BOOK REVIEW / WORK PARTY
Jaclyn Johnson is truly a force to be reckoned with in the world of female entrepreneurs. As the founder of Create & Cultivate, she brings women together to learn from the best of the best in conferences that are an Instagrammer’s dream. These gatherings have grown exponentially over the past few years, and the brand has become a go-to resource for women who are starting their own business.
Jaclyn recently released Work Party, a book detailing her business journey as well as offering her best advice for other entrepreneurs and businesswomen. Reading it feels like talking to a friend who has been there, done that, and made it out on the other side. Her style is very casual and her writing is filled with humor. As she tells the story of starting her first and second businesses, she weaves in practical advice that fits in with the part of the story she is telling such as writing a contract, working with a partner, and selling your business. Here is a little about what I learned through reading this book.
1. AT EVERY MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER YOU CAN TURN SOMETHING FRUSTRATING INTO FUEL
Jaclyn is well-acquainted with failure, and so are most entrepreneurs. Twelve publishers rejected J.K. Rowling before she was able to get her first Harry Potter book published, and Anna Wintour was fired from Harper’s Bazaar when she was twenty-six. Jaclyn says, “But contrary to the popular saying, I believe that you are your failures. Not in a dramatic way. Not in a soul crushing way. Your failures can define you in a rad way if you are brave enough to let them. And if hindsight is 20/20, you might as well look back on those failures with some chic glasses.” Being let go and having a relationship with a business partner fall apart were essential pieces of her story that brought her to where she is today. She openly and honestly details her personal failures and the lessons that she learned from them. It is always refreshing and encouraging to hear someone reflect on the ups and downs of their journey
2. start by starting
Jaclyn says, “Say yes and figure it out. Simple, yet powerful. For budding female entrepreneurs, it’s perfect advice for two reasons: (1) Why not? And (2) you’re never going to have all your ducks in a row or the experience you “need.” So all you need, at least at the onset is the gusto to say yes. Confidence begets confidence.” I have found this to be really true in my own life and in our business. We had no idea what we were doing when we started Weekend Creative, but we went for it anyway. We approached makers at craft fairs and emailed brands we liked presenting ourselves as professionals with confidence and figuring out the rest as it came. You’ll never feel fully ready, so at some point you have to just go for it.
3. no one can copy your heart
It’s so easy to focus on the competition, especially as women. We spend lots of energy looking at other people around us or getting upset when someone comes up with a similar idea. Jaclyn is no stranger to this, many conferences like hers have popped up all over the place. She says, “It’s too easy to fall down the competition rabbit hole, checking Instagram handles and reading into subtweets on your way down. But that energy has a better purpose, which is to fuel you, your ideas and your vision. Think of your brain as emotional real estate. You’ don’t want to give your competition too much free real estate in your head, or they’ll take away from your creative real estate, your passionate real estate, and your entrepreneurial real estate.” Instead of wasting time focusing on others, you can take that energy and put it to work bettering your own business and honing your skills.
In addition to sharing her thoughts on business and telling her story, Jaclyn shares plenty of practical pieces of advice such as how to negotiate, a checklist for contracts, the ins and outs of raising money, and how to hire and when to fire employees. She also shares many stories of other female entrepreneurs such as Jen Gotch, Aimee Song, Allli Webb, and Jen Rubio, the struggles they have overcome and the lessons they learned along the way. Part heartbreaking honesty, part applicable advice, and part secrets from a friend, this book will definitely help you as you create and cultivate your dream business.
Is it the weekend yet?