The following Q&A session is taken from an interview done by students at FIDM who were tasked with interviewing an entrepreneur and learning how they started. It’s also serves as a glimpse into the mind of the man who started this whole crazy business we call Moniker.
How were you able to develop your business?
- I tell people it’s 25% faith, 50% hard work and 25% pure ignorance. On a personal level this breakdown couldn’t be more true. You have to have faith in yourself and others to take big risks, running your own thing will always require more work than you would have ever thoughts and then there is an element of just not knowing that you can’t do something which allows you to step into some great opportunities. Outside of myself though the business has grown and will always grow based on the people who are a part of it. It’s taken the shape of the gifts and talents of those who come together under the Moniker brand. Each person brings in their own addition of dreams, ideas, connections, talents, and even business opportunities. I guess you could actually sum up that last part into a larger relationship element to growing business. The only reason that all those people have become a part of Moniker is because there was either an established relationship with them directly or they were a friend of a friend, which is how we were connected.
Have you created other businesses prior?
- I started a non-profit once that didn’t really take off. We were able to do some good work over in Thailand and Burma but we just didn’t have enough momentum, experience or knowledge to really get it off the ground. You could call it a failure but I learned a lot and had some great experiences. I also help run another design company called 50 & 50 as well as a software company called Donate.ly. I didn’t start either one but came in really early in their lives and have helped to build them from almost the beginning.
What are the pros and cons of being your own boss?
- The pros are what most people see which is being able to create your own schedule and have much more flexibility than if you were working for someone else. It’s the glamorous side of owning your own company although certainly not the whole picture. Another pro is being able to turn dreams into reality, being able to create a business that is so much of who you are as a person. There is something incredibly rewarding to watch your vision come to life and then on top of that invite other people into it. The con is being responsible for the well-being of the company and the people that are a part of it. There are times when I lay in bed all night thinking about how to solve one of many issues, challenges or problems. When you are your own boss your work doesn’t stop when you leave the office or even when you shut down your computer. The work and the responsibilities stay with you and you have to learn to build mental barriers to protect your thoughts and have the ability to focus on the other parts of life
What is your future plan for the company?
- It’s really open-ended. I don’t have a specific 5 year plan because I’m not sure who I am going to meet a long the way that will come into the team and add a whole new dynamic. I guess the best I could say is to build the Moniker brand so that it not only creates a foundation for others to build their companies from but more so that it inspires others to step in to the calling that they have. If I can build Moniker hopefully it will show others that they can do to the same and the future will look like a lot of individuals working alongside each other living out some really awesome dreams.
What personal traits have helped you succeed?
- I am a bit of a dreamer, which is needed when you start something as abstract as what we have at Moniker. You need to be able to see what the company can be and then hold fast to it especially when the horizon isn’t so clear. My faith is a huge element of what got me here. My belief that I am living out a calling from God that is so much greater than anything I could imagine all the while having his support in anything I do. Outside of that being relational and working hard. People are the core of what we do and why we do it. If I wasn’t relational, this model wouldn’t work. The working hard thing might go without saying but it still needs to be said. Any type of leadership, especially with running a business, is an incredible amount of both physical and mental work. Can’t get real far without that last part.
How has your industry grown or shrunk with the current economy?
- We’re so new and small at this point that I don’t think I have seen any real effect on our company in regards to the economy. Our work is very specialized too so the demand is smaller and less affected by a large economic slow down. I suppose that there may have been a few projects that didn’t happen because of the current economy but I can’t point to any specifics.
What motivates you?
- My faith in God, love for people, ability to be a part of shaping the community around me, desire to be a part of something bigger than myself and the dreams that run through my mind when I lay my head on the pillow at night
What do you do outside of work?
- My work is so much a representative of who I am that it’s hard to separate from just life but I do have a few other roles at different companies as well as serve in leadership at my church. Other than that spend time with people (probably no surprise there). Between my girlfriend, family and all my amazing friends there is no shortage of things to do and be a part of. I also do enjoy traveling the world, watching the sun go down from my surfboard, and getting out on the golf course as much as possible.