Like many entrepreneurs, Jacob Findlay gave up the comforts of a secure job, a reliable paycheck and benefits for a new world of unknowns. But unlike other entrepreneurs, he decided to take a year to work in the field he was aiming to disrupt to learn it from the inside out.
Leaving his job as the director of finance at a rapid-growth SaaS company to work in a diesel repair shop may sound unorthodox, but for Jacob, it was a necessary step in his entrepreneurial journey.
Today, Jacob is the founder and CEO of Fullbay, a cloud-based heavy duty truck repair and shop management software based in Phoenix. Now in its fifth year, Fullbay has grown to become the number-one fleet repair platform in North America, completed a very successful Series A funding round, and was recently named the outright winner of Invest Southwest’s and Arizona Commerce Authority’s Venture Madness competition.
In this episode of The Success Lab Podcast, Jacob talks about the importance of starting lean, building a network that helps you focus rather than distract you, and, above all, the value of practicing patience in business.
Read on for a selection of questions, and listen to the entire interview by clicking the player above.
What led to you build Fullbay?
I fell into the software startup world on the electronic medical record side and was fortunate enough to be involved in three startups. At one point, I heard from a friend who was looking to find good software for his truck shop and was frustrated in what was out there. The idea was sparked and I thought, “why don’t we just build it?” So, I quit my job and I worked in a truck shop for a year to gain some credibility before we launched Fullbay.
What’s been one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome as founder of a fast-growth SaaS company?
Learning patience. We are five years in and we’re just now doing the things I’ve wanted to do since the beginning. It’s really satisfying. I think it’s easy to get pulled into chasing shiny objects that don’t necessarily build a company. We’ve been fortunate enough to keep our eye on the ball and be patient enough to wait to do the amazing things we know we can do.
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs looking to build impactful connections?
The way you build anything is to start with a thesis and then test it. Based on that evidence, you’re going to establish the next thesis. Another thing that I think is important is that you don’t have to be in endless rounds of fundraising, which can be a huge distraction. Try to start your organization as a lean startup. You can continue doing that as it scales. I believe this vastly increases the probability that it’s going to survive.
What’s one of the best ways you make impactful connections to grow yourself and your business?
For about three years I’ve been involved with the StartupAZ Foundation, which is an incredible group and anybody who has or is looking to start a company should definitely become part of that or something similar in your community.
Coffee drinker, yes or no? No, LaCroix.
One business tool you’re geeking out over right now? Bamboo HR
Favorite piece of technology? The iPhone is amazing.
One person you’d like to make a connection with? Elon Musk
What’s your favorite ice breaker when introducing yourself to someone (either online or off)? I try to get them talking about themselves.
How many hours of sleep do you get each night, on average? Seven hours and 15 minutes.
How can people connect with you or Fullbay? On the web at fullbay.com. And you can always hit me up on LinkedIn.