Jared Carrizales, founder of Heroic Search, offers insights into how he built his business using credit cards and advice for future entrepreneurs.
Jared Carrizales, founder of Heroic Search
You’ve probably heard of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. What’s less known is that around 4% to 5% percent of adults in the U.S. have ADHD. People with ADHD have minds that may wander from one great thing to the next, leading to impulsive decisions to turn those ideas into reality.
Traits typical of ADHD are shared by some of the most creative and successful entrepreneurs in the world, including airline mogul Sir Richard Branson, who is open about having ADHD. It is speculated that artist and inventor Leonardo DaVinci may also have had ADHD.
The need to take risks by launching an innovative new business may be hardwired. A British study about ADHD discovered evidence of a specific gene associated with entrepreneurship and people with ADHD. If you have ADHD, the key is to harness all that spectacular energy and get the right credit products and support so you can successfully carve your own business path.
Jared Carrizales, who has ADHD, launched his company for a fascinating reason: spite. It stemmed from being terminated from a high-level position at a digital agency.
“After sparring for months over how to treat clients and digital ethics, they decided to let me go,” Carrizales said. “It was my first truly professional job, so I was relatively surprised. Not only that it happened, but that a company with that kind of personality was out there preying on companies with no repercussions. Digital marketing was the Wild West back then.”
Carrizales was fired on a Friday and started Heroic Search the following Monday. Headquartered in Dallas, Heroic Search specializes in content marketing to serve the great span of businesses around the world.
Being an entrepreneur with ADHD is a double-edged sword, Carrizales said.
“On one hand, I can latch onto something I enjoy like a dog with a bone and really dig into it,” he explained. “This can translate to 12-hour days that are relatively easy, knowing the ins and outs of a new technology or tool I just started learning, etc.”
“The downside is that if I don’t enjoy it, I’m very easily distracted. I don’t think this is a novel situation with someone with ADHD, but because I’m also in such a fast-paced industry, I often find that I have to work twice as hard or twice as long to get the same net effort out of my day,” he said.
Organization, too, can be challenging. So instead of draining himself trying to wrangle essential accounting and project management tasks, Carrizales hired experts to support him in those areas.
Another tool Carrizales uses to keep his business running smoothly? Credit cards.
You started Heroic Search in 2013. Can you remember what that was like?
There was a lot of fear. At the time, I had a lot of ignorance about what opening my business really meant, and that’s probably for the better. It’s a good thing, in a way. If I knew what it would take I probably would not have started. It was an adventure. I was living on $5,000 in savings. The big concern was how I was going to build to scale, which is hard to do.
Due to my lack of organization skills – thanks in part to my ADHD – I was all over the place sometimes. But three months later, we became cash flow positive. A client came to me when they found out I was let go, and that was when the dam broke. The $4,000 a month in revenue made the difference. Then we got more clients and it all snowballed. It was fun. Even now it’s still an adventure.
Were there any surprise costs that caught you off guard – and maybe still do?
Yes, taxes! I have friends who get a certain amount of dollars back a year and I’m like, “I remember that!” But because I’m a bit disorganized, staying on top of and projecting for taxes is hard. I never know how much I’m going to need to pay. Even when it’s low, I’m surprised! It’s always a shock.
Oh, and COVID-19 was a hurdle, of course. Two big clients left in January.
How have you been using credit cards for your business?
I have two credit cards – Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card and Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card.
I got the Southwest card primarily because I did a fair amount of traveling for work. Southwest has its hub in Dallas and it’s the airline I use the most. This card is great in terms of transferring points and has a bunch of different advantages. My partner at the time who did a lot of the administrative work helped me choose it. It’s very good for travel and dining.
The Bank of America card made sense for us primarily because that’s where we have our business accounts. We wanted to build up our history with the bank.
We put everything through the cards. We want our money going further, in terms of rewards.
How are you managing your credit and business finances?
We have an outside agency who does all the bookkeeping. It was a huge expense, but doing it myself would have been a recipe for disaster!
However, I do plenty of loose budgeting on my own, knowing what bills are due on certain days. I speak with my bookkeeper once a month. That recap is really helpful. In general, I’ve always operated with the mindset that it’s best to hire people who will do a good job. I don’t care how they do it, as long as they are ethical and get things done. I depend on them.
As far as debt, we sometimes have a few thousand on the cards. It’s never been much at all. I mostly make payments on time but there were a couple times I didn’t. I had to juggle bills and pay late. The first six months of 2021 was really hard.
Outside of the credit cards we also have small business loans. We didn’t have them for years. but we took advantage of the SBA’s disaster loan during COVID-19. It helped things go smoother and allowed us to weather the storm.
What have you learned about credit cards or borrowing money?
Get a line of credit when you don’t need it. I learned something when problems started during COVID-19. Don’t go to the banks when things are bad, go before. The banks are worried, too. That was eye-opening to me because I never really needed it before.
You should have a full relationship with your bank. That’s what we have with Bank of America.
Outside of that, only consider borrowing when you really have to. So many new, green business owners believe that raising capital and borrowing money will solve your problems, but use your time instead. Put your sweat into it, don’t throw money at it.
Regarding credit cards, do the research to make sure that you’re getting the right one and that you’ll stick with it later. That’s important. Having good credit is good business. It opens a lot of doors. I worked for years to get my credit so good that I could get the right cards.
Any advice to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, especially if they have ADHD?
Play to your strengths. It’s really hard for me to work at home because the silence is deafening, so I go to a co-working space, to coffee shops or the mall. Outside stimulation helps me to focus. I go crazy in my brain if I don’t.
For someone with ADHD, being able to have structure helps your brain work. It makes you healthier, more productive and more confident. Without structure, you don’t have that and your day goes all over the place. I think this is good advice for everyone, but especially for people who have trouble focusing.
What are your future plans for the business?
With the SBA loan we acquired three small websites and now we are building them up as revenue streams. The idea is to not depend on sales. The writing was on the wall. People aren’t spending money as much, so we decided to invest in our own assets.
Our future is to be an agency with very few clients and a lot more assets. One of the sites we acquired cost us $3,500 and now it’s worth $20,000. We are projecting that next year it will have a valuation of at least $80,000. This is our goal. Anything that doesn’t go into expenses, goes into that.