Jessica Kinsey is the founder and social impact strategist at Prodigy & Co., a social impact strategy firm with a focus on helping nonprofits and social entrepreneurs increase their income and their impact. They write business plans, provide coaching, lead workshops, and develop programming all based on helping people do good and do well.
How, where and when do you get your best ideas?
In the quiet space. Whether that's a leisurely drive, taking a walk outside, or a hot bath. I do most of my processing then, and that's when ideas pop up.
What's a work tool or ritual that you couldn't live without?
Weekly (ish) work time with my #bizbestie, Amanda McKinney. Having another business owner to bounce ideas off of, get feedback, challenge me and encourage me has been a game-changer for my business. We meet about once a week, usually on Friday afternoons to talk about what's going on, where we need help or feel stuck, talk through projects, etc. Just like in life, in business, we need people who get us and can take the journey by our side. Not everyone understands what it's like to start or own your own business, so having someone who is also on her own journey is so incredibly helpful.
What skill would you like to master?
Learning faster - mostly through reading quicker and retaining better.
What advice would you give to someone seeking to launch or grow a business?
Talk to your customers. I see so many people with great ideas taking so much time to build or develop something without really understanding what their customers want. I've been guilty of it as well. We get excited about our idea and want to make it happen, but if we don't really know the needs and wants of our target customer, the likelihood of creating something they won't pay for is so high. They need to be involved throughout the process.
What's a big "win" you experienced in the past year?
Honestly, I consider it a big win that I'm still here, doing what I love. Entrepreneurship is full of so many ups and downs that we don't always talk about. It's been a roller coaster of a year in many ways, but through it all I've never stopped believing in the importance of what I want to do, how I want to help people, and the fact that this is work I'm meant to do. I've had doubts about lots of the moving parts along the way, but I've also realized that most entrepreneurs do, whether or not they talk about it. I don't have it all figured out and that is okay. What matters is that I keep taking action and moving forward.
What are you most looking forward to in the year to come?
We are working on some programming for early-stage social entrepreneurs that I'm really excited about. It has the potential to fill a gap in the ecosystem and help folks more forward with a more solid foundation.
Why 36 Degrees North?
It's a great space to work and the community has so much energy and support. Everyone here is doing something cool which is fun to be around.
Do you want to give any shoutouts?
Already covered in other questions.