Jason runs JGrill Media consulting on media relations, public affairs and government relations. He is host of the Grill Nation Show on KMBZ Radio and writes for outlets like the Huffington Post. He is also co-founder of the ever-stylish Sock 101. To top it off, Jason is an attorney in Missouri and Kansas and former member of the Missouri House of Representatives with previous experience in both the White House and CNN. Jason’s hobbies include making short bios impossible.
Your hands are in so many things. How do you balance your personal media with consulting arrangements?
JGrill Media started with the intent to focus on just my own media work which included writing both locally and nationally, television work and building a radio show. It began to take off and through my involvement in Kansas City entrepreneurship, business and civic community several people asked to consult with their own media relations, public affairs, pr and government/public policy issues. Now I’m able to continue to grow my own personal media and public affairs brand, as well doing some great consulting work with some incredible people. I am very excited about continuing to build the partnerships and relationships on the consulting side while also continuing to work with some great media outlets and grow the Grill Nation Show and my other writing and television contributing work on a local and national level.
How did platforms like 1 Million Cups and Kickstarter help launch Sock 101?
When Sock 101 presented at 1 Million Cups in November of 2012 during Global Entrepreneurship Week, I believe it was one of the first times it was held in the bigger conference room space at the Kauffman Foundation. At the time we had a few initial designs and had just gotten a very simple website up. People were attracted to Sock 101 at that very early time because of the relationships myself and my fellow co-founders had built in Kansas City and in the entrepreneur world, but even more importantly because we weren’t another tech or app company presenting our idea. People were saying “awesome socks…for an affordable price. I like that!”
Kickstarter was also very important because Sock 101 was one of Kansas City’s first companies, if not the first, to raise over 30k on a campaign and it helped us continue to grow our brand and presence both locally and nationally. In addition, our first custom branded / logoed high quality cotton knit socks for companies and organizations came out of the Kickstarter campaign and now is one of Sock 101’s best offerings.
Any lessons you’d share with budding entrepreneurs?
The most important thing I have learned in business, life and in Kansas City in general is how important relationships and partnerships are to you or your business success. If you treat others like you would want to be treated and are willing to help others out and give yourself to your community even when you don’t want to, it will be beneficial both personally and in business. If you build a rapport and trust with someone or a business they will support you and offer their help and assistance no matter what the project or idea. Mutually beneficial relationships are so important and are everywhere. They will come to fruition if you put yourself out there, listen, learn and leave the office once in awhile.
Let’s talk radio. How did Entrepreneur KC evolve to Grill Nation?
I am super excited about the newly launched show. Grill Nation has started off very strong. Entrepreneur KC started in October 2012 at a time when very little mainstream media entities were talking about startups, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Kansas City. With nearly 450 interviews conducted, I think Entrepreneur KC on the KMBZ Business Channel really filled a void in the city. You can read stories and you can hear soundbites through other avenues, but Entrepreneur KC really gave you the inside story of the entrepreneur, business leader or civic individual in their own words and in their own voice. Hosting Entrepreneur KC was a great experience.
With all this being said Entrepreneur KC had become more than a radio show only about entrepreneurs. It became more. Enter Grill Nation. Grill Nation connects listeners to leading newsmakers, thought leaders, business icons, politicians, trendsetters, entertainers, entrepreneurs and innovators who are breaking through and pushing the envelope every day. Grill Nation takes the conversation to the next level and yours truly gives you rare access and in-depth interviews that are both on-point and entertaining for listeners of all types. Grill Nation has some great sponsors, supporters, partners and is now available not only on air on KMBZ, but also through KMBZ.com, GrillNationShow.com and on iTunes, Stitcher and TuneIn Radio. I’m pumped about the growth, quality of guests and the value of future shows Grill Nation will put out.
What is your latest epiphany?
The Royals aren’t going anywhere. Watch out America. It’s going to be a fun summer and fall in Kansas City.