Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Julia Wetzel is a super stylish founder of marketing consultancy JDW for businesses and lifestyle brands. She has extensive marketing experience, runs online courses and has a great social media presence the design and feel of her account is so warm, fun and contemporary.
Who are you and what do you do? I’m Julia, founder of JDW, a marketing consultancy for creative businesses and lifestyle brands. After working in marketing for big corporates as well as smaller design studios for 12+ years, I decided to use my knowledge and expertise to support other creatives in nailing their social media and marketing. I am a visual thinker, so for me good design is a must, but equally I believe there is not much point in implementing a marketing campaign without a solid strategy and clear objectives in place. Instagram handle @julia_d_wetzel LinkedIn @juliadwetzel
What inspired/motivated you to create your business? I had often toyed with the idea of going it alone but hadn’t quite worked out what I wanted to do or how I was going to do it. My husband’s work is incredibly inflexible and with two kids at home and family in other countries, I knew I wanted to create something for myself that would fit around my family. I set up my business towards the end of my second maternity leave.
What advice would you give others wanting to start a business? Or rise up through the ranks? When it comes to starting your own business I would say to make sure you know who your audience is. Invest time into doing some research, making sure that there is a demand for whatever it is you are wanting to sell (service or product). In my first year, I was only able to work one day per week due to our childcare set up. I used that time to work for different clients doing a variety of things. By the time I was ready to officially launch, I was pretty clear on who I wanted to work with and the services I wanted to offer.
What have you learnt on your journey as a business owner? That things take time. I am trying to be patient, celebrate small wins and realise that the growth of my business will be slow. That doesn’t mean I won’t reach my goals, it’s just not going to happen over night.
What has been the toughest challenge being your own boss? Being in such a high position? Initially, I really missed the social aspect of working in an office. The chat over coffee, going out for lunch and being part of a team. But, over the last few months, I’ve connected with some amazing people on Instagram or at events and I am loving the support and friendships that are forming over time. Another challenge is that I am still restricted with time, only being able to work within school hours. Sometimes it’s hard to switch off when I just got into a good flow. It’s a work in progress!
What is the best thing about being your own boss? I absolutely love the fact that I don’t have to commute and the stress that brings. I love that I can pick my daughter up from school and get to hang out with my son on the two days he’s not at nursery. The feeling that comes from someone investing in me and my services is incredible. Not hiding behind a big brand name but knowing it’s all down to me and the hard work I put into it.
Where do you get design/style ideas from? I get inspiration from lots of different places. Instagram and Pinterest being on top of the list of course. I set up boards before we started renovations on our house, to get ideas for my headshots and when working with Helen @mum_folk on my branding. The list is endless! Travel, being out and about in London, going to trade shows, exhibitions and design led coffee table books are huge influences too. I always end up taking photos when I’m out or collect brochures or cards that I feel could spark some ideas further down the line. Do you feel being a woman has been a barrier in anyway during your career and setting up and running your business? I wouldn’t say a barrier but there are times when being a woman and mother makes things more difficult. I first noticed it when returning back to work part time after my first maternity leave. I heard the phrase ‘you’re only part time’ or ‘you’re only here three days a week’ quite a bit. I think in people’s minds going part time means you aren’t serious about your career anymore. Whether you are full time and have a nanny, part time or you decide to stay at home. There is no perfect set up and not one is better than the other. It simply has to work for you and your family. In terms of setting up my own business, I’d say being a mum has given me more determination and drive to make it work for myself. It’s also given me an incredible amount of confidence. I often remind myself that I have given birth to two humans and if I can do that, I can do pretty much anything! What do you do in those moments when you feel like quitting? I tend to speak to my friends. They always help me put things into perspective, remind me how far I have come already and of all the things I have achieved over the years. Being a creative do you find you are asked to work for free? How do you feel about working for free? I haven’t been asked to work for free but I now get why so many people limit the amount of time they meet someone ‘for a coffee’. While it’s great to meet prospective clients or have a chat to people who are in the same or a similar industry (i.e. both of you benefit from the meeting), it shouldn’t be used to get someone’s advice for free. My time is so limited now with work and two young kids. If anyone wants to work with me, there are accessible ways of doing this, i.e. enrolling on my online course or booking a one hour consultancy call. And for free advice and tips, just follow me on Instagram. How do you navigate working with friends and family if they require your services or ask for a favour? That’s a bit of a case by case scenario I’d say. I have a friend who recently set up as a personal trainer and runs small fitness classes at her house. She asked me if I’d do a skill swap (free classes in exchange for social media tips) and I happily said yes. Do you feel there is a women's revolution coming as more women set up and run their own businesses and is it a good and is this a good thing? Yes I do! Or maybe I notice it more now that I have officially launched my business and am more active on social media again. I have met some incredibly talented women online and in real life and feel the support and sense of community is just amazing. There seems to be a real shift from seeing other women as competition to working together and supporting each other.
Were there any moments in your life where you felt like you were not living the life you felt you wanted and what did you do to overcome that? I wouldn’t say I felt that I weren’t living the life I wanted. I did at times wish that I wasn’t responsible for most of the childcare and general life admin, The good old mental load! It just happens that my husband’s work is incredibly inflexible which is partly the reason I set up my own business. For me personally, the best way to overcome those negative feelings is acceptance. Acceptance of how things are right now, knowing it won’t be forever. There is no point wishing things were different but instead I try and make the most of the time I have to invest in my work and enjoy the days I have with my kids. How do you silence the internal negative voice that tries to sabotage your progress? I remind myself of all the things I have achieved already and celebrate every single win, however small or big.
What does the future hold for your business? I would like JDW to be the place creative business owners and lifestyle brands turn to for fuss free and easy to implement marketing and social media advice. I want to help others get clear on their strategy and use the marketing tools available to them to grow and make an impact on their business. I am also planning to launch a couple more online courses aimed to help small business owners gain a better understanding in marketing and social media.
What three books would you pick if they were the only books you could ever read?
To be honest, I am finding it hard to read any book these days. But there are a few loaded on my Kindle at the moment that I either need to finish or would like to get started on: ‘The Moment of Lift’ by Melinda Gates, ‘The Discomfort Zone’ by Farrah Stork and I want to finish reading ‘The Multi Hyphen Method’ by Emma Gannon.
What three books would you pick if they were the only books you could ever read?Which three women are giving you the positive energy on instagram right now?
Seven random facts about yourself ● At a catalogue shoot in Fiji, I had to jump in and model some of the maternity collection for the company I worked for at the time. Fake bump included. And of course surprised / shocked my parents by emailing them one of the images. ● My first job was for a lingerie company. Perks included free underwear to take home and test wear all the time. ● I am originally from Germany, met my husband in Sydney and lived with him in Auckland for five years before moving to London over seven years ago ● I use the initial of my middle name in my branding but hardly anyone knows what my middle name is ● My first pet was a hamster called Teddy. I loved him so much I cried for weeks when he died. First lesson in grief at age eight. ● Somehow my entire life is a colour palette of pastels, grey marle and animal print. ● My guilty pleasure is to eat an entire tub of haagen dasz pralines and cream in one sitting. I refuse to share it with anyone.
Anything to add I have just launched my first online course, teaching people how to build a strategic content roadmap. It’s for anyone who wants to up their content planning game, not only on social media but across all of their brand touch points. I sold two courses already and can’t wait to help more businesses to streamline their ideas. I also work 1-2-1, supporting creative businesses and lifestyle brands with their marketing. If you’d like to find out if I can help you, dm me and we can chat more.