Meet the leaders of JJSmith Group:
Square Joe Smith, CEO
Joseph Smith says he’s always felt like a square peg in a world full of round holes. The son of a Kentucky farmer, his drive to succeed took him to Vanderbilt University to study Mechanical Engineering.
He quickly found a passion for start-up businesses. To this day, he regales the team with stories of his time at the earliest days of Amazon – “when we worked for peanuts, slept in the
breakroom and had dogs running around the place.”
Joe struck out on his own in 2004 as a consultant, eventually forming the JJSmith Group. It was through that company that he assembled the current team. As this group helped clients succeed with online marketing, they began to see a pattern: businesses were struggling in an online environment that sometimes made it seem the deck was stacked against them.
“I’m a start-up guy at heart,” Joe says. “There’s nothing I love more than helping small businesses succeed against the odds.”
For Joe, the absolute best part of starting companies like JJSmith Group is that it allows the entire team to work from home. In Joe’s case, home is a farm outside Bardstown, KY that he shares with his wife, Julie, and their two children: 13-year-old Andrew and 10-year-old Alexandra.
“Most of the businesses we help here have one thing in common with our team,” he says. “We do this because we want to be there for our families. We want to build something we can pass down to them. We also want to be with them for the journey, after all, the journey is life.”
Matthew Crowe, Software Development
Matthew Crowe could be working from anywhere. The lead coder behind JJSmith Group has a passion for travel that has taken him all over the world – most frequently to Central and South America. In fact, a good chunk of the software the company runs on (which Matt built completely from scratch) was written from Colombia and Nicaragua.
Which is no small feat. This software includes a secure shopping cart system with a shipping component that allows businesses to print shipping labels and generate tracking emails for customers with a single click. So businesses that sell products online don’t have to download orders and upload tracking information as they do on other platforms.
Matt studied Manufacturing Engineering in college but switched careers to find something more enjoyable – and flexible. His travel addiction got off to a good start in college where he spent a year studying in Bogota, Columbia. Fluent in Spanish, he also worked in Matamoros, Mexico in the manufacturing of airbags and steering wheels.
But you can’t do your manufacturing job from anywhere. You can, however, build software anywhere you have an internet connection.
Today, Matt’s travel entourage includes wife Misty and their 20-month-old daughter, Cora. When they’re at home in Ohio they enjoy playing board games – Matt has over 100 board games in his collection.
Lisa Packer, Marketing
Lisa Packer has always been a writer. Whether it was diaries and journals as a young girl, or poems and short stories that were published anonymously in her High School paper, she’s always been putting pen to paper.
As a young mother in the mid-2000’s, Lisa discovered she could use her writing talent to help businesses grow – and build a career working from home. By the end of that decade she’d met Square Joe – first as a freelance copywriter for JJSmith Group, then as a full-time member of the team.
Besides working from home, her favorite part of the job has been the opportunity to learn and grow. She’s participated in some of the most exclusive training workshops and conferences in the Marketing world and loves putting that knowledge to use to help small businesses succeed.
“The most exciting thing, to me, about working with JJSmith is that we give locally owned businesses a chance to fight back. Up till now, the Internet was something that took customers away from businesses like these in favor of big-box websites. But our strategies help them compete.”
From November to March (and into early April every so often) Lisa lives for college basketball. Specifically, for the UNC Tarheels. A lifelong fan, she takes the #1 rivalry in College Sports very seriously.
“My dad is a Duke fan,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how late the games are, if either team loses we’ll call each other to rub it in. He’s always trying to convert my kids to the Dark Side. Of course, I raised them better than that.”
Her kids are Aaron, 20 and Josiah, 15. Husband Warren is a Tarheel fan as well. They try to attend at least one game a year in Chapel Hill.
“One day I’m going to have season tickets,” Lisa says. “Maybe when I retire.”