Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with E. Jermaine Hill, Owner of EJH Consulting LLC, located in Washington, DC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
In January 2011, EJH Consulting LLC was born. Since then, it has grown into a successful small business with hundreds of clients across the web and graphic design services. The industries we serve include Non-profit, Education, Telecommunications, Entertainment, Real Estate, and more!
Tell us about yourself
I am not sure when my passion for being an entrepreneur started, but for as long as I can remember, I have been an independent-minded person. Telling me that I couldn't do something made me want to do it even more. So in middle school, I was introduced to an organization called Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). The name spoke for itself, and so I was drawn to it. Learned the basics of business, went to FBLA conferences, and even became the school's FBLA President. I went on to attend the University of Richmond after high school. While there, one of my business class projects was to build a website from scratch. Actually liked it and taught myself HTML and ASP. After graduating, I continued to build sites as a hobby and got noticed and asked to do them for other people. And so in 2011, I founded EJH Consulting LLC. Since then, it has grown into a successful small business with hundreds of clients across the web and graphic design services.
You must start with what you love to do and are passionate about. Then figure out how to make money doing it. You must do what the 1% do in order to achieve the 1% results. Late nights, early mornings, staying in when friends are out, learning, and perfecting your craft will get you where you are going. The money will come; just put in the work, and others will notice.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
So I own three companies, EJH Consulting LLC, EJH Apparel LLC, and EJH Music LLC. Most of my time is spent with EJH Consulting because it was founded first and is my cash cow so to speak. EJH Consulting is where my web and graphic design services are done. I have a great reputation for building creative websites that are user-friendly and also for designing high-quality flyers, logos, banners, book covers, etc. I work for Grammy Winners like Karen Clark Sheard and Le'Andria Johnson and Grammy Nominated artists like The Walls Group. I also have professional athlete clients like NFL Wide Receiver Marcus Green. EJH Apparel is the home to modern home decor, accessories, and apparel featuring custom quotes and phrases. We are a print-on-demand vendor, and so we house no inventory. My products are shipped directly to the customer. I don't have to pay designers because I am the designer, so I save a lot of money in that way. Sales are pretty good but planning to grow online sales and eventually open physical locations. EJH Music is the youngest of my companies. We currently manage independent artists who are serious about their music careers and want to go to the next level. As a member of SAGMA (Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy) and also working with Grammy artists, we offer artists a pathway to building strong connections in the industry and hopefully reaching Billboard status.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
All startups start with little to no money. My story was the same. I used bootleg versions of design software, so I wouldn't have to pay for the license. I also charged way less than I should have so that I could build my portfolio, sometimes even offering free work. I made almost no profit in my first year. Also, we don't have a lot of entrepreneurs in my family, so I didn't really have mentors to show me the ins and outs of running a small business. I operated without being an LLC for a while. I didn't understand how to file business taxes or understand what was tax deductible or not. I pretty much taught myself all of it. Also, black business owners are stereotyped. So I had to put in the work to show my clients that not all black business owners are late on projects, unprofessional, and disorganized. Eventually, my work caught up with my competitors, and I showed that I could compete with other similar small businesses. The crazy thing is that I actually was getting so good it was hard to keep up with all of the projects. I started being late delivering graphics and websites to clients. So I realized I needed to restructure and manage my time better with the growth.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start with what you LOVE to do. When you love what you do, it's not work.
- Do what the 99% won't do. Be that 1%.
- Build a strong team; you cannot do it alone.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.