Jared Rosenthal of StaffGlass: “Kindness”

When I got my first big promotion, I went from managing a dozen people who I could see from my office to a team of sixty who were out in the field. I went to my boss and asked him how to do it. How do I manage people in sixty separate locations that I […]

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When I got my first big promotion, I went from managing a dozen people who I could see from my office to a team of sixty who were out in the field. I went to my boss and asked him how to do it. How do I manage people in sixty separate locations that I can’t possibly get to for more than a few minutes at a time? His answer was one word. “Kindness”. It worked.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Rosenthal.

Jared Rosenthal is a CEO turned entrepreneur, reality TV show host, and tech innovator. In 2010, he bought a used RV and launched Health Street, a mobile drug testing and DNA testing company. Recently, he has led Health Street’s pivot to technology and launched StaffGlass, a hiring and recruiting software as a service that allows businesses to easily set up drug tests and occupational health services at over 10,000 clinics nationwide.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur since middle school. I used to send letters to baseball players asking for a few autographs and then try to sell them to kids at school for a quarter each. It didn’t work out too well, I never really covered the cost of the stamps, but I was hooked on the excitement of trying to make a business work.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

The most disruptive force in the economy today is COVID, and it’s driven small businesses down and out. Meanwhile, big businesses are growing and booming. We launched StaffGlass.io to help the small and medium size businesses fight back. They need access to the tools that bigger companies have — in terms of tech — in order to compete. We see the tectonic shifts caused by COVID and we’re trying to push back, trying to level the playing field.

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?

When I started Health Street, a mobile drug testing company, I bought a used RV and put a picture of a cup of urine on the side of it. People were calling it the pee-mobile and complaining if I parked near their building. Lesson learned.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I had a boss for a couple years that was a fearless guy who could face down any person, any situation, with uttermost confidence. Everything he did was based on a method of growing a company that he believed in implicitly. It was an overarching theory of business that encompassed all stages of a company’s growth. The principles aligned with my belief system. He taught it to me, and then personified the techniques by putting it into action in real time. Even though my inner business compass was usually pointing me in the right direction, having a methodology to anchor yourself and your decisions can be enormously powerful.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think the word “disrupt” is exciting for an entrepreneur, but you have to look at the bigger picture. Businesses are driven by their own structural incentives, not by societal impact. Disrupting an existing industry shakes up more than just the competition; it impacts communities, the environment, neighborhoods. The “second hand smoke” of sector disruption is unavoidable. Too many entrepreneurs close their eyes to the negative impact that their disruptive innovations may have until they have made enough money to pay attention, even though they could have thought about it up front.

You can see the positive effects and negative effects of disruption all around you these days, and you can ask yourself, are we really better off for this? So, for an entrepreneur, if you profess to have a vision for a disruptive business idea, expand that vision to include the broader impact and ask yourself if you want to be associated with that type of change.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

When I got my first big promotion, I went from managing a dozen people who I could see from my office to a team of sixty who were out in the field. I went to my boss and asked him how to do it. How do I manage people in sixty separate locations that I can’t possibly get to for more than a few minutes at a time? His answer was one word. “Kindness”. It worked.

When I started Health Street, a drug testing company, I was looking for open waters where other companies hadn’t developed a reputation. I was looking for a niche to get us going. I found a state that wanted mobile drug testing services in remote counties spread out over hundreds of miles. They only needed a few tests in each location, and they weren’t offering to pay very much at all, but still, I was keen to do it until I told a fellow entrepreneur about it. She said, “Jared, why don’t you try doing a business where you can actually make money”. Needless to say, she was a hundred percent correct.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

The best way to get someone interested in your business is to be there at the exact moment when they’re looking for what you offer. And for that, there’s really no equal to search engine marketing. A person has made a decision to search for terms related to a product or service you sell, and they can find you then and there, at that second. It’s incredible, really. Just compare that to trying to convince someone who isn’t thinking about your services to stop what they’re doing and give it a try. It’s orders of magnitude different.

Now, getting to the top of the search engine’s results page is a whole different story altogether. You can pay to be there, but the cost of the ad will likely eat up your margin and then some. I’ve found that the best way to get qualified leads at the lowest price is to publish high quality content related to your services so that when people do look for you, the search engines have recognized that your website is the most authoritative place to go. It’s a long-term strategy, it’s expensive, and it’s hard. But it works.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I am passionate about entrepreneurship and I’ve built up a lot of lessons along the way. I want to share those with other people, particularly those who might not have access to the information I have. If more people understood just how life-changing that it can be to run their own business, and just how much it alters your ability to control your own destiny, then more people might take this amazing plunge.

I’m about to launch a podcast where I teach these business strategies that I’ve learned and used to be successful, and just as importantly, what I’ve learned from the numerous times that things didn’t work out so well. It’s going to be raw. I want to teach real business skills to real people and not pull any punches.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

By luck, the very first podcast I listened to was an interview with Scott Galloway, who I had never heard of. The simplicity with which he explained what makes a business valuable was, in my opinion, quite profound. It helped me break through the barrier of seeing my business’s value solely in terms of profit and loss. I realized what I guess I had known all along: not every dollar is equal. There is such a thing as a “multiple” which varies tremendously across businesses. It makes a dramatic difference in your enterprise value. And there are ways you can get yours higher.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You can’t explain the taste of blowfish to someone who has never tasted blowfish”. That probably means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, it speaks to the power of experiencing things for yourself. Experience is life. In business, maybe I’ve delved into areas that I had no skill in, or areas where I should have paid someone else to do it. But part of my purpose in business is to experience new things, even if doing so is not the so-called “correct” decision. Of course, that gets harder to justify as your company grows, but it’s fun in the early stages.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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 believe that more professions should have consequential certifications that tie executives more tightly to the ethics of their field. Just like doctors and lawyers have to keep the risks to their licensure in the back of their mind with every decision they make, so too should CEO’s, software engineers, and sales people.

How can our readers follow you online?

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/jaredswabstories

Twitter — @staffglass or @healthstreet

Web: Health Street: DNA Testing, Drug Testing and Background Check Services

Employee Onboarding — Hire Fearlessly | StaffGlass

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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