Today I am sharing an interview with a daddy entrepreneur! I met James Oliver, Jr. on Twitter (I have met so many fantastic people on Twitter!) and featured his amazing company, WeMontage which makes custom photo collages on removable wallpaper here on my blog. Since that time, we have remained in contact, mostly over Twitter. Not too long ago I decided to interview one of my writers about her successful work from home business and when I went to tweet the link, I thought of James and his role as a stay at home daddy of twins who also pursues his entrepreneur dreams. He has had some amazing experiences and even been featured on the TODAY Show. I am so glad he agreed to share his journey with us.
Interview With James Oliver, Jr., Entrepreneur Behind WeMontage
1. Please give us a little background on yourself and how you became an entrepreneur.
I’m a dad of young twins, Thaddeus and Zoe, a husband to an amazingly supportive wife, Ayana, and I’m a tech entrepreneur. I don’t think I ever “became” an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is what I’ve known I was since I was a boy.
I recently had the courage to make conscious choices that let me be who I am.
2. Could you tell us a little about your business- what it is and what it does?
WeMontage.com is the world’s only website that lets you turn your photos into a large, custom collage on removable wallpaper.
3. How did you become inspired to start this business?
I saw this excerpt from an HGTV show and I loved the idea of a photo collage.
4. Did you have any previous experience starting or running businesses?
I tried to launch a digital lifestyle golf magazine after business school (10 years ago), but it never got off the ground.
5. I know you have been through the startup accelerator process & raised capital. Could you tell us a bit about your startup process?
Going thru the accelerator gave me the credibility to raise capital and effectively launch WeMontage. My experience was difficult because my twins were born three months prematurely right when I started the accelerator, which was two hours from home. I wrote about that struggle for SheKnows.
6. How did you make your business grow?
Luck, hustle, and persistence.
7. How did you figure out how to handle the growth as it began to grow?
The growth has been in starts and fits; it hasn’t been a consistent upward trajectory. I suspect very few new businesses have a growth chart that looks like a 45 degree line on a graph.
8. What do you think contributed to your success?
We have a remarkable product that our customers love. We’ve been featured twice on the TODAY Show and once on the DIY Network. PR has been huge for WeMontage.
9. What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
I don’t know where to start with this answer. Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I’ve ever done; it’s challenged ever fiber of my being. The business ran out of cash, my partner quit, and the business has really struggled at times. Persistence, luck, hustle, and faith helped me turn things around.
10. What advice would you give other parents who want to start a business and/or work from home?
Make sure you have a product/service people want and will pay for. Spend as little money as possible to find out if your intended customer cares about your product and the value it delivers and/or problem it solves.
And the most important thing is to make sure you have a supportive spouse.
I write a lot about this question on my blog, trepLifeDad.com, where I’m a parent entrepreneur advocate.
11. What is your favorite quote?
I have a few of my favorites on my blog at: http://www.treplifedad.com/quotes-i-love/
My current favorite is this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.” – Chinese Proverb
12. Also, I know you are a parent entrepreneur advocate. Can you tell us a little about this?
Being an entrepreneur is hard enough. Throw kids into the mix and that’s a whole other thing. There aren’t a lot people giving a voice to parent entrepreneurs, so I started ’trepLIfeDad to do so and share recipes, as I’m the primary cook for the family.
Thanks again to James Oliver, Jr. for sharing his daddy entrepreneur journey with us and congratulations to him for juggling fatherhood (as primary caregiver to his young twins), his roll as husband, and his role as an entrepreneur! Way to go!
Did you enjoy this interview? What questions and answers did you find most informative? What would you have liked me to ask him about being a parent entrepreneur that I didn’t ask?