Your partners, mentors, and collaborators will impact every way you’ll be measured as an entrepreneur. What your success will look like. What your income will look like.
As the great Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Think about those five people in your life. Do you want to be the average of them?
If your answer is anything less than an enthusiastic yes, it’s time to do some soul searching. To be a successful entrepreneur, it may be time to make some hard decisions about who you spend the bulk of your time with.
Maybe you need to limit your time with energy vampires. Maybe you need to stop sharing your hopes and dreams with negative people. Maybe you need to completely cut toxic influences out of your life…
You may think it’s cruel to tell someone in no uncertain terms, “Sorry. I’m not going to spend my energy on this anymore.” You’re afraid they’ll feel like they’ve been abandoned.
But you don’t owe them anything. They’re the toxic people who brought negativity into your life. If they can’t deal with your building something great, that’s kinda their problem.
In other words, it’s time to set boundaries for yourself. It’s time to say what behavior you’ll tolerate and what behavior you won’t. It’s time to show yourself some respect like never before.
They thrive on flexibility. They need space to be creative. They have to be unrestrained to dream.
Surveys have revealed that 55% of entrepreneurs started a business to become their own boss, while 39% said they wanted to pursue their passion.¹
Why? Because it’s how they’re hardwired. Research has shown that entrepreneurs are higher in both openness to experience and conscientiousness than managers.² In other words, they’re very creative and highly driven.
And those are terrible things to be in many offices. Think about it. The average employment position is not designed to offer freedom—it’s designed to pay you a defined amount of money for a defined job.
Employees often have no creative control over their work. They can feel like a stop on an assembly line. If they work extra hard, the boss may reward them with a promotion. Even then, sometimes there’s little correlation between effort and reward.
Hear this loud and clear—entrepreneurs are not designed for pre-defined limitations.
To thrive, they need freedom.
Freedom to solve problems their way, not according to protocol.
Freedom to focus their energy and efforts toward making their vision a reality.
Freedom to reap the full rewards of their efforts.
Freedom to reach their full potential.
But here’s the catch—freedom requires time and money. And entrepreneurship is the only way to gain this control.
That’s because it places responsibility right where it belongs—with you. You become responsible for solving problems. You become responsible for critical decisions. You become responsible for company culture.
Above all, you become responsible for your own success.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve already noticed that you were built different. The monotony, the boredom, the beige walls of being an employee aren’t for you. You just need an opportunity to spread your wings and claim the freedom you crave.
¹ “39 Entrepreneur Statistics You Need to Know in 2022,” Dragomir Simovic, SmallBizGenius, Feb 25, 2022, https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/entrepreneur-statistics/#gref
² “Personality Traits of Entrepreneurs: A Review of Recent Literature,” Sari Pekkala Kerr, William R. Kerr, Tina Xu, Harvard Business School, Nov 2017, https://www.hbs.edu/ris/Publication%20Files/18-047_b0074a64-5428-479b-8c83-16f2a0e97eb6.pdf
It starts with massive success. You pick up a hobby, new skill, or start a business, and you’re crushing it. Everything you touch just seems to work.
But it’s short lived.
Beginner’s luck dries up. It gets hard to nail even the basics. You feel like you’ve somehow gotten worse the harder you try. Effort no longer translates to results.
And worst of all, you’re not sure why. Something feels off, and you have no clue how to fix it.
Welcome to the Dip. This dark valley is when MOST quit. It’s the boneyard of business. It’s where you’re faced with a choice…
Quit. Or don’t quit. That’s it.
This is the premise of Seth Godin’s classic The Dip. It’s fast and uplifting, and every aspiring entrepreneur should read it.
Godin shares two critical ideas…
1. Winners quit all the time. The idea that only blind determination will carry you through is foolish. Instead, winning is about knowing when to quit.
2. The Dip creates scarcity, which can bring massive opportunity. The more people quit, the greater potential you have to dominate your industry.
His advice? DO NOT quit when you first encounter the Dip. In fact, you must embrace the Dip for what it is—the opportunity to become a leader. As your competitors collapse under the pressure, you’ll become one of the few options in your market. It’s a powerful—and potentially lucrative—position.
But that’s not all. The Dip can also be an opportunity to strategically quit. Why? Because it gives you critical information about whether you’re on the right path. Godin gives some criteria on how to tell if you should push through, or quit and invest in another opportunity…
1. You’re not positioned to become world-class. Almost all the rewards go to the greatest. It’s an exponential drop-off after. If you can’t become world-class in the business you’ve chosen, then it may be wise to quit now and invest in something else.
2. You’ve made no measurable progress. The Dip causes panic. It makes everything seem like complete and utter failure. But there are often signs of progress. You just can’t see them because the Dip has blinded you. If you’re just panicking, stay the course. Keep pushing. Payoff may be just a few steps ahead. But if you’ve hit a dead end, quit now. You’ll be glad you did instead of sinking more money and energy into a failing venture.
The Dip is something every entrepreneur wishes they had known about before they started. It could potentially have saved them time, energy, and heartache.
But now you know about it! And that means you can prepare. How? Here are a few ideas…
Get mentorship. Seasoned entrepreneurs have experienced the Dip before. Their insight and wisdom can help you decide if the Dip is worth fighting through. So before you start your business, seek a mentor. Shadow them, ask them questions, share your ups and downs with them. It may be the best investment you make!
Make a plan. The more detailed your plan to become an entrepreneur, the better prepared you’ll be for the Dip. Why? Because a plan short circuits panic. It gives you objective benchmarks for success that can help restore your confidence when progress seems slow.
Build mental toughness. It’s a fact—the Dip will test your fortitude. Tapping out too early could prevent you from reaching your true potential. The greater your mental toughness, the more likely you become to reach the rewards on the other side.
The Dip is a challenge that many entrepreneurs face. It’s when the work gets hard, the rewards dry up, but it’s when most of your competition collapses. The Dip won’t last forever. Once you push past this difficult phase, rewards are ripe for the taking if you can exploit it to your advantage!
Why? Because starting a business shouldn’t feel impossible. The goal is to empower yourself to make as smooth a transition as possible from employee to entrepreneur. And if you don’t have answers for these questions, you could find yourself slamming into obstacles instead of sailing into your future.
What INDUSTRY will you choose? Consider stability, potential, trends, and size. Check your gut—can you see yourself working in this industry for the next stage of your life?
Who is your MARKET? Not what, but WHO. Who is the precise client group you will serve? Every industry is filled with different demographics and target consumers. Identify yours.
What’s your DIFFERENTIATOR? What makes your offering different from the competition’s? What is your special formula—your secret sauce? Could others easily copy it—or can you protect it from your competitors?
What is your clearly defined PRODUCT or SERVICE? How much will it cost you to make and sell? Who will provide your business with the materials, inventory, or services you need to run it?
What is the big SOLUTION you’re bringing to the world? Write down the one great problem you’re going to solve and why your market wants or needs this solution so desperately.
And lastly, what special ABILITY qualifies you (and any business partners) to solve this problem for your market? With the right skills, you’ll deliver results that amaze and delight your clients. And there’s no marketing better than a satisfied customer.
Once you have the answers to these six questions, you’re ready to make decisions about transitioning to entrepreneurship. It proves that you’re serious about making the move, and helps eliminate fears and doubts about the process.
Don’t delay! Answer these six questions TODAY so you can move forward with confidence tomorrow.
It’s a tale as old as time. An eager entrepreneur starts a business selling a clever product or service with world-class branding.
And it fails. Hard. After a few months or even years, it becomes clear that the business will never turn a profit. Investors bail, and the business eventually shutters.
Why? Often, it’s because there’s not a market for the product or service. And why isn’t there a market?
Because the product or service doesn’t solve a problem.
And if the product or service doesn’t solve a problem, why buy it?
Think about the most successful businesses in history. What do they all have in common? They all solved problems. From Standard Oil to Amazon, there’s big money in solving big problems.
Compare them to Quibi, the $2 billion streaming startup that failed within two years. It arrived in the streaming scene long after Netflix and Hulu had cornered the market, and as Disney was entering the fray. They were trying to solve a problem that had already been fixed.
So before you start your business, ask yourself this—what problem am I solving? How many people actually have this problem? Is someone else solving this problem better than I can? And are people willing to pay for my solution?
The bottom line is this—don’t start a business. Solve a problem. It can save you time, stress, and capital over the long haul.
And it’s no wonder why. You’re abandoning the familiar routines and regular paychecks of your 9-to-5 for something uncertain and unfamiliar.
You have to face a lot of fears.
There are the financial fears. Are you going to be able to pay your bills?
There’s the fear of overwhelm. Anything new can be daunting. And it seems like as an entrepreneur you’ll face challenges and obstacles that you’ve never faced before.
There’s the fear of failure. Not accomplishing what you set out to do is one of the worst feelings in the world. And entrepreneurship seems to expose you to fear of failure like nothing else.
The result? Entrepreneurship feels like a Pandora’s box that’s better left closed.
But here’s the truth—entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be scary. And if you make and follow a solid plan, it is possible to achieve personal and financial freedom. You can reach the entrepreneur lifestyle.
Again, it’s no wonder why. When you abandon the routines and paychecks of your 9-to-5, you face more than fear—you face unlimited freedom.
As an entrepreneur, you have the power to control your own time. You work whenever you want, not at your boss’s whim.
As an entrepreneur, you make your own decisions. No more watching your ideas bog down in red tape and bureaucracy.
As an entrepreneur, you pursue your own potential. You reap the rewards of your hard work, not your boss.
In short, entrepreneurship gives you the power to just live your life on your terms, not someone else’s.
It’s like Cicero once said…
“What then is freedom? The power to live as one wishes.”
All that’s standing between you and the power to live as you wish is fear. And with the right planning, system, and mentorship, that fear can be overcome.
That’s why I’m a leader with e2E. Because that’s my mission—to free employees from fear so they can become entrepreneurs.
Did your plumber invent the plunger? Probably not. Instead of a brand-new product, he or she offers skills that can make your overflowing toilet problem a thing of the past.
Jeff Bezos didn’t come up with the idea of printed books, but he offered a revolutionary service that connected customers to vendors online.
Rockefeller didn’t reinvent oil drilling. Instead, he innovated a new, horizontal business model that effectively buried his competition.
Remember—the foundation of successful entrepreneurship is finding solutions. Sure, you might invent a brand new gizmo that solves some of the world’s problems. But you don’t have to.
“Entrepreneurship is the process of developing, organizing, and running a new business to generate profit while taking on financial risk.” —Shopify
“Entrepreneurship is highly risky but also can be highly rewarding” —Investopedia
“Entrepreneurship is the act of creating a business or businesses while bearing all the risks with the hope of making a profit.” —Oberlo
In short, risk is baked into entrepreneurship.
But risk can feel like an insurmountable obstacle to those who have no room in their budget. Starting up a new business may not be possible if they are counting on all of their income to feed their families, pay the bills, and cover necessities, much less have anything left over for emergencies.
Entrepreneurship then becomes the realm of those with a financial cushion—or with nothing to lose.
And that’s exactly what e2E seeks to redefine.
The core philosophy of e2E is that success as an entrepreneur is based on the ability to follow systems and leadership—not on your ability to create a business from scratch.
That looks like providing employees seeking to become entrepreneurs with…
• Lower startup and operating costs • Marketing and technology • Proven systems and products • Training and mentorship
Is there still risk involved in making the leap from employee to entrepreneur? Of course!
But with the benefits above, you have a leg up on the barriers that prevent so many from starting the business they desperately desire.
If you’re curious about what redefining entrepreneurship could look like for you, let’s chat! We’ll explore your goals, your motivations, and what making the move could look like for you.
Google, Facebook, Reddit, and Snapchat were all founded by students, ranging from undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates.
It’s an intimidating list! But here’s the good news—you don’t have to attend Stanford or develop an app to become a student entrepreneur.
All you need is a skill that you can leverage as a solution for your peers and the time to make it happen.
It could be tutoring your favorite subject. It could be leveraging your writing skills to make money. It could even be creating an app for your fellow students.
And if your business takes off, you may find your eyes glazing over in class as you dream up new ways to move your business forward.
It’s no secret that there’s an uprising among employees. It’s called the Great Resignation. The cause? The fact that workers…
-Want to earn more money
-Feel burned out and unsupported
-Lack leadership and mentorship¹
And so they’ve quit in the millions.
Can you relate to that? Do you feel like your boss doesn’t really care about your well-being or career? Is your gut telling you that your talents could be earning you more?
Perhaps you’ve worked hard for a raise, only to get passed over in favor of someone less qualified.
Or maybe you’ve explored new opportunities, only to find employers are requiring outrageous qualifications for little pay.
Plan A was getting a promotion. Plan B was getting a new job. And now, both seem impossible.
So what’s next? “Plan E”, the path to entrepreneurship.
Your Plan E leads to the entrepreneur lifestyle—owning your day, working when you want, collaborating with whomever you like.
It’s your escape plan for making a smooth transition from where you are now to the business and lifestyle you want. This plan gives you an easier way by lowering risks and removing obstacles. And most importantly, your ‘Plan E’ can put you in the helping hands of experienced mentors who can guide you on your journey.
Make no mistake—there will always be stumbling blocks along the road to building a business.
But a solid plan can keep you moving forward in spite of those hiccups so you’re not forced to retreat back to employment. It’s the difference between hitting a dead end or hitting the mark.
Any successful “Plan E” must assess…
The Risks that can end an entrepreneur’s dreams
The Reality that the most rewarding success will also be the most painful to earn
The Mindset that you’re either growing or dying
The Answers about which industry and market you’ll serve—and how.
The People you go into business with who are critical to success
The Options of going into business spare-time, part-time, or full-time
The “E-Factor” of becoming a digitally-enabled entrepreneur
You don’t need permission. Once you’ve made your “Plan E”, you’re free to begin your mission. You’re ready to make the move.
If you have any questions about entrepreneurship, let me know. As part of the e2E movement, it’d be my privilege to help guide you from employee to entrepreneur.
¹ “The Real Reasons Workers Are Leaving in Droves? (Burnout Is on the List, but Not at the Top)” Melissa Angell, Inc., https://www.inc.com/melissa-angell/great-resignation-burnout-workers-upskilling-career-development.html
To run a successful business, you’ll need to learn a thing or two about sales, management, products, finances, taxes, law, contracts, marketing, and personal development.
And for many, those skills are learned crash course style. Entrepreneurs take the plunge, and either swim or sink.
To some, that path to entrepreneurship is an exciting challenge. An adventure! Let’s go all in and do this!
But others who want to forge their own path in business might have some reservations about winging it and figuring things out as you go. Is there a path to entrepreneurship besides flying by the seat of your pants?
The answer seems to be an emphatic yes.
For example, Max Lytvin, co-founder of Grammarly, swears by university. His MBA in Marketing and Finance compensated for a lack of mentorship and equipped him with specific, technical skills.¹
But it’s not the only route. In fact, only 17% of entrepreneurs have a bachelor’s degree, 18% have a master’s degree, and 4% have a PhD.²
Bill Gates skipped class and went straight into business. His legacy speaks for itself.
That being said, Bill Gates was still taught about entrepreneurship—though he dropped out of college, he learned the ropes from a mentor. In his case, his mentor was billionaire Warren Buffett.
The takeaway? Entrepreneurship, like any other skill, can be learned and taught.
For some, that takes place in a classroom. Others learn from an experienced mentor.
If you have the luxury of time and money for a degree, go for it.
If not, let’s talk. My mission is to free employees to become entrepreneurs. And that starts with mentorship. It’s a simple way to learn how entrepreneurship works, and get your journey towards owning your own business started.
¹ Yes, Entrepreneurship Can Be Taught, Max Lytvyn, Wired, https://www.wired.com/insights/2014/12/yes-entrepreneurship-can-be-taught/
² “20 Entrepreneur Statistics You Need To Know (2022),” Apollo Technical, Jun 20, 2022 https://www.apollotechnical.com/entrepreneur-statistics/
But they don’t start where you might think. They’re actually both rooted in how you think about your ability.
The first mindset thinks ability is inherent. When you accomplish something, you’re proving that you have innate talent, and maybe even superiority over your peers.
The second mindset thinks ability can be developed. They see accomplishment as the result of problem-solving, practice, and effort.
See where this is going?
Adopt the first mindset, and you’ll see failure as an indicator that you are not enough. You failed because, on a fundamental level, you don’t have what it takes.
And those thoughts are the enemy of success. Why put in the effort if you believe you’ll fail just because of who you are?
Adopt the second mindset, and you’ll see failure as an indicator that you’re not quite there yet. Tweak this and hone that, and you’ll overcome your obstacles in now time.
That’s the mindset of success. Once you see your effort transform failure into triumph, you may find yourself almost addicted to developing your skills.
Which mindset have you adopted?
This excellent article from Entrepreneur breaks down the data. And both a survey of twins and exploration of data suggest that entrepreneurial tendencies are inheritable.
In other words, some people are just born entrepreneurs.
But there’s an important caveat that the article wisely includes.
Having entrepreneurial tendencies doesn’t guarantee you’ll be successful.
That’s because success is determined by experience. Research shows that age and industry knowledge play a crucial role in determining entrepreneur success.¹
Think of it like this…
That urge you have to create and accomplish and seize opportunities? You’re born with that.
Converting that drive into a successful business? That’s made.
Entrepreneurs are born. Successful entrepreneurs are made.
So if you’re driven to own your own business, what steps have you taken to become a successful entrepreneur?
Have you started a side hustle? Have you found a support network of aspiring entrepreneurs? What about a mentor who’s started a successful business?
Find those, and you might be on the path towards turning your entrepreneurial potential into successful business reality.
Entrepreneurs come from every country, background, skillset, and career you can think of.
They’re an assortment of dropouts, dreamers, stay-at-home moms, restless executives, blue collar workers, the young, the old, and everyone in between.
What they all have in common is boldness—they see an opportunity, and they seize it.
Will they become successful entrepreneurs? That depends. If they find the right opportunity, the right business plan, and the right support, it becomes far more likely.
That’s the entire purpose of e2E—it’s a movement of entrepreneurs dedicated to mentoring anyone seeking to make the move from employee to entrepreneur.
So if you have the ambition to start a business, but feel overwhelmed by the prospect of entrepreneurship, let’s talk. We can discover what it would look like for you to transform your path into a path towards entrepreneurship.
That doesn’t mean settling is easy. There’s a price for apathy. It just comes further down the road. And often, it’s unbearable.
The alternative? Striving for the things that are worthwhile.
If you’re reading this article, that likely means taking the plunge and starting a business.
Why? Because it’s the only way you’ll create the freedom you actually want. No other path gives absolute responsibility over your destiny.
And yeah, it’ll be hard.
Your business often comes before family.
Your comfort zone becomes a thing of the past.
Fun gets indefinitely paused.
It will be worth it—if you endure it.
And the only way you’ll endure it is if you embrace reality from the start. Recognize that the most rewarding success will be the most painful to earn right now. Own it. Then, start building your future.
The 21st-century image of the 25-year-old tech wizard creating a disruptive startup and becoming a billionaire is largely a fiction.
The data is clear—entrepreneurs find their greatest success at age 45.¹
Some entrepreneurs start even later. Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old salesman for milkshake makers when he discovered a local restaurant. The owners? Richard and Maurice McDonald. He was almost 60 years old by the time he bought the restaurant chain outright.
If Kroc wasn’t too old to become an entrepreneur, neither are you.
So no matter your age, your previous career, or your current circumstances, it’s never too late to make the move.
Only one question remains—what’s holding you back?
¹ “Research: The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45,” Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim, and Javier Miranda, Harvard Business Review, Jul 11, 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/07/research-the-average-age-of-a-successful-startup-founder-is-45
² “How a Late-Blooming Entrepreneur Made McDonald’s the World’s Largest Burger Chain,” Jennifer Latson, TIME, Apr 15, 2015, https://time.com/3774670/mcdonalds-ray-kroc-history/
Who are the people you pour your money and time into the most?
What is the accomplishment, pursuit, lifestyle, or dream that drives you?
Your answers to these questions are what inspires you.
They’re your two whys.
And when things get tough, they’ll be what keeps you going.
So, what are your two whys?
Some will be small. You’ll try a marketing campaign that flops. You’ll launch a product that fizzles.
Others will be bigger. You’ll lose a key team member. You’ll make a strategic misstep. You’ll feel like you’re about to drown and not know which way is up.
Those failures suck. They hurt. But they’re absolutely critical.
Why? Because there’s no better teacher than failure.
That awful feeling you get when something goes wrong? That’s your brain telling you that you need to change what you’re doing.
In order to succeed, you have to be willing to fail. You have to be okay with making mistakes and learning from them.
So the next time you experience a failure (and you will), don’t beat yourself up. Embrace it. Learn from it. And keep moving forward.
Consider two scenarios…
Imagine you’re walking around your house when, suddenly, a 135-pound weight appears across your shoulders.
It came from out of nowhere. You stagger. Every muscle in your body fires in a desperate struggle to keep you upright. Your mind goes blank. Your heart races.
It’s an intense, potentially dangerous situation that you had no control over. It’s terrifying.
But now imagine you’re in a gym. You’ve been working out consistently for months, and it’s time to test your limits.
You place 135 pounds on your shoulders. You squat down, then start pushing. Every muscle fires. Your mind goes blank. Your heart races.
It’s an intense, potentially dangerous situation. But it’s thrilling. You celebrate when you’re done.
Both scenarios are almost identical, with one critical difference.
In the first scenario, you didn’t choose the challenge. In the second scenario, you did.
That’s the difference between terror and triumph.
So if you want to be an entrepreneur, make a habit of facing challenges head-on, rather than waiting for problems to drop in your lap. See if you start having more triumphant days than terrifying ones.
Successful businesses begin with answers to questions like…
What are the startup costs and can you afford them?
Have you found a proven system to follow that creates predictable results?
Will you create your own market assets or outsource to others?
What technology will you need? Is it already in place or will you have to assemble it?
Are you prepared for having too few—or too many—customers?
These are the questions you need to answer before you can transform your idea into a business. If your answers are less than satisfactory, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Why? Because you may find yourself with a business, but no customers. That’s because you have an idea, but not a solution. And people will pay you for solutions, not ideas.
You may discover that your idea is good, but needs refinement.
Or you may discover that you need a new idea!
Either way, it’s better to vet your ideas fully at the start than realize you’ve built an entire business on an unstable foundation.
So take your idea, and put it through the ringer. If it’s good, it will survive. If not, you’ll have saved yourself a serious headache, a lot of time, and possibly a significant amount of money.