The life of a novice entrepreneur can be shrouded in uncertainty. Questions regarding the best path to success can abound and answers can sometimes be confusing or contradictory. However, much can be learned from the example set by seasoned business professionals and the roads they’ve traveled in their own lives. To help our readers gain the benefit of that experience, we’ve turned to the professional history of Jesse Willms, a veteran in the eCommerce space who’s made a name for himself through a consistent ability to capitalize on an opportunity. Read on for a look at his career and the lessons it can provide to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Build a foundation
We all come to our professional lives with varying amounts of natural aptitude, however, it is rare for a person to succeed based on talent alone. Instead, it’s typically those who are willing to buckle down and put in hard work that tends to rise to the top of their field. This can mean different things at different points in a person’s career but it’s perhaps never more important than when one is laying one professional foundation. The willingness to develop skills, knowledge and professional connections at an early stage in life can pay dividends down the line.
We see this vividly represented in the work of Jesse Willms, who began his professional aspirations in earnest at the age of 15. At that time, he was already convinced that a career as an entrepreneur was right for him and he was making significant progress towards achieving that goal. He spent his free time buried in books on business and enjoyed reading biographies and memoirs of some of the greats in the field such as Warren Buffett and Steve Jobs. He also spent plenty of time learning the ins and outs of the financial industry and the stock market, understanding that they played a significant role in the field of business.
Though these learnings were accrued at an early age, they would provide a bedrock of resources to which he could return whenever he needed to make a critical decision. A similar foundation of knowledge can likewise be hugely beneficial for an entrepreneur who’s just starting out and who may be in need of guidance through times of uncertainty.
Don’t go it alone
It’s common for popular culture to idealize the concept of the lone entrepreneur — an isolated genius cooking up business ideas while locked away in their garage. Though one can certainly find these types throughout history, it’s far more common for a business to emerge from the work of a group of dedicated individuals. That’s why many business experts consider the role of an entrepreneur to be more akin to that of an impassioned leader. While an entrepreneur may need to provide much of the initial energy and vision to get a concept off the ground, many of the most successful business minds also know when to enlist the help of others.
We see this reflected in Willms’ life when we look to his latest venture — a service providing vehicle history reports to consumers. Though the vision for the business came from the entrepreneur’s analysis of online credit report services, he goes out of his way to emphasize the importance of his team in bringing the idea to life.
“My goal is to help with the vision and help with the direction of the company,” said the entrepreneur when describing his role at his company. “I want to find the right people and share the vision with them. I want to find people with different skill sets who are really strong in their areas and then collectively work together to make the vision a reality.”
We noted above that a focus on early professional learning can be critical. This makes intuitive sense to most of us since many professions require a significant amount of education before a person can practice in that field. However, many people don’t fully comprehend the importance of continuing that education even after starting one’s career.
This is a common talking point by the entrepreneur when highlighting the nature of his own success. His work has spanned many different fields over the course of his career, including online commerce, health and wellness, service offerings, and more. In order to continuously expand his expertise to encompass new fields, he’s had to remain committed to learning new ideas. One of his favorite ways to do this is through consuming books, either through reading physical copies or listening to audiobooks. By exposing himself to in-depth looks at new concepts in this way, he’s been able to consistently generate novel business ideas and refine his ability to effectively lead his teams.
Keep an eye on the future
At its core, business is about growth. Bringing a new concept to life can be rewarding, however, soon after its creation, the mere existence of a business is not enough. Instead, it must grow in order to reach new customers and capitalize on its premise. Without this type of growth, a venture can easily flounder and join the ranks of the more than 50% of businesses that fail within their first five years. This requires keeping one’s attention on a myriad of factors in the present but also in the future.
We see this ability to stay focused on a business’s expansion in the work of the entrepreneur. Though much of his typical day revolves around making decisions in the here and now, he’s also emphasized that he makes those decisions while being ever mindful of the future. He knows that, ultimately, making salient business choices that emphasize both present operations, as well as continual growth, can be the tightrope that an entrepreneur must traverse in order to find long-term success.
While the path of the novice entrepreneur is often difficult, it doesn’t have to be beset by excessive uncertainty as to how to best pursue success. By looking to the work of veteran entrepreneurs, those new to the field of business can hope to follow in tried and true footsteps. The above example set by Jesse Willms helps to showcase how this can play out in practice. By internalizing his emphasis on foundational education, team building, continuous learning, and growth, business professionals can help to improve their chances of succeeding in their own endeavors.