dentist and business owner extraordinary!

I spend a lot of time on this blog with writers and other artists  so it was a real delight to interview a female entrepreneur who works in the demanding medical field. And here we go. Take it away, Dr. Ramkrishna!



What is the name of your business and what do you tell other people you do?

Cooper Mountain Dental. I am a dentist.

     How long have you been self-employed? What convinced you to become an entrepreneur?

I still work my other job part time and am fortunate enough to be able to do this the rest of my time. I will eventually be working at my own practice full time in the future.  I like to call the shots and deliver the level of care
I think is appropriate without being dictated to meet goals by corporate talking heads. I wanted to have a neighborhood practice and deliver a high quality product in terms of dentistry.



1     Entrepreneurs rarely stay in one place. How many careers have you had?

If that’s the case, I guess I am still early in my path. This is the first business I have owned.


What are some of the aspects of your current job that people don’t see?

Maybe cost of delivering the care they receive? LOL! All jokes aside delivery of dental care is expensive and our overheads are high, cost of equipment, supplies and I have to pay my employees a living wage. Sometimes people don’t realize that. I am involved in all aspects of delivery of care, from selection of materials, to hiring the right staff, staying up to date on various regulations. Just like any other small business owner.



1 Who and what inspires you on those inevitable rough days?
  
 I have a great business partner and we find that our energies interact well and we have some opposite strengths and weaknesses.
A comfy and welcoming office!


Name a few of your current projects.

We are running a New Patient promo for $65 for a new patient exams and $45 for a regular dental cleaning. This is great value for our patients who are cash paying.


1    What are your recommendations for women who are interested in pursuing self-employment?
 
  I would advise anybody that dreams of doing anything to find a way to accomplish it. I know this is an oft repeated cliche but 'You only live once'. Why not do those things you find satisfying? Don't be intimidated at the prospect of making mistakes or not knowing everything about everything. There are experts out there who are good at the details and available to help. You can learn as you go. Believe in yourself!!


Cooper Mountain Dental is over on Facebook:
 
And check out their fabulous reviews on Yelp: