PEP 116: Jim Joseph, and The Experience Effect of Parent Entrepreneurship


imgresJim Joseph, the Out and About Dad joins the conversation.  Jim works at Cohn & Wolfe, and was the founder of CPPartners.

Once upon a time as Jim:

  • 1998: Jim had just come off of a very successful career on the client side of Johnson and Johnson and Arm & Hammer
  • He was the custodial parent of a 3 year old son and a 5 year old daughter, but he needed more time
  • That was Jim’s solution to juggling being a parent and having a career
  • What made the change?
    • The demands of the career made it so that there was less time spent with kids and more time spent working
    • What is the priority?
      • He started his own agency in order to better manage his time
  • As the kids got older Jim was able to spend more time with the business
  • As family and work demands evolve, juggling becomes different
  • Something will finally push us over the edge and force change: what was that for Jim?
    • Father’s Day: he was forced to miss an important Father’s Day as a result of work
      • He realized that family needed to be a priority
  • You are not stuck, this is not the only path, you can make a different choice
  • Times have changed: it is easier now to change your life, all different styles of life are widely accepted
    • In 1998 when Mary had her first child, her husband was the primary caregiver
      • When going to drop him off at kindergarten, he was given weird looks, and when he took his son into the restroom the principle approached him and said that men were not allowed to accompany children into the restrooms
  • Many have asked Jim, “where’s the mom?”
    • There were a couple situations where people refused to cooperate with Jim since Mom wasn’t there
  • Jim’s parenting and entrepreneurial paths were mostly parallel: as the kids matured the business matured
  • As with any business, the beginning is never easy
    • There is a big risk with the family
  • What skills were most important at that time in order to build the business while being the primary caregiver?
    • Networking: they were the source of new business
      • The agency/market world today is much more contract driven
      • Back then it was more personal
      • Getting people to know they can count on you is vital in starting a business
  • Difference between a product and brand: all products are pretty much the same over any brand, toothpaste is pretty much the same regardless of brand. It’s the emotional connection of the brand that makes consumers buy certain brands over others
  • What kind of parent do you want to be?
    • Jim always wanted to be a parent that is hands on, yet lets them do their thing.
    • Give them the tools and lessons they need, but let them stumble and figure out who they are
  • We cannot imagine the next faze of our kids’ lives or then next faze of our business because we haven’t been there
    • Planning is good, but it only takes you so far
    • You may want to be a certain kind of parent, but as your kids grow you will likely change your views
  • Jim ultimately ended up selling his agency: not because he was ready to cash out, but because it was a smart career move
    • His children were older and the schedules were more manageable
    • Selling his agency allowed him to get back into bigger business, especially since his kids were older
  • He was always stuck in the point of view that everything was about work, but as he matured he had a point of view about the industry and team work
  • How was the journey from the trenches to the more philosophical aspect of things?
    • It happens quite slowly: skills naturally develop over time
    • There were always others, but he eventually had to be the one to make the decisions
    • You have to build the confidence to criticize others
  • Jim included his children in the business whenever possible
  • With children, they mature automatically: there comes a time where you stop going into their rooms and helping with homework
    • A business is not like that, you have to make the conscience choice to change
  • Sometimes the natural progression of out parenting shows us how our businesses should progress
  • Jim has had to rethink his outlook on branding and marketing in order to fit in with the changing times
  •  In many families the children don’t know what the parents do for work, the parents still go to an “office” and the kids are in another world
  • If you let go of what you expect, the experiences can be amazing
  • Days that Jim was wound too tight did not go well, so he learned to let it go, with guardrails of course
    • It was not Jim’s job to fix his son when he was struggling, he found a peer that had the experiences necessary to help his son and let them figure it out together
  • What are the most important tools used to create success?
    • Smartphones: file sharing tools
  • With the skills developed as a parent, building a business isn’t as hard as you might think
  • There is nothing at work that is as challenging as raising the kids. @JimJosephExp #parent #entrepreneur Click To Tweet

Here is where you can connect with Jim:


The Experience Effect