Julie Traxler, Founder at Maverick Mentors
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Julie Traxler: Maverick Mentors (formally SB PACE) started as a direct result of the
pandemic in March of 2020. As the world was shutting down entrepreneurs and small
business owners were beginning to panic about next steps. There was so much
uncertainty in the world, and I wanted to be a source of help, information, and calm for
my friends, family, and network who owned small businesses.
My initial intention was to help friends and family. I had downtime (like the rest of the
world) and with a background in operations, leadership, team building, change
management, and mergers & acquisitions, my goal was to help small business owners
make a pivot at the start of the pandemic. I wasn’t charging anyone for my time, I wasn’t
thinking about it as a business. Plus, I knew so many people were hurting financially.
That was the reason I was talking to people, to help them out of the mess - not to dig a
Over time more and more people started calling, looking for different kinds of help. It
didn’t take me long to realize that I had an opportunity in front of me. Maverick Mentors
recently celebrated its 3 year anniversary. Still a baby business in many ways, but
we’ve seen a lot in the past 3 years. And we’ve served over 500 small business owners.
Great Companies: What are the various services provided by Maverick Mentors?
Julie Traxler: Maverick Mentors offers both mentoring and consulting. From a
mentoring perspective we do 1x1 mentoring, group mentoring, masterminds and
masterclasses. We specialize in what I like to call the “messy middle”. Anyone who
owns a business has been in the messy middle. The euphoria of starting a business has
long worn off, but you’re fully committed to growing your business. Things are hard,
growth is slow (or stalled) and you’re feeling the frustrations of being an entrepreneur.
We help entrepreneurs move through that phase.
From a consulting perspective we are a bit of a Swiss Army Knife. My background in
Mergers and Acquisitions plays a significant part in that. I spent years working with
small businesses that had been acquired, leading the charge to integrate them into their
new parent company. That work taught me all about small businesses from front to
back. I use that knowledge to help clients achieve their goals. Whether it’s leadership
development, building a high performing team, operational efficiencies, preparing for
exit, or anything in between - I’ve probably done it.
Great Companies: What makes Maverick Mentors different from hundreds of other similar service providers?
Julie Traxler: At Maverick Mentors our number one core value is “we don’t sell you sh*t
that you don’t need”. We are always looking for fire ourselves. And by that I mean - we
want our clients to be self-sufficient. We don’t want an entrepreneur or small business
owner to be paying us for years. We completely understand the financial challenges that
most small businesses go through, and we have a lot of respect for those challenges.
So our goal is to understand the problem and the client''s ideal solution, assess the
situation, develop a plan, execute, observe and iterate, and then move on. Ideally, this
model shows clients that we are partners in success and when they face another
challenge they will come back to us for help.
Great Companies: What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Julie Traxler: That’s the thing with being an entrepreneur, the struggles and challenges
grow with you. I look back at the challenges I faced when I launched Maverick Mentors
and they were right sized for where the business was at. There is definitely no shortage
of struggles when you’re building something different.
Early on I had this belief that “if I build it, they will come” which was pure nonsense. I
laugh at that concept now. You still have to build a brand, market, let people know you
exist, provide a great service, and sell. When I launched Maverick Mentors, It took me
almost 6 months to realize that I actually had to sell. How embarrassing is that?
Now I’ve got a team of people working at Maverick Mentors and I don’t take that
responsibility lightly. Thankfully (and not by accident) this is a high performing team full
of leaders, but knowing that I am responsible for ensuring others can pay their
mortgages is something I take very seriously. And the only way to ensure that happens
is to serve our clients well. I truly believe that taking money from clients comes with
tremendous responsibility. We have to deliver on everything we commit to, and ideally
we are over-delivering.
The challenges that Maverick Mentors face today typically center around capacity
planning (we are hands-on), and making sure the team is getting enough down time. I
don’t want to burn out my strongest asset, my people.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for SB PACE?
Julie Traxler: As strange as this sounds, my goal is to offer less services in 5 years. I
sit down every 6 months and look at the data from our clients. What services are people
coming to us for and how does the client's needs stack up against the things we love to do?
If our goal is to be of service to our clients, then we have to love what we are doing. We
can’t offer the best version of ourselves doing things we hate. And I didn’t start a
business to do work I don’t love. Over the next several years I’ll continue to assess and
modify. I know far more today than I did 3 years ago. I can’t even imagine the
knowledge I will have five years from now. I’m excited about the evolution that’s coming
for Maverick Mentors and our clients.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Julie Traxler: The hardest lesson I had to learn (and relearn) as an entrepreneur is that
“support never comes from where you think it will”. And by that I mean we expect our
family and friends to support our entrepreneurial journeys, but it rarely works out that
way. People are busy with their lives, and unless they personally need to buy what you
are selling, their support is going to be more limited than you think. But - that actually
ends up being good news. Because you’re going to build this entire new network of
friends who are on a similar journey. So your world will expand and you can keep your
friends and family relationship as they are, without the pressure of them supporting you
in ways they simply are not capable of doing.