This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Kevin England. Kevin is the founder and CEO of Vonazon, a highly sought after full-service digital sales, marketing, and media agency that helps businesses expand their reach and impact through well-thought-out and holistic strategic initiatives.
But more than that, Kevin is a top-rated speaker and consummate entrepreneur having started his first technology company when he was 19, which he built into a massive organization and ultimately sold to Gateway computer. At that point, he could have easily retired, but instead he got into whole different businesses leading him to Vonazon.
And that is really what I want to explore with Kevin in this episode, aside from all his insight into entrepreneurship, I want to discuss what it is that keeps successful entrepreneurs going after they’ve essentially “made it.” What is this force that brings us back to the well?
Kevin started at 13. His dad gave him his first computer and told him to figure it out. So, he taught himself how to write code. He started out by writing games. His data realized he had a knack for it and got him involved with some of his business colleagues. Through high school, Kevin wrote programs for businesses and developed applications.
He grew up in surf town and was basically a surfer who could program. Programming brought him into his first business at 19. His goal was to help small-mid sized business grow and implementing technology. The business grew and Kevin became the biggest value-added reseller for Gateway Computer to a point where if Gateway sold a computer in California, one of Kevin’s employees touched it.
Kevin ultimately sold the company to Gateway to help them build out the service side of Gateway and his team were the people in Gateway stores across the nation helping clients.
After cashing out and basically being able to retire, you got back into the game in a difference business, why?
- Kevin could not sit still
- He still had the bug
- He saw a challenge in the tradeshow industry to help prove and get return on investment.
- Vonazon was born to help create a system to create buzz, connections, engagement, and follow up digitally around tradeshows.
- It took off and has now become the company it is today.
How do you see entrepreneurship?
- Besides it taking a lot of time and effort, if you have an idea, passion and drive; that is the basis.
- Entrepreneurs all have the idea, passion, and drive and feel a calling to get out do them.
- These things are innate to us as humans. Everyone has an entrepreneur inside them.
- Great entrepreneurs are inspirational people and can get people to rally behind the idea and get it moving forward.
Talk to us about your philosophies of leading people and building a great business?
- Not every situation is perfect. There are failures and we must learn from them.
- His first company did well, but didn’t have a great culture.
- Creating an amazing culture is critical to success.
- First, you must have goals and core values – and embody them.
- Second, communication and collaboration.
- Third, respect and provide recognition.
- Fourth, empower those that truly embody the culture.
- Fifth, HAVE FUN!
- Kevin goes on the explain more about all 5 and it’s best to just listen…
Move your feet and figure it out…explain that.
- Figure it out comes from the day his dad gave him his first computer. Kevin asked what he was supposed to do with it, his dad gave him some books and said, “You’ll figure it out.”
- So, figure it out became Kevin’s mantra.
- In today’s world, anything you want to learn is at your fingertips.
- Additionally, for 20 years, Kevin was a hockey coach. He would teach the kids to “move their fee” to get results.
- It’s the same in business, you cannot sit back and wait, you must move your feet.
Sports is a great metaphor for life, business, etc., are there any other lessons you’ve taken from sports to help your success?
- Always be prepared. Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
- Practice, Practice, Practice, so you are always ready for game time.
Talk to us about pushing someone limits…
- Kevin has always been a risk taker.
- You will have to take risks to succeed, especially as an entrepreneur.
- If you push hard enough and work hard enough, you will find that the risk is more of a calculated risk.
What is your best advice for an entrepreneur just starting out?
- You have to have knowledge in what you are doing.
- You have to have passion for it.
- You have to have drive to keep going and follow through.
- It is an amazing endeavor to build something from the ground up.
- The risk is worth it.
How do you overcome fear?
- Fear slows you down and stops you. It is a demotivator.
- Everyone has an amazing opportunity to create something.
- You have the ability to do it, regardless of what you think.
- The key is to just start and figure it out and do it.
Any other thoughts?
Understand that as an entrepreneur, you will work a lot, but you cannot sacrifice your loved ones and family.
You must create your family time and commitment to spending the time daily with them.
Your loved ones matter more than anything else.
Best Quote: Always be prepared. Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Kevin's Misfit 3:
- Your employees are your must important asset. Give them the leadership and tools they need to be successful.
- Embrace your failures by turning them in an opportunity to learn and achieve.
- All you need is knowledge, passion, and drive to succeed.
5 Minute Journal: