In this week’s installment of On The Grind, we spoke to Greg Mondshein, a managing partner at SourceCode Communications.
Prior to going out on his own, Greg was an integral part of the North American leadership team at Hotwire. A graduate of University of Florida, Greg and his company – along with his business parter Becky Honeyman – now work with top companies on all facets of brand building.
We spoke to Greg about taking the leap into entrepreneurship, his early influences, and the one question every budding entrepreneur should ask themselves from the jump.
Can you tell us about your personal background?
I was shaped by my mother. She was a single mother raising two children, she taught me the value of hard work, kindness, and empathy.
I hated it at the time, but early on I learned the importance of communication. This willingness and preference to have personal conversations allow me to understand my colleagues’ motivations and move toward outcomes that work for everyone more effectively.
Professionally, combining this understanding of human behavior and communication, with rigorous professional sales training accidentally positioned me nicely to build public relations and communications agencies.
Tell us how you first got into the PR/Communication industry and why you founded SourceCode.
It was 2007, I was working for a national homebuilder, the market crashed, and I needed a job.
Insert my first PR gig.
With regards to setting up SourceCode, I found the right partner in Becky Honeyman who brings to the table all the expertise I don’t have. Without Becky, SourceCode doesn’t happen.
Additionally, I had reached a level of success working for other amazing agencies and had enough confidence in us actually to go for it.
What’s been the biggest factor behind your success?
It’s all about hustle and being comfortable with all discomfort associated with entrepreneurship.
Through my many mistakes and the hurdles I’ve overcome, I’ve learned I’m at my best when the pressure is on.
I think a bit of this came from training for Ironman back in the day.
I’ll tell you this – if you can make it through a 100-mile bike ride in the Everglades in the dead of summer with a 20 mph headwind, you can handle anything.
What has been the most significant barrier to your success?
Early on, I always battled the feeling that I wasn’t good enough.
Over time, I’ve learned most leaders go through their careers fearing colleagues and employees will figure out they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s natural.
As I’ve gained more experience and confidence, I’ve learned to be comfortable with what I bring to the table, realized everyone has their insecurities and to just get on with the task at hand.
What is the most actionable piece of advice you would give someone trying to get into this type of business or any entrepreneurial endeavor?
Just do things. Try not to overanalyze. Take action. Move forward. You’ll make mistakes, but at the end of the day, you’ll be further down the field than your competitors.
What is the biggest mistake that you’ve made during your journey that you would warn others about?
Forecasting conservatively versus planning for success.
From an accounting perspective, it makes sense, but you have to stop to ask yourself every so often ‘what happens if this works?’
This accomplishes a few things – first and foremost the mental impact of envisioning your success does a wonder on your psyche.
Second, going through this exercise enables you to ensure you have process, staff, and resources in place when you inevitably smash your goals.
What is the best tool you’ve found to help you in your day-to-day?
The real answer is my daughters.
Spending time with them in the morning and before bedtime puts things in perspective and helps me disconnect.
The professional answer is any software that gives us data on the health and performance of our business.
From day one, we made the decision to invest in technology that allows us to measure the work we do and the health of our business. We monitor our key metrics on a daily and weekly basis and make business decisions based on them.
How important have other people (cofounders, S.Os, investors, etc.) been to your success?
This business just doesn’t happen without my partner, Becky Honeyman, and the incredible support we’ve had from our networks.
In the PR business, 60-80% of new business comes through referrals and thus leveraging your network for insights and advice inevitably leads to new business opportunities.
My opinion is to work your network every day. Provide value, don’t make enemies and trust that, over time, you will reap the benefits.
“I’ll tell you this – if you can make it through a 100-mile bike ride in the Everglades in the dead of summer with a 20 mph headwind, you can handle anything.”
How much luck do you think you can attribute to your success? OR right time, right place?
Here’s my opinion – luck happens to people that are prepared and paying attention. So, I think Becky and I were ready, professionally prepared and lucky as hell to meet each other when we did.
What are you doing today to take SourceCode to the moon?
We look at the agency we are today and the agency we think we need to be in 5 years and recognize they look very different. Thus, we are looking at ways to get us there.
We believe growth will come organically, through geographic and service expansion, acquisition and the development and launch of some exciting products and services we have up our sleeves.
How far do you look down the road when thinking about SourceCode?
On a day-to-day basis for planning purposes, we look no more than 6 months out.
Living in a technology start-up ecosystem, we’ve found trying to go further out than that is usually a waste of time. For strategic planning purposes, we take a three-year view of the future.
For those conversations, we focus on answering the more significant questions and addressing the more complex projects and initiatives.
Do you think ANYONE can be successful at being an entrepreneur or does it take a specific “type?”
Considering I never viewed myself as an entrepreneur, I think anyone can do it.
The better question is, should they?
While entrepreneurism is ‘cool’ now, everyone should ask themselves if they really want it.
The long hours throw your work/life balance completely out of whack, the stress can be overwhelming – you have a 50% chance of failing within your first five years.
It’s incredibly rewarding, but it’s not for those that expect to clock in and out.
Final question: how will you know when you’ve “made it?”
I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. There’s always more to do.
There are always businesses and leaders doing incredible things that reframe my perspective on what success looks like.
For me, the chase is the fun part.