It’s Official: Say Hello to Jessica Lawlor & Company

Nearly a year ago, I quit a thriving career in public relations to take my business, blog and brand full time.

After years of planning, hustling and dreaming, I took my future into my own hands on December 17 when I resigned from a safe and comfortable corporate job working in travel and tourism public relations.

(Curious to know exactly how I turned my side hustle into my full time career, step-by-step? This post reveals all.)

For the past 12 months, I’ve invited you along for the ride, sharing a glimpse behind-the-scenes of what it’s really like to run your own business in the Becoming CEO series.

That’s why today, I want you to be among the first to know what’s coming next.

I have some major news and updates to share with you. 

Let’s get right to it!

Say hello to Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co)

It's official! Time to reveal my company name...say hello to Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co). Read on for details + more business updates.

When I quit my job, I lived by the quote, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

Yes, I put the pieces in place to succeed, but ultimately, I still took a giant leap into the unknown, trusting that somehow, it would all work out.

When I started my business, I truly started from where I was with only the tools I had in that very moment. I didn’t have business cards, I didn’t have a dedicated business website. I didn’t have accounting software. I didn’t have a long list of clients. 

One of the BIG things I didn’t have when I quit my job? 

A name for my business.

For awhile, it wasn’t even a problem. Weirdly enough, no one ever even asked me what the name of my company was. 

(That’s how you know your personal brand is working)

But still, it bothered me that I didn’t have an “official business name” to make me feel like a real boss lady.

When I decided I wanted to file for my LLC (see below!), I knew it was finally time, once and for all, to choose a company name. After all, that’s kind of the first piece of information you need to provide when you start the paperwork. 

I started brainstorming company names, but found myself stuck.

It was important to me that my full name be prominently included, after all, that’s how people know me, how clients find me and how I’ve built my brand.

I toyed around with lots of name variations: Jessica Lawlor PR, Jessica Lawlor Communications, Jessica Lawlor Media, Jessica Lawlor Creative…the list goes on.

None of them felt quite right.

I don’t just do PR. Communications feels vague. Creative makes it sound like I’m a designer. Media feels like I work in broadcasting.

Jessica Lawlor & Company was just another random name on the list.

It was only until I was in a meeting with my very first team member Rachel (more on Rach below) and she said to me, “I LOVE Jessica Lawlor & Company. JL&Co would be such a cute nickname and I can totally see Jessica Lawlor & Company on an office wall one day.”

Rachel had envisioned something I hadn’t even yet allowed myself to dream about yet.

My company name. On an office wall. 

And in that moment, I knew. 

That was my company name. I felt it in my gut. It felt right.

Jessica Lawlor & Company. JL&Co for short. It prominently features my name, expresses the fact that it isn’t JUST me building this thing and leaves plenty of room for growth.

It's official! Time to reveal my company name...say hello to Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co). Read on for details + more business updates.

Meet Rachel, team member #1 of JL&Co

Back in February when I officially stepped out on my own, I prided myself on being a solopreneur.

I can do this all by myself, I thought.

And yeah, sure, I *can* do it all by myself, but why would I want to? AND, wouldn’t my work be even better if I brought on other talented professionals to help?

When faced with the opportunity to work with a dream client in the early fall, I immediately thought to myself, “AH! Which client do I cut to make space for this new client?”

My sister said to me, “Uh…why don’t you just hire someone to help you?”

Ding, ding, ding.

The first person I thought of was my colleague, Rachel.

Rachel and I met when she interned for me at my old job in the spring of 2014. She was the best intern I ever had (and I had nearly 30 throughout the course of my old job), and she eventually was hired by the organization. We worked together for two years there. Around the same time I quit my job, she left the tourism office to work for an advertising agency.

When we worked together, Rachel always expressed interest in blogging and one day starting a side hustle of her own. 

The hiring process was quite simple…I texted Rachel, “Hey! Do you want to be my first team member?” and she responded, “OMG YES!!!” with a million different emojis.

Rachel has been working on a freelance basis as part of Team JL&Co for two months, and my business is already transformed because of her. She brings some serious expertise in social media, email marketing, website design/copy and more to JL&Co. 

Most importantly, Rachel has made my life and business 1,000x less stressful. I won’t lie; I was on the verge of a mini breakdown before she came on, trying to juggle way too many balls in the air. Sharing the workload with Rachel frees up my time to focus on bigger picture items, plus, it’s SO nice to have someone else feel just as invested in the success of my business as I do.

Rachel is only team member #1. I can’t wait to keep building.

Maybe one day, that vision of my name on an actual office wall will become a reality. 

It's official! Time to reveal my company name...say hello to Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co). Read on for details + more business updates.

Things are getting official around here

Running a business is no joke.

There’s a lot to think about and a lot to do. When I was first starting out, I kept my head down for months and months, doing the work, never looking up to breathe or even think about what my business might look like one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now.

I’m finally in a space where I can look up and look forward.

And things are getting legitimate.

  • I filed for my LLC. That’s Jessica Lawlor & Company, LLC to you 🙂 This was an important step to help legitimatize my business and an important step in separating my personal and business assets. 
  • I opened a business bank account, something I should have done immediately upon starting my business.
  • With Rachel’s help, I revamped my services page. We’ll be continuing to make updates to the website to reflect the new business name and direction (a full-on redesign is somewhere in the future), but we’re taking it slow.
  • I’m starting to understand my strengths…and where I should be focusing my energy and attention. According to my last Becoming CEO monthly update, more than 70 percent of my income comes from content management (managing the blogs/websites of others). Clearly, this has emerged as a core service, and one Rachel and I are going to go after more of in the coming months.
  • I’m going to get proactive about going after my dream clients. I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t had to actively sell myself and my services over the past year (hey hey, personal branding again!), but I know that in order to grow my biz to where I want it to eventually be, I need to get out there and sell myself. Rachel and I are putting a plan in place to do more new business pitching in 2017.
  • I’m going to focus more on the blog and blog/brand initiatives in 2017. Now that Rachel is on board to help with client work, I’d like to turn my attention back to *this* brand and work on the ebooks and courses I’ve been dreaming about for years.

Onward and upward

One year ago, if you told me I’d be here, writing this blog post, sitting in my own office in my beautiful apartment, after a long, but satisfying day of doing what I love, I would have told you that you were crazy.

Yes, I believed in myself, but I was also a bit skeptical. I had no idea what the future would look like. And hey, I still have no idea, but I continue to believe in myself and believe in my dreams.

I’ll close with the same quote I shared when I announced that I quit my job. It’s a quote that drives and inspires me every single day.

“Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.”

I’m going to continue to chase my dreams. Let’s get to it.

Thank you for being part of my journey <3 It means more to me than you could ever know.

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Becoming CEO: Month Nine of Solopreneurship

For those who are just catching up, in December, I made a career (and life) changing announcement. I resigned from my job working in public relations to take my business, blog, brand and teaching full time. I’m bringing you along for the ride, giving you a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the exact steps I’m taking to make solopreneurship work in the Becoming CEO series.

You can check out previous posts in the Becoming CEO series here.

In the Becoming CEO series, I detail how I'm starting and running my own solo biz. Here are reflections (& an income breakdown) from month nine.

Let’s take a look at month nine of solopreneurship! Here’s my month by the numbers, an income breakdown, lessons learned, the ups, the downs and how I’m feeling.

Month Nine By The Numbers:

  • 7 phone/Skype calls (as compared to 6 last month)
  • 2 in-person meetings (as compared to 5 last month)
  • 9 meetings total (as compared to 11 last month)
  • 13 yoga classes taught (as compared to 14 last month)

Month Nine Income Breakdown:

Each month, I share a percentage breakdown of my income.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-57-27-pm

A few thoughts on this month’s income breakdown:

  • Whoa! Hello content management! 75 percent of my monthly income. This is a big deal. To some, this may look alarming because it may seem like I’m placing all of my eggs in one basket, but in reality, the 75 percent is spread among three different clients (Muck Rack, Jetpack, The Write Life). I am LOVING this work, and so glad my business has shifted to reflect what I enjoy doing most.
  • Sadly, you may have noticed that the writing category is gone completely this month. Unfortunately, with the amount of editing/managing content I’ve been doing, I haven’t had much time to pitch my own work/writing. Hopefully that will change in the New Year when I’m no longer teaching at Temple.
  • Yoga continues to hold steady, although the percentage doesn’t sound impressive compared to other areas. I’m now teaching at three different studios, five days a week.

Lessons Learned from Month Nine:

  • Protect your energy. In October, I was honored to speak at the PA Conference for Women. I was especially excited to attend the morning sessions of the conference before my afternoon session. However, that morning I woke up, all ready to take my 6:30 a.m. train into the city and realized I was super stressed and drained, and had a to-do list three miles long. I decided it was more important to protect my energy and come to my session ready to go, rather than sit through all the morning sessions worrying about my client work. I made the tough decision to sit out most of the conference so that I could be the best speaker I could be. It was a good choice!
  • Build a team. Release some control. Holy crap. I will probably include this lesson in every report moving forward, but bringing on a team member was the absolute best decision I’ve made in nine months running this business. I don’t know what I was thinking before and why I didn’t do this sooner. My life has been made 1000x less stressful because of my amazing team member (you’ll get to meet her very soon!). I can’t wait to bring on even more team members soon!
  • Go with your gut. In October, I finalized my business name and logo! I struggled with both decisions and consulted a ton of different people for their opinions, but ultimately, I went with my gut and I LOVE my business name. Stay tuned!

The Highs and Lows:

There are always going to be good days and of course, there will always be not-so-hot days. Here are the things that made me super smiley and excited this month, along with some challenges I faced.

The Highs:

  • I attended a Meditation Teacher Training weekend intensive. I’m now “certified” to teach meditation- I’m super excited to incorporate meditation into my weekly yoga classes, as well as different workshops I’m planning.
  • I spoke at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women- I hosted a roundtable discussion for small businesses called “Hustle Hard.”
  • I received word that my LLC got approved!
  • I finalized my business name and logo.
  • I experienced my first $10,000 in income month! 

The Lows:

  • The week I spoke at the PA Conference for Women felt like the busiest of my life. I spent the entire week feeling like I was rushing from thing to thing, never finding time to breathe. I felt on edge that week.
  • I struggled with some serious anxiety in October. Anxiety like I’ve never felt before, including waking up in the morning with my heart pounding. I’m not sure where exactly this anxiety is coming from, but I’m working to tame it. My doctor recently praised me on my weight/BMI and asked what I’ve been doing and I said, “Running a business.” Definitely not ideal.
  • I barely got outside in October. I realize I completely missed fall in my new neighborhood. Definitely a bummer, but a solid reminder to get outside for a bit each and every day.

How I Feel:

Things are moving and shaking! Despite some anxiety this month, having my team member on board allowed me to take a second to breathe while I knew work was still getting done.

In October, I received some praise from a media relations client that truly made my day. Working as a solopreneur can be lonely, and when you’re not part of a team with a “boss”, you don’t always get a pat on the back to keep the motivation going. I always save those positive emails so I can look back on them on difficult days. This is also an important reminder for me to show appreciation and praise for my team member to keep her motivated.

I am OBSESSED with my newest client, The Write Life. If managing the blog and site could be a full time job, I might give up the business and take it 😉 Kidding, of course, but I really love the work and the team. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.

Let’s keep moving! 

Onto Month Ten! Stay tuned- I’ll continue sharing these recaps monthly.

Have any questions about becoming CEO and my ninth month in business? I’d love to answer your questions and hear your thoughts about this journey!

Want more gutsy content delivered straight to your inbox twice a month? Be sure to sign up for my FREE #GetGutsy e-newsletter filled with inspiration, ideas and action items to get out of your comfort zone.