Meet Jen Biswas! Jen is the voice behind her style, home, and lifestyle blog Paisley + Sparrow. A dedicated do-it-yourself small business owner, Jen’s all about rolling up her sleeves, trying something new, and growing her skill set! Read on to learn about her unexpected career path and her motto, “publish when you’re 70% ready”.
photo credit: Chelsie Lopez Photography
Tell us about your business.
I run the blog, Paisley + Sparrow, where my goal is to bring joy to your home, style, and life. I know so many women who struggle with knowing how to decorate their home, put an outfit together or find joy in the every day – my goal is to help with that! I’m no expert in any of these areas, but I share what knowledge I have, along with what I’m learning in hopes of inspiring and encouraging the women who stop by my site.
THE EARLY DAYS
Describe your childhood in one word.
Describe your childhood personality in one word.
When you were a little girl what career did you dream of having “when you grow up”?
I wanted to own a chain of hotels.
What was your first job?
I started babysitting really young, but my first “real job” was at our local Dairy Queen.
photo credit: Emily John Photography
THE LEARNING YEARS
Where did you attend college? What’s your degree?
I went to the University of Minnesota Duluth and got a degree in Community Health Education with a Psychology minor. I wanted to help the world be a healthier place!
What was your first job out of college?
I worked in the accessories department at the Maurices headquarters.
List your jobs until you started your own business.
Accessories team at Maurices, Missionary, Wellness Specialist, Investor Relations.
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL YEARS
What year did you decide to start your own business?
The idea came when I was on the World Race in 2009/2010 and evolved from there.
Why did you decide you wanted to start your own business?
I saw a need for bringing beautiful, on-trend, ethically made products to the US after spending a year abroad, so I wanted to create a shop that sold them!
How is your business different today than when you first started?
It’s vastly different! I no longer own a shop and strictly create content for my blog and social media. I started my business to help marginalized women around the world, and now there are so many amazing businesses doing just that! Through the shop, my blog and social media channels grew and created other opportunities. After having my second kid, I realized I couldn’t do it all, so I closed down the shop to focus my attention on my blog and raising two babies.
What three lessons have you learned running your own business?
- Have persistence. Growing and running a business is not for the faint of heart! But hard work and dedication do pay off in the long run.
- Have grace with yourself. You’re going to make mistakes and do things wrong. Learn from these experiences and move on.
- Push publish when you’re 70% ready. You’ll never be 100% ready so don’t wait for everything to be perfect! You’ll constantly be changing and evolving, and nothing will ever be perfect. (My husband, the perfectionist, hates when I say this – haha!)
What’s next for your business? Top 3 goals.
My biggest goal is to grow the reach of my blog and social media channels. I also want to start doing more speaking engagements.
What’s your strongest skill set that’s helped you succeed?
I’m not afraid to try new things. I recently started a YouTube channel with no formal video skills, but you have to start somewhere! I learn as I go and do the best that I can.
On this journey, who have been your three most supportive people?
My husband, my brother-in-law (who also owns his own business), and Morgan Molitor from construction2style
photo credit: Rachabella Photography
THE BUMPS IN THE ROAD
Have you had any hardships or setbacks in your business or personal life? How did you overcome them – did they make you stronger or learn something new?
Of course! I think part of running your own business is continually dealing with hardships and setbacks. When you’re the only one doing everything, inevitably you’re going to have to deal with the things that go wrong!
I truly think getting through those times and moving forward with your business proves you have what it takes to be successful. It’s easier to get frustrated and throw in the towel but digging deep, learning from the experience, and moving forward is key.
ALL ABOUT YOU
Did you always dream of owning your own business or was it a surprise on your career path?
It was a surprise! I never thought this would be my career but I’ve had a lot of encouragement from family and friends to go the entrepreneurial route, and I’m so glad I did.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love to run, knit, and organize my house (weird but true!).
Tell us about your family.
I’m married to an Indian guy from California who handles Minnesota winters far better than I do. We have two kids who are 16 months apart and a rescue pit bull.
Describe your career path to-date in one word?
The Her Initiative
Age you’d like to retire at?
I feel like I’ll always be doing something!
Travel location on your bucket list?
Introvert or Extrovert?
Night owl or early bird?
photo credit: Meghan Doll Photography
Favorite podcast, YouTube channel, or blog?
How I Built This by Guy Raz
Favorite business book?
Influencer by Brittany Hennessy
Favorite business tool?
Three female entrepreneurs you admire:
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