NWA Entrepreneurial All-Stars: James Farmer

Jul 21, 2021

After more than a year of being forced apart by the pandemic, we are celebrating what makes the Northwest Arkansas venture ecosystem great by highlighting the incredible founders and hardworking entrepreneurial support organization leader – all of whom drive our region forward and make it a better place to start a business!  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing profiles from some of the region’s entrepreneurial all-stars… Be on the look-out for more!  

James Farmer,

Founder – EasyBins

Who has had the most influence on you in your professional/entrepreneurial journey?

 Easy… In my teenage years, I had an adult mentor named Mark Deymaz who laid a lot of the entrepreneurial seeds. To this day, I still think a lot about how Mark approached opportunities. Later into the beginning of my professional career my first boss, Todd Wisdom, played a big role in my development and he did so by being a teacher and superior first and friend second.  

 What do you think has been your biggest achievement yet? 

 My two kids, Grayson and Molly Kate. The startup journey can be lonely and I’m all too familiar with the effects of the imposter syndrome, self-doubt and negative narratives that can go on in my head.  But in those moments if I go and look at my two kids and remind myself that I had a part in creating them then even in those lowest moments I’m given a physical reminder of what I’m capable of creating. 

 What about your biggest setback or challenge; and how did you overcome it? 

 My biggest challenge is the hurt and loss I’ve caused to myself and those close to me by not making sense of my life early on.  For me, setbacks and challenges like this are actually a gift b/c they typically point the way forward, the path forward is always in the setback.   That way it becomes less about overcoming it and more about simply accepting my present circumstance for what they are and the message they are giving me. 

On the business, EasyBins, our biggest challenge so far has been moving with the customer through the constant change of COVID. For sure, they’ve adopted online grocery as a result but their patterns and relationships with the world around them changed constantly for the past 12 months. For us moving with them meant staying real-time in our change, feedback and process improvement and getting a little more patient with the customer. 

 If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be? 

You are loved more than you can possibly imagine. 

 What’s your favorite business tool? 


What makes a successful entrepreneur? 

 You take the business a lot more serious than yourself and in doing so can put a little bit of space between what you do and who you are.

 Someone wants to start their own business – what’s the first piece of advice or first step you recommend to them? 

Put together a group of friends, peers or business leaders who are willing to give you direct and honest feedback on the business, your leadership or the market. Blind spots will exist, and if you could see them, they wouldn’t be blind spots, but a small group of friends who are willing to be honest and that you trust can help you see these blind spots.  Identifying and eliminating those early and often will serve you well. 

 What’s a typical day of work look like for you? 

Wake up early, I like the calm and quiet time of the morning, workout, eat breakfast then I try to keep meetings of at most 2 per day and those in the morning so that I can work on the business directly in the afternoons.  Home by 6pm.   Around lunch or in the evenings I keep a list of healthy activities that are good for me, sort of kind and loving behaviors I can do for myself.  It’s crazy but if I don’t carry around this list I’ll forget, and a good friend reminded one time that I cannot give what I do not have.  

What keeps you up at night? 

A good book.

How do you stay motivated? 

Two human hacks I’ve learned: 

1. Whatever I focus on gets bigger and takes over my attention. 

If I focus on all that is coming at me and how it’s overwhelming, then that overwhelming feeling is only going to get bigger.  Likewise, if I focus on some specific motivating piece of the business – a great new relationship, the compelling vision of the company, the people who work on the business, that takes over and motivation re-enters. 

2. Tension = growth.  

So, when a challenging day or situation comes up, I know the company is being given an opportunity to take a big step forward.