There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success”, a weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Jason Weisenthal, the founder and owner of WallMonkeys, a wall decal company that offers over 20 million images. Jason comes from an entrepreneurial family (his father owned a shoe store) and he used that experience to launch WallMonkeys in 2008.
Jason got the idea to start WallMonkeys after he saw what Fathead was doing exclusively selling athletic and entertainment wall decals. He realized there was a lot of potential in the market by expanding the choices of decals “to anything the consumer wanted.”
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jason Weisenthal: I wanted to either be a professional tennis player, left fielder for the New York Yankees, or a successful entrepreneur. Option three is looking good.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Weisenthal: It’s in my DNA. Based on my personality (Type A, hypomanic, risk taker), I knew working for someone else would not make sense or make me happy. I’m built to run the business and all associated risks and responsibilities. It is what I live for. Coming up with new ideas and being able to execute them right away is a wonderful gift to be able to act on.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Weisenthal: From a maturity standpoint, college. My work ethic was developed during college. In my current business, it would be when we finally found a formula to make money after two years of mostly failed ideas. Delivering the proper content to your customers on the proper platforms is what we needed. Quality products, fast turn around, and exceptional customer service help as well.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Weisenthal: Ready, aim, fire. There is never a perfect time to start a business—or expand a business. So many people have a “great idea,” but never pull the trigger. If you are confident and passionate about your plan, do it. Now.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Weisenthal: Things that matter most should never come at the expense of things that matter least. It could be personal, like exercising every day. More likely it is business-related—do not allow the small daily tasks and current crisis to take your energy away from the larger tasks at hand, like growing the business. Also, wake up early. It is amazing how productive you can be with a set of morning rituals to follow.
Lesonsky: Do you have a 2015 small business prediction?
Weisenthal: We are launching a new removable wallpaper product on both Wallmonkeys.com and Smarterpaper.com. Smarterpaper is a new site for us. This product is unlike anything on the market. We will gain lots of traction in the wallpaper space and see amazing results in our first year.
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Weisenthal: The Obstacle Is the Way, by Ryan Holiday. I’ve given it to a dozen friends as well. Ryan does an amazing job teaching you how to look at obstacles and not let them upset you. Things just happen, they do not happen TO YOU. The mix between modern examples and thousand-year-old philosophy makes it easy to read and is brilliant, like Marcus Aurelius for [today].
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Weisenthal: “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” — Walter Bagehot, British journalist, businessman, and essayist
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.