The Interview Series: Spotlight on Julienne DesJardins

Tell me a little about you and your company.

I’m a digital marketing virtual assistant, specializing in social media management and email marketing. My ideal client is a passionate, small business owner who is ready to offload some of her recurring work, with the goal of turning her attention to business growth activities.

How long have you owned your own business?

My business started as a side hustle in 2014. I was working nights and weekends and in about a year, I had more demand than I could handle. At that point, I made the decision to leap to full-time self-employment (early 2015). It’s been a great journey since then!

What made you decide to start your own business?

I started my biz because I wanted to do what I loved again. When I was still traditionally employed, I moved to a new position at a different organization. That new role was really exciting, but had less of the marketing tasks I loved from my previous work. VA work allowed me to still keep my hands on tasks like email newsletters and Facebook community management, which I love. And then it grew from there!

What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

To always follow through. Even if it takes a few days to respond to an inquiry, - I do my best to never leave things unanswered. Wrapping up loose ends is a clean way to do business, and keeps your mind free from clutter and guilt.

What do you wish someone had told you when you started your business?

I don’t think I really heard or absorbed the fact that there are cycles in business. We all have a quiet season - for me, that’s summer. When you know that, it’s easier to plan for and you can remind yourself of that and remain calm during those periods. It may be a specific season or month for your business, and different from mine. Whenever it is, though, it will come. And, most importantly, it will pass.

What are the three skills that new entrepreneurs need in order to succeed?

Integrity, efficiency and intrinsic motivation. Having integrity means your short-term clients will come to trust you and become long-term ones. Being efficient will mean you can get more done in a day - and be able to balance your client tasks with your own business’ work. And being a self-starter, being motivated, is perhaps the biggest one. Some days you’ll be down, you’ll be tired, you’ll be unsure if you want to go back to the 9-5. Knowing your why, and motivating yourself with that, is the one way to make it through those days.

What routines do you have in place to help your days run smoothly?

One thing that really works for me is planning my day the night before. Before I wrap up shop for the day, I clean out my inbox and set my first goals for the coming day. It makes the next morning run so much smoother.

How do you find balance as an entrepreneur?

I have to set time limits for myself. When time’s up, I shut the computer and go spend time with my husband and son. Spending quiet time with them refocuses me.

What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Wearing pajamas and drinking coffee while working has always been at the top of the list. But these days my favorite things revolve around my son. I’m there for all of his firsts, and that is a gift that my clients have given me. I feel a huge amount of gratitude that I’m able to do work I love and be home to see my baby when he masters a new skill.

What do you do to unwind?

My son is 7 months old, so these days I might unwind by taking a quick nap! But other than that, I love to spend time with him reading books and taking a walk to the park.

What is a project that you are working on right now or just finished?

I have a client who is launching a new website right now for her handmade clothing items. She is an incredible artist and has worked for years to get to this point. It’s so exciting to walk with her through the final stretch. Our work is focus on sharing some behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram, and running FB ads to get the word out.

How can people get in touch with you?

I’m @julmasdes on Twitter and Instagram. Come chat with me!