Hi! I’m Janine
Tech CEO, Wife to Marketing Entrepreneur and Mom of 4 under 4 (1 set of twins!)
In the past 5 years, I travelled the world as a photographer, got engaged in Paris, married my best friend, founded a tech company and had 4 kids. It’s been quite a ride. How did I get here? Let me take you back...
At 23, I spent my nights blogging from my tiny brick-wall city apartment, looking for my path as I started a photography business. I shot everything from fine art for gallery shows to business headshots around Columbus. More than just a side hustle, photography was my creative outlet while working as a paralegal and trying to decide if law school was for me. I met my husband, John at the law firm, who was the firm's head of marketing at the time, and we immediately became inseparable. We would find any reason to meet up for coffee and talk about photography, marketing or how we both wanted to see the world. Over the next few years, we spent our days jet-setting together, thinking up business ideas and looking for our next adventure.
Together we visited 25 cities and 7 countries with cameras in hand and hearts in our eyes. As we were traveling the world, I was discovering my passion for building things on the internet and the freedom of working from anywhere. I started a virtual paralegal firm to do just that. During my virtual paralegal days, I had the idea of creating a web application to improve workflow and industry technology. John's previous experience of successfully building an online business made him both my sounding board and cheerleader as I navigated, trying to find ways to make this technology a reality.
To get away from the hustle of our normal lives, we journeyed to Paris. We rented a flat in Central Paris, where we worked on our projects and lived like locals for two weeks. It was the most magical experience that became a real-life fairy tale when John proposed to me on the Pont Des Arts (aka Love Lock Bridge). We spent the rest of our time in Paris with our head in the clouds, and smiles on our faces.
We returned home and I was determined to get my app idea off the ground. That’s when things got hard. I pitched to 82 investors, lost 2 cofounders, taught myself how to code, and fell into the famous entrepreneurial trough of sorrow. Despite these challenges and more as a female founder in tech, I kept finding ways to be scrappy and keep it going. Eventually, after two years of development, and around the time John and I got married, I had a working product called NextChapter.
NextChapter was in beta for about a year and we used that time to talk to customers and evolve the product. By the end of 2015, I hired my first employee and two weeks later, gave birth to my first born daughter. And two weeks after that, we had our first paying customer at NextChapter!
Since then, we’ve added 14 team members, thousands of customers, multiple products to the company umbrella and still never raised outside capital. Meanwhile, I had another baby - a sweet little boy in 2017 and just a year later found out we were pregnant with boy-girl twins. Although twins run in my family, we were completely shocked and are still trying to figure out how to manage two businesses and four babies at once.
This website is the story of everything in between. From the nitty gritty startup tips and sometimes unbelievable stories of being a female founder to the how-to’s of raising a family and running a business. I hope my journey will help you find yours.
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