Another of Justin’s companies, Take Part, produces Roku and Amazon Fire-connected TV channels for podcasters and digital creators, including the Wedding Channel, Guitar 101, and American Warriors.
Yet he still finds time to volunteer as the National Director of Events and Marketing with the Wounded Warrior Program and homeschool his three kids. Here’s how he keeps up the drive to make it all work.
How long have you been an entrepreneur?
I graduated from Full Sail University, an entertainment and arts school in Florida, in 2000, then some friends and I started a digital radio program. I opened a nightclub in Winter Park, Florida in 2005, then sold it and moved to Greenville in 2012 to work with the Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenges have been second guessing myself, understanding social media and how it changes every six months, and trying to stay out in front of the world as it turns. We had to get help with social media – that came from me reevaluating what I was doing and admitting I didn’t know.
It’s hard for people to say they don’t know something. It’s like it shows weakness. But I’ve learned it’s not about me; if you make it about you, it’s going to hurt.
As for second guessing myself and not knowing what the future holds, I reach out to my resources. If you don’t have resources, go to a networking event even if it scares you. But really, the only way to know is to go then evaluate what went right and what went wrong. Through networking, I meet people that excel at what they do; I believe in putting aces in their places.
You donate your time to produce the American Warriors channel market the Wounded Warrior Project. What’s behind your drive to serve?
It was a gift God gave me. There are good and bad days, of course, but He gave me a gift, and I don’t want to abuse it. I don’t want people to abuse me with it either, but I was born with a heart to help people.
How do you evaluate opportunities to serve others?
I follow my heart, and in business, that’s a bad thing, because your heart won’t necessarily lead you in the right direction. I’ve learned to have a group of people around me that I can ask for help and advice. There has to be accountability and the opportunity has to be a win for both parties – meaning, I have to decide if I have the time and resources before I take something on.
I also believe you need to have a mentor you can be raw with, and you can’t run your business as a dictator. You need different influences from different backgrounds to excel. If you can tap into the diversity in America, you’ll be more successful.
What are the particular challenges of growing and maintaining a business while taking advantage of opportunities to serve others?
Distinguishing between a business opportunity and an opportunity to serve. To do that, you have to align yourself with people that can say no to you, so you can stay true to who you are and what your mission is. Also, it’s important to ask yourself if you have the resources and availability to take part, and for how long? Even serving others, you get stale, and when you get stale you’re not really serving anymore.
How do you take care of yourself when things are tough?
My season right now is not about me, it’s about my family. There are definitely times when you need to take care of yourself if you’re not in a good spot. Isolation is not the answer; never confine yourself to a dark space and think you can figure it out yourself. Communities are so important. We need to be able to reach out to people and we need to reach out to others.