SD Entrepreneur of the Week – Julia Sparkman
Every week we sit down with a San Diego based on entrepreneur who has had an exceptional impact on the business, social atmosphere, and culture of San Diego. This week spoke with Julia Sparkman, who is a yoga instructor, blogger, and entrepreneur. We first met Julia when we interviewed her about her experience managing a Yoga studio in San Diego. Since then, Julia has launched her own company, the Julia Sparkman Agency.
Julia, can you please tell us a little about yourself.
Midwest raised, I moved to San Diego from Chicago two years ago. I am a city girl at heart, but I love San Diego for it’s people and insane biodiversity. Beaches, mountains, forests, deserts — I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, exploring.
Day-to-day, I work and play in Mission Hills, Little Italy, East Village, and North Park.
Two of my greatest passions are writing and teaching yoga. I write one post a week for my personal website, JuliaSparkman.com. As of late, the topics have shifted towards my agency. Yet, I most enjoy writing reflexive stories. I teach public yoga classes at Bird Rock Yoga, CorePower Yoga, and The Little Yoga Studio. My vinyasa classes are intention driven, equal parts energy and rest coalesced by an ambient playlist and aromas.
The foundation of my life is hot water with lemon and a fifteen minute meditation every morning. I love running Silver Strand on Coronado and Pilates at Studio Flo in Bay Park. Traveling is my favorite pastime and visiting art museums in new cities a necessity.
My San Diego staples are Bahia Don Bravo, Cafe Gelato Vero, Juice Crafters, and Mission Cafe.
Can you tell us a little about your company.
It’s funny, because I am finally finding my voice within this question. For awhile, I was trying too hard to sound legitimate and smart. I am currently in the process of rewriting the copy on the website to give it more of my real voice and to take out some of the staunch.
The Julia Sparkman Agency is me — alongside a few very trusted advisors. In 2015, launching a consulting agency was scheduled for 2020. Yet, I remember when I made participating in yoga teacher training a goal for 2015 and I am currently in year four of teaching and I am absolutely blown away by its trajectory.
With that said, The Julia Sparkman Agency is a culture and innovation consulting startup that also provides other freelance-based support and solutions to other startups.
The best part of my work is the opportunity to help people live more inspired, truthful lives while profit maximizing.
Through unique assessment tools, I collect anonymous quantitative and qualitative data that uncovers intangible work experiences — peer interactions, relationships with superiors, level of engagement. This information reveals the elements that either drive or inhibit cultural and fiscal growth. Upon analyzing the data, I write a comprehensive report that outlines both strengths and opportunities for improvement. I then stay on to innovate, mentor, and coach.
For clients, the best part about The Julia Sparkman Agency is that I use all of the same knowledge and tools that big name consulting companies use and I personally infuse it with my organic spark all for the price, hunger, and stamina of a startup.
What is the goal of your company?
The goal of The Julia Sparkman Agency is continue to evolve in order to best support companies in privileging the work-life experience of their employees while profit maximizing.
Who are your main clients?
My main clients are organizations or teams that are already focused on optimality. I want to work with companies that understand the importance of reflexivity and are open to addressing the pink elephants sitting in the middle of their “room”.
How has your experience being a Yoga teacher effected your company?
My experiences teaching yoga created the foundation of The Julia Sparkman Agency. As a yoga teacher, I am required to meet a diverse group of people where they are at simultaneously. To led a successful class, it is necessary to couple tactical knowledge and strategy with awareness and ease. I do the same thing with The Julia Sparkman Agency. I bring data-drive assessment and analysis and converge it with an empathic understanding of what promotes innovation and profitability.
What are your long term goals for your company?
The long-term goal of The Julia Sparkman Agency is to continuously reinvent our work in order to provide long-term solutions to our partners. Personally, it is my goal to learn graphic design. In the future, I see The Julia Sparkman Agency using creativity to empower and drive culture and innovation within client strategy.
Why is San Diego a good place to start and run a business?
San Diego is a great place to start and run a business because the entrepreneurs are a collaborative, health-conscious, and mindful community. For me, balance is an integral component of my definition of success. I have learned, if I have six hours to complete a project, I’ll work more productively if I spend at least thirty to sixty of those minutes physically moving. As an entrepreneur, the to-do list never ends — it’s inspiring to be surrounded by individuals who privilege their health. The business owners in my network not only work hard, they take care of themselves, too.
What are some of the biggest setbacks you have experienced as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur the biggest setback I have experienced is self-doubt. Self-doubt inhibits my ability to create, to write, and to work. Questions like, “who will hire me?” and “do I even know what I am doing?” can leave the curser blinking on my screen for far too many moments.
I’m slowly learning, entrepreneurs of all ages and experience levels question everything at the start. Discomfort is universal to any new endeavors. Yet, confidence is key and without it, no one will trust you. To overcome self-doubt, I’ve learned to find comfort in discomfort and fully believe in my agency’s power and worth.
What advice would you offer to other people who are contemplating starting their own business?
Start and plan.
Start where you are, then innovate. Inertia is the biggest obstacle to any kind of success. For over a month, I balked at creating a website. Then, I made the TheJSAgency.com in one day. Since TheJSAgency.com went live in December, I’ve revised the copy weekly. Do what you can with what you have and update it persistently.
Plan. As an entrepreneur, I wear the many proverbial hats. My friend, BuddhiBox founder, Maxine, gave me the best advice I received in my earliest days— create a plan and strategy. In addition to an overarching strategy, I find I am most productive and creative when I create an actionable daily to-do list on Sunday. Starting is often the hardest part of any activity and it is a lot easier for me begin when I know what needs to be accomplished when I sit down at my computer screen.
Where do you see the future of San Diego’s startup and entrepreneurial scene going?
I am confident wellness tech startups will flourish and put Downtown San Diego on the map. Our community is overflowing with industry leading fitness professionals, I foresee those experts partnering with developers to innovative health and mindful living through technology.
Feel free to reach out to Julia directly via her website at TheJSAgency.com