“Who are you and why should I care?”
At least that’s the question I ask every time I check out someone’s website.
So, who am I?
I am an entrepreneur. And not one of these popping-bottles-for-Instagram type of entrepreneur.
Like a run-an-actual-business type:
- I am Anthony, the CEO and Founder of Jakt –a digital product and innovation studio in NYC. We are now at about $4M in yearly revenue.
- I have also launched Polpo Group, a holding company where I co-found, buy, and invest in cash-flow generating businesses.
- And I am the moderator of a private community for service-based business owners looking to reach (and surpass) the one-million dollar mark.
I could go on and on about how successful, handsome, and brilliant I am. But I’d rather tell you how this all started:
It started with… women’s purses.
I know, it’s weird. Let me explain:
- When I was fifteen years old, my parents told me to to get a minimum-wage job at a yogurt shop.
But I refused. Instead, I built a billion-dollar empire e-commerce business.
Alright, maybe I am exaggerating.
But looking to escape from the “system” while having the freedom to follow my passion, I would run to the store a few times a week, buy designer bags, and sell them for a higher price on eBay.
I made some money, I learned dozens of business lessons, and I had a lot of fun.
I just loved it.
- Later on, in college, I run an events business while teaching myself how to code.
I first started as an NYC club promoter. I figured that, since I was going to go out anyway, might as well make money off it, right?
But I eventually got bored. With a partner, we ran “Intern Bar” — a network for NYC interns to meet and go out at night.
I learned that, instead of grinding away trying to hunt down hundreds of people, I could target specific, high-value individuals and let them convince their network.
If, when I was fifteen, I was dropshipping before it was cool, in college I was using influencer marketing before it was trendy.
At the same time, I used every spare minute I could snatch from school and work to teach myself how to code. It gave me the freedom to break away from technological limitations and the capacity to innovate. I switched nightlife for coding, and it became a game-changer:
I started looking for a software idea that I could turn into a company but, in the meantime, I consulted for other businesses. I helped them find solutions to their problems with product and software development -which eventually turned into Jakt, my current company.
- I founded Jakt off the realization that I loved helping other businesses succeed.
I didn’t have to limit myself to one product. Or one industry. Or one business model.
Instead, Jakt gave me the opportunity to make a much more global impact on my clients and, through them, on millions of people around the world.
That was in 2012. My business partner and I created a legal entity with $500 each (we didn’t have much more at the time), and Jakt became alive.
For the first couple of years, it was just him and I. We learned on the job, found clients, and did all the work ourselves –from business strategy and product development to user experience and software development.
It was gritty and tough, but extremely fun.
Then, in 2014, after our team grew from 2 to 10 people, my partner left. We just didn’t see eye to eye on Jakt’s direction.
I thought about shutting it down. But I fought through, and Jakt did too.
The truth is that running a business is like riding a rollercoaster…
And a scary one at that. But you can either close your eyes and throw up, or put your hands up and enjoy the ride (used to be the former, now it’s the later).
There surely will be tough times:
My partner leaving was extremely challenging –both personally and emotionally.
But also the time we landed a $200k contract just to find out the client did not have the funds two months into the project –and couldn’t pay us any of the outstanding and future invoices. That was… interesting, to say the least.
Or when half our team left for different reasons –new jobs, moving abroad… (me sucking as a leader, not having a great culture, and not building a team towards a vision might have had something to do with it too)–, which turned into the perfect storm and left us scrambling away almost overnight.
But it also comes with the highest of highs and, ironically, the greatest periods of both personal and business growth come after bouncing back from the lowest points.
Like finally realizing that, even if my business partner left, I was capable of leading the company and getting us through the storm.
Or having the perseverance to never call it quits and rebuilding Jakt when so many people waved their goodbyes.
Or going on a personal journey to become the leader Jakt needed me to be.
Through the ups and downs, I have learned (and keep on learning through experience) that there is much more in building a company than getting clients and executing…
A (successful) company has a culture, brand equity, a leadership team, and many other elements that I didn’t focus (and should’ve) in the early days. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know or even what was important.
For Jakt to really grow into the current $4M/year in revenue, I had to move from being a business owner to being a leader and a CEO. And no traditional college degree will teach you the ins and outs of emotional intelligence, management training, and employee motivation, and the countless other things needed to succeed.
Unfortunately, there is no “business owner school”…
Well, there wasn’t.
ServiceBasedBusinesses.com is my effort to fix that. It is a private community for business owners that run service-based companies. As you know, I am passionate about helping other businesses grow and succeed -not just in the digital product part like we do at Jakt, but with everything around their business (sales, finance, back-office… everything is fair game), and I love seeing leaders reach that 1M/year goal (and keep going!).
But do you want to know what’s really cool about it?
It’s a tell-all group where no question is off limits. Like a member of our group says: you’ll get value “from high-level strategy to nitty-gritty tactics.” Plus, you get to connect and learn from other business owners like yourself.
This is the community I wish existed when I was starting.
I am also working hand in hand with businesses through the Polpo Group, a holding company for cash-flow generating companies and investments.
I am on a mission to make an impact on people’s life by sharing my experiences, perspective and evolving understanding of life as I grow and experiences continue to inform it, so…
- If you want to hear more from me, start by signing up for my weekly newsletter on the form below this post.
You can also follow me on Twitter here.