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, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and secrets of success with you.
Meet: Jon Rush, founder and President of C7DeviceRecycle.com, which provides corporate wireless device recycling solutions and fundraising programs for nonprofits. Rush got started in the wireless industry in 1999, founding Wireless American, an independent Nextel dealer. The 2007 Sprint/Nextel merger led to that business shutting down in 2010.
But Jon needed to make a living, so he started consulting for many of his former customers and often took their used equipment in trade for his services, selling the equipment on eBay and Craigslist. He started buying and selling recycled IT products—and launched his website in 2014.
Jon’s core philosophy for success is believing you can have anything in life you want, if you help enough people get what they need.
You can reach him on Twitter @c7recycle.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jon Rush: From as early as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I’ve never thought of doing anything else. I’m an entrepreneur to the core!
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Rush: At age 14, I briefly had a job working in a Mexican restaurant for $3.15 an hour. When I wasn’t working there, I mowed a couple lawns on the side and realized I was making close to $20 an hour mowing lawns. After six weeks at that restaurant job, I printed some flyers and added about 10 more lawns and I was officially “in business.” My brother still owns that company—I sold it to him when I left for college. Today, he grosses over $2 million per year with Rush Lawn Care. Not bad, huh?
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Rush: My pivotal moment was when my first son was born. At the time, I had a successful compact disc store in Dallas but quickly realized that to support a family, I was going to need more income. From there, I started opening more locations and realized that the “right” business can always be scaled up if the fundamentals are correct. If something is working but you want more income, expand. That’s what I did and continue to do.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Rush: The best advice I’ve ever received is to take care of your “ideal” customers. Create raving fans and they will spread the word about your company. In addition, you have to take care of your employees. The right ones will fit into your vision; the ones that don’t have to be let go as they will most likely never fit. My advice is that it’s OK to “fire” customers and employees if they aren’t the right fit.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Rush: It’s OK to experiment. It’s OK to fail. Don’t fall into analysis paralysis. Have a great idea? Don’t mess around, implement quickly and always be changing. Things move too fast, and if you’re not changing you’ll be left behind.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Rush: There couldn’t be a better time than right now to start or expand a small business. Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Rush: It’s a tie: The Luck Factor by Brian Tracy and Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Rush: “You can have anything in life you want, if you help enough people get what they need.”—Zig Ziglar
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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 email@example.com, 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.