Startups

Jamar Jones shared stages with big-name rappers. A musical crisis led him to entrepreneurship

Following numerous career pivots — including a "miserable" stint in corporate life — the Wisconsin-based founder of Foureva Media infuses positive energy to connect people and unlock businesses' full potential.

Jamar Jones.

(Courtesy photo)

Jamar Jones’ energy is contagious. The founder of branding and media agency Foureva Media moves at a fast and fervid pace — something he says has carried him through a captivating evolution of careers.

Over the years, the multi-talented marketer has held roles as a retail worker, IT manager, hip-hop artist, network salesman, wedding videographer, author and motivational speaker. But according to Jones, his most valuable skill set comes through networking.

“I’m a master connector,” the Wisconsinite told Technical.ly.

That ability has served him well from the very beginning, when Jones was perhaps better known as the hip-hop artist, 4-0 — a name stemming from the promise that freed slaves would receive 40 acres and a mule. The music artist started rap battling in high school and later toured for nearly a decade, inspiring audiences with motivational lyrics and kinetic energy. He’s performed more than 100 shows a year, opening for artists like T.I., Nelly, Yelawolf, Keisha Cole and more. Music was his life, Jones said, and inspiring others was his drive.

But a few years in, Jones’ musical career came to a screeching halt when he tore his vocal cords during a performance in Minnesota. He soon found himself living the corporate life without a creative outlet and was unceremoniously laid off after attaining an IT manager position. For two years, Jones said he struggled to keep depression at bay.

“I had wanted to be done with corporate for a while, but I just didn’t know what to do,” Jones said. “Music was everything. I thought it was my calling. I was just working the corporate life and I was miserable. I just kept thinking, ‘What do I do?’ I needed something to grasp onto.”

Jamar Jones during a performance. (Courtesy photo)

From laid off to founder

The layoff was just the push Jones needed to try his hand at entrepreneurship. After all, living as 4-0 and navigating the “competitive and brutal music industry” made him learn how to book performances, make his own graphics and create and promote his energetic shows largely on his own. When he stepped back and laid out all of his skills, brand marketing and media rose to the surface.

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Jones launched Brookfield, Wisconsin’s Foureva Media in 2015 (keeping his namesake “four” with a “little added flavor,” he says). It offers everything from artist consulting to events management and visual branding — basically throwing anything he was good at on the wall to see what stuck. He started doing videos for weddings and eventually pivoted to corporate partnerships while adding to his team and constantly adapting to his failures.

Despite the roadblocks, Jones said he maintained his hunger to follow his dreams.

“It was more about learning and [navigating] the failures,” Jones said of his early startup days. “I knew I needed to continue to develop, and what we are today is just me discovering what my superpower is. Every business owner needs to do that. Build your Justice League, build your Avengers. You have to know what your strengths are. Once I started doing this, I felt alive again.”

A celeb-driven pivot to DEI

In addition to consuming business and self-help books, Jones said he continued to fuel his dreams by following various marketing and entrepreneur influencers online. This helped him stay optimistic when clients’ revenue began to dry up during the pandemic and brought his business to a worrying crawl.

While scrolling on one particularly rough day, Jones said he began watching a live video with entrepreneur, philanthropist, and star of the hit docu-series “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis. Within a few minutes, Lemonis invited Jones into his stream for a brief conversation. After talking shop, Lemonis invited the struggling entrepreneur to his Camping World headquarters in Gurnee, Illinois for a free, one-hour business coaching session.

The invitation was life-changing, Jones said.

“I canceled everything,” Jones joked about the chance meeting. “We got destroyed — he has a way of taking your heart out, bringing you down to some humble level, and then he puts your heart back in like Mortal Kombat and gives you back your life. But it changed the trajectory of Foureva Media.”

Among Lemonis’ advice? Niche down and zero in on a mission. Jones took Lemonis’ guidance and split with his business partner, and began to focus on leveraging the power of entertainment to connect corporations with diverse communities. Today, Jones said diversity, equity, and inclusion lies at the heart of Foureva Media’s branding and media direction — and business is booming once again.

‘This is my calling’

Since pivoting his services, Jones and his team have worked with entities like Versiti, Summerfest Tech, Concurrency, Northwestern Mutual, Red Bull and Six Flags Great America.

Now, Jones is steering his success and connections into a new concept business conference called Lead the Movement. Slated for Aug. 25 at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum, the business conference is an opportunity to “bridge the gap between corporate and community,” with programming including speakers, workshops, networking and, of course, entertainment.

Jones is aiming to make Lead the Movement more than a one-day affair; he hopes guests continue the conversations to inspire collaboration and community change over time. Jones said he has finally found his purpose.

“If you want to affect change, you have to be persistent,” he said, evoking his own journey of perseverance. “The more you connect with diverse communities, the more opportunities you will find. This is my calling: to bridge and to connect people.”

You could say his energy has been harnessed, his superpower unlocked.

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