Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business consulting and services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Lewis, Co-Founder of Synergy Workforce Solutions, LLC, located in Portland, ME, USA.

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

Synergy Workforce Solutions is a workforce development consulting firm focused on recruitment and retention strategies. We employ a relationship-based approach to building long-term talent pipelines. SWS also helps businesses build their Employer Brand through various marketing strategies. Additionally, we offer leadership and team-building experiences to enhance retention efforts. While most of our clients are in the skilled trades, due to our focus on overcoming the "college for all" message, our model can benefit multiple industries.

Tell us about yourself

I have spent over a decade working with youth, education, and the skilled trades industries. For most of my career, I have been a recruiter for a technical college in the transportation industry. This work allowed me to become an advocate for not only the students who are often overlooked because they are not perceived to be "college material" but also for the skilled trades. From there, I went on to lead a team to establish the first-ever workforce development initiative for one of the largest youth development organizations in the country. Because of this experience, I've realized that the industry must take the lead in shifting the culture when it comes to "life after high school" and career pathways. The education industry has been at the forefront of this conversation with little to no input from the business world. The silos must come down for the betterment of our youth and our society. With the help of SWS, employers can shape the way we do education going forward.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as co-founder of Synergy Workforce Solutions is being recognized for our work by folks within state government. Because of our knowledge and expertise, I was asked to run for office, as workforce development is one of the largest challenges facing Maine right now. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in my bid for the state senate, but now more people are aware of what we do because of it.

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

Work/Life Balance. Owning a business isn't like shift work, where you can shut it down after you clock out. There is no clocking out. Every interaction is a networking opportunity. Every conversation could lead to a new client. Admittedly, I need to work on prioritizing family time.

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

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses - When I first had the idea of starting this business, I knew I wouldn't be successful on my own. When my good friend, mentor, and now business partner approached me about joining forces, it was a no-brainer. All of my weaknesses were his strengths.
  2. This ties into #1, but know your personality, so you will know what role you will play in your business. Job satisfaction is vital; if you are not happy doing your job, you will not have long-term success. Your personality is an integral factor in knowing whether you will have the motivation to do your job every day.
  3. Find your passion and match it to a societal need. If people want what you're passionate about, it's a winning combination.

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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