There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success”, a weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, innovative, successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Jason Jani, who’s been described as a multifaceted artist, innovator, and marquee open format DJ. Jason has more than 15 years of nightlife and private event industry experience. He’s the founder of the SCE Event Group, a boutique entertainment company, and has participated in many innovative events and projects over the course of his career as a fulltime professional DJ.
Jason quit his job as a telecommunications engineer lured by the appeal of his lifelong hobby. That risk paid off. Today Jason works with high-profile brands and celebrities such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Jimmy Kimmel and Guns ‘n Roses.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jason Jani: When I was younger I always wanted to be a firefighter. Firefighters are tough and fearless, and I have always looked up to them—I still do! My aspirations changed when I got older, and went to college for Networking and Communications Management/Telecommunications Engineering at DeVry University. I am really comfortable with computers and anything to do with telecommunications—I thought that would be a secure path for my future (there are so many options in that industry). But I quickly learned it was not my passion. I liked it, but I didn’t love it.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Jani: I worked as a DJ on weekends for years. It’s how I got through school and it was always something that was fun for me. I actually didn’t think of it as work; I truly enjoyed the craft, and its ability to affect people and their feelings with my interpretation and playing of music was awesome.
After working for others for years, I noticed there was a void in the industry for what truly got me excited—producing ultra-personal, boutique-influenced events and helping people celebrate life’s finest moments. That was cool to me! After doing both for an extended period of time and growing my business part-time to a respectable level, I had a decision to make. It was fairly easy because I felt I was working my day job to support my passion and habit as a DJ on the weekends. Long story short, I took the risk and grew a niche business within an industry, using the craft that I was extremely passionate about.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Jani: There have been many pivotal moments, and honestly it is really difficult to point out just one. Every day I experience something new in my business that continues to help me grow and succeed. It constantly evolves. Having the opportunity to do events across the country or even internationally, and receiving praise from colleagues in the industry from across the world has been eye opening for me. I work extremely hard, sometimes putting in over 100 hours a week. That is the kind of commitment this business expects from you, especially if you want to stay ahead of the pack!
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Jani: Don’t be afraid to fail. Invest in yourself. Sometimes in order to grow, you need to take a risk. You just have to care about what you are doing; you have to have that desire to be bigger and better, and always be ahead of the curve. Whatever the case, if you believe and are willing to work for it good things will follow you always. Make it happen!
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Jani: Take the time to understand what it takes to deliver your product or service from an entry-level position through long-term projections. Take the time to appreciate not only those who influence your business but also those who make your business possible.
Lesonsky: Do you have a small business prediction for 2015?
Jani: Ultra-personalization of business practices is key. Have direct engagement via various social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. The standard, broad-stroke marketing techniques from the “old days” (two years ago) are already outdated. Personal interaction and engagement is key.
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Jani: There are two that changed my life: Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life, by Spencer Johnson and CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion, by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Jani: “Music succeeds where politics and religion fail.” – Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.