Today we’d like to introduce you to E. Jermaine Hill.
Hi Jermaine, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Not sure when my passion for being an entrepreneur started, but for as long as I can remember I have been an independent-minded person. Telling me that I couldn’t do something made me want to do it even more. So in middle school, I was introduced to an organization called Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). The name spoke for itself and so I was drawn to it. Learned the basics of business, went to FBLA conferences, and even became the school FBLA President.
Went on to attend the University of Richmond after high school. While there, one of my business class projects was to build a website from scratch. Actually liked it and taught myself HTML and ASP. After I graduated, I continued to build sites as a hobby and I got noticed and asked to do them for other people. In January 2011, EJH Consulting LLC was born. Since then it has grown into a successful small business with hundreds of clients across the web and graphic design services.
We were recently certified by byblack.us as an official Black Owned Business. Having built online stores for several clients, I decided to start EJH Apparel LLC in 2020 and design my own apparel. I also own EJH Music LLC, an artist management and development company having branded multiple Grammy Nominated and Winning artists and learning the ins and outs of artist management.
You must start with what you love to do and are passionate about. Then figure out how to make money doing it. You must do what the 1% do in order to achieve the 1% results. Late nights, early mornings, staying in when friends are out, learning, and perfecting your craft will get you where you are going. The money will come, just put in the work, others will notice.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
To be honest, all startups start with little to no money. My story was the same. I used bootleg versions of design software so I wouldn’t have to pay for the license. I also charged way less than I should so that I could build my portfolio, sometimes even offering free work. I made almost no profit my first year.
Also, we don’t have a lot of entrepreneurs in my family so I didn’t really have mentors to show me the ins and outs of running a small business. I operated without being an LLC for a while. Didn’t understand how to file business taxes or understand what was tax-deductible or not. I pretty much taught myself all of it. Also, black business owners are stereotyped. So I had to put in the work to show my clients that not all black business owners are late on projects, unprofessional, and disorganized.
Eventually, my work caught up with my competitors and I showed that I could compete with other similar small businesses. The crazy thing is that I actually was getting so good it was hard to keep up with all of the projects. I started being late delivering graphics and websites to clients and so I realized I needed to restructure and manage my time better with the growth.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about EJH CONSULTING LLC?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Richmond. So business is just in me. EJH Consulting LLC was founded in 2011 as a freelance web and graphic design business. At the time, that’s all I specialized in, logos, flyers, banners, and websites mostly. Having grown up in the church, religious organizations earned me the most revenue.
For as long as I can remember, I have taken on more work than I could handle. A typical day for me would be to wake up at 7 am or so for my corporate job and often I would spend part of my day working on EJH Consulting projects. Later, I would get off work, grab food and go right back to work on a design project or website. I would stay up until 1-2 am and repeat the cycle. I’m the same to this day even with part-time employees assisting me. I believe this is what sets me apart. I’m a workhorse but I love what I do.
How I ended up working with celebrity figures, in 2012, my cousin Durelle Bailey had a friend in NY that was looking for a web designer for her boss. I generally never say no to new projects so I drove to NY to meet the potential client. The client was recording artist and fashion designer Suga J. After I built his site, his girlfriend at the time, Nessa, was close friends with Rah Ali, from Love & Hip-Hop NY, and she needed a website before the season aired the next day. She called me as I was getting off a plane and told me who she was. I couldn’t say no to one of the stars of Love & Hip Hop NY. That led to a multi-year business relationship with Rah Ali.
This led to even more opportunities in the entertainment business in 2016. A longtime friend in Atlanta was a professional set designer and was told Executive Producer and Director Roger Bobb needed a website for his film company Bobbcat Films. I jumped at the opportunity. We are still working together to this day. I recently designed his website rogerbobb.com.
Most of my opportunities with public figures came from word of mouth, as did an opportunity to work with the 3x Grammy Nominated, The Walls Group. Their manager and father, Roger Walls (aka Pop Walls), put a post on Facebook that he needed a website for his personal satellite internet business. My bro Nick Ackron referred me when he saw the post. Pop Walls said if I did great on his site, I could do his children’s site, The Walls Group. At the time, I didn’t know they were who they were, but of course, I found out I was working for Gospel celebrities. I continue to manage their website and social media.
One of my greatest honors is working for gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard and Kierra Sheard. My cousin Shamika Shaw is the Chief of Staff for both of them and works at their production company, Drew Girls Productions, and brought me on the team when it was time for a new website. I’m forever grateful for what she did and the strong bond we continue to have.
Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Absolutely. My biggest one was December 3, 2021, when I officially left the corporate world and started working for myself full time. With a 6-figure salary and great benefits, it’s not easy to walk away from but my mind was made up. I was ready to take my company to the next level, and I couldn’t do that staying in the corporate world.
Before I found Industrious Office co-working space, I visited several co-working office spaces and locations to find the perfect location in Washington, DC. DC is a hub of innovators and creatives so I knew for years DC would eventually be my headquarters.
I’m taking a risk on growing and scaling my business because I have no doubt it will grow into one of the most successful minority-owned tech companies in the country. I want to offer top-of-the-line graphics, websites, mobile apps, and branding implementation to small businesses, corporate clients, and government agencies.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.ejh-consulting.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ejhc_graphicdesign/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ejhconsulting
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ejhconsulting
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqdvDoVErHS3fA5EBWn9wXg