Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jeremy D. Rackley is a New Yorker through and through. As a young man, he attended the elite Brooklyn Technical High School, where he developed a passion for technology and engineering. 

After graduation, Jeremy D. Rackley attended the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor. At U-M, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Design and Applied Arts. After university, Jeremy worked as a freelance graphic and UX designer for over a decade, polishing his web design, app design, branding, illustration, and user experience skills. 

In 2008, after years of honing his craft, Jeremy D. Rackley began working for Google as a UX/visual designer. During his time with the company, Jeremy gained invaluable experience and helped to develop and shape many user-focused web and mobile application designs. After more than 10 years at Google, Jeremy found himself wanting something more. He took this opportunity to fulfill his dream of starting his own marketing firm. 

Today, Jeremy D. Rackley acts as founder and managing partner of JC Marketing. Together with his partner Cinthya Garza Martinez, who is the lead writer at JC Marketing, Jeremy manages a stellar team of designers and developers. Jeremy’s hard work and dedication to his craft have resulted in great success. He and his team strive to provide their clients with exceptional custom marketing solutions and quality websites

Tell us a little bit about how you came to be a UX designer

Ever since high school, I’ve been interested in technology and engineering, specifically web-based applications. I’ve also always been an artistic person. As I learned more about different fields in the industry, I found that UX, or user design, offered a great balance between technology and art. I loved the idea that I would get to create something beautiful and also have the opportunity to develop and code. After graduating from university, I knew UX was what I wanted to pursue. My connections from university allowed me the opportunity to start freelancing in UX and graphic design and so I started in the industry that way.

What surprised you the most when you started your career, what lessons did you learn?

The thing I found most surprising was how easy it was to get caught up in work and to forget to take time for yourself. As a freelance designer, it was particularly difficult to balance my time — I made my own schedule and it was just so easy to work around the clock. I loved what I was doing so it didn’t seem like a big deal to start work at 7 a.m. and to wrap up at 10 at night. But, over the years, I learned that this type of schedule wasn’t a great idea and that I needed to make sure I took time to myself each day. I still find it hard to step away from work sometimes, but I’ve been getting better at it. These days, I make sure to separate work and personal time each day and to spend the time that I’m not at work doing things I enjoy.

What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting in your industry?

I would tell them that they shouldn’t be afraid to start their own business. If that is something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, then there’s no time like the present. For so long I let the fear of failure hold me back from starting my own marketing firm and I only wish someone had been there to encourage me and assure me that everything would work out. From my experience, as long as you are passionate about what you’re doing and willing to work hard, then you will succeed. So, don’t let fear hold you back. Take the leap, you won’t regret it!

How would your colleagues describe you?

I think my friends and colleagues would describe me as outgoing and driven. I’m a pretty social guy and I like to be closely involved with the team I manage. So, I think they would see this as me being outgoing. My friends, and some of my colleagues, have seen me progress through my career over the years and I think they would recognize the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into it. From graduating from university to working at Google to then following my dream of opening my own marketing company — I think they would see the drive behind that.

How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?

I make sure to take time for myself each day. This used to be a lot more difficult for me, so I’ve made a point of scheduling my time to make sure I have a balance between work and life. I set work hours and anything outside of that is for personal stuff. During this personal time, I make sure I’m doing things that I enjoy, like hiking or spending time in nature and spending time with family and friends. This has actually helped me to be more productive at work and to keep from burning out.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

With COVID-19 forcing remote work situations, technology has never been so important for me. I like to stay in touch with my team — normally we would meet every day to discuss projects and have brainstorming sessions. So, right now, apps like Slack are invaluable in my daily routine. Slack allows me to be in touch with my team, even when we aren’t physically in the same room. It’s a great way for me to manage projects, ensure everyone has what they need, and to make sure all of our deadlines are met.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The hardest obstacle, for me, has been my own self-doubt. I’ve always dreamed of starting my own marketing company and for a long time I put it off because I was afraid of failure. Finally, after more than 10 years with Google, I felt like enough is enough. I need to step up and take this leap for myself, otherwise, I’ll never get there. I overcame my fear and took the plunge and, honestly, I haven’t looked back since. Of course, it’s been hard, there have been ups and downs, but as someone who is driven and not afraid to work hard, I’ve overcome all the little roadblocks along the way. Honestly, I wish I had been able to overcome my self-doubt and start JC Marketing sooner!

What does success look like to you?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to own my own marketing company. So, my success has a lot to do with the success of JC Marketing. Success for my business looks like happy and successful clients, as well as a happy and productive team. I am proud to have built a strong team of writers, which is headed by my partner Cinthya Garza Martinez, designers and developers. Knowing what I know now, a good work-life balance is also important for me and is part of my idea of success. Overall, I think enjoying what you do on a daily basis and working with a happy and fulfilled team and satisfied clients is all you can really ask for.