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Lloyd Cambridge, Small Business Educator

Episode Summary

On this episode of the career interview series, we are joined by Lloyd Cambridge a Small Business Educator hailing from my hometown Brooklyn, New York. Lloyd’s interest in entrepreneurship began when he was a kid growing up in Brownsville dreaming of being the cool kid with the fly clothes and the latest Jordans.

Studying abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain started out a bit rocky but ended up being a memorable life experience. Lloyd’s economics major combined with an internship at Lord & Taylor landed him a post-college job at one of his dream companies J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Since then Lloyd’s career has focused on educating and helping entrepreneurs launch and grow small businesses.

Media

YouTube Video

Podcast Episode


Learn More About Lloyd

Key Takeaways

  • You’re in college to learn and studying is important. But, be sure to also take time to enjoy your youth, freedom, and the experience. Interact with other students to learn about where they’re from and their culture. And if possible, take advantage of opportunities to study abroad.
  • Good internships will allow you to learn skills and gain experience in areas that will prepare you for your post-college career. Some large companies also offer training programs for new grads that can ease the post-college transition and set you on a solid track for success in your career.
  • You have to know and take care of yourself in order to contribute to the world. Be patient and understand that growth doesn’t happen overnight. Transformation is a process, not an event.
  • Advancing in business or moving up in life often requires building relationships to open doors or get access. That might be you helping or being helped by someone else. Be genuine and intentional in building and managing relationships.

Show Notes

Background

So we are here today with Lloyd Cambridge Founder & CEO of progress playbook. Could you give me a brief overview of your background? Where are you from and where’s your family from?

Thank you for having me on the show. My name is Lloyd Cambridge, I’m the founder of Progress Playbook. I’ll tell you a little bit more about what that is in a little bit. But I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Went to NYU here in the city, studied economics, minored in Spanish. Don’t ask me to speak any Spanish today. It’s really bad. I always had a love for entrepreneurship and business. and spent a lot of my career (which we’ll talk about) supporting business owners.

But again, I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, been here my entire life. Had a little stint when I was in college where I spent a semester in Madrid, Spain which is pretty cool. I was living somewhere else for a period of time. But my family is also here from, New York as well. So my family is here but originally they’re from the South, Savannah, Georgia. And they migrated to the North, back in the 80s, I believe. Or actually before that, not 80s. I want to say the 60s.

Both your mom and dad are from Savannah?

My mom and my father are both from New York.

Oh, their parents are from elsewhere. Okay.

Their family or their parents are from Savannah.

Tell me a little bit about you as a kid. What were your interests as a kid? What were your favorite subjects and things outside of school as well?

Trying to remember, I’m like, as a kid. It feels so long ago. As a kid I enjoyed, I was pretty much like a nerd as a kid, to be honest. I had my friends. I was really into school like really wanted to do a good job in school. But I also had a lot of extracurricular activities. So I was on the basketball team, which I wasn’t good at that. I did like baseball. What else did I do? I’m trying to remember. I also was in a few clubs as well growing up. I just had an interest in business and community building so I did a lot of that in high school. We had like a business club that I was a part of as well.

But, growing up was good. I had a good time growing up in Brooklyn. Although looking back now you see some of the challenges of growing up in a low-income neighborhood. But, in that moment or in that time frame, I didn’t see it. It didn’t appear as a challenge to me. Now looking back, I see all the challenges, that me and my family went through growing up. But, generally speaking, I was a good kid wanting to do well in school. I had friends too, extracurricular activities, and I had a good childhood.

What particular, neighborhood were you from in Brooklyn? Where did you grow up?

Brownsville. Brooklyn.

Okay. You mentioned that you were really into school. Do you remember what your favorite subjects were or what you were good at?

I really enjoyed history. I really enjoyed learning about all different types of cultures and people. So that was probably one of my favorite subjects, history. I think I wanted to explore cultures and explore how other people lived.

As a kid I did a program called the Fresh Air Fund, which is a camp where they take you away out of the city to go to, I believe it was, Upstate, New York or Pennsylvania. I don’t remember which. But, they take students or kids from low-income neighborhoods and they take you to camp for I believe it was like two or three weeks. I did it once. But, for me, that was my first time. I was so excited to go. I have two sisters who are younger than me and they did not want to go. But I wanted to be the one to explore and see what else was out there outside of my neighborhood.

I’ve always had this exploratory kind of vibe where I wanted to see other cultures and learn about cultures. And that’s why when I got to college I spent some time in Spain. Because again, that spirit of wanting to learn other cultures didn’t leave me. So I spent some time there and did a lot of traveling after being exposed to my first country outside of America.

During high school, did you work during that time or were you on any sports teams?

As a kid, I wanted to start a business. I wanted to be that fly kid, that cool kid, who had the Jordans and nice clothes. I’d go out to parties and things like that with my friends but didn’t really have a lot of financial backing or support or resources to make some of those things happen. As a kid, I remember being like 10 years old or 11 wanting to do some of those things and I didn’t have money. I was like, “What am I going to do? I’m too young to actually work.” I wanted to start a business and at that time you had to be 14 in New York to get your working papers to be able to work.

So I didn’t work. I didn’t start a business as a kid. I wanted to, but I was afraid. I was nervous. I was like, “What am I going to do? I’m so young people are not going to take me seriously.” But my first job, I remember looking through the newspaper or something, I’m like dating myself now because I was 14. The spirit of entrepreneurship was still in me, but I was like, “I need money.”

At the age of 14 I wanted to work. And I got my first job working for this non-profit, Project Reach Youth. It was a peer-to-peer youth education program where they pretty much taught us about STDs. And then we had to go out into the community and teach other young people about safe sex and things like that. So that was my first job, at 14 years old being a peer educator. Which is really cool. Yeah, I enjoyed it.

In that program, was it going to other schools and educating kids or was it a one on one kind of thing? It was schools, we went to different community groups, it was wherever we could talk. Wherever the organization had an audience that they could set up, then that’s where we would go. We would do street walks, we would give out condoms, and things like that. I remember doing that and then I brought a couple of my friends. We didn’t get a lot of money. I think we got paid a stipend maybe once or twice a month. But my goal or my objective was to get paid. I was like, “I’ve got to get paid.” And that was a program that paid you to be an advocate for safe sex and things like that.

College / Training

Following high school, what college did you attend? And beyond that, what motivated you to attend that college? Was it something about the environment or a particular major? What was your decision-making process?

I’m going to go back for a second. After the Project, I had a ton of jobs throughout high school. I worked at The Gap. I worked at Macy’s. I had a lot of retail jobs as well. I worked at a company called Sam Goody. And I worked at a watch company in a mall called Kings Plaza in Brooklyn. So I had a lot of retail jobs throughout high school. I went to Canarsie High School, which is in Canarsie, Brooklyn and I was in a specialized engineering program in Canarsie.

At the time I was dating someone and she went to NYU. I was in my junior year I guess and I wasn’t really exposed to a ton of schools and universities and colleges. I went to go visit her at NYU several times and when I was on a campus people thought that I was already a college student. I didn’t know at the time that NYU was a good school so the only reason I applied was because she was going to the school. I was like, “Oh I can apply to this school too.”

I wound up applying to NYU not knowing that it was an amazing school. I applied to several other schools like Morehouse, I forget the others. Cornell, Penn State, a few schools. Anyway, I wound up getting accepted into NYU and found out that it was like a really great school. And a few of my other friends that went to Canarsie with me also got accepted. I decided to move forward with NYU but I was introduced to it through someone I was dating.

Once you got into NYU and you actually became a college student there rather than just visiting, how was the experience?

It was cool. I mean, I was a commuter student. I was born and raised in New York, so I didn’t stay on campus. For me, because education was important, I was there to learn. I met some really great people. The high school that I went to was very predominantly African-American, Caribbean. I would say like 99%. I wasn’t really exposed to other races and cultures as much. When I got to NYU, I got to see more diversity.

You had all cultures and it was just really all races and cultures. I had to kind of get acclimated to working and partnering and becoming friends with people that didn’t look like me which is what I wanted. NYU was a great experience. I was introduced to traveling, so I studied abroad in Spain and from there, did a ton of traveling while in college because of that experience. I mean it’s like the city is your playground. It was in lower Manhattan and the city was our playground. Met a lot of great people and it was a good experience overall.

You spoke about the difference in the demographics of the two schools. When you went to Canarsie High School, most of the students looked like you. When you got to NYU, you had an opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds. But beyond that, do you think there was a big transition between your high school experience or your expectations in high school, your workload, and things like that versus your experience in college?

I worked hard in high school. I think I graduated number three in my school out of 300 students. And then I worked equally as hard when I got to college. I mean the workload was, it was a lot of work and I wish I had a little bit more fun in college. I feel like the work habit of studying, I think I did it a little bit too much. I’m kinda like I could have had a little bit more fun. I did have fun. Don’t get me wrong, but I could’ve had a little bit more fun and had a little bit more balance.

But, in terms of the differences outside of like cultures and backgrounds and races, I would say yeah. Just being a little bit more independent. Like once you get to college, you’re more independent. When you’re in junior high school or high school in New York you typically have the same students that you’re moving to different classes with it. Where in college, obviously you choose your own schedule. Each class has different people in it, so there’s a little bit more autonomy and flexibility, which I liked. I had to get used to managing myself in a different way versus a more structured approach in high school. So that was another shift or change in addition to interacting with people from other backgrounds and the workload. I was used to just working hard anyway. I just took it up a notch once I got to college.

Being that you were a commuter student, do you think it might’ve been a different experience or do you feel like you missed out on anything by not living on campus?

Yeah, I think that one of my regrets with college is not living on campus. I heard a lot of great stories. I still hear stories from friends today that lived on campus. Although I did go to the parties and things like that. I think that it would have been a different experience. But because I grew up in New York, I had a lot of friends from high school and my neighborhood. I would go to campus and then go back to my neighborhood and have my friends there. Socially, I didn’t miss out on anything. But it would have been nice to have that experience. And that was another reason why I decided to study abroad. To have that experience as well of not living at home and being able to kind of be independent again.

How did you go about choosing your major? What influenced you to choose your major?

Again, I was really big into entrepreneurship and business. I wanted to be a business person. I used to watch CNBC and Bloomberg just because I had an interest and passion in the stock market and business. So I decided to study economics. Actually, I got accepted into the College of Arts & Science so not into the business school, Stern. And the College of Arts & Science, they have economics as a social science. That was the only business major in the school. So I was like, “That’s the only choice that I have because I’m in this school.” I could have transferred over to Stern, but I didn’t. So I wound up studying economics. I was kind of tossing between economics and computer science only because again when I was in high school, I was in an engineering program. We did a lot of computer science things as well, so I had a little bit of an interest in that. But my passion was more on the business part. So I decided to study economics.

You mentioned that you studied abroad in Madrid. How was that experience?

Madrid was great. I had my own apartment in Madrid and was like 20 years old. It was fun. A lot of my friends from New York came to see me. Once you’re in Europe you are close to the other countries obviously France and Italy and things like that. It’s like a quick one hour, two-hour plane ride. It’s like, imagine being in New York and you’re going to like Florida or something. I was able to travel to various European countries, which is a lot of fun because it was inexpensive and it didn’t take you six [to] eight hours to get there.

But my purpose, because I was studying Spanish, I wanted to get better at speaking Spanish. That was like one of the purposes behind why I decided to go. I got accepted into the program and took Spanish classes. But they spoke only Spanish and I struggled a little bit. I got better as I went along. I met a lot of great people, some that I’m still friends with today who are from Spain and still live in Spain. I cherish those relationships. I got the opportunity to see a different culture, experience their food, how they live their lives, and kind of adjusted myself to their culture, which is really fun. I got to experience various European cultures as well as a result of that. So I accomplished my purpose. I traveled. I learned a little Spanish. And got to experience being independent in a foreign country.

I did cry. I remember my first week in Spain, I was like, “What am I doing? Why did I decide to come here?” I called my mom like, “Oh my God, I want to come back.” And back in the day, there were no cellphones so I just had a whole bunch of calling cards. I had to buy calling cards and call on my house phone or the payphone to call folks in New York. I would say like week two I was good. But I was homesick for that first week. I was like, “I’m going back to New York. I don’t know why I’m here.”

You mentioned that being in Spain because of the proximity, it gave you the opportunity to visit some other places. Where else did you go while you were there?

I went to Paris and Rome. I went to Morocco. Spain is like neighboring Morocco so I went to Morocco as well, which was really amazing. I feel like I went somewhere else. Oh, I went to London too. I went to those four places and got to experience them.

You were in Madrid for a semester or so?

Just one semester.

Any memorable happenings or events while you were there that you can share?

Memorable events while I was in Spain, in Europe? I’m thinking so many memories. But what’s really fun? I went to my first bullfight. Which was cool but kind of gross at the same time. I went to my first one. I haven’t been back since. I don’t know if I’d go back to another one. But essentially, you have the bullfighter or whatever. I don’t remember what they’re called.

Matador.

But they literally kill the bull. Had the bull charging at them and then they wind up killing the bull which is a little sad. But I got to experience that. It was interesting to see. Definitely. So that’s what sticks in my head as a standout memory among the ones I’m not going to talk about on this podcast.

Once you returned to the states and back to your regular college grind, did you have any internships or anything like that while you were in college?

I did. I went through a program called Inroads. Inroads is a program for minority students in college and also their senior year of high school. They provide professional development workshops and classes and education. But their main purpose in addition to that personal professional development is to provide you with internships. I wanted to get an internship. They essentially placed you at different companies over the summer.

I wanted to get an internship at a bank, JP Morgan primarily because that was one of their sponsoring companies. But I didn’t get that one. I wound up getting a job or an internship for two summers at Lord & Taylor, which is a retailer, a national retailer. And I was in the Buying Department, so I was with a buyer for two summers.

And the first summer they had me in women’s swimwear. It was really cool actually. I got to go to the different showrooms and see the different bathing suits and things of that nature. You would go there and they would have models like modeling the bathing suits, which was pretty cool. But also got to really learn about retail and in a different way from being a salesperson. To understanding the numbers and how they decide what merchandise they’re going to purchase nationally and what’s selling in different markets. That was something that was really cool.

I did that and I also had an internship at an investment bank. I don’t remember the name of it. It was a small boutique investment bank that I did for maybe a semester. So those were the two internships that I did throughout my college career.

Early Career

Once you graduated from college, what was your first job?

Because I had this internship, which was really good, my first job was actually at JP Morgan Chase. The internship that I wanted to get in college, I wound up getting [as] a job with the bank when I graduated. They placed me in the apparel, textile, jewelry industry at the bank. I was a Credit Analyst in the Middle Market Department.

Middle Market, they deal with companies that make $10 million to maybe $100 million in revenue. And under middle market, they may have various divisions. My division was Apparel, Textile, and Jewelry. I was able to get that job because I had this internship at Lord & Taylor so I understood the retail industry from a business standpoint.

We lent money to apparel, textile, and jewelry companies. That’s what I did in my first year and a half. I supported relationship managers who had these relationships with some of these large apparel and jewelry brands. And I supported on the back-end in terms of doing some of the analysis to see whether or not some of these companies could get lines of credit or term loans to support the operations and growth of their businesses.

With that being your first job and you were in this internship program while you were in school, did that lead to you getting the position? Or I guess what was your job search process? How did you end up with that position?

From what I can remember, I think I got the job because at NYU they setup job fairs senior or maybe junior year. I don’t remember which year it was. They had a job fair and JP Morgan was one of the recruiters at the job fair and I met them there. And the person that I interviewed with or that I met at the job fair, she was in the Apparel, Textile, and Jewelry Division at JP Morgan Chase. I guess when she saw my resume that I had this internship at Lord & Taylor it was a great fit. And that’s what I wanted. I was like, “Yes, I got what I wanted, JP Morgan.” It all worked out.

Once you moved into that first job at JP Morgan, how did you find the transition from school to the working world? Did you feel prepared for your first job and for your career?

The good thing about Chase or JP Morgan Chase is that if you get accepted into this credit analyst program, they take you through I think it was like three-month training program. I was with my peers who are like my age, we were all like 21-22 years old. Chase took us all through a three-month training program to learn how to become a Credit Analyst.

I felt like I was in school again and they were paying me to learn. We had different modules: accounting, credit analysis, risk management. It was like being at school all over again. But this time I was getting paid and I wasn’t like taking out loans to learn. So it was great. I was like, I’m making money and I’m learning and I’m with my friends, I have new friends. After you go through this three-month training program, then they place you in your division.

My division was this Apparel, Textile, and Jewelry Division. I got placed there and then things changed so I wasn’t with people my age. I wasn’t just learning in a classroom setting. Now I was doing the work really supporting these relationship managers and bankers. That transition was, it was fun. I learned a ton and met with a lot of CFOs and CEOs of different apparel and jewelry companies, which was really fun and exciting. Got to learn a lot. The culture of banking or the culture at JP Morgan Chase at the time was very formal. You had to dress up every day in a suit, which I liked but I didn’t like at the same time. But it was just very formal. I think eventually after being there for four years I was ready to kind of transition out of the culture of being in a very formal environment.

Looking back now to when you first graduated or let’s say in that first job out of school. Is there anything that you know now that you wish you knew when you first graduated?

It’s a lot. But, I would say, even when I was at Chase, I wanted to start a business. That spirit of entrepreneurship didn’t leave me from a kid. I already had it in my mind like, “I’m gonna want to start a business.” Although I gave it my all at the job, I felt like I could have went deeper. Sometimes we have a vision in terms of what we want for our life but there’s a journey to get there. There’s steps. You have to get prepared to do what you have been called to do or whatever it is you want to do. I wish that I would’ve taken more advantage of that opportunity and being there.

I learned a lot. I met a lot of great people. It was a great foundation to learn and understand credit and how to read financial statements and things like that. But I wish I would have maybe connected more with upper management and things like that and developed those relationships a little bit more. I was just so focused on what was next that I wasn’t necessarily super present in the moment at that job.

You said that after about four years of being at Chase, you wanted to experience a different kind of environment and eventually you left the company. Was there a specific moment that gave you the motivation to say, “Well, the time is now for me to leave?” Or did that just come about?

There was, I was laid off. This was like in 2008 when the whole credit thing happened. So that happened. I transitioned out of Chase once the entire economy crashed and then I went, “Alright this is a perfect time to start a business”. Which I did with a friend of mine. We had a company called Papers NYC and we were teaching people how to use technology. So like websites, how to build a website, how to use PowerPoint, how to use Excel, and how to use different technology tools. And also some business as well. We dabbled with how to start a business and things like that. I had my first company with my friend and we had it for two years. It was fun. It was a good ride.

Current Career

If you can, tell me about the journey that you took to get to your current position and where you are now.

Me and my partner at the time when we had our business together, we had a falling out so we wound up going our separate ways. We’re friends today but it took us some time to get there. I wound up going back into the job field and looking for a job and I got a job at NYC Business Solutions which is a program under the Department of Small Business Services here in New York City. It’s a government agency that provides business services to small businesses and entrepreneurs in New York. I started out as an Account Manager, providing services to small businesses. It would be things like courses, business classes, providing them with legal assistance, helping them to get access to financing. And then I was promoted to a director where I’ve managed the center.

Each borough has either one or two business service centers. I was a director of the Queens Business Solutions Center for several years. I learned a lot, met even more people not only in finance. But in that position, I was able to meet, because you had to like really travel within your borough to like different types of communities. Whether it’s churches or the religious community whether it’s politicians, whether it’s bankers, whether it’s nonprofits or community development organizations. I was able to kind of really build a strong network there and learn more about small business. And not necessarily like middle market businesses, which I was used to when I was working at the bank so I saw a different side of business.

I loved it. I was working with more people that were getting started or they were still kind of mom and pop shops. I did that for several years and decided to quit my job about four years ago to launch my current company, which is called Progress Playbook.

I’ve discovered through my journey that I’m a teacher. This company Progress Playbook is a business training and service platform. And what we do is design customized learning experiences, our education experiences, to help entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Our clients or our customers are really organizations. We deal with government agencies, nonprofits, and some corporations. And we design training programs for them that either we facilitate to the people that they serve or where they facilitate it themselves. We’ve been doing that for four years. It’s been great and I love it.

You’re now the Founder & CEO at Progress Playbook, which is your company. Did you found the company by yourself or did you have a co-founder?

No, I founded it by myself. That was four years ago. I quit my job and I just said, “I’m going to jump into this thing.”

Is it still just you or do you have other people working with you?

Now we’re a team of seven which is pretty cool. We design these curriculums. We design programs.

For example, we have a program for actors. One of our clients is the Actor’s Fund so they hired us to design a program to help actors and entertainers start sideline businesses as they pursue their art. People on Broadway and actors they have what we call episodic income. You might get a gig for six months and then you’ll have income. And then your income might go down because your gig is over.

Through this program, we help them to create more sustainable income and have more independence through creating businesses. We train them on how to start and grow their businesses so that they can have more sustainable income and independence as they are still pursuing their first love of art, acting, and things of that nature. That’s an example of a six-month program that they go through with various stages that we designed in collaboration with the Actor’s Fund and also facilitate as well.

As the founder of this company and also having a team, what does an average day look like for you? What kind of things are you working on?

I can’t say what’s an average day because every day is very different. It depends. Today I’m working on product development, so I’m creating a curriculum for a new client. And it can range depending on the day. But it can be anything from doing business development, meaning that we’re actively pursuing new clients. Or re-engaging with old clients to see if there’s additional business that we can collaborate [on] or have. As creating new products continuously did for us, it’s creating curriculum, it’s connecting with the team, making sure that we’re on task to accomplish our goals.

I teach as well. Yesterday, I taught two classes. I taught for about four hours yesterday. So I do that. It really depends on the day. But most of it is business development, product development, and then you have the actual service delivery. For us, a lot of that is teaching, executing programs, and then making sure that as a team, we’re all on the same page in terms of being able to accomplish some of our goals.

Philosophies & Goals

Taking into consideration your experiences and where you are now, how would you personally define success? What does success look like to you?

That’s a great question. Success in life or in business or the world? I would say our mission at Progress Playbook is to help entrepreneurs design the business life and world that they love. For me, I guess at the base of it all it’s really about love. Love could look a lot of different ways for different people. I would say for me it’s a couple of things.

It’s really about having a balance in my life. It’s about having wealth in my life in these different areas. But the root of all of that is it’s really about love. How am I going to essentially make life better for other people through all the talents and gifts and resources that I have? In order to do that, I have to make sure that I’m healthy, that I’m working out, that I’m eating well, that I have really great relationships and I’m taking care of my emotional and mental health. It means that I have to have peace at home. Right? For me, it’s about having a balance of wealth really in every area of my life so that I can give of myself freely to help other people to accomplish their dreams and goals and things of that nature.

Taking that into consideration and where you are currently. Would you say that the current reality of your career has matched, surpassed, or fallen short of your aspirations and expectations?

There’s a lot more to go. We’re four years in and there’s a lot more building to do. I’m a builder of businesses and I want to do a lot more. I want to build other types of businesses as well. I feel like I’m just getting started. But I had a lot of preparation that I had to prepare for it to get to this point. I feel I’m happy where I am right now and looking forward to what’s to come. So I would say, I feel like I’m here but I want to go here. I don’t feel it’s below. I feel like I’m good but with the desire to do more.

With that desire to do more, what goals or plans are you currently pursuing? Either specifically for 2019 or even beyond that?

We have a goal to support 2,000 entrepreneurs in New York City this year. That’s a goal that we are aggressively pursuing. And when we say to support them, support them through our programs and our services that we provide. So we also do services as well. Things like business planning, business formation, strategy sessions, branding, consulting, creating websites, and things of that nature. Our goal is to support 2,000 entrepreneurs this year so that’s a big goal for us.

And also to launch our first online course is another big goal for us this year. We’re launching a course on a playbook on how to start a business in New York City. We’ve been working on it for some time and essentially the program is we interviewed 10 entrepreneurs that launched businesses in New York City.

The founder of Baked by Melissa, the founder of Tough Mudder, the founder of a fashion brand called LaQuan Smith, Fool’s Gold Records, Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem, and a few other people. We have their step-by-step stories in terms of how they started their businesses. How they built them while they’re based in New York City. The challenges around building in New York City. And we’re launching a course one: telling their stories, but then two: building curriculum around the stories in terms of how anyone in New York City can do the same thing. So we’re providing a model or examples to show that it’s possible. And have a roadmap based on what they did and how others can follow that roadmap to success or at least business success. Those are two short term goals I would say that we have for this year.

Looking at where you are now and your journey since you graduated from college. What career or life advice would you offer to either your younger self or any young person that’s still in school or just getting ready to enter the workforce?

I think a lot of different things. But I would say one: it’s really about getting to know yourself. It’s really important. Every single thing that we create is an extension of who we are. What I create in the world is a reflection of me. So I need to make sure that I’m well to be able to create great things in the world that really serve people the right way. Taking a lot of time to get to know who you are, to love who you are, to embrace your weaknesses and your strengths. Really taking the time out to understand yourself and to understand that you have to be patient and growth doesn’t happen overnight. Transformation is a process, not an event. It doesn’t happen instantaneously.

Two: definitely being able to build relationships. To get to new levels in business or in life it normally requires a relationship to open up a door, a relationship to get access to something. Whether that’s you helping someone to get access or open up a door for them or somebody opening the door for you and giving you access. Being more intentional behind designing and developing relationships is super important. I wish I would have done it a little bit sooner. I knew that it was important, but I think I took it for granted. I didn’t really have a plan. I think it’s important to have a plan behind how you are going to develop relationships.

If you want to work out and have a nice body or be healthy you would have a plan. I’m going to go to the gym three times a week. I’m going to eat these types of food. I think we have to be just as intentional when it comes to developing our relationships. How many people am I going to connect with this week? What kind of value am I going to add to them?

Those are two things: personal development and then the other one would be around intentionality as it relates to relationships.

We’re now in 2019. But imagine it’s years from now and you’re nearing or already retired. When you look back over your career, what accomplishments or achievements would make you consider it a roaring success versus mediocre or disappointing?

I want to say that I’ve been able to build several different types of companies. I don’t know how many yet, but I have this passion to build more. To have an international business, for me that would be really cool and successful.

And really through all of these endeavors at the base of it all is really making life better for people. So you go into business to add value. To make life better for someone else. I think through this aspiration to want to build businesses, the purpose of it is really to make life better. I want to be able to teach other people how to be givers, but through business though. One of my goals is to be a builder of businesses. But to be a giver and to be really intentional behind what that looks like. So success for me would be to leave a legacy or culture of the purpose of building this thing is to really give to people.

Bonus Round

And then think about people or events that are famous or only known to you that have motivated, inspired, or influenced you in your career. Does anyone or anything, in particular, come to mind?

Steve Jobs. I study him a lot. I like what he’s done. And I know he’s a common entrepreneur. Definitely Steve Jobs.

I read a lot of the Bible I feel like you want to know how to build a business you look in that book. It’ll teach you how to build a business, how to manage relationships. That’s a big source of inspiration and guidance for me.

There’s some local folks, in my neighborhood, that I look up to. Some people on Instagram that I think are going really well as well that I follow and look up to in terms of their success and what they’ve been able to create an impact the world through.

Are there any specific books that have influenced or inspired you?

Obviously as an entrepreneur you’ve got to do a lot of reading. Some of the books that have inspired me, Start with Why by Simon Sinek is a great book that I always recommend. It talks about why you do what you do? Really starting from that place of the ‘why’. That’s one book.

I’m going to speak from the landscape of entrepreneurship.

The E-Myth written by Michael Gerber is a great book, it talks a lot about entrepreneurship and the journey of it. It talks about this concept of the entrepreneur, technician, and manager. I’m not going to get into all the specifics, but that’s also another good book if you’re looking to become an entrepreneur and really being able to understand the journey.

Like I said earlier, The Bible for me is the best business book or life book that really kind of informs my decisions.

What am I reading right now? I’m reading this book called finishing or finish and it’s really about when you’re setting up goals, how do you actually finish things? I think a lot of us start things but don’t finish things and it’s better to finish than to start. I want to be able to one, help myself to finish what I start. And then to be able to inspire or equip other people to do the same.

And do you remember the author of that book?

It’s called Finish and is written by Jon Acuff. So “Give Yourself the Gift of Done”.

Thank you very much for participating in the interview series. Any final thoughts that you want to share?

No, just be great. Life is short. I ask my students how many months on average do you think there are in a lifetime? If you live to 80-years-old, there’s only 960 months in an 80-year-old’s lifetime. And when you think about 960 months, it doesn’t seem like a lot. If you look at your current age, you’re like, “Well, how many months do I actually have left?” I think it’s really important to be conscious of time and to be able to use your time wisely. So whatever it is that’s on your heart to do, just go after it. And our job as humans I think is to do good work. So what’s the good work that you want to do? And invest your time wisely to be able to do that.

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