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Episode Info

Episode Info:

Good graphic design can be the Achilles heel of any business. It’s hard to find a good designer, it’s hard to find one that is affordable and can work on tight deadlines. Enter Penji.co, Johnathan Grzybowski’s on-demand graphic design membership platform. But Johnathan has done so much more than create Penji, helping entrepreneurs in a million different ways, and hosting the popular Blind Entrepreneurship podcast. Johnathan is a truly insightful guy, and we dig deep into what makes a company’s culture, so you’re not going to want to miss this episode of Just the Tips.

How to recognize when the problem you’re facing could lead to a business

Johnathan told us that as he dove further and further into digital marketing, he realized that he was being slowed down by the need for good graphic design. It was hard to find reliable freelancers, sometimes he worked with students. But it never quite worked. That was the seed that led to him creating Penji, but I had to ask him: How did he know the problem he faced was something that wasn’t particular to just him and was big enough to be a problem that could lead to a business?

What does “culture” really mean when it comes to business?

A lot of entrepreneurs talk about the “culture” of their business, but what does that really mean? A lot of times companies will buy pizza for staff on Fridays and call it a day, but is that really creating a culture? Johnathan has a really interesting approach to fostering the culture of Penji: He did it from the ground up. He found common areas of interest and value among the early employees, and fostered community around those values. So there’s an open-door lunch time where employees can eat together and chat, and share things that they’re excited about. It’s a really refreshing take on what makes a “culture,” and you have to listen to this week’s Just the Tips to hear how Johnathan lays it out.

What is the one question that determines your culture?

Whenever Johnathan interviews a job candidate, he asks one important question that helps determine his company’s culture: What is your dream? And then the follow-up question is: What can we do to help you fulfill your dream? Johnathan says they place a high importance on the answer to that question, and what that person says helps determine if they have the same values and drive as Johnathan and his co-founder. You can tell when Johnathan talks about this stuff that he takes it very seriously and has carefully crafted his company’s culture. You’ll want to hear about how he does that on this week’s episode of Just the Tips.

How cultural diversity strengthens the company

On this week’s episode of Just the Tips, Johnathan talked about how his company has hired a lot of first-generation immigrants, and predominantly women as well. And that diversity helps bring in a diversity of perspectives and experiences, which has helped inform the company’s values and goals. There are a million small things that his staff is able to catch because it’s not just one type of person. If you’re assembling or growing a team, you have to listen to this week’s episode.

Outline of This Episode
  • [3:46] How Johnathan is living his dream
  • [8:13] What triggered Johnathan to realize there was a big problem that needed solving
  • [11:34] What it means to be all about business culture
  • [14:40] The one question Johnathan asks prospective employees
  • [17:45] How cultural diversity strengthens the company
  • [21:20] Does the customer avatar inform Penji’s approach?
  • [23:55] How to communicate your ideas to a designer
  • [27:35] Revisions are a natural part of the design process
  • [33:05] Dean eating horror story

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Resources Mentioned Connect With James and Dean

James P. Friel:

Dean Holland:

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