The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Jack Fleming is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jack Fleming. First and foremost I am a Child of God. Then, branching off of who I am, I own a marketing company and do CrossFit in my spare time. My entrepreneurial journey started in lower to middle school. I am a naturally creative person and have always had business ideas. There's a book somewhere In my parent's house with a list of ideas over the years. Yes, I did several lemonade stands in my childhood, but how is that different than another young kid? For my lemonade stands I dabbled with product options and variations, including different sizes and flavor options. My signs weren't just posters with big letters in the beginning and smaller letters crammed at the end. I went to the local dump and bought old street signs like "One Way" and "Stop." I sure didn't stop there. Farther along in my younger years I've shoveled snowy driveways, delivered groceries via bike to neighbors, and have created a system to let local kids make money by lending out toys. Moving on to high school I was similar to lots of other teenagers. Just trying to do everything I could to fit in. Simply put, most of the things I tried were all temporary, until I learned about Jesus through Young Life. My time in Young Life, and my relationship with the Lord has impacted how I operate my business, how I hangout with friends, and eventually how I marry and parent kids. I still volunteer in Young Life as a Leader at New Hanover High School today. Along the way of trying things to fit in I did a lot of outdoor activities. During high school I became an Eagle Scout, and I found whitewater kayaking. After watching professional kayakers make documentaries of their trips down the river and over waterfalls, I wanted to do the same. Long story short, that's how I got into filmmaking and eventually marketing. While at the University of North Carolina Wilmington studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship I started the UNCW CrossFit Team and Club. Over my Junior year I was able to grow the club to over 40 members, and our team was able to compete and represent our school on a national level. After graduating college I briefly worked as a Marketing Coordinator for a real estate company. Then I started my own digital marketing company on January 1st, 2020. We offer full service digital marketing including branding, website development, social media management, paid advertising, photography, and video. We've been able to help realtors, schools, non profits, gyms, restaurants, ecommerce brands, mechanics, and other businesses be seen. Over the past few years I've gradually been building the business, gaining new clients, charging more, and meeting bigger goals. Today I still own and operate my marketing company, Socialry. I am also the Lead Organizer for 1 Million Cups Wilmington, and am on the Young Professional Advisory Council for the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. I am still surrounding myself with great community, and working on new companies.
What did it take/how did you get started?
There are tons of ways to start businesses and "get started." I am grateful for the experiences I've had, people I've met, and steps I've taken to get here today. I truly believe that every little action taken leads up to a certain moment, and or, where you specifically are today. One slight shift like going 1mph less on a highway 10 years ago could have changed where you are today. I'm not saying this to say that you should dwell in past actions, but to instead level the playing field. All humans are very different, most noticeably down to our fingerprints. You can take what I say, and do it to a T, or you can create your own path. I don't think theres a clear right or wrong answer. I took the money I made while working for the real estate company and used it to build a website, get business cards, find coworking space, and buy camera gear. The company even said that they would be my first client. The next day I was nestled in the coworking space at UNCW sending my first proposal, and researching upcoming networking events. Learning along the way now became my answer to, "How are you doing today"? I knew that how I would prospect, what services I would offer, and how I offered those services would inevitably change and business developed. Oh, then COVID happened. Surprisingly, COVID caused more people to realize how important content, and the digital space actually is. I honestly still categorize myself as "getting started." It could be because I haven't met certain goals, or haven't created other businesses, but I'm not done yet.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
As I continued to grow my marketing company, and take on other side-hustles and responsibilities I know I will need help. My marketing company's goals include growing to a point we can hire full-time employees. Ideally we can hire a website developer, photographer, videographer, and social media manager. Personally I hope my future entails my marketing company as well as other businesses. I have a few ideas in the works at the moment. Those ideas include a freelancer software, social media leads tools (2x), outdoor gym, and workout beverages (2x).
What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?
Ultimately it's that I can show people Jesus. That's it. That I can run successful companies and be able to live a life that reflects Him.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Get started by just doing something. Something is better than nothing, even if that something is low-quality relative to what you want to do. Be everywhere. The best way to make a difference where you live is to start a business, join the chamber, network often, and join a CrossFit gym. Be humble. Know that you don't know everything. Be willing to take feedback and critique. Be you. Most personal brands today are combining professional and personal lives, "Realtor and Mom," "Law and Fitness," etc. It's possible to mix the two. Do it and have fun.
What has been the hardest part of your business journey?
Telling my parents.
How have you managed burnout thus far?
Noticing little wins. Setting smaller goals. Being okay with not working every minute of the day. I have definitely set some pretty big goals personally, for my marketing company, and for my other endeavors. I'm in-tune enough with myself to know that some days I will feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing. I move on, and learn on the better days when I close a deal, or have a client text me saying, "I truly love working with you." Manage it day to day.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
Anything Gary Vee
Jesse Cole (Savannah Bananas) book and LinkedIn
My First Million Podcast
Morning Brew Newsletter
List the founders
Jack Fleming (me)
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
When did you start?
January 1st, 2020
How much did it cost to launch?
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
I haven't raised any capital for my marketing company from outside investors. I plan to possibly do so in the future with other businesses.
$80,000 - Much happier making that all by myself than working for another person.
What's the #1 thing you need right now?
I am looking for a mentor. I'm also looking to network with everyone. So feel free to reach out to me!