CHRIS

LEWIS-HARRIS

Founder & President

FOCUS SOUTH

I was raised in Smyrna, Georgia, just north of Atlanta. My senior year of high school, I was selected to the Associated Press First Team All-State as a defensive back. I was also named the Cobb Country defensive back of the year.

After high school, I attended the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga as a student athlete. Upon graduating with degrees in Entrepreneurship and Marketing, I was also an All-Conference defensive back. I later signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent. I spent 4.5 years on the Bengals roster, then half a season with the Baltimore Ravens. The last 2 years of my career, I spent a preseason with the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants. 

I got started in this industry because I wanted fulfillment, an opportunity to grow, and to be around like-minded individuals that were working together to achieve a common goal, something similar to my professional football career. The first obstacle I faced was the career change. I knew it was inevitable, but at the time I started the business, I was not sure if I was ready to stop pursuing my professional football career and put all my eggs in one basket. 

The lesson that has been most crucial to my growth is learning how to network -- first, stepping out of my comfort zone and asking others for help, and second, knowing to be specific with the my asking for assistance in order to receive a specific set of solutions or advice. 

My advice to newcomers is to ALWAYS remain humble and to also remember the foundations of the business. Treat each day like an opportunity, brick by brick, stack each day and get better working and teaching the foundations as you progress. 

I am most proud of the opportunity I have to make a difference in the lives of people around me. Being able to see someone go from just an applicant into management is something I want to assist in happening for so many individuals. My goals for the future are to build relationships all across the industry!

What motivates you to work hard every day?

I am motivated daily by the challenge of not only making sure I'm moving forward to achieve my personal goals but also making sure I am putting everyone around me in the best position possible to achieve theirs as well. 

What practices lead you to success?

The most important practice that produces success is proper planning and preparation. I am most comfortable and ready to tackle any challenges or changes when I have prepared the night before. This allows me to make quick solutions where there is an adjustment to any moment of the day.

What have you learned about running a business?

Running a business is more than just running an office. I'm running my business with the goal of building an organization that directly relies on how I am able to develop others, teach them the industry, and provide them with the right resources for the same opportunity I have.

How do you separate yourself from the crowd?

Consistency in my standards and habits will eventually separate my organization from the crowd. It's a copy-and-paste business, and the outline is already given to us -- but it's the persistence, calm demeanor, drive, ambition, and the "being willing to do whatever it takes" mentality that will eventually create the real separation.

What advice would you offer a new entrepreneur, based on your experiences?

Never stop developing yourself. Each stage presents new challenges, which is exciting, but it's on you to personally and professionally continue to grow. Never get comfortable and think you've made it. Always think about the big(ger) picture.

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