Jessica Watson, 29, CEO, JWatson Creative

This year is one big road trip with Jessica Watson. She has been taking her graphic design/marketing company, JWatson Creative, mobile. "My goal for 2013 is to go to different cities and instead of being there for a couple of days, stay for three to four weeks, volunteer, networking, get a sense of the vibe," she said. "It fuels my creative energy." She started in January in Miami and is looking to go to New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle at some point this year (when we chatted, she was in Atlanta). She'll come back to Baltimore between some of the locations. Meet with clients, plan events, earn some cash. Then hit the road again. "I consider myself a lifelong student," she said. "There's new connections, new projects. Things happen." Good things. Since founding now-Fells Point-based JWatson Creative in 2010 with about $5,000 of her own money (she still takes a moment to thank her credit card companies), and no full-time employees, Watson has tended to juggle a large number of projects at a time, ranging from company rebrandings and website designs to small projects such as cards and logos. Watson, a McDaniel College grad who previously worked as a graphic artist for the Solo Cup Company, also looks out for her fellow businesswomen. She's a manager for B'More Creatives, a networking support group for women in creative professions, and co-founded a now defunct co-working site, Sizeable Spaces, last year. Apart from design work, she's active with the Tyanna Foundation, which supports breast cancer awareness and research (her grandmother died from breast cancer). "I think I am very effective about motivating and empowering people to see beyond the box of limitations they put on themselves," she said. "It's bringing out the confidence to do what they're passionate about and what they desire." And she's making money. The year she started JWatson Creative, her annual revenue was about $45,000, more than she was making a year at her then full-time job. In 2011, it was $70,000 and it was $77,000 last year. This year, she's dying to continue to do what she's loved these past few years -- taking a company's look or website and do a complete rebrand, a rewash. Blank canvases remain Watson's most valuable treasure.
Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun
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