My guest on the show calls himself a “journeyman entrepreneur” he has built many businesses some worked some did not and he has worked in 20 minimum wage jobs.
If there is a core thread in the life of A. J Lawrence, it would be curiosity as it has driven most of his ventures.
When AJ was 11 one of his friends’ Dad bought a home computer for the family. This was the 1980s no one could use it. AJ was instantly hooked, it came with a stack of manuals, he read the lot and helped his friend’s family set it up while bartering time for his own use.
In the 1990s while at university he got a degree in Chemistry but it was logic where that attracted him, in his spare time he coded bulletin boards, while the internet existed it was not one that most of us would recognize. There was no google, firefox or Sarafi to surf the web.
His first business was seeded from an overheard conversation about the first piece of viral news that made the national papers. It lead him to create a tracking service for companies to see when their name was mentioned online. We would recognize this today as google alerts.
Although a part-time project it found some success but struggled and was costing more than he was making, it was an interview with a local paper that shifted his fortunes.
“ Local Boy Builds Web Technology sites “ was the headline and then the phone just kept ringing.
That little venture went through $1,000,000 in just 9 months, it caught the attention of a company that offered to buy him out. He accepted they went bust within months and he ended up with nothing.
That was his first of many business lessons.
It took a few years for him to get over that loss, in the meantime, he took on various project management roles and realised that his web business had given him a unique insight into the problems of web design and marketing.
Fast forward a few years and working for a digital agency it was a call from a client that encouraged him to step out on his own and start something better.
He built a digital services agency to over $ 7 million in annual billing when a crisis caused him to downsize, restructure and shed staff. He took a hit to the ego and lost his passion for the business.
When an offer came to buy the company he said yes to a 7 figure sum and this time it was different he got to keep the money.
Our conversation is about his entrepreneurial journey, it is about how he chased 8 figure success and looked at failure. AJ is very candid with us about his personal challenges. We look at the agency model and life after the big job. What it means to find balance with family and what is possible beyond the generation of money.
Today A.J. is a serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, an angel investor, growth expert, and host of the Beyond 8 Figures podcast.
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