Summary - The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson

Summary - The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson


Here is a summary of the praise for the book The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson:

  • The book provides a blueprint for entrepreneurial success and insights that entrepreneurs need to build a strong business. It discusses key principles for developing an entrepreneurial mindset and building a business the right way.

  • The book is an important resource for current and aspiring entrepreneurs. It provides a no-nonsense approach to overcoming challenges that entrepreneurs inevitably face.

  • The book inspires readers to become high-achieving entrepreneurs by sharing lessons from successful business leaders. It focuses on the opportunity, fulfillment, and value of pursuing entrepreneurship.

  • The book sharpens and focuses the minds of true entrepreneurs. It is a must-read for entrepreneurs serious about success.

  • The book provides phenomenal insights that will challenge readers' beliefs about entrepreneurship. It exemplifies and articulates the great opportunity that entrepreneurship brings.

  • The book isn't just for entrepreneurs; it is for thinkers, doers, and winners. It focuses on how to be street-wise in business.

  • The book pays for itself within minutes. It is recommended for new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. Readers will gain useful strategies and business secrets.

  • The book contributes significantly to entrepreneurship literature. A key takeaway is the importance of relationships in achieving true success as an entrepreneur.

  • The book reveals elusive insights that entrepreneurs need for success. It lives in the real world, not the clouds. It is a handbook for starting, building, and sustaining a business.

  • The book provides step-by-step principles for building a strong business foundation from idea to execution. It is truly a must-read for entrepreneurs ready to start their own enterprise.

Here is a summary of the key lessons from the "Strategy" chapter:

  1. Think Big: Aim high and set ambitious goals. Failure to reach one's full potential is more catastrophic than business failure or shutdown. Think about maximizing potential and growth, not just survival.

  2. Find Your Market Sweet Spot: Identify the ideal customer and focus your efforts there. Don't try to please everyone. Satisfy your target market.

  3. Test New Markets Cautiously: When entering a new market, start small by testing and analyzing before making a major investment. Learn from your experiments and make adjustments.

  4. Develop an Exit Strategy: Have a plan to sell your business from the start. Know how you will exit to achieve your financial and professional goals. An exit strategy will also help in case you need to leave unexpectedly.

  5. Use SWOT Analysis: Evaluate your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Develop strategies to leverage strengths, eliminate weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats.

  6. Branding Is Critical: A brand builds loyalty and commands a premium price. It is integral to success and longevity. Branding reflects the image you want to project to customers. It should resonate with your target market.

  7. Have a Succession Plan: Develop a plan to transfer leadership and control of your business in an orderly fashion. Choose and groom a successor to take over when you leave. Having no plan can lead to chaos.

  8. Sell the Concept First: Don't develop a new product or service in isolation. First determine if there is interest in the concept by pitching the idea to potential customers and assessing their enthusiasm. Make sure it satisfies a need or desire in the marketplace.

  9. Partner for Competitive Advantage: Form strategic alliances and partnerships to gain a competitive edge. The right partnership can open up new opportunities and help a business grow faster. Look for partners that fill a need and share your values.

  10. Stay Innovative and Nimble: Continuous innovation and adaptation to change are required for long-term success. Keep enhancing your products and services. React quickly to shifts in the market, economy and customer preferences. Complacency kills businesses. Remain flexible and open to new ideas.

Here is a summary of the first five paragraphs:

  1. While celebrating business owners for reaching five years is good, the real goal should be helping them achieve high growth and profitability. The phrase “think big” means pursuing bold ideas that maximize potential and impact. Though simple, thinking big is challenging for many reasons.

  2. One obstacle is being unable to outgrow your environment. The author encourages college student entrepreneurs to target broader markets beyond their campus. He gives the example of Facebook, which started at Harvard but expanded globally.

  3. Another challenge is lack of motivation, often due to some success that breeds complacency or being overwhelmed with current work. The solution is finding accountability partners and delegating to focus on the big idea.

  4. Some lack confidence in their ability to run a large organization or see their big idea through. The solution is starting with small, concrete steps to build momentum and confidence over time.

  5. Many lack the experience and network to think big. The author recommends finding mentors and advisors who can evaluate ideas critically and suggest improvements. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn's founder, advised seeking feedback from those who will critique your idea.

The key takeaway is that thinking small and staying confined to a limited environment prevents businesses from reaching their full potential. With work, entrepreneurs can overcome obstacles to thinking bigger by building the right mindset, skills, and team.

The key to accomplishing great things and achieving one's dream is having the ability and courage to think big. Entrepreneurs who create new markets and shape the world are visionaries.

There are two types of entrepreneurs: those who create new markets (revolutionaries) and those who compete in existing markets (ordinary). Research shows that creating new markets, known as 'blue oceans,' leads to greater success than competing in overcrowded 'red oceans.' A study of strategic moves by companies over 100+ years found that new market creations generated 38% of revenue and 61% of profits, despite being only 14% of launches. Examples of successful blue ocean companies include Yellow Tail, Cirque du Soleil, Ralph Lauren, and Lexus. Aspiring entrepreneurs should study how the most successful entrepreneurs identified and dominated new markets.

Until an entrepreneur's company can run without them, they are self-employed, not true entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs work nonstop because they have to, not because they want to. If the business depends entirely on them and would fail without them, it is not truly profitable or scalable. Entrepreneurs should focus on planning to replace themselves, especially for service businesses where they serve clients directly. Eliminating dependence on the founder allows focus on growth. Many entrepreneurs start businesses seeking freedom but end up miserable doing everything themselves.

While entrepreneurs take on risk in starting a business, not all risk is the same. Entrepreneurs have a higher tolerance for risk but take calculated risks, not gambles. They find ways to minimize and spread risk to improve their odds of success. Though 80% of businesses fail within 5 years and less than 1% go public, entrepreneurs pursue their goals. But they rely on knowledge, relationships, and resources to avoid potential loss.

Media often portray successful entrepreneurs as risk-taking underdogs, but a closer look reveals the risks were calculated. For example, Bill Gates is seen as a college dropout who took a risk to start Microsoft, but he was brilliant and practical, planning to return to school if needed. His decision would have been riskier without that backup plan.

The author had a recent lunch meeting with a college mentee who had started a company over a year ago but had made little progress in growing the business. The mentee lacked urgency and follow-through. The author recalled feeling an “obsession” and sense of urgency to work on his business ventures in college and after graduating. Successful entrepreneurs cultivate this sense of urgency in their companies.

Some stress and tight deadlines are useful for peak performance. Doctors and psychologists acknowledge the benefits of stress and urgency in motivating people. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was notorious for pushing unrealistic deadlines to gain a competitive advantage.

If the mentee lacks passion or self-discipline for the business, that is a bad sign. The mentee revealed he may have to take a job soon, indicating a newfound sense of urgency that came too late. The author concluded the mentee will likely end up working for someone else because he wasted too much time.

The author learned the importance of systems and efficiency early on as a computer science major. Henry Ford pioneered efficient assembly line systems that enabled mass production of the Model T car. Ford’s system boosted productivity, reduced costs, and made workers more interchangeable.

The author did not initially understand the need for systems in business. His first website became too dependent on him, threatening sustainability and growth. He created a content management tool to streamline updates but still needed help. He learned to map out business roles and systems, even as a solo entrepreneur. Technology can optimize systems and processes. Although some chaos is inevitable in a startup, systems make a company less dependent on individuals.

Asking for help is important for entrepreneurs. The author had a “chip on his shoulder” when he started college but learned to ask for help, gaining mentors and opportunities. No one succeeds alone. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. An entrepreneur’s network is a major asset, so build strong relationships.

The author received a full scholarship from NASA to study computer science at Morehouse College. Before classes began, NASA required all scholarship recipients to participate in a rigorous six-week orientation program. The students, who were used to being top performers, struggled in the demanding summer courses and had their confidence shaken.

The author learned from this experience that he needed to ask others for help rather than rely only on himself. He found that successful entrepreneurs regularly seek advice and input from others. An oversized ego can prevent people from getting the help they need and stunt their growth.

The author argues that entrepreneurs should prioritize their business over their family. Like flight attendants telling parents to put on their own oxygen mask before helping their child, entrepreneurs must focus first on the business that provides for their family. There are exceptions for emergencies, but in general, entrepreneurs need the flexibility to focus on their business. When the business is stable, entrepreneurs can spend more time with family.

The author emphasizes the importance of doing the most important and high-impact tasks first rather than easier tasks that provide a false sense of progress. Successful entrepreneurs focus on priority tasks, even if they are more difficult or unpleasant. This discipline and ability to delay gratification allows them to accomplish more.

In summary, the key lessons from the author's experience are: ask for help rather than rely on yourself alone; put your business first so you can provide for your family; and focus on high-priority, high-impact tasks before attending to smaller tasks. With the right priorities and habits, entrepreneurs can achieve great success.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  1. Do important tasks first thing in the morning. Your focus and productivity are highest in the morning with fewer distractions.

  2. Change your environment. A new environment can boost your creativity and productivity. Identify and avoid environments that cause anxiety or stress.

  3. Disconnect from distractions. Don't check email or use the phone. Minimize interruptions that disrupt your focus.

  4. Take substantive breaks. Step away from your work and do an activity that engages your mind. Move around or exercise. Change your scenery.

  5. Hire a good lawyer. A lawyer can help you in many ways:

  • Determine the best legal structure for your business. Consider long-term implications.

  • Protect your intellectual property like trademarks, patents and copyrights. This avoids costly litigation and protects your brand.

  • Review contracts and legal documents to ensure your interests are protected. Generic contracts may not sufficiently protect you.

  1. The business plan is overrated. Taking the following steps before writing a business plan is more important:
  • Examine the competition and determine how you can gain a competitive advantage.

  • Talk to potential customers to see if they value your product or service. This is the most important step.

  • Develop a basic prototype or sketch of your product or service. Map out the key features and experiences.

  • Get help from experts in areas outside your expertise like cash flow projections, marketing, etc. A good business plan is a collaboration.

  • Do mini experiments and feasibility studies before committing to an idea or writing a full business plan. Make sure the idea has merit first.

  • Honest disagreement and criticism are signs of progress. without them, a business can fail.

  • Leaders should seek out people who challenge them and their ideas. Otherwise, they risk surrounding themselves with “yes-men” and stagnating.

  • The author made this mistake early on but now actively seeks dissent and disagreement to strengthen his company.

  • Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats are an example of the dangers of a culture where no one challenges the leader. The Bobcats had a terrible season, and Jordan’s leadership has been criticized.

  • Not all customers are good customers. It’s important to fire bad customers who cause more trouble than they’re worth. Four signs of bad customers:

  1. They don’t know what they want and constantly change their minds.

  2. They refuse to pay fair rates and want endless revisions.

  3. They won’t sign a proper contract or agreement.

  4. You have a bad feeling about them.

  • The author learned from experience and now avoids a former client that cost more than they paid. It’s better to fire bad customers than keep them just for the sake of having customers.

  • Making money without labor was once seen as sinful by Christian leaders. Although views have changed, many still resent those who gain wealth without physical labor.

  • The author never thought he'd make money without much labor but has found ways to do so, providing freedom and security. Making money while doing little is possible with the right investments and business models.

The author has experienced aversion and jealousy from others because his income does not depend on traditional work. While their reactions are understandable, having a profitable business that can run independently is true freedom. Although it took work to set the business up to run without the founder, now the author only has to check on it occasionally while traveling and enjoying life.

Outsourcing non-core parts of a business makes financial sense and refusing to do so could put a company out of business. Although outsourcing has become unpopular, especially sending jobs overseas, it benefits businesses and the overall economy. Companies should do what makes the most sense for their business, not politics.

Entrepreneurs should avoid sticking with a bad business idea for too long based only on tenacity. Although stories of overcoming adversity and never giving up inspire, most failing businesses should be abandoned. Experience helps determine whether an idea will work, but in general, if metrics like time to break even or market size show poor potential, it is best to move on.

A bad economy actually presents opportunities for entrepreneurs and optimists. While pessimists struggle during difficult times, visionaries see potential. Some of the world's most successful companies were founded during recessions because costs are lower, good employees are available, and less competition exists. With creativity and innovation, entrepreneurs can build great companies no matter the economic conditions.

In summary, outsource when possible, know when to quit a bad idea, and look for opportunities even in difficult economies. Independent wealth and business success come from making smart decisions, not stubborn perseverance or being swayed by popular opinions. Vision and an ability to go against the grain serve entrepreneurs well.

The entrepreneur had a successful company that was generating over $1 million in revenue and had a team of 20 people. The business and the entrepreneur received a lot of media attention and praise. A financial advisor even created a plan for the entrepreneur to retire by 40.

However, in recent years, the company's revenue and team have declined due to challenging economic times. The entrepreneur no longer receives much media attention. The plan to retire by 40 will not happen.

Despite this, the entrepreneur remains optimistic because many major companies were founded and succeeded during bad economies. For example, Microsoft, Disney, IBM, and General Motors were all founded during recessions. Companies like Apple also made comebacks during tough times.

The entrepreneur started their company during the dotcom bust in 2000, showing that hard work can lead to success even in poor economic conditions. Entrepreneurs ignore negative circumstances and continue working to achieve their goals.

The entrepreneur was exposed to advanced technology from an early age, giving them insight into how long it takes for innovations to reach the mainstream market. For example, the Internet and Velcro were invented decades before becoming widely used. Successful tech entrepreneurs are often exposed to new technologies early on.

Pete Kight, the founder of CheckFree, succeeded despite dropping out of college and not having experience in finance or software. His ignorance of the industry allowed him to focus on growing the business. His story shows that industry experience is not always necessary for success.

In summary, the key lessons are:

  1. Successful companies and entrepreneurs persist through economic downturns.

  2. Exposure to new technologies at an early stage provides insight and opportunities.

  3. Ignorance of an industry is not always a barrier and can even be an advantage. Success depends more on hard work and vision.

  • As an entrepreneur, you should be knowledgeable about the industry you aim to enter, although there are exceptions. Some successful entrepreneurs succeeded without prior expertise in their industry. An outside perspective can provide a fresh outlook.

  • Change quickly to adapt to changes in the market and technology. The average lifespan of companies is decreasing due to disruptive innovations. Companies that don't change risk obsolescence and failure. Conduct regular reviews of your systems and processes to anticipate changes. For example, explore how new technologies like social media can help your business. Waiting to adopt new technologies puts you at a disadvantage.

  • View technology as an opportunity, not a threat. Technological progress causes the acceleration of change. While technology can quickly make a business obsolete, adopting technology early can fuel tremendous growth. Implement strategies to encourage forward thinking about technology. Consider how emerging technologies may impact your industry and business. Think rationally about future technologies to "jump the curve."

  • Always follow up. Success comes from taking initiative and follow up. For example, if you meet with potential investors or partners, follow up to express your continued interest. Even if an initial meeting does not lead directly to an opportunity, following up can lead to future opportunities as circumstances change. Following up shows your passion and determination.

  • In summary, to be a successful entrepreneur, you must adapt quickly to changes, especially technological changes. View technology as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage rather than as a threat. Take the initiative to follow up with people who can help your business, as that can open up opportunities down the road. With the rapidly decreasing lifespan of companies today, following these principles is key to entrepreneurial success and longevity.

Here's a summary:

The author attended an angel investor meeting where entrepreneurs pitch their companies to seek funding. He was shocked to learn that a promising company disappeared during the due diligence process. The CEO failed to follow up with the angel group and returned no phone calls. This cost the company a likely funding opportunity.

The author outlines three common reasons entrepreneurs fail to follow up:

  1. Fear of rejection. Entrepreneurs must overcome this fear and view "no" as meaning "not right now." Follow up to learn why things didn't work out.

  2. Lack of dedication and energy. Following up takes effort and planning. Use a CRM tool to help stay on top of it.

  3. Misunderstanding business etiquette. Don't assume the other party will always take the next step. Be proactive in following up.

The author's company lost focus over 10 years by trying to be all things to all people. A VP warned that too many options confused customers and hurt sales. They cut some businesses and products to refocus, which led to renewed growth.

Examples show that major companies like Apple and Pepsi succeeded by narrowing their focus. Apple cut its product line from many options to just four under Steve Jobs. Pepsi targeted teens in the 1980s and gained major ground on Coke.

The author wrongly assumed nonprofits couldn't afford his services or be good customers. He learned they operate much like for-profits, working to generate revenue. Many have a profit mind-set. Nonprofits became a big source of revenue for his company.

In summary, the key lessons are: follow up diligently, maintain a narrow focus, and view nonprofits as valuable potential customers. Opportunity often comes in disguise.

Nonprofits, like corporations, spend a large portion of their budgets on products and services. This means nonprofits can be a viable market for businesses. While nonprofits reinvest surpluses into their organization rather than distributing profits, they still have substantial budgets to spend.

There are three reasons to do business with nonprofits:

  1. Nonprofits spend a lot of money on operations, marketing, and meeting grant requirements. Major nonprofits have annual budgets in the billions. They are often looking to spend money quickly to comply with grants.

  2. Nonprofits are willing to take risks on new vendors to save money or generate income. If you can help them achieve these goals, you have a good chance of gaining them as customers.

  3. Nonprofits are loyal customers and will refer excellent vendors. Nonprofits feel a special connection with vendors that help them achieve their missions. Vendors who serve nonprofits well can benefit from referrals and long-term customers.

Exploring new experiences can inspire entrepreneurs. Getting outside your normal routine exposes you to new ideas. Howard Schultz was inspired to create Starbucks as it is today after experiencing coffee shops in Italy. Travel, stepping outside your physical space, and engaging in new hobbies or activities can all spark creativity. Making an effort to gain new experiences will lead to new inspirations and business opportunities.

Failure is an opportunity to learn. Entrepreneurs should not fear failure but view it as a chance to strengthen their business. Failure provides lessons and motivates improvement. The key is learning from failures and setbacks instead of being defeated by them. With hard work and perseverance, entrepreneurs can turn failures into successes.

  • The author started a media company but had trouble getting advertisers to pay for ads initially. Instead, many offered to trade goods and services for ads. While the author received free food, shoes, and other perks, these did not help pay for the costs of running the business.

  • Frustrated, the author asked his mentor for advice. The mentor suggested running a small ad for a movie studio in exchange for movie premier passes. The mentor suggested leveraging these passes by giving some to a radio station in exchange for the station promoting the author’s company and giving away passes to listeners.

  • This strategy worked well. The author gained brand exposure, built a relationship with the radio station, and reached many potential new advertisers.

  • The author’s perspective changed. He realized he could creatively leverage resources to get what he wanted. He saw his role less as a salesperson and more as someone leveraging valuable assets.

  • The key lesson is that leveraging resources is a valuable skill for entrepreneurs. With leverage, you can gain access to things that might otherwise be difficult to obtain through direct means alone. Successful entrepreneurs are masters at leveraging the resources and assets they have access to in order to build their businesses.

Here's a summary:

The author argues that the execution of an idea, not the uniqueness of the idea itself, determines success. Although many people may have the same idea, the ability to execute the idea and bring it to market is what really matters. The author cites three key factors for successful execution:

  1. Speed - Move fast to get your product or service to market before competitors. Release a basic but functional first version quickly, then improve over time. Being first to market provides a major advantage.

  2. Team - Have a cohesive team that works hard and efficiently. Choose dedicated people and resolve issues like equity splits early on. Team dynamics are crucial to success or failure.

  3. Frugality - Conserve resources and keep expenses low. The author's team used free, open-source technology and grassroots marketing to minimize costs. Only spend money when absolutely necessary to generate growth.

The author argues entrepreneurs need to be determined executors of their vision, not just idea generators. Success is about making the vision happen through efficient execution. Simply having an idea is not enough. Execution is what separates the successful from those who say "I had that idea."

The author also recommends finding a competitive enemy or rival to motivate your team. Observing major corporate rivalries like Apple vs Microsoft, Coke vs Pepsi, and others, the author argues competition can fuel motivation and excellence. As a magazine publisher, the author identified a key competitor to rally against. Competition provides benefits along with the obvious drawbacks.

In summary, the key points are: execute your idea efficiently, build a strong team, keep costs low, move fast, and find a rival to motivate you. Ideas themselves are not special or unique. Success comes from determination and execution.

The author and his team hated a competitor and aimed to put them out of business. Although they didn’t succeed in putting them out of business, they made the competition more intense. They produced work that was much higher in quality than their competitor’s. Their success eventually forced the competitor to increase costs. This showed that the author’s team was winning. Identifying an enemy and working to beat them can motivate a team and make business exciting.

However, entrepreneurs shouldn’t underestimate their competition. All companies have some competition, even if it’s not obvious. It’s important to identify competitors and analyze how much of a threat they pose. A common mistake is overlooking substitute goods - goods that can be used in place of each other. Substitutes can significantly threaten a company, as in the case of Blockbuster failing to properly assess the threat Netflix posed. Never tell investors you have no competition.

The author was able to get an office space for his company just by asking for it after closing a deal with the building owner. His mentor taught him to ask for what he wanted in business and that nothing was impossible. Although the author didn’t initially think he deserved such opportunities due to his age, his mentor showed him what was possible. Asking for what you want can get you more than you expect.

Usually, believing you have no competition is a sign of arrogance. But sometimes it’s an accurate assessment of the market. In those cases, it likely means the idea isn’t viable for some reason. The most common reasons a business idea has no competitors are:

  1. No demand for the product

  2. The target market is too small

  3. Significant barriers to entry

  4. The product or service isn’t differentiated or innovative enough

Rather than assuming no competition means sure success, entrepreneurs should determine why their idea has no competitors to make sure it’s feasible. Competitors show an idea has merit, so no competitors may indicate an unviable idea.

The DeLorean DMC-12 was an actual car, not a fictional vehicle from the Back to the Future movies. It flopped when released in 1981 due to little demand, poor performance, and an overpriced design. It went 0 to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds, and reviews called it “not a barn burner.” The makers likely wished they could go back in time to fix their mistakes.

The Segway personal transporter was anticipated to sell 100,000 units in 13 months after launching in 2001 but only sold 30,000 units total through 2007. Segway vastly overestimated the market size for its new vehicle category, so the Segway became a novelty rather than a revolutionary transport method as proclaimed.

Zipcar, a car-sharing company, has lost $65.4 million and has yet to turn a profit since launching in 2000. At some point, companies lose hope that the market will develop or run out of adjustments to make. A company that isn’t profitable after 12 years is a red flag.

The pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. has high barriers to entry, like FDA approval. In 2011, the FDA denied approval for Contrave, a weight-loss drug by Orexigen Therapeutics, costing the company hundreds of millions. The FDA required a long-term study on the heart risks before approving the drug.

To handle urgent customer complaints:

  1. Respond quickly and calmly.

  2. Listen attentively and sincerely apologize.

  3. Explain how you will address the problem with a timeline.

  4. Provide frequent updates on the resolution.

  5. Ensure the customer is satisfied once resolved.

This process helps handle future issues professionally and evaluate your response. Great businesses resolve complaints to retain customers. Prepare to address complaints rather than learning on the job.

It’s best to start a business with an exit strategy in mind. A survey found only 54% of business owners within 5 years of retirement and 30% of small businesses had an exit strategy. Lacking an exit strategy could mean:

  1. Watching your business die without gaining value from it.

  2. Selling your business for less than it’s worth.

An exit strategy helps make good business decisions, like identifying the best time to sell. Magic Johnson said, "If you fail to plan your exit strategy, you can pretty much plan on failing." Johnson has sold many businesses at a profit by planning exits, recently selling his Lakers stake and buying the Dodgers. Elite entrepreneurs seem lucky or well-timed but actually plan exits from the start.

  • Formal education provides limited benefits for entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs are typically self-educated through reading, mentorship, and experience.

  • Too much schooling can hamper entrepreneurial success. Research shows most millionaires were not top students and their GPAs were around 2.9. Characteristics like work ethic and leadership ability were more significant to their success.

  • Some advocate students foregoing or dropping out of college to pursue entrepreneurship. However, college provides valuable life and social experiences that benefit entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg still benefited greatly from briefly attending college.

  • An MBA is not necessary or even beneficial for budding entrepreneurs. The author found his visit to Harvard Business School uninspiring and boring. Attending at that time would have stifled his entrepreneurial ambitions.

  • Education should be continual for entrepreneurs, but not just for the sake of a degree. Genuine learning and developing knowledge and skills are most valuable. Academia can be a means for focused learning, but experience is the best teacher for entrepreneurs.

  • In summary, entrepreneurial success depends more on work ethic, skill, and perseverance than academic achievement. However, education and learning should never stop, even if formal schooling does. The thirst for knowledge and self-betterment fuels entrepreneurial progress.

  • The author read Philip Delves Broughton’s book Ahead of the Curve, which describes Broughton’s experience as an HBS student. However, many of the author’s friends who have degrees from top business schools still struggle to find satisfying jobs. The author agrees with them and does not see the value of business school. The only way the author would consider it is with a full scholarship and the ability to continue running their business.

  • Instead, the author learns constantly by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and interviewing experts. Entrepreneurs seek knowledge to gain a competitive advantage.

  • One of the author’s mentors said the author does not need an MBA from Harvard; Harvard needs the author. Given the opportunity cost, business school does not make sense for the author’s situation. Attending could even kill their business. So the author hires MBAs to help run the business instead.

  • People skills are critical to business success. The ability to attract good people and avoid bad people determines an entrepreneur’s success.

  • The author spends most of their time with people smarter than them to learn and grow. The people you associate with shape who you become. Surrounding yourself with the brightest minds is key to success.

  • Expensive office space is not a priority and does not necessarily increase productivity or project a better image. Office space should provide a good return on investment. An entrepreneur should not jeopardize losing a good team just to upgrade an office.

  • How people dress does not determine their worth or competence. Mark Zuckerberg's casual attire shows that disruption applies to business, not fashion. An entrepreneur's skills and work should speak for themselves.

Here's a summary:

  • Mark Zuckerberg wore a hoodie and sandals to Facebook's IPO, angering analysts like Michael Pachter who believed CEOs should dress professionally to show investors respect.

  • However, a person's worth and ideas are more important than how they dress. Zuckerberg's confidence and the fact that he owns a majority of Facebook mean he can wear what he wants.

  • Many successful CEOs don't fit the stereotype for their company or industry. Some are not very articulate but are good managers or have vision. The author learned from one CEO that the most successful leaders don't have to be the smartest in the room all the time; they build good teams.

  • Young, talented employees are often better than more senior employees who demand special treatment due to seniority rather than producing good work. Tech startups often prefer hiring younger people to avoid outdated norms that favor seniority over merit. For example, Facebook and PayPal were initially staffed mostly with people under 30.

  • An intern developed an application for the author's company after a senior developer had failed to do so for months. However, the senior developer yelled at the manager for having the intern do it without approval. The author left the company, realizing it made no sense to stifle talented young people in favor of seniority. Companies led by younger leaders focus on merit over seniority.

The author started a college magazine as his third business venture. Though initially profitable, the profits were lower than expected because the payroll was too high. The author had assumed that paying staff was the right thing to do and that they were working primarily for the money.

He soon realized that the student writers didn't actually care much about the money. They were more interested in the experience, college credit, and the influence and perks that came with writing for the magazine. Once the author started offering non-monetary perks like backstage passes, class credit, and job recommendations instead of pay, the quality of writers improved and costs decreased.

Through this experience, the author learned that people will work for more than just money. If you can determine what really motivates someone or align with their passions, you'll be in a good position to get them on your team. He had wrongly assumed that as a young, inexperienced entrepreneur, money was the only thing of value he could offer.

The author then compares running track events to entrepreneurship. The world record for the 4x100 meter relay, where four runners each run 100 meters, is over 6 seconds faster than the record for the 400 meter race with just one runner. This shows why some companies thrive while others lag behind. If an entrepreneur tries to do everything themselves, they're like a single runner competing against a world-class relay team. Young entrepreneurs often don't realize how much more productive and efficient a good team can be, mistakenly thinking that team members or co-founders will just dilute their equity. But half of a large, successful company is better than all of a small, struggling one.

The key points are:

  1. Having teammates or co-founders enhances your chances of success. Many successful startups were founded by teams.

  2. People may take advantage of an entrepreneur's flexibility. It's important to set boundaries and have others respect your time.

  3. Managing people is difficult. It's better to manage expectations by clearly communicating what is required and the consequences for not meeting those expectations.

  4. Mentors are valuable for getting advice and gaining new clients or customers. However, choose mentors that have achieved a level of success you aim for. Their advice will be more relevant. Meet with mentors regularly to gain the most benefit.

  5. Consider both functional mentors, who have expertise in areas like finance or marketing, and industry mentors, who have experience in your specific industry. A combination of both types of mentors is ideal.

  6. Don't be afraid to end a mentoring relationship if it's no longer valuable or if the mentor's success has plateaued. Seek new mentors as your business grows and needs change.

  7. Give back by becoming a mentor to others. Helping other entrepreneurs can lead to new opportunities and relationships. Mentoring is rewarding work.

In summary, build a strong team, set proper expectations, choose relevant mentors, and mentor others. These practices will help an entrepreneur find success.

An initial public offering is a long, complex process that requires significant time, money and expertise. Using an inexperienced mentor for this can be harmful. A good mentor should be consulted frequently, at least monthly, to provide guidance. Entrepreneurs should use their mentors and advisory boards regularly, not just occasionally.

No entrepreneur has succeeded without some kind of mentor. Choose a mentor who has achieved what you want and consult them frequently. If your current mentor is not accomplished or accessible enough, find someone else.

The choice of spouse or partner is one of the most important career choices. Choose someone who understands your entrepreneurial drive and need for success. Bad relationships can be distractions that negatively impact your business. After a breakup allowed one entrepreneur to devote himself fully to his business, it grew rapidly. He later married someone supportive of his focus and drive.

Hiring and firing effectively is crucial for entrepreneurial success. Some entrepreneurs are indecisive and desperate, hiring almost anyone and giving poor performers too many chances. Others are ruthless in finding and keeping the best talent, making dispassionate decisions and rarely giving second chances. The latter type reaches goals faster.

Attrition is inevitable, so entrepreneurs must always look for good talent. With efficient talent searches, even those not hired will be above average. This helps companies grow faster and last longer.

The basic idea that businesses exist to make money must be emphasized. Entrepreneurs often neglect finances until problems arise. Monitor personal and business finances closely to avoid this. Learn finance concepts and how to get investment funds. Money itself won't create success, but the freedom to make it will.

The author argues that the common saying “It takes money to make money” is misleading and potentially harmful to new entrepreneurs. The author started three companies with almost no money. His first company, a website for college students, cost only $30 a month for web hosting. His second company, which produced web-based software, had similar low costs. His third company, a magazine, required no money to start. The author says having too much access to capital can lead entrepreneurs to waste money on unnecessary things and stunt their growth.

While “It takes money to make a whole lot of money” may be true for huge, capital-intensive projects, most entrepreneurs do not need to raise outside funding to start a business. The author cautions entrepreneurs not to believe they necessarily need significant money to start a company. With creativity and resourcefulness, they can get started with little or no money.

The author also shares a hard lesson he learned about the importance of paying estimated quarterly taxes. When he started his company as a teenager, he knew almost nothing about business taxes. He ended up owing the IRS much more than he could pay, causing him a lot of stress. He recommends new business owners consult an accountant to determine how much they need to pay in estimated quarterly taxes to avoid facing a huge tax bill at the end of the year.

Finally, the author shares an experience in which he accepted a bad check from a customer. Though he had a bad feeling about the customers, owners of a mom-and-pop restaurant, he ignored his intuition and took their check. A few days later, the check bounced, and his bank charged him fees. He learned that not everyone who writes a check necessarily has the money to cover it. His mentor advised him that in the future, he could have the bank on which the check is written verify whether the account has sufficient funds before depositing the check in his own account. The author says he now follows this policy with suspicious checks, and it has saved him from accepting more bad checks. The key lesson is that “a check in hand means nothing.”

  • Get excited about new orders or agreements only when you have the cash in hand or funds are verified.

  • Managing cash flow is critical to business success. Negative cash flow means bills due exceed money available and can sink a business.

  • Monthly cash flow and income statements help monitor cash flow. Reduce expenses or tighten sales to improve cash flow.

  • Borrow money from a bank before you need it. Banks prefer lending to stable, low-risk businesses. Waiting until in distress means worse options.

  • When business is strong, get more credit and loans to fuel growth. Be ready for recessions. Get money when don't need it.

  • Get paid upfront. Disregard standard net 30 or 60 payment terms. Don't do work for nonpaying or delinquent clients. Get deposits.

  • You created software for a client who did not pay. You sued the client in small claims court and were awarded the full amount owed.

  • You learned some lessons from this experience:

  1. Build trust and ask for prepayment when possible. This ensures better cash flow.

  2. Be very clear about payment terms in writing. Define expectations up front.

  3. Be aggressive in pursuing payment. Ask for payment upfront and settle for shorter payment terms if needed. Stay on top of collecting payment.

  • You initially tried to save money by handling your own accounting but later realized hiring an accountant was well worth the cost. Accountants:
  1. Save you money by finding deductions and ensuring compliance.

  2. Save you time by handling bookkeeping and filings so you can focus on your business.

  3. Are not that expensive relative to the value they provide.

  • Managing debt well is important for entrepreneurs. Your father taught you good financial habits like paying bills on time and not taking on too much debt.

  • Most small businesses fund themselves through owner equity and credit cards, not outside investment. Your personal credit and finances determine how much business credit you can get and at what rates.

  • How you manage personal debt indicates how you will manage business debt. Creditors and investors evaluate your personal finances when determining creditworthiness.

  • You learned debt is not inherently bad if managed properly. You paid off your personal debt and now only have a mortgage, with a very good credit score. Your business also has a healthy debt-to-income ratio.

  • The best entrepreneurs manage personal debt well and find good financial mentors. Carefully using debt and managing risk are key to entrepreneurial success.

Here's a summary:

  • Having investors is not always ideal and can often lead to problems. Three false assumptions entrepreneurs make about investors are:
  1. Finding investors will be easy. In reality, it is difficult and requires perseverance.

  2. Receiving investment will solve your money problems. More money often leads to more problems if the business model is flawed.

  3. Business will immediately improve with investment. This is not always the case. Investment should be sought when a company is experiencing rapid growth, not as a quick fix.

  • A key takeaway is that entrepreneurs should focus on building revenue, not just publicity. Revenue proves a company's viability and success. No revenue equals no value to investors. Entrepreneurs should be upfront about their revenue rather than try to hide it.

  • Examples were given of entrepreneurs avoiding the topic of revenue in presentations to investors, leading the investors to become skeptical about the company's progress. Revenue cannot be hidden through publicity alone.

  • Quotes from Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and Barbara Corcoran, real estate investor and Shark Tank host, emphasize the importance of revenue and sales.

  • The entrepreneur's friend emphasized publicity and acclaim for his company to attract investors but avoided revealing low revenue. The angel investors saw through this and didn’t invest. The company later shut down.

  • The biggest investment in a company is from its founders. Investors want to see that founders have “skin in the game” by investing their own money. Founders should quantify their investment and commitment to the company.

  • It is risky for entrepreneurs to open business and personal bank accounts at the same bank. Banks can link accounts and go after business debts by taking money from personal accounts or reporting business debt on personal credit reports. Entrepreneurs should use different banks for business and personal to minimize risk.

  • Entrepreneurs should know their PAYDEX score, which is their business credit score calculated by Dun & Bradstreet. It is important for qualifying for loans, insurance, and contracts. Entrepreneurs can request a free D&B report to check their PAYDEX score and look for errors to dispute. A good PAYDEX score, like a good personal credit score, is important for any business.

  • The key lessons are: focus on revenue and sales, not just publicity; invest in your own company; separate business and personal banking; and monitor your business credit and PAYDEX score. Success comes from building real value, not hype. Be prudent and minimize risks. And maintain a good reputation, which is key for both personal and business success.

  • Entrepreneurs often focus on developing a product or service but forget the most important element: sales and marketing. Without sales, a business cannot survive.

  • Entrepreneurs who do not focus on sales from the beginning risk wasting resources and going out of business. Successful companies like Apple and Facebook focused on sales early on.

  • Although entrepreneurship offers more freedom, entrepreneurs still have a boss: the customer. Entrepreneurs are accountable to meeting customers’ needs.

  • The author learned this lesson early on while working as a programmer at IBM. He saw how the company often ignored customer feedback in favor of what developers wanted to build. This caused tension and hurt the company.

  • Entrepreneurs, especially successful ones, can become presumptuous and think they know what is best for customers more than the customers themselves. This leads to poor customer service and declining sales.

  • Entrepreneurs in the business-to-business space especially need to listen to their customers. Ignoring them can be fatal.

  • The key message is that entrepreneurs must make sales and meeting customer needs their top priority. Although independence is appealing, no business can survive without focusing on its customers.

Businesses are less tolerant of features that don’t add value. Consumers are more forgiving. Major banks had to drop new fees after public backlash. Companies must listen to customers.

The author didn’t intend to become an entrepreneur but built a popular website in college. He got an offer to sell ads but didn’t know how to handle it. He had to set up the business officially to cash the check. Having sales before the business proved it was promising. He prefers ventures with demand over those just to be in business.

The author learned he’s not always the best person to close a deal. A business owner said he’d buy ads from the magazine’s editor, not the author. The author saw people buy for illogical reasons like liking the salesperson. He now sees himself leading a team to determine the best person for each prospect. Research helps. Though some entrepreneurs think buyers judge offers logically, they consider the person too. A entrepreneur advised using a “white front man.” The author agrees to give the merit a fair chance.

In summary, businesses want value while consumers are more forgiving. The author became an entrepreneur by accident but learned from it. Specifically, he found that the salesperson's identity and attributes play a role in closing deals, not just the offer's merit. A diverse team and understanding prospects helps address this.

The key to success as an entrepreneur is understanding your customers and adapting to meet their needs. Do not try to change them. Instead, cater to what makes them tick.

Successful entrepreneurs know their own strengths and weaknesses. They surround themselves with people who complement them. For example, the CEO may not be the best person to give investor presentations or close sales deals. Entrepreneurs must be willing to delegate when needed.

Networking should be about helping others, not just promoting yourself. Ask open-ended questions to understand people's needs and see how you can connect them to opportunities. Build rapport by offering to help. This approach leads to more valuable connections than purely self-interested networking.

Do not waste time on people who cannot actually authorize a deal. Ask open-ended questions to find the real decision makers. Treat everyone with respect, as they may still be able to influence the decision makers. But focus your efforts on the people who can say "yes."

There is no such thing as a "cold call." Do your research ahead of time so you understand the prospect and their needs. Know details about their company, previous deals, investment criteria, and more. The more informed and tailored your outreach, the higher your chance of success. Preparation and personalization are key.

In summary, successful entrepreneurs adapt to their customers, play to their strengths, help others network, target the real decision makers, and do their homework. With the right mindset and strategy, you can maximize your opportunities.

Researching prospects thoroughly before contacting them helps to establish rapport and earns their respect. Mentioning information you uncovered about them in your research is one way to do this. For example, mentioning a prospect’s previous purchasing history and how your product can save them money shows you’ve done your homework and peaks their interest.

Preparation is key to making successful cold calls. Do research on prospects before calling to turn “cold” calls into warm ones. Knowing information about the prospect and their needs will make them much more receptive to your call.

The author enjoys teaching teen entrepreneurs because they are enthusiastic and many already have successful businesses, even at a young age. For example, a 16-year-old manages a balloon entertainment company, a 15-year-old has a cookie baking business, and a 14-year-old runs a church concession stand.

These teen entrepreneurs teach adults an important lesson - tell everyone about your business unapologetically. Many adults lose this ability or never develop it due to fear, conditioning, or thinking it’s counterproductive. Not promoting your business only helps the competition. Like the fearless teen entrepreneurs, develop the habit of telling everyone about your business. It can make a big difference.

Asking good questions is a key skill for entrepreneurs. Good questions encourage substantive answers, while bad questions don’t. For example, after getting a new customer order, asking “What are the steps to issue payment?” is better than “Shall I send an invoice?”. Good questions can reveal the real reasons behind objections, allowing you to address them. For instance, to overcome a price objection, ask “What ROI are you expecting?”. Mastering the art of asking good questions can determine an entrepreneur’s success.

The key message is that entrepreneurs should avoid patronizing customers in order to appear more professional. This behavior tends to alienate customers and hurt the business. There are four main reasons why entrepreneurs may patronize customers:

  1. They wrongly believe that CEOs are supposed to act arrogantly and be inaccessible. But this is a misconception. Nowhere does the definition of a CEO require this behavior.

  2. They take the advice to delegate too far. While delegating is important for time management and role clarity, it requires finesse when interacting with customers directly. Pushing customers off to assistants without sensitivity can be offputting.

  3. Their ego is too big. Just because you run a business does not give you license to be condescending. People generally dislike arrogant individuals, and arrogant CEOs of startups are often just a few upset clients away from failure.

  4. They want to seem like they lead a large, established company. But unfamiliar brands do not necessarily benefit from an arrogant, "highly professional" front. Customers do not automatically respect larger companies more or accept higher prices.

The key lesson is that companies should not hurt their customers or patronize them. Demanding high prices requires delivering high quality and value. An arrogant front is counterproductive and offputting. CEOs and entrepreneurs should avoid delegating or acting arrogantly just to seem more professional. Instead, they should focus on building real trust and strong relationships with customers.

  • Treat your customers well regardless of whether they are Fortune 500 companies or individuals. Respect comes from providing high quality service and products, not just a company's status.

  • Never treat clients as less than they are. Your job is to make them feel valued.

  • Effective networking requires being proactive, creative, targeting the right people ("check writers"), and finding the appropriate environment. Simply attending random events is not effective.

  • Volunteering for charities and nonprofits is an effective way to network because it allows you to meet high-level decision makers in a "no-selling" environment.

  • Do not hold grudges in business. Treat even those who reject you well. Continue communicating with them, as the situation may change. Taking rejection personally leads to missed opportunities.

  • Leadership qualities can be learned. Many tech entrepreneurs have developed strong leadership skills through coaching and experience.

  • Acting despite feeling tired or overwhelmed is a key leadership quality. Huge opportunities can be missed if you don't push through when needed.

The key points are: treat your customers well, network strategically, don't hold grudges, leadership can be learned, and act despite how you feel. Developing these qualities is important for entrepreneurial success.

The author was determined to overcome his tiredness and connect with people at a corporate event. Despite his initial unsuccessful attempt, he eventually got the attention of a company executive by giving an energetic pitch about his product. The executive was interested and gave the author his business card, presenting a great opportunity. The author realized that successful entrepreneurs act despite however they feel and push past their emotions.

The author then recounts an experience of overcoming fear while racing on a difficult track. Although he was intimidated at first and even ran off the track, he eventually regained his confidence and completed a full run at high speed. He compares overcoming fear as an entrepreneur to overcoming fear as a race car driver. You have to push through obstacles and your inhibitions to reach your goal.

The author notes that many famous entrepreneurs exhibited a rebellious or “maverick” spirit, especially in their youth. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak sold illegal “blue boxes” as teenagers and Sergey Brin and Larry Page stole computers from Stanford to build Google. The author himself undermined his college’s communication system as a student by creating a more popular alternative. This rebellious quality often transforms into industry disruption as an entrepreneur.

Finally, the author recounts attending Michael Jordan’s final NBA All-Star game and reflects on Jordan’s journey to achieve his dreams. The author and his friends grew up idolizing Jordan. Although the path was difficult, Jordan never gave up and went on to become an inspiration. The author states that with courage and persistence, all of our dreams can come true.

The author loved playing basketball as a child and dreamed of playing in the NBA. However, he stopped growing at 5 feet 9 inches, so he realized he would have to find another path to success. He studied hard and earned a college scholarship. He discovered he had an entrepreneurial spirit and started his own company.

A few years later, the NBA hired his company to help market the 2003 All-Star game. The author was thrilled to attend the events and meet his childhood heroes. Even though he never played in the NBA, his childhood dream of working with the league came true, just in a different way. He says entrepreneurs often achieve their dreams in unexpected ways.

The author says great success usually requires great sacrifice. He knows an entrepreneur who divorced his wife to move across the country to pursue new business opportunities. The author could not make that same sacrifice and leave his own family. However, entrepreneurs typically have to make some sacrifices to achieve their goals, whether small (like eating cheaply) or large (like leaving a steady job). The sacrifices someone is willing to make often indicate their drive and likelihood of success.

The author notes that training for and running a marathon is similar to starting and running a business. Both require unbelievable endurance. Statistics show roughly the same small percentage of people run a marathon or half marathon and start a new business each year. The author has run several half marathons, improving his time through training and endurance. Long distance running and entrepreneurship share the need for endurance through difficulties and a desire to push on despite obstacles. Success in either endeavor requires determination and the ability to endure hardship.

  • Success is not the ultimate goal for entrepreneurs. True motivation and fulfillment comes from solving problems and creating value for customers.

  • Many people, especially younger generations, desire success for the status, accolades and material possessions. They see famous entrepreneurs and celebrities and want that lifestyle.

  • Studies show younger people today value respect and importance more than previous generations. This manifests in social media where people post to get validation and status.

  • True entrepreneurs are motivated by creating solutions and value, not outward measures of success. Many successful entrepreneurs continue living modest lifestyles because their motivation is their mission and work, not lavish living.

  • Self-actualization, or fulfilling your purpose and potential, is the real motivation for serial entrepreneurs. Once they achieve a level of success, the feeling fades quickly. They continue striving to solve new problems and create new value.

  • Examples of entrepreneurs focused on their mission over status include Mark Zuckerberg. Even as a billionaire, he rents a modest home and is focused on connecting people, not being a public company. Success is a byproduct of his motivation, not the end goal.

  • The author has found once achieving a level of success, the feeling doesn't last. Continuing to create value through new ventures is the real motivation and path to fulfillment.

In summary, true entrepreneurial motivation comes from purpose and mission, not status or success. The most driven entrepreneurs focus on solving problems and creating value, not lavish lifestyles or media attention. Real fulfillment as an entrepreneur means self-actualization through your work. Success is a byproduct, not the end goal.

The key points the author is making are:

  1. What matters most to the author is solving problems, building valuable companies, and making an impact, not money or rewards. The author finds purpose and meaning in entrepreneurship.

  2. Success should not be the motivation for starting a business. The purpose and passion for the work should be the motivation. Focusing on purpose and passion leads to success.

  3. The author loves Mondays because they represent a fresh start and the opportunity to refocus. Mondays also mean increased activity and responsiveness from others.

  4. The author dislikes Fridays because they are unproductive, it's payday for employees but not the entrepreneur, and the entrepreneur has to wait two days to continue working. Fridays are frustrating and upsetting.

  5. The author fears and hates the idea of a 9-to-5 job. A 9-to-5 represents failure and the inability to continue as an entrepreneur. This fear motivates the author to work hard to avoid needing a 9-to-5 job.

  6. Some fear, like the fear of needing a 9-to-5 job, can be motivating and helpful. Entrepreneurs are not completely fearless. Fear of failure in particular motivates entrepreneurs.

In summary, the key message is that passion and purpose, not rewards or success, should drive entrepreneurship. Loving Mondays and hating Fridays and the idea of a 9-to-5 job indicate your passion for entrepreneurship and motivation to succeed. Some fear can even be helpful to keep you motivated.

  • Perception is not reality. Entrepreneurs have fears like everyone else but channel that into motivation and courage. Fear combined with desire leads to success.

  • The author received a job offer for $80,000 straight out of college but turned it down to pursue entrepreneurship. His parents wanted him to take the stable job but eventually supported his decision. Now his mother still worries about his "business".

  • Entrepreneurs don't get much respect or are resented. Some reasons are:

  1. Jealousy: People envy the entrepreneur lifestyle but don't see the hard work. Entrepreneurs are rare, only 1% of population.

  2. Not fitting in: Entrepreneurs don't fit typical job categories so people don't understand them. This leads to fear and dismissal.

  • Resentment can motivate entrepreneurs to prove naysayers wrong, like superheroes. Respect and resentment can co-exist.

  • "Being your own boss" is a deceiving reason to become an entrepreneur. It appeals to those who hate their boss but lack self-discipline. Strong leadership, whether yourself or others, is key to success.

  • "Own boss" implies entrepreneurship is about managing. It's not. Entrepreneurship is about creating, building, and solving problems. Managing is secondary.

  • The right reasons to become an entrepreneur are passion, mission, creativity, and the desire to build something great. Independence and wealth are byproducts.

  • Entrepreneurship means having no boss because you have customers and the market to answer to. The entrepreneur's job is to serve them.

  • According to expert Michael Gerber, there are three types of people in business: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician.

  • The entrepreneur is the visionary, the dreamer, the catalyst for change. Entrepreneurs build things and immediately start planning the next project. They are not interested in being managers.

  • Managers are pragmatic planners who create order and predictability. Without managers, there would be no business or society.

  • Many people mistake the desire to "be your own boss" as entrepreneurship. But true entrepreneurs are not interested in being bosses. They want to build and create.

  • Entrepreneurship seems to be in people's blood. Oprah Winfrey discovered she came from a line of trailblazing entrepreneurs, which gave her a renewed sense of purpose. The author also found entrepreneurial ancestors, which made him feel less odd in his choice of career path.

  • Knowing your worth is important both when working for others and when running your own business. The author's mentors advised him not to accept less challenging, lower-paying jobs that could "typecast" him. And Mark Zuckerberg knew Facebook's worth and held out instead of selling for a fraction of its eventual value.

  • The author has never been able to hold down a traditional job for long. His nomadic work experience was an early sign that he was destined to be an entrepreneur. Like Steve Jobs, losing jobs led to greater creativity and life changes.

In summary, true entrepreneurs have a vision and love of building things. Discovering a family history of entrepreneurship can inspire. Know your worth and don't settle for less. And if you have trouble keeping a traditional job, you may be destined for an entrepreneurial path. Loss of jobs can lead to greater destinies, as in the case of Steve Jobs.

  • Entrepreneurs typically change jobs frequently due to a restless nature and desire to work on their own ideas. Studies show entrepreneurs stay at jobs for shorter periods than average.

  • The author couldn't stay at jobs for long because he always wanted to work on his own projects and ideas. Even when employers allowed it, he eventually left to focus on his own pursuits. He wanted more than just a paycheck.

  • Famous entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, and others were fired from jobs before becoming successful. For many, getting fired ignited their entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Frequently changing jobs is a sign that you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Rather than hopping from job to job, pursue your own entrepreneurial path.

  • The author and Steve Jobs cried at times in their business when things didn't go their way, showing their passion. Crying can be a natural emotional release for entrepreneurs and help them move on from problems. Many entrepreneurs hide their emotions to seem invulnerable but crying is normal.

  • It's a myth that most companies are started by young people. Studies show older entrepreneurs ages 35-65 have the highest startup activity. Older entrepreneurs also tend to be more successful due to years of work experience and skills. Age is an asset, not a liability.

  • Research shows "experimental innovators" like Steve Jobs and Mark Twain do their best work later in life through trial and error. Age and experience are advantages.

  • The author felt unequaled joy watching college students excitedly discover and use his new website for the first time. Seeing an idea come to life and positively impact people is deeply rewarding for entrepreneurs.

The author discusses three levels of motivation for entrepreneurs:

  1. Escape motivation: The entrepreneur is motivated by a desire to escape an unsatisfactory job or work conditions. This is the least mature motivation and often leads to lifestyle businesses without much growth. The motivation comes from wanting to get away from something, not towards building a business.

  2. Survival motivation: The entrepreneur is motivated by a need to survive and maintain a certain standard of living. While natural, this can limit growth as the entrepreneur only works as hard as needed to meet basic goals. They have an "employee mentality" and expect steady pay, defined potential, and entitlements. This leads to "subsistence entrepreneurship" where businesses hardly grow beyond meeting basic needs.

  3. Purpose motivation: The entrepreneur is motivated by a desire to solve a problem or meet a need through a great product or service. This is the most appropriate motivation for high achievement and growth. The motivation comes from within the business context.

The key takeaway is that an entrepreneur's motivation maturation is important for success and growth. Escaping an unsatisfactory job or surviving is not enough. Finding purpose and meaning in solving problems through business is the most sustainable motivation.

In summary, following your passion is not the only or even the most important motivation for entrepreneurial success. Developing a purpose motivation by identifying and solving important problems is key. While money and lifestyle are outcomes, they should not be the primary motivations. The right motivation, purpose, leads to the greatest growth and impact.

Here's a summary:

  • PayPal was founded by Peter Thiel to solve the problem of dictators manipulating currencies and destroying free markets. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg to make the world more transparent and connected.

  • Most successful entrepreneurs come from privilege, allowing them to focus on building revolutionary products without worrying about basic needs. Statistics show most entrepreneurs lack this advantage.

  • The best entrepreneurs align their motivation with their business's objective, which allows the business to reach its highest potential.

  • The life of an entrepreneur is difficult but rewarding. Entrepreneurs love the thrill of starting a new business, not just the benefits of success. Even when facing difficulties, entrepreneurs believe entrepreneurship leads to happiness and self-actualization.

  • Entrepreneurs maintain their ambition and drive even as they age. Examples include Truett Cathy, 91, founder of Chick-fil-A, and Muhammad Yunus, pioneer of microfinance. They argue entrepreneurship is a natural human instinct.

  • Once someone becomes an entrepreneur, they are always an entrepreneur at heart. Even taking a traditional job, they view the world differently. They have taken the "red pill" into the world of entrepreneurship, and there's no going back.

  • In summary, the author hopes readers have gained valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, will share the book with others, and will continue to follow the author for more advice and insight into entrepreneurship. The journey of entrepreneurship is the most fulfilling path the author knows.

Here's a summary:

The author, Kevin D. Johnson, wrote this book by committing to write for at least one hundred days straight. Though it was challenging, he accomplished his goal with the help and support of many people.

First, Johnson thanks God for giving him the strength and purpose to succeed. He then expresses gratitude for his parents, Richard and Jean, who instilled in him a love of reading and supported his entrepreneurial pursuits. His siblings, especially his brother Richard, also provided encouragement. His extended family and his wife's family offered their support as well.

Johnson's church community in Boston inspired him as a youth by exposing him to successful business owners. Many became his mentors.

The feedback and critiques Johnson received from those who previewed his book were invaluable for improving the quality and clarity of his writing. Specifically, he thanks editor Bob Land for his expert suggestions.

Finally, Johnson expresses appreciation for the many colleagues, mentors, and friends who have supported him over the years. Though too numerous to list completely, he names as many as possible, including leaders from various industries, former teachers, and business partners.

In summary, Johnson relied on the support, help, and inspiration of God, family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and his community to accomplish the goal of writing and publishing this book. His gratitude for them is heartfelt.

  • Kevin Williams is an executive in the technology industry

  • He is the CEO of TechSource, an Atlanta-based staffing firm that provides human resources to high-tech businesses in Georgia’s coastal region.

  • In his spare time, Kevin enjoys:

    • Listening to salsa and jazz music

    • Playing piano in his Latin band

    • Reading

    • Golfing

    • Traveling

    • Running half marathons

  • He is a member of the Apex Society and a former board member of the Atlanta Business League (ABL)

  • He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and son.


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