Jig Patel has been officially self-employed since 2009. For years, he had worked in sales but felt that traditional corporate structure wasn’t providing the right kind of leadership or allowing him the freedom he wanted out of a career. “I’m naturally a bit of a Maverick,” Jig laughs. “I inherently feel that I can do better. [In sales] Too often, I took direction from people who didn’t know what they were talking about. I also didn’t want to be stuck in one channel of work. For instance, I was in retail management and I could have kept doing an awesome job there for years, but that would have been a box. I believed that if I were off on my own, I could do my own thing. I wanted to create my own life where I could be free to work, create my own hours, and find my own success.”
Though he had left corporate sales, Jig continued to work in the same field but this time as a contractor and a small business owner. Over the course of a few years, Jig expanded his reach and abilities as he gained new experience in sales, specifically within expos. Jig co-owned a company with a friend where he helped with everything from marketing and strategy to setting up at trade shows and pitching a product to potential clients. His ability to adapt and think both creatively and strategically in all areas of sales was key for his immediate success—Jig knew right away that consulting was the place for him.
“I love sales and have always loved sales. A business can survive without many things, but if they don’t have sales, they don’t exist. You don’t have a single item in your home that wasn’t sold, often many times over, before it ended up in your home. Whether you’re a restaurant, an artist, or a doctor, you have to have a sales culture, and I’m passionate about helping businesses create that culture through what we do” With this focused passion serving as his compass, Jig forged forward towards the next stage of his career. In 2017, he formed his own sales consulting company called The Expo Experts.
The idea behind The Expo Experts is to provide a resource for companies looking to present at everything from trade shows and expos to corporate boardrooms. Whatever the need, Jig and his team of contractors are able to support a business as it grows and tries to reach clients. “We do it all—anything related to expos, like accounting, strategy, developing a brand or a pitch, and even the things that are more hands on, like booth design or set up.”
Jig describes what a client of The Expo Experts might require for a trade show. “A business might need help presenting a product. They’ll hire The Expo Experts to handle space and communication with the expo hall. We’ll order everything, figure out how the display should look, handle the contract, build a sales team and train that team. But all of this varies from client to client. Sometimes companies have their own staff, sometimes not. Sometimes they need help with a pitch, sometimes they don’t. We can be hired on a flexible basis, doing only the things that a company needs. Our most important goal is to grow our clients revenue rapidly and efficiently so we’ll never take on a client before sitting down to talk about what would work best for them—that’s the consulting part.” Jig attributes his company’s success to the fact that his diverse sales experience has given him excellent perspective and criteria to lead this company well. “I’ve been through so many channels so I have an awareness of how sales work. It all depends on what the product is and who you are marketing to.”
Dream HUB, particularly Ignite Cowroking, came into the picture in the early months of The Expo Experts. While looking to rent a shared office to work out of, Jig found Ignite. “I searched them up and drove over to the building to check them out. Immediately when I walked in, I fell in love with the physical appearance: it’s an old building that used to be an ice cream factory. It has brick walls with lots of character, meeting spaces, and a conference room. I love the ambiance—it adds nicely to the old feel of the neighborhood.”
This neighborhood is also something that attracted Jig to Ignite. Though his company operates not only locally but across states, Jig spends a lot of time working out of the building and interacting with locals. “There’s a certain vibrancy to the business community and a good optimism in the neighborhood—it has a lot of potential. Kevin’s work through Dream HUB is a centerpiece of this growth. He has helped so many businesses expand and thrive because he has his hands in many areas of the local economy and has taken a leadership role.” Jig also explains that small business owners in the area patronize each other’s businesses. In fact, Jig has found clients simply by working out of Dream HUB’s shared office “Relationship at Ignite happens first then business builds organically. Michael Copeland, the community manager at Ignite, is fantastic about introducing you to other Dream HUB people in the building and in the neighborhood. You kind of feel like everyone is everyone else’s #1 fan. They want to encourage and help you in your business whatever that means. You can’t put a price tag on support like that.”
Over the past two years, The Expo Experts has found ways of returning the support by helping several other Ignite members in their business ventures. “I’ve met several friends here who work out of Ignite who have eventually asked to hire The Expo Experts after getting to know me personally and seeing how successful my company is at helping businesses. Early on, I helped one guy launch his product in the tech industry and he has been a client ever since.”
Though The Expo Experts has only been in business for two years, Jig has big plans for the future that involve solid growth, multiple layers of management and staffing, and, of course, a few tropical vacations to take a break from the hustle of running a company. But looking back on his journey, Jig is proud of what he has accomplished so far. “I’ve grown through it, I can accept my failures and congratulate myself on my success. That’s what running a business is like. It’s a journey where you keep on failing forward and figuring it all out.”
“Ignite provided work space along this journey, ” continues Jig. “ If you’re considering renting space from Dream HUB, just do it. You have nothing to lose. You’re only going to gain from it, getting new ideas, meeting new people, and, most of all, having a space where you can be productive. Everyone around you wants you to succeed even if they have nothing to do with what you’re working on.”
As of now, Jig plans to continue working in Ignite’s shared office space as The Expo Experts expands to help many more clients through sales consulting.