Updated: Sep 23, 2020
You lose your job where you helped grow your company’s division into a leading line for the company. Where you saw potential, plummets to packing your bags with a few weeks of severance.
You are left to figure out how you position your life let alone your career, so you decide to pursue the risk and reward of entrepreneurship.
Now, you’ve started a company and you’re looking to secure sales so you can secure cash.
As the saying goes, “Cash is king.”
Still needing cash, you finally get $75,000 in capital, only for the investors to ask for their money back 3 months later.
Passing that hurdle, you realize you have to end another business relationship with someone who has been critical for the initial success of starting, but maybe not for long haul.
Talk about an emotional pull of a lifetime.
Then of course, life doesn’t stop:
You face a skin cancer diagnosis.
You lose your father.
You lose your closest business supporter and friend; yes, he’s also your brother.
You lose your mother.
Your own wife facing a health crisis.
And losing more loved ones, this time an employee: a really good employee you would call family.
Now back to the business:
Imagine facing fraud of hundreds of thousands of dollars by an employee you trusted who put you and your company in the potential of losing it all.
Next, you lose your top four sales personnel who made up 80 percent of the company’s revenue in the previous year.
Now believe this...
These and many more circumstances Jay Myers faced as an entrepreneur.
The former CEO and Founder of Interactive Solutions Inc., a video conferencing company, Jay Myers represents the real-life story behind starting a company.
And while there were hurdles to cross, there were many highlights of entrepreneurial triumph in the startup years to say the least.
Interactive Solutions Inc. was named one of the fastest growing private companies by Inc Magazine 7 times and was named Small Business of the Year by the Memphis Business Journal.
By 2007, Interactive Solutions Inc. grew into a company with multiple operational locations throughout the state of Tennessee and Kentucky, 40 employees and generating in revenue of $10 million dollars.
By 2011, Jay Myers and his team took Interactive Solutions Inc. from $11 million to $25 million in sales during the worst economic periods in 80 years.
As the author of books, “Keeping Swinging,” and “Hitting the Curveballs,” Jay shares candidly about the wiles of entrepreneurship, the real risk and reward behind it.
We had the opportunity to talk with Jay to truly learn the driving forces behind his path as an entrepreneur despite the odds that tried to strike him out.
What is the best word that describes to what led you to where you are today? And why?
It is not going to be a surprise that the word is resiliency.
We dealt with a lot of problems and obstacles through the years, but we’ve been able to succeed. I had the opportunity to sell my company last year and decided it was the right move. Building my company up through all of the obstacles, challenges and craziness; the one word that could sum up the journey continues to be resilience.
We did not quit.
We hung in there until the biggest company in our industry called us to buy; the time was right, it felt good and we did.
What is and/or are your daily spiritual practice(s)? In other words, what are the daily habits you consistently do to maintain a healthy well-being to execute at the level you operate from)?
I think the spiritual part is definitely an important aspect of being a successful entrepreneur.
You can’t do this alone.
And you need in many cases, the power of prayer.
I am a practicing Catholic, regularly attending mass which has always been a place that brings me where I need to be mentally.
I also have a membership at the YMCA locally here in Memphis also and I go there several times a week just to get the exercise in.
Entrepreneurship is a very stressful job and if you don’t release it in a positive way, it can destroy you.
What have obstacles taught you?
I know its a saying that most people use, but I think it is appropriate when considering obstacles and that is, “If it doesn’t destroy you, it makes you stronger.”
I look back on all the adversity we faced, it made us a better business due to the incredible number of obstacles.
Would I have rather not gone through some of those things?
But you learn from adversity and with God’s help, you can get through almost anything.
I never thought I would have to and would have been able to go through all the things I went through as an entrepreneur, but somehow both me and the company survived.
I’ve had a great team that was behind me including my family and friends as well.
Success is even more gratifying because the path to get there has not been easy.
What does embrace possibilities mean to you?
We had a theme for a long time at ISI that we wanted to be all that we can be. I think that ideal epitomizes what embrace possibilities mean. Even in the early days, we always thought to ourselves that we could be successful, and to keep reaching for the stars all the time. Never put a ceiling on what your potential accomplishments could be.
For example, we always set goals for ourselves to keep reaching. It is so important for small companies and big companies to set goals, but it is really important for small ones.
For us we wanted to be the Memphis Business Journal Small Business of the year and we did that back in 2001. Then we wanted to be among the top fastest growing private companies in the country and Inc. Magazine recognized us 7 times in 10 years.
You embrace possibilities because you set the bar high and you motivate your team to achieve beyond their wildest dreams.
If you could sum up your life’s purpose in three words, what would it be?
Helping others succeed.
Continuing to help others in life and business
Jay Myers continues to lead the way in giving back the knowledge and wisdom he’s learned in his business journey.
He works closely with future entrepreneurs and students at the University of Memphis.
Along with his work at the University of Memphis, Jay is releasing his third book, “Rounding Third and Heading for Home” that is part of the trilogy of his entrepreneurial path which provides perspective on the journey of selling his company and lessons learned along the way.
And sharing his story is only the beginning, there are more stories and books to come.
Who said any journey is easy, no one.
But they can be fulfilling and full circle as Jay’s journey with the belief in the possibilities.
“I am not sure I would be where I am today if I didn’t go through everything I did,” Jay admits.
For every impossible, there is a possibility awaiting you to overcome the improbable if you embrace them.
For more information about Jay’s upcoming book, visit here.
A Must Read!
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