Image Source: Jesse Willms
Jesse Willms is the founder of VehicleHistory.com and one of the most notable digital marketers over the past twenty years. In this article, we discuss the key drivers behind his success and get an insight into the way he conducts his business.
Can you tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial background and story?
Entrepreneurship has been a big part of my life since I was in my mid to late teens. When I was younger, the internet and the vast opportunities there intrigued me. I guess I just had the initiative to act on them when I spotted them.
At 16, I founded my first company, eDirect, which focused on buying and selling computer software online. The business was a huge success and brought in over $40m in sales in the first year. As you might expect, I lost interest in school very soon after that!
Since then, I have founded dozens of multi-million dollar companies in the health and wellness industry. Mostly these promoted products such as weight loss supplements, acai tea, and teeth whitening kits. This is where I really started to hone my craft as a digital marketer. I began then to specialize in things such as PPC marketing and affiliate marketing programs.
These days I run several vehicle history websites, including VehicleHistory.com. This is a free, easy-to-use platform where people can find trustworthy information about vehicles for sale. The idea is to inform you whether there are any recalls or technical service bulletins (TSBs) on the car you are looking at. This takes the uncertainty and inconvenience out of the car-buying process.
What is the key to your current success?
I would attribute a large part of our success to the great work we do on the marketing front. The online marketplace is as competitive as ever, and making yourself stand out has become increasingly difficult. Thankfully, we have a team of talented experts who do a fantastic job of getting our brand out there.
Of course, we spend a lot of our budget on paid advertisements, such as social media ads to target a more specific audience. However, we are currently trying to focus on increasing engagement with our consumers through channels like social media and education content.
We regularly post updates, images, videos, and other relevant content to drive audience engagement and start a two-way conversation with consumers. Ultimately, this has helped us increase brand awareness and boost website traffic. It also sets the tone for our brand and improves communication with our key audience.
As a car enthusiast, what excites you most about the industry?
What is most exciting to me now is how it is changing. You have companies like Tesla introducing their electric cars and changing what has historically been quite a stale industry for the last 10 or so years.
Our websites put a lot of emphasis on giving consumers information about electric cars as and when they are introduced. Excitingly, in the next couple of years, there will be some pretty significant companies starting to join the electric car trend, like Mazda, Toyota, and Ford. They are all coming out with electric car lineups that we will be promoting on our site. We will also be highlighting their safety features to consumers.
Do you have any role models you look up to?
When I was younger, my role models were the legendary stock market investors like Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch. However, if you mean in the present moment, I would have to say I’ve been inspired by how Elon Musk is reinventing the automotive industry. There wasn’t a new car company created in over 30 years that was successful until Tesla came along. His company is an incredible achievement in itself.
In 2007 and 2008, Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy, but he stuck with his guns and made it work. His company has been a massive catalyst for a lot of the innovation we see in the industry today. That has inspired us to see what we can do to continue to innovate and change how consumers get their information.
In your opinion, what would you constitute as great leadership?
For me, all great leaders must possess excellent communication skills. Of course, it’s essential to have a strong vision for your brand. However, you need to be able to explain it clearly to your employees to avoid getting your wires crossed.
Communication is also crucial for increasing morale, team unity, and productivity. Luckily, everyone can improve their speaking skills, so if you aren’t already talented in this regard, don’t sweat it.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My unfinished goals are what motivate me to get up in the morning. Waking up is easy. I know there are still many things I would like to accomplish in my life, both personally and professionally. Every day I create a checklist of to-do items that will help me move closer to my ultimate goals.
Is there a quote you live by?
Whenever I need some extra motivation, I think of the quote that reads, “Strive for progress, not perfection.” It reminds me to celebrate my achievements, no matter how big or small they may be. Focusing on progress and not perfection helps me avoid spiraling down the rabbit hole of self-doubt and self-criticism that goes hand-in-hand with trying to be perfect.
Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs?
I’ve started companies in a wide variety of industries over the years, from computer software to teeth whitening products. When I was younger, I tried to look for the best business opportunities that could make me the most money. However, that’s not the best way to do it.
As a car lover, I have to say that I have enjoyed running my current company far more than any other in the past. It sounds like a cliché, but try to look for opportunities in the industries you are actively interested in. Not only will you stay motivated for longer, but you will have a much higher chance of success in the long run if you enjoy seeking knowledge in that field.
Follow Jesse Willms Online
RELATED ARTICLE: GENERATE BUSINESS SUCCESS WITH THESE 7 TIPS