There are some people who just know what they were called to do on this earth and pursue that at all costs. There are some people who have to try different things and do a process of elimination to figure out what they’re good at, then pursue that. There are those who know what they’re good at, but for some reason refuse to pursue it as a career. Then there are those who are the ultimate hustlers who are great at many things and has multiple sources of income.

I’ve always known Jessica to be the ultimate hustler. We went to college together at Southern University, and even then Jessica was a full time student, interned with an independent record label, and then probably bartended during night shifts to make extra money. I’ve always known Jessica to make sure everyone’s glasses were full so when I saw on social media that she started her mobile bartending service, I was not surprised and really excited. After sitting down and speaking with Jess, I realized that she’s just like a lot of people who struggle with the decision of depending on your business 100% for financial stability versus keeping your job and doing part-time freelancing. Jessica is currently running a business and managing to keep her job, however, she’s definitely been contemplating making that jump into full-time entrepreneurism. Her struggle has been the fear of losing stability with her 9-to-5 and risking it all to maintain her company. I felt her story is very relatable for many who’s trying to make that transition. There’s some gems in Jessica’s interview that can help someone who’s battling the same decision.

For our readers, can you briefly explain your educational, professional, and cultural personal background?

My name is Jessica Robinson and I’m from New Orleans. My mom is an educator and my dad is an entrepreneur who’s really into technology.  So I think that is where I get my drive. I went to an all-girl school and then I went to Southern University which is where I met you. I’ve worked in retail, marketing, and for the past 3 years, in Human Resources. I mastered my bartending skills all throughout my college years. Bartending has helped me along the way because of the economy. I’ve never really dealt with the setbacks that people my age, early to mid-twenty’s, had to deal with at the time – bartending helped me stay afloat.

Let’s talk about the company you work for now and some of the job responsibilities you hold there.

I work in Human Resources for Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in New Orleans, LA. I’m the HR specialist. So I’m over the new hires, making sure everyone gets paid, and I train new hires, etc. I’m the person you to see for mostly all the things you would do when you get a new job. It’s a lot of responsibility. And owning and growing a small business on the side certainly increases the challenges.

Being that you have a full-time job, can you describe the phases you went through, whether mentally, financially, etc. while transitioning into entrepreneurism?

I have always had a side hustle of bartending and most of the time I have been able to balance it. It wasn’t hard for me to do late nights and early mornings. I got used to it. But the more I bartended the more I gained clientele for outside gigs – but the gigs decreased my time available to work at a bar. It was a juggling act. As the number of gigs increased, I thought to myself, “I might as well start a business with this and bring on some additional bartenders help with the load. I got laid off around March of last year from my HR position with a McDonald’s franchisee because the company downsized. It forced me to really hustle. I knew JusTini, my company, was there, but I didn’t know what I really wanted from her. In the next ten months, I doubled my bartending gigs and focused hard on my business. I had more time to network and work more parties. It was a mental struggle to decide if I wanted to be a full time entrepreneur. I thought to myself, “Did I still want to be that ‘professional’ person.” The HR job that I currently have almost fell in my lap. I took the opportunity because I’m the type of person that takes on different challenges. I’ll admit, as my business continues to grow, the challenges grow.

Can you describe what it’s like to juggle a full-time job along with juggling the responsibilities of Justini.

It’s exciting, it’s fun, but it’s tough. My business hours are from five o’clock until the crack of dawn, lol. Because my job has so much responsibility, I have to take them both very seriously. For example, on my lunch breaks, I’m usually running to the store to get things for an event that night. After work, I’m headed straight to an event. My car is always piled up with things for JusTini. I wake up early in the morning, like 6 AM to send out quotes, contracts, and emails before I step into work. I’m in the car, before work, calling clients that could potentially bring on more gigs. It’s a lot! And I’ve always been someone that can make it work. I can work a full time job and work three or four bars in a week. Financially, it’s been a huge adjustment because I’ve reduced the number of bars to stay fresh and on top of my HR job. I love both – but it is a challenge!

“I have a really good team. It’s to the point where I don’t want to disappoint them either.”

You stated that between JusTini and your job you can’t do both. Do you see yourself, in the near future, transitioning over to full-time entrepreneurship?

I’ve said that, but I do love doing both. A lot of it has to do with the people you are surrounded by. We have a great team at the Fair Grounds. We’ll just see. I’ve given myself a six-month goal. I want to see where I’m at in that time frame with both. I think I will always be an entrepreneur – and JusTini is my heart. I’m not going to slack off on JusTini Cocktails. If I’m able to master my job and master my business then that will be the perfect world – But who needs perfect? lol.

You posted a quote on your Instagram that read, “Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream that no one else can see but you.” What risks do you feel you have taken so far to get JusTini where it is right now?

Letting go of my bar gigs.

So like a pay cut?

Yes, it’s definitely a pay cut and a real downsize. The lack of sleep is definitely a sacrifice, but it’s also so therapeutic. I think I would go crazy if I was just working my nine-to-five and that’s it. I feel like I have more to give..

If you can describe your business – what is JusTini Cocktails?

JusTini is a mobile bartending service. It specializes and focuses on the uniqueness of your event. I try not to have the typical bar setup. We emphasize speciality cocktails, event themes, etc. I also like to put on events that help to inspire women supporting women, and people supporting people.

Why did you get so passionate about signature cocktails? What does that do for you?

I think it’s because you know you’re making something special for someone and you can put your touch on it – cocktails make people happy. So it’s a way of helping somebody unwind. I like to see people unwind and escape their reality – even if just for a moment.

“Ask yourself if you can lean on your business alone without your nine-to-five? If your answer to that is yes, then I say RUN… There is no reason for you to be there.”

What keeps you motivated to keep going as an entrepreneur?

What keeps me motivated is after I finish an event, I realize more and more that this is what I’m suppose to be doing. The trials and tribulations that I deal with make it worthwhile. Even the feedback I get, helps me realize that this is my calling. Whatever struggles you deal with are worth it for the time being.

What are three signs someone can identify in themselves when they’re ready to transition from their nine-to-five into entrepreneurism?

Firstly, I would say ask yourself if you can lean on your business alone without your nine-to-five? If your answer to that is yes, then I say RUN, just RUN! There is no reason for you to be there.

Secondly, if you’re ready to do the necessary things to be successful at whatever you are passionate about – the downsizing, the hustle, the lack of sleep – if you’re physically ready to commit to those things, you’re ready for the transition of dropping the your job.

Lastly, if you can’t really focus on anything but your business, then it’s time to transition or make a plan to transition into full-time entrepreneurship.

Are there any books or motivational speakers that you would suggest to someone to help them make decisions about career choices moving forward . What books or speakers would you suggest?

I think Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso is a really good book to read. When I first started reading Girl Boss I wasn’t working at the time, but I remember the book talking about doing terrible on a job. At that time I was just working at night so I understood what she was saying, but at the same time, I didn’t. Now, working a nine-to-five and messing up sometimes, I definitely understand where she was coming from. I think Girl Boss is a very good book. It talks about passion and basically doing what you want to do.

What really helps me now is personal prayer for direction, strength and having personal conversations with my mentors. I do post a lot of motivational messages on my Instagram. That helps me as well. The small messages throughout the day can turn your day around and can really help you make it through.

REBEL is an acronym for “Revolutionary Entrepreneur, Business and Entertainment Leader.” Why do you consider yourself a REBEL?

I think what makes me a REBEL is that I’m focused, I’m not afraid, I’m down for the grind, and I’m about the hustle to make my dreams become a reality.

How can our readers help support your business, JusTini Cocktails?

Readers can support my business just by referring me to anyone who needs bartenders or specialty cocktails – anyone looking to host a spectacular, yet personal event.

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