NWA Entrepreneurial All-Stars: Jeff Amerine

Sep 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!   

Jeff Amerine – Startup Junkie Founder & Managing Director

My Post (8) copy.jpg

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

The most influential person in my journey wasn’t an entrepreneur.  It was my Dad, LtCol. Bud Amerine, a three-war veteran and my hero.  He helped me understand the value of hard work and doing right by other people.  He also made me appreciate life and sacrifice because all he went through.  If I write a second book it will be about him.


What do you think has been your biggest achievement yet?

Raising a great family that I really enjoy spending time with is the greatest achievement. They are my “Why.” 

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

Cratering the second business I founded and facing total financial ruin after being very close to a successful acquisition. Getting over the bruised ego and embarrassment was tough. Rebuilding a life based on what I could still do versus the failure I had just experienced was key. It was a good experience to be humbled and to really take stock of what I did wrong and what I could do better the next time.


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

Enjoy the journey.  Enjoy both the good and bad because it goes by too quickly.  I’d probably punch myself in the face a few times as well for being a pretty self-absorbed tool when I was younger.  


What’s your favorite business tool? 

The lean canvas. A simple tool that anyone of any age can use to rationalize a new product, service, or venture. It is powerful.


What makes a successful entrepreneur? 

Persistence, tenacity, grit. The willingness to do what others will not. The belief that problems can be solved. A strong loathing of the status quo helps.


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

Find an unmet need or problem. Do a lean canvas and a bunch of customer discovery. Be a consultant to your own idea and try to kill it objectively before you spend a ton of money building something nobody really wants. 


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

Lots of client meetings (these bring me energy).  Participation in a variety of programs and workshops. Speaking to groups of all sizes about innovation and entrepreneurship. Teaching new venture development or small business management at the University of Arkansas. Drinking a beer or bourbon. Trying to fit in a workout.


What keeps you up at night?

Snoring. Not work. I’m stoked about what we do at Startup Junkie, the Conductor, and Innovation Junkie and extremely optimistic about the future. 


How do you stay motivated? 

Seeing the team do great things and watching our clients build great businesses is the addiction I’ll never break. I love it.