TV executive and seasoned entrepreneur Jay Faires took time Wednesday morning to share his startup experiences with the GigTank teams.

Between meetings with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and dinner with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s safe to say that Faires is fully submerged in the entertainment industry. Last year, he founded JFE, a production company with a slant toward music. He previously has built businesses and sold them to The Walt Disney Company as well as Lionsgate, where he formerly served as president of music.

“I literally get a high from it,” Faires said. “The idea generation and the ability to bring people together – it’s a lot of fun.”

Although Faires, a former Chattanoogan, has experienced success as an entrepreneur, it’s been a learning process, and he said he can relate to the challenges the teams face. However, he believes there are certain steps they can take to deal with those issues and set themselves up for success.

  • “Watch every penny.” Investors are key to turning a startup idea into a reality. Once an entrepreneur secures funding, Faires said it’s crucial to “bootstrap” it, stretching every dollar.
  • “Keep learning and keep reading.” Entrepreneurs should always be looking ahead, Faires stressed. He encouraged the teams to constantly ask questions and search for the answers.
  • “Don’t think yourself into oblivion.” Faires warned the teams not to overanalyze or get stuck on an idea; success is about moving forward and finding a balance between action and inaction.
  • “Be a salesman.” Regardless of industry or sector, Faires believes that every entrepreneur must know how to make a strong pitch. He told the teams to utilize books and other available resources to learn basic sales skills.
  • “Identify your passions.” Even on your worst day, Faires said, you should love what you’re doing.

Faires reminded the teams that success and happiness often go hand-in-hand. Before pouring themselves completely into their startups, he encouraged the GigTank-ers to do a little soul searching.

“If you have personal areas of deficiency, you have the power to change those,” Faires said. “Work on yourself – physically, spiritually, emotionally. Spend time on that first.”