What 15 Years in Tech Taught Me About Being an Entrepreneur
James Green is an entrepreneur with 15 years of success in the online dating, pet, and real estate industries. In addition to being founder and CEO of Home By Home, a startup that helps home buyers and sellers find a real estate agent, he also has extensive experience in marketing and business management. Previously, James served on the Board of the Google Client Advisory Council while General Manager and Head of Marketing for Christian Mingle. He is currently enrolled at Ashford to obtain his BA in Real Estate Studies.
I was just a kid. As a senior at Brigham Young University studying Business Management, I had just started a job as a marketing intern at an SEO agency in Orem, Utah. Looking back, it feels like it was a lifetime ago, and I was a different person. Over the last 15 years, I’ve helped build dating site Christian Mingle into a household name with brand recognition behind only Match.com and eHarmony. Later, my team and I took a fragmented, dysfunctional dog business and rebranded it to PuppySpot.com. Just recently, I launched Home By Home, a business helping home buyers and sellers find qualified, experienced real estate agents. There is a lot I would do differently, but if I were talking to the marketing intern I was 15 years ago, I would share the six things that have been responsible for the successes I’ve had in my career and prepared me to start and run my own business.
1. Be Intentional
Whether in your personal or professional life, make sure you are living the life you intended. If you get to a point when you feel you are no longer doing what you imagined with your career/life, reassess your goals and build a plan that identifies the steps to get you back on the path you want. You will see people every day who don’t adhere to this philosophy. They end up unhappy and are often the complainers in your life.
2. Be a Problem-Solver
People who find problems in the world are a dime a dozen. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who are focused on solving problems. If, early in your career, you can learn to solve problems, especially those that will help your business succeed, you will receive more opportunities to grow and will ultimately be rewarded for your contributions.
3. Develop Grit
You’ve heard all of the catchy phrases: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Hard work requires you work hard. Quitters never win, and winners never quit. As clichéd as these phrases may sound, they are true. Most people don’t like doing things that are difficult, but the single greatest determinant of your success will be your willingness to keep going when things get hard.
4. Find Your Passion(s)
This one is much easier said than done, but if you can find a business or industry you are interested in, that you love so much that you spend your free time thinking about, you’ll wake up nearly every day excited to go to work. As an added bonus, if you can find colleagues who you honestly enjoy spending time with, you’ll never want to leave your job.
5. Leadership is About Vision and Trust
Some people think being a leader is about being the boss and calling the shots, but true leadership is about seeing the future you want to bring to life, helping others see a similar path, and trusting them to help make that future as good, or better, than the one you imagined. You don’t have to be the CEO or a manager to be a leader. Anyone can lead.
6. Never Stop Learning
Knowledge really is power. Whether it is reading a book, taking a course to learn how to be a transaction coordinator, attending a lecture, or enrolling at Ashford, you can always learn more. The more knowledge you accumulate, the better understanding you have of how the world works, how people work, and how we can build a brighter future for whatever we choose to care about.
So, while I wish I could tell the younger version of myself all of these things, I know he has an exciting 15 years ahead. He’ll have more than his fair share of experiences and opportunities to learn these lessons himself. When he finally starts Home By Home and goes back to college to get a BA in Real Estate Studies from Ashford, he’ll know that if he focuses on these six lessons, he’ll be successful as a student and an entrepreneur.
Written by James Green, current student and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the online dating, pet, and real estate industries. In addition to being Founder and CEO of a transaction coordinator business and a startup helping home buyers and sellersfind a real estate agent, he also has extensive experience in marketing and business management. Previously, James served on the Board of the Google Client Advisory Council while working as General Manager and Head of Marketing for Christian Mingle. He is currently enrolled at Ashford University to obtain his BA of Real Estate Studies.