Jon Parrish is an entrepreneur and multi-business partner from Naples, Florida. From a young age, he was a gifted academic student, winning the Broward County Science Fair and earning second place in the State of Florida Science Fair in the Zoology category at the age of 13. Upon graduating from high school, he was awarded a National Merit Scholarship.
From 1981 to 1985, Jon Parrish attended the University of Florida on his scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree (cum laude) and majored in English Literature. He subsequently received a scholarship/teaching assistant position with the University of California, Irvine, and was admitted to the PH. D. program there, but the business world was calling his name. He withdrew after his first year to launch into his career.
Mr. Parrish became a management information consultant in the consulting division of Arthur Andersen (now known as Accenture) in 1986. In 1989, he became a bank officer at Florida Federal and received the title of senior project coordinator, a role which earned him a quality service award in 1990. Later that year, he resigned from the bank to attend law school and began a re-modeling and rental business. From 1991-1993, Jon Parrish attended law school full time at the Stetson College of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctorate. After graduating, he began practicing trial law at the Naples, Florida, offices of a large New York law firm. He ultimately received national attention for arguing the case of Conner v. Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center before the Florida Supreme Court, overturning the doctrine of necessaries in Florida that had been in place since 1895.
In 1996, Jon Parrish launched his own law firm, where he served as president and managing partner for over 20 years, representing well-known clients like the former head coach of the Chicago Bears and the former chairman of Papa John’s Pizza. After retiring from law, he moved on to become a partner of Coastal Maintenance & Restoration. In addition to his work with Coastal Maintenance and Oceanic Blue Retreats, Jon Parrish owns several other hospitality business entities and is a part-owner of MNM Companies, Inc., a real estate brokerage business.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
My spirit was always entrepreneurial. It was just a matter of getting started. While I enjoyed working for others at the onset of my career, I found that it was holding me back. I wanted to unleash my potential and make my own rules for my own business. I wanted to hire my own team and lead them to success. Ultimately, I wanted to see what I could build and create. For me, I found it difficult to get ahead and move forward in my career by only working for others and achieving their business goals rather than my own. It was definitely a big risk, but it was the right decision for me.
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
I love being able to bring my ideas to life and I’m able to be creative when it comes to solving problems. When you work for someone else, sometimes you don’t agree with the way they handle situations. I don’t have that problem anymore. It’s very rewarding.
What is your daily routine like?
It’s usually not consistent from day to day because I have so many things on the go for my different enterprises. I connect with my business partners at the various enterprises I own and work to solve problems where necessary. As a business owner, there are always problems. So, I make myself available to ensure I can take care of issues before they become large problems. Of course, lately with the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been more situations where I am needed than usual. As an entrepreneur, you do what you need to do to see your business succeed.
What keeps you motivated?
It may sound a bit strange, but my retirement. I know I’ll put it off because I know I’ll get bored, but I continue to work hard because when I do retire, I want to make sure I have enough funds and memories to comfortably enjoy my retirement.
How do you overcome obstacles?
You handle one aspect of a problem at a time. If a business is seeing lower returns and is at risk of failing, I don’t just try to make the business booming again by tackling everything at once. I have to first figure out why this is happening, think of the different aspects involved, and handle each problem individually. It’s happened in the past where I realized what I needed for different businesses was someone to run the day to day and they can relay to me what they believed the issues were and I could help deal with them one step at a time. It’s always worked for me.
What advice do you have for hopeful entrepreneurs?
Make sure you hire the right people for your team at every level. Don’t fill your businesses with your friends and family because it’s difficult to be impartial with them and treat them as if they were regular employees. Hire the people that have the right experience and knowledge to help your business. And also make sure that whoever you hire believes in you and what you are trying to achieve. They need to look at your business as more than a job and they need to believe in your bottom line. Those people ultimately end up being the most loyal employees that work the hardest and will stay with your company as it grows and scales.
What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned?
Choose your friends and other people that you put your trust in very carefully. Many people live to tear others down and it’s important that you surround yourself with people that care about you and your well-being as much as they care about their own.
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