Entrepreneur Jake Thompson Shares His Story, Advice, And What's In Store For CED In 2015

With a title like Chief Encouragement Officer at Compete Every Day (CED), it's no wonder that Jake Thompson is leading the way in motivating predominantly athletes and fitness enthusiasts around the world to compete for what they aspire to achieve.

"Compete Every Day is a lifestyle brand devoted to inspiring the competitive mindset that each one of us has a life worth competing for. Every second. Every day," explains Jake, who also founded CED.

"Our goal is to fuel your fire, but that's only the beginning. At CED we want to drive you; we want to help you see it through to the end. 365 days a year, seven days a week, 86,400 seconds per day. However long it takes," he adds.

CED fuels that fire by selling T-shirts, wristbands, shorts and other clothing featuring motivational and inspirational slogans.  CED also shares its motivation and customer stories via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What started as a simple idea a few years ago with selling T-shirts from the trunk of Jake's car, has morphed into an international lifestyle brand embraced by professional athletes, celebrities, and individuals motivated to live above the status quo.  

This week, Jake shared with me insights and advice about being an entrepreneur and leading his team and growing his company.

QuestionWhat's the most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur?

  • Jake:  I think most entrepreneurs would answer this question as being able to see someone else buy or wear their product. That’s definitely a reward, but the most rewarding for me has to be the fact that I have the ability to truly impact others’ lives in a positive way. I am truly humbled by the emails, Instagram/Facebook posts, and calls our team receives from people who were touched or inspired by a social media post or shirt we produced. To know you are changing the world and able to pour positivity into another person is the best reward I know.

Question:  What's the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

  • Jake:  Learning to wear multiple hats while maintaining focus on the long-term. It’s been a battle to personally keep my focus on where I’m ultimately moving the company while trying to handle budgets, customer-service relationships, inventory management, and marketing. Thankfully now we have a growing team that can assist with many of the day-to-day operations, but at times, especially at the beginning, I found it challenging to be “among the chaos” while building the business.

Question:  CED recently expanded its product offering and target customer base.  How did you know it was time to do that?

  • Jake:  We always had that goal on the board as a focal point and will continue to grow the customer base and audiences over the next year and more.  My goal from day one was to blend Life Is Good with Nike in terms of having a positive message that is applicable to any demographic. We grew our main audience and focus within the active/fitness community because of the quick acceptance of the mindset of CED and quality products, but all the while focusing on the larger picture and looking for opportunities to pour our positive message into new members because we felt that it had the power to gain traction in others’ lives. We had planned to release our CED Lifestyle line much sooner, but were delayed in production opportunities and our offline event program. Fall 2014 became the prime target with a new collection thanks to the weather changing.

Question:  How has social media made it easier for you to be successful at CED?

  • Jake:  Social media has transformed the playing field for every small business owner. It allows us free channels to share great content, but more importantly, we have the ability to connect individually with members of the community every single day.

Question:  How do you use feedback from your customers to shape CED?

  • Jake:  I believe it is paramount to keep your ear to the ground for the latest feedback from the community. Many times the feedback we receive is more encouragement than suggestions for change, but we take into account everything received. We have our apparel releases planned for the next year, but always take into account ideas people have or suggestions for colors. We then compare those to what we currently have and see if there’s opportunity to include or add later.

Question:  You are an incredibly positive and motivating person.  What makes you that way?

  • Jake:  I truly believed I have been blessed with the ability to encourage and it’s my job to use that to pour into others. It’s been anything but easy some days on this entrepreneurial roller coaster. Some days it’s just a beating to keep going, but I always try to maintain focus on why I started CED. I’m fortunate that my family and close circle of friends are able to help me maintain that focus on the days I need it most.

Question:  What's the single best piece of advice you can give to someone contemplating becoming an entrepreneur?

  • Jake:  Persevere. I’ve used this analogy a lot, but the life of an entrepreneur is more like going to work daily with a pickaxe than with a rocket launcher. There are no overnight successes. Those who win and find a way to build a successful business are the ones who get to work every single day and stay with the task until their goal is reached. Small efforts, compounded daily, to create large successes.

Question:  What will 2015 bring for CED and its passionate fan base?

  • Jake:  I’m excited about the upcoming year. We are continuing our Shirt-of-the-Month program with a few new twists for fans, including the 72-hour-release. Fans will only be able to grab a limited-edition shirt a) through the Legendary Shirt Program, or b) through the 72-hour window around its release. This really creates exclusivity for people in the program. Our CED Lifestyle line will continue to grow and evolve for the brand. A big twist you’ll see next year is the Tuesday night Compete party. Every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. CST, we will be doing something. Some Tuesdays it may be a new apparel release (such as a limited-edition shirt), some could be a 72-hour sale, and others may be a special announcement. But each Tuesday, something happens at 7 p.m.

Jake adds that the best thing to debut in 2015 will be CED's custom shirt line. Jake explains, "We have been working for 16 months to develop our own shirts (fabric, cut, sew) to replace the current manufacturers we’ve been using. Even better, our shirts will be lighter, softer, and made entirely in the USA, with the majority being done here in Texas. We’ll finally be able to debut a new T-shirt and then before summer 2015, our technical training line with new shirts and tank tops made exclusively for workouts with moisture-wicking fabrics."

"Outside of those new and continued programs, my focus is on continuing to expand the business into new markets and audiences, and continue to pour positivity into as many people as we can touch with the brand," adds Jake.


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