My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

#74: Nationwide Financial Services Int'l.

How Haiti became the impetus for this entrepreneur to finally launch his own business
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Company:Nationwide Financial Services Int'l., a Chicago mortgage, insurance, investment and tax services firm
Founder: Jacob Francois
Began: September 2001
2002 Sales: $4.7 million

Why did you start this business?
Jacob Francois: I felt tremendously unaccomplished working for a Fortune 500/Chicago 100 financial institution. The responsibility and compensation were dismal, and the atmosphere for advancement was extremely limited. I was qualified to hold an officer position but remained in an hourly position with like duties and compensation.

When did you know you'd made it?
Francois: The government of Haiti invited me to participate in a summit on Haiti's upcoming bicentennial independence celebration. My former employer wouldn't honor a request for time off for me to attend. I went anyway. When my plane took off, it was a metaphor for what was to come for me. While I was away, my employer pink slipped me . . . I never felt so free and I've never regretted going!

When did you think you'd blown it?
Francois: I found that I needed more capital than I had to effectively start my business. Without employment, I didn't have access to the traditional sources of capital I needed. I didn't despair though. I liquidated my 401(k) and maxed out my credit cards to get life off on this business the way it needed. I've since paid off all that debt, and my business runs in the black.

What's been your biggest challenge?
Francois: Recruiting. It's very difficult to get driven people like me to work for anyone other than themselves.

What's your business advice for others?
Francois: Be ready to work harder than you ever had before. Follow your business plan and keep tweaking it.

Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
Francois: Nationwide Financial Services International Inc. will be a publicly-traded company. Its founder will finally be enjoying the best life has to offer.

Back to the Hot 100

More from Entrepreneur

Brittney's a Certified Financial Planner who can help you manage your business and personal finances and navigate the ups and downs of starting a business.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.
Start My Plan

Latest on Entrepreneur