Jennifer Brozak is someone I came across on Twitter. 🙂 One day we just started chatting and it’s been a friendship ever since. Like myself, Jens family always comes first and having a business and a family sometimes this can be very tricky, but she is a rockstar at it. I really enjoy checking in on her blog, One Committed Mama. It’s a great read and I highly suggest you check it out! You can connect with Jen on Twitter here.
How did you get your start?
I graduated with a degree in journalism – I had planned to be a “serious writer” — but I actually started out my career in public relations and marketing. I started out answering phones for a small PR/advertising agency (hey, I needed a job!) and eventually started writing press releases and ad copy for some of the agency’s smaller clients. After I paid my dues for a while, I found a position as an assistant director in the media department of a local health care system, and moved on to a few tech firms from there, collecting new skills, contacts and interests along the way.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I’ve been writing professionally for nearly two decades. I have experience writing everything from feature articles to white papers to newsletters to press releases to web content. Then, after a series of layoffs in the tech industry, I decided to return to school to get my teaching certificate. I taught high school English for about 8 years before I resigned to stay at home with my daughter. The entire time I worked full-time, I also worked periodically as a freelance writer and editor. When I resigned from my teaching position, I flip-flopped my freelance writing career into my as-close-to-full-time-as-possible, work-from-home career. Last year, I felt like I need an outlet for more creative writing, too, so I started my blog, One Committed Mama. Blogging has been an eye-opening experience and more rewarding than I ever could have imagined! Writing in general is something that’s always come naturally to me, and I love what I do. To me, writing is like putting together a puzzle – as if I’m organizing several different components or aspects of a given “story” so that they fit together seamlessly.
How do you define success as a business owner?
Success, to me, is being able to find a good balance between my work and my family life. When I was teaching, my life felt very lopsided. I was teaching nearly 200 teenagers a day, and, as any teacher can attest to, I was emotionally and physically SPENT at the end of the day. I had little energy left over for the people who really mattered. Now, I feel much more balanced. I am good at what I do, and I love it, and it gives me a strong sense of professional satisfaction. Working from home and being able to set my own hours – and control my own destiny – feels “right” to me. Sure, money is important, but it’s never defined success for me. In the end, we can always make more money, but we can’t ever regain the time we lost.
If you were to design the perfect team of 4 people to help you run this company, what characteristics would those four people have?
This is a great (and tough!) question. Primarily, I would need people who are self-motivated, who can think for themselves, and who won’t second-guess their decision- making. I would also need my team to be efficient and driven. They would need to be able to work hard while being respectful of everyone else’s time. They would definitely need to have a sense of humor – I work hard, but I also like to laugh and have fun. I would want a team that is well read and insightful and can bring different points of view to the table. Finally, being that one of my favorite sayings is, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room,” I would want a team that isn’t afraid to continue to grow and learn.
Whom do you seek advice from for your business?
Since I’ve been doing this type of work for quite a while, I’ve made many connections, many of who have become good friends, who are in the industry. We’ll bounce ideas off of each other and ask for feedback and advice. Freelance work can sometimes be a fairly isolating experience, so it’s important to maintain a professional network, even if you’re flying solo. Keep those business cards handy – you never now when you’ll need the expertise or advice of someone you’ve worked with or crossed paths with in the past.