I am thrilled to have you with us, Julian. Thank you for this interview and congratulations on your new book.
Hello Eunice. Thank you very much.
Could you please introduce yourself briefly, Julian?
Sure. I am a serial entrepreneur with the love of dot com and mobile technologies, born to a Jamaican father and Grenadian mother. My moniker has been the online genius; and it came about in the early days, like 2004, 2005 when I’d consult with companies and attend meetings with my business partner. At least every other meeting, I would come up with an idea that somebody would say ‘it’s genius’ so it stuck; and I even changed the name of the company and everything to pure online genius, which is now theonlinegenius.com; and we built a brand around it. I also do a fair bit of coaching and mentoring through my genius academy.
Thank you, Julian. So then, this book is from an entrepreneur to entrepreneurs. You mentioned in your preface, that for most entrepreneurs the journey has led them down a road of self discovery, a road of seeming enlightenment. What have you discovered about yourself as you went along your journey as an entrepreneur?
Last year, I learnt something I consider to be quite special; and that is, if you really want something – and I don’t mean half want it or kind of want it – but almost act like this goal is a necessity, it must happen. Then you know what? It will happen. The minute you believe it can’t happen, or that it will be okay if you fail, because nothing terrible is going to happen, so you’re going take the pressure off; and then inevitably, that’s what happens, zero, zilch. You never really meet that goal or attain that thing that you were going after.
Now, the problem is that most of us aren’t able to mentally put ourselves in a place because of the internal negative talking that infiltrates. So, we end up staying in the same comfort zone that we are used to and we never push the boundaries of what we’re capable of; and often times, that results in us not meeting our aims and goals, sometimes for years, sometimes for a lifetime.
You’ve been an entrepreneur for over fifteen years, please share one experience which has enlightened you and shaped you as an entrepreneur.
There came a point, around the year 2000, when I almost lost everything and I was even sleeping on the floor in my old bedroom in my mother’s house. I had invested everything into a venture that went wrong and I had nothing – at least that’s what I thought. But in reality, I had my health, I had all my mental faculties in place; and I realized that that was all I needed to get up off the floor. And within a couple of years, I was in the best shape of my life.
The entrepreneurial journey is not always easy as you just shared from your experience. Have you ever felt like giving up and perhaps returning to the security of being an employee?
Never, ever, ever! I’ve worked harder than I ever thought I would, in doing my own thing. I would have to say that I have sacrificed more than I was initially willing to do; but if I were to do it all again, today, so that I wouldn’t have to be an employee again, I would do so happily.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against employees; in fact, I think they are amazing; but the fact is that, it’s just not for me. With all the pressures that come with running your own business, I know that each bead of sweat that falls on the ground goes towards building my own ventures and my own future.
So, what has kept you going these years?
Red Bull. No, I’m only kidding. Its funny, those energy drinks don’t actually work on me; but what’s kept me going is the excitement of it all. Each day I get up and I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s like watching a movie with you as the star and you’re gripping on the edge of the seat, in anticipation of what’s going to happen next. My life is full of cliffhangers, suspense, comedy, action and sometimes horror; but like all good movies, the hero always wins in the end. And no matter what happens, I know that I’ll always come out on top; no matter how bad it looks at the time, no matter how I might feel about things – not knowing where the solution is going to come from – it always works itself out. So, I have a comfort in that, and knowing that keeps me pushing the envelope as often as I can because I know it’s actually nothing to be afraid of and that it will all work out in the end.
In the preface of your book, you expressed thanks to entrepreneurs and make a suggestion.
Right! Oh! You are referring to the part where I say “Thanks to those visionary men and women we call entrepreneurs. They chase every innovation, find solutions to every problem and change the game every time we open our eyes. It is my suggestion, Dear Reader, that it is no longer fair to call these individuals entrepreneurs. I think they have become more than that, I think they have become what I call Ultrapreneurs.”
Thank you for sharing this, Julian. So, what is an Ultrapreneur?
An Ultrapreneur – and this is my definition – is somebody who has succeeded in their undertaking as an entrepreneur, who also has a profound effect on their family, community, country or humanity. And ultrapreneurship I define as a holistic approach encompassing all aspects of one’s life including entrepreneurship, health and well being, family, spirituality, morality and mentality, which all come together to provide what I call supreme balance.
Your book is not the standard entrepreneurial text book. Or should I say Ultrapreneurial? It is a beautifully illustrated collection of sayings. What is the purpose of this book, Julian?
The purpose of the book is to help people to make a change, and not in some spooky way, but with real advice so that they can actually meet with me. Life is about change, most people wake up on a Monday morning not wanting to do what the next forty hours of their life dictates. That won’t change, unless you change and do something. I hope that this book will create the impetus for people to do something differently.
There are one hundred sayings in the book. Is there one which you would like to share with us, or perhaps two, to leave us something to ponder upon?
One of the sayings is “Yesterday’s visions won’t fix today’s problems in tomorrow’s world.” This one means quite a lot to me because it highlights how exciting this day and time is. There are new ideas, rules, solutions, ways of doing things, that are being created everyday; and they can come from you or me. The image that goes with this saying is the Polaroid camera. So, the idea is that yesterday’s solution to photo sharing was Polaroid, but it’s no longer relevant today; and the solutions today will evolve tomorrow.
So, we will now know that Instagram is today’s solution to what was Polaroid’s camera many, many moons ago. But Instagram was created in a very, very different way; it’s no hardware, it’s all software and they’ve had phenomenal success, in the same way Polaroid had phenomenal success back in the 70’s or 80’s or whenever it was. Essentially, you can’t take from the past, a solution, and expect it to work today (and the past could be just a few years ago, we don’t have to talk about tens or scores of years). A few years ago, things that we might have been doing in sales, marketing, promotion, whatever it might be, those solutions just may not work today.
Things are changing very, very rapidly, so we need to think about what works today; and not just what works today, but what works today that might evolve into the future, so we can stay ahead of the game; and what I think is great about this, is that anybody can affect that evolution. It’s not just the experts of yester year, who are now studying consumer behavior to work out what to do next. The fact is that you and I are the consumers. So in reality, we know what’s going to happen next; but we can be the ones to come up with those solutions and those ideas and make it happen.
Very thought provoking and your illustrations are also very vivid. Can you tell us where we can find out more about you and your wonderful book?
You can go to julianhall.co.uk or you can search on Amazon for my name or the title of the book, Entrepreneur to Ultrapreneur 100 Ways To Up Your Game.
What will be your parting words to us, today, Julian?
So, to those who aspire to be, to those who are and to those on the road to becoming entrepreneurs, I give you the little I have, in the hope that it will be the little you need.
Again, thank you so much for speaking with us Julian and congratulations on your new book, Entrepreneur to Ultrapreneur 100 Ways To Up Your Game. Julian, I am sure that it will impact many entrepreneurs, inspiring them to up their game.