Gregory Feste is a serial entrepreneur with more than thirty years of business experience. After earning his marketing degree from Texas Christian University, Gregory began his professional career as a stock broker.
After a life changing spiritual experience in the early 90s, he found himself longing for a more purposeful foundation. He opened his own Christian based financial advising company and made successful private equity investments in several industries.
In a true testament to his faith and his strength, Gregory has faced two major challenges that tested his faith on one hand and strengthened it on the other. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in December 2007 and lost his 26 year old son to a heroin overdose in October 2019. Both of these events enabled him to lean into his faith and focus on things important in life.
It is his well-rounded life and work experience that makes Gregory such a great leader and entrepreneur.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I have always had an interest in business, though I wasn’t sure exactly what direction I would go. When I was just out of college, I was working for a company making cold calls and one gentleman I reached was impressed enough with my style that he asked me to come for an interview. I went and was hired on the spot. That’s how I started as a stock broker. In 1990, I had a spiritual experience and found myself looking to do more, something with more purpose. That led me to open my own niche money management firm. We had a focus on Christian clientele needing financial advising and consulting. During this same time, I began speaking at churches and other functions about stewardship in the name of Christ and that has continued to be an important part of my life.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days start early. I generally have a conference call with my team to plan out the day and get updates on anything we are working on. I am very organized and task oriented. I like setting out my day and going down the list as I accomplish each task.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When anyone on my team has an idea, they share it and get feedback. If we feel like it’s worth pursuing, we will create a detailed plan and put it into action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One of the most exciting trends for me to witness is the movement of people wanting to listen to Christian praise and worship music. Every month on YouTube, the search for this genre is in the hundreds of thousands. It is so fulfilling to see people in search of spiritual music to minister to their soul.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I don’t quit. I think every entrepreneur has maybe a few moments when they really consider whether the path they are on is worth it. It’s the nature of business, but I follow the theory that failure is not an option. I have learned that there may be bumps in the road, but these bumps can be overcome.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Looking back, I think the most important thing I could say to my younger self would be to not take on too much at once. It is better to focus on less and create something worthwhile than to have a hand in more while accomplishing less.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
This earthly life is temporal, and our ultimate destination is permanent is the spiritual realm.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always have a plan. It’s better to know what your next step will be than to blindly aim for a goal. I definitely think anyone who owns a business should have plans laid out for how they plan to reach their goals. You also have to be prepared to change those plans. Being in business means always being ready to pivot if necessary. If you have to change your goal for whatever reason, just come up with a new way to reach it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One of the absolute best strategies we have implemented in my current business is digital marketing. Everything is online these days. When you are promoting an artist, you’re not promoting physical music discs, but digital recordings. We have some of the best people working with us who can really brand an artist and build their online presence.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had some investments that didn’t turn out how I had expected. Again, it’s the nature of business. There will always be that risk. You overcome these things by not giving up. You learn from the experience and move on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Something I have been thinking about for awhile is an app that will allow you to learn about your pilot and the plane you are traveling on. I fly a lot and it dawned on me one day that we, as passengers, don’t really know anything about our pilots or about the fleet the airlines use. I thought it would be helpful to be able to type in a flight number and read about the pilot, nothing too personal, just who they are and maybe their experience. The plane information would be things like the last time the plane had maintenance and what was done, things like that. I think that would be beneficial, especially for those who travel frequently.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I am so blessed to say that the best $100 I’ve spent recently was helping a young single mother buy groceries when she needed them. God wants us to help each other when we can, so I try to bless others in this way when I am able. It is such a rewarding feeling to be able to bring that kind of help to someone.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Microsoft Outlook every day and I really believe it is an under-utilized program more people should be using. It is the best way for me to collaborate with my team, set tasks for the day, and mark them complete. I love it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Imagine Heaven by John Burke. He reached out to people who have had a near death experience and listened to their stories. He spoke with people from all walks of life, different faiths, and it is truly inspiring to read how similar each is. It gives great hope for life after death.
What is your favorite quote?
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
● Have faith
● Never give up
● Always have a plan
● Pursue your dreams with determination
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.