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Founder of Headline Solar Jared McKenzie is a 24-year-old Chicago native who attended the University of Arkansas majoring in Entrepreneurship before he dropped out to build and start his own digital marketing agency. After working with many individuals in the solar industry he became interested in that niche. So, he did some research and decided to make the switch from digital marketing to the solar industry.
Entrepreneur and Illinois native, Kevin Gillespie, joined Jared as a partner of Headline Solar in 2018 and together they are now the fastest-growing solar company in Illinois. Here is how McKenzie feels about helping his community.
How does it feel to be able to contribute to the solar growth of your community?
Honestly, it’s truly an amazing and incomparable feeling. Knowing that you’re not just helping people, but you’re helping the environment, you’re helping the people’s families, and you’re helping the future of the world just by doing something you love to do, is an indescribable feeling.
Sometimes I work for so long I don’t even eat, and when I realize it I care so little that I continue to work until I’m absolutely starving and malnourished. That’s how I know that I love what I do and that this truly is my purpose in life.
Being able to contribute to a community is something I never really thought I’d do in life, but now that I’m doing it on a daily basis I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I’m committed to continuing to do it every day and grow it to a much, much larger scale than what it is now.
What are 3 tips you would give to others who want to run a multi-million dollar business?
Know that you are going to have the most stressful time of your life in the beginning, and the stress never stops. The only thing that changes is how good you are at handling the stress. If you’re not stressing, you’re not progressing. Every time you level up and grow, there is more stress added to your plate. What separates you from everybody else is how well you can deal with that stress and continue to stay focused on the big goal and your vision.
Keep moving forward. As easy as it is to read and think “well of course”, it’s much harder than you think when times get tough. When building a multi-million dollar company there are an incredible amount of things moving at all times, and it is very easy to get caught up in one problem, issue, or part of the process and lose focus on the big picture. Always continue to move forward, and when there’s an issue to make sure it’s solved as smoothly and as quickly as possible, and then get right back to doing the things that help you progress the most.
Delegate. One of the most common problems I see in new businesses that are trying to grow is that they lack delegation. What do I mean by delegation? Hire people to do small and easy tasks so that you can focus on the big and hard tasks. The CEO shouldn’t be calling leads, setting appointments, talking to customers, managing projects, recruiting, and selling all at the same time; that’s not a business, that’s a job. Hire a project manager to manage all of your projects. Hire an administrative assistant to do the scheduling for you, sales reps, and other small tasks that are easy but time-consuming.
Hire an inside call center representative to do customer service and appointment setting. The CEO, founder, or executive should be focusing on the big tasks that result in the company being able to grow and expand the most. Don’t do tasks that you can hire somebody for $10 or $12/hr to do. Doing those will hurt you more than it will help you.