Jasmine Hogarth is the Founder of e-commerce business Gift Boss and Make It Clear, a copywriting and content marketing company aimed at helping small businesses and individuals.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I never imagined that I would own my own business. In fact, after completing an International Communications Degree, I spent the next 15 years working in a mostly corporate environment, in marketing, communications and digital content roles.
While I was working as a Content Manager for a large bank, I started doing some freelance copywriting as part of a side hustle business – Make it clear. My first clients were all people I knew, but after a while I started getting referrals and the business slowly grew.
Once I had about 12 months of running Make it clear under my belt, I well and truly had the entrepreneurial itch so I started thinking about what else I’d like to try.
I decided I wanted to start my own ecommerce business – I had a number of friends who had launched their own product businesses and found success – and I also thought this experience would make me a better copywriter as I would have more insights into what works and doesn’t work when it comes to selling products.
While I was still working for the bank (I had since gone down to part-time), I launched Gift Boss – a company that creates fun, stylish and modern gift hampers, with an emphasis on Australian-made and sustainable products.
As soon as it launched, I handed in my resignation so I could focus on both businesses full-time.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
A typical day usually involves spending time on both Gift Boss and Make it clear. After taking my dog for a walk in the morning, I’ll review my inbox and respond to any customer/client enquiries or communication with suppliers.
Any copywriting that needs to be done is usually done in the morning, when I’m at my most clear-headed. If it’s quiet, I might work on marketing my own businesses – whether it’s writing another blog post, or posting something on Instagram and Facebook.
Late morning / early afternoon, I’ll pack any gift hamper orders that have come in and take them to the Post Office in the afternoon. I might also squeeze in a quick gym visit or get some groceries while I’m out.
Back home, I respond to any other emails I need to, or continue on with any outstanding copywriting tasks. Then I’ll log off, take the dog out again, then think about what to cook for dinner!
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
One of the best things about running your own business is the flexibility and freedom – and this was a major reason I decided to quit corporate.
I work from a home office, so I no longer have to commute, and I’m often bouncing around doing other things throughout the day. I’m not constrained by a 9 – 5 schedule, so if I don’t feel like doing something on a weekday, I might take a break and instead do it on the weekend or at night when I’m in a more productive mood!
4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?
Do the more difficult tasks or the ones that you’re less excited about first. Because once you’ve ticked them off the list, the feeling of satisfaction you have can help you power through the rest of your list with ease!
5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I think work-life balance means taking steps to ensure your work fits into your life, rather than your life fitting into your work. When I left corporate, I knew that I would take a big financial hit, and possibly would never achieve the same salary again.
However, after a health scare in 2018, which necessitated some time off work, I came to the conclusion that money and climbing the corporate ladder is not the most important thing in life for me.
I’d rather have the freedom, flexibility and satisfaction that comes with being self-employed and creating something yourself, even if it means not earning as much money!
6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?
I’ve always been very customer focused (some might call it being a people pleaser!). I go above and beyond to ensure the Gift Boss customer or copywriting client is super happy with their experience with me, which I believe has led to repeat business, referrals and positive reviews.
On the flip side, wanting to respond to emails straight away has led to an unhealthy dependency on my phone and checking my inbox all the time. It’s this habit which I do want to work on – by setting more boundaries around using my phone at night and on weekends.
7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
I really enjoyed Kate Toon’s Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur. Kate has a more relaxed approach to her business and shows how you don’t need a shiny business plan and MBA to achieve success. Just learn as you go – which is exactly what I’m doing!
I’m also a massive podcast person. I usually listen to at least three a day. My favourite business podcasts are Flying Solo, The Product Boss and Small Business Big Marketing. I also love listening to celebrity interviews that make you think. The ones I listen to the most are Armchair Expert, Wilosophy and Better Than Yesterday.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
If you don’t feel like completing a certain task right now, then take a break! There’s no point forcing yourself to do something when you don’t have the energy to do it – the outcome is never as good.
I usually take my dog for a walk, or throw a ball with her in the backyard for five minutes, or even do some housework. And yes, I have also been known to turn the TV on mid-afternoon when I feel the need for a proper break. The joys of working from home!
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “I’d love to start my own business, but…”, I would be rich.
I know that leaving a secure job for the unknown is a huge risk, but isn’t taking a step backwards financially for a little while better than living your life full of regrets and what ifs? Just give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know.
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!