As far as entrepreneurs go, Josh Linkner is the real deal. He started his first business in college, built and sold a company during the dot com era and created hundreds of jobs in a state economy that consistantly gets rated as one of the worst in the country. While he looks like he could still be an undergrad, his resume was certainly intimidating.
“Come on in and close the door,” Josh motioned me in and I sat down. Don’t you hate it when people say “Close the door”? My stomach sank to my feet.
“So … I’ve been doing some thinking. I think we need a marketing person. And I think it should be you. Would you be…”
“YES.” I replied. I didn’t need to hear the rest. The role didn’t come with a raise, or anything like that. I didn’t care. I’d be working for Josh directly while creating and executing the marketing plan for ePrize. It took all the self restrain I had not to skip back to my desk.
During the next six years, Josh would teach me a ton about marketing. He’d push my self-imposed boundaries. We created PR plans, ran conferences and implemented ad campaigns. There were no directions. No one knew the 32 step plan to host an event or the sure fire way to get 200 PR wins in a year. But learned I could figure it out. And once I got comfortable with the unknown elements, it really got fun.
Josh gets things done faster than anyone I know. Faster than anyone you know too. I made it my job to not only keep up, but to soak it all in. At times I though he was crazy. I’d be in his office for a meeting and by the time I got back to my desk there would be an email with another idea. When everyone else would say “not possible under any circumstances” he would say “should be easy – get it done by tomorrow.” Because that’s what he truly believed.
He taught me what it took to run and grow a business. How to set goals. How to read financial reports and make budgets. How to negotiate and save money. How to make connections, manage vendors, hire and fire people, prepare for board meetings, schedule production teams, forecast sales and create a corporate culture. How to take feedback (that one took a while) and how to give it. How to do everything.
I had to write this post about Josh so soon in the blog because through creating ePrize and being my mentor he changed my life – more specifically – my path in life. He was the ultimate entrepreneurial role model and believed in my abilities. Now I can picture myself as an entrepreneur. It’s time to step out on my own.