Interview with J. Kelly Hoey, Founder & CEO at Build Your Dream

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.

Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

Below is our interview with J. Kelly Hoey, Founder & CEO at Build Your Dream:

What does your company do?

Guides individuals and organizations on how to network effectively and to make lasting connections. I’m the author of the book “Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World”.

Most obstacles we face in our professional lives (whether it is finding a job or landing a new customer) can be solved by tapping into the right networks at the right time in the right way. Through my business I’m challenging the outdated notion that networking is schmoozing – along with idea that achieving success is a solo endeavor. Everyone gets help along the way.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’m the founder, visionary, IT department and receptionist. I do it all (with the help of some incredible free lancers, publicists, agents and yes, my network). While there is more stability in heading into an office everyday and earning a regular paycheck (in an earlier iteration of my career, I was a corporate attorney working for a global law firm) there is something deeply satisfying for me in helping others network their dreams (and getting paid to do it).

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

As with many entrepreneurs, my challenges are marketing and scaling. In 2017 my networking message was received by over 140 different audiences – from college students to small business owners to encore career professionals. Crafting a marketing message is challenging when my answer to the question “who is your customer” is “pretty much everyone”. Right now I’m also focused on developing new formats to get my message out (including online, e-courses and other digital tools).

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

Trust your instincts when it comes to your ideas. Stop being a people-pleaser! While listening to naysayers and taking in constructive criticism is important when you’re testing your product (or service or message), don’t let other people’s concerns derail you from what you know you were meant to do. Also, have confidence in your writing! I should have started writing, blogging and expressing my ideas years before I actually gained the courage to get started.

Stephen Reynolds

Stephen Reynolds writes about business, entrepreneurship, and management.