Episode 54: Profit First For MBEs: Collaborate To Grow The Pie

Episode 54: Profit First For MBEs: Collaborate To Grow The Pie

Always focus on what you wanted to accomplish that will change. Give yourself the grace to change your mission. If you’re going through different life stages, whether it’s marriage, children, divorce, education, health, let it change. That’s the beauty of life. 

Susanne Mariga:Welcome to the Profit Talk Show. In this show, we’re going to explore strategies to help you maximize profits in your business while scaling and creating the lifestyle that you want as an entrepreneur. I am your host, Susanne Mariga. I am a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Profit First Professional and a Certified Tax Coach. And today, we’re going to talk about strategies to help you maximize profits in your business.
Susanne Mariga:Hello, Profit First Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders. I am so excited today because we are interviewing Jerry Won, and we’re interviewing Jerry Won for the book, Profit First For Minority Business Enterprises. And, I’m excited about interviewing Jerry because he is the founder and CEO of Just Like Media, which is the home to multiple apple 100 podcasts. He is the founder of the Asian podcast network, which is a global network of podcasters and industry professionals. Jerry is a keynote speaker on topics of storytelling, career development, as well as diversity, equity and inclusiveness, which is a very important topic these days. And Jerry helps leaders and founders grow their personal brand and authority through podcasting, and he creates brands and communities rooted through authentic storytelling. Please welcome Jerry to our platform. Hi Jerry, how are you? 
Jerry Won:Hi, thanks for having me. This is great. 
Susanne Mariga:Yes, I am excited to have you, too. So, Jerry, tell me a little about your business. It seems like it does a lot of good in this world. Tell me about your business. 
Jerry Won:So, we are a podcast first media company, and we are focusing on Asian-American and Asian stories. The reason why we started, it’s because it’s stories that we need to hear in the universe, in the world. I didn’t have a lot of these stories growing up, and I have two little kids, and it’s our responsibility to create things that we want them to grow up with. And so, we have the opportunity, thanks to technology and the mediums like podcasting, that really lower or eliminate the barriers to entry that typically used to exist in storytelling. So, this is the time to do it. We started it earlier this year, we have now published seven shows, and working on a few more. This is really exciting because these are stories that I think about if I had these stories growing up, how my life would have turned out. And this is not to say that none of us are, not myself, especially not having, not happy with the way that life turned out. But, you can also imagine like what if we had a little more inspiration, motivation, and a different role models in life 
Susanne Mariga: That is amazing. That is really amazing because, I think, that one of the great things that we have as minority business owners is that we have our stories. We’re not just doing it for ourselves, but we’re doing it for the generations that came before us and hopefully set at our kids leave a different legacy, too. That is incredible that you are making that collection of stories and sharing it with the world. That is awesome with that. So, Jerry, as an entrepreneur, tell me about what are some of the biggest hurdles that you have faced in building a business? 
Jerry Won: I think the biggest hurdle in starting a business is just the belief that you can start a business, that your story matters. For me, in the business that I run, it’s all one and the same because the business is about storytelling. First, you have to believe, I don’t know if it’s first or second, but at the same exact time, you have to one believe that your story matters and two, that you have every right, the authority and permission for you, from yourself, that nobody else to start a business around that. And, to go into that further, I think a lot of us and whether you are Asian background or a different minority group, we’ve been generally taught that we weren’t allowed to do things, that certain things were not meant for us, the way that American media has and continues to be structured is somebody needs to give you the green light to do something.
Jerry Won: So, you’re writing a book. It’s getting different now with self-publishing and Amazon print on demand and all these other great opportunities, but in traditional publishing, somebody needed to say, “Okay,” and if that person didn’t say, “okay,” you didn’t get to write a book, same thing as TV, same thing as radio, same thing, even just as pre-internet newspapers. So, the self-belief that you deserve, that you have every right in the universe to start something, and you don’t need anybody’s permission, that mental block, I think, is the most challenging thing that I faced and that so many other friends and fellow business owners faced. The technical stuff, you can figure out, the mental blocks are really the toughest part because those don’t ever go away. 
Susanne Mariga:That’s very true. There’s a serial type and there’s a site of norm and then, there are expectations, and it doesn’t often leave you with that permission to be yourself, or to pursue your dreams. So, that is incredible there. And tell me, Jerry, how did you overcome this hurdle of really giving yourself permission to do something very non-traditional?
Jerry Won:I think it didn’t start out as One Media Company. It started as One Podcast right before the podcast, it was a series of Instagram posts and LinkedIn posts and just content creation and just getting comfortable with posting content where you do it for yourself, not from the validation of vanity metrics or likes or followers that it’s so easy to fall into those traps of letting that dictate your self-worth as a storyteller and as a human being. But, I think where it really came to a fork in the road was, you imagine the world without it and that becomes inexcusable. So, as many people do when before you start a business, we make a lot of future promise statements. We say, “I’m going to start a business. I got a great idea. I’m going to start a podcast.” I told friends that I’m going to start a podcast for probably a better part of two years, probably to the point where they’re like, “yeah, yeah, yeah.” 
Jerry Won:It’s another thing that, Jerry or anybody else has, they’re going to do, and it’s not going to happen. And one day you’re like, “That’s it!” You just need to pick a date and commit to it because again, if you don’t do it, and I’m not saying that I have to be the one, that’s not certainly the thing, but if not you, then who? All these clichés that come to mind, and as I mentioned earlier, I have a three and a half and a one and a half year old. And, between me and the kids are the generation that is currently in college. And, I do a lot of mentoring and coaching and speaking with young folks, not a lot has changed for them in terms of what they’re exposed to, what sort of career opportunities or life aspirations that they think that they have. 
Jerry Won:And so, it’s been about 20 years since I’ve been in college, it’s going to be about 20 years until my kids go to college. And so, that right in the middle, nothing has really changed even though Asian Americans and other minority folks are doing such amazing non-traditional things in the world. And, we have the internet and podcasting to go and just turn on our microphones and share our stories. What’s the gap? The gap is that, not enough people have done it because there are two things. I think one is external pressure or external fear of, “Is my story worthy? Or, there’s, “You go to a Barnes and Nobles and you see all these books,” and you’re just like, “Oh my God! Why should my story matter?” And then, particularly within diverse communities, we get scarcity mindset. 
Jerry Won:And, this happens this way. It goes, “Wait a minute. Why aren’t there enough Asian American podcasts already? Aren’t there enough black books already? Aren’t there enough?” Once you start doing that, then you talk yourself out of doing it because you get into this small pie scarcity mindset. And, you’re saying, “Where do I fit in?” But, that’s just absolutely the wrong way to think about it. The right way to think about it is, cut yourself a slice, grow the pie and exponentially, everything grows. And, that is really easily digested logically, of course, because it makes sense. But then, for you to process it and for me to have processed it and to say like, “Okay, cool, I’m just going to run with it.” I think that’s a process where everybody’s at a different part of the journey and in particular, in 2020, if all that’s going on and in the podcasting space, it’s just a really great time to be storytelling. So, you and I are talking over zoom, and we may never meet in person and out of the 80 plus episodes that I’ve done for the Asian Americans, I’ve met two of them. And so, we’re trying to tell the world through our own actions that any excuse that you have given yourself to not story tell is invalid. There’s no excuse that is valid now for you not to share your story. 
Susanne Mariga:Definitely. My father is Chinese. My mother is African-American and, from my dealings with my dad, the options that we had as careers growing up was, “You could be a doctor, a lawyer or engineer, but don’t be an accountant because you’re going to work a lot.” And so, I imagine you got a lot of flack for saying, “I want to be a podcaster.”
Jerry Won:It’s funny because my father was a physician and I married a healthcare professional as well, but like it’s around me. I made it pretty clear with my parents early on in life when I was a teenager that I wasn’t going to go down the path of medicine or in anything traditional. They were relieved. So, I flirted with law school in my twenties, which they were really happy about, ended up not going. And then, eventually ended up going to get my MBA, which they were like, “Okay, at least it’s grad school.” So, that’s cool. But no, it’s not just my parents, but I think it’s a lot of people in the community who define their versions of success by a limited set of options. The illustration I like to use is like, “You get a menu and then there are three items on the menu, and you don’t know that you can order off the menu.” 
Jerry Won:You can talk to the chef, and you say, “Just create something for me.” The world is infinite. But, if you just choose from the finite options of what’s listed in the menu, you’re going to think that those are your only options. And so, that’s exactly the reason why I started doing the podcast and to have different shows where we’re trying to showcase different avenues of Asian American life, Asian American identity and storytelling is that, we have people that went down the traditional path and now make sauces for Asian food. There are people who now sell coffee. So, it’s unfortunate that those folks also don’t get to be asked to share their story often. And so, I really appreciate this opportunity for you and I to be sharing this story because again, it really has to do with, if you build a stage, who are you inviting to speak on it? 
Jerry Won:And, I read a lot of business books. I used to listen to a ton of business podcasts and stuff like that. And, there’s not a lot of people that look like me and you, neither in the guest chair nor the host chair. And, unfortunately the hosts don’t actually, and their producers don’t really have any alarm urgency or desire, that it doesn’t bother them, that their guests list isn’t diverse. And so, I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with their advice from a content perspective. However, I think it misses the boat completely from a contextual perspective of, “You have no idea what it means to be a woman growing up in a black and Chinese family.” So, you are really smart and motivated, very famous, white, male motivational speaker, your way to handle something doesn’t work for me. And you can’t do that. 
Jerry Won:And, the only way to combat that is, for you to do what you’re doing, to provide hope and inspiration through your actions, to the girls who are in your same shoes to believe that, “maybe I can write a book one day,” and for me building this stage through the series of American’s podcast, and some of the other shows that we’re producing is extremely intentional in creating spaces for those people who never likely will never get asked to share their story, to come share a story. Not only that, but do it in a setting and in a room where the audience there’s going to be so hungry for that story. So, when I ask a question about our shared experiences and identity and racism and all this stuff in this country and beyond, it’s different because we know what we’re going through, and we know where we’re coming from.
Jerry Won:We’re living in the age of never-ending content. I hope that we shift slightly into a generation of an era of context where the world is different, and it’s not to demonize, whoever’s in charge of the majority of voice, but it’s just, you have to accept that it’s different. You have to accept that every voice matters. And, that’s what really excites me about what we’re doing is the best episodes that we’ve had are with people, for whom like coming on our shows, where it was their first podcast experience or first guest speaking experience. But, they’re very, very talented and accomplished people, but they’re not getting calls from somebody else because they don’t look like success. And, they don’t think that he or she, or they, have the authority to speak on a topic. So, it is not our primary mission. But, one of the things that we are happy to participate in a daily basis, is to, in our own way, tackle the dismantling of systemic racism by providing platforms for other people. And again, this is not the elimination of their voice. This is the amplification of ours to grow the pie because there’s plenty for everybody to eat and not everybody likes the same food. 
Susanne Mariga:I Love that. Really creating a platform for those who are not heard in the traditional media platform to be heard and to be able to share their expertise to people and give them hope for people that look like them, that may not have ventured into those spaces before. So, I think that’s a beautiful thing that you’re doing, too. And, one thing that I’ve always admired about the Asian community is that, the Asian community, they really support each other from what I’ve seen, but I don’t know if that’s what you’ve experienced, but I’ve seen that there’s a lot of support within the community. 
Jerry Won:Yes and no. I would say it might sound funny to you, but I actually think that the black community is more cohesive. There’s more shared experiences within the black community. Not all for happy reasons obviously here in America, but when you talk about Asian folks, there are 40 countries, 40 different histories, 40 different languages, 40 different food cultures. We come here for different reasons. Back home we hate each other because one country took over another and occupy, and so the term Asian American is relatively new. It’s only just a couple of decades old. I think what I am inspired by now is that we are now getting behind this new inclusive term to fight for everybody and understand that when we stand divided as Korean Americans versus Vietnamese Americans, we all lose. And, as with all things, and it’s especially poignant in here, you’re probably listening to these folks, not in 2020, but this is pre-election still. 
Jerry Won:And so, you have to form collisions and to build movements together. And it’s tough, it’s even among sort of, I guess if we were foolish to divide continents, there are more languages, major languages on the Asian continent as there is in Europe or more so in Europe, definitely North America there’s only two and a half, in South America which is predominantly Spanish with a mix of Portuguese. So, from a targeting and marketing perspective, it is extremely hard towards that In-language demographic because it’s hard, but the way that I would define sort of the opportunity from a business perspective in media for Asian Americans, and if you’re not familiar with population statistics, Asian American self identified are about 6% of the American population when the 2020 census numbers came in, we’ll see how that changes. 
Jerry Won:But using round numbers, we’re about 18 million people here in the states which is sizeable, but here’s a cool part, Susanne, there’s about seven and a half billion people in the world, but 60% of those are Asian. So, 4 billion of those, how many people either speak English well enough, or want to speak English well enough to understand the podcast. Conservatively, I would say that’s a billion. And so, instead of looking at the opportunity as an 18 million person opportunity, I’m looking at it as a one to 2 billion person opportunity because that’s audience. If you can get through and thanks to technology, you can listen to this podcast here, you might be here in India, you might be hearing this in Indonesia. We don’t know, but that’s the beauty of it. So, I think it’s always good to look at what is the actual opportunity because language and technology and access to that, although not everybody has equal access, it does even out the playing field in terms of access and opportunity to content these days. 
Susanne Mariga:Definitely. And, that’s a really good point that you bring out, too, Jerry, like when you’re starting a business, knowing what your market is, realizing that, “what is the propensity, or what is the opportunity for me to really grow and scale?” And, I love how you did that because there’s so many people will go into businesses whether it’s a great idea, but no demand. And, I think a billion people demand is pretty good. 
Jerry Won:I would also make at the same exact arguments myself, but I have a lot of friends and I see a lot of people in the media industry that says, “I will not specifically target the Asian American community, or I will not specifically target the black community because why do I want to fight for six or 13% relatively of the population when I can just be a broad business podcast?” If you don’t know your audience, you have no audience, and then, that’s the same thing with a business, as with your personal business, with this book that’s coming out, you can’t say you’re everything for everybody. And, this is especially important. I think as a reminder, if you are a minority business owner, or if you identify with multiple cultures, we talked about context earlier, it’s going to be really, really, really hard for you to win in the general market. 
Jerry Won:So, not to say to stay in your lane, but know where your message is going to resonate the most and be completely okay with giving up 96%, 94% of the market if you will, but how fervent or how excited is going to is that 6% going to be for you because you don’t need the whole country. You just need a thousand people that love you. That’s how you can build a very, very successful business. I think that’s another thing that a lot of minority business owners sort of kind of have big moments of self-doubt about who do I want to be and who is my customer. And in terms of authenticity, there is a moment and many people who might be listening, who are still in that corporate grind will definitely resonate is that, there are many, many days when you just have to swallow whatever you want to say, just because it’s tough.
Jerry Won:So, when you go out and start your own business, again, this is similar to, if you’re sick of the stages that don’t exist, or the stages that exist, and you go through all this pain in the butt of actually creating your own stage, you have to make sure that your rules are being followed. And then, who do you want to be? Who do you want to stand for? What do you want to stand for? Who do you want sitting on the stage with you? Because that’s rarefied air that you’ve sacrificed a lot to build. 
Susanne Mariga:One of the things that you pointed out early in the interview was the vanity metrics. And, obviously you build a huge following at this point, 80 podcasts later, and you get top 100 Apple podcasts that are under your brand. That’s one of the things as minority businesses is creating that network and getting known. And, you’ve obviously been able to do that very successfully in your niche, which is the Asian population. How did you overcome those vanity metrics and build a true following and true customer base?
Jerry Won:It’s a daily struggle. I think numbers tell a story, too. So, it’s really hard to say like numbers don’t matter. They tell us a story. They actually help validate to other people or to other organizations that you should be paid attention to. So, this is not to say, ignore it all, but don’t let your emotions high or low get impacted by, or be impacted by what your numbers happen to be that day because if you get really excited on the day when your podcast hits it ranks, and you’re getting a lot of comments, you’re going to get depressed on the days that you don’t. Like in any business, like if you sell cupcakes, and you sell it, you’re like “great.” 
Jerry Won:But, that also means that, if you have a whole store full of cupcakes left at the end of the day, there’s balance, and so, if you sell a lot, great, if you don’t sell a lot, great. How do you get to that sort of middle state that’s consistently even keel? And, I think that the trick is to always think about things from the perspective of the customer. So, storytelling, or even writing a book, you will never know as an author or a podcaster what your true impact in perpetuity will be by you at making the decision to create something. You might get letters, as I do some time to time and, as you do as well, and you will from writing this book, people just pouring their heart out and saying, “I listened to this, that you produce. I read this book that you wrote, and it fundamentally changed my life. Thank you.”
Jerry Won:That’s what should keep you going. So, this is sort of, if it changes one life, was it worth it sort of conversation? You log into your host, or you talk to your publisher, and you’re like, “how many did we do today?” But if you sold one, but that person changed his life,  I’d take that any day, than 10,000 sales and just sitting on their bookshelf for the rest of their lives. So, it’s a balance. It’s not one or the other. Of course, if you just sell one book, that’s not good either because obviously, as they say no money, no mission. So, you need capital, you need funding, you need support to keep these projects going. 
Jerry Won:Again, which is really important is that this book for you, and for all of us needs to be a success or that it tells the market, it tells the publishers that there is crazy demand and a need for more books to be written by people that look like me and you because they don’t know. Is it their fault? Maybe. That’s why when we have movies like black Panther or Crazy Rich Asians, were they the best movies period in a vacuum? Maybe, maybe not, but to a degree that shouldn’t matter because Hollywood now know that if you make a movie full of black cast or full of Asian cast, like we’re going to go once. And so, same thing with books, but even in those movies, because there’s no direct communication with the end user and the creator. It’s really hard to know how many people are crying as they read your book and the people who actually get deeply moved, then cry. 
Jerry Won:How many are actually then reaching out to validate those feelings for you? Hopefully many. I saved all these emails and notes and a fun story here at our company, Just Like Media. We just launched a show called the Chan Chi Show, which is Chan Chi in Korean means a feast, a festival, a celebration. And I had three folks on our show, Dear Asian Americans. One was a friend of mine from 10 years and two guys who just apply to be on the show from knowing about the show. They’re all Korean adoptees that were adopted by white families in the middle of the country. Now, they have their own show. And each of them wrote saying like, “it was very, very refreshing to hear stories of people like me because I never heard that.” And so, we went from producing shows ourselves, having friends on it. 
Jerry Won:And then, now those three friends are now producing their own show. And we’ve now, as of this recording, three episodes in already letters, notes, DMS from people saying, “I’m crying, you’ve changed my life.” This has been great. And so again, how do you balance that? Because for us, to continue this, and whether it’s a podcast or writing a book, time is the ultimate currency. To create time, you need money, and every business owner should know that. You need capital to make the thing work, but it’s nice to get those things because you know that it hits, you just need to figure out that other stuff later. 
Susanne Mariga:Definitely! And, I think you bring up a really good point, too. The saying it comes into my mind from you speaking is, each one, reach one, and we create demand for our business, and we allow our voices to be heard by creating that demand for the stories, the books, the role models. We create that demand. And so, it’s about also as a community, each one reach one and demand that we have people that look like ourselves to go to that next level. 
Jerry Won:Well, as we always say, if you ever go to a Barnes and Nobles and you walk through some of these, especially in the motivation section or the self-help section, you’re like, “Who wrote all these books?” or, you watch a movie, and you go, “Somebody paid for this?“ So, people are allowed to make crappy product and I think, especially for Asian, black, brown, LGBTQ folks because our opportunities in that bats are so limited. We put all this pressure on ourselves to get it right every single time. And so, I hope we get to a point where you can have an Asian movie, a black movie that sucks. It’s bad, it flops, but that doesn’t have anything to do with whether the next one gets mad or no, that’s just, hopefully, that the future that we want to create together and then same goes for podcasts or books or anything like that. There should be so many that we don’t know how many exists in the universe, and that’s creating a very similar. If you want a copy of my concept and create your own show,  I’ll help you to do it, there’s nothing proprietary about it because you have a different guest list, and you have a different tone and a different vibe. That’s going to hit your different audience. And, in a very, unique and important, necessary way. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. It’s not necessarily about competition. What’s going to elevate us? It’s about collaboration. And, I love the fact that you’re saying, “Hey, if you want my idea copy,” and you guys heard that, copy Jerry, 
Jerry Won:I’ll get started because look, the whole goal is, math whizzes can figure it out. What is the area of a circle? It’s PI R squared. The whole thing is exponential. I’ll take a half a slice, but if we double the pie, I get four X. Don’t hoard onto the limited resources, don’t fight over scraps, like grow, grow the pie. And, in terms of making, whether it’s Asian podcasting or book writing, a thing where the world starts to notice and sponsors and partners start to notice, there needs to be a massive body of content out there and not just one or two heavy hitters. So, if you’re out there, and you’re like, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to do, but I don’t know how to reach out.” I’ll help you start it. That’s not because I hope to have played a very, very small role in a growing room of not just Asian, but just every unique person telling their stories because as we started the show with, we’ve been told our entire freaking lives that our stories aren’t worth, nobody cares about our story. That we have to assimilate. It’s pretty awful. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. Let’s grow the pie, let’s grow the pie, minority business enterprises. Profit first, let’s grow the pie. We’ll double it, triple it. 
Jerry Won:And then more and more people can participate. 
Susanne Mariga:Now, Jerry, one of the things, you obviously work with a lot of entrepreneurs, what are you seeing is the top barrier to success in entrepreneurship with minority business enterprises?
Jerry Won:That’s a really good question. I think it’s mindset and not hustle stuff you see on Instagram. Mindset, but just really believing in that you are capable of doing it, that you have the right and the ability to thrive in whatever it is that you set your mind to, whether there’s a lot of systemic things and cultural things, things that not maybe perhaps work against us, but that have conditioned us to believe that we should just to be good workers, that we take a paycheck, that we’re working towards a pension that if you’ve gone, as far as to say, I understand that system might work with them, but for me, I’m going to go down this own path. That’s probably the biggest hurdle. But, it is a daily struggle because it’s hard. 
Jerry Won:There’s no sick days. There are no vacations. There’s no turning it off. There’s no punching in and out. We get that. It’s the ongoing struggle and to believe, to continuously affirm and confirm that our decision to do something for ourselves was the right choice because whatever you’re doing, whether you’re taking a paycheck or you’re on your own, you’re growing somebody’s empire. And, you just have to ask yourself, “Whose empire are you actually building?” And, I think that’s the way out of the rut. “Am I contributing one brick to somebody’s massive pyramid? or, Do I get to build my small house?” But, it’s actually a house, it’s not just the brick. And so, anything that’s technical, especially with the internet and YouTube and all these resources out there, like anything technical, whether it is through this book, Profit First, you can learn the processes, you can learn the skills, you can hire out for the skills, you can partner with people that are smarter than you actually should do that. 
Jerry Won:But, what you can’t buy is confidence. Work with coaches, get people around you that will help you, but ultimately, it’s a mind game. And again, I’m not making light of people’s different circumstances and our different starting points and systemic disadvantages. Just believe in yourself isn’t going to make magic happen, but whatever you think your selling is and whatever you think your opportunity is, you decided to do this for a reason. And, whether you have a small, a retail shop and through COVID-19, it’s been very challenging. I have decided to start an online business and to bring people together through digital medium. Always go back to your why and let that drive you because it’s so easy to quit. And, I think every entrepreneur at one point or another has flirted with the idea of going to get another job because it sounds nice. It sounds comfortable. It sounds stable. But then, think about why you quit in the first place, and that should provide the motivation for at least that day to finish whatever task you have in front of you. 
Susanne Mariga:Definitely! And, that’s really interesting that you do mention the word mindset because, obviously as an Asian American or as an Asian, the discrimination does exist. There are numbers that show it. So, on the black and brown side, there are numbers that show it. What do you do as an entrepreneur if you do face discrimination because even in the Asian community, there’s discrimination within, like you said, when you’re having 60 different languages, there’s going to be even biases within the same color line, but how do you overcome discrimination when you are the victim of it? 
Jerry Won:I think one is to speak up. Silence sometimes can be perceived as being complicit when the attack is happening against somebody else. And, you happen to be in the room. Silence can also seem like permission. If somebody wrongs you, and you don’t speak up, 2020 has been a really crappy year for racists who get filmed and get fired from their jobs. More of that should be happening. But, what’s freaky is, how many millions of those instances have happened to us personally, and to all of our people, and they walked away from it. There’s no magic sauce. That is like, if you recite this poem, like discrimination, you have to practice, just get to know good mental health practice to make sure that you’re not going to let that derail you from what you were put on this earth to do, as long as you do it safely. 
Jerry Won:Because if they attack you with words, they might attack you in different ways. Hold those people accountable, hold systems and organizations accountable. It’s awful. We have seen through this year and through some of our experiences that there’s a lot of ugliness in our own neighborhoods. So, that’s not going to go anywhere, but I would also go back to not only our audience identification in terms of whose going to resonate with you, but what business partners, associations, mastermind, whatever it is, your tribe, what did that look like? Do they understand what you’re going through? Not from just a pure business perspective, but from a human perspective. Who are you hiring as vendors? Who are you bringing along for the ride? Because every business spends money, so who’s coming along with you for the ride? Who’s helping you shape the future of your business?
Jerry Won:I think we’ve also gotten into a very, very, very linear and very numerically driven analysis of go with the cheapest person or, it’s just business. It’s just capitalism, but it may not be right. And so, in terms of very, very important, I think the people you work with, the people you partner with your customers, but also your vendors, hire people and work with people that will call that racists out when things are being hurled at you. Hire people that you are aligned with from a value perspective. Don’t hire the cheapest person. Don’t hire the smartest person if they don’t align it, if they’re actually going to encourage that sort of behavior. It’s unfortunate that we’re still talking about this in 2020. I just am not very optimistic that we’re gonna not talk about it ever. Or, they have the luxury to not talk about these things. Mental health first, safety first, obviously. And, if it’s a toxic business relationship, ask yourself if the money is really worth it. I walked away from clients where it’s just like, “I’m not going to do that for you because you and I do not see eye to eye on the basic tenants of humanity.” I’m okay with that, walked away with some money, but it is what it is. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. The ethical responsibility of business is being an entrepreneur or to move everyone forward. To move everyone forward is to make sure that you support businesses. So, I love that. Thank you, Jerry. That’s a unique spin on that and really being careful about whom you align with to make sure that at the end of the day, you are moving your purpose forward on an ethics side, as well as a financial side, too. I think it’s very important in terms of leaving a legacy business. So, thank you for that. Now, Jerry, for rising MBEs that are out there who are wanting to take their business to the next level and scale and become the next seven, eight-figure business, what advice would you leave them? And, it can be personal, your choice. What advice would you leave these rising MBEs? 
Jerry Won:Focus on the things that people will talk about at your funeral. Last time I checked, we don’t put company logos on tomb stones. We don’t put cars, houses, vacations. People who show up to the funeral will be show up because you made an impact in their lives. And I know, we’re talking about business, but business at the of the day is a bunch of transactions between human beings. And so, if you focus on the impact that you want to have left on your customers, your members, your employees, and then on yourself, I think that will help you figure out the next steps. And again, I know we’re on a show talking about a book called Profit First, and I get that. But, if all these other things work, the numbers will generally not take care of it, but it’s easier for you to attain financial goals and achievements when everything else aligns and everything else seems right.
Jerry Won:Because I think this goes back to your why. Why are you doing any of this? You buy the biggest house on the block, somebody’s going to build a bigger one. You buy the newest car, next year, it’s old. So, when you think about, “Oh, we wanted a million dollars in sales this year!” Great. Somebody is doing five. Are you going to let those metrics determine your value and worth as an entrepreneur and as a human being? I think the answer is unfortunately, or I guess, not as often as it should. So, my advice would be, always focus on what you want to accomplish that will change.
Jerry Won:Give yourself the grace to change your mission. If you’re going through different life stages, whether it’s marriage, children, divorce, education, health, let it change. That’s the beauty of life and know that you’re doing it for yourself. We’re on a podcast talking about a book. So, I’ll leave it with the book metaphor. If your life was a book, for the very majority of us, there are many, many, many blank pages, who’s going to write it?  How do you want that book to end? Because that’s on you. You can’t change the written chapters already. You can also actually change how it is told, what that story is. If you’ve had ugly experiences in your life, as we all have, will you write chapters upon chapters of that, focusing on it, or do you just mention it and you focus on how you’ve recovered from it? So, it is really important to figure out, train yourself how you’re going to tell the stories of things that have happened, but also figure out a strategy to how you’re going to write the rest of your book because if you don’t, somebody’s going to write that story for you, and you’re probably not going to be very happy with that ending. 
Susanne Mariga:I love that. How will you write your story? That is really wonderful. Thank you, Jerry. And, how can our readers, listeners, viewers reach you to work with you, to learn more about what you do and to really elevate their businesses in the podcast world? 
Jerry Won:Thank you. The easiest way is to find me on the website at jerrywon.com or on LinkedIn. I should be the first Jerry Won that comes up, and hello@jerrywon.com is the email address. And, the podcast company name is Just Like Media, where we create stories by and for people who look just like me. So, it was a fun play on words there, but yeah, do reach out, and it doesn’t have to be podcast related, but if you want to connect and help each other grow, or if you have any questions based on what you’ve heard or what you’re reading, we’d love to connect with you. LinkedIn, website, I’m on Instagram and on Facebook, all Jerry Won. If you can find me there, that would be really, really excited to meet with whoever’s listening. 
Susanne Mariga:Thank you, Jerry. And just so, for you guys to know, it’s W O N. So, jerrywon.com. Thank you, Jerry, for being on our podcast today. 
Jerry Won:Thank you so much, Susanne. I think you’re doing an amazing job and I want to thank you, specifically for building a stage and a platform for a lot of us who rarely get asked to speak and to participate in these processes, to participate in yours and for us to share our stories. 
Susanne Mariga:Thank you, Jerry. 
Susanne Mariga:I want you to have your most profitable year ever. Yes, no matter what’s going on in the economy, no matter what’s going on in the world, you can have your best year ever. And I want to show you how. Join me in our private Facebook group, where I will be hosting our Free, Yes, I said FREE Profit First Masterclass on Facebook. Please join the Profit First Master Class with Susanne Mariga. I look forward to seeing you there and watching you have your best year ever.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained within these podcast is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute, an accountant-client relationship. While we use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate and up-to-date information, we assume no liability or responsibility for any errors, omissions, or regulatory updates in the content of this video. Any U.S. federal tax advice contained within is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under U.S. federal tax law.

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