We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.
Meet: Jared Hecht, the cofounder and CEO of Fundera, an online marketplace connecting entrepreneurs with alternative lenders. Jared, a serial entrepreneur who sold his previous startup, GroupMe, to Skype for about $80 million, was inspired to start Fundera after seeing how hard it was for successful businesses to get traditional bank loans.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jared Hecht: I wanted to be the next Bill Graham. Music was my life for a long period of time. For a minute, I thought I could be a rock and roll star, then I became enamored with throwing concerts and thought that’s what I wanted to do with my life—help bring the live music experience to as many people as possible.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Hecht: I started my first business when I was a sophomore in college. It was a music marketing and production company I did with two friends. I really did it so I could get free tickets to concerts and meet the musicians I admired most.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Hecht: I think the most pivotal moment in my career was getting a job as publisher of Inside New York, a guidebook to New York City for college students. It was the first time where it was entirely my responsibility to assemble resources and hire a team to complete a very real project end-to-end.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Hecht: Learn how to delegate. You can’t do everything even though you may want to. I once got this advice, and now it’s probably the one piece of advice I give most.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Hecht: Be a good person. Being nice pays dividends in the long run.
Lesonsky: Do you have a 2014 small business prediction?
Hecht: It will be known as the year when non-bank alternative lending broke out of its shell.
Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?
Hecht: Dune by Frank Herbert.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Hecht: Wu Wei—when I was younger I was told it meant to “go with the flow.” I used to play tennis competitively (I’m admittedly a bit hyper-competitive), and when I would lose my temper I’d say this out loud and it’d help me chill out.
(Disclosure: Fundera is a client of my company.)
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