THE ENTREPRENEURS: Brian Hemesath
Friday, April 06, 2012 7:00 AM
Brian Hemesath, photo by Duane Tinkey
What is your guiding principle?
My guiding principle by far in life is basically treat everyone with the respect they deserve, approach every relationship and every opportunity with an unbiased, straightforward approach. I think if you meet me, I’m the last person to ever pass judgment or walk into a situation with any sort of assumptions about what’s going on. Treat everybody the same – I think that’s always been an important part. As far as business, a guiding principle for me is always to build something that has value, and then to take a step beyond that.
What frustrates you?
This is on myself. It’s the classic “working on your business versus in your business.” When I catch myself working in it, and there’s things I know I could have done to keep me from doing that. What frustrates me the most is when I catch myself doing remedial tasks that I could have cleared up by doing something different beforehand. Or if I would have taken more time to do something differently a month ago, I maybe would have this process down a little bit more. I think that’s a challenge for any small business, escaping from working in the business so you can work on it.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I think the biggest challenge is a unique challenge for each business. I’m a really happy-go-lucky person. It takes a lot to get me down. You rarely will see me upset. I don’t scream and yell. When bad things happen, I’m pretty quick to shrug them off and say, “Let’s move on.” So I’m sure there are challenges, but I’m really blind to them to some degree. You get over it and move on.
The whole entrepreneur thing isn’t so scary for Brian Hemesath.
Hemesath worked for a small company for about a year after his 1999 graduation from Iowa State University. The company closed, and Hemesath made a decision.
“I said, ‘I really don’t want to work for anyone else again and be stuck in that situation where I have to be looking for work,’” he said.
Today, his resume includes helping seven start-up companies get off the ground, either as a founder or as a partner. He’s currently involved in some capacity in four local start-ups and is a mentor at StartupCity Des Moines.
Risky business? Maybe. Hemesath is kind of numb to it. “Back in 2001, I don’t think I ever viewed it as a risk,” he said.
“I think I viewed it as survival, and this is how I’m going to make it.”
His first business, Diligent Information Services LLC, consisted of building websites with his brother. He sold it in 2010. In 2005, he was one of three founders of Catchwind LLC, a mobile marketing company where he recently became the sole owner.
Hemesath also helped incorporate Volunteer Local LLC in 2009, helped founder Rush Nigut build NotifyWorks Inc. in 2010 and most recently has stepped in to help Tikly LLC, a business founded by Emma Peterson housed in StartupCity.
His method of entrepreneurship is in many cases helping a recently launched venture get off the ground. Hemesath embraces his role as a jack-of-all-trades: He doesn’t claim to be the best at anything, but he can program, build products from scratch, create business models and market.
“I think that’s important in a start-up,” he said. “You’ve got to know a little bit about a lot of things. Even if you don’t end up doing the job yourself, you can sniff out whether there’s good talent or not to help you do it.”
Hemesath considers his largest challenge to be balancing the things he’s involved in, including his work/life balance. He credits his wife, Nicole, with keeping him excited about the work he does while helping keep his life balanced.
As for what’s next, Hemesath’s goal is to help Tikly, a local ticketing service that works directly with bands and venues, grow to the point that it is self-sustaining. He sees Tikly as a company that can be viewed as a good example of a successful technology-related start-up in Des Moines.
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