Five Questions with Juan Fernandez (CompTIA’s Council Leadership Award winner)

CompTIA’s Industry Advisory Council Leadership Award winner shares how he has achieved success by not being afraid to fail and learning from his mistakes. He now uses that experience to help other MSPs. It is not often that a CEO declares that his proudest moment in his career was… failure. Failure? Yup. Juan Fernandez isn’t your average business leader.
MSP Growth Coalition’s CEO and co-chair of CompTIA Channel Development Advisory Council, the CEO of MSP Growth Coalition has helped to build many companies and recently launched a new business to assist mid-sized MSPs in accelerating their success. All built on his mistakes and lessons learned over the years.
Fernandez has been a strong supporter of CompTIA’s members throughout all this. He was awarded the 2022 Industry Advisory Council Leadership Award for his outstanding service and dedication at this year’s CompTIA Communities & Councils forum. Fernandez spoke to CompTIA recently to share his story, including his priorities and what other MSPs can take from his experiences in order to achieve their own success. Here’s what Fernandez had to say.
What are you most proud about in your career? And what has helped you get to where you are today?
“Failure. My success has been built on failure for most of my life. CompTIA’s Communities & Councils form presented me with the statement, “Failure’ is the tuition we pay to succeed.” I needed that in my own life. It’s okay to fail. You can learn from your mistakes and move on.
“In addition, I would also say that writing the CompTIA A+ certification was a significant moment in my life. It’s because I can remember how I felt when the A+ failed early on. It wasn’t because I wasn’t competent enough, but because my studies weren’t thorough enough. My wife refused to let me give up. I knew I had the ability, but I had no choice but to unleash the imposter within me. Things started to happen when I did. I’m a first generation technologist so I was able to write the A+. This was something I was afraid of and never thought I would pass. It was also a significant accomplishment for me because it can make a difference in people’s lives. That’s what I’m most excited about.
What advice would you give MSPs and other tech companies to be more successful?
“Fail fast. The most important lesson is that you don’t know what works until it doesn’t. Think about playing chess. Although you may not always win, you can remember the last move that didn’t work and you won’t repeat it. Move fast, learn lessons. This has allowed me to create hyper-growth companies. Over the past 28 years, I have learned what to do. Don’t let the ‘thoughts of doing’ stop your from doing. Find what works, fail, stumble, laugh, cry, but get it done. You’ll either win or learn a lesson. If you learn a lesson, it’s possible to build meaningful relationships by sharing it. Last piece of advice: Successful companies have processes and procedures that enable people to succeed. You can create an amazing culture if you can instill it.
Why is being a member of the Channel Development Advisory Council important? What are your goals?
“One of my greatest desires is to empower others to succeed. I have witnessed a lot of conflict between vendors and partners in my journeys. I wanted to share some insights. It was important to hear the voices of the receiver side of the channel, not just the delivering, which is mostly vendors. This side of the story was not being represented and considered. MSPs receive a lot of what everyone thinks they want and need. We should be open to accepting it, sit still, and accept what is being told to us. I wanted to be heard.
“I wanted to represent MSP communities around the world. It was very important to me. It is still important today. I thought I would be kicked out as soon as I joined. I came in and was like, “Here’s what MSPs want.” Talk with channel partners, not channel partners. But I didn’t. We all work together for everyone’s benefit. Our goal is to empower channel partners and increase collaboration. I am working hard to remove barriers. There is no reason why we shouldn’t all be speaking. The council’s goal is to improve communication between internal and external parties, to learn how to interact and what the new motions are. All of us have to be there for our customers. That’s the ultimate goal.
What are the challenges/trends you would like to see more of in your council role?
“The problem is that we communicate with each other but don’t always want customers to know our intentions. Transparency is the key to success. It is important to recognize that distributors, vendors, and MSPs all need to be transparent.