This week’s edition features another one of Chicago’s Young Entrepreneurs that operate two businesses at the same time. Five months before 25-year-old Jessica Lybeck was laid off from a part-time job, she started the first of her two entrepreneurial ventures. Her first company is a creative entity that helps others formulate their business ideas and the second is a sounding board with support and advice for the many others who have lost their positions due to a shaky economy. In her downtime, Jessica loves the great outdoors, going for a run and playing golf. Take a look at her story and her reference to one of my favorite entrepreneurial quotes in the feature of the two companies, Till Creative and Layoff Moveon.
Till Creative / Layoff Moveon
245 W. North Avenue, #211
Chicago, IL 60610
Owner (Till Creative), Co-Founder (Layoff Moveon) – Jessica Lybeck
Start Date of Company - Till Creative - July 2008, Layoff Moveon - February 2009
How did you come up with the names for your companies?
"Till Creative" -
I help people grow their business from the infancy of an idea through consulting, branding and marketing. "Till" has a 3-fold meaning. First, it means to "till" or "cultivate" your business ideas. Secondly, it describes a decision point in time ("till I decided to take action"). Finally, for entrepreneurs, it is all about money in the drawer or "till".
"Layoff Moveon" -
I was laid off from my part-time position as an Urban Designer in an architecture firm while I was growing Till Creative. To me, I felt there were two emotional parts of this process - the act of being laid off and the catalyst for moving forward again. The name Layoff Moveon embodies that concept, and I hope that it helps people do just that!
It has been shown that one's entrepreneurial ability is determined by these four attributes: initiative, decision-making, innovation and risk-taking. In which attribute are you the strongest and why?
Initiative. I don't talk about doing things or developing ideas, I do them and I develop them. I think that business innovation is one of the most exciting things on the planet, and I'm happy to spend every inch of my being doing it.
Why did you decide to open your business?
“Till Creative” -
I live and breathe ideas and love the people that pursue them. But, I felt that most people who are starting a business need the basic tools; a business, brand, website and marketing strategy, which can be largely inaccessible due to budget restraints. I knew I could help, and started Till Creative to allow entrepreneurs access to design thinking & marketing tools.
“Layoff Moveon” -
I was laid off myself and realized the daily reality of looking for a part-time job for supplementary income was altogether lonely and frustrating. I knew that I was certainly not the only one feeling this way, but didn't feel like my typical online social outlets allowed me to vent and share tips & tricks I found along the way. I did a search, and came up with few resources and decided to make a resource for the millions of unemployed on my own.
What have you achieved with your company thus far?
“Till Creative” –
I have helped over a dozen businesses open their doors or improve their outlook over the past year through Till Creative. I feel elated to be able to make accessible to startups the tools of design & marketing, and am learning how to make the process of starting a business smartly accessible.
“Layoff Moveon” –
In just a few short months, we're growing the support and thanks from almost 600 members of the website whom believe that the site was helpful and cathartic as they went through layoffs. Traffic is growing and advertising inquiries are on the rise! Through the social media marketing activities of the website, we've been featured in numerous articles and media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Glamour Magazine, Careerbuilder.com and MSN.com.
What has been difficult about running a business? What disappointments have you experienced since becoming a business owner?
It is difficult for me to separate myself from the work I do. It is a constant challenge to balance time for relaxation and fun with the internal pressure I put on myself and my business, especially because I'm not sure whether I live in my office or work from home!
My disappointments have actually been few & far between, as most of my negative experiences get filed under "learning opportunity" and in general I receive a lot of positive feedback by being honest.
What advice do you have for aspiring young entrepreneurs?
Take action! Aspiring entrepreneurs often fall into what I call the "after" complex when it comes to their business dreams. They say they'll start their business "after I save more money", "after I've gained more experience" or "after my bonus next year". Most of these excuses are just obstacles, easily solved when you start taking decisive action toward your goals. As David Rolan said, "we're not on this pale blue dot long enough to spend time dabbling in mediocrity."