What is your current profession and where do you work? How did you come to work in this field?
My profession has always been a CEO/Founder of my own businesses ranging from computer repair, wedding entertainment, and most recently, practice management software for lawyers. I've always stayed and worked in Miami.
No matter which business I started, it was always because I loved that field of work. As cliché as it sounds, I never considered any company to be "work" or a "job". It always started from a passion or hobby. For example, I would love fixing computers for friends and families, and they started referring me to their friends, so I created a small business around that. I would love to DJ and make mixes for myself, which led to people asking me to DJ their events, so I started a company and grew it to a full service entertainment business.
Currently, I am a sales, marketing, and business coach helping other companies and CEOs find new business, close more deals, and scale their companies.
What educational path did you follow? (Schools attended, degrees or certificates earned, etc.)
Attended University of Miami and majored in Business Management, with a heavy focus on marketing classes.
The best educational experience I received in business was working for a startup company where I was forced to learn sales, marketing, operations, support, customer service, training, and every aspect of the business. This is what many refer to as OJT, or "on the job training". Working for a small growing startup with under 10 employees can give you some of the best business experience because the team is small, and everyone is wearing multiple hats, learning as they grow together.
What is most rewarding about the work you do? What are the challenges?
The most rewarding part is waking up every day excited to go into the office and grow the business, doing what you love.
The challenges are to continue growing the business by finding new customers, differentiating yourself from the competition, and constantly innovating to stay ahead.
The biggest fear is becoming complacent and comfortable, knowing there are other businesses, and business owners, that are working day and night to take business away from you. I'm a big believer that you should always remain alert and paranoid, thinking about where the next big competitor may come from, what they might offer, and fixing all your biggest weaknesses and vulnerabilities. You need to differentiate yourself as much as possible, and build strong loyalty with your customers in order to stay relevant, competitive, and in business for the long term.
What is one essential academic or life skill you honed at Scheck Hillel?
My favorite essential class was Math, specifically Algebra, which helps tremendously on a day to day basis. In business, you are always working with numbers, whether for financial analysis, projections, accounting, taxes, or sales (when giving discounts or promotions).
What is your advice for future Hillel students who might consider a career in your field?
My advice is to get an internship while you're still in High School or College to find out what you love, and what you never want to do again. Once you figure out your passion, try and find the best company to work for where you can learn as much as possible and grow with the company. If you're considering starting your own business, it's important to work for at least 1-2 other companies first to see how they operate and what you can learn. Before starting my entertainment business, I worked for 4 different entertainment companies, and eventually combined everything I learned to start my own business, while improving on their processes to differentiate ourselves.
What is the last book you read/podcast you heard that taught you something you didn’t know before.
The last book I read was Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, a former Navy Seal commander for 20+ years. In business, it can be easy to blame others. You can blame your employees or co-workers for poor performance. You can blame the media for bashing your product. You can blame clients for not buying your solution. These few sentences changed the way I think about ownership and responsibility: "All responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win. The best leaders don’t just take responsibility for their job. They take Extreme Ownership of everything that impacts their mission."
When you take extreme ownership of everything, the blame changes to statements like, "I take responsibility for my employees or co-workers poor performance because I did not train them properly, give them the tools to succeed, or explain the job in greater detail." It changes your mentality from blaming to solving.