Invest in yourself — The only way to truly grow and go after your dreams is to invest in yourself. The more you invest in yourself, the more you can grow and find success. I was always scared to invest in myself, and I never did. It wasn’t until last year where I invested in masterminds, and courses that really helped me elevate and grow as a person and as a business owner.
Asa part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Knight. Terry Knight is the founder of Spark Ads Agency who helps businesses double their sales and profits through digital marketing. He has been seen on local TV giving some tips on how businesses can get direct, measurable results leveraging social media. Prior to starting Spark Ads Agency, Terry’s background is in network and software engineering, being in this field for over 10 years helped him solve problems on a daily basis for clients and staff. Terry wanted to serve a bigger purpose, help his family and always felt like he never hit his true potential in life so he wanted to start his own company to help business owners solve problems and grow their business. Terry lives in Miami and in his spare time he loves to travel, relax and eat.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Terry! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
Growing up, I was the middle child of 3, we always relied on our mother to take care of us, and it wasn’t easy especially with my mom having to handle everything all by herself. To this day, I do not know how she did it. I know that we were difficult at times giving our mom a hard time from us being kids, and she always punished us since we deserved it. I had surgery when I was just a year old on both my feet due to me having “club feet.” My mom and dad still tell me all the time how I was before and after surgery and show me my small cast, special small shoes, and x-rays. I wanted to play and hang out with everyone, and I always treated people the way you would want to be treated. I always played video games with my brother, sister, and friends. And games back in the day were a big deal like Sony PlayStation, Dream Cast, Nintendo 64. I also watched a lot of TV like Doug, Rugrats, Tom and Jerry, Duck Tales, Goosebumps, Hey Arnold and the list goes on. We even go outside every single day until dark to play basketball and go to the pool to swim. I was into clothes and basketball sneakers and tried to get the popular shoes when they came out.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
I love to help people. So one day, I was advising a business on how they can get more customers and double their sales, and they wanted to try it out. So I put together all the tools, ads and campaign and launched it and literally the same day we started seeing people responding and wanted to get called back to come to their business. That’s when I notice that this can work and that I can go out and replicate this for any business.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
I took action, plain and simple. I used to just ponder, overthink exactly what I need to do and start thinking it’s too much work, and then say to myself that it’s harder than I think. It kept me from actually doing anything; I even start thinking that it would not work. So I decided to try the opposite, told my brain to shut up and just take action and see what happens. Because I thought if you don’t try, you never know what can happen, and I would always think of “what if.”
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
Take your hobby or pastime and go after it, try and do it for a living. We all go through life wishing and wondering why I didn’t do this, why I didn’t do that. Life is too short not to try; if you don’t try, you will never know what can happen. At the end of the day, you just have to take a leap of faith and go after what you love.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
I always remind myself why I am doing this, that if it gets frustrating or hard, I just tell myself you were built for this. I remind myself that I need to keep pushing and moving because it is fun being able to run my own business, and I always remind myself I am lucky to be doing what I love. I keep it fresh and enjoyable by going to places that are unique and interesting. It allows me to enjoy where I am, being a different environment and figure out my current tasks or situation.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I enjoy a few things about running my own business. I love talking to business owners and solving problems for them. I love how I am able to implement standard operating procedures for my team and create automation for my systems to help a business succeed.
The downsides for me was rushing into every little thing that I would miss some important things, and there were times I was unorganized and had a lot going on so some things would also fall through the crack. I overcame these drawbacks by creating standard operating procedures, and this helped with being organized with the team and myself. It had structure and easy to follow instructions with videos, and once you were done, there was a way to track what you were doing.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
The striking difference I’ve noticed is the amount of work and responsibility I have on a daily basis; there is so much going on. I thought by being an entrepreneur and having your own business that you can set your own schedule, have the freedom, and just have everything go right. But it’s the opposite for me, and something I am still working on to change since I have a team now and I can properly get things in order to make the job seamless and organized.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
I felt that way many times, and I was able to overcome it due to several things. One is God, as I am a Christian. And what struck me was one day I was on YouTube, and I saw a Steve Harvey video, he said everything you’re asking God for has to be written down. Scripture Habakkuk 2:2, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still, the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” This just means you need to write down your goals and what you want to succeed in, and even though it may take a long time, just keep going and it will happen.
Second is Dwayne Johnson “The Rock, he was once shooting a movie in his home town in Hawaii, and he actually went to the apartment complex he grew up in when he was a kid and just sat there in his car thinking of where he came from to where he is today to reflect. He mentioned how things could get tough, and it happens to all of us, but we have to fight and push through it because there is something great at the end for you. But you have to keep pushing and trying.
The third is Grant Cardone, and in one of his video, he mentioned when things get tough just push through it, keep pushing until you get to where you want to be. It’s not easy, but if you keep trying and pushing, you will see success. Do you know what all of these have in common? It’s about having goals, trying to achieve them every day by moving forward, and pushing through any obstacles that stand in your way. Write those goals down and read them every day and make sure you do something every day to get closer to that goal.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was testing out our system that notifies the business owners of new leads for their business, and I actually put my information in. They called me, and I laughed and told them it was me testing before we go live with the system. I told them it is good that they’re following my directions and calling the leads, which is very important. The lesson I learned is that make sure you communicate well with the business owner and inform them that you will be testing out your systems, so they will see a lead come in and other cool things being implemented for them.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
There are a lot of great mentors out there that inspires me to be a great leader — Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and so much more. I wouldn’t be able to name them all, but each one brings the same value, and that is to provide help, provide guidance, and make a difference to people’s lives ─ even if it’s just one thing you said that helps someone out, that’s all that matters. You look up to these mentors, and it makes you want to do the same, and that is what motivates me to become a great leader.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I often mentor and help other entrepreneurs, giving them advice, tips, resources needed to work towards a goal they have. I know when I was starting, I had many people help me to where I am today, and without any of them, it would not be possible. So I want to do the same in return because I want everyone to succeed.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Have the right mindset — Things are going to get tough and hard, things will not go your way, but if you have the right mindset, you can overcome these obstacles. There were so many times I wanted to give up; a lot of things was not going my way. It took me a long time to have the right mindset to not focus on those things but focus on the big picture.
- Believe in yourself — Do not worry about what people think of you. The only thing that matters is what you believe in and what your dreams are. Don’t let that stop you from doing what you want in life. I have had people say or think that I will not do well and that I am not ready for my own business. I had trouble believing in myself due to the feedback but none of those matters only what you think. You should not care what other people think because they are not in your shoes.
- Invest in yourself — The only way to truly grow and go after your dreams is to invest in yourself. The more you invest in yourself, the more you can grow and find success. I was always scared to invest in myself, and I never did. It wasn’t until last year where I invested in masterminds, and courses that really helped me elevate and grow as a person and as a business owner.
- Take action — I’ve always just consumed information from learning and investing in myself but never took action and couldn’t see any results because I was either scared or told myself I would do it soon. But that changed, as I literally took action on anything I learned or invested in, and it’s showing results in my business and life.
- Build a team — Everyone needs a team; you cannot build a business without one. Stop being the jack of all trades and build a team you can trust and rely on so you can scale and operate easier.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great 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.
It would be great to start a movement or program to gather a lot of people every month or every week in a specific location and help the people in need. Just imagine if we can get a lot of people willing to participate. And joining together we all can accomplish a lot, and that is by helping each other. I just think there is not enough help out there and I hope we can come up with something together to help people in need.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”– Alexander Graham Bell
This was relevant in my life because I always held on to great opportunities that did not happen and I will think about it and let it affect me each and every day that I could not move on. But I then realized that if I’m stuck with that, it keeps me from attaining my full potential and now I am able to move forward and focus on what’s ahead of me because I know that when I keep pushing and growing doors will open.
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 with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to have a private lunch with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I have been watching him since his WWF/WWE era days, and he was my favorite. I would always say, “Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?” Then do the lifting of the eyebrows and perform the rock bottom. He is an inspiration just from everything he went through when he was young only having 7 bucks at one point and getting by to now being a mega-star in Hollywood. Everything he preaches and does always represents working hard and being yourself, and I think everyone can relate to the rock in some ways.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.