NetWorks Small Business Profile – Black Sheep Consulting (@JaysBetter)

The NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile is a brief vignette that provides a closer look at companies founded by individuals who have been involved in the sports industry at some point in their career.  These business owners will share their journey as an entrepreneur as well as insight for those of you interested in starting your own venture.

NetWorks Small Business Profile on Black Sheep Consulting and its Founder, Jay Mayes

Jay Mayes, President of Black Sheep Consulting

Name: Jay Mayes

Title: President

Company Name: Black Sheep Consulting

Company Website: www.thebettersheep.com

Blog/Twitter/Facebook: http://www.twitter.com/JaysBetter

 

 

When did you start your company and what was your inspiration for starting it?
I started Black Sheep Consulting in late 2010 after what I like to explain as my “Jerry Maguire Monument”. After over 7 years working on the business side of professional sports and moving across the country 3 times to work my way from a part-time intern with an NFL team to a Corporate Executive with a NBA franchise I suddenly, became underwhelmed with the direction of the professional sports industry and specifically with my role in professional sports. Over my years working in the sports industry, I had become pretty good at creating programs that helped my clients sell their “stuff” to fans and consumers. Many of the programs I created focused on ways to generate more revenue for my clients.

I woke up one day and decided, “I wanted to invest my time and skills in people”. Instead of creating those programs to just generate revenue I wanted to create programs that would help to generate change.

So I went in search of a role that allowed me to use my skill sets and experience in Sports and Entertainment, but also would allow my to help others. I would probably still be looking for that job if it wasn’t for a friend who suggested that I write out the description of my perfect job that might help me narrow my search, so, I did. I sat down one day and wrote exactly what I wanted in a role… Sports Marketing + Cause Marketing.

But instead of continuing my search, I decided to start a firm that did just that.

What’s your Elevator Pitch?
As more organizations begin to focus on Cause Marketing, it is our mission to create programs and partnerships that bring together what we call the “Big Three” causes/non-profits, companies and athletes into integrated programs that achieve real results and the create real change in the lives of the people they touch.

What’s the company’s Mission Statement?
We Aim to be industry innovators; we will continually work to challenge the “status quo” by building partnerships based on innovation, trust, and common goals. We will create uniquely customized programs, ideas, and partnerships that work to do GOOD and yield measurable and meaningful results for our clients.

What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
Here are my 7 favorite aspects of running Black Sheep Consulting:

1) Creating my own work schedule…. there’s nothing like it!
2) Doing conference calls in my PJ’s
3) Being able to do what I love all the time!
4) Working with GREAT people (I love my team) #teamblksheep
5) Watching the morning edition of Sports Center twice as I do my morning calls and emails
6) Not having to wear a suit everyday
7) Knowing that what I am doing is going to make a difference in someone’s life!!

Tell us about your career before you became your own boss.
My career before becoming my own boss was great, I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people across various levels of sports. I have been able to work with and learn from some of the best in the industry. I have also had the opportunity to travel the county, learn, and sell for an eclectic group of sports properties, and sports agencies. I have learned the importance of teamwork, communication, honesty, dedication, and passion in your life’s work. And I have also learned that if you love what you do, it never feels like work!

Were you previously involved in the sports industry?  If so, what capacity?
My career has given me experience both on the agency side and team side of professional sports, which has provided a great foundation and vision for Black Sheep Consulting. My experience includes NFL, NBA, WNBA, NLL, MLL, WPGA, Motorsports and Professional Horse Racing. While Mayes’s agency work includes a stint with A. Bright Idea Sports Marketing, and consulting relationships with Clutch Media, Hands On Sports & Entertainment, Networks Sports and TOAW Modern Marketing. I have learned many lessons of the course of my career that I believe have prepared me for this next career challenge.

What was your goal when starting the company?  Has that changed?  What is your long-term vision for your company?
From the outset, I wanted to start a company that I was proud of. I wanted to be able to wake up and do something that I loved every day. My goal was to use my gifts and talents to do good in the community, build meaningful Cause Marketing partnerships and programs that linked companies, causes, and athletics in a way that accomplishes specific goals and objectives for each. Our long term goals included becoming leaders in the cause marketing industry. To create innovative cause marketing + sports marketing programs and partnerships that work to help make real change in the lives of others.

What is it like running your own company?  Give us a “day in the life.”
It’s the most fun I have ever had, but it’s also the biggest challenge that I have had professionally. Every day is different, but I have learned over the last 10 months that building a structured day and week is critical in staying on task and making sure that projects are completed on time. My day typically begins early with emails, research and catching up on the “biz”, this includes reading articles on causes, athletes, and trends within the sports marketing + cause marketing industry. Many of my weeks are set around pushing particular projects forward, Sunday nights are my time to lay out my weekly plan around each project. From there I prioritize need actions and place them in the appropriate order. After my morning emails and research, I dive into each day’s plan, which might include, meetings, phone calls, program generation, presentations, and business development for the company. My late afternoon is reserved as “ME” time, this is my time to relax, workout, reconnect with friends or run some personal errands. I think it’s important to do something for yourself every day. I think sometimes we get some caught up in taking care of everything and everybody else that we forget to do what makes us happy. After dinner, I typically do a few more hours of proposal work or research on the couch or outside on the deck (weather permitting) before bed.

What are the greatest challenges of owning your own business?
One of the biggest challenges in owning your own business is realizing that you may not be able to do it all. I have learned that we all are good at something, but no one is good at everything. So I decided that I was going to stick to doing what I do best and surround myself with great talent in those other areas and that is what I have done. This has truly allowed me to work to move projects forward while letting my team do what they do best.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve had in being an entrepreneur/business owner?
How a small team of dedicated people can pull off a great program and change peoples lives!

What are the greatest rewards of entrepreneurship & business ownership?
Doing great work with great people!

Is there a mentor (or mentors) who has helped you along the way?
I have many mentors.

Please share any advice for readers who are considering starting their own business.
My advice for anyone who is considering starting their own business is DO IT!

Create a great plan and stick with it!

Surround yourself with great people!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Learn from the mistakes of others.

Favorite Book: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball – By Kevin Carroll

Favorite Movie: Love Actually

Hobbies: Lacrosse, Fishing, People Watching

What’s playing on your iPod: Drake, Little Wayne, Kanya, Kid Cudi, Wiz

Android or iPhone: Android

Mac or PC: Mac

Favorite TV Show: Always Sunny

Favorite Restaurant: I prefer to grill at home!

Favorite Quote: “While everyone is trying to make a dollar, we are trying to make a difference”

 

For more information on Jay Mayes & Black Sheep Consulting, log on to www.thebettersheep.com

To find out about other small businesses, sign up for the NetWorks Sports “Changing the Game” Newsletter today!!

Follow NetWorks Sports Consulting on Twitter at @NetWorks_Sports


NetWorks Career Advice – 15 Career Tips (Find Your Passion)

NetWorks Sports 15 Career Tips

Regardless of your job title, salary, age, or employment status, at some point in your life (at multiple points for most of us) you will seek to gain greater clarity into “what do I want to be when I grow up.”

We spend countless hours in school preparing for the real world and yet, there is no perfect formula for finding the job of your dreams.  Be patient.  It is a journey that you must go on, but one that will reward you when you finally realize what it is that you enjoy doing.

For those of you seeking more than a job…a CAREER, here is our advice to help you FIND YOUR PASSION! 15 Basic Tips to help you find the holy grail!

Focus your energy on what makes you happy
Identify your strengths, weakness, and interests
Network, network, network and then build your network
Do your research to find out about careers that interest you

Yearn to learn on a regular basis, education is an on-going process
Observe mangers or leaders you admire and respect
Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with others
Remember that Hard Work Pays Off

Prepare for the job of your dreams in everything that you do
Always be prepared
Study the industry you are interested in
Seek out mentors and advice
Invest in your personal brand and developing your personal brand
Orchestrate your plan…don’t expect others to do it for you
Network some more!!

Good luck with your journey!


 

NetWorks Tip of the Day: July 22, 2011

Today’s NetWorks Sports #Sportsbiz Tip of the Day was….

Feed your appetite for learning. Converse with mentors. Read voraciously.  Attend conferences…

If you want to have a successful career in the sports industry, it is imperative that you study your craft and become a virtual student of the game.  The industry is constantly in a state of change (which is one of the reasons it is so gratifying to be a part of this dynamic industry) and those who fail to stay ahead of the game, fall behind.

But, not only is the need to constantly be in a state of learning beneficial to your career, but it is also a great way to stay inspired about the new facets of the industry that are impacting the future of sports.

The thing I enjoy the most about the sports industry is that there is no model, no standard, no pre-definined path or destination.  What tomorrow brings is somewhat of a mystery to us all, which can be exhilarating.  If you enjoy change and being part of change, you’ll enjoy what this industry has to offer those of us in it.

So how do you feed your appetite for learning?  First, surround yourself by others who possess a similar thirst for learning.  You know, that curiosity for figuring out why things are done that way and why decisions are made.  Next, don’t hesitate to ask questions.  Sometimes, we feel that asking questions is a sign of weakness when, in fact, it is a sign of strength.  Talk to those who are doing what you one day dream of doing.  Read articles & books about executives who are sharing their stories.  Listen to podcasts where industry leaders are able to spend more time articulating their vision for the future.

In the world we live in today, there is a plethora of information to consume…if you are willing to take the time to find it.

But don’t just listen to what others have to say.  Read books & articles on various topics about leadership, management, finance, team building, etc. with the goal of being able to formulate your own opinion.

Other ways to “study” your craft…attend symposiums or conferences focusing on relevant topics within the industry.  Attend classes at your local college or university as a non-matriculated student (ask the professors if you can sit in on a class).  Host a dinner party and stimulate the conversation with some topics that you have an interest in.  Watch online videos posted by motivational speakers.  Read the blogs from industry leaders.

The point is…don’t be content with what you know.  Be curious about what you should know!

“When the student is ready, the master appears.” ~ Buddhist Proverb


Career Advice: The Informational Interview

If you have a strong interest in working in the sports industry or being promoted through the ranks, informational interviews are fantastic vehicles to utilize.

Identify someone in the position, department, or company you have a strong interest in and contact them by asking to meet with them for 30 minutes or grab coffee one morning before work.  The key to informational interviews is making sure that you don’t disrupt their workday.  We all need quick “study” breaks, so executives at all levels are typically amenable to someone who approaches them in a professional manner simply inquires about finding more out about their job and their career path.

Again, we all like to share our stories, so don’t be surprised when someone accepts your request.
During the meeting, make sure that you are dressed appropriately, are on time, and have plenty of questions. Don’t take too much of their time.

After the meeting send a follow-up email (or better yet, a hand-written note) thanking them for taking the time out of their busy schedule.

If handled correctly, you’ll now have a champion who is in your corner & a reference for that elusive job that you have your eye on.  If you present yourself well, you may also have a mentor who will provide more career guidance then you could have asked for.

 

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