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Making Something From Nothing: Jared Dalton Of The Jared Dalton Agency On How To Go From Idea To Launch

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Take advantage of grants and organizations geared to help small business owners. Simply filling out forms or entering contests have done great things for my business. For example, I recently received the Comcast RISE award, which provided free commercial advertising for three months. For a small business, that type of marketing is priceless!

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Dalton.

Jared Dalton is a 33 year old Nashville native and the founder of The Jared Dalton Agency LLC. His agency helps small business owners with their marketing and promotion — most specifically to social media. Jared had 1 client for the first year, 3 clients for the 2nd year and by the 3rd year he rocketed to an average of 25 clients. Now, The Jared Dalton Agency LLC has grown to have 2 full time employees, 1 part-time employee and other skilled contractors. He has served over 75 companies with positive results and has a physical location to encompass the team. Jared has been awarded with a Nashville Black 40 under 40 award, recipient of Comcast Rise’s grant program, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. He has taken multiple certifications to prove his marketing prowess but ultimately thrives from self taught techniques with experience in real world application.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I was born and raised in Nashville, right down the street from Zanies Comedy Club. Throughout my childhood I was a straight A student, involved in gifted programs, attended Meigs Magnet School and Hume-Fogg Academic High School, graduating with Honors. My grandparents played a major role in my upbringing and instilled me with Christian values that some might consider traditional or dated. The village that raised me — my parents, grandparents, godparents and church family — they raised me to be a God-fearing gentleman.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of the biggest lessons I got in life involved taking a one-way flight to Australia to pursue music. It felt crazy to leave the country without a ticket to come back home, but it turned out to be one of the most enriching experiences of my life. The quote that continues to resonate with this experience and my life is from hockey-great Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” If you never try, you’re guaranteed to fail.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The one film that has made a significant impact on my life is The Pursuit of Happiness. The story describes a determined father who experiences some tough challenges and setbacks in his career. Knowing that his success was bigger than himself, he refused to give up. I am the same way. Life gets tough, but perseverance precedes success.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

There is no question that people struggle with taking the first step in turning their great idea into reality, and I believe it is because of their fear of failing. When I first considered doing social media marketing and management full-time, of course I thought it was a great idea, but there was nothing to say that I would be able to make the business succeed — there was no how-to manual at the time. In my experience, it takes failure to learn what makes you unique and to build a business that keeps consumers coming back. Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. Success is a process, don’t be scared to get started on the journey.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

You should not worry about whether your idea has already been created. It’s like opening a new restaurant. There are already countless restaurants, but yours would have a unique taste or service. The current market is a good indicator of things such as new business trends, but most industries still have room for improvement. If your idea has already been created, even better, you know it already works! Identify how you can make the business model your own.

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

I first came up with the idea to start a company when a friend confirmed my skills in marketing. From this point, I mapped out my business plan, decided on a name for my company and created a digital presence with my website, brand and social media. With social media management, you might consider trademarks or copyright to protect your business ownership, and the business plan develops includes mapping out services and price plans using market research. When starting out as an entrepreneur, you’ll also want to get your business registered with the appropriate state and federal entities.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?

  1. Confidence is just as important as experience

Having the skill set is not enough on its own to lead teams and land clients. You have to have faith and show confidence in your product and your quality of service. In the past, I have held back on selling my company and my services, but it would have been more effective to have a short and impactful elevator speech that demonstrates the transformative power of The Jared Dalton Agency’s services.

2. It’s okay to fire a client

I wish people would have told me that it’s ok to fire a client. Although we strive to please every client, every now and then you realize that it’s impossible to satisfy everyone. Take the initiative to cut ties when red flags emerge — acting early will save you a lot of time, energy and money in the long-run.

3. Leadership requires you to be flexible and adaptable

When leading teams of people, there will be several things to adapt to personalities, schedules, priorities, people’s lives, etc. but you have to figure out how to organize that team for action. This includes potentially adapting the way you’ve come to do things in the past. Sometimes change is necessary to achieve bigger goals.

4. Apply for grants and awards

Take advantage of grants and organizations geared to help small business owners. Simply filling out forms or entering contests have done great things for my business. For example, I recently received the Comcast RISE award, which provided free commercial advertising for three months. For a small business, that type of marketing is priceless!

5. Schedule time to work on your business, not just in it

When leading a team, you initially are caught up in the work. Yet, in order to effectively scale and grow a company, you have to put in time managing more than just the day-to-day workflow.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

You should own the idea, and pursue it as if you know how to make it happen. Even if you aren’t sure how to do it, do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A product can take a while to develop to the point where it can be sold, and at an early stage it may not be appealing to potential partners. Developing a business plan helps you outline everything you would need to get to the point of sale. Work on obtaining the materials you need, and take imperfect actions. Getting started is the most important part.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

I started out on my own and ended up being successful. It is nice to be able to maintain total control over how my company operates, and I am fine with learning as I go.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

Both could be great choices, and you can even start bootstrapping until you get to the point where you are ready and willing to get venture capital. However, it also depends on how personal the idea is to you. You may not enjoy relinquishing control of your vision if it is very personal. Depending on the type of funding you accept, you may not enjoy relinquishing control of your vision if it is very personal.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

The primary focus of The Jared Dalton Agency is to help small business owners succeed. I could focus on corporations or federal agencies, but I chose small businesses because the support goes further. The JDA services create a big splash in a small bucket, if you will. Through professional social media marketing, we have helped many small businesses grow. Even in today’s technologically advanced society, many small businesses market solely off of word of mouth sales. When these company’s shift to a tailored social media presence and strategy, the growth and exposure to a larger market is almost immediate.

You are an inspiration to many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Everyday I walk this earth, I am very passionate, deliberate and intentional about how I navigate this world as a Black man. Knowing I do not carry this heightened awareness of navigating alone, it’s my hope that a movement would be ignited to allow Black men to have a safe space to express themselves .

We are very blessed that 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, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

If I could have a private breakfast or lunch with anyone, I’d love to chat it up with Nas. Outside of being my favorite lyricist growing up, Nas is a savvy business owner. I would love to get the behind the scenes perspective on some of my favorite hits, but I also hope he’d drop some knowledge on navigating the business and investment world.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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Fotis Georgiadis

Fotis Georgiadis

Passionate about bringing emerging technologies to the market