#138: Rejecting Corporate Culture and Becoming Your Own Boss, with Jasmine Smith

In April 2021, Jasmine Smith quit her full-time job to pursue freedom and creativity through self-employment. She is the Founder of SmithCo, an experiential marketing agency, and co-founder of Open Door Concept, a rental space centered around community, conversation and creativity in Washington, D.C.

Motivated to share her experience and the experience of other Black entrepreneurs, Jasmine launched the podcast Built To Quit in February 2022.

Jasmine centers both her life and business ventures around her personal pillars: builder, connector and human and is adamant about only doing work that’s in alignment with each of these areas. 

Jasmine had had many side hustles and had been freelancing on the side for a year before she quit her job. She was burnout, exhausted and didn’t want to do some of the things she was being asked—like more sales work. Instead, she wanted to explore more of her side hustle work and have more freedom over her time and her work.

As an employee, Jasmine was one of only about 5–7 Black people in executive meetings. And she was the youngest Black woman manager. She said it sometimes felt unsettling and uncomfortable. She didn’t feel like she could show up as herself, which wasn’t healthy.

Now, as her own boss, she shows up as her full self and doesn’t feel the need to code-switch anymore.

She has also found the freedom of creating her own structure therapeutic—how she works, what tools she uses, where she works that day. She has also enjoyed having the time to learn new things.

The most challenging part has been continuing to bring in new clients and projects. As she reflects on the past year, she wishes she had paid more attention to her financials. She learned the hard way that there wasn’t a lot of work in December and January. Now, she always forecasts and tries to prepare for slower seasons.

For those who are considering freelancing but haven’t quit their full-time job yet, she encourages you to start freelancing before you quit that job. Line up some work. Structure your business. Be strategic when you choose to leave so you can collect any bonuses and a full final paycheck.

Jasmine thinks your first hire should be an accountant who understands freelancing. “If you start with good financial practices up front, then you won’t have to worry as much. You’ll be a bit smarter and ahead of the game later on down the line.”

Jasmine launched a podcast this year called Built To Quit where she interviews Black entrepreneurs about their journey. She wants to explore the many different ways entrepreneurship can work for people. She recognized that Black people come to ownership—of homes, of businesses—differently and may not have the resources that white people have.

Biz Bite: Set Boundaries in Personal and Business Life

Resources:

Jasmine’s website, SmithCo

Jasmine’s podcast: Built To Quit

Jasmine on Instagram

Jasmine on Twitter

Jasmine on LinkedIn

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