Meet JinJa Birkenbuel

Founder of The Honest Field Guide Podcast and CEO of Birk Creative

I got the opportunity to chat with this powerhouse — JinJa Birkenbuel. I was simply in awe of her. She is a dynamic speaker and entrepreneur. Check out my Q & A with her below.

How important is networking for entrepreneurs?

During Covid-19, entrepreneurs must upskill their ability to have rich conversations online. They have to learn which online communities to join, which classes offer real value, and find groups that provide the ability to meet other people interested in collaboration and success. In the past, we’ve been able to convene, eat out, have lunches, go to galas, networking events, and more for new business development. Those days are likely over for a while. When they do come back, and they will, the experience will have changed. But the good news is that, by now, most entrepreneurs have moved their business dealings almost entirely online. Certainly, their business pitches are tighter and more confident. They’ve become better content strategists because all the competition they were up against during the pandemic has made them stronger.

Personal branding is sometimes mixed up with a business brand — How do you define personal branding?

How do you present your tone, attitude, dress/attire, and writing online? What is your writing style? Are you to the point or more of a storyteller? Are you witty or blunt? Do you have a color or a laugh?

How important is having a personal brand for a civic leader or an entrepreneur?

People don’t buy from or engage with brands. They engage with or give their attention to people. I have become more confident in using my authentic self because of the pandemic. I have had no choice. Lots of my mistakes and chaos have intensified with the shutdown of public schools. As a result of this confidence, I’m saying ‘no’ much more. I am also not traveling as much, so I’m able to see how much time I’ve been wasting in my life doing non-productive things. Experimenting with your personal brand online to connect with others is now more important than ever. Like many people, I want to feel like I am not alone in my pursuits because now we are all so alone and can’t get out, share experiences over tea or dinner, and convene safely.

Tell us about your podcast and what can listeners expect?

My podcast strives to get my guests honest, authentic, and tell the truth about entrepreneurship. It looks so pretty on Instagram, being an entrepreneur. But it’s really not. It’s so hard, and it really is a grind. I don’t care how many people say, “If you love it, it won’t feel like work.” LIES! LOL. I love my husband, and I love my children too, and they are still working! Listeners can expect to laugh, understand, be inspired, and realize they have dreams and can make it. It may not look exactly like they originally envisioned, and sometimes the new thing is even better.

You are a songwriter and publisher for film/advertising and businesses — What inspired you to this?

After my husband and I got married, I decided to learn to play bass guitar, which I then changed to acoustic guitar. I took a songwriting class. I loved it. I was invited to perform at one of my favorite clubs in Chicago, Schuba’s. I made my husband play guitar while I sang. It was fun, and I told him if he didn’t form a band with me, I’d leave him. Anyway, a marketer at heart, I turned our pop-country band, Utah Carol, into a business. I also wanted to be a rock star, and Grant wanted our songs to be in the film. So we tried both, we got signed, traveled, and toured Europe, performed, My ultimate dream failed, but he succeeded. We got songs placed in several advertising projects and films, including an Ice Cube documentary. We still earn revenue and royalties from the albums because I ensured that the publishing royalties stayed within our family. If one of our songs ever hits it big, my three sons will have a wealth of royalties from our songs. That was and still is always the goal.

About JinJa

JinJa Birkenbeuel is the founder of a new start up The Honest Field Guide Podcast and CEO of Birk Creative, a brand strategy and management consulting agency founded in 1997.

JinJa Birkenbeuel is a trusted business advisor who fosters a lively creative process. She also has extensive experience networking for entrepreneurs and business leaders, and also consulting them on how to create and manage their personal brand and social profiles. Since 1997, JinJa has provided personal branding and representation for civic leaders and entrepreneurs in the public and private sectors, created marketing and advertising campaigns for NGOs, not for profit organizations and institutions, and collaborated with private and Fortune 500 companies like Google, Inc., SolarCity, Ericsson, AECOM and more. JinJa Birkenbeuel serves on the board of directors for the Jewish-Black Business Alliance and Young Chicago Authors. JinJa is also songwriter and publisher for Utah Carol, a musical group that composes songs for film, advertising and business.

Follow JinJa on all things Social:

Instagram — BirkCreative | Instagram — honestfieldguide

Twitter — Honest Field Guide



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Chandra Gore

Chandra Gore


Principal Consultant & Publicist for Chandra Gore Consulting. Author, Speaker, Producer, Community Organizer and Festival Founder — Serial Entrepreneur