What Does it Really Take to Become an ‘Elevated Entrepreneur?’

While there isn’t a shortcut to success, there are coaches, mentors, and books that can certainly help you along your journey. Today on the Atlanta Small Business Show, we’re pleased to welcome Jake Kelfer, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and motivational speaker, to walk us through his latest book titled The Elevated Entrepreneur: Unlocking the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches, Performers, and Entrepreneurs.

Transcription

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Welcome and thanks so much for joining us today, Jake.

Jake Kelfer:
Hey, thanks so much for having me, Jim. Excited to be here.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. So for those who may be not as familiar with you as we are here at the show, tell us a bit about yourself and your journey.

Jake Kelfer:
Yeah, of course. So I began my journey with a dream of playing in the NBA. All right. That was the dream. But as a 5′ 8″ Jewish kid from the suburbs, that dream got [inaudible] pretty quick. And I realized that if I couldn’t play on the court, I had to find a way to be on the court. And so I went to college with the dream of being a sports agent.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Okay.

Jake Kelfer:
I’m at college, I’m doing everything I can to separate myself. I’m networking, I’m doing resume workshops. I’m literally doing everything I can. I get ready to graduate, I have a job lined up for me to work at my dream agency and they go on a hiring freeze.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Ah.

Jake Kelfer:
Immediately, before the careers even began, the dream has been hit with a roadblock.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure.

Jake Kelfer:
And luckily I kind of put everything together and I network with some people and I ended up getting a job working for the Los Angeles Lakers, my dream franchise. And so I began working with the team. It was Kobe Bryant’s final NBA season and I saw the impact that he had on the whole world. And I was like, that man knows what it’s about. And he can do it for the entire world, what if I could do it for someone’s world? And that led me to asking myself, what do I know and how can I help?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And over the next few months I ended up creating what became my very first book called, Elevate Beyond. And from that book, I ended up start speaking all over the world. I started working with more NBA athletes in the event that I created. But ultimately I had one mission, to turn dreams into reality. And as I’ve gone through my journey, I’ve helped tons of entrepreneurs grow businesses. I’ve built several businesses. I’ve spoken all over the world. And now the primary focus and part of why I wrote the book that we’re really going to talk about today is how do we help people turn their dreams into reality? And how can we do that from wherever we are, whenever we want to?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s the key. That’s what everybody’s looking for. So tell us about your latest book, The Elevated Entrepreneur, and the inspiration behind writing it.

Jake Kelfer:
So The Elevated Entrepreneur was entirely created to help people, regardless of the economic situation that they’re in, to be able to create a life that they desire, to be able to build a business that works for them and their style. Because I believe that while there is one goal for all of us, which is to achieve freedom, to achieve time freedom, choice freedom, financial freedom, there’s not one correct way to getting there. And so this book, I wanted to feature 39 of the world’s best to share their secrets, to show what does it really take? And to hopefully have people say, “You know what? I resonate really well with that person. I don’t resonate well with that person.” And then to be able to pick and choose the mentor, the person, the action, the sauce, the secret sauce that works for you to go in and double down. And so this book has really opened my eyes as an entrepreneur, and it’s opened thousands of other people’s eyes as well as they’ve gone through reading the entire book.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure, sure. It’s a great book. We highly recommend it to everyone. We’re actually going to make it available here. You’re just sone click away under this interview right here so you can get the book. But in your book you share how some of the best performers and entrepreneurs overcome their struggles on the road to success. Can you share one of those stories or lessons that resonates with so many?

Jake Kelfer:
Yeah, I think what’s funny about this is when we look at successful people as a society, we tend to look at them once they’ve become that successful person.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Jake Kelfer:
Right. You say, “Oh, look at this person. They’re an overnight success.” But you didn’t see the last 10 years of what it took them to get there. Right? And so one of the big things that I think I learned from all these people was not only we have to change our perspective, but we have to understand that if you really want something, nobody knows how to get there until they’ve gotten there.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And so a lot of the entrepreneurs in the book talk about disciplined and consistent action. They talked about how important it is to build the right relationships. They talked about the dance between the art of fulfillment and the science of achievement. And so when we think about overcoming adversity, I want to challenge anyone who’s listening to not just say, “Oh, look at where they’re at now.” I want to challenge you to think about, “Well, where did they begin?” Because we all start from the same place.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
It’s just a matter of what we’re willing to do to get to that end result.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Boy, there’s no question about that. So how do you define success?

Jake Kelfer:
The way that I define success and I think this is ever evolving. I think that success is our guide. It’s our compass to getting us to the place we desire most. I think of it like Jack Sparrow on Pirates of the Caribbean, right? Where he’s got his compass and it guides you where you desire to go the most.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Jake Kelfer:
And for me at this moment in my life, success is being able to have the freedom to do what I want, when I want, with who I want and to inspires others to do the same.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. Yeah, boy, that’s for sure. And like I said, that’s what everybody is after. And especially right now, that we’ve come through COVID and I think we’ve come out on the other side completely different than we went in. Right? We know what our strengths and weaknesses are. We know that we’ve made it through. In many cases, people have decided to say, “Look, I’m going to…” We hear about the great resignation, people have left their full-time positions with companies, maybe bigger or small companies, and said, “I’m going to start something on my own. I’m going to finally go into my own business. I’m going to take that side hustle and make it my permanent hustle or my main hustle.” So talk to us about that and the new times that we’re in.

Jake Kelfer:
Well, I think you nailed it on the head when you talked about how so many people are using this opportunity to create something new for themselves. And in our industry and working with online entrepreneurs and talking with a lot of people that are in e-commerce and a variety of different industries, here’s what we noticed. COVID gave people hours of their day back that they didn’t have because they were no longer commuting. And in LA where I’m from, that’s four hours a day potentially. Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And I know you guys have some pretty tough traffic out there.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, yeah. We do.

Jake Kelfer:
But what happened was all of a sudden now, we finally got the permission and we finally got the time to create something. So here’s what happened. Not only is that an amazing opportunity for people, but it also created more competition than ever before. Combine that with the fact that technology has made it easier to enter any type of entrepreneurship, we’ve seen more people, more access, limited barriers to entry, and it’s created two things.
One, it’s created a very, very clear way for the best to stand out because they’re able to show how much better they really are and the value that they provide. But it’s also created an incredible need to find ways to differentiate yourself faster than ever before because people don’t have a year, a two year gap now. They have a year, six months, three months to be able to prove some sort of result that keeps them in the game moving forward. And so that’s really been what we’ve been focusing on is how do we give these people that advantage? How do we help inspire people to say, you know what, what is that quick win? What is that emotional win? What is that habit that I can build to create the consistency so that I can end up making this side hustle my full hustle, making this dream opportunity my real life opportunity? And that’s really what we’ve been looking at and what I encourage a lot of people to do as they keep moving forward.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. So right now people that are listening to you and you’re full of energy and you’ve been down this road before and you went from nothing to something. In fact, more than something but building successful businesses and writing books, and you’re on this speaking tour and what have you and you are a success. Many people would look at you and say this guy’s made it. But it is now a good time with all that many people are looking at right now on the economic horizon and saying, wow, gas prices, inflation. We’ve got interest rates going back up. I always wanted to start my own business and I know that I could do it, but I’m not so sure this is the time. What do you say to those people?

Jake Kelfer:
I’m a big believer, Jim. All right. I’m a big believer. And some people may not like this answer, but I’m a big believer that there’s never going to be the right time.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
All right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I agree.

Jake Kelfer:
And if you want to wait, you can keep waiting. But look, do you know how many times I’ve heard someone say I got a million dollar idea and yet it was a million dollar idea but they weren’t the one to actually create it? A lot of people.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
So the truth is, if you’re listening and you’re like, “Is this the right time?” You don’t necessarily have to go just all in, you don’t necessarily have to do one hour a day. What you do have to do is figure out the plan, you have to figure out what do you actually desire? And then you have to figure out what is the first step you can take to make that dream your reality. And so is it the right time? I don’t know. I couldn’t have said two years ago before the pandemic that it was the right time. But here’s what I do know, if you’re willing to start, great and unexpected things will happen.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. Somebody recently published a list of all of the phenomenal brands out there that started during recessions. Starbucks was one of them. And I think Nike was another one. And there’s been so many others that have actually started when everybody told those people you better hold off because interest rates are through the roof. There’s a huge shake up in the economy. There’s a recession going on right now. And those entrepreneurs said, “That’s nice. I’m still going for it anyway.” And the economy just didn’t let it affect those entrepreneurs. And thank God they didn’t because there’s some great brands out there that started during those times. So let me ask you this, what’s the book’s biggest takeaway? What are you hoping that readers get from it?

Jake Kelfer:
The biggest hope that I hope that readers will take away from The Elevated Entrepreneur is that what you desire is possible. People have started with way less than you and have become much more successful. People have started with tons of success and continued to be successful. And I think that when you read this book and you learn from some of these experts, some of these governors, some of these top tier entrepreneurs, some of these people that have sold nine figure businesses, to some of these people who are building six figure businesses, at the end of the day it’s all the same. You get to choose what success looks like for you, but it’s up to you to do something about it. And so as you’re reading this, I want you to ask yourself, what does success look like to me and what am I willing to do about it?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, that’s right. And it starts with the first step, right? What’s the old adage? A journey of a thousand mile starts with the first step, one step. And that’s so true becoming an entrepreneur. You got to start, you got to make that commitment and get out there, which seems to be the toughest part that many people have. They’ll overanalyze. They’ll study the situation. They’ll study the marketplace. They’ll look at the competition. And I’m not saying those things aren’t important to look at, folks, but sometimes you can really overdo it. And what happens in that time, it might be a month, it might be six months, it might be a year or six years. Guess what? Somebody’s already taken it to marketplace in that amount of time and they’re crushing it out there. Don’t let that happen to you. Right? I mean, don’t you see a lot of that out there, Jake? Where they wait, to your point, for the perfect time and there’s never a perfect time.

Jake Kelfer:
Yeah. I mean, we see that all the time. But I’d say something that stops people even more than that is they focus on the wrong things first.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Jake Kelfer:
So someone says, “Hey, I want to start a business.” And they spend three months building a website, getting business cards. And I look at them and I’m like, “Oh, that’s amazing. Your logo looks so good, but guess what? You don’t have customers yet.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right. Exactly.

Jake Kelfer:
And look, you can do things for free and spend your time, that’s called a hobby. If you’re trying to build a business, you need to generate customers. And so as important as it is that we need to make the commitment to get started, you also have to make sure, well, are we doing the things that are actually going to help us see the results we want?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And so it’s not, don’t just go build your website, don’t just go build your logo, go out into the community and serve somebody. Go create your product and put it out there. Get feedback and see what the community really wants from what it is you’re offering, whether it’s a product or a service.
But at the end of the day, if you want to start something and you’re like, this is the idea, I’m willing to do it, you have to understand that the path won’t be linear. You have to understand that you’re going to make mistakes. And you have to understand that if you continuously move forward and ask for help, you will be able to move forward way faster than you ever thought possible. And so do I see this all the time, Jim? Yeah. I see this left and right, my man. But it’s really, really critical here that anybody that’s listening, you got to start. You got to know what direction you want to start at. And you got to get clear on what it means for you to succeed.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
Because everyone’s going to view that differently. And if you’re chasing someone else’s definition of success, you’re never going to be happy or fulfilled.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And I’m glad you brought up someone else because so many people don’t get started because of what they think others will think of them if they’re not a success in the first 30 days or the first six months or whatever the case might be. They’re looking at way too much social media out there and they can get down over it. Right? And sometimes it holds people back from going out and being great because they feel they need to be successful from day one with the fancy cars and the big offices and the fancy family vacations that they must put out there on social media and it’s a huge mistake people make. Right?

Jake Kelfer:
Yeah. Well look, I’d rather be rich than look rich.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And a lot of entrepreneurs, we see the flash because the flash sells.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Jake Kelfer:
And you sell the dream. But in reality, very few people go from zero to a million dollars very, very quickly.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Unless they won the lottery.

Jake Kelfer:
Yeah. Right.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And guess what? There are some people that are unicorns that have something and it just goes viral and it takes off and all of a sudden they have more customers they could ever imagine [inaudible]. I hope that’s you. Right? I’ll support you. I’ll buy whatever product you’re going to create. But for most people it is a process and that’s why it goes back to this idea of you got to chase your definition of success. Because if you compare yourself to someone else, you may be playing the wrong game in the first place.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
I remember when I was first starting, I started to compare my success, my self worth, based on what I thought other people were doing. I saw the vacations on social media and I was like, “Gosh, their way ahead of me. I’m eating peanut butter jellies and taco bell.” Right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
I had to remember, they may look successful, but do I even actually want what they have?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah.

Jake Kelfer:
Is that even really who they are when they’re not posting pictures of themselves?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And I recognized that once I realized what do I want and I went all in on what I desire. I became a better person. I became a better entrepreneur. I became a better leader.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And the most important thing was I started to have more fun.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
And if you can’t have fun, then you’re probably in the wrong game.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Jake Kelfer:
This is the game of life and we got to play to win and we got to have a good time in the pursuit of excellence.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Boy, there’s no question about it. Jake Kelfer, entrepreneur, bestselling author, motivational speaker, I want to thank you so much for joining us on the show. I know that our viewers and subscribers are going to get a lot out of your appearance here with us today. So thank you so much. I love your message. I love your enthusiasm and your energy. This is exactly what entrepreneurs out there that are listening to us have this discussion need. They need more of this. They need more cheerleaders to say, go out and make it happen. You did it, they can do it. And for those of you that haven’t picked up the book yet, big mistake. We’re going to make it very easy for you. There’s a link right below this interview that you’re watching right now. Click the link. You’re a click away from beginning your success and Jake’s going to show you how to get there and he’s helped hundreds of others, so he can help you too. So Jake, thank you so much for joining us on the show. Really appreciate it.

Jake Kelfer:
Thanks so much for having me. It was a blast.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Great. Thanks.


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