What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
You need a great idea as well as the focus and passion to turn that idea into reality. You have to be ready to risk everything to win it all.
What did inspire you to start your business?
Necessity. I was raised in an environment where I needed to succeed in order to survive.
How did you finance it?
I financed my business through hard work or what I like to call “sweat equity.” I worked many nights with little to no sleep. I have worked for every penny that I have ever made.
Yes, I grew up in a culture where working hard with a strong commitment to family and community was very important. It’s where I get my work ethic.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
Adversity is part of my everyday business routine. I have no choice but to overcome adversity. I have a lot people who depend on me: my family, my staff, my clients and my community. I have made a commitment to them that I will succeed and that my support will help them succeed too.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
After Y2K came and went, so did my business. In order to survive in the marketplace, I had to completely change my company’s business model. I had to reinvent and re-brand my business, converting it into a full service IT firm in order to continue to grow.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I would have started my business sooner. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20, so I wish I possessed the business acumen I have today. I wish I could tell that 22-year-old kid all the things I know now.
What was your childhood ambition?
I wanted to have the power to change the way people live for the better.
Tell us about an entrepreneur that you admire?
Oprah. She’s built an incredible brand and has actually changed the way people think. It’s amazing the way great entrepreneurs can actually change the way people behave.
For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I had to completely remove myself from the equation in order to succeed. I had to sacrifice a lot and give up some my personal desires like getting sleep and buying things that I wanted. I had to work harder and work smarter than everyone else.
What is your favorite quote?
If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you will get there?
No. I have always been outside of box. I have never been inside it. In fact, I don’t even know what the inside of the box looks like.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes. I think to be an innovator you have to be the first one to do something new, without worrying about success or failure. True innovation takes a willingness to risk it all. I have never been afraid to risk everything in order to win big. If I know what I want to do and it makes sense to me, I believe I will succeed and I take that risk. I have always liked to do things that other people won’t do.
smarTECHS.net is a Chicago-based IT firm that provides full-service, innovative technology solutions for national and local clients in both the private and public sectors. By building strategic partnerships with global corporations such as Microsoft and Dell, smarTECHS.net offers tailored IT solutions that specifically align with the mission and goals of each client. Recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the country, smarTECHS.net is a privately held company with a strong commitment to community service and development. For more information, please visit www.smartechs.net.