Every journey has a starting point, and for Danny McGeady, now owner of JEM Designs, it began with a desire for freedom. Dissatisfied with corporate life and craving independence, he went on to start his own path at 24 years old.

With little expertise but a strong determination, Danny took the leap into entrepreneurship, co-founding JEM Designs in 2004 alongside a trusted friend and fellow Aileron community member, Chad Khuns. Even though he had no background in design and construction, he ventured into the realm of cabinet sales, driven by a passion for autonomy and self-reliance.

From Surviving to Thriving | JEM Designs & Aileron

“I didn’t own a tape measure when I started the company. I had zero construction background. I was selling cabinets and countertops… but I knew I wanted to get out on my own.”

The Power of Community

Early on, Danny realized the uncertainties of entrepreneurship. He faced complex partnerships and economic downturns, leading to decisions that would shape the trajectory of his business. Chad and Danny decided to part ways in the business, but their relationship remained strong. Reflecting on these formative moments, Danny recalls the pivotal role of mentorship in guiding his choices. At the end of 2015, Danny got a call from Chad that would change his business.

“Chad said, ‘Hey man, I just took this course [at Aileron] and I was thinking about you when I was out there. Maybe you should look into it.’ And then I had two other people within a month say the same thing. And these people were more successful than me, so I trusted them, and I listened. In January 2016, I took the Course for Presidents.”

The Power of Coaching

When Danny first arrived at Aileron and participated in the Course for Presidents, he wasn’t expecting to get much out of his experience — he was self-admittedly intimidated by others in the room and worried he wasn’t doing as well financially. He soon realized that it would be a benefit to him.

“I walked in expecting to be intimidated due to a lack of revenue; others were doing double that with much larger teams. But because I wasn’t there to fix anything, I felt like people were a little bit envious of the blank slate that I had to work with. So it was a very comfortable group; we had a really nice group of people.”

From Surviving to Thriving | JEM Designs & Aileron

As Danny reflected, he shared one thing that has stuck with him since participating in the Course for Presidents. His Facilitator, Ed Epply, said: “If you can’t go away and leave your business for 30 days, you have a job. You don’t own anything.” That resonated with Danny and has been a goal of his ever since.

After participating in the Course for Presidents, Danny met with his Business Coach. In that coaching session, he began laying the groundwork for the growth and success of JEM and began to embrace the power of coaching and conscious leadership principles. Danny credits Aileron and his Business Coach for playing a pivotal role in shaping his and JEM’s trajectory.

“I finally felt like I wasn’t alone,” Danny reflects. “He challenged me on things that I never would have changed. I realized that my coach was there to help and guide me. So I listened — and if I hadn’t listened, I would be out of business.”

He continued: “I had a client that was 58% of my business, and I never thought they would go away. Once COVID hit, all their orders got canceled. If it wasn’t for my business coach and their guidance, we wouldn’t have made it.”

Through collaborative planning and attention to detail, Danny began to develop a roadmap for success. “We laid this plan out, and it’s fascinating to watch what you lay out happen for a year and beyond.” This intentional approach to navigating environmental change empowered JEM Designs to not only weather storms but also thrive amidst adversity, emerging stronger and more resilient with each challenge.

The Power of Building a Thriving Team

In 2017, Danny felt that JEM Designs was ready to grow. He hired his first employee, but unfortunately, it wasn’t a good fit. A few subsequent hires faced similar challenges. Seeing his own opportunity for development, this experience led Danny back to Aileron where he worked on his conscious leadership skills.

With the help of Aileron’s conscious leadership services, Danny learned how to build a team that was aligned with the company’s goals and values. As JEM Designs thrived, Danny focused on empowering his team. He fostered a culture of collaboration and innovation through transparency and trust. By investing in his team’s development and creating a learning environment, he ensured JEM Designs stayed ahead of the curve.

From Surviving to Thriving | JEM Designs & Aileron

“First, we laid this plan out. Second, we put the right people in place to execute it. We empowered them by sharing the vision with them, and this vision continues to guide us as we watch it come to fruition.”

Danny finally found a team that fit the company’s needs and vision. Together, they created systems and processes that facilitated the successful implementation of a CRM, leading to increased efficiency and sustained growth.

As the team and company experienced growth, changes, and transitions, Danny turned to conscious leadership tools to empower his team: “Going into conversations, I reminded myself to listen actively, clarify, and validate their thoughts and feelings. Conscious leadership teaches that this approach encourages people to do their best thinking on their own, and it truly works. I believe this has allowed our team members to feel confident in the decisions they’re empowered to make.”

Looking Forward: A Future Fueled by Determination

JEM Designs continues to chart its course towards excellence. Danny remains steadfast in his commitment to innovation, growth, and continuous improvement. Reflecting on his journey, he expresses gratitude for the transformative experiences that have shaped his path.

“Aileron has fundamentally changed the way I approach everything in life,” Danny affirms. “It’s a big responsibility to be a business owner who wants to help people.”

With a blend of resilience, strategic foresight, and unwavering determination, Danny and JEM Designs are poised to embrace the future. They are empowered by the lessons of the past and guided by a shared vision of success.

“I can’t thank Aileron enough for the help and support in changing my mindset. They helped me approach things differently, both personally and in my business. As a result, I’m now at a place where I can leave my business for 30 days with confidence.”

We’re shining the spotlight on our community and sharing the stories of our members. Are you interested in sharing your Aileron journey? Reach out to us.

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