In celebration of National Small Business Week, (May 5th – 11th) we sat down with four members to hear about their story, passions, impact, and businesses. Our third featured member in the series is Juju Hook, Brand Strategist, Coach and Speaker for Middle-Aged Women and Creator of Positively Prime Time. Juju has been a Hera Hub Carlsbad member for six months.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I was a corporate brand strategist and agency owner for many years. At 48, I got word that our agency would be losing a cornerstone client, and I struggled with the idea that replacing a national player of this size might be difficult. I feared that a younger agency might be more relevant.
After a breakthrough (which followed a break-down), I walked away from my corporate agency and created an online presence and an online branding experience for entrepreneurs. I also spoke with hundreds of midlife women in research for my book, “Hot Flashes, Carpools, and Dirty Martinis–The Quintessential Guide for Turning Midlife Into PrimeTime.” Essentially, I discovered that nearly every midlife woman I met believed–in some form or another–the same lie that I’d come to believe: that as we increase in years, we decrease in value.
My business began to take shape around brand strategy and coaching EXCLUSIVELY for midlife women. Today, I help midlife women build brands that can support the size of their dreams, and lives that make them want to jump out of bed in the morning.
Who are your clients and what do you do for them?
World-wide. I help them create amazing PrimeTime brands–and guide them in designing second halves to their lives that inspire and fulfill.
What are your business’ values? How do they align with your personal values?
More than anything, I value the power and potential of women. I believe that women supporting and lifting one another up is the most beautiful and essential ingredient in a second half of life worth celebrating. I also believe that as we reach midlife, we are called to contribute on a greater level. While women may struggle with the transitions of midlife–kids leaving home, burnout or boredom with long-term careers, parents aging or passing away, relationship shifts or even divorce–midlife, for women, is PrimeTime. My entire businesses is driven by the belief that if we only give ourselves the chance, we can rock the world in the second half of life.
My business values and my personal values are one and the same: authenticity and truth (even when it’s raw and messy), friendship and loyalty, humor and irreverence, tolerance, diversity, and love…and the power of pure potential that lives in each of us.
How/Why did you choose your business name?
My name is Julia Hook. My father called me Juju from the time that I was born. As a brand strategist, I know that name awareness and recognition are the cornerstones of long-term connection. And so as I launched my presence online, I used the Juju name to build both things. And it’s worked wonderfully. Very rarely does anyone forget a Juju. And the name is a wonderful conversation-starter. Additionally, I’ve trademarked it. Which allows me to use the word “juju” in combination with all SORTS of other words, without the fear of trademark infringement. When I speak branding, I talk about Strategic Juju. In relationships, it’s Love Juju. I’ve launched PrimeTime Juju and Midlife Juju websites and promotions, as well.
What do you love most about your work?
Women. I love the complexity and depth of midlife women. I love their power and promise. I love their nuance and grey areas. I love that midlife women can juggle, that their judgment is so stellar, that they’re so damned reliable. But mostly, I love that midlife women are presently the catalyst for massive shifts in the world. Building brands for midlife women entrepreneurs is more satisfying–by every measure–than corporate branding EVER was. And coaching midlife women through life, relationships, family, discovery, loss, reinvention, and transition is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done.
What is the biggest challenge in running your own business?
I’d have to say resilience. Running a business is about constant trial and course correction. Which means there are LOTS of days when I get knocked down. In the beginning, my recoil time was long. I’d feel the sting of rejection or the crushing blow of what felt like a failure, and I’d need to limp away and hide. The voice in my head was brutal and I was my own worst enemy in so many ways.
Over time, I’ve learned that resilience is the key to everything. The faster I can evaluate a situation and course-correct (without the sickening stench of shame and self-judgment), the faster I can jump back on the horse. Every bit of success, for me, has been in the learning. And that’s not possible without the lessons.
What are your/your business’ goals for the future?
I’m holding my first branding retreat in San Diego in October, and I’m going to sell it out. I’m also launching a one-year immersion branding experience for 20 midlife women in January–a mastermind, of sorts, filled with women who will build, launch, and own incredible brands. And I’m going to sell that out, too. These two programs will be my main focus for the next 18 months, along with a roster of private coaching clients. Additionally, I’m committed to sharing my PrimeTime message with as many women as I can, so speaking gigs are tantamount to that success. I’m booking as many as I can.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Stay the course. Find someone you can share with–openly and honestly–when you feel challenged, uninspired or the sting of “failure.” Find a way to open up about it, get support, and keep going. Even when it feels like the world is conspiring against you, know that the universe has your back. And Do. Not. Quit. The world needs what you have to share. The fact that you have this dreams means that it was yours to realize… and the world is waiting. Stay the course. It was meant to be yours.
Contact Juju Online: