Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is serial business-starter Justin Hartzman, who sold his first two companies within six months of graduation college. His current company, needls, is revolutionizing the advertising industry for small businesses. We caught up with him to find out what inspires his career, where he loves to wine and dine, and what advice he would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I create tools, I create jobs, I mentor, I’m constantly brainstorming new ideas – I’m an entrepreneur.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I could never work for anyone else. I always wanted to take on more tasks than those given to me and do things my own way. I always had ideas of how I could do things better, which sometimes doesn’t fly when you’re working for someone else. So I decided to be my own boss, and to be honest, there’s no better feeling!
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Selling our first company three months after we started it was great. But even better was selling the company for the second time when we bought our competitors six months after the first sale. Two exits in the first year and a half after finishing college was exciting. Every day presents itself with a new challenge and new adventures; even if they are small things, they are still memorable.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I always see myself as a piece of the puzzle helping build great companies and great tools for others to help enrich their lives and make daily tasks simple. Giving back and helping the same people that helped us get ahead, investing, and helping small and medium-size businesses are things I see in the next 5, 10 and 15 years. Having the financial freedom to invest in others and help them get to where I am or where I hope to be one day is really important to me.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
– Give back; the more you give, the more you get in return.
– Be humble about what you’re doing and don’t talk about it until it’s completed.
– Know what you don’t know and fill those gaps with the people that will help you get ahead.
– You’re allowed to make mistakes; we all have. Learn from them. Don’t do it again.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Of course! There are a lot of charities that I’m involved in, both with my time and financial resources. It’s constantly changing depending on who I feel needs it most at the time. I love animals, so I’m always involved with organizations that help animals.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Every day is a different challenge because we’re always dealing with something different. Having the ability to think on my feet and coming up with solutions is something I pride myself in doing.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Here’s what notable isn’t: someone who thinks that they are better than everyone else, or who thinks they are doing something better than those around them. What’s notable is being recognized for doing good and helping people around you, being a positive influence on those you touch.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
On a regular night out to catch up with friends I like Khmer Thai. It’s the best hole in the wall Thai/Cambodian food in the city. Pretentiously, I like the SoHo club, where you are just taken care of.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Most visited site is TechCrunch.com/CrunchBase.com; most played song is Dave Matthews’ Two Step, Live from December 25th 2005 in Toronto.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Eduardo Serio, @blackjaguarwhitetiger. He does amazing things for cats and brings awareness to great causes. Plus, his posts are so cute. Nothing more notable and cute than what he does for animals.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Thailand. The people, the food and serene seaside oases. I just love it there.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Everything. I have the craziest FOMO. I want to be involved in everything. I have a fear of fear of missing out.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Eating giant bowls of cut-up fruit while keeping up with the Kardashians.
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I wish I spent more money on creating memories through adventures and experiences. This is what makes life great – memories that will last forever and stories you’ll be able to share.
I wish I spent less money on crappy airport food when there’s no lounge available.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
A balanced life between work and home. Having the financial freedom to continue to work and invest in people and companies.