Jay Lipe  email
Emerge Marketing LLC
Minneapolis, MN

Years started working from home:
Hours work per week: 40-60 depending on the client load
Happy at home index: 1 - miserable, 10 – nirvana 9.9
Success at home index: 1-can’t make ends meet 10-fabulously wealthy 8

What kind of business do you have at home?

I’m a marketing consultant who helps growing companies focus their marketing.
I work in person or over the phone with business leaders who want to improve their
marketing, but don’t come from that field. I help coach these individuals to
understand what marketing is and what it isn’t, I help develop a workable
marketing plan for growing their business, then I coach the individuals to
implement the plan themselves.

What did you do before you started a home business?

I was a marketing assistant, marketing manager and marketing director who helped
Fortune 500 companies develop and implement their marketing plans.

Why did you start a home business, and why this particular business?

I realized that smaller companies, with from 1-100 employees, also needed help
with their marketing plans. But they didn’t have a staff to do this, nor did they come
from the field of marketing.

What was your biggest challenge in starting your home business?

Finding my first client was the biggest challenge.

I didn’t start my business with contracts from a previous employer, my wife didn’t
work for a company, and I didn’t moonlight before I launched Emerge Marketing.
I basically started from scratch. I called and met with everyone I knew who might be
looking for a marketing plans specialist, and 3 months later I ended up with my first
client. Ironically he stiffed me for $2,000 and we ended up in court, but it didn’t
matter. I was hooked on owning my own business from then on.

What has been your biggest challenge staying in business?

My biggest challenge is knowing that success or failure rides solely on my
shoulders and no one else’s. I can’t hide behind anyone else, I can’t take a month off
and I can’t cruise on autopilot. I’m very exposed, but luckily I have a very
understanding boss.

What do you love about working from home?

I love that I can “bend time."  That is, if I have a marketing plan meeting with a
client the next day, and my son has a baseball game or my daughter and I have a
daddy-daughter date night that evening, I can still do both. It’ll mean I work a little
before the night’s event, and then I’ll burn the midnight oil to finish the client
project, but in the end it all gets done and everyone is happy.

Working for an employer, I found that the employer took an all-or-nothing mindset.
The needs of the employer came before those of my family, so I said "no thanks."
I wanted ultimate control over my schedule, and I’ve known for quite some time
that I’m a better manager of my own time than anybody else.

What do you hate about it?

I don’t particularly like being my company’s IT department. Sometimes I get too
deep into bits and bytes, but ultimately that has helped me improve my
e-marketing efforts.

How do you inspire or motivate yourself everyday?

I have a "Wall of Appreciation" that I’ve covered with pictures. These are pictures of
my family, things I’ve been able to do since becoming an entrepreneur (backpack in
the mountains every other year, get a pilot’s license) and all I have to do is look at
the wall to get my head centered. Now having said that, I won’t lie to any of your
readers; getting motivated every single day is not easy.

I also have this silly little ritual. Every time I start feeling stressed out over things, I
send myself a postcard. In the postcard I congratulate myself on 3 to 5
accomplishments I’ve achieved over the past 6 months. Sure, it’s a silly little thing,
but when I receive the postcard in the mail it helps me see my progress.  

How do you separate home life from your work life?

This is a constant struggle. The two are really blended together. I’ve found the only
real way for me to get away from my business is to travel out of state. So I backpack,
take family vacations, and visit friends, all out-of-state.

Where is your office in your home?

It’s on the garden level (I once heard someone refer to their basement office that way
and have been using it ever since).

What is your daily routine?

I get started slowly in the morning (another great reason for owning my own
business). I get up around 7:30, answer e-mails until 8:30. Have breakfast with my
family, send the kids out the door by 9 a.m. and then begin my day. I take a
workout break in the early afternoon then work until about 6 p.m. Then I take
another break and end up doing another 1-2 hours of work in the evening. In bed by
11 p.m.  

What is your biggest (or proudest) achievement so far?

I’ve prospered for 13 years. Seriously, I see a lot of folks
slide in and out of home based businesses based on their
employment prospects. I, on the other hand, am committed
to making this my only source of income so being able
to achieve my dream for this long has been achievement

I’m also very proud of being able to write two books “The
Marketing Toolkit for Growing Businesses” (Chammerson
Press, 2002) and “Stand Out from the Crowd; Secrets
to Crafting a Winning Company Identity” (Kaplan
Publishing, 2006). I always wanted to be an author,
and now I am.

What are you working on right now to grow your business?

I’m doing a lot more phone coaching to help out-of-state marketers grow their
businesses. I email these clients worksheets for them to complete before each
session and then during each session we work together to refine their answers and
direction and ultimately they end up developing their own marketing plan and
implementing it.

I’m also putting together “action groups” of marketers, where 8-10 people come
together regularly via teleconference, using worksheets I supply via email, and
work on accomplishing their marketing with the support (and advice) of others. If
any of your readers are interested in either of these, they can contact me at

What advice can you give about starting a home business?

Burn your boats. In ancient times, Greek warriors used to come ashore in a foreign
land and then issue the command to “Burn the Boats.” The Greek warriors,
watching their escape plans go up in smoke, were thus motivated to succeed at any
cost. I urge any home based person to adopt this same attitude. No one has ever
been successful at anything by being half-assed.  Burn your boats and mentally
commit yourself to success.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do (or not do)?

I would have wholeheartedly embraced the Internet in 1996. It took me until 1999 to
develop my own website and by then lots had happened. Having said that though,
I’m motivated by this. Every day I try to do something to improve my presence on
the Internet. I’m motivated by my do-it-all-over-again moment.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

Coach baseball, golf and Rollerblade in the summer, backpack in the mountains,
play drums, play tennis in the winter.

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HOW Profile: Jay Lipe / Marketing Consultant
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Jay Lipe in his home office
Jay Lipe