Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jerrod Murr, Co-Founder of Paradigm Shift, located in Muskogee, OK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our business is people development. We offer leadership training and resources for groups of all shapes, sizes, and people in every leadership position imaginable. We work with students, schools, and nonprofit organizations. We also work with Frontline leaders, mid-level managers, and c-suite executives. We offer leadership workshops, keynotes, ongoing cohort trainings, books, and curriculum.
Tell us about yourself
Our business really started organically. I never intended or declared that I would start a business. I was a high school teacher and Youth Pastor and loved leadership. I was a total nerd about it, read tons of leadership books, and was always involved in leadership development at every level throughout high school and college. So I developed a reputation locally as a leadership guy. I would be called upon frequently to speak at banquets or events and do my “leadership stuff“ for groups. That “leadership stuff” is actually experiential-based learning. In 2010, a good friend of mine from college was working in TRIO programs. These programs are designed to help low-income first-generation students achieve success in post-secondary institutions. He asked me if I would work with him at a few conferences and events for these programs. People enjoyed it and started utilizing our practices, and our business began.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Keeping my priorities in line. My faith is incredibly important to me, and I work diligently to maintain my identity in Christ through all the ups and downs of owning a business. Second, to that is my family. I am a husband and a father for being a business owner. This takes more than just balance. Work-life balance is an oversimplification. As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in all the demands of owning that business. Especially early on, you wore a lot of hats. Truth be told, you wear every single hat. It’s very easy to justify working late, being at meetings, or focusing on the needs of your business. I’m thankful that I have been able to keep all this in line with my values.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Cash flow. There are other hard things. But cash flows are a tension that is very difficult to ease. Cash flow is the equivalent of winning on the football field. When a team is winning, many other problems seem to disappear or dwarf incise. When the team loses, all the problems are focused upon and exaggerated. Cash flows the same way. You have positive cash flow and cash in the bank; the other problems are easier to deal with. When you’re in the negative with no cash in store, every problem seems to be bigger.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don’t quit your day job.
Keep your day job as long as possible. Start your business on the side. Work on the nights and weekends. See if it has merit. See if it will actually work. This also helps you see your commitment. Are you willing to give up your free time, your hobby, your golf time? If you can’t make your business work while you have a day job, it probably will not work.
- Take action.
Don’t worry so much about success and failure immediately as much as action. Success is forward motion. Are you further today than you were yesterday?
- Meet people.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; you have to make connections. You have to build your network.
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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