We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacquelyn Tolksdorf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jacquelyn, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the greatest career choices a person can make. No. Let me explain… I work with thousands of businesses from your startup fempreneur to your major corporations. In the past 11 years of being at the beginning of many business owners’ journeys, I have developed a kind-of spidey sense for those who may have the right mindset to ditch their 9-5 and create their own business. Starting your own business ISN’T just about working harder than everyone else around you. It’s about working smarter: knowing what you’re getting into, and knowing your boundaries of what you think you can do on your own: what you’ll need to hire out to do, and if you have the discipline above all, to manage…yourself. It’s also not always peaches n’ cream all the time — you have to be emotionally ready to have ups and downs the whole way through. If you’re thinking about starting your own business — before you even begin the planning phase, you need to look into yourself and decide some things. When looking at people who seem to have made it overnight remember their “overnight” was 10+ years. While others may not be able to handle that long of a crazy ride, successful brand owners will tell you the roller coaster was worth it because they were willing to work harder for themselves in replace of being less happy for someone else’s business.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I’ve been in the design and development industry since 2009. I had been working for an ad agency. As more people quit the toxic office I took on all their tasks. I started as an ad designer and every few months was added on new titles such as web developer, SEO specialist, client manager, and finally creative director. I was salary but was working 12 hour days. I was always the first one in and the last one out. I was burnt out. But I am so happy for those years in my career timeline. In June 2015 I left the job that was making me so unhappy. Instead, I started my own creative company. Doing all the same services I did for the ad agency, but now — for myself. The last 5.5 years have been no easy road. Some years I was popping champagne with high sales months. Some years I could barely pay my bills. The roller coaster I’m on of owning and operating Unglitch.io is something I would never trade for any job in the world. Working with so many different people – in so many backgrounds – in so many countries has been such a blessing. I don’t just work for my own future now — I work for my client’s futures as well.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My business calls home to many places. Because I have the freedom to work remotely and can travel I can’t just pick one place. I’m currently in Central Wisconsin and happy to report that the wineries in Wisconsin; I can honestly say rival Napa Valley. They are always a “must-visit”. If you’re visiting the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) which Unglitch.io calls home as well – you have to get outside. There is (no joke) a beautiful outdoor experience to be had every 15 miles or less! If you’re visiting the Washington D.C. area I can’t express how much I love all the Smithsonian has to offer. And of course, when I’m in the Dallas-Forth Worth area; I can’t pass up the opportunity to go to the Lonesome Dove.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Being someone that creates brands, markets those brands, and develops websites for them; I’ve had the privilege of watching so many companies grow. Through all the bumps in the road, it always fills my heart with so much love to watch these brands thrive and be their best selves. I’d love to dedicate my shoutout to those who are thinking of starting their own business – your story is the one that everyone is rooting for.
Image Credit: Unglitch.io