Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eric Waisman, Founder of Jaunty, located in Santa Monica, CA, USA.

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

Jaunty is the gym for your social life and social skills. By practicing real social skills through role-playing and experimenting, you can become conversationally agile, master body language, learn to be funny and flirtatious, and gain the confidence to handle any social situation, whether you're an introvert looking to build social confidence or an extrovert who wants to take your social game to the next level. Jaunty is an online platform with a supportive community and expert coaches where you'll discover your hidden potential and have a blast doing it.

Our customers range from introverts to extroverts who want to better their social life. We help people who are shy and would like to express themselves better to CEOs who want to refine their negotiation skills. We started out in Silicon Valley, where we catered to many engineers but have since grown to help business people and people who want to be more charismatic in their personal life.

Tell us about yourself

You might not know this about me, but I actually have a background in business and communications. I always seemed to be the person people went to for advice - especially dating advice! Growing up, I was lucky enough to have dozens of cousins who taught me a lot about social dynamics and what works (and doesn't work) when it comes to making friends and finding romantic partners.

In 2008, when I was living in San Francisco, I noticed how smartphones were starting to have a negative effect on our social interactions. People were becoming more distant and less open to talking to new people. I saw that people around me were having a harder time making friends or finding romantic partners. It was at that point that my good friend and roommate joked that I should start charging for advice, "Like Lucy in Peanuts." And so, I decided to become a coach, and Jaunty was born.

As people started coming to our classes, we got amazing feedback. We were the company that actually went beyond recorded videos and forums. We actually practiced in live time. The magic happens when you put it to muscle memory by role paying. Then we forced ourselves and our students to get outside and practice on real people in the real world. It changes people's lives when they realize they are far more capable socially than they thought they were. Every week we get letters thanking us for helping them get a new job, or spouse, gain the confidence to start that company or ask for a promotion. That's what motivates me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is being able to scale and help over 10,000 people with a team of only three people. It's amazing. We have trained over 10,000 people in bettering their social skills and social life with such a small team. The reason this is my biggest accomplishment is because of the massive impact we have made with a limited number of resources.

When I see the positive change in people's lives that we have helped create, it makes all the hard work worth it. It's a great feeling knowing that we are making a real difference in the world. Additionally, this accomplishment is particularly impressive because we have been able to achieve it without any outside funding or assistance. We have done it all ourselves through sheer hard work and dedication. This accomplishment is a testament to what can be achieved when you believe in something and never give up. Our use of technology really helped us do this.

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

The hardest thing is the responsibility. You are responsible for everything. The emotions that can come out when a vital part of your workflow is not working are intense. It creates anxiety. Anyone who has ever started their own business knows it requires tremendous work and dedication. Every aspect of the business is typically handled by the owner, from the finances to the marketing to the day-to-day operations. This can often lead to long hours, little free time, and a great deal of stress.

Additionally, most business owners are passionate about their work and are constantly thinking about ways to improve their products or services. This obsession sometimes consumes my life, making it difficult to maintain a healthy balance. While there are many challenges that come with owning a business, these are some of the most difficult to overcome.

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

  1. Listen to others but trust yourself first - you know your business more than anyone.
  2. Try things in different ways - there may be a better way (test different software systems, freelance experts, or marketing techniques).
  3. Learn stoicism - It's a wild ride, and you need emotional stability. Yes, it's your livelihood, but think long-term and see the bigger picture. There is life outside work, stay calm, and you'll make better decisions.

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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