Grind for greatness is the mantra of entrepre­neur, trainer, speaker, James “Bird” Guess.

“I want you to succeed and reach your goals to become successful,” he told his audience from the Micro Business Institute. During his four- hour presentation and using his mantra, Guess outlined his formula of how to execute a strategy of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE—James ‘Bird’ Guess empowers his audience while presenting his well tested success principles.

“I came from nothing, but I am still grinding,” said Guess, explaining that success is a process. Outlining his formula of how to become an accomplished entrepreneur, he defined grinding as when an entrepreneur creates success using ambition, vision, strategy and perseverance. Utilizing his “Success Book,” one of many training tools developed through his company, Guess stressed that a fiery spark of energy, a mental picture, a unique plan of action and the refusal to stop trying is important to achieve anything in life.

In addition to providing training for nonprofit organizations, Guess also works with corporations, universities and colleges, professional organizations as well as youth and teen programs. His various signature topics are inclusive of Financial Literacy and Economic Empowerment, Overcoming Obstacles and Life’s Circumstances, Embracing Individual and Organizational Change, Leadership Development and Coaching, Management Vision and Motivation, Staff Development, Training and High Performance Teams as well as Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) Personal and Business Branding.

His proven techniques currently can be found in his first book, “How I Made a Quarter Million Dollars from the Trunk of My Car.” The book reveals the power of pursuing your passion and the ability to persevere through the success process. He is in the process of writing his second book, “Grinding for Greatness.”

Once homeless and sleeping in his car, Guess realized that he was not his environment, he tapped into his potential, used his obstacles as steppingstones and worked toward building a half-million dollar enterprise from the trunk of his 1992 Cadillac. Now at the age of 32 he utilizes his experiences, knowledge and former setbacks as a way to empower others to “overcome and become.” “My mission is to inspire people to get to where they want to be. To achieve their greatest potential,” he said.

Raised by a single mother who possessed only a GED, Guess had dreams to play basketball or becoming a rapper. He graduated from Alston College in Texas, worked for a railroad company for a year before chasing after what he classifies as wealth, success and the “American Dream.” With a $1,000 investment and hopes of becoming a millionaire, Guess said he singlehandedly built a quarter million dollar enterprise selling products from the trunk of his car. Today he is president and founder of JBG International Success Academy, what he describes as a personal and organizational development company that trains and develops working professionals, entrepreneurs, students and organization members to achieve their greatest potential.

People attending the workshop described Guess’ presentation as great, informative, electrifying, engaging and entertaining. “Our participants are open and ready for knowledge,” said Jasmine A. Ward, Micro Business Institute specialist. “James’ passion, knowledge and enthusiasm were great for them to experience.” Guess’ topic for the morning was “Emerging Entrepreneurs: How Aspiring Entrepreneurs Can Grind to Greatness.”

In existence since the spring of this year, the MBI is designed to foster the development of sustainable micro-businesses geared to stimulate economic development, self-sufficiency and job creation in poverty-stricken neighborhoods throughout the city of Pittsburgh. To date, the program has provided more than 100 participants a variety of services inclusive of entrepreneurship education/training, financial literacy training and financial goal planning. The Guess seminar was one of many workshops and events that has been a part of the program. Other activities have included FastTrac Entrepreneurship Training, Business Boot Camp 101, and an Investment Real Estate seminar series. Interactive events have consisted of The Power of Your Personality, conducted by Rochelle Oaks; and an Entrepreneurial Assessment Workshop facilitated by Karyn Taylor. The group has plans to participate in the Oct. 9 Tavis Smiley financial awareness program scheduled for the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The MBI operates under the umbrella of Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc., an organization that for the past 25 years has been offering programs and activities designed to empower low-income residents of the city of Pittsburgh to make measurable progress on the continuum from im­poverishment to self-sufficiency.

Under the leadership of Cecelia A. Jenkins, PCSI has been meeting the needs of its clients in the areas of employment, job training, education, housing, nutrition and health and income management. The MBI and its involvement in the Green Movement by way of Energy and Environment Community Outreach are two of its newest ventures.

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