Welcome to my Interview Series! I will be featuring amazing female entrepreneurs & digital influencers that are breaking ground in their space. This week I am featuring Jaclyn Johnson founder of Create & Cultivate!
I am very excited to introduce Jaclyn Johnson, the founder, and chief executive of Create & Cultivate, an online platform and conference series geared toward the modern female entrepreneurs in the digital world. Jaclyn Johnson is a well-established entrepreneur. She sold her first company, No Subject, by the time she was 28 and worked with clients such as Microsoft Corp., Westfield Corp, and L'Oreal. In addition to Create & Cultivate, Johnson released her first book, Work Party, this past summer with an accompanying podcast where she interviews amazing female entrepreneurs.
Create & Cultivate Conference started in 2012 and has seen Keynote speakers like Gloria Steinem, Issa Rae, Jen Gotch, and Rebecca Minkoff. The conference focuses on key topics surrounding entrepreneurship, the ever-changing digital landscape, and everything that comes with being a modern working woman. I attended the Create & Cultivate Conference in Seattle and it was very inspiring to network with other ambitious and driven women. I blogged about my experience: here. In this Interview, she is sharing her career journey and the launch of Create & Cultivate Insider.
Scroll down to read the Interview:
Thank You to Jaclyn for taking the time to answer all my questions.
You lost your job before you launch your first company, No Subject, at 24-years old, Did you already have a plan when you were working full-time for these new businesses (No Subject, Create & Cultivate) or did each business come about organically?
After I lost my job I emailed my network letting them know I was looking for work. I ended up meeting the co-founder for my first business at an event in LA in 2010. At the time, she was on the verge of quitting her job and interested in starting her own business. As two young, social go-getters, we teamed up to launch what would soon become (No Subject), a digital marketing, events & influencer agency. It was in starting this first business that led me to the idea for Create & Cultivate. When I looked online for resources for women in business, nothing spoke to me as a millennial female founder. So in 2011, I created a conference that did.
What was your main starting point for launching your own company?
The first Create & Cultivate was a 50-person event in Palm Springs. It was after that event that I realized I was onto something. People kept coming back to me asking when the next event would be.
What is the driving mission behind Create & Cultivate?
Create & Cultivate is an online platform and offline conference for women looking to create & cultivate the career of their dreams. The core focus of all of our conferences is to entertain, enlighten and inform women around key topics surrounding #sidehustle life, the ever-changing digital landscape, entrepreneurship, and the real talk that comes with being a modern working woman.
Why do you think Create & Cultivate has been such a success?
The same reasons I needed it when I started my first business. Our attendees come to feel inspired, enhance their business, and cultivate new friendships in an amazing and beautiful environment.
I attended the Seattle Creative & Cultivate and found it very inspiring. I was also in awe of the coordination. All the events look like a huge undertaking. How many people and what type of planning go into a typical city event that you host? (Seattle, Dallas etc.)
We have an incredible team that works on the conference months in advance. In Los Angeles, we have 13 full-time staffers and we also have on-site support from multiple partners for the days leading up to the conference.
How has Create & Cultivate evolved as you have grown it from a side-business to full-time brand? Any growing pains or pivots that surprised you along the way?
Create & Cultivate is now so much more than a conference business. We’re expanding in so many ways including our digital membership and bespoke service line as well as WorkParty, the book and podcast. There are always growing pains when scaling a business, but we have an amazing C&C community and knowing we’re providing them with the resources they need has been the biggest reward.
Create & Cultivate Insiders
You just launched a digital membership, Create & Cultivate Insiders, can you tell us a little about the membership and why it was important for you to offer women this new resource?
While our conferences and free events hit major cities across the country, we wanted to make sure we were showing up for women everywhere. The Create & Cultivate Insider membership does just that. We’re offering members exclusive access to premium content 24/7. This includes hours of our sold-out conference videos, digital mentor sessions, career content and business resources as well as fun perks like front-of-line passes, pre-sale access to the conference, swag & more!
A resource like this didn’t exist when I was building my business, and I think there were so many nights where I wish I could have turned somewhere for inspiration or advice. Our content tackles everything from fundraising tips and branding 101 to working with friends and building a team. We are basically your digital girl gang arming women with the tools to go out and create & cultivate the career of their dreams.
Learn More about Create & Cultivate Insider here!
What business advice do you have for women looking to build their own brands or companies?
Get everything in writing. The handshake agreement is encouraging but to avoid any misunderstanding, get a hard copy.
What has been the most important business decision you have made in the last 6 months?
Launching Create & Cultivate Insider!
Beyond running Create & Cultivate & Work Party, you are also an investment in companies too. What are your tips for women looking to become investors in startups or women-founded businesses?
I invest in the founder. Jen Rubio told me she was going to disrupt the luggage industry and I asked her if I could write a check. It was simple. I believed in her and wanted to be part of what she was building.
Do you ever experience imposter syndrome? How do you deal with it?
I talk about imposter syndrome in WorkParty and we’ve discussed it on the podcast. No one prepares you for imposter syndrome in business school, but the fear of personal failure is very real. I experienced it earlier in my career. The best way to deal with it is to remind yourself why you’re here and that you deserve to be here.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up early and like to be in the office ahead of everyone to have some time to myself. Every day is different depending on what we’re currently working on, but I always make a to-do list for the day. I'm a list maker and typically write my list once a day, crossing off items, and moving items over for the next day. After work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and disconnecting when I can. Entrepreneurship isn’t a 9-to-5 job, so I am usually answering emails at night, but I really love what I do so it’s worth it.
How do you define success?
The definition of success is different for everyone. If you’re looking for validation from the media, the internet, etc., you’ll never be fulfilled. For me, success is defined by my place in the world: Having a job I love, a team I can rely on, friends I can call whenever, and strong relationships with my family. All of these, and more, shape how I define success.
What is in store for you and your businesses moving into 2019 & 2020