Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jaimz Hodge, CEO and Founder of Stratus Forge, located in Missoula, MT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We’re a Montana-based agency that helps service-based businesses turn their website into assets by helping them to generate more clients and revenue. We love working with business owners and teams that are passionate about what they do and are ready to make their website do more than just sit in the preverbal sock drawer.
Tell us about yourself
I started building websites back in high school when Amazon was becoming a household name. When I launched my first website for my mom, we thought it was going to explode… it didn’t. At the time, I hadn’t been entirely motivated to figure out why. Fast forward several years, I continued to tinker with building websites for myself and a few friends for fun. I had ideas for this and ideas for that. It wasn’t until I met my wife, however, who was an entrepreneur at heart, that I started seeing my blind spots and how to turn my hobby into a business. She was my first mentor and my biggest cheerleader.
However, now that I am making money in this career, what really gets me out of bed in the morning has become a couple of things. The opportunity to work from home and the people I get to work with. Both my team and my clients have been not only a blast to work with but a true blessing.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’m really passionate about seeing other entrepreneurs succeed, so for me, my biggest accomplishment has been the honor of giving advice to one or two fellow entrepreneurs and watching them grow!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Probably self-discipline. With a job, you show up at a certain time and clock out at a certain time. With a business of your own, it’s very easy to just keep working and working. As a business owner, it’s important to start putting time limits down to help motivate yourself to get things done and also to give yourself time to live life.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Start small. You don’t need to make a million-dollar business overnight. Take your idea of a product and service and try to sell it just once. Find that one friend that might need your service or product and call them up. If I was to start with websites again, I would offer to do it for $100 or for free. This will give you a chance to see if you even like it and get your first client. I can then show that website to gain my next client for $300. Keep working your way up.
After that, I would advise an entrepreneur to find a mentor(s) immediately. You will skip so many headaches, even if all you do is meet up for a 30-minute coffee once a month. You don’t need to be a millionaire before you do this, there are lots of people out there willing to pay it forward. If you can’t find a mentor, join a mentorship course or program.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. Read lots of books. Surround yourself with an amazing team and friends.
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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