If you read the news, you know that there is no shortage of coverage on women who are making major moves in the business world. From entrepreneurs to CEO's, designers to speakers, those launching new women-led initiatives to those empowering a generation through podcasts- the boss-babes and the "SHE-E-O-s" of the world have something to be proud of. Now, with 20 years of success under her belt, JO's founder and president, Jennifer Henderson, is no exception.
She is a pinnacle of art and creativity here in Fort Worth, and when we sat down to ask her how she got to where she is now, we were reminded that something truly amazing can happen when we pursue our passions and chase our dreams. What began 20 years ago as nothing more than an idea and an uncultivated desire to create, her company is now one of the leading full-service creative agencies in Fort Worth.
So, how did she do it? Here are four pro-tip takeaways we're clinging to from our interview with the SHE-E-O who built an entrepreneurial enterprise.
Okay, so you didn't hear it here first. But in the world of instant gratification and social media highlights, a little reminder never hurts. Had you asked her twenty years ago, Henderson could not have imagined she'd be where she is today. In fact, she didn't even know she wanted to be where she is today. She started out as a die-hard creative with a passion for art and a freelance graphic design career. Henderson had no shortage of creativity, but she did need to learn the art of business.
That part took some time. "Running a business doesn't come easy to me. But I've had to learn to do it to keep my creative side fed." For many creatives, it can be hard to harness their bright minds and ambiguous passions into a sensible business model, but Henderson overcame the hurdle. Now, her multi-business enterprise proves that when there's a will, there's a way.
The list of famously right-brained individuals is made up of artists like Steven Spielberg, Leonardo Da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. On the other hand, the logical Ronald Reagan, Helen Keller and Bill Gates are famously left-brained. Their innate cognitive abilities are vastly different than one another, yet there is some obvious overlap. Without changing who they were, each of these major historical figures achieved success by thinking both logically and creatively.
Henderson challenges us to adopt that same dynamic way of operating in the business world. "I've been told I have the ability to be both right-brained and left-brained, but the right side of my brain is naturally heavier. That's why many creative businesses might fail. But I guess after 20 years, I may have beat the odds." Success comes from bridging the brain gap and teaching ourselves to think in a multifaceted way that connects with many kinds of different people. How, you might ask?
Whether we'd like to admit it, we all know someone with more experience and more practical knowledge than we have. To Henderson, that feels like an advantage. She believes that seeking out a mentor (or ten) is a major key to entrepreneurial success. "Interview as many people who have succeeded as possible, take business classes if you haven't already, read as many business books as you can, and find a mentor in your industry." Think successful people don't have time to invest in the less-experienced? Often, business owners are actually eager to mentor younger people in their field. Henderson reminds us that most successful business people remember how it feels to be wide-eyed and anxious—on the verge of beginning their careers. Chances are, they didn't get to where they are alone.
Mentorship is vital, not only in the beginning of your entrepreneurial endeavors, but in every season and every career. Maybe it starts with a simple, getting-to-know-you interview, or maybe it occurs monthly, over coffee. Whatever the context, mentorship provides opportunities for both mentor and mentee to grow and learn from each other. So, get empowered! Go out, be bold, and ask someone to help you achieve your career goals. From where we're sitting, asking for help is always worth your while. Time to pencil it in.
The name of the creative agency game? Timing. And it is everything. The start of each new day brings with it a handful of new, time-consuming tasks- especially when you own four businesses. With hundreds of emails to respond to and many clients to serve, we wondered if, for Henderson, there are ever enough hours in the day. She explained that time management is pivotal to her success, even when it means waking up before the sun is shining. "Sometimes managing my time looks like working on the weekends or working early in the morning." Henderson wakes up every day at 4:30 am, yet, that is far from the most challenging part of her schedule. "The hardest part is saying 'no' to something that looks like a shiny, new opportunity."
If you ask us- the shiny new opportunity sounds like sleeping in once in a while, but with inspiration bubbling over, there is no time to waste. Henderson reminds us that quality work comes, not from doing everything, but from doing a few things really well. Time is a precious commodity, and we have to protect it… even when that means clearing our schedule of distractions disguised as great opportunities. FOMO, we bid you a farewell.
There you have it: the keys to the kingdom, the secrets to success, the go-to guide for all roads leading to SHE-E-O. Take these words for truth, and you might end up at the top of your own business, too. Just remember, success alone isn't what makes for a noteworthy SHE-E-O… It's humbly doing what you love and empowering those around you to do the same.
Need more encouragement, motivation and inspiration? You know where to find us. Stop by anytime at www.joagency.com, or give us a call at (817) 335-0100.