- BS GLOBAL BUSINESS, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, WEB DEVELOPMENT, SALES STRATEGY, PAY PER CLICK
Growing up, I never had a specific vision of what I wanted to be. I never imagined myself as a doctor, an astronaut, or a fireman, but I did know early on that I wanted to do something significant with my life.
The problem with significance is that it doesn’t fit neatly into most corporate business models. Corporate America is still operating from a fairly industrial mindset. They want to produce widgets more quickly, more cheaply and for more profit than anyone else, and they need mindless drones to carry on doing the same thing day after day so that they can fulfill their plans of world domination.
I decided early on that I didn’t want to spend my life cranking out widgets, so while I was still in high school, I started my very first business – fixing computers. It was pretty good money for a high school kid back in a day when AOL was synonymous with the internet and only a handful of people in the midwest had even heard of a little company called Best Buy.
But the rise of the Geek Squad limited my fledgling company’s potential for future growth, so it was on to the next idea. I tried my hand as a freelance web developer, then as an IT consultant, and before long I had a string of failed business ventures under my belt.
It stung. A lot. So, I licked my wounds and temporarily abandoned my entrepreneurial dream. I did something that I promised myself I would never do. I went to work for “the Man”.
I actually did fairly well in the corporate setting, at least from a compensation standpoint. I worked my way up quickly from the ground level to senior leadership. I went from managing my own personal workload to managing teams. Eventually, I was overseeing entire operations. But even though I learned a ton about business, leadership, and operations, I found myself struggling to find that significance I’d been longing for since I was a child.
Fast forward a few years. I’m mingling with some people at church and run into a bright-eyed young MBA who’s just as disenfranchised with corporate life as I am. He just doesn’t know it yet. We spend the next couple of years comparing notes and fleshing out the beginnings of what would eventually become Inspire Business Concepts.
My first year of college was a magical time for many reasons, but mostly because I finally got to monetize my very expensive hobby of tinkering with computers. To pay my way through college, I worked in a number of different IT jobs, from help desk to administrative support. I even spent a couple of years playing with the big boys at Honeywell as a website administrator for their software initiative.
After taking the scenic route through college, I finally graduated and, like most college graduates, had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I had started a couple of businesses in college, but none of them had any real long-term potential. I knew that I wanted to continue down the entrepreneurial path, but I needed some time to map out a new plan of attack.
While I was regrouping, I ended up landing a job in sales at a local mortgage broker. After a few months in, I discovered that I had a knack for sales, and what started out as a short-term job turned into a full-fledged career.
My aptitude for sales landed me a job managing an entire sales team. My team’s leading sales performance got me a gig leading an entire operation. My operational chops got me promoted to compliance officer. Before long I found myself entrenched in an industry that I had no real vested interest in (other than the paycheck).
Though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my time in the corporate world was enjoyable, I freely admit that the experience I gained was invaluable. The lessons that I learned in the corporate environment revealed to me why my past business attempts, like so many others, eventually failed. It’s because so many entrepreneurs get so obsessed with their product, that they forget to invest in business fundamentals like strategy, planning, prioritization, analytics, and marketing.
Big businesses invest heavily in the fundamentals. They’ve got certifications and processes for everything. The problem is, there isn’t a similar emphasis on fundamentals for small businesses. We created Inspire Business Concepts to change all that.
I really enjoy building things. Sometimes it’s something really geeky like custom plugins. Sometimes it’s something only moderately geeky like a bumpin’ car audio rig.
When I’m not busy tinkering, I enjoy volunteering at church, spending time on the golf course, and just living life with my friends and family.
In 2005 I married my high school sweetheart (Elisha) after dating for 9 years. I’m blessed every day to have her in my life.