Jenna Mason started her digital media business in Olympia, Washington, shortly after graduating college. She found that the best way to build experience was to hang her shingle and do what she loves. Along the way she's not only learned her business -- film and video production -- but she's also learned how to own and run a business.
Jenna Mason Media is one of TheWMarketplace's service providers, and you don't have to live in Washington State to benefit from her skills as a photo and video editor. Here she talks about her journey and what keeps her going each day.
Why did you start your business? What motivated or inspired you?
Sharing stories – REAL and TRUE and RAW stories – is how we practice remembering that we are all human, and we can all relate to each other somehow. I believe it brings us closer together to understand something in a new or clearer light, especially if we don't have any experience in the subject matter. We learn from each other by listening to another perspective. My hope is that I can practice this with my business because I don't have a boss over my head controlling what I can or cannot do. This freedom can be overwhelming, but it's slowly becoming something I can't live without. I love learning about people and helping to share their stories with others in a creative way. I'm motivated to continue refining this, improving my skills and equipment, and experimenting with different ideas.
How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?
I've been business for three years as of June 2022. The biggest change I've seen my business undergo is the word-of-mouth clientele that has come my way. It seems to be happening more as the years go by, and I feel so lucky for that. It helps me feel like I've definitely got something to offer. Also, I'm finally going to be adding someone to the team, and that makes me feel really excited and hopeful.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
I know now that self discipline and organization are the top two requirements to running your own business. Time management is included in those too!
Why did you decide to join TheWMarketplace?
I was seeking business advice from the Washington Center for Women in Business. During a Zoom meeting with a financial counselor, she recommended I apply for a scholarship for something called TheWMarketplace. During this time, I was severely struggling with my outlook on my business, yet feeling proud of myself for being a solo, woman entrepreneur. So when I discovered TheWMarketplace – and they gave me a scholarship – I began feeling heard and seen immediately. I said to myself, "Wow. I finally found something that recognizes me for the work I'm doing."
What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?
The most exciting and rewarding part of owning my own business is definitely the freedom it brings. I'm sure one day I won't have as much freedom because I'll be incredibly busy, but I hope that's the case. In the meantime, I have flexibility in my schedule. I don't have to report to a boss. With my entire family living in Pennsylvania, I get to take off whenever I need to go visit them for a week or two. These visits are vital to my emotional wellbeing.
And I often feel SO BLESSED when a client wants to work with me. I always feel so honored, and it makes me want to take care of their project and story like a little child – protect them, help them feel seen and heard, give space for them to express themselves fully, and build trust. I enjoy working collaboratively with a client versus telling them everything they should be doing. I don't know enough about them, their life, their organization, the time and energy and obstacles that impacted progress, but I try to embed myself enough to share their story. I can help make it impactful, creative and engaging. I enjoy connecting my heart with their mission. I utilize my empathetic nature to help me create, and that helps me feel rewarded. When a client tells me that a video I made for them made them cry (good tears), THAT is absolutely rewarding.
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Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.