Jonny Havey - COO & Co-Founder of VP Legacies

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

My business partner and I had started multiple other companies in completely different industries but realized that they had two major things in common – a belief in people and storytelling. Therefore, we created VP Legacies (the V standing for the freelance video production company we started – Vlizz, and the P standing for the mobile application company we started – ProtoLocal) as an all-encompassing brand dedicated to “creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect” (This is our “why”). The solution being storytelling. Stories matter. You matter (and this is our tagline).

How do you make money?

We make money by helping people connect with the best employees and customers by telling the best story with the best content geared towards creating trust, sharing details and embracing emotions.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

It has taken a little over 2 years for our business to turn a profit.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time that you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle it?

I believe that if you have never doubted your business succeeding you aren’t trying hard enough. Entrepreneurship is about perseverance. The whole reason why I wanted to start my own company was because I love fixing problems – creatively and logically. Therefore, over the past three years, there have been numerous times when I have doubted we would make it, but we never basked in the doubt. Instead, we worked our butts off to make it work because nothing is ever impossible.

How did you get your first customer?

Our first customer was a friend of a friend’s father who ultimately became my accounting mentor (side note: I was in public accounting before running my own business and earned my CPA license this year with the guidance of this man). We started by giving him marketing advice and producing content around his story.

What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works well to generate new business?

Our marketing strategy is founded on building personal relationships with everyone we meet. By embracing our brand of personal connection and focusing on providing value to industries we truly believe in, we have created deep meaningful business relationships that both send us referrals and have helped us build even more relationships with our target markets. 

What is the toughest decision that you’ve had to make in the last few months?

In general, I have learned over the past year that to grow as a business and as a person, the ideal comes first. It doesn’t matter what is best for me. What matters is what is best for the company and achieving the ideal of “creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect.”

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

When I put my mind to something I always go above and beyond to achieve whatever it is. For example, a year ago I decided I wanted to get heavily into yoga. Now I am taking yoga teacher training courses, not because I want to be a full-time yoga teacher, but I want to be a certified teacher to take my yoga practice to another level. Another example is my recent obsession with hiking. I was in the market for a GPS unit and instead of buying a basic unit, I decided to buy one of the nicest units you can buy. That’s who I am. When I want something, I do everything I can do to get it. 

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

When we hired our first full-time employee this both changed our whole business and was the greatest achievement I believe we will ever have. People are the most important thing in business, therefore, having someone who truly trusts us and believes in our idea was the greatest thing I could ever ask for.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

When you find your “why” and fully know what the ideal you are working towards is, the future is boundless. Therefore, I am most excited about how many people also believe in “creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect.” The ideal will always be greater than us. Building our team to achieve this ideal is the future of VP Legacies.

What business books have inspired you?

“Start With Why” and “Together is Better” by Simon Sinek are two of the greatest inspirations to me and my business. Both of these books tell the importance of believing in yourself, following your passion and realizing that we are all here to support each other on our paths. This is the foundation of our business – personally connecting people who truly care about one another and what they want to achieve.

What is a recent purchase that you have made that’s helped with your business?

This is a very minor thing, but we have recently purchased around 100 shirts with our logo and “why” statement on them (“Creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect”). We initially purchased these for our team to represent the brand, but have found that everyone wants one. People want to represent what they believe and a lot of people believe in “creating a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect.”

Leave us with one point that few individuals know about your company.

Hector and I met on the first day of college. Hector stood up in our first dorm meeting and expressed his interest in a floor bonding activity consisting of skydiving. I was and still am extremely afraid of heights, but really liked his enthusiasm and persona. Immediately thought to myself, “I don’t know if I will go skydiving, but I want to be friends with him.” Today we are best friends and business partners on this journey together to create a world where people aren’t afraid to personally connect.

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