Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in financial services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Vermillion, Owner of Vermillion Private Wealth, located in Lexington, KY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I own several small businesses, including Wixology Candle Company, but my "day job" is a wealth management and financial planning firm, Vermillion Private Wealth. I primarily serve millennials who are looking to build their wealth and ultimately use it in ways that are aligned with their personal values and financial purpose. Finance is a noisy place. I help my clients find the signal in the noise and invest to meet their long-term goals.

Tell us about yourself

Growing up, entrepreneurship was mysterious to me, which made it interesting. Who are these people coming up with these ideas and leaving the standard 9-5 job behind to pave their own way? I remained fascinated by the idea of building something even when I was serving as an Air Force Officer, even starting a real estate investment business while serving. The challenge of creating, building, growing, and competing is exciting. The freedom to try, fail, learn, and try again makes every day interesting, which is why I know I'll be a creator and entrepreneur until the day I die.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Starting. Everyone has ideas, but not everyone is willing to take risks associated with starting a business. It's not only financial risks either - but there are also reputational risks, "What will people think about this idea?", ego risks, "What if I fail?", relationship risks, such as "What if my business partner and I end up hating each other?", opportunity costs, and others.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Uncertainty. A lot of people convince themselves that they can eliminate uncertainty by following a set career path. Of course, this is only an illusion, but it's one we've been primed to believe in for a long time. Being a business owner requires confronting uncertainty – there's nowhere to hide.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Strike a balance between planning and shooting from the hip. A lot of businesses never get off the ground because the prospective entrepreneur could never finish the 5-year plan or 10-year projections. Analysis paralysis can keep even the best ideas from being executed. But don't fire without some basic readying and aiming; otherwise, you might miss so badly that it's hard to recover.
  2. Stick with your principles. Undoubtedly there will be opportunities to move your business forward but in violation of your own principles and ethics. Sacrificing your values may propel you forward in the short term, but life is much more than money and business success – that's a trade-off you'll want back at some point.
  3. Use data – but don't forget about intuition. Business owners have become obsessed with using data to optimize their businesses, which can be very valuable, but also a distraction. When you have a strong gut feeling, even if it runs counter to the metrics your using, consider following your gut. Doing so may help you buck trends or create new ones.

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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