I live in New York City, and I’m the cofounder and managing director of JJ Studio, a startup consulting agency.
Prior to cofounding JJ Studio, I was the head of central operations for Uber Works, Uber’s staffing venture, from August 2019 to September 2020. I worked on several other Uber verticals, such as Uber’s micromobility vertical (bikes/scooters) and Uber Eats as the country manager for Russia.
During the pandemic, Uber’s core business and by far the largest revenue driver — ridesharing — dropped by nearly 90%
The company’s share price tanked to below $14 and the senior-management team was looking for ways to conserve capital to weather the impact of the pandemic.
They conducted mass layoffs and shut down/sold off new verticals, which affected Uber Works in May of last year.
My team of around 70 people was let go
I and four others who made up the leadership team of Uber Works were asked to stay on a few more months to wind the business down and sell off certain assets.
I was shocked, as the thought of this being a possibility didn’t even cross my mind. We knew layoffs were coming, but given the stellar performance of our business unit, a shutdown of Uber Works seemed impossible.
After coming to terms with the decision, my biggest emotion was the concern for my team that lost their jobs.
I had the choice to work in another role or department or leave Uber. I decided to leave.
In July 2020, my cofounder and fellow former Uber colleague, Janeesa Hollingshead, and I started JJ Studio. We now consult for over a dozen hyper-growth startups in operations and marketing.
For many of our clients, we assume a full-time equivalent role, running entire departments.
We also invest in other companies as angel investors
I speak to about a dozen startups a week, analyzing their business model and KPIs and investing in those that pass my due-diligence process.
I also attend around three hours a week of courses and networking events as an OnDeck Angel Investor fellow and sit in on regular meetings with the VC funds I’m in a limited partnership with to scout potential deals.
As a mentor and advisor for a wide range of startups and incubators, I attend a couple of hours of mentoring sessions a week.
As an active real-estate investor, I tour at least half a dozen homes a month and spend at least 30 minutes a day analyzing new properties
My mom was a real-estate broker for a few years while I was a teenager, so I joined her on some open houses, auctions, etc. and picked up the interest in the topic then.
I’m currently gut-renovating a fixer-upper in Hudson Valley, fully managing the contractors and designing the new interior myself.
My husband and I are using it as a weekend home right now, but looking to sell it within three to five years at three times the purchase price.
I’m enrolled as a student in the executive MBA at online-only program Quantic School of Business & Technology
I started the EMBA in November 2020, and I’m due to graduate at the end of this year.
I originally decided to do this for the networking opportunities and having an MBA title, as some companies prefer you to have it. With time, though, I realized how much there still is to learn that I don’t know and really enjoyed the course work. I also enjoy being able to apply what I’m learning right away to the different roles I hold.
I take three to four classes a week, plus an exam and assignment every month.
Lastly, as an entrepreneur, I have around a dozen small ventures I’m involved in
I cofounded recruiting agency NARA, the discount platform GetLocalDiscounts.com, the home-office device Laptoplight, the subscription service DeliverSweet, and others.
Some people play an instrument or create art to be creative — I start new companies.
I love the creative problem-solving approach of identifying which parts of our lives aren’t ideal (take too long, are too expensive, too much friction, etc.) and coming up with savvy ways to make them better. There are few things in life that are as fun and rewarding as building out a product and seeing it impact the lives of your first users.
To juggle it all, I stick to a fairly structured schedule
Monday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., I conduct all my calls, including calls with consulting clients, pitches from startups I’m considering investing in, and mentorship calls.
After taking a lunch break, I spend about five hours of focused work in chunks of 30 minutes followed by five- to 10-minute breaks.
I write a to-do list every morning for this focused work section, with at least one to-do item from each of my "jobs." I have a long-term to-do list from which I’m picking the daily to-dos.
For the consulting side, this running list includes around 30 items, such as "update consulting website to include new client case studies," "circle back with all potential clients identified last quarter," and "schedule time with CPA."
Fridays and weekends are when I tend not to do consulting work or anything that requires calls. I use these days to tour potential investment properties, think through investment decisions, take EMBA exams, and the like.
My consulting ‘job’ provides an income nearly twice as much as my last full-time job
I could double that, but instead have chosen to spend my time working on more long-term, passive investments as well as on educating myself on other topics and giving back to the ecosystem to which I owe my success.
Money isn’t everything, and I far more enjoy the flexibility and autonomy that polyworking (working multiple jobs) gives me as well as allowing me to learn new things constantly.
If I’m tired of consulting startup CEOs, I can spend some days on something completely different, such as drawing up new architectural drawings for an upcoming house flip.
I also love how intertwined and synergetic some of my gigs are. For example, a startup I’ve mentored can become an angel investment, and after closing their funding round, it can become a consulting client.
Perri Ormont Blumberg August 2, 2021 at 10:45PM