Joshua Ho followed the traditional route of doing his best to get into a great university and eventually getting a great job in finance. With a great salary, he started his professional career at one of the largest financial firms in America, however he quickly realized that the route that he chose wasn’t everything it was cut out to be. He couldn’t see himself working there the next 30 to 40 years doing what he was doing. After his first year he decided that pursuing entrepreneurship was the only route to achieving the true financial freedom that he wanted in his life.
“I am a 31 year old serial entrepreneur who got his start by leaving his cozy corporate finance job to help his family business grow mushrooms!” Joshua says.
He enjoys things like power-lifting, snowboarding, playing with his dog Dasher and many other things, but his biggest passion evolves around growing business. Growing up he wasn’t always the top of his class in school, however he believed that is what separated him from the others was his work ethic and persistence. That was something that has carried him throughout his entrepreneurial career and believe it is the #1 defining factor that allows him to succeed in his business.
“I am the co-owner of a family owned business called Mushroom King Farm which is an organic mushroom farm in Manalapan, New Jersey. My father started the farm 20 years ago and the main focus was to grow the best organic shiitake mushrooms in the country and eventually we expanded into other mushrooms too. We are fortunate enough to be able to distribute 100,000lb of mushrooms monthly to some of the top retailers on the east coast and this year we will be opening a second farm in California and in that way we can start expanding to the west coast,” Joshua explains.
His motivation to become an entrepreneur was his desire to take control of his own destiny and take the entrepreneur route to help his father with his mushroom farm business.
“My first official jump into the world of entrepreneurship was helping my dad grow his business into what it is today,” Joshua says.
The biggest challenge to starting a business is finding what you want to do or sell. There’s usually a big debate on if you should pursue something that you are extremely passionate about or something you are less passionate about, but makes more sense financially.
“I believe that depending on your personality type there are things that will work much better for you than others. For me personally, I enjoy the art and process of building businesses so it allows me the flexibility to be in many different industries rather than something specific. I chose mushroom farming because there was a void that I could thrive in.” Joshua says.
My inspiration to get into this industry was to help my father grow the mushroom king farm business that he founded in the late 90’s but never had the chance to grow as he had planned through the years and it struggled for quite some time before I joined it. I was able to utilize what I learned in the corporate world to help with the marketing and sales of the mushroom.
“It was a struggle the first couple of years, but once we figured everything out we’ve been doubling our business every year!” Joshua explains.
Mindset is the most important tool when starting a business, because without the right mindset or a mindset that can withstand pressure, through times or failures can really take a toll on your business. But the great thing is that I believe this is something that could be learned on the job!
“I have learned that in business we all do our best to make the right decisions each day, but at the end of the day no one knows the exact road map on how to make your specific business successful and the faster you are able to bounce back from the wrong step, the faster you can start taking the right step.” Joshua states.
As someone who has been able to find success, Joshua always recommends to other entrepreneurs looking to start their own business that it’s all about taking the leap of faith in the beginning. There is definitely going to be a time where things come easy and other times where things are hard but always keep in mind that at the end of the day it’s all worth it if you are able to control your own destiny.
“Fear is the feeling of uncertainty or doubt. I believe that too much fear can be crippling but it is necessary to have a bit of fear to make sure that you don’t get too comfortable! It is important to be motivated by fear of losing everything that you worked so hard and sacrificed for. However, I am grateful to have built my company to a place where things are scaling faster, but even if there is a small chance that things might go the opposite direction that will motivate me to get up each morning.” Joshua says.
He took the traditional route to become ‘successful’ because that is what he saw around him when he was growing up. For example, like doing your best in school so you can graduate from a great university to get a great job. He worked hard to do exactly that and when he graduated from a university he was hired at one of the top financial firms in the United States. Within his first year he realized that a lot of people get locked in on the grind and work their entire lives before doing what they want to do at a later age. That wasn’t something that he saw himself doing, he wanted to be free and do what he wanted, when he wanted and as early as possible. He wanted to be able to build a legacy behind for his future family. After his first year working in the corporate world he left to help his father with the family business to become successful.
Despite what looks like a simple journey towards success, Joshua recalls that the biggest obstacles that he faced in his career so far was when he left his job in finance to help his dad grow the mushroom farm. ‘There were many times throughout the first couple of years where we didn’t think that the business would survive, because no matter how hard we worked our debt kept piling up’.
“I have had many nights where we would sleep in the delivery trucks during the winter or times where we didn’t know how we could afford rent at the end of the month. Several years of sleepless nights, 18 hour days and lots of hard work eventually paid off for us and we are grateful that finally things turned around for the better.” Joshua says.
“It’s cliche to say, but I honestly believe that we differentiate ourselves from the competitor by being able to deliver a high quality product at a competitive price, because we’ve spent the past 2 decades taking all of the traditional ways of growing mushrooms and combining it with newer technology to produce a superior mushroom that can’t be matched by anyone else in the market. ‘We are extremely proud of that and it’s what has allowed us to grow at such a fast rate” states Joshua.
“Financial freedom means that I am able to do anything that I want, whenever I want regardless of how the economy, the government or how my business is doing. Having the resources to help my family or friends when they need it is something that encourages me to continue working hard. My family struggled a lot financially during the time I was growing up and I was able to change that narrative by myself while my ultimate goal is to set up my future family,” Joshua outlines.
Our next few projects are focused on the recent launch of our new shiitake mushroom growing kits and continue releasing more fun and innovative products directly to our customers. I recently purchased a property in California to build our second mushroom farm to start distributing our mushrooms directly to the top grocery stores and retailers in the west coast market. Outside of the mushroom world, I invested into a growing franchise called Junbi and we just opened up our first shop right next to the Princeton University Campus.