That’s what I am but no one seems to really understand what that means and I can’t blame them. The concept of a “brand” is so huge and encompasses so many different things in life and in business, that branding and brand identity just ends up sounding like industry jargon.
But it doesn’t have to be and that’s the gap I hope to fill for the clients I encounter.
I’m Jackie Zimmerman, and I’ve been working in branding, design and communications for 13 years. I was a brand manager for a small coffee franchise, I designed greeting cards, I was a digital communication specialist for General Motors and I’ve built and managed online communities. I’ve done a lot of things in my career but all paths have always lead back to helping people find a way to visually display who they are to the world.
In July of 2018, I quit my job to take the leap into solopreneurship and there have been times when I felt like I was walking on air and other times where I felt like I was in a spiraling nose dive. But that’s owning your own business, right?
I always thought that I’d end up here someday. I regularly hear my Dad in my head telling me to “be your own boss”. I was raised by entrepreneurs so the desire to run the show is in my blood, but owning your own business is hard and scary. I learned this when I was a kid and I watched my parents mortgage our house so my Dad could follow his dream and start his company. Being a business owner means taking risks and they aren’t always calculated. Sometimes you’re just winging it.
For me, the drive to own my own business isn’t just propelled by my disdain for dress pants and morning traffic. I have multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis, so working from the comfort of my own home isn’t always just a “nice to have”, but it’s sometimes a “need to have”. Working through the day at the pace that works for me is something that I have found to be priceless. But that is about the only thing that is priceless. When you start a business it seems like all you do for about a month is spend money. Money that may not be coming back to you immediately, or in a week, or even in a few months. Starting a brand new business isn’t for the faint of heart or the frugal.
If I had let the fear of losing money control my mind, I’d never be writing this today. I took that leap and someone threw out a net, and then there was another, slightly bigger net, and then another. I’m still waiting for the net that’s so huge that I can breathe a lot easier, but it will come. If being chronically ill and working for myself has taught me anything, it’s that everything is temporary.
Since I’ve quit my job I have had some projects that have blown my mind. I get to help businesses tell their stories and create artwork for them that helps their dreams come true. I get to work with healthcare companies to make sure they’re always considering the patient experience. I get to work with exactly who I want and ensure that the work that I put into the world does good and makes change. What else can I really ask for?
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