You don’t have to listen very long to understand why Jason Hendricks started his own business. Similar to many entrepreneurs, he found a problem he could solve and dug in. But this self assurance wasn’t always there. Through our conversation, Jason shared how poverty, the right teacher and a tool he had never thought about brought him to becoming an entrepreneur.
Jason Hendricks, owner of Forgot or Knot, an experiential gift giving company based in McKinney, TX, started out not knowing he had options or what he could accomplish.
His first business was a nonprofit called Build a Dream with the goal of inspiring youth and introducing them to professions they might not have considered. “Growing up, I had never met a lawyer or doctor or engineer and I didn’t know these careers existed,” shared Hendricks. “In certain environments, you don’t know what’s really out there and your parents and the teachers may not push you to be an engineer or tell you it is possible to be a doctor. You really don’t know what’s possible.”
Growing up the youngest of 12 children in a two-bedroom house in south Dallas, Hendricks recalled that by age 14 he was put in a position where he had to raise himself. His grandmother encouraged him to mow lawns for money, even paying him his first $2 bill to mow hers. By 19, Hendricks thought the military was his only way out.
“I decided to go into the military after high school. I just didn’t really see too many opportunities outside of it. And the community I was brought up in – I wanted to get out of that environment.” It wasn’t until after Hendricks left the military he began nurturing his entrepreneurship hopes. He enrolled at Hillsborough Community College and began taking business courses.
“I was introduced to the Entrepreneur Collaborative Center and it’s entrepreneurial programs to help students start their own businesses . My professor, Andy Gold, told me about the veteran entrepreneurship program,” Hendricks shared. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always had questions and he said he had these mentor hours. ‘If you want to ask questions, set up a meeting with me’. I always had questions. And I took advantage of the office hours.”
During the entrepreneurship program, Hendricks learned the basics of business. He ran different companies and kept track of his customers and collected cash payments from sales. As his experience and business acumen grew, the tools he was using to manage his business needed to grow too. Professor Gold began teaching the fundamentals of QuickBooks.
“I will never forget setting up my business. Professor Gold sat down with me and said, ‘Let me show you about QuickBooks because you’re going to need it.’ I didn’t know I was going to need it. I needed QuickBooks as a tool.”
“The things that QuickBooks offers, for example just entering your customers information, to me, that’s really good discipline. Keeping track of your customers and how much money you have and where you are and where your money is going – that’s important. It is a tool that really benefits entrepreneurs who want to start their venture, and I am lucky enough to be one of those entrepreneurs with a venture. A lot of people are introduced to these free tools and they don’t always use them or they say no because they don’t know how to use them. I was one of those people who just didn’t know enough. So it took Professor Gold to say, “Let me show you, let me educate you on QuickBooks.”
After graduating from the program, Hendricks started Forgot or Knot. He has a full-time job and is earning his master’s degree. And like other business owners, Jason meets with his trusted advisor, Professor Gold, to discuss goals and check in on the health of his business.
“This master’s degree program and the information I learned from Andy and me growing my business, it all falls into building myself up to be this person that can really help other people. I’m in love with what I do, and when you’re in love it’s hard to not do something. And that’s where I am. I’m in love with entrepreneurship. I’m in love with solving problems. And most of all, I’m really in love with what I can become. I still have friends to this day that I went to school with and they still don’t see the possibilities in life that I can see.”
“I like to look at it from Professor Gold’s approach, you can accomplish anything if you just do it. And that holds value.”
Intuit is committed to turning big ambitions into prosperous realities. We’re partnering with educators to provide real-world tools like QuickBooks to classrooms for free. Students can get the knowledge, skills, and certifications needed to stand out while preparing for the new world of work.
If you’re an educator and interested in bringing free QuickBooks to your students, register now and join one of upcoming webinars this Summer.