There was nothing else Jerry Kennelly saw for his future other becoming involved in the photojournalism industry. He built his stock photography business Stockbyte from the ground up to become a worldwide sensation, making him one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Growing up in Tralee, Co.Kerry, both of Jerry’s parents worked as photojournalists for local, national and international print and broadcast media, and they were responsible for launching the first colour local newspaper ‘Kerry’s Eye’ in March 1974. Jerry himself started out in the photography and journalism business before he launched his own company, originally called Newsfax, in 1997. Little did Jerry know that his business would make such a global impact.
Jerry would sell his business to Getty Images for $135m in 2006 and has since gone on to new ventures, including founding Tweak.com in 2008, which offers online design content in seven languages through online printers. The Tweak team added a new brand in 2017 called Tweak Cloud – a solution to manage all the brand assets of an organisation with very clever design automation features. He is also one of the masterminds behind the Junior Entrepreneur Programme, in which 55,000 primary school children have started their own businesses throughout the island of Ireland since 2010.
Jerry may be one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, but there have been mistakes and regrets along the way as he describes that he is just as human as everyone else. As we have seen in nearly 50 episodes of the What I Know Now podcast, even the most successful people have gone through their share of challenges. There is plenty of knowledge and advice that you can take away from Jerry’s podcast to push yourself to new heights and overcome any obstacle standing in your way.
Here are four key learns to take away from Jerry’s inspiring podcast:
1. What problem are you trying to solve? One of the key areas why Jerry made his Stockbyte business so successful was because they were solving a solution to allow companies access to high-quality images for a reasonable price. If you are thinking about setting up your own business, you must know who your target audience is and do your research around creating a product or a service to help your customers solve a problem they are having. Jerry did exactly this and would make a worldwide impact with his company, which was eventually sold to Getty Images for millions of dollars in 2006.
2. Be Open to Feedback. Jerry admits there have been mistakes made along the way to becoming a successful entrepreneur. However, it was being open to feedback that allowed keep to keep on improving and learn from his mistakes. Jerry was happy for people to tell him he was wrong and would always be honest and apologize if he screwed up. To get the best out of yourself, you must willing to listen to the advice of others and take on feedback from those around you. How else would you grow? Not all of it will be positive, but you have to take all the feedback you can get on board from those people who you trust to continue becoming the best version of yourself.
3. Surround yourself with a strong team. There is no such thing as a self-made man and Jerry said he would not have enjoyed success without a team of young and enthusiastic people around him. In moments of self-doubt, his team helped drive Jerry to keep on going and make a success of Stockbyte and Stockdisc. The important thing was that Jerry and his team all had a common goal and a clear vision to be the leaders in the global stock photography industry. In whatever business, you must be on the same page with your colleagues and as committed and passionate as each other to achieve extraordinary results.
4. The Secret to Success. Jerry believes that the secret to success is that you must have the hunger and drive to work towards your goals. He also believes you must be true to yourself and don’t let anyone else decide your future for you. In other words, work towards what excites you and what you are passionate about. However, you must be prepared to work really hard and be willing to make sacrifices along the way. Jerry and his team spent months away from their family and friends to become a success. If you believe in yourself and are willing to put in the hard work and dedication, there is no reason to doubt that you can become that successful person you aspire to be.
Do you agree with my takeaways from Jerry’s podcast? Was there anything else you learned from the episode? I would love to hear your comments so please leave a comment below.
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