Since he was 10, Ken Jackson has never lacked employment and said he usually has more than one job going at any given time. Jackson, who is one of the newest realtors added to the team of Statesboro Properties, also owns and operates Leap Joy Inflatables and works fulltime at Yates-Astro Termite & Pest Control.
A member of CrossRoads Community Church, Jackson credits his drive and ambition, as well as his positivity, to several family members who played vital roles in his life at an early age. Though some who experience difficult times in their youth use those struggles as a crutch to be less-than-successful in life, Jackson did exactly the opposite.
“I had a rough start,” said Jackson. “My parents divorced when I was 10, and I was taking care of my toddler sister. I was bounced around with my grandfather and my mom and my dad.”
A defining moment professionally took place when he was with his grandfather.
“My grandfather had plenty of money to buy us anything we wanted,” recalled Jackson. “One day I asked for money, but instead of giving it to me, he took me to Home Depot and bought me a pressure washer. He let me use his lawn mower, and he told me to go down the street to the neighbors and work for the money I wanted.”
Another pivotal moment took place just a year later. Jackson was with his dad at that point, in Jacksonville, Fla., because his grandfather was battling cancer and couldn’t care for him.
“I was hanging out with the wrong crowd,” he said. “Getting involved with gang-like activity. Late one night, a guy jumped out of his truck with a gun and starting chasing my friend and me. After he beat up my friend, I knew I had to get away from that situation.”
Coming to Georgia
That decision brought Jackson to Georgia to live for the first time, and he moved in with an aunt and uncle for his middle school years.
“I had to repeat sixth grade in Metter when I came. My aunt and uncle had horses, and I learned about hard work from them. My uncle, former military, had a good work ethic. And my aunt, well, she would give someone the very shirt off her back if necessary.”
Jackson moved in with another aunt during his high school days and while he attended Swainsboro Technical College and East Georgia College in Swainsboro to complete degrees in Forestry and Applied Science.
“I graduated with no student debt,” Jackson said proudly and attributed that to his hard work. Jackson worked in sales during college, at a pawn shop, and his own Ken’s Pressure Washing job that he started after high school, and odd jobs of handyman-type work. During the brief time in college when he had no other jobs to speak of, he worked on a farm and picked peas.
With a resume chock-full of sales experience, Jackson had no trouble securing a job at an established car dealership following college. “I bought ten mobile homes, lived in one, and rented out the other nine. I did all the work on them, repair work.” He had a brief stint with a roofing company, and then applied for a job at Yates-Astro.
“I didn’t even know it was an exterminator company,” Jackson said with a laugh.
About the same time he began work at Yates-Astro, Jackson opened Leap Joy Inflatables. Jackson stuck with both of those employments for a decade and is still going strong.
“When I start feeling like my toes are poking out of my shoes…that’s me wanting to do other things, to try something new.”
His “too-tight shoes” led Jackson on a path that culminated with a real estate license. Last month, he started working part-time with Statesboro Properties just in time to attend the Best of the Boro gala, sponsored by the Statesboro Herald, when his new place of employment was voted by the community to receive the award for Best Real Estate Agency in the Boro.
As if employment by no less than two endeavors at a time isn’t enough to keep Jackson hopping, a couple of years ago, he entered the blogging world online, somewhat by accident. Jackson knew he needed a social media page to advertise his inflatable business and took the plunge initially for that reason.
“I started a Facebook page for Leap Joy, but I didn’t even know how to log on. I didn’t know anything about it at first. I had to learn everything.”
Posting positive messages on Facebook
Then, after going through a tough time in his personal life, Jackson gradually started posting positive messages on Facebook. “I’ve always been a positive person, and it just seemed like there was so much negativity on Facebook.
“I started posting scripture. Poems. Cute videos. Long, encouraging posts that I wrote.
“I didn’t have a purpose or a plan; I was just posting. If I was having a bad day, going through something dumb in my life, I would use humor to get myself out of it. I posted those humorous pieces. A lot of my posts followed what I was going through in my life, but I realized that if it was something I was going through, other people might be going through something similar.
“People began commenting and telling me that it touched them or encouraged them. I gave the page a name, ‘Bee Encouraged,’ just for a play on words with my exterminating job.
“I get ideas from everywhere. Sermons from Pastor Cary at CrossRoads Community Church. Conversations with other people. Something I see on a plaque or billboard.
“I’m not a writer. It’s not something I aspired to do; it just happened. There’s no way I could write this many posts on my own. There’s no doubt God gives me these ideas to encourage other people. To motivate others.”
The tagline on his Facebook page shares his purpose: “devoted to spreading God’s word through my everyday experiences,” and points out that the page will “have an uplifting word each day!”
Jackson believes much of his success is due to his serving nature. “I give a lot of my time and resources to other people, back to God.” Jackson volunteers often with his church, CrossRoads, which is located on Highway 80 East, near Lowe’s.
Where Jackson’s ideas lead him next when his shoes start pinching is anyone’s guess. For certain, it will be productive or creative or both.
“I can’t sit still long,” said Jackson. I have ‘go’ and ‘stop.’ I don’t have ‘slow.’”