Our Founder and CEO, Jamie, recently appeared on the Millionaire Interviews podcast to talk about our company’s growth, his entrepreneurial journey and tips for entrepreneurs serious about success. If you haven’t had a chance to catch the podcast yet, listen to it here—and check out the key takeaways from his interview below.
On learning to hustle
Growing up, business development was a family affair. When Jamie’s father found himself looking for his next career opportunity in manufacturing and energy consulting, the entire family would get involved. He and his sisters would help find more contacts for the prospect list while his dad “dialed for dollars,” as Jamie puts it. And his mother would be the voice of encouragement, motivating them to meet their daily goals.
That’s how his dad always found his jobs, and it’s exactly how Jamie secured his first clients for JEB Commerce.
“I did what my dad taught me,” Jamie says when asked about the company’s early days. “You go through all your contacts and build your contact list. Then you make another list of who you want to work with and get those contacts. Every day, you have a goal, and you don’t stop ‘til you reach that goal for the number of people you’ve called and the number of conversations you’ve had.”
On being a single dad entrepreneur
Jamie says it’s a misconception that being an entrepreneur means you don’t have a boss. That doesn’t happen, because when you work with clients you actually have many bosses.
Still, as a single dad, running his own business provided Jamie with something no amount of money can buy: the flexibility to be everywhere he needed to be for his kids. He says that flexibility was vital to growing JEB into what it is today.
Resist the urge to hire too early and at a level higher than your business actually needs. Prioritize accountability with your employees. And never sign an agreement with an employee that gives them a percentage of revenue.
On rules, regulations and finance
When you’re new to entrepreneurship, it’s easy to overlook things like state laws. No one hands you a book on the rules, regulations, taxes and forms you need to fill out when starting a business.
Unemployment insurance. Registering a business with the state and county. All these things can quickly get lost in the excitement of running a business. Do your research and get in touch with your local government to ensure you’ve crossed all your “t’s” and dotted your “i’s” as a business owner.
Financial literacy is also vital. “That’s where my coach and mentor started with me, and it’s where I start with the entrepreneurs I mentor,” Jamie says. Understand balance sheets and cash flow; don’t avoid it simply because you’re generating a lot of cash. Winning fixes a lot, but it can also cover up a lot. Not knowing what’s going on with money can cause you to make costly mistakes—like borrowing money to make payroll.
On market research
Too often, entrepreneurs jump right in. They say, “I love this. I think I’ll make a product and sell it.” But, Jamie says, they often forget to ask a fundamental question: whether customers actually want or need that product. It’s a lesson he learned the hard way.
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to lead with your heart on a business or product. But just because you have a golden touch with one venture doesn’t mean all of them will succeed. Don’t underestimate the importance of a SWOT analysis and a solid business plan for bringing a product to market.
On knowing yourself
What’s the key piece of advice Jamie has for other entrepreneurs? Seize the opportunity to grow. “Running a business is a crucible of self-awareness,” he says. “If you’re not learning a lot about yourself as an entrepreneur, start to look in that direction. A lot of the biggest problems you face in your business come from a lack of awareness about yourself.”
As for work-life balance, Jamie says it’s an ongoing process—but a crucial one, nonetheless. It takes time to figure out that you need more time for yourself. But if you’re not taking care of your health, you’re not taking care of your business.
Want to hear the whole interview with Jamie? Check out the podcast here.