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Executive Interview

How I built a successful agency putting sobriety & passion above profits

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Jay Staples, OwnerFounder of A Sober Caddy

Jay Staples, Owner/Founder of A Sober Caddy, is a creative, out-of-the-box visionary that connects experience and expertise in advertising/marketing, with his passion for helping out those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse issues. Jay has extensive experience as a Creative Director, COO, Marketing Director, and a person in long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol.

A sought-after presenter and consultant, Jay prides himself on partnering with businesses and individuals with an ethical way of doing business. An avid golfer, sports lover, and comedy aficionado, Jay finds solitude in traveling and being on the water.

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?

My dad growing up owned a small, successful advertising agency so I was always around advertising, marketing, public relations, and media buying. I was always intrigued with creativity, so I remembered early on thinking that creativity will help me in life.

I was never a great student in class, but I always creatively found ways not to fail or follow the below standards. I don’t knock learning in schools, but it was never for me. The things that make me successful today I learned through hard work, mistakes, life lessons, and fear really. I struggled for a long time with drugs and alcohol quite honestly.

I don’t hide from that, cause it’s my story. I was a professional golfer for many years, worked at some incredible advertising agencies on multimillion-dollar campaigns, I even went door to door selling stuff to strangers. My life was fluctuating between success and failure was a direct reflection of where drugs and alcohol were taking me.

In 2008 I decided to change my life and get into long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol. Rewriting a story is hard. I was literally lost as to what was my purpose or what I should do with my life. I was fortunate to climb the infamous ladder of success in the drug and alcohol treatment industry, working as a Marketing Director, COO, and Executive Director.

I learned so much from everyone I came in contact with, but I always knew that I wanted to build something for myself. Over 5 years ago, A Sober Caddy was born. I always wanted to mold and build A Sober Caddy on creativity and passion. I never have allowed money drive the direction of A Sober Caddy.

People are shocked when they hear that, but I stand behind the fact that creativity and passion are just seeds of success. A Sober Caddy is a Substance Abuse/Mental Health All-Encompassing Creative Agency. We are designed specifically for individuals and companies within and struggling with substance abuse and the mental health field.

We do Clinical Interventions, Clinical Case Management, Clinical Daily Client Care. Individuals get 1-1 care from a licensed clinician. We also do Executive Placement & Hiring for facilities, meaning we find quality, successful individuals for executive level positions within organizations and facilities.

Where did the idea for “A Sober Caddy” come from?

A Sober Caddy name came from my love & history in golf and my appreciation for a golf caddy. Behind any successful golfer, is a successful caddy. It was a nickname I created and now use it as a foundation. A Sober Caddy is just that, walking step for step to face any challenges that individuals and companies face.

Why do you think that PR is the tool you need to implement in your business and how it helps to grow your business?

My dad was masterful and public relations, and it took me a long time to realize it. Public Relations is so valuable in every aspect of my life. Every morning I get quiet and build the daily message in my head to live life as the best me.

The same goes for A Sober Caddy. We’re very aware of the message that we send out when dealing with families, clients, or everyone we come in contact with. A Sober Caddy was built on three things that every employee and client know upfront. Connection, Vulnerability, and Authenticity are engrained in everything A Sober Caddy does.

So our PR is built around those three principles. We’re not tricking or misleading people, we’re just executing our brand’s mission. Finding creative ways to unleash and unveil your message is key. It’s literally our lifeblood for A Sober Caddy. We utilize speaking engagements, social media, community awareness, and at times traditional media. What’s the line? “Advertising is what you pay for.

PR is what you pray for.” I don’t really buy into that, but I see the premise behind it. I want to influence and persuade people that it’s never too early or too late to rewrite your story, and A Sober Caddy can be a partner in that. I am always aware of the messaging we are putting out, and I never want us to mislead or trick people.

The message and “energy” we put out into the world is what we are. Addiction breeds dishonesty, among other things. Yet dishonesty can be a virus you never get out of your system. When I got sober, dishonesty was paramount in my recovery.

I needed to be brutally honest in all my interactions and dealings with people, otherwise, I was going to fall back to old way of thinking and living. I stayed true to that belief when I started A Sober Caddy. We build our brand and message on being authentic.

How are you growing/maintaining?

Welcome to the start of every meeting with my staff (laughs). I am always searching and exploring ways to build our partnerships. Talking to you is one of the many ways I utilize. As much as I love our time together, and as much as I love talking about myself, I’m ultimately using this opportunity to build, maintain, and influence.

Existing and previous clients are our best PR. We never lose track of that. Once a partnership ends, it does not mean communication ends. They’re my best business development team. They’re out there talking to friends and people they come in contact with about their experience with A Sober Caddy.

Word of mouth is our number one referral source. Knowing word of mouth is our top referent, I need to make sure we strengthen our company from the inside out. Take care of employees, find the right employees, and build a strong mission that employees buy into.

What’s your daily routine?

Wake up and grind, right? Man, I get juiced reading inspirational things, and hearing about what other successful entrepreneurs do it. Yet I need to always remain grounded and humble. Gratitude guides me in the morning, so I always start my morning off with a gratitude list and quiet time.

Phone and computer have to be far away from the first thing in the morning, cause I will never quiet my mind hearing my phone buzz. Get ready and go. I have an incredible office and staff, but I am always on the go.

I travel quite a bit meeting with existing clients and prospective clients, and always on the phone trying to solidify and create mojo. I work with people all over the country, so I am always checking in on them. I always take time to concentrate on the company though. Constantly analyzing and examining the company.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

I fail. As much as I want to say I am balanced, let’s be honest, it’s easier to be balanced when things are going great. So ultimately my work/life balance is based on the phone ringing. I know this about me, and I need to be better at it.

It is imperative that I take time away from business each and every day. I can’t allow my work life define my personal life. Boundaries are key. I put my phone down at the same time each night, and will not pick up my phone till I finish my morning quiet time. It’s ok to say no. I can’t be everything to everyone.

What excites me about the industry?

Funny you ask, cause I think the substance abuse/mental health field is at a crucial crossroads. Unethical practices have somewhat become the norm in certain situations, and money is being put in front of client care for a lot of facilities.

Numbers and money are driving the industry. Loyalty is being washed away. Long-standing facilities, family-owned facilities are being sold and/or changed in the name of money. With all that being said, what excites me is that I feel empowered to take a stand. There are ethical, client-centered facilities and individuals out there and together we stay true to who we are and what we stand for.

A Sober Caddy may lose out on business due to unethical or improper business dealings, but I can rest great at night knowing I will never compromise my principles and loyalties.

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