We love hearing stories from entrepreneurs on how they got their start. Some grow up dreaming of owning a business. Some spread their wings later in life, in search of freedom and flexibility. And some start out in their mom’s high heels and “reporter” trench coat!
“My mom would tell you that even as a little kid, I was walking around in her high heels and trench coat, out there reporting on the news in our backyard!” said Julie Holton, Principal Strategist + Owner of mConnexions. “But, there is freedom and flexibility in what I am doing now. I am able to pick and choose whose stories I am telling, and I am able to get creative in how I tell those stories… I think it is always something that is going to be part of what I do, and I am just excited to be able to do that for clients and business that are in some way giving back.”
Paul: So, let’s go on to your next chapter. You were the marketing director at the law firm for a while, and now you’ve decided to spread your wings and start your own business. This is the third life transition for you: from the newsroom to a law firm, and now to running your own business. But, you are still telling stories. Talk to me a little bit about what you are doing at mConnexions and how you are branching out to do what you really want.
Julie: Just over a year ago, I started mConnexions and started working with my clients on a really small basis: doing some regular projects here and there. I wanted to feel it out and see if this was something I even wanted to do full-time, and I wanted to know if the risk was going to be worth the reward in the long-run. I loved what I was doing at the law firm, but I really liked the idea of being able to do the same thing, or do more for a variety of clients and get to work on a variety of projects. I think it’s the producer in me that makes me a planner: everything had to be laid out and in its place, because that’s how I ran my life for 12 years in news. So, I really worked on my business plan for a solid year before even launching into my first clients. Then I maintained that while still working at the firm and devoting a majority of my time and resources there. A few months ago [February 2018], I switched to mConnexions full-time. I am so excited that the opportunities have been there and these connections that I have built along the way have really come through with some amazing projects for some really great clients. We’ve got several clients in Chicago and one in New York City–they’re all spread out. That’s the beauty of what we do: we don’t have to be in the same geographic location as the client.
Julie: I say “we” because I have a team of seven people who work for mConnexions now. Each person has their own background and area of expertise, whether it’s a specific platform on social media, or writing, or building websites. It’s fun to see all of that come together and see these individuals grow. It’s really fun, but it’s a lot of work, of course. I knew this going into it, learning through conversations with other entrepreneurs along the way and talking about what I was getting into. I still don’t know what I am getting into! I am working more than ever before–even more than I was in the newsroom on the 24/7 cycle. But, there is freedom and flexibility in what I am doing now. I am able to pick and choose whose stories I am telling, and I am able to get creative in how I tell those stories. That’s what I like most about it. You can’t take the storytelling aspect out of me‑ my mom would tell you that even as a little kid, I was walking around in her high heels and trench coat, out there reporting on the news in our backyard! I think that’s always something that is going to be part of what I do, and I am just excited to be able to do that for clients and business that are in some way giving back. Things like that are really fun to be a part of.