Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jim Knight, Founder of Knight Speaker, located in Winter Garden, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a professional keynote speaker, best-selling author of 2 books (Culture That Rocks, Leadership That Rocks), podcaster (Thoughts That Rock), and book marketer (Booky Call app).
I get hired by all levels of business leaders & attendees for various conferences in every industry. Most of my focus and content is around:
- Organizational Culture
- Customer Service
- Rock Star Leadership
- Building Rock Star Teams
Tell us about yourself
My first job was at Gatorland Zoo (a working alligator farm in Central Florida). I went to college to get a Music Performance & Education degree and received my AA. I focused my career as a Public Middle School Teacher for six years before landing a summer job as a restaurant host at Hard Rock International, eventually becoming Sr. Director of Learning & Development and staying with the brand for 21 years.
I still pull all of those levers--music, education, hospitality--in my content and delivery style when I speak for organizations. Bringing the thunder in an edu-taining way is the fuel that drives me every day...especially as it resonates with audiences.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am thrilled to be self-employed, able to work my own hours and only on the things that I truly care about. But I am most proud that I get to be in a position to impact and influence others on a big scale. That rocks my world.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing for me as a business owner is the lack of infrastructure. Not having an IT Department or access to Marketing were real learning curves. I either had to outsource those functions or become self-reliant and more proficient real quick.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take Risks - be willing to go bold and make some mistakes along the way. There is no harm in trying something out and then quickly switching gears so that you do not waste time, money, or productivity.
- Create a Strategy - this doesn't have to be fancy or in-depth--although the more detailed, the clearer the outcome--having a plan to follow, aspire to, and gauge success will help keep you grounded.
- Get Mentors - surround yourself with an inner circle that can help you grow and reach business Nirvana. This could be inside your company, outside the business, or a former colleague or significant other, but having people to guide you and bounce ideas off of who are smarter or more experienced than you will exponentially multiply your growth. 70% of Fortune 500 companies have formal mentorship programs in place, and 75% of those CEOs swear that they only attained their level because of the assistance of mentors.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My goal in life is to make as much money as possible so that I can give away as much money as possible...all while doing the things I love and utilizing my strengths. I love supporting various charities that resonate with me or make sense for my business and background. Writing checks to No Kid Hungry and the Cannonball Kid's cancer Foundation are my favorite checks to write.
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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