How To Problem Solve Your Business Challenges with Jim Carter III

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Are you doing something that lights you up inside?

One word you’ll hear us say at Carter & Custer is “purpose.”

That’s because to us, purpose is more than a big deal. It’s at the heart of why we do what we do. 

When you can find what lights you up, your motivation to overcome business challenges, find creative ways to solve problems, and unlock previously untapped potential takes a massive jump. Tapping into your purpose helps you find that extra drive to overcome your obstacles instead of letting them overwhelm you.

Recently, our co-founder and CEO, Jim Carter III, had an opportunity to talk with his good friend, 7-figure entrepreneur Chris Harder, on his podcast, The Chris Harder Show. On the show, Jim shared how finding his purpose helped drive his motivation to overcome obstacles to make an impact.

Come along as we look at Jim’s story of helping Pencils of Promise grow their reach through technology. It’s sure to impact how you approach your business endeavors and show you what it takes to truly follow your purpose toward fulfillment.

Who Is Jim Carter III?

When you first meet Jim, you notice that he doesn’t fit the stereotypical executive CEO persona. He’s not the type of person to dance around on stage to get people to listen to him. Instead, he leads with a quiet confidence and motivates the people around him through his actions.

One area that motivates Jim is using his talents to influence the world around him. His background in software engineering developed a deep knowledge of search engine optimization, or SEO, and he uses that knowledge to help others grow. 

During his earlier years, Jim spent time in the Boy Scouts and eventually worked his way through the ranks to Eagle Scout. His experiences in the scouts instilled a passion within him to make a difference through service, which you can see in his motivation to empower charities.

A nonprofit that Jim’s particularly passionate about is Pencils of Promise, an organization dedicated to achieving quality education for children all over the world. Jim joyfully supports their great cause and loves putting his outstanding technical knowledge to use running back-end support for PoP.

Now that you know a little more about Jim and what lights him up, let’s get into his story!

Pivot, Purpose, and Impact: How Jim Carter III Helped PoP Raise $1 Million Overnight

In 2018, Jim found himself needing a change — he needed a more defined purpose.

“It all started from my intention of how I wanted to fundamentally pivot my life. … I built a lot of stuff, and I got to the point where I was done building stuff. I was tired of building stuff for everybody else and was like, ‘What am I missing?’” 

– Jim Carter III

The result of Jim’s need for a change and his passion for service led him to look for ways to help charities that he aligned with personally. One, in particular, was Pencils of Promise, an outstanding foundation that helps change the lives of children in underserved areas through quality education.

It just so happened that PoP needed someone to help them navigate the newly emerging technology of cryptocurrency — Bitcoin specifically.

“I decided to get into the charity space and started supporting different charities. About this time, I started to see the rise of Bitcoin. … People talked about blockchain a little bit, but Bitcoin was starting to become a household [name]. … One of our favorite charities, Pencils of Promise, discovered this individual that was going by the name of Pineapple Fund.”

– Jim Carter III

Pineapple Fund held 80 to 90 Bitcoin at the time, totaling around $54 million, which they wanted to share with charity.

“Because of the rise [in Bitcoin], this person said, ‘You know what? I have more money than I know what to do with in the wealth of Bitcoin. I just wanna donate it to charities.’ It was 100 percent anonymous. … They loaded up a website and had a form you could fill out. Then they posted on Reddit, and it just blew up.”

– Jim Carter III

The hype surrounding Pineapple Fund was huge, and charities worldwide were lining up to become part of their giving. But there was a catch that many people didn’t consider when applying — many charities didn’t have the tech to process Bitcoin.

“What was really cool about this was that a ton of charities applied, but only a handful of them knew what the hell to do [about processing Bitcoin]. It turned into this massive paradox. This incredibly generous person was like, ‘Yo, I wanna send this money, and I wanna do it before Bitcoin crashes.’ … All these charities were terrified because they didn’t know how to receive it.”

– Jim Carter III

During all of the excitement caused by this anonymous philanthropist, Jim just happened to be helping Pencils of Promise restructure their tech stack. His expertise in software engineering and a desire to stay in-the-know about new technologies made Jim the perfect candidate for preparing PoP for donations from Pineapple Fund.

Around six months before Pineapple Fund announced their Bitcoin donation, Jim set Pencils of Promise up with Stripe’s payment software. While looking over the software, he noticed that Stripe had beta development for cryptocurrency transactions and thought it would be cool for PoP to process crypto transactions — if one ever came through.

“I had convinced Pencils of Promise to lean in and be ready for [the donation]. The money came through, and a million dollars in Bitcoin was transferred in a split second. And I’ll never forget the day. Val, me, and the kids were on vacation in Hawaii, and PoP called me. I looked at my phone and saw that the notification for the transaction went through, and they were like, ‘Jim, we’re going to connect you to the board. We need you to explain what the hell just happened.’”

– Jim Carter III

Everyone was still pretty unfamiliar with Bitcoin at the time, so they needed him to walk them through the process and overcome the obstacle of understanding cryptocurrency. After working with Pencils of Promise, they got Jim in contact with other charities that needed his help.

“It turned into this amazing domino effect where now I was being tapped on as the only human who apparently knew how to talk between blockchain and charity. But what I realized is that there are people out there that have those talents — they just don’t speak up. And that gave me a lot of self-confidence. The fact that in a period of weeks, I was able to help raise almost $10 million in for charities to be able to do their thing [was amazing].”

– Jim Carter III

Jim helped numerous charities raise nearly $10 million in anonymous Bitcoin donations in just a few weeks. It’s incredible what you can achieve when you find what lights you up and use your talents to make an impact!

Three Ways to Find Your Purpose and Overcome Obstacles

Complacency and unpreparedness are two of the most significant business challenges you can face.

Even though you may not notice it at first, complacency can creep into your life and keep you from achieving at your highest level. In Jim’s case, he realized that even though he had a great job in software engineering, he wasn’t doing something that inspired personal action.

“I realized I needed to do something that lit me up inside — something that I was just overly-passionate about.”

– Jim Carter III

As a result, Jim made a pivot in his life and began using his talents to help charities make a significant impact on the world. This pivot ignited a passion inside of him to continue making an impact and develop a personal brand that carries out the mission to change the world through tech.

When you face complacency in life or feel unprepared, remember these three things to overcome your obstacle: don’t be afraid of changeuse your talents, and plan ahead. 

1. Don’t Be Afraid of Change

Change is a good thing!

We feel like our comfort zones are the right place to be most of the time. And why wouldn’t we? After all, they’re called comfort zones for a reason. But when you allow yourself to stay inside your comfort zone, you keep yourself from growing!

Think back to Jim’s story. If he had continued his career as a software engineer, would he have made the impact he desired? Of course not.

Stepping out of your bubble as an entrepreneur looks different for everyone. It could mean finding new ways to network with other business owners, making changes to your current business model, or rebranding to make a more significant impact online.

Whatever that looks like for you, do it! Lean into that potentially uncomfortable feeling because when you step outside your comfort zone, you enter a place of growth. 

2. Use Your Talents

Your unique skills can help you overcome business challenges.

If you run into roadblocks while building your business or feel like you’re not achieving your purpose, lean on what you know. Maybe you have a knack for creating excellent workflow systems or have years of experience in a particular field — use that to your advantage.

In Jim’s case, he found his purpose in helping others and used his unique talents to help them grow. Without his specialized background working with technology, Pencils of Promise and other charities would have missed out on an incredible opportunity.

When you can couple your talent with your purpose, you can overcome the business challenges standing in your way.

3. Plan Ahead

No one knows the future, but you can plan for possible outcomes.

When Jim started helping Pencils of Promise revitalize their tech, he didn’t know they would receive a million-dollar donation in Bitcoin. What he did know was that cryptocurrency had the potential to make an impact down the road, which led him to implement a financial services platform that could handle Bitcoin.

You may not be looking to get into cryptocurrency, and that’s totally fine! But when you hit those tough decisions about upgrading your current technology or implementing new tools at your business, think big. If you dedicate yourself to utilizing future-proofed systems, you build in the opportunity for your business to grow.

It may seem like a daunting decision at first, but when you choose to think bigger with your preparation, you can avoid being caught off guard down the road.

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