Meet Julie Jones, CEO and Catalyst of JJ&Co., which specializes in marketing, management and events. With experience at Atlantic Records, work with the NAACP and two (soon to be four) degrees, Julie is a powerhouse of knowledge and energy to activate ideas into unforgettable brand builders.
When and how did you start JJ&Co.?
I officially registered Julie Jones & Co., LLC for business March 2016. I had mocked up the business proposal 2 years prior, upon finishing a successful year long internship at Atlantic Records. During this time, I would pick up the proposal draft and put it down. I shifted my time between working towards my first Master’s Degree and working as a entertainment legal assistant for a top NYC Attorney. The idea and insight was the brainchild of my late mentor, Mar Brown Senior Vice President of Urban Radio Promotion at Atlantic Records. Each time I picked the proposal back up, he was there to guide me and help refine the vision.
Why did you decide to make JJ&Co. a consulting model rather than a PR firm, events company, etc.?
Initially when I started JJ & Co. I toggled between an agency, firm or consulting business model. After careful consideration, and lots of great advice from mentors, business-minded individuals and industry leaders, I structured JJ & Co. as a management, marketing and event operations/logistics agency. Businesses undergo evolution all the time, so that structure can very well change in the future. For now, it works best to be a jack of few trades, as opposed to a master of none.
What are the biggest challenges with starting and growing a business? Do you have advice for those interested in entrepreneurship?
Business challenges are inevitable — it’s all about handling them. Funding can be a challenge because in the first year or so, you do not always bring in as much revenue as you invest. However, I utilize every free or minimally paid app I can find, and make the best out of what I have for my clients and I.
Advice: never oversell yourself or service offerings, yet do what you can, with what you have, while you are able to. I don’t promise anything, instead I reassure my clients that together, as a partnership we will diligently work towards success. Often times young people use social media to create personas, smoking mirror and empty promises. I advise prospective business owners to utilize social influence to keep it real and show their followers what separates them from anyone else, what makes them uniquely beneficial to do business with.
What is it like balancing you work for JJ&Co. with your day job, school and other commitments?
Balancing being a full-time Marketing Manager at an NYC based agency, with my current educational MBA/JD pursuits, running JJ & Co. and serving on the NAACP National Youth Work Committee is difficult, but “heavy is the head that wears the crown.” I no longer make “to-do” lists, I instead take everything I have to do and put it right onto my calendar with an allowed timeframe to do it. Lists create anxiety, and God knows I don’t need any more of that. Additionally, I’ve always been a strategic multi-tasker; so work-life balance is not an issue for me. I am obsessively organized, so I take great pride in my calendar management skills and ability to be where I need to be, doing what I need to be at all times. The trick/tip is to rest as much as you work, and I certainly do that by spending time with my family, friends, boyfriend and vacation more than I probably should.
How do you see JJ&Co. growing in the future?
Growth in the future is what keeps me up at night. I wake up, say my prayers, meditate and get straight into deep thought about business growth. After reading my Bible, I immediately shift my attention to Harvard Business Review Entrepreneur , Fast Company, Forbes and Inc articles to get my day started. These publications, paired with a few podcasts and Ted Talks, educate, inspire and encourage me to continue to strive to be the best and run the most profitable sustainable business.