Josh and his former partner left their jobs at a large firm to start their own company in 2011. When Josh’s partner passed away in 2013, he had a decision to make, get a “real job” or continue on his own. Choosing the latter, Josh started IronRock Software. Today, IronRock’s team consists of 5 developers and 3 sales and marketing professionals. IronRock focuses on providing software, consulting, automation, and analytics to the legal industry, but they also work with municipalities and technology companies.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? As a kid I sold hand-made crafts (junk glued together) on our front lawn. I sold half-empty perfume samplers door-to-door that I salvaged out of dumpsters behind Eckerds. I started my first consulting business when I was 15, which focused on web design. Becoming a full-time entrepreneur was never a leap for me.
Goals: For our product to become the standard in the legal industry.
Hardest thing about starting your business? In the beginning having only one or two clients. When their business slowed down, our business slowed down… we needed more clients. It made me question myself and the decisions that I had made. I almost took a “real job” during those days, but I called my father for advice and he said, “Son, if you take this job you may get comfortable and never start another business and always wonder what might have been.” So I stuck with it. Today, with our large list of clients, when someone is down, there is always someone else up. If today is calm, tomorrow will be nuts, it evens out and you make money and risk is distributed. But in the beginning, it can be really hard to stick it out through the down times when you don’t know where your next dollar is coming from.
Why Lakeland? I live in Lake Wales and Lakeland is the nearest “happening place” where the community values and supports its entrepreneurs.
Favorite things to do in Lakeland? Catapult, Harry’s, Food Truck Rally
How has Catapult helped you? It helped me learn a lot about my weaknesses. I was a terrible people manager, my “elevator pitch” was a joke, and my product was too complex to explain to the masses. I was able to better manage and leverage my team by seeing other entrepreneurs who could do it so well, like Fred Koehler. Catapult helped me clarify what I do into a simple one-sentence statement, “We provide software, consulting, automation and analytics to the legal industry,” which is much better than “We do boring data stuff with dashboards and such.” They also helped me decide to decrease our focus on more complex products and focus on easier to understand and use products.
Secret Sauce? Dedication and accessibility to our clients. When they call for help, they don’t get an answering machine or put on hold. They get a live person and an immediate answer, which is rare in the software industry and why we are able to retain clients for years.
IronRockSoftware.com | JWatson@IronRockSoftware.com
CatapultLakeland.com | 863.940.9660