#HERSTORY With Jo Packman of Where Women Create Magazine
A little over a year ago I was having an extremely hard day at work and felt like I just needed to get away. On my lunch break I found myself wandering around the local Barnes & Noble (or my place of peace as I often call it) I sat in front of the magazines and came across something I had never seen before, Where Women Create: BUSINESS. I was amazed! An entire magazine dedicated to women who have turned their creative hobbies into full-time, profitable businesses. I immediately purchased it and was in LOVE! Not only did finding that magazine change my mood around that day but it gave me the extra push I needed to pursue my business full-time.
Today I am extremely excited to have the creator and editor of Where Women Create: BUSINESS, Jo Packman as my first #HERSTORY feature. If you missed it before #HERSTORY is an interview series that will give you a peak into the life and business of some of my favorite women entrepreneurs.
MEET JO PACKMAN OF WHERE WOMEN CREATE: BUSINESS
Dedicating an entire magazine to creative women who have turned their passion into a career is a genius idea! How did you come up with the concept?
The concept worked so well for both WHERE WOMEN CREATE & WWCOOK that I was certain women entrepreneurs were as much in need of resources and inspiration as the women in these two communities ... if not more.
Women entrepreneurs are so isolated and work such long hours that they need a resource where they can get business help & hints; accurate current information on all facets of being a small entrepreneur; as well as a community of women who inspire and validate each other.
No one was doing it. All of the magazines were or are focused on big companies, the technology, and the top 50 most powerful women in the world. No one was publishing help or insights for the women who are small entrepreneurs. I know that I need all of this so I decided to "fill a need" which is what an entrepreneur does.
You have two other magazines, Where Women Create and Where Women Cook, plus you have authored more than 40 other titles! Has writing always been a passion of yours?
No, actually. My passion is the working with women who are "creative" in any field and finding a way to introduce them to each other and the "world". The writing came because these women don't often know how to write their own directions or copy and seldom talk about their own accomplishments and failures.
Did you always know you would become an entrepreneur? If not , what pushed you to take that leap of faith?
I sincerely believe that people are born entrepreneurs. I do not think we "become" entrepreneurs because we have always been one - in some form or another. When we are young we start small businesses like selling lemonade, a single employee yard work company, even our own individual babysitting service.
We don't often think about it, we just create that which is something that is either a great idea, there is a need for, and we want to make money. Plus, we don't always work well as an employee. We have to be the innovator, the idea person, the boss.
What has been the most challenging part about your journey? And what keeps you inspired?
All of it. The entire journey of being an entrepreneur is a challenge, every single day. It begins with convincing others to believe in and support your new ideas, then moves to large investments of time and money, and then you reach the actualization of being in business and the all-of-everything that being in business encompasses.
I stay inspired by the women I work with, those featured in our magazines and books, and those I meet along the way. They all have a story to tell. Their very existence is an inspiration.
Having a healthy work/life balance is something many entrepreneurs struggle with. How have you managed it throughout your career?
Oh my hell ... I don't think I have! I tried as hard as anyone but whether I succeeded is a question you should probably ask my children.
From the beginning my job was what I did all of the time. I love it so much that it is my work, my play, my inspiration, my dream.
I never could work through the problems of being both married and an entrepreneur or of finding a man that could understand both. I have been single most of my adult life and I actually like being single ... at least about 80% of the time. Which for me, is an acceptable percentage of time to be totally happy and content with your circumstances.
I started my company in an old house partially converted to office space so that I could take my children to work with me every day and yet they could be in an environment that seemed like "home". A yard to play in; bedrooms to take naps; playrooms when it was stormy; and a nanny to help with everything but the really important matters that only a mom, who is close at hand, can deal with.
When they were older I took them on the road with me. They worked the trade shows, traveled to the photo shoots, and met the women I so admired.
When they grew up, I even did everything that I knew how to get them to come to work with me so that I could be with them all of the time and we could share so much that I hoped was important to all of us. But my dreams were neither of their dreams and they are both now very successful in fields that are very different from publishing.
My friends are all in the businesses of being creative so I didn't have to learn how to "juggle" friends and work. My leisure activities are centered around creative endeavors so I didn't have to learn how to find time to work and to play.
As a woman very involved in the publishing industry, do you feel like you may have been treated any differently than your male peers?
Oh, in some respects, probably but it is much less of an issue every day.
What advice would you give a young woman who is a little afraid to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
It is important to know what is current and what competition you or your product will have in the marketplace. You need to know if you are fulfilling a need, if there is the possibility of success.
Instinctual, you need to believe in your idea and yourself. I never worried about taking the leap because I was always convinced without even thinking about it that my idea was a great idea and had to be "done". It was after I jumped and landed that I was afraid because reality is always much more frightening than dreaming and believing.
And because Jo is such an amazing woman and inspiration, she will be giving away a year subscription to WHERE WOMEN CREATE: BUSINESS to one lucky reader!