Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Closing The Loop: Former TV News Reporter Julia Crowley

Warren Miller

Julia Crowley started selling cosmetics for shoe money and girl time. But when her family needed much more from her and from her business, Julia stepped up her game.

Crowley grew up in Northern California, studied communications in college, and immediately went into television news.

“I went to college in Washington state, started at a TV station there, and then went to Sacramento for my first job out of college,” she says.

She met her future husband, who lived in Jacksonville, there. Fortunately, her employer also owned a television in Jacksonville. Julia was on the air in Jacksonville for four years. When her contract came up for renewal, however, she had second thoughts about her priorities.

“I was wanting to start a family, and the stress of the job was just a lot. I did morning and evening traffic, and there weren’t many breaks or vacation days,” she says.  

Julia and her husband, who was a teacher, had a child, who, they quickly learned, had a rare genetic disorder that required near-constant attention during his first year. But Julia also realized that she wanted to work.

“When he was about 6 months, I really thought that it would nice if we had a little extra money coming in, but I also needed a place for me. I needed to have goals, something to get excited about. That was what I was missing from not working,” she says.

Because of her son’s illness, day care and a regular job – let alone her previous profession – were out.      

“I started to think of something to do for me. I was just looking for a way that gave me freedom to work with my child because I needed a job that I could keep him with me,” she says. “When I started, I called it ‘shoe money,’ just some extra spending money.”

Crowley became a representative of a well-known direct sales company in cosmetics and beauty products. She found that it met even more needs than she had anticipated.

“It also gave me girl time that I was missing,” she says. “Have women over and play with makeup. I really enjoyed that.”

And things might have gone on like that … but they didn’t.

“My husband became ill overnight. He was healthy on Wednesday, and by the weekend was having 20 or 30 seizures a day. And it lasted for a year and a half. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and life got a little crazy for us.”

Crowley was also pregnant with the couple’s second child. Doctors couldn’t find a way to treat her husband’s benign but inoperable tumor or help his seizures.

“The doctors eventually told us that they didn’t think they were going to be able to stop them, and that this just might have to be how he stayed,” she says.

But neither she nor her husband would accept that.

“We focused on healing prayer. Because of my business, it allowed me to focus on that and spend time with him. It stopped his seizures completely, so he’s been medicine and seizure-free for four years,” she says.

During the year-and-a-half of her husband’s illness, Julia’s part-time job evolved into something more.

“I really focused on my business and taking it from being shoe-shopping money to money that would pay our bills,” she says.

And she evolved, as well.

“I’m a strong, independent businesswoman, and I would have never said that before. I was a good speaker or a good TV reporter. I would have never seen myself as an entrepreneur.  That’s probably the thing I’m most proud of, the change in me. I feel like I could take on anything, and if I could survive the last five years, I probably could take on anything.”

Warren Miller is a writer and financial executive who lives near St. Augustine, Florida.