We believe that the most important thing in life are personal relationships and connecting with the people that believe in what you believe.
It all began when his cousin convinced him to watch the film adaptation of his favorite book growing up. It was at this moment when the credits starting rolling, that Jonny knew what he was going to be: a storyteller. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” inspired Jonny to pursue a Bachelor’s in Film Production and Accounting along with an MBA in Entertainment Management at the University of Denver. Jonny earned his CPA license as a symbol of his story in the accounting and corporate world. After working for PricewaterhouseCoopers as an IT auditor for just under a year, Jonny was ready to run his own company and utilize the power of storytelling to create a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect. As he felt closer to his cousin by sharing in his favorite childhood story, VP Legacies is creating deep meaningful relationships through the power of personal connection empowered by storytelling.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
My business partner and I had started multiple other companies in completely different industries, but realized that they had two major things in common – a belief in people and storytelling. Therefore, we created a video storytelling company, VP Legacies (the V standing for the freelance video production company we started – Vlizz, and the P standing for the mobile application company we started – ProtoLocal) as an all-encompassing brand dedicated to “creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect” (This is our “why”). The solution being storytelling. Stories matter. You matter (and this is our tagline).
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive? How do you bring ideas to life?
My typical day begins around 8:00AM or 9:00AM with an hour or two of work at my house. This is very much a planning period of the day when I eat a little breakfast, check emails and schedule out the day (and week). Then I go to the office around 10:00AM or 11:00AM to work with our employees. I make sure I help them with any questions they have and am available in person for them until around 4:30PM. I dedicate most of this time to meetings and client work.
Every day at 5:00PM I attend a yoga class to burn off stress, create mental and physical strength, and take a break from work. I look at this as my lunch break. After yoga, I will usually eat a dinner of some sort and am back to work around 9:00PM. From 9:00PM to 2:00AM or 3:00AM I am usually doing more client and creative work. This is my favorite time of the day to work. There are plenty of nights that I will stay up until 4:00AM or later working and am still up by 9:00AM the next day.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
We currently live in a world where people want to find passion in what they do. Simon Sinek talks about “starting with why” and creating a world where the vast majority of people wake up and want to go to work every day. This mentality that people can actually be passionate about what they do is extremely exciting to me. More and more people are figuring out that instead of working their wholes lives doing something they don’t like, but being paid well, they can do something they love. This trend is what inspired me to be an entrepreneur and follow my “why” in life.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
When I have something on my mind that I need and want to get done it is impossible to stop me from doing it. For example, I have always wanted to be a bicycle racer, so I worked my butt off over the last couple years so I could compete as an amateur. I also told myself that I wanted to become a yogi and within one year I am already taking classes to become an instructor. Throughout my whole life, I have always strived to go above and beyond in everything I do.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Life is all about perspective. Your perspective is created by the experiences you have and your choices within those experiences. If you want to have a positive perspective on something you can no matter what it is, you just have to work hard to create it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
We are in the middle of the biggest crisis humanity will ever go through. The personal connection crisis. What do I mean by that? Well, we currently live in a world where people are scared to build deep meaningful relationships with each other. The technology created to bring us together (phones, social media, etc.) is tearing us apart. It is creating a sense of thinking that people are expendable because of the perception that if a friendship or relationship doesn’t work out you can easily find someone else. People are numb to each other. People don’t know how to interact with one another without the veil of an electronic device. Therefore, unless we can figure out how to personally connect and work with each other once again, humanity will fall. Violence will prevail. Climate change will destroy us and nobody will make it to Mars. Personal connection equals world peace. Personal connection equals working together to solve problems. Personal connection equals change. Personal connection equals life.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Whenever there is something you want to achieve in life you have to find something you love doing to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to be in good shape, you must find the thing that you love doing and want to do every single day in order to get in shape. My why is “creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect.” In order to achieve my “why” I find the little things I love doing on a day to day basis. This can range from catching up with an old friend and telling them to embrace what they love to giving a VP Legacies t-shirt to someone who needs inspiration. The key in life is to set your goal or vision and then find things you love doing in order to get to that place of achievement.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
People. We believe that the most important thing in life are personal relationships and connecting with the people that believe in what you believe. Therefore, our biggest focus has always been on working with and hiring people whose values align with ours. When someone believes what you believe, they are willing to make sacrifices for it.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My ego. I have learned that in order to be a successful entrepreneur and to be a happy person in life, you have to let go of your ego. The biggest wall standing in my way has always been myself and once I realized that, amazing things have happened with our business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spend a little over $100 a month on my unlimited yoga membership. This is the best thing I have ever spent my money on. Yoga has completely changed my life. When I was in high school I was a very good athlete. I loved soccer growing up and my sophomore year of high school marked what I could have seen as the end of my soccer career due to a bad knee injury. However, after years and years of hard work and most recently my yoga practice, I have been able to get in the best shape of my life and play soccer again.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use a lot of adobe software due to the technical creative needs of my work. I am a storyteller through digital media creation, therefore, my pen and paper tends to be a wide range of creative video, photo and sound editing programs. I love how user friendly they are and that Adobe has a whole suite of programs that work together so seamlessly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. This book changed my life. Without this book and what Simon Sinek stands for, I would not be doing this interview today. Our company, VP Legacies, was founded on the principle of utilizing everyone’s “why” and story to connect with one another. Our entire philosophy was inspired by this book and now on a daily basis I start my day with a quote from Simon Sinek.
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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.