J.R. Garrett – Co-founder of LogoGarden

Being an early riser is my most vital habit. Waking early just puts me in a “carpe diem” mindset. I wake up, go to the gym, do some reading, and then start prepping for my workday. Time can’t be regained, so maximizing your time is the most valuable way to ensure a productive day.

J.R. Garrett, co-founder of LogoGarden, has years of startup and management experience, including early- through late-stage VC portfolio businesses. J.R. helped LogoGarden close more than $4 million in venture funding, recruited C-suite management and board members, and helped grow the company to nearly 20 employees.

Previously, J.R. worked in business development at edo Interactive. There, he helped edo penetrate the crowded small business market space, leveraging innovations that let small business owners boost revenue and customer retention. He developed edo’s first action plan for outreach to prospective clients and crafted edo’s sales agreement.

J.R. also worked on legal teams at Walmart and the Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Bassett Law Firm. His legal experience spans a range of disciplines, including contract negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, and financial analysis. For legal teams, he managed large-scale, multi-personnel projects and handled business financials, legal risk management for C corporations and LLCs, business strategy, and corporate compliance.

Where did the idea for LogoGarden come from?

LogoGarden was started in 2011 and was the brainchild of my co-founder John Williams. He has been in the design industry for more than 25 years and has done work for numerous Fortune 100 companies. While working for major companies, he did side work for small businesses and realized that he could help more businesses if he developed a technology that could handle scaling. From there, LogoGarden was created.

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

My typical day consists of strategy planning, partner engagement, business process overview, technology review, negotiating contracts, reviewing contracts, and drafting contracts. That’s just part of it.

Needless to say, I stay pretty busy. But that’s exactly why I chose to be a key cog in a startup. I wanted to test my bandwidth and be the fuel for growth in a company. With all these hats I have to wear, I start my day with a “top 10” task list. I create this list the night before, and everything I do that day flows from that list.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas are easy to come by, but implementing them and understanding whether they’re worth pursuing is a different story. So I keep a journal of ideas. I write them down and sit on them for about a week. If the idea sticks after a week, I begin to discuss it with my co-founder. We walk through a typical cost-benefit analysis. Once this is complete, we collect and review available data, then decide on a timeline for implementation or table it for the future.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The growing number of startups! I love that people are starting to chase their dreams more frequently now than ever before. It’s beautiful. No one should be forced to stay at a job they hate just to make a paycheck. I get it. You have to pay bills, so I’m not saying that everyone needs to quit his job and put his family on the streets to chase a dream. I’m saying that if you have a dream to start your own business and the skills to do so, then you should start planning for it. And if it’s something you can build while staying at your day job, then you should do it. Life is too short not to do what you love.

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

Being an early riser is my most vital habit. Waking early just puts me in a “carpe diem” mindset. I wake up, go to the gym, do some reading, and then start prepping for my workday. Time can’t be regained, so maximizing your time is the most valuable way to ensure a productive day.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never had a bad job. Since I was 13, I’ve always taken jobs that were perfectly suited to help me gain a valuable skill. Because of this mindset, every job has actually been great. Some jobs were better than others, but I’ve really enjoyed all of them — even stocking groceries at my hometown supermarket.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

If I could start again, I would get my MBA sooner. I’m finishing up my MBA now, and it has made my time extremely tight.

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

The one thing I do over and over is to ask questions. Without asking the right question, finding the right answer is impossible. Asking questions ensures that you know all the facts and can set proper expectations.

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

Be genuine. I know this is a cliché answer, but it’s one that I wholeheartedly believe in. Being genuine is the best strategy to grow a business. Whether it’s customers or partners, being genuine creates a sense of comfort and trust that no amount of money or marketing can buy. People love genuine people, and it’s people who are buying your product.

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

My one failure was when I tried to start an apparel company back in 2005. I was still living back home in New Orleans, and about a month into it, Hurricane Katrina hit. I gave up on the business and moved away. I know this doesn’t seem like a failure, but I believe that quitting something you love just because you’re facing an obstacle is a failure. I still own the name to the company, and for the life of me, I can’t get myself to restart the company.

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

A shopping cart. Fashion bloggers are a big deal right now, so they should leverage that and make their knowledge worth more than just a CPC. They should create a service where they fill shopping carts for people who are gift-shopping for their spouse or grandchildren — or anyone looking for clothing help.

If husbands are brave enough to buy clothes for their wives, most of them fail. Most in-laws and grandparents buy clothes that parents just don’t want to put their kids in. Having a fashion blogger build your shopping cart for you will help guarantee a higher satisfaction rate for clothing purchased as gifts.

Tell us something about you that very few people know.

I’m a terrible singer. Most people assume that I can sing, but I’m pretty bad.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Google. Google is the best for a reason.

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

The Ten-Day MBA” by Steven Silbiger. Education is a valuable component to success. Too many small business owners want to rely solely on “gut instinct,” but I believe that to be valuable, you must actually understand business mechanics.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

The best way to develop and grow a business is to understand yourself. I think that taking some time to read the philosophy greats is the best way to do that. My preferred philosopher is Aristotle.


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