[quote style=”boxed”]Be coachable and passionate. Take advice from people who have been there before and from people who have failed. [/quote]
Jerod Mollenhauer built a successful career in the insurance industry, receiving early promotions and increases in responsibility. He attributes this early success to hard work and discipline. At 19, he left school to work, and within a year, he became a supervisor for a Fortune 500 company, coaching a sales force of 16 – 20 people. He then ran an insurance agency for seven years and eventually became an assistant vice president with one of the top insurance brokerages in the country.
Yet, all this time, Jerod was never really “all in” with his career path. He always felt a pull to create something from the ground up, but he put the feeling aside to support his growing family. It wasn’t until his career came to an abrupt fork in the road that he finally paid attention. One road was the safe path, the one he knew with a job in an industry he knew well. The other road held only an idea and an unknown outcome. He knew that if he took the safe path, he would forever wonder if he could have succeeded down the other. So with his family’s encouragement, he took the leap in 2012 and joined Andrea Hansen in building Venuefox.com.
What are you working on right now?
You know how millions of people plan events every year (kids birthdays, weddings, or even guys/girls night out)? Well, Andrea and I are creating Venuefox, a website where you can easily find different vendors in one place, save searches and share finds with your friends. So instead of doing multiple searches for transportation, venues, catering, etc., you can use this one-stop shop. This brings to light not only the popular destinations, but also the hidden gems that many people don’t even know about.
Where did the idea for Venuefox come from?
You’re going to have to ask Andrea about that, but I sure like it!
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up early with the kids, take them to school, and then come home to work on all the different aspects of creating and starting a tech business. This involves creating wire frames to business cards and everything between. Even though it’s time-consuming to build something from scratch, I still make time for the family, friends a gym workout and a weekly slow-pitch softball game. You never know where inspiration will come from, so it’s important to stay social—and healthy.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I openly share ideas and entertain other people’s ideas. Being in sales and with a military type upbringing I have developed a thick skin. If my ideas don’t get positive feedback, I move on. There are tons of great ideas out there, but a lot haven’t been perfected or realized to their full potential.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
NFC—a technology that can replace my credit cards and all that other crap that’s in my wallet. How cool is it going to be when we don’t have to carry a wallet and can tap our phone to a terminal and pay for stuff?
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Detasseling. For those of you who never had the luxury of doing this, it’s a job that involves walking through cornfields for hours and pulling the tops off of corn stalks. By the end of a hot, humid day, you’re muddy, exhausted and covered in small cuts from the stalks. From this job, I learned that if I use more of my brain, less physical labor is involved.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Do I get to pick my starting point? If so, I’d probably go back to my freshman year in high school and work even harder at baseball. My dad said there was a small window of opportunity if I wanted to be pro. Needless to say, that window was missed. I didn’t work hard enough for that opportunity, so I’m making up that by making sure I don’t miss this one.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Work out! It’s so important. Walk, run, lift weights or do whatever you like to get your heart pumping and sweat dripping. It’s not only good for you physically, but it also clears your head, gives you more energy, and increases your confidence. #nuffsaid
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We haven’t had any major issues yet (knock on wood), but I know we will have them, so it’s not the getting knocked down that’s the problem, it’s how fast we can get back up. We’re training for that moment right now.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t have an idea, but I do have a recommendation: be coachable and passionate. Take advice from people who have been there before and from people who have failed. Be passionate about what you are doing or you’ll be dead in the water.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would make teleportation possible. How, you ask? Hell if I know, but wouldn’t it be cool?
Tell us a secret.
If I did, it wouldn’t be a secret any more.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Pandora. I’ve got to have the jams rockin’ to stay motivated.
- Entrepreneur.com. They have every angle of starting and growing a business covered.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m a big fan of The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber. It’s a book that helps organize and systematize all the details of your business. Gerber distinguishes working on your business vs. working in your business.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- Someone/something that makes you laugh.
- Someone you can learn from.
- Someone who motivates you.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud daily, thanks to my girls (ages 5 and 7).
Who/what is your hero?
Leaders, success stories, warriors, dreamers, champions. Nobody is perfect, but there is good in all of us. I take the most positive attributes of people and admire what they have done. And let’s not forget Jesus—he’s kind of a big deal too.
Jerod Mollenhauer on Linkedin:
Jerod Mollenhauer on Twitter: @jrodimo
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.