Man Of The Week – James Clift

In today’s world, its not uncommon to hear that the goals of many people we know are centred around achievements that they believe will enrich their lives. Media and society often create a blurring of the lines between achievement-based goals and fulfillment-based goals. Our newest Man Of The Week is James Clift, someone who we applaud for his outlook and attitude. After reaching those famous self-centred goals, James was left feeling unfulfilled and wondering what his purpose was and how to be of service to the world. While he is still discovering his purpose at the young age of 27, James knew quickly that he wanted to help change people’s lives, and he started by focusing on improving their careers. Today, James is the CEO of VisualCV.com – the internets largest online resume and portfolio creation website. By focusing on helping people find their professional careers, next job or to showcase their talents in ways they haven’t been able to do before, James’ idea and work has the ability to impact the lives of millions and potentially billions of people.

Age: 27

What do you do? (Work)
I’m currently the CEO of VisualCV.com – the internet’s largest online resume & portfolio creation website.

Why do you do it?
My original goal when starting this journey 5 years ago was to build profitable companies that allowed me to work anywhere in the world. I got there, and spent 4 months living in Argentina last year while growing my business.
It was awesome, but after reaching those self-centred goals you begin pondering how to be more of service to the world. That pondering has evolved my whys. On a business level, I want to help millions of people improve their careers (and as a result, their lives). On a personal level I want to scale up that impact – and play a part in creating something that impacts billions (eventually).

How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
My company plays a role in one of the three most important things in a person’s life – their career. If we can help people land their next job or contract, that momentum can change their career trajectory permanently. That is why we do it.
The other categories are less complicated, but no less noble. The most important thing in life is being a good person (after first defining what that means to you). To me being a good person is being kind, honest, and making the most of the opportunities given.

What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– I missed the last shot at the Provincial championship finals in lacrosse that could’ve put us into overtime with a chance to win. Another painful moment was in Grade 12 basketball when I tried to take a charge but was called for the block with 15 seconds left in the Fraser Valley semifinals. We lost by a half-court buzzer beater. Losing hurts. Learn from it.
– I ran a window cleaning franchise in my second year of university. It taught me how to sell, and the difference between being a boss and an employee.
– My first company went through the Growlab startup accelerator when I was just getting into the world of tech entrepreneurship. That experience taught me how to scale my expectations for what a business could be.

What is your life purpose?
If any 27 year old tells you he knows his life purpose, he’s either delusional or lying to someone (maybe himself). Or perhaps I’m envious.
Right now my job is to build my company, and work on becoming a better person. I should probably spend less time contemplating my place in the universe, and more time doing those two things. That said, my life’s work is leaning towards building companies that make a positive impact, and helping more people do the same.

How did you tap into it?

Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
Elon Musk and Richard Branson are the obvious choices for entrepreneurial legends, but I don’t believe in mentors. I believe in having good friends that happen to be successful. Many of my best friends are successful entrepreneurs, and we learn from each other. Nothing beats a whiskey-fueled conversation with people that believe any crazy idea is possible.

Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
Good ones?
Exercise every day.
Meditate every day in the morning for 10 minutes (this is a constant failure)
Don’t eat artificial sugar or refined carbs

Bad ones? My life is a series of dopamine hits from checking revenue/user numbers, emails, text messages, and twitter.

When do you know your work/life balance is off?
The only time I hear the term work/life balance is when reading articles on work/life balance on Inc.com. I’ve never thought about it, as I’ve never really been employed.
I always prioritize my family, friends, and health over work –  the stuff that really matters.

Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
I made $7500 in year one of my first company, and couldn’t afford to pay rent. To keep the company going, I rented my room out on AirBnb and slept on my couch most weekends.

What did you learn from it?
It helped me realize that what seem like huge risks are usually quite small in the grand scheme of things. If your worst case scenario is an uncomfortable couch in downtown Vancouver, you’re doing ok. It has helped me justify taking those risks – knowing that I’m still pretty happy if I have a couch to sleep on.

If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Fall in love with things that make you a better person. Learn to love exercise, nutrition, building things, reading, dancing, hiking, learning –  anything that makes you smarter, happier, or healthier is a good investment.

How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
Pick the right partner to begin with. I see too many relationships that are clearly doomed from the start. Of course there are sometimes more complicated variables, but in general a great relationship should be easy. Or so I’ve heard.

Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I LOVE Watsi.org. They are a crowdfunding platform for medical treatment in 3rd world countries that gives 100% of the money to the treatments. Watch Chase Adam’s talk on Youtube, and if you don’t fall in love with their mission please get a heart replacement ASAP. And donate to their universal fund on a monthly basis. The update emails from successful patient treatments make my heart smile.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
In a Sentimental Mood by John Coltrane – for those late nights that turn into mornings.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Tough question. I hit my last 5 year plan in 3 years, and have yet to make another one.
Here’s all I want – a life filled with amazing people, great conversations, and ambitious ideas. Perhaps I will create the place where all that happens in Vancouver.

What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
It is crazy that everything we do on the internet might be around for 1000’s of years. I guess my legacy will be the writing I do, the products I build, this interview (hmm), and anything else I decide to share. Hopefully some of it makes people do ambitious, good things for the world.

What One book would you recommend for any Man?
Waking up by Sam Harriss

If you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]


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