Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
DRAPER — This is what saved Jefferson Rogers from alcoholism: Capitalism.
The 38-year-old businessman is completely upfront about it. If he'd stayed on the road he'd been traveling almost nonstop since he was a teenager — drinking virtually every day, smoking marijuana, using other illegal drugs — it's not hard to imagine him living under a bridge right now, at best, or in prison, at worst.
Instead, he turned away from alcohol and drugs in favor of hard work, discipline and making money.
He went from an alcoholic to a workaholic.
"I traded one addiction in for another addiction," is how he puts it. "I took all of that energy and those addictive traits that gave so much attention to drugs and alcohol, and I refocused them on building a business.
"That's the thing about addictive behaviors. You can use them to drag yourself down and believe you have a sickness you'll never be able to overcome, or you can use them for positivity and growth. I had my addictive personality focused in the wrong direction for a long time. I always had these capabilities, I had a lot of natural skill, good genes, good energy, I just had it focused in the wrong direction. Once I focused it in a positive, productive direction things started really cranking."
How cranking? In a little more than four years, Jefferson has gone from working sporadically as a salesman for someone else, a $1,000-a-month alcohol habit and a bank account balance of zero to the proud owner of his own window replacement business.
That business, JKR Windows , with headquarters in St. George and a satellite office in Draper, is the fastest-growing window replacement company in Utah, has over 100 employees and is projected to generate between $15 million and $20 million in sales this year.
The inspiration and impetus that got him all the way from there to here came from a man named Grant Cardone, a billionaire businessman with an online mentoring program Jefferson, while nursing a hangover, signed up for in the fall of 2017.
In spite of the difference in their bank accounts — Jefferson, zero; Cardone, $4 billion — Jefferson saw that he and the entrepreneur had a lot in common. Their backgrounds were similar, and more important, Cardone at a young age had to overcome a serious drug problem (he overdosed three times) before he could turn his life around and coach others on how to be successful.
Hearing Cardone's story made Jefferson realize what was possible. He, too, could get clean and make a lot of money.
After drinking and drugging the night before, on the morning of Jan. 8, 2018, Jefferson did two things he'd never done before: One, he confessed to his wife he had a problem; two, he committed to staying sober.
After that, he was flat in bed for a week as his body went through a self-imposed detox.
Then he got up and began making plans to start his own business.
Within two months, JKR Windows was up and running. By the end of 2018 the company had recorded $1 million in sales. In 2019 sales doubled to $2.2 million, and in 2020 to a whopping $10.4 million.
COVID-19, it turned out, was an unexpected boon for a business that solicits clients by old-fashioned door knocking.
"It was the greatest time to catch people home in history," says Jefferson. "People were sitting on their (stimulus) money and they wanted to buy windows."
Jefferson is the first to confess that growing a company and keeping up the momentum means working long hours. But unlike the old days, when much of the time he spent with his wife and three children involved getting over hangovers, his focus now is making that time count.
"I've gotten better at being incredibly present in the time I am with them," he says, "so relationships don't get tarnished while I'm building something great."
Is he fearful of his old addictions returning?
"Man, I'm fearful all the time," he says, "I know how much I've got to lose and I know I'm one bad decision from throwing it all away."
So he doesn't look back, he looks forward — and he keeps busy. Besides his window company, he has a podcast and mentoring website called "All In" and no less than 65,000 followers on Instagram.
"Injecting positivity into other people is my mission," he says. "If my story can help someone else's story, if it can help and inspire them the way others have inspired and helped me, if it can show them there's a better way, then it's all worth it."