Entrepreneurship with Jared McKenzie: Fastest Growing Solar Company In Chicago

    Jared McKenzie started his first business at 19, he dropped out of college after the first semester of Junior year to start a digital marketing agency and did 100K in revenue in the first 6 months. After that, he started a marketing company the next year and did 500K/revenue the first year before cutting that off to start Headline Solar. He decided to jump into the solar industry because he had a few past clients in that niche so it interested him. He then realized he would be able to educate and help his community by being in the solar industry. Here is how he started it all.

    What was your mental state and thought process behind cutting off your marketing company? Not many have the courage to make that sort of jump.

    Great question. It was a hard jump, but it was a very calculated jump. One of my long-term goals in life, and what I believe to be part of my purpose is to make an impact on as many people as I can. With having a marketing company, I was only able to make a small impact because when you do marketing, the only thing you see is if it’s working or if it’s not working. You don’t get to see how the employees feel, how the company culture changes, how the company progresses, or any part of the internal side of how your marketing is truly affecting that company outside of increased sales or revenue. I realized that, although I was better than average at marketing, I didn’t have true passion behind doing it for other businesses.

    I wanted to get the real, AUTHENTIC, experience of how the marketing that I do really changes the insides of a company, culture, and environment. The only way I was able to do that was to cut off all of my clients, take the risk, decrease my income substantially, and start building Headline Solar from the ground up to what it is today. I now get the true experience of how I am able to make an impact on everybody at Headline Solar, but also on the lives of the homeowner’s we have the opportunity to help on a daily basis. That’s the true reason why I made the jump, and it’s been worth every second of it.

    What qualities do you believe contribute the most to your success at such a young age?

    Grit. Commitment. Persistence.

    Building a business isn’t easy at all, but building a business when you’re 24 is even harder. I don’t say that to make myself look like I’m better than anyone else for being able to do what I do, I say it because it’s true. People look down on you because of your age, they think you don’t have as much knowledge as you should, they think you don’t have enough experience, and so on. But you have to have true GRIT to be able to overcome those obstacles, continue to work hard, and you have to have COMMITMENT to that you set your mind to when you started working towards your goals. And most of all, you have to be PERSISTENCE every day no matter what bad things try to stop your momentum, your goals or hurt your success.

    It’s easy to work hard when things are going good, but your true character comes out on how hard you work and how committed you are to success when things are going horrible and you can barely see the light in a situation. That’s what makes the difference between those that want to be successful, and those that become successful. It’s the bad situations that allow you to grow the most, not the good ones.

    When I set out to build Headline Solar, I made the commitment to myself that we would be the best, the biggest, and we would break the most records. So far, I’d say we’re accomplishing most of that and will continue to do so. But, it hasn’t been easy at all. When there’s a bad day, and there are plenty, I think back to the commitment I made to myself in the beginning and I ask myself if I’m a quitter. The answer is always no. Quitters never prosper. But, in order to not be a quitter you have to stay COMMITTED and maintain the same work ethic, determination, and focus that you started with and that is the only way you will succeed.


    • Tony "Disrupt" Delgado

      CEO of Disrupt Magazine

      Tony Delgado ( @disruptceo ) is a Puerto Rican-American software developer, businessman, activist, philanthropist, tech entrepreneur, and founder of Disrupt Magazine.

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