Julie M. Holloway is a multi-passion entrepreneur based in Chicago, Illinois. Her love for the arts began at the early age of 8. During her junior year in high-school she attended Ringling School of Art & Design and DePaul University to attend summer pre-college perspective courses. After high-school, she attended The Art Institute of Chicago where she took a variety of art courses and is currently pursuing her BA in Business Administration with a marketing focus at Capella University. The first sixteen years of her career Holloway worked in various roles at companies such as Accenture, Home Depot, Nike and Oce Printing only to realize her passion and potential has and always will lie in the creative industry. After three years of moonlighting as an entrepreneur, while working a 12-14 hour work day, Holloway was spending 2-4 hours per night on her graphic design business. One day she woke up and realized it was her time to pursue her passion as a creative entrepreneur and took the ultimate leap of faith and left her full-time career in corporate America.
Holloway opened JMH Cre8ive Solutions in November, 2011 and has experienced tremendous growth and an expansion of creative design, print and web services along with her team of co-entrepreneurs. With an enormous heart and hunger for collaborating and assisting entrepreneurs carry through their creative vision, the business continues to flourish. Not too long ago, a colleague labeled JMH as the “dream midwife” because she has helped, encouraged, counseled and mentored many clients and colleagues as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
The TEW Vision
In November 2012, Holloway authored a book titled The Entrepreneur Within You (TEW) published by 220 Communications. She organized this inspirational entrepreneurship anthology with 18 contributing authors with hopes of empowering, equipping and inspiring entrepreneurs nationwide to pursue their passions and dreams. The “Crew” is currently working on volume two which will introduce another 17 contributors. From her infamous “quit day” in 2011 to the present, JMH continues to inspire, encourage and equip her colleagues and perfect strangers alike with hope and inspiration to follow their life’s passion.
The TEW movement continues beyond the book from a power-hour inspirational TEW Radio Show on Wednesdays at 11:30am Central Time with her co-author Nicole Knox to live workshops, speaking engagements and book signings for the TEW Crew and TEW jr. club...she is on a mission. Holloway has truly found and tapped into her creative abilities and is living the entrepreneurial dream of moving from hobby to hustle, or in other words turning her passion into a profit.
In her spare time, JMH spends quality and creative time with her husband Darnell, children Jasmine (11) and D.J. (6) who are also emerging entrepreneurs. Together, the family loves sports, games, the Chicago White Sox, playing mini-golf and going to various events together. The kids are learning a bit about entrepreneurship by authoring books, selling soy wax candles, t-shirts, journals and Vitner’s Hot Corn chips at events. You can find out more about the Holloway’s retail business line at www.jmhgoodies.com!
How do you balance what seems to be a very busy schedule with your family life?
I talk about work/life balance (W/LB) a lot in my book, and on social media. For the first year of running my business full-time from home, I had absolutely zero life, and absolutely zero balance. However, one of my contributors and very close friends has a blog called My Lifestyle Zen. I found myself reading it very often actually searching for clues on HOW to achieve balance
Now, back to the question at hand...It has literally taken me a year and a half to be able to consciously achieve W/LB. I was not doing this for a long time and it was causing a bad strain on my productivity and on my marriage, to be honest. My husband and a few close colleagues had to really get it through my head that I was way too much of a workaholic. I quit working full-time to NOT be a workaholic, and my “workaholism” got worse!
You said that you attend a variety of events, where do you find the time?
Well, when we published The Entrepreneur Within You almost one-year ago, I promised myself, and the “brand” that I would either plan one event monthly or participate in another organization’s event where we could promote the book and the movement. So far, we have, and sometimes more than one per month. We have planned events 'such as book signings, book brunches, TEW Jr. meet-ups, live author workshops, picnics and more. I have always had my side-kick/daughter Jasmine (11) who is such a mini-event planner. She loves helping me plan the logistics, get creative with party details and embrace others’ assistance in the process. We always have a great deal of sponsors and volunteers which is amazing. I found that my 16 years as an executive assistant still shines when planning events. I absolutely love it and it gives us something to look forward to outside of work once per month.
It is great that you inspire your children to take part in your event. Do you have any words of advice for others who would consider doing the same thing?
My word of advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs is to truly embrace, encourage and display your talents so that your children can see you shine. The reason being is that it will encourage them to do the same... to be role models, to grow into their skin and find out what ‘inspires them’ so that they can begin thinking about what they will be in the future, when they grow up.
I wanted to be an artist since the age 8. When I quit art school (The Art Institute of Chicago) in 1996 after just ONE YEAR, I let my entire dream go. I began working in corporate America because my dad got me a job, and I suppressed my art for many years. Before you know it, I’d gotten married and had kids and went back to school by the age of 29! Now planning to graduate at the age of 36, I’d realized that enough was enough! I suppressed my passion and talent for too long! I share all of this because once I quit the 9-5 job, the first thing my kids asked me was “why would I be home now, every day?” They were so excited, and with much pride and passion I told them, “we now have a family business.” I could not be happier, at the excitement and growth we have shared as a creative family!
How has living in Chicago impacted your journey as a "creative entrepreneur"?
Well, I grew up in Palatine, a suburb west of Chicago. When I turned 18, I left home for the city...stayed downtown for 7 years(including when I got married at 21). Hubby and I loved the city and the excitement and opportunity that it brought. Now with our family,we live back west in the suburb of Hanover Park. I still love the city and downtown has my heart! Doing business in Chicago has been amazing for me. It is a very ‘small world’ and I must say that 95% of my business is referral-based. So at this point, I am very grateful for the city of Chicago for allowing me to fulfill my dreams.
There is a huge entrepreneurial spirit from the north side to the south/west side. I am exploring more of that out here in the suburbs, but it is much more segregated in race and business/diversity. I like to mix and mingle with all ages, races and social-economical statuses. I also love to help aspiring entrepreneurs and authors and being in Chicago has been great at allowing me to have such a diverse collection of over 350 clients over the past 5 years. I would not trade it for anything. If I had to, I would move to Houston / Dallas area, because the sun shines more and I have a huge following and clientele down there. But for now, Chicago is my kind of town and it is home.