Apr 11, 2022
In Questions & Answers
From washing cars to selling them to building businesses, Sendlane CEO Jimmy Kim believes focus is the key to his rise to the top. Like many children of Asian American immigrants, Jimmy Kim knew his parents had high expectations of him. When he was a child, his mother told him that he should become a doctor because it would bring him the most money. "I don't want to be a doctor," young Kim replied. "I will make more money than a doctor." Fast forward to 2018, and Kim is fulfilling her promise to her parents, as an entrepreneur working in online marketing. He's built and sold several businesses and now runs the fast-growing email marketing software Sendlane. The bootstrapped company employs 25 full-time employees in its newly renovated 6,000 square foot office in San Diego. In May, Sendlane had already more than doubled its turnover compared to 2017 and was on track to triple or even quadruple this figure by the end of the year. How did he get here? Kim attributes her success to employee email database one thing: focus. From car washing to business creation At 15, Kim was completely focused on one goal: saving enough money to buy a car. He started working 10 hours a week making pizzas at a local store. But earning $4 an hour made it hard to save enough money. "When I was 16 and got my driver's license," Kim recalls, "I still couldn't afford a car because, well, I come from a family first-generation middle-class Asian, and my dad is not going to buy me a car. I mean, my grades didn't matter at that time. He figured the best thing to owning a car was working with cars, so he got a job washing cars at a dealership. "That was my solution," he says. "That was my first mindset: 'Okay, at least let me drive cars.'" Kim worked at the dealership until he left for college. During the summer vacation, he came back and asked to get his old job back, but they said the positions had been filled. He felt defeated. But as he walked out of the office, one of the salespeople spotted him and asked him a question that would change the trajectory of his career: why don't you try selling cars? Thanks to his excellent work ethic in the past, the manager hired him on the spot. In Kim's first month, he sold 31 cars, earned $14,000 and became salesman of the month at age 19. Some considered it beginner's luck. "It just fuels the fire in me," Kim says. “That's how I am. I am a competitive person. Her second month, Kim earned even more money and, again, was named Seller of the Month. It was then that he decided to make the difficult decision to drop out of college. "Now, as an Asian who grew up in an Asian family, that was probably the hardest conversation I've ever had with my family," Kim says. “My parents didn't approve. They thought I was crazy. They thought I was wasting my life, ruining my life. As a compromise, he agreed that after a few years of earning money, he would go back to school and fund his own education.