Do you have family members that owned a business and inspired you to become an entrepreneur or are you the first in your family to take that leap?
J: My father was a part of a family owned business that his father started. Things didn’t end up working out well with the two of them, but it was a part of my thought process growing up.
Have you ever worked with your family before at some point? If you do what are the challenges you face? If not, would you ever consider it?
J: My father is now a partner in my current business. I started the company on my own about 3 years ago, and the timing kind of worked out perfectly for him to join my company about a year and a half ago. He wasn’t happy with what he was doing, and I needed some help running and growing the company.
There are definitely some major challenges when working with your father. I can’t speak for other father/son duos, but my father and I don’t agree on a LOT of things. We just simply share different mentalities about various items, and it leads to disagreements about the business. The challenge is finding a way to move forward that makes sense, and does not cause hostility between the two. You won’t always agree on things, but at the end of the day, it’s about doing what’s best for the business. If the two of you are on the same page about that, the different opinions on things should not have too much of an impact.
When you went to college did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur or were you pursuing a “real job” at the time?
J: Since I was about 6, I always knew I would be involved in business in one capacity or another. When I got to college, I wasn’t really sure what my path was going to be. I would say up until my graduate classes, my plan was going to be getting a “real job” for the time being and see where it goes. After taking a lot of entrepreneurship classes, and starting my own website as a class project in another, I became in love with the idea of running my own company. That said, I still ended up taking a “real job” out of school. I realized about 1 month in that I was not meant to be working for some large corporation. I knew at that moment I had to be an entrepreneur.
If you were pursuing a “real job” in college, do you wish that you would have realized you were meant to be an entrepreneur before you went through all the schooling?
J: I don’t really regret anything about the approach I took in college and after. I believe that everything I did led me to where I am now. If I never took those classes or got that first “real job” out of school, I likely would not be doing what I’m doing now. I do think that colleges can do a better job of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit, but overall I don’t look back at any of my life and regret the path I took.
If I could run my business from anywhere it would be…
J: Somewhere with beautiful weather and a beach. Being able to work all day, take a break to walk around the beach, and then relax there at the end of the day would be amazing.
If I had unlimited funds for my business I would…
J: Build my company up more from a resource standpoint, find the most talented people in new areas I want to focus on, and embark on massive marketing and sales campaigns.
If I was standing in a room full of upcoming entrepreneurs I would tell them to…
J: To prepare for the most wild rollercoaster ride of their lives. I would tell them that no matter what they think, or what they hear, nothing will have prepared them for what they are about to embark on, and they will gain an absolutely incredible learning experience.
For those dropping out of the corporate world to pursue their passion, the most important thing you need to know is…
J: Life is a little different from you go from that steady paycheck to fighting and clawing to get by (at least in the beginning). You have to REALLY want it, and be confident that you can make it work, even when things seem to be crashing and burning all around you, because that feeling WILL come.
One thing people don’t know about me is…
J: I’m very modest and humble when it comes to my business. I get uncomfortable when people bring up the fact that I’m running my own company or it’s doing well or anything like that.
My biggest fear is… failure.
My hope for the future of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the making is…
J: Is to have more programs in place to help them grow.