Jessica Clark, owner and director of Dot Connector Studio, spent years as a freelancer in the journalism and public interest media fields, bringing her expertise to universities, magazines, and independent production outfits as a savvy hired gun (or, “consultant” for you lingo-afficionados). After years of floating from job-to-job and pouring herself into her clients’ work, Jessica knew she was ready to build her own brand and firm. In 2013, after 6 years of independent consulting, Jessica launched her own media strategy and production company called Dot Connector Studio.
Dot Connector Studio specializes in strengthening the “so what?” of their clients’ projects. They work with makers and funders of public interest media, most recently the Knight Foundation and the Internet Archive, to help them figure out the impact of their work. Jessica and her team approach each project with the question, how can we help this project really make a difference?
Like many in the journalism and media strategy biz, Jessica had zero experience building a business. When she first launched, she thrust some business books into the hands of Katie Donnelly, now DCS’s Associate Director, and together they embarked on a “fake it until you make it” launch plan. This strategy got them off the ground, but they realized quickly they needed to buckle down and create a business model.
Business Plan Boot Camp was really helpful in articulating why what we were doing was a business, not just an expertise. – Jessica Clark
Moving from solo, freelance hustler to a business leader guiding a team requires a new set of skills and the ability to see down the road ahead of you. The expression “blind leading the blind”? If you’re launching your first business and building a team, you will feel like the living embodiment of this expression. For Jessica, Business Plan Boot Camp was the answer to understanding her role and work in a larger context, and getting a handle on the processes (like budgeting) that are crucial in building out a team.
“Business Plan Boot Camp was really helpful in articulating why what we were doing was a business, not just an expertise.” Jessica recounted the value of not only having the time to develop and write out a full business plan, but also to talk about her work out loud, in front of peers. She was encouraged by the friendly and non-intimidating atmosphere of Boot Camp. Jessica also appreciated the introduction to tackling long term business planning and forecasting – tasks which, though they continue to challenge her, she was able to hone in Boot Camp.
An extra perk of the program, Jessica added, was to be tied closer to the community at CultureWorks. She notes, “It’s nice to be a part of something larger.” Jessica has maintained a co-working membership at CultureWorks ever since graduating from Boot Camp. Dot Connector continues to grow as a thriving team, built on a foundation of thoughtful planning.
Ready to turn your expertise into a plan? Applications for our fall Boot Camp are due September 15.