Follow up and follow through…If you need something, you follow up on it. If you say you’re going to do something, you follow through and do it!
David Jeansonne is a motivated and driven entrepreneur who runs a combination of highly successful organizations. The Louisiana native is a self-taught professional who has paved his way in a variety of industries including group fitness, automotive, staffed event, and direct mail marketing. David is the founder of CHAMPS BOXING™ and Traffic Jam Events™, both headquartered in New Orleans.
Jeansonne’s career path began when he was a teenager working as a busboy at a local restaurant. Eventually, he worked his way up into restaurant management and ultimately helped David carve out his track as an executive in the automotive space. After two and a half short years working at a car dealership, David leaped an entrepreneur and ultimately created Traffic Jam Events™.
His pure creativeness and sheer will to win joined with the best car minds in the country is what sets his business apart. Traffic Jam Events™ offers staffed events and direct mail for dealerships across the country as one of the leading automotive-marketing and advertising firms. David’s team focuses on three keys to success: Research, Relationships, and Results. The Research & Development team evaluates the local market to help customize the client’s direct mail and staffed events. Long-term connections and customer success satisfaction are top priorities for David. His team will personalize all direct-mail pieces, arrange Co-Op submissions to ensure full reimbursement, and implement sales training. One thing is clear: David Jeansonne and his team are here to help businesses succeed now, and into the future. Traffic Jam Events™ stands apart from other companies because they aim for long-term profitability. They understand that long-term prosperity is far more valuable than making a quick buck.
More recently, David Jeansonne developed CHAMPS BOXING™, a facility that revolutionizes group fitness by focusing on individual workouts while maintaining a class setting. He had the idea for CHAMPS BOXING™️ after recognizing that was a lack of group fitness workouts in New Orleans. He aimed to create a fitness environment that enables group workouts, yet is still focused on the individual. CHAMPS BOXING™️ was built to not only to help the New Orleans community get fit but also have fun while getting the best individual workout possible. CHAMPS BOXING™️ is like no other gym because David Jeansonne and his team developed a group fitness program that conforms to literally everyone. Additionally, David’s business is the only gym that offers the revolutionary HYDROBLAST™️ punching bag. These punching bags are filled with 19 gallons of water and are designed to reduce the impact on joints and muscles. Over the next year, David anticipates fast and exciting growth for CHAMPS BOXING™.
Outside of work, David Jeansonne is also committed to giving back to his community. He keeps a simple goal in mind: to help the less fortunate, and do his part in supporting everyone in his home city thrive. As David built a prosperous life for himself, he never forgot the value of helping others do the same, especially where he grew up. David also utilizes his businesses to give back to his community and both of his organizations are active in the community.
Where did the idea for your companies come from?
Traffic Jam Events – The idea for Traffic Jam was a result of all of my professional experience and understanding my true passion for motivating and supporting those around me. From my earliest days working in the restaurant business to developing sales and leadership skills at a Ford dealership in New Orleans to my first exposure in the automotive marketing space… That conglomerate of sales strategies, management techniques and above all else, learning to motivate others is what really pushed me to create my own firm at Traffic Jam Events.
CHAMPS BOXING – The inspiration for CHAMPS came from a few close friends who had begun working out at a local boxing gym, but found the experience lacking in key areas. I spent countless hours researching the fitness space and briefly explored franchising, but I quickly learned that the local gyms didn’t understand the individual member experience. I knew that within the group fitness space, each member needs to feel comfortable with themselves and the environment. CHAMPS BOXING is specifically designed to make group fitness truly fun and effective. I heavily invested in the safest, most cutting-edge technology including the ultra-safe, water-filled HYDROBLAST bags to provide the greatest possible comfort and efficiency to our members.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
One of the things I love about my position is that there isn’t a typical day. Depending on the week I’m in one of multiple locations throughout the country (and sometimes outside it!) lending guidance and support to my team members. You might call me on a Monday morning and catch me leading a motivational meeting with the entire Traffic Jam Events staff, but dial that same number later Monday night and I’d be sweating it out coaching a session at CHAMPS BOXING. I try to make each day as productive as possible with two things: a truly hands-on approach and 24/7 accessibility. I make every effort to be shoulder-to-shoulder, working alongside the staff who successfully operate these companies day-in, day-out. I also keep my phone on at all times, regularly checking my email and answering calls whether it’s lunchtime or 2 a.m. I don’t believe that “opportunity comes knocking”, I believe you SEIZE your opportunities no matter what time or where they appear!
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to live by basing my ideas ON life! Everything around me provides inspiration. A few recent examples are a clever billboard I saw on my drive to work, a logo I saw on the back of a boat, even my little French bulldog Leo gave me some ideas! When a great idea strikes me, I take it to the Creative Director and Graphic Designers at my companies. Sometimes I’ll hand-draw a sketch to give them specific direction; sometimes it’s a simple text or phone call that conveys the message. This goes back to my earlier point about working side-by-side with my team; if I had the talent I could design and develop these ideas myself, but I hand-picked a team of extremely skilled artists who help me turn my ideas into a polished, professional product.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m a creature of habit, so it took some convincing, but now I get very excited about how the younger generation can use new technology to enhance business. I see it every day in all of my companies, from the finger-vein paperless login system at CHAMPS BOXING™ to the interactive text-messaging features we have implemented into our marketing products at Traffic Jam Events™. New tech, when applied in a useful manner, is always exciting to me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One of my most productive habits can be explained in five words: “Follow up and follow through.” Waiting has never been an option for me. If you are knee-deep in a project busting your butt and you get stuck because of a missing piece, you could wait until someone brings it to you… or you can GO GET IT! Much like my philosophy on “opportunity knocking,” one of the basic fundamentals in all of my companies is that we all follow up and follow through. If you need something, you follow up on it. If you say you’re going to do something, you follow through and do it!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell my younger self the same thing I tell my current self every day: “Stay hungry, stay focused.” Passion and persistence are absolutely vital, especially when times are tough. Tough times don’t last, tough people do! If the road to being a successful entrepreneur was an easy one, everybody would take it!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Building a business from the ground up requires personal sacrifice and a lot of it. Most people think if they work a little harder than the average person, maybe 60 hours a week instead of 40, they are bound to succeed. But the harsh reality is that a business requires much more sacrifice. There are just not enough hours in the day to compete with thousands of competitors across the entire world; you must fully commit your LIFE to your work, and unfortunately put everything else second.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing I’d absolutely recommend everyone do is “play your movie.” At the end of every day, I take some time to “replay” my entire day. The people I spoke to, the good things I accomplished, the things I could’ve done better. I “play my movie” and watch the whole day from a new perspective, looking for areas of improvement. Would I handle that sticky situation with a disgruntled employee differently now? Did I really need to pay extra for rush delivery on that product order? Did I talk a little too much during my CHAMPS™ class? I review all of my interactions and try to learn from them.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has really helped develop my business is focusing on relationships first. When I left my former employer to start Traffic Jam Events, I was able to quickly build the company because of solid relationships I had already established with my clients. They would follow me anywhere, and I would do the same for them. At the end of the day, we’re all looking to turn a profit and enjoy a higher quality of life… Understanding that the customer on the other end of the phone is trying to reach that exact same goal is an incredibly valuable strategy when approaching business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest failures involved vendor relationships. We established a relationship with a vendor at a set price for our product, but our volume rapidly increased. It wasn’t until some time had passed that my Operations Manager came to me and asked why we were still paying the same price when we were ordering a much larger volume from this vendor. The moral of the story (and how to overcome this situation in the future) is in a broad sense, to never let yourself become comfortable. Comfort means you’re no longer growing or being challenged. If your volume goes up and the vendor doesn’t give you a better price, that is a CHALLENGE for you to embrace and overcome. Re-negotiate over and over, as many times as it takes to optimize your business and remove unnecessary costs.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
This is cheating a bit because I had a similar business idea years ago, but I’ve always enjoyed the concept of a school bus-themed limousine service. Nostalgia is such a powerful thing – think about how many times you reminisce about your childhood and the “good old days” in school. People splurge on big fancy limousines for their weddings, while others hire a school bus or shuttle bus rental… Why not have the best of both worlds? A school bus exterior that taps into that nostalgia and guaranteed busts everyone into laughter and smiles, while the inside is completely decked out like a limousine: luxurious decor, extremely comfortable seating, a mini bar, surround sound and so much more.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent recently was simply paying it forward at Starbucks first thing in the morning. That little gift of buying coffee and breakfast for a few strangers is guaranteed to start their day on a positive note, just as it gives me a great feeling on my way to the office.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Ask anyone in my companies, and they’ll tell you: I am NOT a tech guy. It took a lot of convincing many years ago just to get me to switch from a flip phone to an iPhone – and I still miss the flip phone!
So you might be surprised when I say that the most helpful software at my disposal is simply my e-mail. I am the only owner of multiple companies with hundreds if not thousands of different employees across the country. The number of conversations I have running on a daily basis would probably astound you, and e-mail has been incredibly valuable in organizing and responding to all of my colleagues in a timely manner. It also allows me to send ideas and comments to my management team whenever inspiration hits me, whether it’s 2 pm at lunch or 2 am in bed.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Everyone, and I mean literally every single person, should read Rhinoceros Success. It’s less than 100 pages with large text, so it certainly doesn’t take long to read, but the mentality and motivation it provides are immensely valuable. All new hires at any of my companies are required to read Rhinoceros Success, and we even have some art decals in one of our offices of a group of rhinos charging through the jungle!
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is: “We Only Live Once, But If Done Right… Once Is Enough!”
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.