Reflections On A Year in Business

By Jeff Jacobson

I’m not sure whether working hard or working smart is better, but it’s good to do both. Some weeks I work fewer hours than others, and sometimes I feel like I’m more productive during those shorter weeks. Yet on the whole, it is always advised to stay in work mode as long as you can; find somebody else to call, find somebody else to e-mail. Entrepreneurs can always be doing more, all the time. If you can truly learn how to “work smart,” then work smart for longer I say.

A metric of success I had never previously considered: freedom. Being able to control my own schedule has been the company’s best gift to me. Whether it’s being able to take care of an errand that previously would have to be done on a Saturday, or spending time with a client over a meal that is more than a quick office drive-by or coffee, I can basically do what I want, when I want. And the notion of being accountable to myself and only myself is more empowering than I anticipated.

Try to not “talk shop” when outside the office. During the workweek, the business is all-consuming as I’m continually seeking ways to grow and improve. Yet when it’s time to be social with friends or family, I find it best to talk about other things. 24-7 can be suffocating and it’s good to realize sometimes that you’re capable of discussing other things besides business.

More success when not overthinking. When running a small business, you are both player and coach. My most productive days occur when I’m not overanalyzing, or overplanning but just doing the work on the “field” i.e. selling that is necessary to grow the business.

Exercise is the best stress relief. Some days are better than others; entrepreneurship is filled with a continual string of wins and losses. At the end of the day, taking the good with the bad, the intense with the relaxed, and putting it all into physical fitness allows me to turn the page and clear my head.

Don’t get too high when you win, don’t get too low when you lose. There will be many more where that came from, on both accounts. No one likes an arrogant asshole nor a Debbie Downer.

Friends and family make it more fun. Even getting to the point where the business was off the ground was not easy, let alone starting to operate it and build it. Any success that I have in the future is shared with those who have and continue to enrich my life.

Gratitude. Every person you see listed on the JJA website is, to a degree, taking a chance on me. They are entrusting their name, likeness, and often many dates in their calendar in my hands. Without their continued trust, the business would not exist. And to every client who has elected to use me to fill their speaker and entertainment needs, thank you. You are helping make my dreams come true.

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