At the age of 6 years old (first grade) you could say I started out as an entrepreneur while going to Bailey School in Chesterton Indiana. That wasn't a word then, definitely not in my thought process, and in first grade it definitely wasn't something I was aspiring to be. I wanted money plain and simple like any young kid. Like all kids I saw an opportunity to increase my allowance by a few pennies. I saw the school book store selling pencils for $0.10 each. That seemed fair for a price and to a first grader that shouldn't mean a thing as our parents were buying everything for us. I saw an opportunity though to make some extra pennies and increase my financial situation. I knew I could get pencils for $0.03 each so I took all of my allowance money and rather than buying candy I bought pencils at local Ben Franklin dime store. I bought so much that the store was completely sold out. I soon would become one of their best customers (in my mind) over the following years (we'll cover that later). My fellow students had money from their parents to buy pencils and other school supply items from the school book store. I told my friends that if they bought from me they would have enough money left they could get candy as well. It was truly a great sales pitch. Score for me (and them)! I had just become a business man (kid) without knowing it. The school put me in detention for underselling them and telling me I couldn't do that (wrong thing to tell me!!!!). That didn't discourage me and in fact got my young brain working overtime. I continued the practice through the coming years and it served me very well. Let's take a look at my journey to becoming a leading game changing sales and marketing company in Valparaiso Indiana.
Throughout elementary school I was selling candy and school supplies. More under the table as every time I got caught I was stuck in detention. I seemed to live in the vice-principles office, who I shared a birthday with. I had more whooping's than I could count. The days I didn't get one I wondered what I did wrong to not get one. With being told no so much you would think this would stop me but it enraged my passion to stop these "wrong doers" in my mind. I saw both my parents working their butt off and we led a comfortable life. Not rich, not poor, but comfortable. We went on vacations annually, had pizza at Duneland Pizza in Chesterton every Friday night for over 13 years, I was able to play soccer, and hang out with my friends until the street lights came on.
My entire life I was engrained to do what is right and not settle for anything less than what is right. I call it the Leave it to Beaver lifestyle. When you see people doing wrong you look and see how you can do it better and do good in your community. You don't get angry, you don't get upset, but take a higher road and give people what they truly deserve and you set a new level of quality excellence.
Over the years I worked at small, medium, and very large businesses. I learned a lot but never was truly "happy". Many say they are not happy doing their job and that is just the way things are. I beg to differ from that thought process. It could just be who I am as a person but I believe you should have fun at work, be able to be yourself, and of course take care of your clients beyond their expectations. When you can do that you will be happy at your job.
All of the companies I worked at were extremely good companies and I learned valuable lessons from them. Some lessons were good, while others not so good. All turned me into the person I am today. If I would have started out straight out of school I know I would've failed as I needed those real-world examples to get teach me and make me the person I am today. In fact, my last business I worked at was a big business. I consider them one of the best companies I ever worked for. They have strong beliefs and their morale character is truly outstanding. I had two heart attacks with them, gave them my heart and soul, but I wasn't happy with what I was doing. Everyone I worked with was awesome, I consider them friends, and each one added to my being as a person.
When forming JM2 Webdesigners & Marketing we took my rebellious attitude of doing good for everyone and my determination to do so without over charging, providing great value, and with a desire to see small businesses grow. Our prices are not only fair but make everyone questions how it is we do what we do. The hardest part of our entire sales process isn't our quality of work but our prices. People have bene so overcharged for so many years they think how can someone provide so much more while charging less. We are a third, or more, less than any of our competitors and when we do increase our prices we know we will still be less expensive with more value.
Our competitors are not any of the local "competition". We consider those we talk to locally as our friends rather than competitors. We often will send projects to them when someone comes to us looking for a specialty that they offer. We see our competitors as ourselves first as we strive to outdo ourselves on a daily basis. Beyond that we see national web design and marketing firms as our true competitors. Many of these are publicly traded companies and we see them overcharging small businesses which is what fuels our fire.
That is how all of this started and how I got to where I am today. Every day is an uphill battle with myself to outdo the previous day. This fuel to provide more value and to see small business grow is truly where my heart is.