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Inspiring Conversations with Jay Taylor of LEVERAGE

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Taylor. 

Hi Jay, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
In 2008, I started LEVERAGE out of my apartment with $500 to my name. I used that $500 to buy a computer, which I then utilized to design the company’s first logo, website, and business cards. Once I had those assets, I hit the pavement and began visiting office parks to offer my services to anyone who would listen. I was told “no” at least 50 times before I finally got to my first “yes.” 

The business only generated about $60,000 in revenue the first year. We grew organically every year thereafter to eventually reach seven figures. I constantly reinvested earnings back into the business, even if it meant not paying myself. This allowed me to scale without borrowing money or taking on investors. I was able to secure the 5,000 square foot office space that we are in today, buy equipment, and hire staff without borrowing a dime from anyone. We are a debt-free company to this day. 

Fast forward to 2021, and we have now worked with more than 200 organizations, including recognizable brands such as Fantastic Sams, WCI/Lennar, Valley National Bank, and Yogurtology. LEVERAGE has been honored as one of the Top 10 fastest-growing companies owned or led by a University of South Florida alumnus and ranked by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the largest advertising agencies in the region. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Growing a business is full of challenges and obstacles, but that’s what makes it fun and rewarding. If it were easy, everyone would do it. 

Most recently, COVID-19 presented a huge challenge for us, as it did for most businesses. It forced us to rethink our entire business model. We entered the pandemic a marketing agency and we came out of it a marketing consultancy with agency capabilities, and there is a big difference between the two. Agencies tend to focus on execution, such as creative, while consultancies focus on strategy. We blended the two, and now offer both strategy and execution, which ensures that our clients not only get excellent creative results but more importantly, they get goal-driven outcomes that enable growth. 

We now have a much healthier business than we did going into the pandemic, with a fantastic roster of clients, and an incredible team of talented individuals. 

As you know, we’re big fans of LEVERAGE. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
LEVERAGE is an award-winning marketing consultancy that builds brands and enables growth. 

The firm has worked with more than 200 organizations since its inception in 2008, including recognizable brands such as Fantastic Sams, WCI/Lennar, Valley National Bank, and Yogurtology. 

LEVERAGE has been honored as one of the Top 10 fastest-growing companies owned or led by a University of South Florida alumnus and ranked by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the largest advertising agencies in the region. 

The agency is also a Google Certified Partner and has won over 50 international and national industry awards since its inception from organizations including the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), and the American Marketing Association (AMA) to name a few. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I consider myself to be very lucky. I have been blessed with good health, supportive family and friends, a wonderful team, amazing clients, and the good fortune to live in a thriving economic region. 

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