When Jasmine Williams looks back on the path that led her to becoming an entrepreneur and business owner, it’s easy to connect the dots. With two parents who own their own businesses, Jasmine’s sphere of influence started at home, and she was born with the brains to complement her upbringing.
By the age of four, she was already reading, and she began writing not long thereafter. This led to an advanced education focused on storytelling, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, as well as a Master of Arts in Media Production.
While she was in school, she enrolled in an elective course focused on entrepreneurship, where she learned what it takes to get a business off the ground. After school she worked at a number of startups interviewing entrepreneurs and creatives, participating in another education of sorts as she fully immersed herself in every aspect of business ownership in order to tell their stories.
“Looking back it’s clear that there were many little signs along the way that a) I was super into entrepreneurship, and b) I should start my own business, but it took me time to figure out how to go about it and what my business would look like.”
About a year ago, Jasmine was cultivating her side hustle as a writer when she met a woman through a Facebook group who was already living the dream as a full-time freelance writer. Jasmine reached out and was showered with critical advice regarding fees, client management, and various aspects of the freelance profession. She took this knowledge and started small with an Instagram account to test the waters for her new business. A former colleague saw the account, and this led to Jasmine’s first gig as a full-time freelancer. She accepted the job, registered her business, opened a bank account, set up accounting software, and–drumroll, please–quit her job to pursue her dream.
“In the beginning I really struggled with self-doubt. Even though my friends and family were really supportive, I had this little voice in my head telling me that I’d made the wrong decision. I also realized that I was in over my head when it came to the business side of things. While I knew I had the skills and experience to bring value to my clients, I didn’t really have a proper plan in place in regard to sales or marketing.
“One of the benefits of owning your own business is that you get to make all of the decisions. But one of the challenges is that you have to make all of the decisions.
“It can be overwhelming. I am never just a content writer or a consultant; I am a bookkeeper, a salesperson, and countless other roles. However I also find it really empowering. I’ve learned more in the last three months than the whole year before.”
For this reason Jasmine has surrounded herself with an external team of experts in the aspects of her business ownership that she is not as knowledgeable in, and she attributes these relationships to much of the success of her own business.
“Since starting my company, I’ve worked with a business coach and had consultations with a lawyer and an accountant, and their expertise has been invaluable.
“Even if you’re a ‘solopreneur,’ you don’t have to do everything alone.”
Through the process of learning how to run her own business, Jasmine also learned how to identify her target audience when marketing her services, pursuing clients that not only complemented her writing style but who also fairly compensated her for her work.
“For the longest time, I didn’t think I could take my side hustle full-time–turns out I just wasn’t charging enough. Once I stopped working low-paying writing gigs and focused on bringing on better clients, my business really took off.
“Now my clients are mostly in the digital marketing, eCommerce, or AdTech space. They require somebody who has the ability to translate technical terms and concepts into everyday language, and I have a lot of experience with this, so I think that helps set me apart from other content writers. Additionally my background in journalism coupled with my experience in marketing means I can tell engaging stories that are also optimized to help my clients achieve their marketing goals.”
While Jasmine has found her niche in the freelance writing world, she continues to promote “content creation services for game changers and change makers” and seeks out those who match her passion for purpose.
“A game changer, in my opinion, is someone who thinks differently, who defies the status quo. They can be entrepreneurs and small business owners, but they can also be 9-5ers or side-hustlers. I really like working with passionate, purpose-driven people because that energy fuels me to do my best work. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s change that’s important to me, but I identify with people who don’t settle—people who have big ideas or bold ways of doing things and aren’t afraid to make them happen.”
Jasmine’s own path reflects her penchant for people who dare to dream, and she wants to encourage others considering a similar path, while also keeping it real when it comes to the inevitable challenges of business ownership.
“Running a business isn’t for everybody. In the beginning, you’ll probably have to make a lot of sacrifices, whether it’s making less money while you scale your business or having to turn down social events to finish client work. But if you have that entrepreneurial itch that you just can’t seem to ignore, my advice is just to go for it. You’ll never know what will happen until you try.”
Jasmine in Ten
- Education: Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University, Master of Arts in Media Production from Ryerson University.
- Coffee Order: Iced coffee or Americano in the summer, and cappuccino in the winter.
- If not business owner?:Culture writer for a big magazine like Vogue or Vanity Fair.
- Miss Independent: She traveled solo around Europe for a month.
- Past Life: She danced competitively as a kid (jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop).
- Childhood Icon: Rory Gilmore. “I really related to her as I was a bookish nerd growing up who was also into popular culture. I think she’s partially the reason why I decided to pursue journalism in university.
- 200: The number of Barre classes she has completed…and counting.
- Favorite Work Project: Edited an activity book for couples in long-distance relationships.
- Favorite Authors: Scaachi Koul, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Zadie Smith.
- You May Recognize Her Byline: Jasmine also writes for Daily Hive, View The Vibe, and GoDaddy.ca.
All images by Megan te Boekhorst, Sequoia Content Studio.