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Just jump in gals...YOU ARE READY!
THE JILLS OF AL TRADES™
Learn how harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit & practices fuels employee engagement and increases innovation.
THE JILLS are joining forces with the fabulous Brava Magazine gals at the 2017 Women's THRIVE Career Workshop Series:
Intrapreneurship: How Thinking Like an Entrepreneur Can Spark Explosive Results Within Your Organization.
Intrapreneurship is on the rise in the US and around the world, and it’s no wonder! As entrepreneurial thinking offers a way to spark creativity, fix problems, build collaborations, and get things done effectively, efficiently and based on evidence, why not bring this mindset into every organization? And why not start with you!
Join THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™ Co-founders, Megan Boswell and Corinne Neil, as they start you on a path to becoming an intrapreneur. Through collaborative discussions, hands-on activities and guided instruction you’ll be able to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to your work, and your organization, no matter your position or your profession. In this workshop you will learn the basics of the entrepreneurial mindset and chart a course for implementing these strategies in easy and practical ways.
Learn why leading entrepreneurs like to ‘get out of the building’, and how you too can improve customer engagement, spark innovation, improve job satisfaction, and build better collaborations and partnerships with this philosophy.
Explore and utilize the Business Model Canvas to better understand the business of YOU and proactively reset your career so you can be more effective, efficient and energized at work.
Reframe your thinking about failure and understand the benefits of growth mindset thinking, why it’s critical for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, and how it can help you solve problems and open you to new experiences.
Understand why collaboration is the new competitive advantage and develop techniques for improved collaborations.
Discover the importance of community as a foundation for implementing successful agile processes and productive feedback loops.
Learn to embrace problems as the critical first step for innovation.
You’ll leave this workshop having laughed, learned and explored intrapreneurship in a practical and engaging way. You’ll also gain a toolkit of entrepreneurial basics and a brand new mindset to take with you to work the very next day.
REGISTER FOR THIS WORKSHOP THROUGH THIS LINK:
A special shout-out to BRAVA Magazine for featuring THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™.
GIVING SOLO PROFESSIONALS PRESENCE
THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES
By Kate Bast | Photographed by Kaia Calhoun, Styled by Julie Mierkiewicz | Brava Magazine
Megan Boswell and Corinne Neil first met at a neighborhood meetup, and that was all it took for an idea to spark between them. The inspired duo launched their business and online platform called The Jills of All Trades to connect independent female professionals with each other and businesses on project-based work. They hope it will become a national, even international one-stop shop—“a powerhouse of online talent,” says Neil (right).
It fills a need, says Boswell (left), in this age of the shared economy, where companies are trying to figure out how to embrace workers who are less tethered to their jobs thanks to technology and a desire for greater flexibility, balance and different ways of collaborating and sharing resources.
The pair has worked in both the corporate and freelance worlds. Of the latter, they deeply know: “It’s hard,” says Neil, “to do the work while also hunting for the next job and trying to self-promote when you’re only one person.” The Jills’ platform removes that barrier, getting female contractors, freelancers and consultants out of those limited work silos and into a visible network with large-scale promotion power.
The Jills’ network is membership based. Boswell and Neil help each member curate her professional bragging rights, with bios, statements and headshots. Member Jills connect with each other at events and meetups, and have the benefits of a built-in peer network, for community, but also for potential collaboration on each other’s projects. Interested businesses connect directly with each Jill—there is no middle man, or woman—and Boswell and Neil also offer a fee-based connection curation service for clients.
The Jills’ broad talent pool includes creative types like designers and photographers, along with business strategists, attorneys, engineers and even postdoctoral scientists looking to market their expertise to the corporate world.
But it’s not just a job network. At its core, says Boswell, “It’s about women championing other women."
original article link: http://bravamagazine.com/giving-solo-professionals-presence/
START-UP CITY FEATURE
BY BRENNAN NARDI
"MADISON STARTUP KEEPS THOSE WHO WORK SOLO FROM BEING SILOED. THE JILLS CONNECTS INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS".
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Megan A.C. Boswell’s teenage daughter, who gave her mom and her mom’s business partner Corinne Neil tips on how to use Twitter. That’s where I stumbled upon THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES, read about the venture and discovered that it is a Madison-area startup.
Naturally, the smart and savvy duo eventually mastered the art of tweeting. I’m grateful for the ease and efficiency of social media in discovering unique, local people and products—and then making those one-on-one connections. I’m from Generation X and old enough to remember life before the digital age, when networking and community building happened via the newspaper and at Junior League. I also recall a time when an amazing concept like THE JILLS, an online platform for independent contractors to connect with companies that need highly skilled, on-demand talent, would have been dreamed up in a larger city, likely on a coast, and even more likely, a product of “the Jacks.”
Thankfully, Boswell found her way to the Midwest through American Girl. She spent 14 years as head of global design and development before launching a brand strategy and design business for two and a half years to allow more time with her kids. Neil enjoys a successful career as a curriculum and content developer. Unlike Boswell’s corporate career, Neil’s solo career offered a flexible schedule and a healthy life-work balance. One of the challenges for Neil was the time, energy and sometimes anxiety associated with landing the next gig, and the one after that. Also, freelance work can be isolating, and Neil began to yearn for a more networked and sustainable lifestyle, while still retaining the variety and autonomy she loves most. So she started talking to Boswell and other friends about what it might look like for all of them to thrive in their careers without sacrificing quality of life. A lightbulb switched on, and THE JILLS was born.
In 2015, THE JILLS focused on customer development and was accepted into the startup accelerator Madworks, where they put their ideas to the test in the company of peers and mentors. Madworks companies receive support through the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, a resource for fledgling companies without the capital to finance expensive but essential legal counsel.
Each Madworks company receives a $5,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation after completing the 10-week program. THE JILLS used it to launch a website with plug-in tools—and still have money in the bank. Armed with the tagline “Work Solo-Not Silo,” the company sells monthly ($35) and annual ($365, or a dollar a day) memberships to join THE JILLS community and gain access to an online roster of project-based talent, project opportunities, networking meetups, marketing and promotion and curated tips and trends. THE JILLS distinguishes itself in the marketplace with a broad talent spectrum (from writers and graphic designers to Ph.D.s, lawyers and software developers), no job bidding or transaction fees and direct communication between the Jill and the client. Both members and nonmembers can also earn cash rewards
What’s also sustainable and scalable, the founders hope, is the community-driven platform on which THE JILLS is built. The plan is to grow THE JILLS around the globe but anchor the membership to geographic hubs that promote team building and relationships. Future growth also includes a suite of administrative tools for members to manage their work more efficiently and effectively.
“We’re not saving the world,” concedes Boswell. “But we’re saving time through community, collaboration and convenience.”
I beg to differ. Just imagine all the Jills who could save the world one project—and one less commute—at a time.
Co-Founders of the recent startup, THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™, Megan and Corinne have been building portfolio careers over the past 25 years that have taught them to work smarter, live fuller, and carve their own niche. Here they share some of their learning.
Find a community. Working solo is great, but not if you’re siloed. The promotional power of a community will put a spotlight on you more than you can independently. So find your people, know your tribe, meetup, chat, join a board, volunteer, play a sport, coach, take a class. It’s imperative for your personal and professional growth that you find a place of belonging - somewhere you can make a contribution. It is foundational, and can be the basis of establishing meaningful work.
Foster collaboration, not competition. There’s no corporate ladder to climb and no glass ceilings to shatter in your portfolio career so embrace this new work paradigm and shift the metaphor. There’s only space for one person at a time on that ladder anyway! Instead start lifting and linking others, and let your work life have the breadth and exploration of rock climbing, not ladder climbing. Mountains offer more; there’s more to see, more to explore, more to discover. So help someone find a new path, reach out your hand in someone’s aid, support a colleague from the bottom as you watch their ascent. Why? Because it feels great, and it’s more likely that they’ll do the same for you. You know what they say about that rising tide, all ships float. Plus those blue skies while you’re climbing together are just so much better than any ceiling, glass, or otherwise.
Connect by knot-working versus networking. Think about it. The best work comes when we don’t even feel like we’re working. The idea of knot-working is to truly build authentic relationships in authentic ways, well beyond passing out business cards at happy hours and adding people to LinkedIn. So make friends. Share your work. Tell your family about what you do. Display it. Write about it. Let others engage in it and engage with you. The power of personal connections is what builds sustainable professional relationships, so give knot-working a try. It might be exactly what you want from your portfolio career.
Establish an accountability partner. For real. Having weekly check-ins, on the phone or in-person, can totally change the time you spend working. Set goals together. Create timelines. Make lists. Then support each other. Offer feedback. Learn to receive suggestions and critiques. And be generous to each other.
Set boundaries. You’re juggling this portfolio of work presumably so that you are empowered to determine how you work, when you work, and what projects you want to take on. Portfolio careers are all about reconfiguring the work + life equation over and over to create the best you. In order to do this, take the time, every year, every month, or whenever it makes sense to write down your personal policies for work and your rules for engagement. Seriously, write them down. Post them predominantly. Return to them often. Share them with your accountability partner. Then stick to them.
The portfolio career truly offers the promise of establishing the right work life balance for you. But be patient, good work takes time to build.
We Didn’t Set Out to Be Entrepreneurs. Why Steadying the Scales of Work-Life Balance Compelled Two Women to StartUp.
Megan and I did not necessarily set out to be entrepreneurs.
Megan build an amazing career in fashion and design, climbed the corporate ladder to executive positions in prestigious organizations, shaped brands that changed an industry, traveled the world, was granted patents, was featured on Oprah, made movies, and even dreamed up experiential cruise ship voyages. She earned a top salary, and was beloved by her staff and colleagues. Her nurturing and generous spirit extended through her leadership where she taught many, especially women, to fully embrace the ampersand and be powerful & feminine, direct & kind, humorous & focused, collaborative & independent.
As life changed, as it’s so apt to do, Megan did too.
Children grew, relocations happened, new interests developed. There was downsizing. And Megan found herself contemplative and eager for a brand new dress to wear, one that could bring her closer to a work-life balance so she could soak up more time with her husband, 3 teenaged children, and her extended family living in different states. She eventually styled her own independent and successful brand strategy and design consultancy business, and after nearly 30 years of leading multimillion dollar projects and being 'traditionally' employed, Megan was now using her talents and skills so she could work when she wanted, how she wanted, and on projects that mattered to her. A flexible schedule with a variety of projects and hand-picked clients suited her as an encore career.
My career story was much more of an 'adapt and go' kind of set-up from the beginning. I loved to teach, I was good at it, and I used it to satisfy my taste for travel, spending the early part of my career in both the Middle East and Europe. When I moved to the US from Canada, I found myself in Austin, TX where I decided to redirect my talents for teaching and writing to an educational publishing company instead of the classroom, and exchange my evenings of grading papers for night classes to earn my massage therapy license - something I’d wanted to do since high school.
But before long, I too, decided to step out of corporate and embark on what I know see as my portfolio career working as an independent: writing, teaching, and educating. Because besides being wearied by the corporate ladder that only one person can climb at a time, there also came pregnancies that were tougher than imagined, relocations, and superhero mom and dad manoeuvres to ensure one of us was always home with our boys - a portfolio career made sense to me. There just wasn’t a name for it then.
Together, Megan and I have a very unique 360 degree view of work. We know both sides of being an independent and working in corporate. We see the possibilities, opportunities, and struggles of both. We know stay-at-home parenting, we know being working mothers. We’ve lived re-entry and are always re-entering so we can routinely adjust the work + life equation. Megan shattered glass ceilings. I stayed off the ladder. We know the merits and downfalls of each.
And we know the world of work is changing. And so do you. You’ve seen the statistics; read the headlines. 70% of us will work freelance in the next 10 years. Lifetime employment is over. The gig economy is the new economy. It’s a Freelance Nation. Our work will come from our alliances, not recruiters, and not employers.
So no, we didn’t necessarily set out to be entrepreneurs.
But after nearly 30 combined years of trying to steady the scales of work-life balance, we’re compelled to be.
We’re turning directly to the problems felt by both the independents and the hiring clients in this gig economy and creating a solution. And it is our combined 360 degree view, and our lifetime of experiences that make us uniquely qualified to take on the challenge. We’ve lived the problems, see a path to a solution, and know it’s time for us to step up and lead a workforce revolution.
Join us on our journey.
Because we know in our core that when women come together, link arms, and lift each other up we have the power to change everything.
As founders of THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™, we are the lucky ones out and about talking up and spotlighting the myriad talents of the amazing women who join the THE JILLS GALLERY. We get to boast on these solopreneurs who coach, strategize, design, present, educate, build, create, and collaborate with incredible grace, integrity, and expertise.
They make our jobs so easy.
On this fair summer evening, we enjoyed an evening of Jazz on the rooftop of the Madison Baird office as the guests of Meg Prestigiacomo. We connected with women of all ages and backgrounds - business leaders, political advocates, corporate CEOs, small business owners, educators, and philosophers. They were thrilled about THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™, and were eager to spread the word. They all recognized the power of linking up to lift each other higher.
To all of the JILLS and all the future JILLS, thank you for letting us shine a spotlight on your awesomeness.
we are the founders of THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™ and we are on a mission to work smarter, live fuller & lift others who wish to do to the same.
After our corporate 9-5 gigs became more grind than growth, we were convinced there was a better way to do work, find work, and get work done. We knew you could have an independent business and still feel professionally connected. We felt sure it was possible to feed our brains & fuel our hearts, without sapping our souls, without missing out on life's special moments….And still stay busy. And still make a living, while keeping a life.
Naive? Utopia? Nope.
We're doing it here at THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES ™. Join our journey.
Corinne and Megan
"THE LIGHT OF ONE ROW BOAT IN AN OCEAN IS HARD TO FIND. BUT LINKING MANY TOGETHER MAKES A BEAUTIFUL BEACON".