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AJ Wilcox – Having a Full-Time Job in 2021 Is Risky
22nd January 2021 • My Worst Investment Ever Podcast • Andrew Stotz
00:00:00 00:28:18

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AJ Wilcox is a LinkedIn Ads pro who founded, a LinkedIn Ads-specific ad agency, in 2014. He’s an official LinkedIn partner, host of the LinkedIn Ads Show podcast, and has managed among the world’s largest LinkedIn Ads accounts worldwide.

He’s a ginger and triathlete. He and his wife live in Utah, US, with their four kids, and his company car is a wicked-fast go-kart.


“You can build a business out of being the best in the world at whatever you choose.”

AJ Wilcox


Worst investment ever

Growing up, AJ had no entrepreneurship goals. He planned to leave college, get a job, and work his way up until he became the CMO or the CEO and then get into a fortune 500 company. And so AJ started his employment journey as a digital marketer.

True love for Search Engine Optimization

AJ fell in love with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and then Google ads. He remembers talking to the CMO on the very first day of his last job. AJ laid out all of his marketing strategies, not wanting to look stupid. The CMO told him that his strategies sounded great and gave him the go-ahead to execute them. But she also asked AJ to look into a LinkedIn Ads pilot that the company had started two weeks earlier.

Not wanting to disappoint, AJ jumped into the LinkedIn Ads platform that he had never heard of before and did his thing. About two weeks later, a sales rep came up and introduced himself and told AJ that the sales reps were fighting over his leads. AJ looked through the leads, looked at their source, and every single one of them was from LinkedIn Ads.

Losing his job suddenly

AJ continued to learn more about this platform and kept outperforming everyone. Soon, his company became LinkedIn’s highest-spending account worldwide.

After working for the company for two and a half years, AJ’s boss walked into his office one Friday morning and informed him that he was being let go. AJ was so devastated. He had three kids and another on the way at the time.

Finally getting the guts to start a business

AJ talked to his wife about his job loss, and they agreed he should find another one. Because he was highly skilled, it took him just a few weeks to find a new job. In fact, he had four job offers.

But a small still voice kept telling him this is not what he was supposed to do with his life. AJ prayed about it, and eventually, he decided to start a business instead of going back to a full-time job. He has not regretted this decision to date.

Lessons learned

Starting a business is less risky than you think

Many people get stuck in their full-time jobs because they assume that starting a business is very risky. They do not understand that in the long term, a full-time job is riskier than going out on your own.

Running your own business gives you more control of your time and life

When you are your own boss, you get to manage your calendar and your life, allowing you to spend time as you wish.

You do not need to be great at everything; you just need to offer value

When you run your own company, you are operations and finance and sales and marketing. You may not know how to handle all these functions well. Whichever one you are good at, use that to offer your customers value, and that value will come back.

Andrew’s takeaways

Some businesses will be better than others

Some industries, some jobs, and some things, in general, are just easier to sell than others. So when you are thinking of the business to start, look for one that stands to brings you the most success.

Get your customers first, even before you produce your product

If you’re going to start a business, make sure you get your customers first. Most people think about their product or service and focus more on the brand instead of getting customers. Customers are the ones who will make your company last.

A job these days is riskier than a business

You may be feeling safe to have a job and avoid starting a business because you are afraid of the associated risk. The truth is that a job these days is just shortfall risk. Do not be scared to start your own business, especially if you are really good at something. The risk is worth it.

Actionable advice

If you have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, but you doubt you can do it and are afraid to take the leap, perfect your skill first. Do not be scared to go and work for someone else and get paid to train. All you have to do is make sure that you are hungry, and you are trying to develop some niche skill that makes you the best in the world at something.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

AJ’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to get all sales and operations off his plate so that he can do the stuff that he enjoys doing. This includes ad testing, data analysis, publishing, and speaking.

Parting words


“Think of opportunities that could take you into something that’s marketable. Start a side hustle, find ways of continuing to grow because you can never go wrong with being hungry and wanting to learn.”

AJ Wilcox




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