Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Hadley, Founder of Simthing New, LLC., located in Kaysville, UT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Simthing New designs, immersive leadership development programs, and training experiences to Fortune 500 companies. We focus on helping good people become better leaders.
Tell us about yourself
I have spent over 20 years in training and development, building learning experiences for the pharmaceutical, government/military, manufacturing, and technical industries. My real passion has always been designing simulations and challenging experiential learning courses. I have a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism, Masters' degree in Instructional Technology and Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Education. Much of my career was as an instructional designer at The Boeing Company, supporting both corporate and military training. In my final years, I was a senior leader responsible for leadership development for over 13,000 front-line leaders and senior managers.
During my time there, I met some of the most intelligent and creative people I've ever come across. So many of them were highly proficient in their technical domain but also just really good people who were trying to do their best. As many of them moved into leadership and management roles, it was disheartening to see several flounder and struggle because they lacked basic leadership capabilities. People go into management for a variety of reasons, from exploring new career paths to a desire to make impactful decisions, increase earning potential, and/or wanting to help teams be more successful.
I realized that many of these technical leaders wanted to improve their effectiveness but often lacked the people and delegating skills to be highly successful. After taking a voluntary layoff, I decided to start my own business focused on "helping good people become better leaders." To do this, I drew on my background in simulation design to manufacture learning experiences that provoke leaders to become better people and provide them with the tools, guidance, and practice environment to improve their leadership capabilities.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I designed a simulation-based leadership development course for 2,000 senior manufacturing leaders that tightly integrated technical, business, and people leadership capabilities.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The biggest challenge I've faced as a new business owner is trying to build capital for new projects while also trying to pay the mortgage and keep a family fed.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top three tips I'd give new business owners today are:
- Make sure your family/friends are on board with your vision. They can provide help and support as well as understanding when times might be tough.
- Give yourself time to dream. Having a plan is important, but as a business owner, you are creating something that has never existed. If you don't stretch your imagination, you will never be able to inspire others to buy your product/service.
- Figure out how a little money can go a long way. You can't be good at everything, and you don't have time to learn it all. Take advantage of inexpensive online services, such as Fiverr or UpWork, to find people who can do the things you struggle with so you can focus on what you're really good at. As Seth Godin says, "You are the most expensive person you can hire."
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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