“Don’t Get Caught Up In Your Idea” The 5 Lessons I Learned Being a 20-Something Founder

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Tomczak. Jimmy lives to inspire. He’s an inventor, author, and speaker, serving doers who want to do more. Jimmy founded Wet Star to help people with big ideas take massive action. He regularly consults with bold brands, startups, and individuals in the marketing, strategy, and innovation space to help them grow.

Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?

I was the first in my family to go to college. I won scholarships to pay my way through my degree (BS Neuroscience 2010 + Program in Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan) but instead of going to medical school, I invented a product, started my own company, and was even selected to appear and taped for an episode of Shark Tank. Most recently I successfully launched the hardcover edition of my now #1 book, Lakeside & Tide: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life Now. You can see other top publications and podcasts where I’ve been featured here: http://www.jimmytomczak.com/press

Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I love the water. It’s so symbolic, perfect, and inspiring. I can look out over an infinite horizon and feel small but inspired, no matter how “big” my little ideas are. After consulting in the brand strategy and marketing space for many years, I founded the brand Wet Star with the goal to share this same vision and inspiration with others, serving to the best of my abilities. Most recently I’ve focused more on speaking and sharing my story with others so that they can begin on their own journey. I’ve spoken at national conferences like The Hero Roundtable, given a TED Talk (TEDxGVSU) as well as running workshops at huge musical festivals to help people find a breakthrough.

Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Yes! Absolutely. I have a few super-exciting projects percolating behind the scenes. I am not sharing them publicly yet. I would like to say that I am currently taking a “mini-sabbatical” of sorts to focus on what’s most important and encourage others to do the same. I scheduled a deep-dive of intentional time off to read, do nothing, and connect with people I’ve missed as well as meeting new people. If you’d like to grab a cup of coffee, please reach out.

Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I’d say I look at things differently than others. I spy threads interconnecting ideas, objects, and people that are often unseen. One of my favorite books is The Book of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images. Billed as a “handbook of visual experience” this book explores symbols and their meaning over time. This is the kind of book that you can sit with for five minutes and learn something. Make sure to have a dictionary in hand as you’ll have an opportunity to expand your vocabulary as well.

Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1- Make your finances work.

Know the numbers at all times for your business and your personal life. Keep things running smoothly so that you don’t burn out yourself or your growing company.

2 - People are most important.

Ensure the vision you have is inclusive of all the people you want to be involved in your journey: co-founders, employees, the community, partners, investors, family, friends — and yourself. You’ll meet so many amazing people along the way, be sure to always give thanks and support everyone who’s helping make your dream real. Help others more!

3 - Don’t get caught up in your idea.

Your “baby” — your business, your vision, your invention — isn’t as important as you think. The systems and holistic overview and execution is absolutely what’s most essential. How will you connect all the moving parts? How will you make sure you succeed even when the path seems impossibly difficult? How will you be sure you won’t give up? What if you have to? The ideas that work the best are the ones that help people the most.

4 - Be essential.

Will you be willing to stick with your idea, your business, and your people for the long haul? 5 years? 10 years? Your whole life? The journey will be grueling. Make sure you’ve asked the right questions before you even start. Don’t know them? Then it’s time to learn more! Asking better questions will get you better answers.

5 - More peace. More presence. More impact.

Enjoy the path as much as the end goal. How can you be happy today? You’ll get there eventually and maybe you’ll be even happier, but the key is to enjoy the entire process. Make sure you’re choosing something that deeply matters to you — and to making the world a better place, in one small way at a time.

Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this.

I’m always looking for unique ways to bring people together. Another fellow entrepreneur who does this well is Richard Branson. He hosts incredible entrepreneurs on his island and yacht. But hint: it’s not about the island or yacht. People tend to want what other people are having. What if you can simply have your own? Branson has started literally hundreds of companies and failed at many of them. He’s not afraid to take a risk. What are you afraid of? Find out and then do something about it.

I’ve always found that if I simply focus on doing more of what matters with the people who matter most, the rest works out.

I’m wishing it will work out for you too. Please reach out if I can help you do the same.

Some Resources from Jimmy Tomczak, Speaker:

7 Essentials For Peace And Presence — Hero Roundtable


Advice For Entrepreneurs: Start Now


On Life & Entrepreneurship


How To Feel Deeper — Lakeside and Tide


Failure is an Opportunity to Learn and Grow


Living Your Best Life Now Starts Today | TEDxGVSU


Michigan Entrepreneur TV


How To Decide: Write A Love Letter to Yourself


Facebook: @onejimmyt

Instagram: @inspirejimmy

Twitter: @inspirejimmy

Monthly learning email signup:


Jimmy’s book:

— Published on June 27, 2018