Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Johnny Sandquist, Founder of Three Crowns Copywriting and Marketing, located in Omaha, NE, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Three Crowns Copywriting & Marketing is a full-service marketing agency that specializes in working with financial services companies. We partner with Fintech firms and wealth management institutions to develop branding, build websites, and act as their outsourced content marketing team. People don't normally think of financial services as a very innovative industry, so it's exciting for us to help change that narrative.

Tell us about yourself

I was something of an accidental entrepreneur. I was at a point in my career where I wanted to challenge myself and felt the best way to do that would be to set out on my own and see if I could make it. From there, our company started to grow, and I built out the team simply due to demand. I have heard so many stories from clients who have worked with agencies in the past who "didn't get them," so every day, it's my focus to bring a very concentrated, empathetic approach to our work.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being nominated and winning awards is fun, and hitting revenue goals is great, but the things that stick with me most are the human connections. Building a team that's capable of delivering super high-quality work for clients has been incredibly rewarding. Nothing feels better, though than hearing straight from a client that we've made a difference in their business. Seeing a marketing campaign go from just an idea on a whiteboard to something that generates real revenue that changes people's lives for the better is a feeling I'll never get over.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The most difficult aspect of owning a business is simply the knowledge that what you do impacts a lot of other people's lives, and that's a big responsibility to have on your shoulders. Building a team has been incredibly rewarding, but it's also constantly on my mind how crucial it is for me to act responsibly and continue to put efforts into growth so that we can do even more for our people. Crafting career paths and figuring out employee benefits are not things I envisioned for myself when I started the company, but they are incredibly important parts of my job now as we grow.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My top 3 tips for someone looking to grow a business are pretty simple:

  1. Lead with love, not fear. It's really easy to be cynical, but people will respond much more positively to an environment where they feel encouraged and valued rather than one where they're afraid of losing their jobs if they screw up. We all fail at different points. I think it's much more effective to lead an organization where failure can be treated as a growth opportunity.
  2. Work on your emotional intelligence. In tandem with point 1, it's critical that you set your ego aside and focus on others. Whether that be your employees or your clients, the success of your business is going to be about how you relate to others and make them feel more confident as a result of working with you.
  3. Make friends, not enemies (and frenemies are ok too). Business is not a zero-sum game. Trying to turn your competitors into enemies is for fools who can't figure out a better way to inspire themselves. I'm not saying you shouldn't be competitive; you absolutely should be driven to be the best at what you do. But you can learn a lot from people your business competes against, and in many cases, you can even develop a relationship where you refer businesses to each other when there's a client who isn't quite the right for you and your niche. I've developed tremendous relationships with companies that are technically our competitors but whose friendships enrich my business and professional life.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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