Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jake Clements, Founder of Texas Whiskey Festival, located in Cedar Park, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The Texas Whiskey Festival is an event and lifestyle company. Our flagship event is for people who love whiskey and those that make it. We have expanded beyond the event to our own whiskey blends, collaborations, and merch. Our people like to taste and talk about whiskey.
Tell us about yourself
This journey started while networking at an SXSW event. A casual conversation about Texas whiskeys shifted me to a path I didn't know existed. I became intrigued with the idea of holding an event that is only Texas-based whiskey. A little over a year to the day of the conversation, we had a sold-out crowd at the first Texas Whiskey Festival.
Motivation, in the beginning, was to make the event happen. That is still part of it, but there is so much more now. The company is more than the event with our blends and collaborations. I am part of an incredible community of distillers and blenders. My family is beyond supportive, which makes me want to get up every day to make something happen.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
For me, it is the sum of everything up to this point. First, starting the business was a big deal. Then we sold out our first event, which was mind-blowing. We created the first blend of Texas whiskeys in history, which is pretty freaking awesome. Covid didn't stop us; we adapted the event to fit. The company is still growing. Everything that has happened created a community and friendships. I am earning respect in an industry I respect.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Two things come to mind. One leaving a cushy 9 to 5 for 24/7 can be scary. You have to be self-driven. The other is the day-to-day operations. From accounting to social media, you are the one doing it until you can hire someone. I'm not an accounting expert so learning the rules and processes was exhausting.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
It can't be about the money. You need to love what you do because that is what you do 24/7, and money takes time. You need to have the right mindset. Think about what you can do for your industry or customers or prospects, not what they can do for you. Always try to give more than you take. This mentality will help you build strong connections and elevate your company. Then you have to say screw it, let's do it. Don't let perfection stop you from moving forward. Mistakes happen; it is how we grow.
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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