Jacob Merkley is a financial head-hunter, father of two killer girls, and husband to an amazing wife. He’s got an accounting degree and an MBA, and he knows how to use them! After gaining experience working in accounting at a Fortune 500 company, Jacob has put his skills to use, starting multiple businesses, with plans for many more. Here’s his story!
What is the current role/passion/project you find yourself in and where can our readers find you?
I am currently a headhunter for a local boutique recruiting agency. My job entails two parts:
- Working with the heads of finance and accounting departments in companies across the spectrum (publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to mom-pop shops) to find new talent to join their team.
- Working with employment seekers to help them confidentially make a move from their current company.
I don’t sell products, I sell people and career opportunities; it’s awesome. My day job is full of excitement and turmoil all at once. It’s like hopping on that new rollercoaster for the first time: terrifying, thrilling, the feeling of addiction at the end, but honestly recognizing that you maybe let a bit of pee out right in the middle!
I have learned a lot as I communicate with highly educated, sophisticated people. Understanding contracts, how to negotiate a fee, and being a representative of another party all come with the job. These are all skills I did not have before taking this job 18 months ago.
I love my day job. Finding people new jobs is a great gig–highly challenging, but highly rewarding. There’s lots of money in it and I feel like I have had a lot go my way and for that I feel remarkably blessed.
How did you come to be where you are now?
After I graduated high school and spent two years on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Florida and Alabama, I started my education journey up in Utah. As a teenager, my dad constantly taught me how to work hard saying, “Just so you know son, I won’t be paying a dime for your college experience. Work hard now so you won’t have to work as hard later on when you are in school.”
Well, I did work hard in high school, but I still needed to work full-time to support myself while attending school. Especially since I had a goal to graduate debt-free (which I did accomplish).
I remember those hectic days well: a 5:30 AM wake up time, followed by 60 minutes at the gym, to work by 8, leaving at 4:30 to get to school, night classes until about 10, and then I’d get home and crash with exhaustion from the day. If I hadn’t met my future wife in the elevator at school, I likely would have never gotten married!
My day job during school was working in the accounting department for GameStop. It was perfect for me since I wanted to get my degree in Accounting. School by day, school by night. But I didn’t get into accounting to be an accountant. Instead, I wanted to understand the money so I could be a business owner.
It was during this time of my life that I started getting passionate about businesses and becoming an entrepreneur. As many of you have likely experienced, I came home every day with a different idea and was certain “this was the one”! My poor wife…
I started several businesses soon after moving back home. A Christmas tree light business, a major blog project, an email marketing company, a digital marketing/advertising company, a WordPress website design company, an educator on Udemy, and affiliate marketing. I also tried my hand at becoming a consultant on freelance websites and doing gig work. I was certain that I would be able to make a living starting my own things.
Unfortunately, none of those ideas worked out. In fact, I spent so much time and money working on them (without a full-time job), that I put my family in major financial jeopardy. Truth be told, we had just a few thousand dollars left after I spent what I spent on all of my businesses. As a husband and father of two little girls, I knew we were in trouble and I decided I had to put all of my projects on hold to get my family back into a better place financially.
That’s when I basically fell into the recruiting industry and have loved it ever since.
What are your goals/hopes/plans for the future?
Right now, I can’t say definitively where my future is going. I can tell you this much… I have a lot of plans for the future! I’m still trying to figure out which projects and future things I want to dive into first since I am just now getting to a point where I can start doing things again. Before I started as a recruiter, I pushed my family to the brink financially but we are now caught up, ahead of our expenses, and are putting money away for future investing/business opportunities.
I plan to use that money to start new businesses, invest in side projects, and hopefully add 2-4 more income streams to our portfolio of income. There are a few specific things that have caught my attention: tax resolution business (providing a representation service to those that need help resolving an active debt with the IRS), technology/SaaS businesses, and flipping websites for profit. In fact, I hope to potentially get into each of those things and likely others in the next 5-10 years.
I recognize that most are on a mission of financial independence, and my wife and I are no different. Our goal is to have a six-figure salary each year coming from location-independent sources. Either through a new day job that is remote, passive-revenue side projects or businesses, or both. We’d like to start spending 4-6 months a year traveling internationally to give our kids priceless experiences and spending quality time as a family.
What does growth mean to you?
To me, growth is the personal development that occurs over time. Much like a plant, growth needs a little sunshine, water, and love! Obviously some symbolism there, but in all reality, growth takes time from consistent efforts and purpose-driven intent.
Growing up, my dad had a favorite poem that he would quote to us from memory often. It was a poem from Berton Braley that goes like this:
If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it
If only the desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry and cheap for it
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you’ll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it!”
I love that poem and I think it plays perfectly into the culture that Voxtur is creating. Growth comes at a high cost. Getting out of our comfort zone is scary. It’s nerve-wracking and sometimes it hurts a little. Yet, if we want it bad enough and go out and fight for it, we’ll get it!
What’s one thing you haven’t done yet, but will do before you die?
My wife and I have a bucket list item to snowboard in every U.S. state that has a ski resort! So far, we have Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho completed, with many more to come. We are trying to hit 1-2 states off each year, and will likely increase by 1-2 in the coming years to help get done before I’m too old to snowboard anymore!
If you could tell your younger self one piece of life advice, what would it be?
I would have told myself to be patient and not act too quickly with starting my own business or doing projects on my own. What do I mean by that? Well, I truly believe that my businesses and projects didn’t succeed because I wasn’t ready for them. I didn’t have enough money to infuse into the business and I wasn’t willing to take out debt to get it done. I didn’t understand how to sell my product or business. I didn’t know how to manage people. Bottom-line, the lack of experience and knowledge in all of those areas (and likely more) were my downfall.
Don’t be too eager to start a business or start down the path until you are reasonably ready for it. Of course you will never be 100% ready. I would have never had kids if I had waited until I was 100% ready for them! You’ll never know enough, but you obviously need to know enough to reasonably have a chance at success.
The old-adage of burning the boats behind you when you have no other option but to succeed is true. But I think Captain Hernan Cortez likely armed his men to the teeth with shields, armor, and weapons to help with his conquest. Give yourself reasonable tools to succeed in addition to your mental spirit to help you succeed. Be patient. When it’s time, you’ll know it.