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Jonathan Maxim is an app designer, digital marketer and thought leader in the fitness and technology realms. After leaving his job at a Fortune 50 company, he merged his management experience with his passion for technology and innovation to create Apps that encourage fitness and wellness. Educated at San Diego State University first in Graphic Design and User Interface, he went on to gain his Masters of Business from SDSU as well. Currently he serves as founder and CEO of Vea Fitness, an app that rewards you for working out with monetary incentives.
City where you’re from: San Diego
Hobbies: Weight lifting, yoga, graphic design, travel, snowboarding, tech/startup communities
Favorite quote: Asking for permission is asking for denial
What are you working on?
Jonathan Maxim: Vea is the fitness app that rewards your workouts with discounts and free gear from top retailers like Saucony and New Balance, as well as allows you to join group fitness challenges to win even bigger prizes!
How did you come up with this idea?
Jonathan Maxim: I became so inspired by fitness in college, that I knew I had to share this motivation with others. But didn’t know how? I had become happier, more energetic, more successful and in better shape – all starting from a fitness habit. But how do we reach the masses with motivation? Then it came to me – can we give them instant gratification for working out, in addition to long term results? Can we make brands pay them to workout?
How is your company different?
Jonathan Maxim: Vea Fitness is the only app that rewards you for every workout, and gives you entries into challenges to win bigger rewards.
What’s your dream with your company?
Jonathan Maxim: Make America Fit Again.
How do you creatively advertise?
Jonathan Maxim: We host private penthouse fitness events at various rooftops throughout the city for fitness influencers with 5k+ instagram followers. Then we provide them marketing content to share.
What was your biggest struggle that has now become an asset?
Jonathan Maxim: I was born dyslexic – I couldn’t read properly, and therefore school was incredibly difficult. But I didn’t realize at the time, so I didn’t seek help. I ended up studying way longer to achieve similar grades. But then In college I realized I was blessed in the creative side of my brain, and with interpersonal connections. So I doubled down on them, and my network has offered me way more value than any genetic predisposition toward an analytical mind has.
What were your biggest failure and biggest success? What did you learn from them?
Jonathan Maxim: Biggest failure is that I didn’t write systems for my first few businesses, and ended up reinventing the wheel for most tasks. It sucked all the fun out of work and made me very stressed because I couldn’t delegate. This turned me into a systems-obsessed neurotic, and now my two businesses can run without me needed. I’m also much happier.
Biggest success: Getting a $45K raise within 8 months of my first big house job. It wasn’t even on purpose, but I learned some amazing negotiation skills from it.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Jonathan Maxim: Don’t reinvent the wheel every time. Write processes for every task in your company, and that way you only “have” to do work that you want to. The rest you can delegate to a virtual assistant.
Teach us something about meditation
Jonathan Maxim: Meditate with Insight Timer (free on app store) in the morning for 10 minutes before a big day. It kills awkwardness, social tension and intimidation – making your presentation much easier.
What’s something new you’ve learned in the past month?
Jonathan Maxim: How to handle sales objections by Grant Cardone – extremely valuable knowledge for any salesman and I highly recommend.
Teach us something we don’t know (it’s vague and open-ended on purpose)
Jonathan Maxim: Having no marketing budget can be a good thing. It teaches you to be scrappy – to get out in front of people, to try creative marketing tactics, to growth hack. That way once you start making revenue, you can scale those scrappy efforts much larger.
What do you think you do better than most people?
Jonathan Maxim: Network. I don’t turn down opportunities to meet people, especially when I know they hold the keys to business opportunities. I rent a penthouse with some fellow founders, and host social affairs there. I’ve had everyone from top tier VCs to Kanye’s producer and film team over. But I almost NEVER attend “networking” events. Instead, I build friendships.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Jonathan Maxim: One key metric. Then model your whole marketing plan around that. For me, that’s downloads. For you, that might be sales. Forget about vanity metrics like Instagram followers. They are nice to haves, but don’t matter unless there’s attributable downloads.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
Jonathan Maxim: For realizing my purpose – the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
For business – Zero to One, by Peter Thiel
For lifestyle – Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
Jonathan Maxim: Vea Fitness will have an A List key celebrity endorser. We’ll be widely adopted as THE way to workout – and will have finally made fitness fun for everyone. Brands will be engaging with users through fitness in a personalized way – by sponsoring each of your workouts. We’ll have over 2M downloads.
For myself, I’ll fully location independent and have a fully automated creative agency, K&J Growth Hackers. I’m living in Los Angeles, with my wife and kid. I made Forbes 30 Under 30 the year before.