Jenna Lofton is a Certified Financial Advisor, stock trader, and small business owner currently living in New York City. Jenna holds an MBA with a Financial Focus, as well as an MBA in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. Her experience also includes several years working at different firms on Wall Street before deciding to pursue higher education and her own endeavors.
Where did the idea for StockHitter.com come from?
It’s funny, but I kept hitting ‘home runs’ with my stock picks and recommendations, so one of my good friends started calling me the Stock Hitter – so – StockHitter.com was born! 🙂
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I strive to take an hour of time in the morning for myself. I get up early, do my makeup, eat breakfast, read something inspirational and then blog for at least a half-hour. It’s been a great way to start off the day with focus and determination.
Lately at work, instead of taking conference calls while also trying to respond to emails or anything else that’s necessary for the job, I’ll put my phone on Do Not Disturb during that time (meaning any Skype calls or texts) so I can give full attention to what needs it most without feeling distracted by other things going on elsewhere. This helps me be more productive in general — whether it’s taking care of a conference call or dealing with an employee’s complaint. I need to be creative at times, and this allows me that extra time while preventing any distractions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I simply ask the right questions and then take action. I’m pretty good at asking just the right question, getting to the bottom of issues, and coming up with creative solutions – so it’s never been that difficult for me. Also, when you’re really passionate about something, there’s nothing more important than taking action on it!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am still really excited about this technology. The idea behind blockchain is to create a digital database that only grows in size when data is added. Think of it as having another type of bank account where everything you do or buy gets logged and shared with others.
It’s a central point for information so that databases don’t have to be duplicated by everyone who uses them but are instead synced up and transferred as needed across networks. Right now, we see the use cases in such things as stocks, bonds, futures contracts, and other assets – meaning trading today involves matching buyers with sellers to provide an exchange (eg: centralized). Blockchain provides all these same services but without the need for a central authority; the distributed database means that it’s more difficult to corrupt and easier to share data.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
There are a lot of things I do to be more productive, such as eat right, sleep at least 10 hours a night, and exercise every day. But one habit that really sets me apart is my morning gratitude list.
It may seem unlikely, but its simple routine has helped turn my company around. People who regularly think about what they’re grateful for have higher levels of optimism and lower levels of anxiety in their lives. As an entrepreneur, anything that promotes positive emotions will help you thrive!
A study done by Harvard found that writing down three good things that happened each day leads people to spend much more time helping others (and themselves), lose weight without trying or dieting-simply through portion control-and find work that’s more meaningful and satisfying, all without spending any more money. Which of these habits do you think will have the greatest impact on your business?
I would say being grateful each day for everything I have is a big part of my company’s success. It helps me appreciate what I have worked hard to achieve – both personally and professionally. And it makes me want to give back as much as possible rather than take advantage of people around me or try to hurt them in any way.
When someone shows compassion toward others, gives time instead of taking it, shares their wealth by offering help when needed, etc., that person attracts even greater levels of good into their life!
What advice would you give your younger self?
There were so many things I wished I knew when I was younger!
First off, if you really want something and think it will make a difference in your life, go for it. Otherwise, you’ll always wonder what might have been.
Secondly, don’t get caught up with the “hustle trap” – that is the one thing that can kill your creativity and real productivity. This happens when you’re constantly “working on” more important things rather than having them finished already. You’ll find yourself dissatisfied with almost everything because you put so much emphasis on the future — which usually never lives up to our expectations.
Finally, focus on doing less, but doing those few things better.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m a big fan of not getting caught up with things that don’t matter, like what other people think about me or the way my business looks to others. What matters is how I feel and if I’m happy with what I’m doing.
It may sound naive, but we spend so much time trying to impress each other with expensive cars and houses when it really doesn’t matter at all. It’s incredibly freeing when you realize that most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to care about yours!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always ask myself why every time I start or do something.
It’s amazing how many times you can find a simple solution to a problem by just asking yourself that one question! It’s probably the single most powerful decision-making tool and will help you realize when doing something isn’t worth it.
In addition, no matter what happens in your business or life, there’s always going to be a reason for it – so understanding those reasons is very important.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
It is always good to surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you what they really think about your business and how it can be improved. That input could save you a lot of time and money!
I’ve also found that being upfront about issues, in the beginning, is key. If someone doesn’t like something, let them know right away – don’t wait until your work makes its way into their hands or until there’s a launch coming up. If something isn’t working out for whatever reason (either yours or theirs), figure out a solution to make things better as fast as possible so everyone walks away satisfied.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had a lot of failures along the way – I just tried to improve myself and my business after everyone.
One specific story that comes to mind was when we were moving our offices from Long Island, New York to a new office in Staten Island. It was the day before we were scheduled to move into our new space and everything looked like it was going OK… until 4pm hit! Suddenly, people were working at full speed while others were drinking beers or having a smoke break! An hour later, guess what? Almost everyone had disappeared leaving only me – which is never a good thing for any startup company.
So I ended up staying behind with no money in my bank account (just enough left over to buy gas), no beer, and no cigarettes. It was the first time in my life I had ever worked straight through an entire night without being able to stop because it was the only way to make sure we got back on track for our move-in date.
I ended up sleeping one hour, after a 5-hour drive, in an old $80/night hotel room with carpet so thin you could pretty much see the floor below me. The next morning I went into work at 6am and spent the rest of that day getting everything finished before noon — plus doing some interviews! It worked out OK… but when I think about how miserable that weekend was, I realize just how much more difficult things would have been if I hadn’t taken action immediately!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One idea I’ve had is to create a “telephone concierge” service in which people who are stuck somewhere can call for help. The idea would be to have someone nearby (preferably) who could immediately show them around and respond to their needs.
As an example, many tourist cities may not have much parking available near the major attractions – so having someone nearby who could drive people out of one lot then drop them off at another when they return would be pretty convenient. Plus, that person would know all the deals, coupons, and ticket prices in case the visitor wanted more information on those services.
The same thing applies if you’re visiting a city like New York with tons of traffic — it seems simple enough to have someone sit at the entrance of a major tunnel and offer to take you to either end.
The possibilities are endless… the only question is whether or not that service can be profitable without allowing someone to make tons of money off of charging an exorbitant amount for such a simple idea! If there was some way it could be made relatively affordable while still providing this helpful service, I’m sure there would be many interested parties!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently spent $100 on a nice pair of jeans that will last me for years to come. I know there are plenty of people out there who disagree, but I’ll often spend more than $100 when it comes to my clothes because it’s an investment in myself — and ultimately I’m going to wear those clothes quite often!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use JUST ONE WORD to help me be more productive. I don’t have any magic tricks unless you count “Don’t let yourself get distracted” as a trick. I guess for me, I just need to stay focused and avoid the urge to give into distractions as much as possible.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
As a result of my early struggles with money (and other problems), I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” quite often. It has inspired me to believe in investing and using funds for more than just paying basic bills or buying groceries.
What is your favorite quote?
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
– Henry David Thoreau. But I’m sure he would say it differently if he was still around today. 😉
- Never give up! Even when things seem bleak, there is always a way out and it just takes some creativity.
- Sometimes you have to work hard, and sometimes you have to try a new approach.
- Always focus on doing your best and providing the most quality service possible, whether that means a customer or a colleague.
- Sometimes all it takes is taking action immediately and not wasting time!
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.