Welcome to the latest installment of Postcards from David. In this series, we’re chronicling the journey of the chairman of the board, David Carlick, as he travels to visit ReachLocal clients across the globe. In this edition, we’ll meet Joseph Brooks III, owner of Joey’s Movers in Chicago, IL.
We know of the famous college dropout entrepreneurs – Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg. Now meet Joseph Brooks III – the small business entrepreneur.
I met Joey in Chicago at a lunch we hosted to thank some of our prominent clients there. Joey’s story fascinated me, because Joey is such a classic entrepreneur. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that our clients are the entrepreneurs who really make things happen, create jobs, and create new services.
Joey told me of coming home from college in 1980 and working a summer job to pay his way. He had a third shift job, so that left him free time in the mornings to start his business. Joey had family experience with moving and hauling, so he ran an ad about doing light hauling in the paper serving the North Shore.
By the end of his summer, Joey had two trucks running, so he decided not to go back to Eureka and the College of the Redwoods. Instead, he transferred to Loyola University to study at night. But the work took over, and by the end of 1980, Joey was an official “college dropout entrepreneur.” His business skills developed in the classic school of hard knocks, and as his thriving business today shows, Joey is genuinely talented and in his element in the moving business; leaving his business for several years to focus on school would have been a tough decision.
Jump ahead to 2013, and Joey’s Movers has been in business for 33 years! Now Joey’s is running 12 trucks and has expanded to include a bustling storage business.
In 1980, when Joey got started in this business, an ad in the local paper was great. That was where people looked for services like his. Today, people are looking online, and Joey’s communications and systems need to keep a lot of trucks busy.
This is exactly where ReachLocal comes into the story. Through services that help more consumers discover businesses like Joey’s, we are helping entrepreneurs like him build their customer base – and ultimately their business. But that’s not the end of the story. Over the years, as the complexities of running a business like Joey’s have evolved, we have learned more about these businesses, and we are translating this knowledge into new, problem-solving tools and services to help companies like Joey’s not just build their customer base, but also run a better business.
We are proud to be part of the Joey’s Movers team and look forward to further expansion and lessons from Joseph Brooks III, a classic “college dropout entrepreneur.”
Until next time,
About the Author
David Carlick is the board director and chairman at ReachLocal. He also serves as a venture partner at Rho Ventures, where he focuses on investments in digital media and marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.