Find a mentor who can help you personally and professionally. I mentor entrepreneurs who are trying to get started. No one part of a business is harder than the next, it’s all tough, but getting good advice when you first start can be the costliest of lessons.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonathan Fishbeck,, Founder & CEO of EstateSpace.
Jonathan B Fishbeck is the founder and CEO of EstateSpace, LLC, a technology platform that enables and simplifies how you handle lifestyle management service and operations to maintain real-property assets to help reduce risk and protect wealth succession. EstateSpace is a licensed Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) in order to support our enterprise clients.
Before devoting his work fulltime to EstateSpace, Jonathan served as the Founder and CEO at a design-build firm whose focus was advising, designing, constructing and operationalizing sizable estate properties for ultra-high net worth families and family offices. It’s this experience and expertise combined with Jonathan’s technology background that was the genesis for EstateSpace.
The firm is family funded and operates as a modern business model (MBM) consisting of three main components. Packaged offerings with a multi-sided subscription model, a marketplace for all sides to interact and AI machine learning to personalize each experience.
In addition to being a technology provider, Jonathan serves a number of philanthropic organizations where his passion for helping veterans, children, and cancer research shines through. These positions and organizations include Co-Chairman, Fisher House Foundation, Board Member, Children’s Voice International and Board Member, There Goes My Hero, respectively.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Out of college, I had a passion for art and science, and found a beautiful marriage of the two in design-build construction. It was during this time where I was able to serve UHNW families, work with private service professionals and family offices, and gain insights into the operational aspects. I also witnessed the good and the bad that came with estate management, from lavish parties to sibling divorce of real-property assets, and knew technology could help people through these situations. This was the inspiration for EstateSpace, the idea that we could help everyone we ever met come together and design family asset management to best serve everyone involved, while creating an everlasting positive impact.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Each time I started up a new venture, all the same challenges came with the journeys. Figuring out where to start this particular venture was by far the hardest challenge. The vision is enormous, the market is endless, and staying focused seemed impossible at first.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
We exist to help people. Some of these people even included our own family members and personal family asset management. So, after years of research and development we knew that no one before ever got it right, and that no one quite got exactly what we were going to do with estate management and how we were going to do it (even after sharing the vision). Our hardest moments were met with great people who came into our lives. We also got great advice, at the right time, and we listened.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Today we’re still in the beginning stages of business for EstateSpace, but things are going very well. Never giving up is easier said than done. It’s actually exhausting. But we stay motivated by loving what we do, having a peerless drive to help the families we service, and working with an amazing group of people. We all believe this company is on a path to be the world’s #1 private platform for luxury business and family offices. Those are the things that make it easy for us to never give up.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Prior to starting my first company, I wanted to present well. I had business cards made and shirts, hats, and other apparel designed. Then I decided the name was wrong, my title was incorrect, and that I didn’t like the logo. So that business became known as a “t-shirt company,” one of two in my career. Yes, I made the same mistake twice.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We always go back to the “why we exist.” Simon Sinek has been a great inspiration in this aspect of the company, which has led to an amazing culture at EstateSpace. We believe in building relationships and that by leading with the “why” you surround yourself with likeminded people. We believe that within seconds you can know if you like someone, within minutes you can know if you want to keep talking to them and know if you ever want to talk with them again. If you start with your why, you save yourself time. This has served me well.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? This is one of the 5 things I wish I knew before I started…
“Slow Down to Speed Up” is something I learned only a couple of years ago. By slowing down, you can take a breath, be methodical, and really think through the path ahead. Then you can execute a well thought out plan the first time. I believe that everything is 70% preparation and 30% execution. This will do two things for you: 1) it saves time and eliminates a tremendous amount of rework and 2) it allows you to be even more agile. If you’re intimate with every detail in the plan, you can process new information and apply it with a higher degree of confidence. I have a couple of great mentors to thank for this great lesson in business and life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Most of my life, my mentor was my father, a successful entrepreneur whom I was able to absorb, observe, and listen to for the past 30+ years. Most recently, Mark Wallace and Barry Libert came into my life at the exact right time. The company was not where I wanted it to or intended it to be. This was one of the hardest times in business I have had in almost 20 years. I lost focus, exaggerated the situation, and lost the vision in the clutter.
As I sat in Barry’s kitchen outside of Boston, he continued to ask me the same question over and over until he heard the right answer. I didn’t fit Barry’s typical client. Knowing this, I asked him why he took me on. He said, “You’re a smart guy, with a great idea and most importantly you’re a good person.” These two men helped me get back to clarity, turn the business around, and find success. It took 20 months to clutter it up and every bit of that time to get back in focus. I’m forever grateful for them. The best part about this story is that professionally things are better but personally my relationships are improved beyond measure and that is what life’s all about.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Looking back on everything good in my life, more than anything I want to be a better husband, father, son, and friend. I’ve had service in my heart for as long as I can remember. At a young age I got really good advice from my father on philanthropic ventures, “if you have the passion for something and the time to commit to help a cause, then go for it.” From there I joined my first board and have served countless non-profits with time, money, and experience for 18+ years. We’ve helped raise over 35M dollars in that time and have touched so many lives. This is the legacy that I want to outlive any of my professional accomplishments.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
First, find a mentor who can help you personally and professionally. I mentor entrepreneurs who are trying to get started. No one part of a business is harder than the next, it’s all tough, but getting good advice when you first start can be the costliest of lessons.
Second, take care of yourself first, then take care of your family, then go to work. You’re human and can only do so much. Start with taking care of yourself and your family. The work is hard enough but even harder when you’re sick or preoccupied.
Third, keep a flat model and work with people at all levels. Stay active, work with everyone in the company, set the ethical standard with your effort, and listen to your team. You’re not perfect and you will make mistakes. A good team will tell you what they think, so you better listen and apply feedback. This makes you a better leader and the team feels heard (#thisisabigdeal).
Fourth, be an active founder and leader, stay connected to your business, listen to your clients, and engage with your team. Your clients will become your greatest idea machine. Your partners become thought-partners and your vision will change for the better. Never could we have imagined at EstateSpace some of the things we’ve developed and some of the innovations we’re working on. This is a result of working as a team and listening to good advice. Focus is important and challenging but maintaining your agility is equally tough. The more active you are, the more agility you will have.
Finally, slow down to speed up. Breath be methodical and execute. Stay humble and be excited to continually improve and learn. Be a real member of the amazing team you created and work every day to keep your spot. This will serve you well and allow you to never get complacent. Now for my favorite part… the team will help you carry out a vision that was once “yours” and is now “ours.” And you just may find it to be far more rewarding winning together than alone.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’m currently working on a project for Children’s Voice International, a non-profit organization that is working to create a single platform to connect the network of organizations focused on helping disadvantaged children. From foster care to trafficking, to homeless and poverty, we see a way to leverage what we have done as a platform business and apply it to help all these wonderful disparate organizations to unite and accelerate the ability to successfully help those in need. We have a long road ahead but a passionate board of really smart people who believe. Of course, we start with the “why” and the rest will come together with time and determination.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can Search EstateSpace on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or go to estatespace.com and click in the upper left corner to follow the links. We’re very active thought leaders in our space, so please follow our blog under the resource page of our website to gain a fresh perspective on the market and industry we serve.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!