Jeff Turnbow - My Personal Story

My Journey

I was born and raised in West Tennessee, in a small town of about 300 population. After graduation, I moved to Memphis for college and began my career.

My mother worked for a major garment factory (Garan) for over 35 years. Her work ethic amazes me to this day. She went to the same job and machine for 35 years. She was promoted, yet maintained her role as a seamstress. Eventually, she refused an offer to go to Costa Rica to train who would become the replacement for all the employees in the small town of Adamsville, Tennessee.

My father was a small farmer. He didn't want to be a big farmer. He was content, humble, and provided what we needed to feel safe and secure.  I often miss riding my ATV on the farm and participating in various sports, with basketball being my favorite.

I have two older sisters who, along with my mother, provided as three female role models growing up.

Faith Matters
Faith has always been important to our family, and we went to church every Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.

School Days
As an introverted kid in elementary school, I was the quiet thinker in the room and found elementary and junior high school boring. I can recall being at the water fountain in 6th grade and thinking of owning a business to help my family have a better lifestyle. I specifically remember calculating that I would need to make about $35,000 per year to have a modest lifestyle and help my parents. My math was naive and certainly didn't predict inflation ha!

The Business Bug Bites
In 7th grade, I started sourcing sunglasses and custom visors to sell at the local 'flea market' (the weekend big flea market was a big thing in our area). My dad would take me, sit back, and watch me sell out most weekends. I started enjoying school again in high school and joined clubs such as Future Business Leaders and Student Council. I really found joy and belonging in these groups. I began to really appreciate education and community.

Secondary Education
I attended a southern baptist university cin Jackson TN before attending The University of Memphis. At first, I wanted to pursue politics or law, but eventually settled into marketing with sociology as my minor. During college, I had to work so I obtained a job and excelled in telemarketing sales. Quickly, I advanced to become a manager of a call center. I loved telemarketing and performed in this role for companies like ADT, Gannett newspapers, American Airlines AHP, and received excellent training. I advanced quickly at each company.

I Studied The Greatest
I became a sponge for sales and marketing leaders. I read and listened to books (constantly) from all the greats - Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, Tracy, etc. I listened to audiobooks constantly. I was on a mission to learn. I attended seminars and certifications in sales with companies like Sandler Sales Training. I paid for weekend training seminars in leadership, sales, marketing, and customer service. I actually got great benefit from these $99 seminars.

Career Highlights
While I started my career in telemarketing sales, it was the Yellow Pages advertising sales position where I found my calling in marketing, design, and working with a diverse set of businesses. I wasn't even familiar with a yellow pages book. In fact, I flipped through every page of the big honking Memphis book just before beginning my job. I remained in that industry for over 8 years and became a district manager in Nashville, TN., and then a regional manager in Arkansas. During this time, I received amazing consultative selling and marketing training that is still being taught and very applicable today. Also, the yellow pages industry was the first industry to embrace internet marketing. We were selling web pages and google clicks long before the other traditional media companies.

I met my wife in the industry, and we moved to Arkansas, where we had three amazing children. After more than 15 years of helping to grow businesses, several began to ask me to manage all their marketing. I did that side hustle until I could replace my income and go on my own. I wasn't scared at all. Perhaps, I should have been, because I wasn't quite ready. However, my work ethic, confidence in my training, and faith led me bravely into the unknown.

Beginning The Agency
Next, I created a direct mail magazine and began the first online news and city website in Arkansas. We offered news, coupons, real estate directories, contractor’s directories, and aimed to replace the need to pick up the Yellow Pages and newspapers/magazines in my area.

I began to create partnerships with digital marketing platforms to provide digital marketing services. I learned web design and started building a full-service agency.

Stepping Stones
Gannett recruited me due to my fast-growing digital marketing client list. I set up their first-ever (non-traditional) digital marketing services and sales department, growing their revenues from 10k per month to 100k monthly within about 4-5 months. News travels fast in the media world, so I was quickly recruited by a top 50 TV station located in Memphis. I replicated my success from Arkansas, hitting 100k in monthly billing - this time within 90 days. My team became the top station for digital marketing and sales in the company. We led by incredible numbers and I began discussing higher-level roles.

Keep in mind that I was still running my digital agency at this time.

My father passed away after years of deteriorating health. While his passing was tragic for me, I was able to spend quality time with him, get prepared as much as possible, and say goodbye.
When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, it was unexpected, sudden, and ended her life quickly. It had a profound impact on me. I find it difficult to put into words the extent to which my goals, values, and every aspect of my life were shaken and crumbled. It would take years for me to fully comprehend and heal from this experience. My priorities became my kids every single day. They were my source of joy - still are. I decided to leave Memphis and return to be with my family as much as possible. I decided that I wanted to grow my business and spend less time on contract work for media companies. I decided corporate was in trouble with the internet and my best opportunity was to dive deeper into my company's success.

Moving Forward
I faced a huge setback but I began again.
I gained a few new clients from my time in Memphis. One large client that would become my primary focus and a mentor simultaneously.

I continued to grow my business while recognizing the need for increased focus and skill development. I attended certification classes and digital marketing seminars, honing my expertise in the marketing field.  I studied processes and organizational change more deeply. As a result of my dedication, I started receiving speaking offers. I seized the opportunity to share my knowledge of growing companies, both large and small, through digital marketing. This newfound passion became an integral part of my journey to today.

Awards & Recognition Begin
I've had the honor of receiving some remarkable recognition/ awards, including the esteemed title of Best Marketing Consultant in Arkansas. Additionally, I have been recognized as one of the Men of Distinction in AY Magazine. One of my notable achievements was co-authoring a book called “Mastering the Art of Success” with Jack Canfield, the renowned author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul and "The Success Principles.” This book became an Amazon Best Seller in four different categories. I have also received several other prestigious awards and recognition. While I am not one to boast about my accomplishments, I acknowledge that highlighting these accolades can be immensely beneficial in promoting my company and giving my prospective clients confidence in my capabilities.

Today's Focus
In my capacity, I take on accounts where I provide faith-based business coaching services or work as their Chief Marketing Officer, Fractional CMO, Director of Marketing, or any other title they deem appropriate. Leveraging their assets in conjunction with my skills and agency, we collaborate to develop winning strategies. I started with only taking on 10 of those until I was able to incorporate automation, refine my team, and scale my capacity.

Happiness Is
On a lighter note, I find great joy in engaging with my children’s interests. Whether it’s coaching soccer, basketball, or attempting to keep up with their dance routines, these moments bring me the most tremendous joy and happiness.

While I reside in central Arkansas, I travel across the World or meet via Zoom to engage with business owners and colleagues. The ability to connect with people globally is truly exhilarating. This year, I was asked to give keynotes, master classes, and emcee at DigiMarCon (the world's largest digital marketing conference series) in London, Dublin, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. The international experience and connections were a highlight for me personally and professionally.

Business Advocate
When I am not traveling, I actively participate in local church activities. Additionally, I am somewhat of a political activist specifically in advocating for small businesses and free enterprise. Recognizing the invaluable contributions of small businesses to our society, I firmly believe that our voices must be resolute and unwavering to capture the attention of our city, state, and national leaders.

Hard Work & Efficiency
To many, it may seem like I am one of the busiest individuals they know. While it is true that I have numerous commitments, I have become exceptionally adept at maximizing efficiency. Hard work is an inherent part of my DNA, a trait instilled in me by my parents. Alongside my faith, this has been one of the most precious gifts they have bestowed upon me. Developing good organizational skills was forced upon me to effectively manage such a workload while balancing my quality of life - time with my kids, hobbies, and friends.

Business Influence
Throughout my journey, I have studied influential figures such as Zig Ziglar who imparted invaluable wisdom: “You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” This statement resonates deeply with me as I have discovered that by prioritizing the needs and desires of my clients, they remain loyal and are willing to invest more in our partnership. Also, many of my clients have become great sources of knowledge and I absorb it and appreciate that more than they know.

Growing Stronger
Today, I am the proud owner of a robust digital marketing and coaching business. Additionally, I operate a faith-based life coaching business where I work directly and exclusively with select clients who want to work out their faith in their business.  They want to partner with like-minded people to continuously pursue their purpose, vision, and focus.  I enjoy attending or speaking at conferences where I can keep my skills sharp and my capabilities stronger.

I am blessed more than I deserve. I am grateful and hope that God continues to allow me to grow in my business and guide it more closely to His will and purpose.