Y’all know that building a business ain’t easy. It takes passion, commitment, book smarts, and a crazy amount of faith. Today on the coLab blog, we’re talking with coLabber Jeff Swan about his entrepreneurial journey and the lessons he’s learned that are helping him succeed.
coLab: Where are you from?
Jeff: Winnipeg, MB
coLab: What does success mean to you?
Jeff: The ability to choose what I do with my time. Who I work with, what type of work I do. Where I work and what I do for fun.
coLab: What has your entrepreneurial journey looked like so far?
Jeff: I worked for a restoration company between the ages of 12 and 20. This was the first time that I learned just how big the human impact of flooding is. After that, I studied marketing in university, and then I got a job at an agency. It was a cool place to work, but it just didn’t feel quite right, so after 2 years I decided to do something else.
So I moved back to Vancouver because that’s where all the tech people were, and I decided I wanted to work in tech because I thought it was cool. Around the same time, I was reading a lot of books and working on my mindset. And I started sharing what I’d learned at networking events and meetups. I ended up working as a sales and marketing consultant for 9 years, doing everything from sales & sales development to marketing leadership to digital marketing strategy. I finally ended up implementing a strategy to get all of our departments working together, because I had a hunch that better integration would make us more effective.
Eventually, I realized that this initiative wasn’t as impactful as I wanted it to be. So in September 2018, I moved away from Vancouver and started working in marketing for the flood prevention/ flood management industry. I later started my own company in that same niche.
coLab: What is your favourite part about your role(s)?
Jeff: Enabling others to shine their light and be their best. Helping others improve, and enabling a team to be successful.
coLab: What makes you good at what you do?
Jeff: Passion, energy, firm belief that I will do what I need to do.
coLab: What is the best piece of advice you can share?
Jeff: Never, ever say “I can’t”. Always believe that you can do something. Always believe.
coLab: What advice do you have for early-stage entrepreneurs?
Jeff: Find a way to fund yourself. Make sure you can still eat while you’re building your business. You’re going to be broke for a lot longer than you think. It’s hard for you and hard for the people around you, so when you start your business, make sure your loved ones know that you won’t be Captain Fun-Pants for a while.
coLab: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs out there?
Jeff: Just do it. It’s not that scary. You are going to have bad months, great months, so-so months. The ultimate thing is that if you are living your passion and purpose, then, in the end, you are going to make more. It is going to happen. You have to believe. It gets hardest when you are borrowing money – that tests your level of belief. Have that belief that you will get there, and you will.
coLab: Why are you such a big advocate for mentorship?
Jeff: Those lessons stick with you forever. The mentors guide you. They care enough to give you their experience and see you succeed. Your success is their success, and you cannot buy that. It’s priceless.
coLab: What inspired you to start your own business?
Jeff: I didn’t fit in the corporate box. Entrepreneurs are trying to make new rules, everyone else tries to follow the rules. I wanted to make the world better and do it in a way that I thought was better.
coLab: What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur?
Jeff: The choice. Getting to decide what I’m going to be doing with each day.
Jeff Swan is the co-founder and CEO of DryFab Customs and a founding partner of DEMAND Growth Strategies. Learn more at https://dryfabcustoms.com/.