Julie M. Holloway is an artist based in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.She is the founder of JMH Cre8ive Solutions, a boutique graphic design agency and is the curator of a book series titled The Entrepreneur Within You. She loves coffee, collaborating and hanging with family and friends.
The BOSS Network: What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning
process of starting your business or career?
Julie Holloway: The biggest obstacle was time. After leaving a corporate job to start my business, I had to become a salesman, bill collector, accountant, financial planner, and marketer, when I really just wanted to focus on my artwork and graphic design. There just wasn't enough time to get everything done. At the end of each day, I felt like I had done everything except the actual work I had to deliver to clients. When dealing with all of the aspects of your business, it's hard to keep a creative mindset, which is a necessity for my work. It's gotten easier over time, but that was a major hurdle. It takes discipline and being able to give yourself the opportunity and time to relax and unwind. As entrepreneurs, we want to do it all, but sometimes that isn't possible.
BN: What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
JH: My passion. I knew as a child I wanted to be an artist. Drawing and painting were the ways I expressed myself, but I let them get away from me when needing to bring in money to support my family. I went to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago for one year, quit, and never jumped into the art industry as a career. Everyone else was getting office jobs in the city, and I thought that was what I was supposed to do as well. Seven years ago this week I finally made the jump back into my passion for art and design. The company I was working for was going through a massive round of layoffs, and I knew I would be next. A cousin in Chicago asked me to design a logo, so I bought a program off of Craigslist for $50 and taught myself graphic design. I started freelancing, and my business grew from the ground up. I've now been able to include my other artistic talents, drawing and painting, into my design business.
BN: How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
JH: At first, I had zero balance and no one to keep me accountable. My husband Darnell was very supportive but didn't say anything as he wanted to give me space to allow me and my business to grow. I was like an entrepreneur zombie. Two years ago, my husband and I agreed that this needed to change. He worked with me to help me transition from a zombie to a healthier and happier business owner. Now, we have a habitual schedule. We eat all of our meals together, and I make sure to have specific times that are for family only. I still get burned out from time to time because being an entrepreneur is hard work, but I'm learning daily how to be better at what I do and I'm working to become an even better mother and wife.
BN: What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
JH: "Everything happens for a reason. Just believe." My mom shared this with me when I was a teenager, and it is deeply rooted in my heart. You will go through tough times no matter what career you're in or what type of business you start. It's not supposed to be easy. The key is realizing that the tough times are there to make us stronger, and they help us appreciate the good times even more.
BN: Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
JH: I've been very lucky to have a lot of positive and influential mentors, friends and family members. My husband, mom, dad, and brother and sisters have been what has kept me going, and their support keeps me positive and confident. My courage coach, Nicole Knox, has played an intricate part of my business for a few years now I've also had an influential high school art teacher, Mr. A who has driven me to believe that I could become a professional artist, and dear friend Bernada Nicole Baker who has given me inspiration, encouragement and the answers that I've desperately needed at times. I'm very thankful, and I try to repay the support they've given me by creating a strong entrepreneurial community with The Entrepreneur Within You
BN: What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
JH: COFFEE! Just kidding, but not really. Aside from coffee, I need a strong network and the support of my family, which I've been lucky to have. I also need help with the parts of my business that I'm either not as good at as others or not as passionate about. I have someone who is amazing at sales and consulting who perfectly compliments my skill set. I may be the name that people associate with the business, but I couldn't have done it without her (thanks, Nicole!).Make sure to surround yourself with people who complement your skill set. I also depend on exercise, meeting new clients and colleagues for coffee, hanging out with the TEW Crew members at events, and spending time with my family.
BN: What is your definition of a BOSS?
JH: A boss is someone who takes control of their outlook on life and does what they want to do because it's what they love and are passionate about. I'm the boss of me and what I do with my life, and it's an amazing and very freeing feeling. If you're also looking to be the boss of you, I encourage you to check out the TEWYOU community at TEWYOU.com http://tewyou.com/ I also have a limited number of slots open for new clients, and I'd love to explore the possibility of highlighting your personal or business brand through my designs, artwork and marketing materials. I put my passion to work for the passions of others. It's a partnership that I'm blessed to a part of.
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