I was honored to have been featured by my colleagues at IQ. Melissa Niu did some great photos and I had a great time. Here is the article that Lee Vander Boegh wrote. It is strange to see yourself in print, but it was a great experience.
The Boyle-er Maker: Jus International CEO Jeff Boyle is no stranger to taking big risks
By Lee Vander Boegh
Jeff Boyle doesn’t sleep much. Partly because his fledgling business, Jus International, is growing faster than the stubble he doesn’t have time to shave, and partly because of a constant adjustment to jet lag. He’s sitting directly across from me, shuffling through his iPhone’s calendar in a way that says “What day is this?” With a few quick thumb taps he either shoots off a text message, exits his system or launches a space satellite (okay, so I don’t have an iPhone and can only guess at the marvelous things they do – is that a crime?). He cautiously sets it on his desk and looks up to me. He doesn’t say anything, but his mannerisms sheepishly say “Sorry.”
For a man who has experimented with entrepreneurialism since age eight, business comes naturally. But it’s obvious he’s still adjusting into his chief executive role. He hasn’t mastered the “I-command-the-room-anytime-I’m-here” body language or vocal inflections, and it’s not clear that he even wants to. He seems pleased when clients and visitors mistake him for just another guy at the office.
But his office isn’t a mom-and-pop startup, unless mom-and-pop startups rake in millions of dollars in revenue before they officially launch. It’s the result of strategic planning, constant jet jumping and numerous sleepless nights that have got the company this far.
The demands of Jus International are pretty intense, but it’s by Boyle’s own design. He’s fidgety and can’t sit still for long, so any notion of slowing down borderline repulses him. Besides, it’s this drive that has propelled this company thus far.
“As soon as you stop growing, you start dying,” he said. “You can’t stop setting goals. That’s the beginning of the end.”
For a company that’s only been shipping its product, Jus (pronounced “Juice”) for about half a year, it isn’t likely going to stop growing anytime soon. The business is planning its official launch this fall, which includes a satellite division in Japan – a destination he’s visited several times already.
“It’s amazing to me to see how far this has come in such a short time,” he recently told his staff. “But it’s going to get even better. It will get better.”
Jus International’s growth means that Boyle, who once handled nearly every element of the business with his own hands, has gradually transitioned himself from a jack-of-all-trades technical operator to an organization manager. Though it’s obvious he still itches to get his hands dirty, the workload is simply too tremendous. He’s confident that his staff can handle any task with the same tenacity and attention to detail that he expects from himself. Besides, taking production tasks off his plate gives him more time to do what he built his business for: meeting and networking with people.
“I’d love nothing more than to give my day-to-day activities to a good staff,” he said. “But even then I’d be in the field working.”
Field work is the cornerstone of any network marketing business, and Jus International is no exception. As the company’s face, Boyle’s exposure to new and existing clients is mandatory. Because he has been involved in the industry since college, he doesn’t consider networking a necessary evil. It’s a desired, cathartic experience – like a runner who constantly works for that endorphin kick. Ask him about networking and his entire persona changes; his posture strengthens and his voice relaxes.
“The most fun thing in the world is to build a network marketing business,” he says. “I do miss (working as an independent business owner) on the ground floor.” Remembering his college Amway days, he adds, “I love the idea of working with people and building a business without millions of dollars of upfront capital. And learning from mentors who want you to succeed as they want (to succeed), it’s really unbelievable.”
The ground floor is pretty much the polar opposite of where he’s at with Jus. Instead of building a business within the pre-established framework of an umbrella company, Boyle is the umbrella. He’s ultimately the one who decides on protocols like compensation plans and marketing systems; he was even responsible for the product itself. Instead of building a big personal network, he’s making sure the taxes get paid, the products get manufactured and shipped to the correct places and the customers are happy.
“They have a more fun job then I do,” he concedes.
In many ways, Boyle is a study in irony. He considers himself an adrenaline junkie, yet holds a law degree – something not often associated with extreme lifestyles. He’s jumped out of soaring airplanes and jumps motorcycles, but he drives a modest Ford Focus. He has leveraged his personal assets as often as sports superstars come out of retirement, but doesn’t come off as worried about finances.
“It’s a matter of doing what it takes to get the job done,” he has said, referring to his sometimes acrobatic financing solutions.
Even Jus International didn’t come about without some financial creativity. Starting out with only an idea, he and his partners found themselves at a roadblock. Most companies wanted about $50,000 to develop a product, and another $30,000 to $40,000 to produce the first sample – money that neither Boyle nor his executive partners had. So he created a working relationship with one particular company by convincing them that money was going to come in – and thus the Jus formula was born.
By this time he had also crafted a relationship with Aries Capital, a venture finance company. But when the first Jus prototype rolled out, Aires wasn’t as convinced as Boyle. “Aires wanted to make sure that it was the best product and besides that, they wanted to know that we had people who were going to consume it,” he said. So Boyle and his team created the working model for Jus International and signed people into the program by the masses – all without a physical product yet. Armed with a solid enrollment base and a product that had just topped all quality scales, Aries gave the nod.
“I was golfing with a friend when they called me and said they were going to do this and I was a mess the rest of the time,” he said. “It was an unbelievable experience to have them tell us yes after so much work, after so much time, after so much guess that it wasn’t going to happen.”
That’s been about a year ago. Since then Jus International has upgraded its office space, streamlined its logistics and strengthened its organizational structure to handle the overflowing response. Jus ads have permeated several media markets, hitting every medium from magazines to television to Internet.
Boyle tries not to bask in the success just yet. By the time this publication prints, Jus will have barely launched on the full scale; that’s when Boyle feels like he can take a second to celebrate. At least that’s what he says. If history is any indication, he won’t even stop to breathe – he’ll just focus on the next milestone.