As part of a four-part series, the AFRO is profiling up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are growing popular businesses while juggling traditional nine-to-five careers, spouses and children. This month, the AFRO is profiling motivational speaker and multi-business owner Justin Jones-Fosu.
Justin Inspires, president and founder
By all descriptions, Justin Jones-Fosu – a Morgan State and Towson University alumnus with a plethora of successful business interests – is magnetic. He possesses a unique personality that is commanding but not overbearing; charming yet authentic – the traits of a motivational speaker.
Jones-Fosu is the self-coined CIO (chief inspirational officer) and president of Justin Inspires, a company that offers empowering educational workshops for audiences ranging from grade school students to corporate leaders.
While some may be wary of Jones-Fosu’s youthful appearance, he’s an author and has been recognized by EBONY magazine as one of their “top 30 under 30.” In addition, Jones-Fosu hosts a weekly radio show on WEAA radio station.
For the businessman, who holds a master’s degree specializing in leadership and organizational change, the entrepreneurial spirit has always been in engrained in his makeup.“I possessed the entrepreneurial spirit when I was young, but it was also something that was hibernating. I had to regain it as most young people and college students are not taught how to be entrepreneurs but rather employees,” said Jones-Fosu. “As I grew up I was asked and taught more on how to be an employee so this entrepreneurial skill that I loved became dormant. The entrepreneur in me was reawakened as I took an entrepreneurship elective in college and several years later the dream began toward the process of becoming a reality.”
Jones-Fosu’s book, Inspiration for Life: Dream Bigger, Do More: Live Fuller challenges readers to define and establish their goals and lead “unforgettable lives.” However, he also shared with the AFRO several guidelines growing entrepreneurs should consider as they craft their businesses.
“Find something that you are passionate about, because without the passion you will become a slave to the business and never truly lead it. However … just because you are passionate does not mean that you can turn your business into something that is prosperous. You definitely need to balance your passion with a plan and structure.”
Jones-Fosu also said business owners should become experts in their markets and take risks, something he’s had to do while juggling “three careers and one job,” which includes time spent as a program manager at a private university, a radio host and professor.
“I also challenge myself to create a weekly schedule of my time, I have an accountability partner, and I have a trusted Blackberry phone that helps me lead my busy schedule.”
“This was ingrained into me by my mother in high school when she had me read a book called. How to Succeed in College and Still Have Time for Your Friends,” said Jones-Fosu. “I still use many of the same principles to help me lead my life. What most people would think is that I guess he has a poor family life, and that would be so far from the truth. Fortunately, my wife is my business manager so she is included in that part of my life. Even if she was not I would still make sure that family is a priority.”