Jim Paar (USA)
My name is Jim Paar. Life hasn’t been all roses for me. I have learned to leap forward when I reach obstacles and challenges. My failures have made me the successful person I am today.
I’ve always dreamed big, wanting to make something of my life and become a household name. I started working as a child actor in Hollywood when I was just three months old. My first commercial was an Armstrong Tile commercial where I was throwing baby food on the floor—yes, that didn’t take much effort. I worked with a variety of actors and actresses, including Jodie Foster, Michael Landon, James Garner, Tony Curtis, Prince, and many more. I was always in or around the entertainment business—my mom worked with Liberace, the world-famous pianist, actor, and singer.
I have always had a passion for helping others. I started my career in emergency services in Los Angeles in 1987. I went to training to become a firefighter and paramedic in Inglewood, California. This is truly the profession that woke me up to see how precious life is. I experienced tragedy every day—I would often pick up four to six shooting and stabbing victims during a 24-hour shift. After moving back to Minnesota, I worked as a flight paramedic for 17 years.
After many years working in emergency services and risking my life every day—and after losing my brother and my sister-in-law in a general aviation crash—I did a 180. I told myself I would never work for someone else till the day I died.
In 1998, I opened my first of three restaurants. I can remember the day I received a phone call from my former boss, whom I hated at the time. He was inquiring about booking my restaurant for their employee Christmas party. He said, “Oh, you found a job working at the restaurant.” I responded, “No, I won the damn place. Any other questions?” It was one of the best days of my life, being able to tell my former boss I didn’t need him anymore.
This experience opened my eyes to how many people are working for someone else, making a crappy wage. This is one of the reasons I began coaching people into starting their own business. I get so much reward seeing my students put in their two-week notice because in the first 30 days of my course they surpassed the income they were making.
The National Clean Air Green Tour
I was the founder of The National Clean Air Green Tour. The Green Tour ran from 2007 to 2011, working with many Fortune 500 companies promoting the sustainability portion of their products. I spoke at many national green conferences, and I’m the winner of the National Green Summit Award for my efforts. The National Clean Air Green Tour planted millions of trees, rebuilt parks, and cleaned up hundreds of miles of roadways. The Tour is what made me venture into marketing because so many large advertising agencies were taking advantage of green companies.