By Julie Tingley, The KNOW Women
How a pair of Chucks and happy mail started an award-winning, multi-six figure subscription box and online community for female entrepreneurs.
Wife. Mom. Corporate girl turned entrepreneur. Subscription Box Coach. Outdoor enthusiast. Music Lover. Claw machine expert. Travel aficionado. Julie Ball knows first-hand how to up-level female business builders because that’s exactly what she did for herself. As the Founder and Chief Sparkler of Sparkle Hustle Grow, Julie leads thousands of women through personal development and business training in a way that’s fun and supportive. Through her coaching programs, podcast and book, she has helped hundreds of aspiring subscription box business owners turn their ideas into reality. Featured in Forbes, Business Insider, USA Today, and POPSUGAR, Julie sits down with us to share what we need to KNOW.
KNOWing it was time for a change…
I launched my first business back in 2011. I had been working in corporate America for 10 plus years and mostly in some sort of marketing or sales role. So when I got pregnant with our daughter McKenna in 2011, she was born in August of 2011, I started side hustling. At that time I was in a leadership role in a very male-dominated industry, which was radio. It was high stress and I would experience anxiety on Sunday nights before starting the new week. Then one day, when I got in trouble for wearing Chucks to work, I knew I wasn’t meant to be there. It wasn’t for me anymore… I mean, it was a radio station… even though I had on black slacks and a button-down blouse to be considered business attire. I just tried to bring a little personality to the outfit with my Chucks and apparently that didn’t fly. So that was the nail in the coffin, so to speak.
In my second trimester, I started freelancing on the side doing website design, SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, social media, things like that for small businesses because my background is in internet marketing. But, I had this mindset shift when preparing for McKenna’s arrival… that I didn’t want to commute to the city anymore. I didn’t want to work for somebody else anymore. And I was planning my exit strategy. I saw the birth of McKenna as kind of my out. So I started a side hustle business in web marketing. All I needed was an internet connection, a little bit of time to do the work and eventually that side hustle grew. I hired some women contract workers to do the design, the photography and the copywriting. And when I think back and reflect on that time, it really laid the foundation for Sparkle Hustle Grow, my current
business. I still work with and hire most of those women that were part of that agency. We’re called Grow Web Marketing. In fact, they’re my business besties to this day.
KNOWing the moment that would lead to your biggest move yet…
In the summer of 2016, my web design firm was humming along and since the work was location independent, we decided to make a big change and moved our family from Charlotte NC to Asheville NC. It’s absolutely gorgeous and we love it here. But as we were getting settled in our new home, I was getting a bit unsettled in my work. I was in a new area, a new home. I was always behind the screen with the digital work that I did. I wasn’t getting that personal interaction that I really craved and I really thrive in community, so I was missing that personal interaction. I was looking for my tribe and I was looking for people in person, but also online, trying to find people that I could connect with.
While we moved into this new place, I started dabbling in the product-based business world. I needed something to fill that emptiness I had inside and this new idea that I had really kept me busy. So I started doing research and thought, this might be something that I want to get into. I knew I still wanted to serve female entrepreneurs, which is the audience that I had been serving with my web agency. I wanted to serve that same audience, but what could I sell them? What pain points could I solve? How could I be of value? And it just dawned on me that I love getting subscription boxes. I love getting happy mail. And that’s really where it started.
I thought…maybe if I created a subscription box that had business tools in it and trainings that that would help the female entrepreneur thrive, then it might be a good business. It might have legs. Of course, I wasn’t sure. But after going through the pre-launch stage, I gained confidence and sold 42 boxes in my first month!
KNOWing there is no one else like you…
What differentiates Sparkle Hustle Grow from other subscription boxes is that we are more than a box of stuff. Sparklers join for the “stuff” but stick around for the community and the business training.
KNOWing what you learned along the way that others should know too…
I think a failure that many entrepreneurs will really relate to is marketing failures. We are constantly in search of our dream customers and test out all kinds of different marketing tactics, not knowing if it will work or not. And unfortunately, many of these cost money – whether it’s paying for ads, marketing campaigns or staff. It’s an ongoing challenge for business owners to see what works and what doesn’t.
KNOWing what makes you Sparkle….
“The more you thank life, the more life gives you to be thankful for.” Practicing gratitude has had an enormous impact on my life and I highly recommend it, even if it’s just writing down a few things everyday that you are grateful for.
CONNECT WITH JULIE
Email Address : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website URL: https://www.sparklehustlegrow.com
Instagram URL : https://www.instagram.com/sparklehustlegrow
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/julieball