Today we start a new blog series featuring local business owners and entrepreneurs. Our goal here is to highlight local businesses, but also to give insight into the minds of entrepreneurs – for we don’t believe they think the way everyone else does. It takes a certain mentality to come up with a business idea, bring it to life and deal with both the big ideas and daily minutia, often with very little support. So here we’re taking a peek into those personalities. And to those entrepreneurs reading this blog – you’re not alone. We’re all in this together.
We’ll start with our very own Devon Vocke, co-owner of Evoke Strategy LLC, owner of i-Adapters.com, Mesa Media and many more. Devon started his first business when he was just 23 and has since been a business owner for too many years to count. Devon has a wife, Elizabeth, a 5 1/2-year-old daughter, Mirabelle, and a sweet yet skittish rescue dog, Chloe.
1. What is the most interesting thing about you or your business?
About me…well, I’m definitely not a member of the work-life balance club, so the more interesting things are that I have worked for myself for 12 years now, and honestly can’t imagine doing anything but that. As for our business, I think Evoke is interesting because of the services we can provide local business owners. Most local businesses don’t have the ability or budget to hire a national agency, but we can provide that level of service to them.
2. What makes business ownership worth it to you?
Everything about it is fun for me. Even if things are not going well, at the end of the day I still feel good about what I’m doing. I like starting things, growing them and seeing it through to fruition.
3. Describe your typical day.
I’ll describe my ideal day…which I strive for: wake up with the family, grab a bite to eat, check my email, gym, shower, respond to emails, check/update my social media. Then move into work: business development emails and calls, work on proposals. Grab lunch, typically at my desk, then focus on client work in the afternoon. In the evening, spend some time with my family, then blog, read industry news, plan out the next day. In real life, I’m checking and responding to emails while trying to get dressed, grabbing breakfast while saying goodbye to my daughter and hitting the gym whenever possible, be it noon or 9:00 at night.
4. Would you ever trade running your own business for a 9 to 5 job?
There are definitely days when, if you asked me this question it would be absolutely, yes. But, even with the ups and downs, the uncertainty of it all, no way. Not to be critical of those with a normal job, but after going through the dot-com implosion and the 2008 financial crisis, I don’t feel like any position offers any real security. So, I’d rather be the one in charge of shaping my future and not leaving any part of what I can control in someone else’s hands.
5. What is the difference between someone who owns a business vs. someone who works for someone else?
The biggest difference is that if you work for someone else, you typically have a job description or tasks and skills that are expected of you, with goals that you need to complete. Working for yourself, particularly in the start-up stage, you wear every hat and do everything. Ideally, we are able to rise above that and actually manage the business with some perspective. But for now, I’m happy to do the grunt work and the higher level work.
6. Why do you think you’re successful? What does success mean to you?
As I get older, the meaning of success to me has changed somewhat. While financial gain, primarily supporting my family, is still important, I really want to be successful in helping local businesses grow, expand and prosper. If we can be a part of building a strong, supportive local business community, that is my current version of success.