Small Business Spotlight: Jessica Hook ’17
This year has been particularly hard on our UCF alumni small business owners, so leading up to Small Business Saturday, we’re spotlighting a few Knights from our Business Directory!
Meet alumna Jessica Hook ’17, owner of Believe in Blank Marketing, LLC:
What inspired you to start this business?
I actually got involved with social media because of UCF! I wanted to join a health and fitness organization (CHAARG), but they didn’t have a chapter on campus just yet. So, I joined the virtual chapter, and started connecting with other girls via Instagram! That’s when my love for social media really blossomed, and it’s been an adventure ever since.
I started Believe in Blank after seeing how many small business owners need help creating an authentic online presence. There are so many facets to running a small business, and it’s easy for marketing itself to become a full-time job! After working in social media management part time during college, I knew it was something I wanted to dive into, and I’ve been at it for five years now.
What is the best part about running your own company?
The freedom! I love doing things my own way, and often don’t follow the “normal” path of life. For example, in college I took a lot of my UCF classes online, instead of the typical in-person route (typical before 2020 anyway!). I love the ability to create my own schedule, travel and work with other amazing small business owners who are just as passionate as I am about what they do.
What is your goal?
My goal is to take the stress out of social media. When you start your own business, you do it because you’re passionate about something. For some people, that may be photography, senior caregiving, or fitness. But, we often forget all the other elements that come with running a business. You may be a personal trainer, but you’re also a business owner. That means you need to handle the marketing, bookkeeping, and so much more.
Taking marketing off of someone’s hands and giving them the freedom to focus on the parts of their business they love – that’s what I’m here to do.
What was the biggest thing you learned during your time as a Knight that you apply to your life today?
To follow your own path and never settle for something you don’t enjoy.
Why did you sign up for the UCF Knights Network Business Directory?
To connect with other Knights who own a business! Working as an entrepreneur is amazing, but it can be a very solo venture. You have to actively seek a community of like-minded people. When I saw UCF was putting together a way for us all to connect, I knew I wanted to be involved.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
It’s been a bit of a mixed bag. Some small businesses are understandably cutting their marketing budgets. But lots are realizing how crucial their online presence is, and looking for help with it! Studies show that when businesses focus on marketing during a “downturn” they bounce back significantly faster than their counterparts who cut back on costs.
Why is it important to support small business owners?
We are all doing such different things, and we’re individually incredibly passionate about our work. I believe small businesses bring so much to local towns, to the economy, and to our UCF community as a whole!
Find more Alumni-owned Businesses on UCF Knights Network!
UCF Knights Network is our alumni professional networking platform that promotes career and professional development, entrepreneurship, job opportunities, and mentorship. Once you’ve signed up (it takes only a minute to do if you sign up with Facebook or LinkedIn!), you can access the official UCF Alumni Business Directory via the platform.
This service is offered at no cost to our alumni, it’s simply a perk of being a grad! So, join today to reconnect with fellow Knights and expand your professional network.