Interview with Blake B Johnson

I was recently interviewed by a major publication on my entrepreneurial experience and the importance of tenacity and perspective.

Here are a few sound bites pulled directly from the piece:

“I start every deal from scratch – from the scouting (i.e. what business to get into next) to the financing. We only do one thing at a time, so we have no distractions and only two options – to fail or succeed. I always preach 100 percent alignment and full transparency. When you have 100 percent of your people fully aligned – both for the upside and most importantly, the downside. Everyone knows exactly what’s going on 100% of the time, really special things can happen. Everyone has “sweat equity” in our deals and that has been the key ingredient to accomplishing the end result of selling the company because everyone makes life-changing sums of money only when we sell. Luckily, we now have the track history to point to so the team puts a lot of faith in the end result.” 

“[Here are the three skills every entrepreneur needs in order to become a success]:

1)   You need a decent IQ and an extremely good EQ (emotional quotient AKA emotional intelligence). The EQ is definitely the most important because you need to be able to understand, read and deal with people all day, every day.

2)   You can’t be afraid to lead – you have to have clear self-direction and know the difference between right and wrong (both morally and business-wise).

3)   You have to have ethics and empathy – if you’re not building value for people all the time, you’re going to fail.”

“[If asked to give advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, I would say] don’t freaking give up! There is an old adage: ‘if it were easy, everyone would do it.’ Entrepreneurial success doesn’t look like it does in the movies. There’s chaos, most of the time it’s not fun, and it can be very frustrating. Success doesn’t look or feel like anything you think it will. Luckily, I had good advice from my dad. He told me: ‘Whatever you plan on, just know that it will be twice as hard, twice as expensive and take twice as long as you think it will.’ You must have persistence and be nimble. There is no guaranteed thing. The right path may not even be the one you’re on today – but you need to be able to see the right path when it pops up in front of you and then figure out the way to move onto it.”

Building a career as a serial entrepreneur has not been easy – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.