Bridging the Gap Between Fatherhood and Entrepreneurship With Jon Vroman

Jon Vroman is the Founder and CEO of Front Row Dads, a community of family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. Front Row Dads supports fathers who have businesses and are interested in getting better in everything they do, from improving their personal and spiritual lives to their relationships with their spouses. Jon is also an award-winning keynote speaker, author of The Front Row Factor, and the host of the Front Row Dads podcast, which focuses on thriving marriages, empowered parenting, emotional mastery, optimal health, and integrated living.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Jon Vroman, the Founder and CEO of Front Row Dads, about how he helps men in business become better fathers and husbands. They also discuss Jon’s sales experience at Cutco, what he learned from working with Tony Robbins, and how he dealt with his childhood trauma.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • [02:17] What Jon Vroman loved and learned from moving around as a military child
  • [06:06] How Jon made money being a pool player 
  • [08:40] Jon’s experience doing sales at Cutco — and what drove his success at the company
  • [15:10] How Tony Robbins improved Jon’s life
  • [20:15] Jon explains why he started the Front Row Foundation and Front Row Dads
  • [28:05] What do Front Row Dads do?
  • [29:00] How Jon dealt with childhood trauma
  • [34:55] The people Jon acknowledges for their support

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

John Corcoran 0:00

All right, today we are talking about family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. If you are a family man with a business, then you’re gonna want to listen to this conversation. My guest today is Jon Vroman. I’ll tell you more about him in a second. So stay tuned.

Chad Franzen 0:19

Welcome to the Smart Business Revolution podcast where we feature top entrepreneurs, business leaders, and thought leaders and ask them how they built the relationships to get where they are today. Now, let’s get started with the show.

John Corcoran 0:36

All right, welcome, everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of the show. You know, if you’ve listened before, you’ve heard we’ve had great guests on here, this episode would be a little bit of a departure from that because we’re going to talk a lot about fatherhood, which something was very important to me as a father of four kids. And my guest here is an absolute expert, or he probably wouldn’t call himself an expert in it, he probably would call himself more of a practitioner in being a father and trying to constantly get better at being a father. My guest’s name is Jon Vroman, and he is the Founder of Front Row Dads. It’s a community of, as I said, in the intro, family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. It is a community of dads who also have businesses and are interested in getting better in everything they do, from personal to spiritual to family to relationship with their spouse. 

And of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, where we help B2B businesses get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done-for-you podcasts and content marketing. You can learn all about it and All right, Jon, so excited to have you here today. I’ve been a member of this community for a while. But a big shout out to Eric Farewell who’s a member of your community who was a guest back on this show. And that interview worked so well that he sold me on joining your community. And so I’ve been a member since the next enrollment came through. But I want to dive into this interview and hear more about the backstory behind the creation of this community because it is so hard to build a thriving community that kind of lives on and has its own energy behind it. And I’m sure you put a lot of energy into making that happen. But let’s start with one of your first entrepreneurial endeavors in which you were a military brat moved around, and you actually did paper routes, and you did lawn mowing businesses as a kid, what was that like? First of all, showing up a new community, and then trying to go around and sell, you know, neighbors on lawn mowing and services like that,

Jon Vroman 2:41

you know, that think moving has its obvious challenges. You know, being the new kid out of school, getting to know the area, and making new friends comes with all the obvious challenges that you would guess. But what was really great about it, and I remember feeling this at that time, was that I could reinvent myself when I moved. Also, nobody knew who I was any mistake I made in the past kind of stayed in that old city. And I enjoyed what that meant to have a new version of Jon show up. I think that was my first kind of hook. And where I fell in love with growth and knowing that yesterday didn’t equal tomorrow. No, yeah. So that’s, that’s, that’s a gift. It really is. And you get exposed to so many different types of people, you know, there’s a benefit of having the same friends from kindergarten, through high school, there’s a depth to that. But there’s also a breadth to, you know, to having many friends and seeing many different parts of the world and you so there’s, there’s clearly, you know, there’s good in all of it. And I just found a lot of good in that experience. And I also really wanted to be good for my dad, I wanted to be you know, I’ve got a people pleaser side of me. I’ve got to wrestle that down sometimes. But I really wanted to be somebody that was easy for my dad, you know, I didn’t want to be difficult. He’d say, hey, it’s time to move. And I’m like, Cool. Let’s do it. Dad, you know, I’ve really wanted to be his partner in the process. So yeah, it was good for me.

John Corcoran 4:12

It’s, you know, I look back on it. I’m so grateful for me. So because I have a similar type of story where we moved basically every two to three years when kind of those critical elementary years and I remember what it was like to move in the middle of a school year. I can visualize myself like a principal walking into a new classroom and introducing me to all these kids that have been in school together for years and years, you know, no one wanted to let me into their friend group. In retrospect. Now I’m super grateful for that experience, even though it was super hard and painful in the moment to do that. I’m sure you Gree with that type of experience.

Jon Vroman 4:49

Yeah, there’s no doubt that you know, also part of the story for me as I got a little older was I wasn’t growing. I was really short. You know, I wasn’t even five feet tall when I went In high school, I was barely 100 pounds. And I wasn’t, you know, I remember walking into high school for the first time and a teacher stopped me and told me the Junior High was, you know, across the street. So it was it was there, there was there was a lot of feelings that I had a feeling invisible or like I wasn’t enough, you know, I wasn’t tall enough I wasn’t big enough. And not only in my physical being but in my spiritual being in my mindset. And but what that gave me was a lot of empathy gave me a lot of compassion, I became very interested in the underdog and wanting to you know, to see people succeed feel loved to feel seen, which still serves shows up for me to this very day makes me a better dad makes me a better friend. Much better listener when I’m with people because if you don’t feel listened to, you can do two things with that, you know, you can replicate it and carry the trauma forward, and or you can heal that trauma and do something different with it. So life’s either a warning or example, as we know, and that’s, you know, there was a little bit of both for me.

John Corcoran 6:06

Now, this, given what you just said, sounds like a bit of a departure, but 16-year-old Jon suddenly became a pool hustler. You found a local pool hall.

Jon Vroman 6:16

It’s actually quite fitting. Yeah,

John Corcoran 6:18

your four foot 11 frame walked in, probably like this, this 10-year-old would I’m going to take his money through food bucks down on the table. What was that? Like?

Jon Vroman 6:28

Dude, not only did that for 10 kids walk into that pool hall. But when they walked in, they would play would the owner of the pool hall would get on the mic. And he’s like, ladies and gentlemen, the kid has entered the building. And I would walk in and my license plate said Jon, the kid, they that the guys at the pool hall nicknamed me. And what they would do is so I looked so young, I looked like I was 11. Right? And people would, and I was a very good pool player. I mean, I was playing hours, hours every day, seven days a week. And I could hang with anybody in that pool hall. I mean, I was playing professional pool players when they were coming through. And the guys would bet on me, they would say I got money on Jon, and they would other guys who you know, be like, there’s no way this 10-year-old is going to take me down. What is he doing at this pool hall anyway? And it was a lot of fun. And it wasn’t

John Corcoran 7:22

a secret wasn’t like a true hustle like it was there.

Jon Vroman 7:25

There were moments like what I just described, and then there were moments when Yeah, I mean, listen, it’s more fun to say you are hustling people in the pool. Yeah, I enjoyed the movie, The Hustler Color of Money with Tom Cruise. And there was always like a bit of a romantic part of like, what that looks like. And I did play around with the idea of what it means like you sandbag a couple of shots and then you play better later and yeah, you know, but most of my pool playing and where I made money doing that was straight-up gambling betting on the game, you knew I’m good. I know you’re good. We sometimes spot each other balls like, Hey, I’m better than you. I’ll give you the seven-eight, you know, in a game of nine balls or something. And then you play for what at the time for me felt like a lot of money as a 16 year old 20 bucks a game. But you could walk out with 240 bucks in your pocket after playing pool for two or three hours and as a kid, which you’re

John Corcoran 8:25

enjoying Anyways, that was solid. Yeah. I mean, I interviewed a guy the other day who funded his college education by playing online poker. So you know, there are lots of budding entrepreneurs that take that route, you know, or they use it to fund their expenses early on. What What drew you to leadership, you’ve done coaching. You know, you’ve done leadership, you ended up getting involved in the Cutco world. For those who don’t know, is this amazing knife company. Well, you tell us about what the cuckold is

Jon Vroman 9:01

It’s a really remarkable company. You know, sounds kind of funny when you first hear about it. I mean, when I heard about it, my buddy’s mom saw a sign on the side of the road when I was 18. She came home and he said, Oh, that’s probably some scam. And I said that sounds like a lot of money. I’m gonna go check it out. Went to the interview advertising people to come to apply for a job there was literally a sign that said something like $18 An hour or per presentation or whatever the sign said. Who knows it was my buddy’s mom who said it but it felt like a lot of money whatever they had advertised when I did the interview and I knew enough to know the product was impressive product other than

John Corcoran 9:43

hustling people in pool hall had you done anything that was approaching sales at this point?

Jon Vroman 9:47

Not really I mean outside of selling the neighbor on why needed to cut their lawn, something simple like that and maybe selling a couple of baseball cards here and there but nothing nothing too significant. This was my real exposure to sales. And I started with that company and then I quit for the summer because I wanted to, I wanted to go surf at the beach. Ultimately at the end of the summer, I thought I had given up something really good there and I went back and asked if I could continue selling Cutco, and my manager at the time Rich said, yeah, if you sell $10,000 of Cutco in the next 10 weeks, you can be back on the team. So I did I sold 10,000 hours in 10 weeks, I had a goal. I enjoyed the flexible part of that like setting my own schedule and creating my own destiny which felt really good to me. And then it was just I was off to the races because what I fell in love with man was this, this team, personal growth, we’re all together on a Wednesday night for a team meeting. And a lot of my gatherings with people before that were unhealthy parties. They were I knew enough to know that I was not heading in the right direction with some of my peers. And with this group, they were all reading books and talking about how to manage their time and set goals and it felt difficult but positive. And that became a 14-year career with that company. I ended up opening up an office and multiple offices. Then I became the what my title was North American sales promotion manager. And that was a fancy way of saying that I was in charge of all the conferences, and the incentives for what was really hundreds of offices 10s of 1000s of sales reps all over North America. And I had the best job ever man, I was creating, these incentives to motivate people to achieve their goals. And I was standing on stage. I mean, I was at 1920 years old, I was standing in front of 2000 students at a time giving speeches. And so my exposure to this world of a bunch of go-get-them kids, you know young adults was that was so transformational for me and, and then I got one more thing that I don’t think you know this but at one point, I had won an award that the group that I was with the region that I was with, they gave out this award called the Dr. Steven Renner Memorial Award. It was a guy who literally sold Cutco through med school, and he wanted to graduate with no debt and Yvette. So he went to pay for medical school by selling Cutco and having a Corvette and he did. And then he died tragically in a car accident. He was such a loved human in this Cutco world that they created an award for the person who demonstrated the most personal growth over the course of a year. So it wasn’t based on sales. It wasn’t based on that and I won that award. And I’ll tell you, man, that was a very important day for me because I remember the tears, I remember the emotion of being recognized for transformation. And I think I was hooked. And from that point forward, anything I did was about helping individuals transform into the best version of themselves. And that has now shown up in many, many different ways, but it’s kind of a key part of the story. So I’ve