Today my interview is with a female entrepreneur Jessica Starks, who is running multiple businesses at the same time.
Jessica started her career as a professional writer. Due to her in-depth knowledge of different fields, she has founded three companies: 17 Plus, J.D. Scribes, and B.O.N.D. Small Business Group.
This successful woman entrepreneur helps small businesses thrive and positively impact the communities around them. Jessica has achieved a lot, and her self driven purpose of helping entrepreneurs continues to expand her business. Jessica is also an author and has published the book “The Lynching Calendar.”
She is one of the phenomenal women entrepreneurs we have around, and I hope her story will motivate you.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS YOU STARTED?
I am an entrepreneur and business owner who was born and raised in Mississippi.
I began my career as a professional writer at the age of 17. I took various writing jobs while in college, pursuing degrees in English and American Studies, and gained experience in multiple forms of writing and marketing.
This experience led me to bring my talents back to my home state and help small businesses achieve success. Since then, I’ve been blessed enough to help business owners throughout Mississippi and beyond to improve and elevate their businesses.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
Right before I started my business, I had been working for a company that aided celebrity clients. After learning various skills there, I wanted to do something a bit more simple, which is how I discovered my love of local marketing.
I started purely writing blogs and other copy for businesses while still taking classes and certification courses for other marketing skills. When I started gaining more confidence, I developed J.D. Scribes.
J.D. Scribes includes my initials and also represents the fact that my company is here to help people and ease burdens in their business.
This idea extended into BOND Small Business Group, where business owners can network, gain resources education, and have other opportunities to promote themselves and build their brands.
The whole goal of all of my businesses is to help people follow their dreams and to be successful.
PLEASE DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS.
For me, I was preparing my business as I was working. I considered the jobs I took as practice for what was to come.
I paid attention to the things that other people tried and didn’t work out while also studying my location and the people that resided here. This information helped me figure out what people were looking for and how much they were willing to pay to have it done.
I slowly rolled out different services to see how my audience will respond to it, and I still do all of these things today. I took many classes to hone my skills and networked with other business owners to get ideas and feedback.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AND YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ALONG THE WAY?
Hmm… that’s a good question!
Biggest Achievement: My biggest achievement is being able to involve my family in my business and help my friends get their businesses started.
One of my goals has always been to be able to bless other people and give them opportunities and inspiration to achieve their own goals. So when I was able to bring my family into my businesses and sit down and help my friends lay the foundation for their ventures, that makes me feel really special.
Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge has been dealing with age discrimination. When I first started, many people didn’t want to work with me because they felt I was too young and inexperienced to do them any good.
Thankfully I came across some people who gave me a chance, and now it’s not as much of a struggle as it once was.
HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS?
I promote my business primarily through social media and digital ads, but I also make sure that people see me and can interact with me in real life.
So I go to networking and business events so I can look people in the eye and talk to them. My customers have been gracious enough to send me referrals, as well.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE BUSINESS?
17 Plus, L.L.C. is in a really solid place right now.
J.D. Scribes is at the point where it is flowing by itself expanding, while BOND’s brand exploded quicker than I anticipated, and we have a lot of interest.
My book has taken me places that I never expected, and I am beyond grateful to my hometown for really showing out and supporting me.
My vision for the future is to bring in more employees for J.D. Scribes, expand my membership for BOND outside of the state, and to write more books.
2019 was a year of me laying the groundwork for a lot of those things, so I’m excited about what’s to come!
RECOMMENDATIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS
PLEASE RECOMMEND ANY RESOURCES AND TOOLS THAT YOU USE TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS.
There are so many great resources out there!
- Web hosting – New Blog Hosting
- Domain Provider – Namecheap, New Blog Hosting
- Analytics – Google Analytics, Facebook Insights
- Education – Hubspot Academy
- Finances – Wave Accounting, QuickBooks Self- Employed
- Email Marketing – Mailchimp, Mailerlite
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BUSINESS BOOKS, PODCASTS OR BLOGS?
Some of my favorite Podcasts:
- “Boss Talk” from Dormtainment,
- “The Science of Social Media” from Buffer,
- “The Chick in Charge” by Mary Parker.
Blogs I frequently read:
- Hubspot’s blog,
- Neil Patel’s blog,
- The Balance Small Business.
As for books, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes was inspirational to me. I also read a ton of digital marketing, writing, and SEO books.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
My advice would be to just go for it!
We live in a time now where starting a business is easy and affordable, thanks to the internet.
If you have a passion for something and are willing to work hard to do it, then nothing is stopping you but yourself!
Stop living in fear and doubt and reach for the stars!
WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS?
You can find me on the following social platforms:
Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!
If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.
By sharing their stories, we want to inspire other women to get started.
If you are interested to share your own story on the Biz Ladies LET ME KNOW!