Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Greene, Founder of SwoleConnect, Inc., located in Conroe, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
SwoleConnect is the first personal development company to combine strength and conditioning with emotional wellness coaching. Although we tend to serve the athletes in our community who aspire to reach the next level of success, our principles of potent masculinity and metabolic reconditioning are valuable to anyone interested in developing themselves into leaders within their community. We have worked with physically disabled clients, youth, professionals, para-professionals, executives, and athletes.
Tell us about yourself
My journey began in 2012 when I enlisted in the United States Navy. I served two tours of duty for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) as an Anti-terrorism Specialist. I continued my career as a civilian contractor, working as a Weapons Based Instructor both in a schoolhouse and for operational private security forces.
I resigned as an Anti-terrorism Officer with the Department of Defense in 2018. I began the long journey back to civilization. I was one of many who struggled to acclimate to civilian life. The self-sacrifice required to live a life dedicated to protecting one’s community from violent offenders is often lost on the masses.
For example, I frequently hear the saying, “it’s better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” Still, I wonder how many stopped to consider the warrior’s perspective. You see, the life of the gardener is one founded in love. This life requires nurture, patience, and tender care. For the gardener, their purpose in the community is clear and accepted by all as moral and necessary.
But the warrior dedicates their life to mastering chaos, pushing boundaries, and disciplining the heart and mind in anticipation of intense fear – and, ultimately, victory at all costs. Being disconnected from civility, and thus in many ways disconnected from compassion and love, is a sacrifice of all generations of peacekeepers.
Their relevance in the community is a topic of constant debate. Worst yet, their purpose is constantly subjected to ridicule and damnation by the civil world. I eventually began my work with the VA. After many months of seclusion and introspection, I found my purpose in the community by educating others about health and wellness.
I brought to the table a new perspective – one dedicated to proving to the world the key to ultimate success has always been unconditional self-love. Within the gym's walls, I found a community dedicated to self-mastery, constantly looking for new challenges and thirsting for experience and support. My work with my clients provided me with a chance to be vulnerable to the world for the first time in many years.
I hope to not only create an atmosphere where Warriors can go to sharpen their blades and heal their wounds - both physical and emotional - but to introduce the world to potent masculinity and nuclear motivation
both begin and end with self-love.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Although I am profoundly proud of the fact we were not just created during the global pandemic but found profitability in a time of economic and societal unrest, I believe the most significant accomplishment to date is the positive effect we have had on our community.
Nothing means more to me than hearing feedback from clients stating they are physically healthier and more robust than they have ever been and that they have a new understanding of what they are capable of. Our work encourages clients to evaluate their dreams and create actionable steps for success - to find peace within themselves and the self-confidence that comes with it.
I am also tremendously proud of how the company worked to acquire total Warrior Combat MMA - a premier professional mixed martial arts promotion in the Midwest region of the United States. It was a long journey of countless weeks working seemingly endless hours. Still, because of the team's diligence and integrity, I believe we are poised to change the industry for the better.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most challenging part of being a start-up CEO or a small business owner is that you must maintain the perspective of the Leader, investor, and board member, while simultaneously being obsessed with the care of your front line.
To elaborate, the Board Member is responsible for leveraging their network for the company's good. In this role, you need to be hyperfocused on the company's strategic vision. Often we are so bogged down working IN the business we rarely find the time or energy to work ON the business.
The Leader needs to be focused on communicating the strategic vision the Board Member lays out. Learning to communicate in such a way as to not only facilitate comprehension but to speak to the intrinsic motivation of the support team. It's not just about checking the box but creating a culture where the team WANTS the damn box checked.
The investor needs to make sure the company's operations are financially sound. This means learning the language of finance, understanding the legality of your decisions, and generating a profit so your team can be compensated for your work. Not often, but all three of these duties align well - it is the eternal struggle of the business owner to balance all three mindsets and create an approach toward success that speaks to the needs of all three.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- First tip - invest in yourself. You must remain didactic, constantly absorbing and filtering information and stimuli to create and re-create your path forward. Take the time to create pockets of peace within the world's chaos, dedicating time to reflection, motivation, and personal growth. It's impossible to show up for your brand or company if you haven't learned how to show up for yourself first.
- Second tip - invest in your team. Just as it is necessary to take the time for your personal growth and create work/life balance, so must you create opportunities for your team to obtain wisdom. Don't get too caught up in the team's goals, but rather be vigilant to ensure your team is achieving goals healthily and sustainably.
- Lastly - ask for help. This can be achieved in many ways, depending on your social environment. I would recommend creating a team of advisors, whether they are official board members or industry experts willing to donate their time with a brief video/telephone call. Ask this advisory team to set regular meetings and use the opportunity to ask any questions. Vision, goals, strategy, tactics, self-care, leadership, recovery, nutrition... seek wisdom above all else and learn through the experiences of those who have come before you.
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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