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Monday, 05 May 2008

How to develop an entrepreneurial mindset


For this week's podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Schoeniger, founder of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative

Gary has a really interesting story -- from dead broke desperate handyman to successful entrepreneur.

Over the last 15 years, he has interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs to discover which skills are critical for starting and running a business.  Many are not what you think.

My favorite advice from the interview:  

"Find a problem.  Figure out how to solve the problem.  Find more people with the same problem and you have a business."

I like that Gary's views make me think.  I have been in "do what you love (and work and work and work and work) and the money will follow" mode for so long that the "problem/solution" model was very intriguing.

Listen in on the 40-minute interview here.


Note to regular podcast listeners:  I have been veering off my "every 2 weeks" publishing schedule a bit as I am writing my book.  I need to do this in order to get the work done.  Once the book is turned in (September 15, come heck or high water), I will come back to a more regular schedule.  Thanks for your support and understanding!


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Photo by Emily Higginson I was listening to an awesome podcast the other night. Pamela (Escape from Cubicle Nation blogstar - yes, she is that good, she really ROCKS) and Gary Schoeniger (founder of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative) were discussing [Read More]



I can't wait to listen to this. my boyfriend is a day to day handyman, or whatever he can be that day... tired of it. he wants to open a pizza shop with all his heart. thanks for the post!

Barbara Saunders

I think you (or Gary) have hit on the biggest obstacle for "professionals" and "educated" people in particular. Those of us privileged with these types of backgrounds were trained to understand our value as what we can do personally with our minds and intelligence.

To the extent that we have succeeded at using our minds well, it can be hard to shift the paradigm. It represents a loss of an identity.

Bonni Rogers

I think Barbara makes a good point. It is always difficult to shift our entire mode of thinking. We all have years of "work hard and you'll get ahead" and "do what you love, the money will come" hammered into us from the get-go. While both have some basis in truth, the problem is what happens once you "arrive" at your new biz... at launch. What happens is you get in your own way repeatedly because you want it to succeed! If you don't realize that most businesses can be run *more* efficiently without you constantly changing, prodding and tweaking and controlling, you can drive a small biz into the ground in a heartbeat. My biggest problem as an entrepreneur was realizing that there is no such thing as a loss of identity! I discovered my identity is whatever I say it is! That day, that week, that month. This is a difficult mindset to move to, but it's based in reality. Identity is an illusion! You build your identity by your choices and by mental decisions. So change your choices and mental thinking and you're suddenly someone else... Who are you? Whoever you say you are in that moment, that day... whoever you want to be. This requires truly leaving behind your attachment to what others think of you and your business concepts, marketing, image etc. If you can do this you are now committed to your own happiness, wealth and well-being. If you can't leave your attachment to "how it looks" to others behind you, then you are not running your own biz... everyone around you is. For those looking to change their mindset to something that really takes them to the next level, I would highly recommend two books that I found indespensable: The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. They each are coming from a completely different perspective but saying some of the same things. For biz finance and marketing--and practicality, Ferris' book is hands-down the best thing I've ever read! Tolle will help you move you mind to healthy places you thought you'd never get to... Best of luck to all entrepreneurs!!

Dale Sherman

"Find a problem. Figure out how to solve the problem. Find more people with the same problem and you have a business."
It's nice to hear someone else with a business approach similar to one's own! Gary confirms it's a good model, I think I'll stick with it, too.

I enjoy finding problems that people didn't even know they had. Once you point out that there's a better and easier way to do something, folks tend to get wide-eyed and suddenly embrace their new vision. It's fun to watch people get as excited as a child making a new discovery.


I think Gary's entry to entrepreneurship is easier than his peers with corporate jobs. If you're at the bottom you have nothing to loose. Those with seemingly stable jobs have the potential to loose a lot and have a difficult time regaining their position in life. Plus corporate jobs tend to "institutionalize" your thought process. The people you work around for 60+ hours a week tend to have all the same thoughts and feelings. Any hint of independent thought or dissenting opinion is jeered at and discouraged. If you're not careful you could wake up one day and not know anything more than how to fill out your TPS report.

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