About this episode

This is a very unique episode of The Startup Story because this week I am sharing my story. Listeners reach out to me often, wanting to know more about my story and why I am passionate about what I am doing with this podcast. The hard part for me has been finding the right person to interview me. One of the aspects of The Startup Story that I love so much is the conversational side of the show. I soon realized the perfect interviewer was right in front of me. This week, my wife, Melissa McKinney, helps me unpack my entrepreneurial journey for you.

Allow me to introduce myself, I’m James McKinney, Creator and Host of The Startup Story podcast. With over 30,000 listeners, The Startup Story has unpacked the entrepreneurial journey of some of the most amazing people, including founders like Jason McCann from Varidesk, Larry Namer from E! Entertainment Television, and Clint Harp from HGTV and Harp Design Co.

Throughout our 49 episodes you have heard me relate to founders that have overcome challenges and obstacles. You’ve heard me ask questions about how their marriages were impacted throughout their journey. Those questions are not arbitrary. The reason I asked them was because of my own journey. It’s that relatability to the founder that makes the stories so compelling and why you keep coming back. So, just as we’ve done for the last 49 episodes we have to start each story at the very beginning. My beginning was far from normal. This is my Startup Story.

In this episode, you’ll hear

  • About my early childhood, being a child of divorce and how it affected me
  • How as a child, I watched my dad grow his side hustle into a multimillion-dollar enterprise
  • Some of my early side hustles, dating all the way back to elementary school
  • How in high school I created one of the first direct to consumer CD distribution businesses and the important (hard) life lessons I learned from the experience
  • About being kicked out at the age of 16, living on my own, and how my dad delivered discipline in an intentional way
  • How learning lessons of hard work and determination affected me as I continued to grow
  • My focus and what I wanted to do with my life and how and why I joined the Marines
  • What my life was like after the military, including going to Jr. College and starting a bookkeeping services business
  • Why passion is so important in every person’s journey
  • About building and growing a promotional product business and recollecting on the day I lost it all
  • If you are a married entrepreneur then you need to understand that this journey is not just yours
  • What I did after ending the promotional product business, including working at Disney and looking to provide a stable life for my family
  • How working at Disney led me to believe in myself and owning the title of entrepreneur
  • I answer the question, “Do you believe that entrepreneurs are born or do you believe that they're made?”

“There is a ton of value in the lessons learned when you endure the fire.”
—James McKinney

Resources from this episode

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The Startup Story community has been so incredible sharing our podcast with others, and we thank you! We do have more stories to tell and more people to reach. There are three ways you can help.

First, the most powerful way you can support this podcast is by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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With your support, we hope to further our reach in encouraging and inspiring the founders of today and tomorrow. Thank you!


If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.

He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.

Contact him today at https://emeraldcitypro.com/startupstory

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December 10 2019
James McKinney, founder of The Startup Story
Sponsored by: Your Logo Here

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