Hang around the Jumpstart Foundry cohort long enough and you gain an appreciation for the diverse backgrounds each entrepreneur brings to the program. Here is a brief interview with Jayme Hoffman, CEO, Co-Founder of Wax. Consider this an introduction to just one of the incredible companies being born this summer at Jumpstart Foundry at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Jayme Hoffman is the poster boy for startups, a life-long entrepreneur. He constantly has his eyes open, seeking out and solving problems. He follows no path except for the path not traveled, a mindset instilled by his parents. After spending a little time with Jayme, one cannot doubt this entrepreneur will make the front page of Mashable or Entrepreneur Magazine.
Describe Wax in three words or less:
Challenge people to live… I guess that’s four – sorry.
What were you like growing up as a kid?
My parents instilled an entrepreneurial mindset from a young age. They always said, “Never take the beaten path”.
I didn’t have many friends in high school. I wanted to change the world, not play Halo.
What do you consider your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is being a natural salesman. In high school, a friend of mine’s dad was the GM of Home Depot and I convinced him to give me a job. He hired me as a lot attendant. One day the shift manager wrote me up when he discovered that I was spending more time selling tractors than rounding up carts. Two weeks later the shift manager got fired and I was moved to appliances.
What was your first entrepreneurial experience?
At 14 I taught myself HTML and built my first company, isellyourauto.com. At the time I thought it was the greatest idea. It sucked.
What was college like?
I wasn’t sure about college but ended up going to OSU; I just wanted to be an entrepreneur. During college I worked at a startup that recycled telephones. It was one the best and worst experience of my life. I learned how not to lead people.
Tell me about a time when you have failed?
I consider my second company, Frudal, to be my biggest failure because I was so close to success. Frudal was a deal site focused on the suburban market, something we thought Groupon wasn’t paying attention to. We had our site up and had partnered with a newspaper to sell our deals. One week before our launch the newspaper dropped us. I never thought Groupon would come to Delaware, Ohio. I was dead wrong. Lesson learned: never underestimate your competitors.
What have you learned from JSF thus far? Would you recommend the program? Why?
I’ve learned so much from JSF directly and indirectly. The most obvious is learning to pitch Wax to different audiences. Indirectly, I’ve learned so much about leading the business. My to do list is millions of pages long and if I don’t prioritize then we lose so much momentum. I would definitely recommend the program to entrepreneurs who are willing to do everything to make their business work. If you’re just half-assing it then JSF probably isn’t for you.