Who is Jace Vernon?
A happy, hard-working, and simple man. He takes care of the day-to-day tasks of running businesses. Jace managed to graduate with an MBA, which doesn’t mean much, because his real education came from the school of hard knocks; he was a multi-millionaire by age 26 and broke by age 29. He is a true entrepreneur and considered to be “unemployable”. Some of his greatest accomplishments include dunking a basketball, getting a hole-in-one, reading 150 business books in a year, and winning city league football. We know it sounds exhausting… but somebody has to do it! Triumphing, conquering, and failing in business endeavors have created amazing building blocks for Ydraw and Yinc. Of course Jace has no idea how he ended up in the Video business but that is what makes it so interesting.
You are Co-Founder of Ydraw, a whiteboard animation video company. What inspired you to start your company?
Ydraw came about because I love whiteboard Videos. A little over 2 years ago I saw a video on YouTube that caught my eye. It was created by Cognitive Media, the original pioneers of whiteboard animation. I wanted one for my finance company but at the time it was nearly impossible to find a good whiteboard company without spending 50K – way too high for my taste! So I called my best friend from my hometown who happened to have some drawing skills. Together we just figured it out. After 2 weeks, 30 trips to best buy, and 67 YouTube tutorials, Ydraw was born!
You were a millionaire by age 26 and “broke” by age 29. Can you tell us little about that experience and what led to such a sudden turn-around?
Yes of course. At 24 I started a lending company, which really took off. Before I knew it, I was involved in a lot of different types of businesses. Mortgages grew into hard money lending which led to Real Estate, stocks, currency and commodities. Part of my portfolio included property on the strip in Las Vegas. When you are young and dumb, risk is an after thought. There was one particular morning when I woke up to a $450,000 dollar increase in our trading accounts and another $424,000 of profits came in from another business. It was too easy and I think a lot of people were experiencing the same thing.
A couple months later life would take a huge turn. Not only had I made mistakes, but a lot of people I trusted did dishonest and unethical things. Millions were taken and millions were lost. It was a huge blood bath where everything crashed at once. That was the time my real education began.
What was one lesson you learned from your rapid success at such a young age?
It is hard to identify just one lesson because there were so many. Successes are usually not a great teacher; failure does a much better job. But since you asked, I would have to say that the thing I learned from my rapid success is that you get what you ask for in this life if you are willing to put forth the work and gain the skills. It sounds cliché but dreaming big is important. I feel bad for people who wake up everyday doing something they hate simply because they can’t see themselves doing what they love. We should expect a lot out of life and go after our dreams.
As a follow-up to the previous question, what was one lesson you learned from your equally fast financial failure?
When trials arise and failure hits, the best thing you can do is be still; slow down and brace yourself for pain. Endurance and patience become the names of the game. I quickly went back into education mode because I realized I needed more skills. That year alone I read 150 business books and started to re-think things, while at the same time I had to keep dreaming and deal with all the messes coming down the pipe. It’s tough to disappoint people, especially those who had trusted you.
Besides Ydraw, you are currently working on a couple of projects that fall under the “Y” umbrella, namely Ysale and Yinc. Are these three endeavors meant to be a combined venture or to stand independent of one another?
They are different endeavors and are part of different companies. I have a couple of things in the works. I love the question Why? so I have always wanted to name my companies after the word “why” to remind me of the saying,
“When you have a Why, the How doesn’t matter”
Since then, there have been a lot of great books written about why. One in particular is called “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.
How would you say your approach to your current projects differs from your early business endeavors?
It is all about value now. Before, I was too focused on creating money instead of value. So today I focus more on creating value. I find the more value I can provide for others, the more I will be compensated.
What are some of the goals you have set for Ydraw in the coming year?
We would love to be consistently producing 150+ videos a month. That is a lot of work, but it’s very reachable.
Which entrepreneurs have influenced you the most and why?
That is a difficult question because I have been influenced by so many of them through their books. Just a few from my list are Jim Rohn, Donald Trump, Og Mandino, Napoléon Hill, and my many friends and family members. I try to take little pieces from everyone, because everyone is superior to me in one way or another.
What has kept you motivated when the path to success has become difficult?
Great books and hard work. Most entrepreneurs will never quit no matter what. They can be chained to the bottom of the pool with their minds still think they will make it out alive. Their faith overpowers their fears and that allows them to keep pushing forward when everyone else quits.
How do you maintain a work/family balance?
This can be hard. I am always asking myself “how much work is too much work?” but my wife makes sure I stay on track. Of course she always wants to throw my laptop in the trash or break my phone, but my work provides for the necessities of life so she puts up with it. I have 4 kids that are under the age of 7, which requires a lot of my time (and yes I do change a lot of diapers – I have been changing diapers for 6 years straight). Kids are a blast and are worth it; they are the best investment a man can make.
It’s important to remember that there is no success that can compensate for failure in the home. Owning a business allows me to be where my family needs me. I get to choose when and where I work, but the work doesn’t stop.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up early and immediately start answering emails and catching up on the news (I’d love to read more but lately I haven’t had the time). I will help with the kids and then it’s off to the office. At some point during the day I will go to the gym and then I am home around 5 or 6. When the kids go to bed I am back working and wrapping things up for the day. I will read and listen to talks before I go to bed and start the whole thing over again the next day.
What do you do to unwind when you’re not working?
I play sports and I enjoy all of them: Golf, Basketball, Softball and Flag Football. My goal is to make sure I can still jam a basketball when I am 40.
Can you tell us something about yourself that can’t be found in your public bio?
Well, there are a lot of different things I could say but none of them seem to be that interesting. I am actually a pretty simple guy. I do not care for traveling much and I am content with keeping my life as simple as possible. I did grow up in a small town and worked on a mink farm at a very young age. My Grandpa, who is 85 years old, still works like crazy. I had a great childhood and I owe a lot to my parents and grandparents. I served a full-time service mission when I was 19 in El Salvador, knocking doors for 2 years preaching the gospel and serving the people. It was a huge learning experience. I lived in tiny cinder block homes with nothing but a toilet and 2 beds. Even despite that I had a great time and was happy. I did see some crazy things and I got to see just how poor the rest of the world is; it’s funny how poor people are often times a lot happier then wealthy people.
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
One super power is not enough – I want the package. I love superhero shows and I would want to be superman. Can’t wait for the new one to come out!
Finally, if you were conducting this interview, what is a question you would have asked yourself?
I would ask myself what makes me happy. I think at the end of the day people just want to be happy and most are looking in all the wrong places. Happiness is what we all should seek and to do that we have to be doing what we love. My lifestyle works great for me, but for someone else it could be a disaster. I do not have enough knowledge and wisdom to tell others how to live so I say only this: pursue your own dreams. Money, success, and business are all great, but without the right balance you can be pretty miserable. I have experienced a lot and have come to the conclusion that money and success have the tendency to corrupt most individuals. I worry about that for myself and try to be content with what I have, but at the same time not settle for less than what I’ve worked hard for. I always want to be doing better and will never stop working on myself. I have so much that I need to improve. That is what this life is about; becoming perfect!