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How Jonathan Wilson Overcame Adversity to Achieve Entrepreneurial Success in M&A

There is an adage that says, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Jonathan Wilson is a living embodiment of this phrase. A resilient and driven entrepreneur, Jonathan has over 23 years of experience in the M&A industry. As the CEO and Chief Value Creator of Dubb Value Creation, LLC, his firm offers comprehensive services ranging from M&A strategy to target assessment, buyer evaluation, due diligence, and integration – all the way through both buy-side and sell-side opportunities.

Before launching his own business, Jonathan had a successful career in finance at prestigious firms such as Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

However, the journey to entrepreneurship was not an easy one for him. As an LGBTQ and Black individual, he faced additional hardships. He recalled how he went through both verbal and physical abuse from his family members, people he was closest to.

“I was physically attacked by one of my siblings,” Jonathan told me in a recent Zoom interview. “I had to go through a lot of verbal abuse.”

Jonathan was determined to make it and refused to let his obstacles stand in the way of his success. He sought therapy, created distance from the negative influences in his life, and focused on building his own successful business instead. With his extensive network and comprehensive knowledge of the industry, Jonathan has been able to succeed beyond his own expectations.

“Once I did that and survived, which was a really hard journey in itself, [I realized] I can figure out how to survive at any other point in my entrepreneurial career,” he said.

When asked about how he achieved entrepreneurial success in M&A despite the adversities, Jonathan offered three essential tips:

  1. Maintaining a positive outlook: The belief that life is what you make it is vital to stay positive, especially in adverse times. In moments of despair, Jonathan learned to focus on the good and be grateful for what he had. “What happens if they never change?” Jonathan said his therapist asked him about his family members. “I was like, there is no way I would go through this for the rest of my life.” After considering his therapist’s words, Jonathan was able to break free from the cycle of negativity, cutting ties with his family and focusing on his growth.
  2. The ability to pivot: Knowing what to do next to keep moving forward is essential. Jonathan credited his ability to stay ahead of the curve and pivot when necessary as the key to his success. You should always be aware of the changes in your industry and be prepared to change course when things don’t go according to plan.
  3. Staying up to date with the market: Through reading extensively and connecting with industry leaders, Jonathan kept himself informed of the market trends to make better decisions for his company. In today’s fast-paced business world, it is essential to remain current and be a master of the environment to stay ahead. What worked yesterday may not work today, so being able to adapt and evolve is key.

“We’re looking at companies that are mostly 10 million EV all the way up to 100 million and either take them to market or helping companies purchase others within that 10 million to 100 million enterprise value range,” he said, explaining his firm’s core mission.

“It’s fun to grow and try new things. M&A is just a fun and fascinating industry. One of the most emotional industries that I have ever [worked in.] You have to be calm under pressure,” he added.

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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Opus Connect
May 2023

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