Team Building: Lessons from Entrepreneur Jamie Day’s Journey 

Innovation and agility are paramount to being a successful entrepreneur, and the role of a cohesive team cannot be overstated.

In an exclusive video interview on Cracking the Code, Jamie Day, the founder and managing partner of Freshblends, shares his journey and the strategies that have driven his success. He shares his journey from launching a small smoothie shop to leading a top beverage innovation company, emphasizing the critical role of “hunger” and “fear” in driving entrepreneurial success.


Team Building Mindset 

Jamie Day’s entrepreneurial endeavors are marked by an insightful understanding of human capital as the backbone of any successful enterprise. He articulates that the twin drivers of ‘hunger’ for success and ‘fear’ of failure are not just personal motivators but foundational principles that he seeks in his team members. This approach has allowed him to cultivate environments where creativity and risk-taking are normalized, and where the collective drive of the team aligns seamlessly with the company’s ambitious goals. 

Early Ventures and Learning Experiences

Jamie’s initial foray into the business world through a smoothie shop in Hermosa Beach provided him with firsthand experience in the complexities of team management. The shop’s quick sale to what would become Jamba Juice was a pivotal moment that highlighted the importance of operational harmony and strategic team alignment. From these early experiences, Jamie learned the significance of aligning team members’ goals with those of the business and ensuring that each member was not only competent but also shared the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for a startup’s dynamic environment. 

Strategies for Entrepreneurial Team Building 

Central to Jamie’s strategy in team building is the identification and cultivation of entrepreneurial traits among potential team members. He emphasizes the importance of adaptability and the shared drive towards achieving something meaningful. His approach involves a careful selection process where not just the skills but the mindset of candidates are evaluated. Jamie notes the challenges of integrating individuals from structured corporate backgrounds into a startup’s fluid and often unpredictable environment. He argues that while such individuals bring valuable expertise, their success in a startup hinges on their ability to adapt and embrace the inherent risks and freedoms of the entrepreneurial space. 

Navigating Team Challenges in Growing Businesses 

As his business ventures grew, so did the complexity of the team dynamics. The expansion from a single smoothie outlet to a multi-location enterprise required not only scaling the team but also maintaining the entrepreneurial culture that had fueled their initial success. Jamie points out the crucial role of communication and shared vision in this phase, especially during his later venture, Freshblends. He shares how the business faced significant challenges during the scaling process, notably during the market upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team’s resilience during these times was largely due to the pre-established culture of mutual trust and the clear communication of changing goals and strategies. 

The Role of Leadership in Sustaining Team Performance

Leadership in any business setting plays a pivotal role, but in a startup or a fast-growing company like Jamie’s, its impact is even more pronounced. Jamie views his role as not just a decision-maker but as a cultivator of talent and a steward of the company culture. His leadership style is characterized by transparency, which he believes is essential for fostering an atmosphere where every team member feels valued and motivated. He shares that regular feedback sessions and open discussions on business challenges not only help in immediate problem-solving but also strengthen the team’s cohesion and adaptability to new situations. 

As Jamie’s businesses navigated through various growth phases, his consistent focus on maintaining a strong and adaptive team has been a cornerstone of their success. This focus on building robust team dynamics is .not just about managing well but also about leading with vision and empathy. Jamie’s experiences highlight the nuanced role of leadership in scaling business operations while ensuring that the team’s core strengths and motivations are continuously nurtured. 

Continuing Role of Leadership in Team Adaptability

As Freshblends expanded, Jamie’s leadership faced new tests, especially with the integration of advanced technology and shifting market dynamics. The introduction of a self-serve smoothie machine was a strategic move that required his team to adapt to both technological advancements and changing consumer behaviors. This phase demonstrated the importance of leadership in guiding teams through innovation and market adaptation. Jamie believes that a leader’s ability to remain ahead of trends and prepare the team for shifts is crucial for sustained success. 

Team Building through Setbacks & Realigning Team Goals 

Despite the successes, Jamie’s journey was not without setbacks. The challenges brought by economic downturns and unexpected market shifts, like those during the COVID-19 pandemic, forced the team at Freshblends to reassess and realign their goals. Jamie’s approach during these times was to double down on communication, ensuring that every team member was aware of the changes and understood their role in the collective response. This transparency helped mitigate the uncertainty and fostered a resilient team spirit, enabling them to navigate through periods of instability. 

Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning and Improvement 

A key aspect of sustaining high team performance is fostering an environment where continuous learning and personal development are encouraged. Jamie invests in training and development programs, not only to enhance skills but also to inspire innovation and creativity within the team. He emphasizes the need for ongoing education and exposure to new ideas as essential components of team dynamics, particularly in a fast-evolving industry like beverage innovation. 

Empowering Team Members and Encouraging Entrepreneurial Initiatives

Jamie’s philosophy extends beyond traditional team management; he aims to empower his team members by encouraging them to take ownership of projects and pursue entrepreneurial initiatives within the company. This empowerment creates a more dynamic and engaged team, motivating members by their contributions to the company’s success rather than just job responsibilities. It also fosters a sense of entrepreneurship within the company, aligning with Jamie’s original motivations. 

Strategic Planning and Team Building

As Freshblends looks to the future, strategic planning and team evolution remain at the forefront of Jamie’s agenda. He continuously assesses the market and internal business metrics to anticipate changes and prepare the team accordingly. This proactive approach keeps the business competitive and consistently aligns the team with the company’s long-term vision. Jamie’s focus on strategic foresight and adaptability in team management ensures that Freshblends can not only react to immediate challenges but also strategically plan for future opportunities. 


Jamie Day’s entrepreneurial journey offers profound insights into the art of building and leading teams in a competitive and ever-changing business landscape. His commitment to fostering a culture of hunger and fear—hunger for success and fear of complacency—has cultivated a team that is resilient, innovative, and deeply aligned with the company’s goals. For leaders looking to inspire and manage their teams effectively, Jamie’s approach provides a valuable blueprint for entrepreneurial success in any industry. 

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