Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Adams, Founder of Ackolyte, located in Redmond, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Ackolyte is an AWS Advanced Tier partner focused on cloud migration, application modernization, and data platform enablement. We’re strictly based in the United States, which is rare in the consulting world. Our clients are looking to migrate their infrastructure to AWS or modernize their existing footprint. These businesses can range from startups to large enterprises. Our job is to demystify the technology and be their guide to AWS.

Tell us about yourself

I am a lifelong builder who believes in the power and promise of technology. I’ve spent my career developing large distributed software systems, building high-performance teams, and pushing the limits of what people and technology can achieve together. I spent the previous decade building and scaling two AWS Premier Tier consulting businesses.

I have worked at some amazing companies in my career but always found a few aspects of the business that I knew could be better, but I did not have the power to change. I started Ackolyte to change that, and what gets me out of bed is the joy of building a business where I want to work and that will attract the most talented people in the AWS ecosystem. I strongly believe that having the best talent ultimately attracts the best clients.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I’m proud of building a fantastic and well-balanced leadership and delivery team. It’s my philosophy that when you hire the right people, work is a joy, and success comes swiftly. A key factor in this is learning to take joy in the accomplishments of those who work with you. Learn to get out of the way, let your people shine, and celebrate their achievements.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It takes tremendous organizational skills and attention to detail to lead a business. You are constantly inundated with decisions that have to be made, updates from department leads that need to be translated to executive summaries, and fires to be put out. Without a system in place to be responsive and timely, you can inadvertently be a roadblock to your organization. You also have to learn not to fix everything yourself. One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is learning to let people make mistakes so they can learn and grow.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find the right people to help you build your vision, and allow them to contribute to its final form. It’s important to find people with different set of skills but similar values. Their strengths and natural personalities should balance each other. You don’t want to assemble a team where each person is a carbon copy of the other. Strive for harmony, not homogeneity.
  2. Give yourself enough runway to succeed, and be conservative on your forecast. It frequently takes 18 months or longer to stabilize your business. Too often, leaders make drastic changes in direction or policy because revenue isn’t pouring in the door on day one when patience and consistency would have worked for them.
  3. Give yourself permission to fail and try again. You’re going to hear “no” over and over. You just have to drive forward and keep going. Success will find you when you’re persistent.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

When you’re starting a business, don’t do what you think is going to make money. Do what’s going to keep driving you every day. Set out to change the world, but be happy if you change the lives of the people you interact with. It’s as simple as that.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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