If you know what you are doing, then you will not be afraid to pull the trigger and catapult your business as high as it can go.
As a fourth-generation carnival attractions owner, Joshua Macaroni has learned the ins and outs of his family trade. Spending all of his life helping his family run Family Attractions Amusements, he decided to venture out on his own by starting J.J.’s Concessions in 2014 and has hit financial success from that point. His business sense and experience in the industry has helped the company shoot into the stratosphere. Joshua credits his success on never giving up the dream of running his own business and having the support of his partner, Amanda and their three children every step of the way.
Joshua Macaroni grew up in Quitman, Georgia with his parents and sister. They have been working with various fairs and festivals with their own attractions business for many years. When he is not working on building J.J’s Concessions from the ground up, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, who loves to go deer hunting, fishing, spend time with his family, riding quads, and build monster trucks. Joshua currently lives in Tampa, Florida with his family.
Where did the idea for J.J.’s Concessions come from?
My family has been in this business for four generations. So, it is not exactly an idea, but I am passing on my family legacy. I wanted to start my own company, so I was not confined to a nine-to-five job and still be able to make enough money to take care of my partner and our kids, without it being an hourly position. With that in mind I came up with J.J.’s Concessions and I became successful a few years after I began.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day is different, so it all depends on what my agenda is for the day. Sometimes I wake up at four o’clock in the morning and start on things to make my business run smoothly during Spring through Fall.
There are other days, where I may not have to begin until the late mornings or early afternoons. I may work late into the night during the Winter months in my shop, down in Mulberry. It depends on what I have to do.
There are many ways that I make my day more productive, though. I tend to plan my days for what I need to do; so, one day it might be setting up shop in a new town or tearing down to go to the next place. However, to get things done on time, I rely on teamwork from my crew and family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As long as the sun is shining and the money is coming in, I will always come up with new ideas to make my business better. Once I come up with something that would benefit J.J.’s Concessions, I tend to plan out how I am going to make it work around the needs of my business.
I will talk to someone like my better half or someone in the industry to see what they might think. Then once I have a few to throw around, I test them out to see if my ideas are something that I will continue to use or if they’re going to be a bust.
If one approach does not improve growth or income, then I start trying the next one, until something clicks, then it gets added to the entourage. However, what’s considered a good idea depends on whom you are sharing your newest innovations with.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There are a few trends that excite me. Right now, LED light technology is perhaps on top of the list. You can program them to change to whichever colors you want, make it flash in sync with the music, and a lot more.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I don’t ever punch a clock or look at my watch, ever. It makes time go by a whole lot faster, rather than watch it drag away, especially when the days are slow. I have the outlook of however long it takes to get something done; then I get it done. I am not a nine to five guy, so if something takes three hours to do, then as long as I finish it within that time frame and do it right, it was time well spent.
What advice would you give your younger self?
There are plenty of things that I would tell my younger self, but I don’t know where to start. I think it would be to stay focused, rather than going off into left-field. Also, I would tell myself to keep your business small, because that gives you more time to sit back and enjoy the more exceptional things in life, such as your hobbies and your family.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
My dad and I used to argue all the time about this, but he used to tell me that to run a business, you don’t need to bring on a lot of people. That is how he did things when running his business because that is all he could afford. However, I always believed that the more people you bring on, then the more money you can make.
So, when I started my business, I hired twice as many people as my dad did, and I made a lot more money. Not only did it help grow our revenue, it also made everything streamline a lot better. As the saying goes, you’re as good as the help you hire, and that is something I stand by to this day. So that is something I did which turned out to be true, though nobody wanted to agree with me.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
If you know what you are doing, then you will not be afraid to pull the trigger and catapult your business as high as it can go. Being in the company from the time I was born, learning everything I can to be successful like my parents, and my drive to keep things going smoothly, has been the one habit I have that has made me more productive.
It gives me ideas and ways to make my business better. I think that when you become an entrepreneur, you only have one shot to make your dreams into a success. So you cannot hold back, you must move forward and make it work.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Persistence is the key strategy that I have that helped me grow my business. No matter what obstacles you face, you have to plow right through them, to make it to the top. You can get there with a lot of ideas and with the right ones in place, then you will beat the competition and make it in no time. The only person who can control how well their business does is themselves and nobody else.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There have been several times where I thought I had failed as a businessman, but there is one which stands out from the rest. One time, it was when the LED lights were becoming popular, I had found a bunch of them for $4 per bulb, then I started looking around and found some for $1.30 a piece. So I bought 20,000 of them thinking they would be the same quality as the more expensive ones. Boy, was I wrong, they didn’t work nearly as well as the more expensive ones and I was out of a lot of money, which could have been used somewhere else.
Basically, within eight months, about 80 percent of the LED lights I bought died on us, so we were going to need to buy a lot more just to keep the business going. From that point on, I just started using the more expensive lights, that I knew going to last much longer than the cheaper LED’s. That was the most costly mistake I made as an entrepreneur. If I had just gone with the higher priced bulbs from the beginning, none of that would’ve happened.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
You can never have too many entities when it comes to being a business owner. Though it might not be the best advice or idea to give to your readers, I am a huge believer in having a part in as many businesses as possible. Because you never know if one venture is going to fizzle out, but you will have several others to back up what you would lose from the business that is not doing as well. Plus, it’s easier to retire at a younger age when you take part in a lot of different business, whether they are big or small.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I took my kids to the batting cage so that they could practice their baseball skills a few days ago. After that, we went to one of those mini golf places, where there were an arcade and a go-kart track. They played some miniature golf, drove the go-karts around the racetrack for a while and played video games too.
For me, it was an excellent way to spend some much-needed time with my boys, and we enjoyed ourselves while we were there. For them, it was a great way to bond and spend the day having a blast doing something they like. Anything, where I can spend some quality time bonding with my family, is worth all the money in the world. So that was the best $100 I have spent recently.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
There are two things that I use which makes me more productive in my work. The first thing is my mobile phone because I am always traveling, and it helps me stay in contact and keep up with the things that are important in and outside of my business.
Another thing that has helped out a lot is Facebook. I have a guy who does advertising on there, and it keeps our customers and fans aware of what is going on with J.J.’s Concessions. There is also a business page too, so new and former customers can leave comments and ask us questions. I try to get on there at least once or twice per week and that has helped the business grow a lot.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I work so much that there isn’t a whole lot of free time to sit down and read books. However, I do read online publications that pertain to the industry I am in, and it’s called The Outdoor Amusement Business Association Newsletter. It helps me catch up on trends and what is happening along the midway such as H2B visas and ideas that are working in other businesses within the Amusement industry. However, those come out every couple of weeks, and I will read other websites to see what is new with the company I am in.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is- work smarter, and not harder. That is because so many of us spend our lives working, that we don’t have the time to sit back and enjoy what is important. When you work smarter, you will get the same results as someone who works themselves to the bone, but in less time, so you can do the things you love and spend time with the people you care about.
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.