Be more confident and put yourself out there more. Don’t be afraid to look like a fool.

 

Jeb is the founder and CEO of Boardable, a nonprofit board management software provider. He is also the founder of two nonprofits, The Speak Easy and Musical Family Tree, as well as a board member of United Way Central Indiana and ProAct. Jeb is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Where did the idea for Boardable come from?

My previous company Smallbox, a digital media agency, had a side business building software. That company, known as Gravy Lab, received a request from the United Way of Central Indiana to have us build them a portal for their board of directors to communicate better. We saw the need with other nonprofits, built the beta version, and got positive feedback from beta testers. My experience starting two nonprofits (Musical Family Tree and the Speak Easy) further demonstrated to me the need for a better solution for board coordination. Boardable grew from there.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day includes meetings with team members, personal calls with sales prospects, of course emails. However, I also keep my mind fresh and productive by taking time for walks throughout the day. I also like to keep a running list of to-dos in my paper notebook. I’ve learned to be more productive by actively delegating whenever and whatever possible.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I like to socialize new ideas with the team, see what sticks and changes. I believe it’s crucial to be willing to let them die and evolve. Most importantly, we always get clarity on ownership- what have we decided and who is going to own this?

What’s one trend that excites you?

A return to analog experiences. I’m a face-to -face, take-a-walk, listen-to-records kind of guy. I see an increased desire in society to get out from behind our screens and get back to being human with each other. I’m all for that.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am very hesitant to put something on my plate. I am very willing to let others take ownership of key areas of the business. I’m happy to advise and coach while holding them accountable for results.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more confident and put yourself out there more. Don’t be afraid to look like a fool.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The world will be a better place for humans to live in 100 years than it is right now. This is a bit of a bold bet, but I think humanity will soon rally around the challenges of climate change, and it will drive innovation at a scale we’ve never seen before.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Be intentional with your morning routine. I look at getting ready for work as the most important time of day for me. It’s like going into battle or into a game. I have to be physically and mentally ready, and that routine helps my head and body get in the right place. I would add to this a regular meditation practice in the evening to clear the mind of all the clutter accumulated through the day.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Hire the best we can even if we can’t hire them full-time. We’ve found that many of the best available to us are willing to work with us, at least to start, on a fractional basis. Working with the best is an incredible accelerant across all areas of the business and frees me up to lead.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Definitely a lack of focus. In a previous business, I kept searching for the product idea to scale the business but the company DNA was service-based, and it just wouldn’t fit. This drained the company’s brand, morale, and resources. I learned that you couldn’t just pivot a company beyond the parameters of its DNA. I solved it by starting Boardable outside of this service business and giving it its own room to grow. You can’t serve two masters.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

This began as a joke pitch over drinks one night but I do think there’s a viable business idea somewhere here- RentAToddler.com. Essentially reverse babysitting. Many older people miss having young kids around the house. Young couples need to get away from their kids for an evening, but babysitting is expensive. Rent A Toddler would match trusted families/people that want to spend some time with kids with parents that need a break. Sure, there are lots of opportunities for this to go wrong but if the right protections were in place, I think it would work nicely and bring energy and joy into the lives of people who need it. And yes, I own RentAToddler.com

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Dinner with my wife for our anniversary. We had a lovely time and great conversation. Money spent on a great meal with someone you love is always money well spent.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Google Drive, specifically Sheets. It helps me think through ideas and then keeps projects/activities organized. I’m in Google Sheets everyday. I love its flexibility and shareability. I want to become a Sheets ninja – #lifegoals.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Peace Is Every Step, by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s not a business book, per se, but it is a book on how to live life and has some very practical guidance on how to bring mindfulness into every area of your day. I find a meditative practice, combined with reading and study, helps me be more present and less reactive. This book is one I return to often. It helps reset my “mental compass,” if you will.

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t lie to yourself.” My dad told me this when I was a teenager after he had caught me in a lie. He wasn’t as worried about me lying to him as he was about me lying to myself. He knew that if I started to believe that lie, it would crack the foundation I would build my life on. I think of that often: Being honest with yourself is very hard. I still come up short here so the quote is challenging.

Key Learnings:

  • Making time to be present in your daily life increases productivity.
  • Ideas come to life when the group molds them together and assigns ownership.
  • Hire the best talent possible, even if they aren’t full-time.
  • Starting and ending the day with intention keeps you sharper during the day.

Connect:

Website: https://boardable.com
Twitter: @JebBanner , @boardableapp
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jebbanner/
Facebook: @boardable