Interview with Blogher Founder and Writer, Jory Des Jardins

OH MY GOODNESS, we are very very lucky to have interviewed Jory Des Jardins of Pause (love this blog, all about those moments you need to just take a moment and ponder life) and BlogHer. I have been sending some of her articles on writing and entrepreneurship to my teens for a while now and we came up with some great questions for her!

First, a bit of background on Jory:

Jory Des Jardins, BlogHer Co-Founder and President of Strategic Alliances

Author and media strategist Jory Des Jardins is president of strategic alliances for BlogHer, Inc. Since co-founding BlogHer in 2005, Jory has developed strategic relationships with Fortune 1000 brands and led innovative campaigns to integrate contextual marketing and advertising into communities of women interested in every topic, from food, health and family to business, finance and technology. As an author and media strategist, Jory regularly writes on women’s business issues, blogging, relationships and pop culture for such publications as Fast Company, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and her blog, Pause. She’s also written for Sports Illustrated for Women, Working Woman, USA Today Magazine, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times and edited for The New York Times Syndicate and Time Inc.’s Custom Publishing Division. Jory has helped high-technology start-ups Pluck and Rojo launch successful blog syndication initiatives and produced Third Age’s successful network of bloggers. In addition to her personal blog, Jory blogs about personal career growth and entrepreneurship on BlogHer.

Now let’s get to the interview:

You are an entrepreneur and a writer, like many of our teen writers.  How do you balance both skills sets and how did you create a career that does both?

“While starting BlogHer, I had to sacrifice a lot of my writing because my partners and I realized BlogHer was not just a hobby.  Also, my priorities were shifting. I used to write 3-4 hours a day and as more and more work with the company built up, I tried to fit writing into the cracks of the day.  This did not really work and I had to try to make a serious commitment to find writing time by scheduling in time to do it, because you need that creative outlet.  I also found that I enjoyed writing industry pieces, which was a departure from writing about relationships and careers.  I think it is important to carve out a whole Saturday morning and just be in your creative space.”

What makes you feel creative?

“I escape the house and go to a little coffee shop or I go to cafes where I can be anonymous and the buzz is all around me.  I’ve also learned to take advantage of the time I have on airplanes; that is a great place for me to write. Also, reading reading reading – this gets me feeling creative.”

What is your favorite thing to write about?

“I first started writing Pause during the Silicon Valley bust when people were really rediscovering themselves. I was working at a company and trying to figure out what I was passionate about.  My blog, Pause, was my way of doodling.  The doodling became instructive for me.”

What is the most exciting thing about being a writer and entrepreneur running BlogHer?

“BlogHer has evolved so much.  It grew from just 3 people.  A big part of what I do is reach out to companies who are exploring social media. I have the full time role of evangelizing blogs and working with companies who want to partner with bloggers.  Blogging gives companies transparency, and consumers want to see this transparency and authenticity.  It is not just about generating traffic.  Also, we help bloggers to be better partners to companies, which is a whole other side of the same coin.”

What is the most draining thing?

“I am not much of an office person, I really love being a solo practitioner and entrepreneur at heart.  Doing payroll and HR stuff is not really my thing.  When we decided to run the business full time, the founders took on different parts of the business, and I became sort of the revenue girl. Now we have a team helping with that, but I still enjoy reaching out and working with companies.”

Advice to young writers and entrepreneurs?

“I left the corporate world three or four times before I got it right as an entrepreneur.  But you need that experience of trial and error. I worked at large companies such as Time Warner and learned so much.  You need to know how the corporate thing operates. When I worked in corporate, I was able to tap into the corporate networks, but at some point you need to make that break and go on your own.  But you can’t rush this learning.”

On your blog you have talked about your love of self-help books, which is your favorite and did one change your life?

“My favorite self-help book is probably Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is about what gets people into the state of mind to be creative and just flow, how to get to the space where their heart sings, that is the sweet spot. For me, Pause was created out of that mindset and when I am in that mindset.”