Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ben Jones, Co-founder and CEO of Data Literacy, located in Bellevue, WA, USA.

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

I run Data Literacy LLC, and we help people speak the language of data. Our customers are companies, nonprofits, government agencies, and individuals looking to increase their knowledge and skill when it comes to working with data. We embrace all learners, even those who are "dataphobic," because we believe when it comes to data, everyone should be able to participate in the dialogue.

Tell us about yourself

I'm Ben Jones, and I love working with data and teaching others to do the same. I'm an author and a university school instructor (UW Foster), and I have a couple of decades of experience working in continuous improvement and business intelligence. The key theme has been training and mentoring others, and I'm happy to now be running my own small business doing what I feel I do best.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We're still very young as a small business, having launched in 2018, so we have a lot left to do. But I'd say that my biggest accomplishment as a business owner so far is getting the business off the ground in stormy weather, persevering through a pandemic, my wife's cancer diagnosis & treatment (which was a huge success!), and the loss of a close family member. The accomplishment isn't only that the business remained profitable through all of that, but that my personal relationships grew stronger.

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

One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is the emotional rollercoaster associated with owning your own revenue streams. In the early days, it's not uncommon to go from feeling like we're going to be a smashing success to feeling like we'll need to polish up our résumés, all in the same week.

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

  1. Surround yourself with people who believe in you but who will also give you tough feedback: I call these people "Cheerleader Critics." You need them.
  2. Work hard on creating real value for others and "trust your hustle."
  3. Don't lose sight of other things that matter, and achieve balance in your life. Personal failure is too high of a price tag to pay for professional success.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I chronicled the journey to the first $1M in revenue in my book, The Introspective Entrepreneur. It took us three years to get to that point as a self-funded small business, and I learned a great deal over that time. In that personal journal, I shared my ups and downs, my sources of inspiration, and my advice to others who want to walk a similar road. Enjoy!

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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