Meet Jared Miller of Jared Miller Ventures
Growing up in Alabama, going to business school in Alabama (Auburn University) and law school in the State (University of Alabama) provided two certainties for me: 1) I love Alabama and 2) it was definitely time for me to leave! Post law school graduation, I was ready to stretch my legs, leave the nest and try somewhere new. However, that is much easier said than done in the legal community. The pseudo rule of thumb surrounding law schools is that you should attend a school in the location you want to practice. There are many reasons that go into this thinking, but most importantly is the reality that you are much more likely to find a job in the location of your school. Well, out of state job prospects for an unlicensed fresh law school graduate are bleak. And this bleakness weighs heavier when you need to eat and begin tackling those unbearable student loans. Nevertheless, I was optimistic, undeterred and certain I was leaving home. In hindsight, even more than naivety, I believe I was optimistic for a reason. I have always felt that no matter what statistics or “rule of thumbs” tell me, if I am able to sit across from another human being, I would give myself a good shot at landing the job. With that belief, I intensely studied locations across the country that I wanted to be in, industries I wanted to work in, and how I saw my life unfolding 5 years down the road. After numerous interviews, sleepless nights and city tours, I landed in Dallas, TX.
I moved to Dallas in June 2013, my wife came a few months later, and we have never looked back. We fell in love with the melting pot, sports teams, personalities and the food. Dallas allows us to be who we are and truly feels like home. Alongside our social enjoyment of Dallas, my career was right where I wanted it. I got hired in the employee benefits department of a Fortune 20 company working on benefit related lawsuits concerning our employees. Being able to work with senior attorneys and responding to court’s requests for records really lit a spark inside of me. The day-to-day at a job is about as good as a day-to-day can be, but what really intrigued me about employee benefits is the understanding of the magnitude of the subject matter. Employee Benefits directly impacts hundreds of thousands of our employees and their families, and millions of employees of other companies across the nation. Just think for a second, when someone is telling you about their new job, their benefits package usually rolls off their tongue right after location and salary (i.e. “my 401k match…” “my medical premium…” “we have a dental plan that…”). Getting this first introduction into the field coupled with my interest has allowed me to move up the ranks from leading company-wide projects to my current work in the Governance department, where we navigate health and welfare plan drafting, collective bargaining agreements and mergers and acquisitions.
In conjunction to building a career at my “9 to 5” I have become a licensed attorney in Texas, Minnesota, North Dakota and the District of Columbia. I have leveraged my practical, scholastic and professional experiences to secure an adjunct professor position teaching Employee Benefits and ERISA Litigation at a premier law school in Dallas, as well as, founding a business focused on investing and consulting, Jared Miller Ventures, LLC. I have a long way to go and I am nowhere near a finished product, but it satisfying to know that you can be whatever you strive to be in life. Although your plan might not look exactly like you would want, you will eventually get where you need to go.
The road has definitely not been smooth. Granted, for the most part I have been treated fair and have had a great life, but I believe books are still being judged off their covers in America. Putting aside the more usual suspects (race, gender, etc.) that plant the seeds of doubt and foster inequality in decisionmakers, I believe age plays a huge part in the working world. I have heard it all:
“Someone needs to be practicing at least 10 years before they can teach it!”
“I was looking for someone a little bit more seasoned for this job.”
“Are you sure you have the appropriate amount of experience, what I am looking for is super complex.”
No matter your credentials, dedication to excellency and attention to detail, you cannot change when you were born. On one hand, I understand the preconceived notions and people are generally leveraging their experiences to come to these notions. However, on the other hand, we cannot be a nation that judges people individually and simultaneously put so much emphasis on someone’s age. I, for one, do not associate age with competence or abilities. I have seen firsthand, there are brilliant older people as well as brilliant younger people. There are incompetent older people as well as incompetent younger people. Being able to internalize this point and communicate it has opened lots of doors for me. No one knows your story or can tell it better than you. In that same vein, there is nothing sweeter than having a bar set low due to a preconceived notion and totally dispelling the notion by bringing competence to the table and crushing your opportunity.
The best way to describe Jared Miller Ventures is to break it into two prongs. The first prong is the investing side of the company. We invest in small businesses, startups and real estate. In addition to having the goal of securing a great return on our investments, we truly strive to foster our relationships with business owners and applicable stakeholders. We want to ensure that communication stays open, everything is fair and there is room for everyone to benefit in the arrangement.
The second prong is the consulting side of the business. We consult with small businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure their business affairs are in order and to strategically help them reach their goals. Additionally, we assist in helping interested parties explicitly understand and penetrate new markets. Generally, these new markets include such things as securities investing, real estate investing and taking on new business ventures that contrast with their current business model. The range of services we offer coupled with social media and word of mouth keeps each day exciting.
I am most proud of the tailored made services we provide our clients. We understand that each client is unique and there is no set formula. Granted, this calls for some long days, but the magic in business is giving individualized attention. In this entrepreneurial age and increasingly small world, the business and investing norms are being uprooted by new ideas and rethinking established models. It is exhilarating and makes me proud that I own a company that is not afraid to leverage fundamentals while simultaneously adapting to new environments, with the sole purpose of providing first class services to our clients. I believe this adaptability sets us apart, keeps us relevant and provides staying power.
Objectively, to me, success is the most subjective concept in our world. This subjectivity is what makes success so beautiful. My dad always said, “You can lie to everyone else, but you cannot lie to yourself.” This statement is the core of success and goes to how I personally define it. Forget the opinions of colleagues, mentors, and family members for a minute, when you look internally and genuinely feel that you, your business or what you have accomplished is a success, you have reached it.
The first step is to understand that no one can walk the specific path of your journey, which inherently will help you realize that you cannot use anyone else’s barometer to measure your success. The second and last step, is to walk your own path.