Beyond Lemons to Lemonade: Using Personal Setbacks to Develop Businesses That Help Others

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During the Great Recession, there were many think pieces and discussions about how children coming of age in an era of foreclosures, joblessness, and desperation would approach adult life. The proliferation of young entrepreneurs seems to indicate that this experience forged many into resourceful and resilient individuals, willing to be their own bosses and dive into business despite the stressors they witnessed at a young age. Take Jerson (Jason) Barreto, for example.

Jerson, owner of WiFi Coaches, insists he’s just a “simple kid from Bayonne, New Jersey.” But what sets this young entrepreneur apart from any other kid in Bayonne, or elsewhere, is his dream – and the story that got him there. Like many young adults today, he was a child when the market crashed. At the age of eight, he watched as his family fought foreclosure, faced bankruptcy, and two of his father’s businesses failed. The fallout impacted his family for years, damaging relationships between Jerson and his mother and between his parents. Barreto became depressed and avoided confronting his problems by immersing himself in gaming. But after years of turmoil, Barreto finally had an epiphany and chose to adopt a new attitude towards life. Though the quality of his life improved dramatically at this point, he did not strike out on his own in business.

While working as a dishwasher, Barreto found a way to monetize his passion for helping people live their best lives. His book, Teen10, premiered in 2017 and offers his input on how teenagers and parents can unlock young people’s potential. Based on what Barreto had learned about life, business, and persistence from his father’s business endeavors, the book has been a rapid success. Yet the daily grind of dishwashing, and the discipline that this job forced, gave Barreto the idea to immerse himself in business – again. By early 2018, he had already tried and been disappointed with Amazon FBA, network marketing, and dropshipping. Yet writing the book gave Jerson an opportunity to more closely examine what he was passionate about.

Discovering that he was curious about affiliate marketing and that he had a knack for it, Barreto engaged in more soul-seeking. He realized that he had not achieved success before because he lacked curiosity about the businesses he had pursued. Yet even with his newfound success, Jerson lost his compass. Considering the value of this compass, as well as the ways a strong mentor could have helped him streamline his own path, Barreto founded WiFi Coaches with Yazir.

WiFi Coaches enables people to start and scale their companies with the right information. They brand themselves as the “Netflix for entrepreneurs” and try to help emerging companies navigate the many different paths available to them. Barreto’s childhood is not the typical picture of a happy family inspiring a young entrepreneur, but instead of being bitter, he found a way to use it as a conduit for self-improvement.  

Today, Barreto has few regrets. His story has made him who he is today. However, he does have some words of advice: “What I wish someone told was to look at my options and to choose the one I was most curious about, and stick with that one thing only.” Next, he wishes he had learned to stop if he did not feel the choice was right. His golden rule? “STICK WITH ONE THING” (Yes, all in caps!). Not doing so runs the risk of spreading yourself too thin and losing opportunities to follow curiosity and go deep into a topic – which is necessary to develop the passion that can propel people to success.

For this reason, Barreto’s WiFi Coach gives the right information to companies so that they can start and scale. In this sense, they offer a Netflix-like method of content delivery, compiling the best business education for consumption however users want (binging is encouraged). As a kid, Barreto had every reason to eschew business and pursue something else. Yet his perspicacity and positive attitude have allowed him to develop a suite of powerful resources to help others – both on an individual and on a business level. Barreto took his life’s lemons and turned them into proverbial lemonade, showing that with some productive introspection, many others can move past difficult times and use them to launch businesses that help others.


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