Learn From Successful Entrepreneurs Who Have BTDT (been there, done that)

by Millionaire Mommy Next Door on July 27, 2009

in Be Your Own Boss,Book Review,Interviews

Brian was tired of making other people wealthy. He no longer felt in control of his earnings as an employee. One day not too long ago, Brian Schwartz told his wife that he wanted to quit his 9 to 5 job and become his own boss.

Brian, the primary bread winner for his family, had never been an entrepreneur before. His astute wife put him to a test — she told him he could quit his job, after he interviewed 50 entrepreneurs.

The vast majority of small businesses fail. Why? And what does it take for an entrepreneur to succeed? Brian discovered the answers to these questions and more by asking those who have BTDT (been there, done that). Armed with a list of 13 pertinent questions, Brian met with over 50 entrepreneurs. I was one of them. Brian’s end result? An army of role models and mentors, a 245 page biographical encyclopedia, his wife’s blessings, and a new business that he is already turning into a franchise.

Recently, I turned the tables and interviewed Brian. Our ten minute discussion comes in two video parts:

In Part One, I ask Brian:

  • What was your motivation behind launching 50 Interviews?
  • Did you quit your job after publishing the book?
  • From everything you learned through your interview process, what was your most surprising finding?
  • Do you think successful entrepreneurs are born or made?

(Email subscribers, you’ll need to click here to view the video on my blog page.)

In Part Two, Brian responds to these questions:

  • Among the 50+ entrepreneurs you interviewed, what characteristics do they share in common?
  • What do you see as the biggest barriers confronting a wanna-be entrepreneur?
  • Upon publishing 50 Interviews, you quit your own job to become an entrepreneur yourself. Have you encountered challenges that you didn’t expect?

(Email subscribers, you’ll need to click here to view the video on my blog page.)

Brian’s book, 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs, provides a short background about each business owner, then provides each entrepreneur’s answers — in their own words — to the following questions:

1. What was your initial start-up cost and source?
2. How long was it until you reached a positive cash flow?
3. Did you use a business plan?
4. What was the genesis of your business idea?
5. What is the vision of your company & the community you serve?
6. What is the passion that it fills for you personally?
7. Where do you see yourself and your company in ten years?
8. What were your biggest challenges? Looking back now, is there anything you wish you had done differently? What do you know now that you wish you’d known sooner?
9. What aspects of ownership are the most rewarding? Any unexpected rewards?
10. What do you attribute your success to? Luck, timing, someone who helped you?
11. How do you attract and retain the best employees? What is the most important attribute you look for?
12. Can you recommended any training or resources such as books, classes or websites? Do you recommend an MBA?
13. What slogan do you live by? What might your tombstone say?

The collective — yet very diverse — wisdom contained between the covers of the book 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs is a godsend for any aspiring new business owner. If you are thinking about ditching the 9-5 grind for a business to call your own, spare yourself a few time-consuming and expensive hard knocks.  Order a copy of the book 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs by Brian Schwartz.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin Comeau July 28, 2009 at 7:02 am

Dear Jen,

This couldn’t have come a better time!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. You’re making such a difference in so many lives, including mine. Are you on FB as the Millionaire Mommy Next Door? I couldn’t find you. It would be a great way to help more Moms.

Thanks again,
Kristin
Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. ~Malcolm S. Forbes

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Eden July 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

I’m curious what business Brian chose to go into. Can I find out more about his story somewhere and/or is that all in the book?

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Diane July 28, 2009 at 11:20 am

While I appreciate the message, I was distracted by all the hand waving. I kept scrolling up so all I could see was Brian’s face. His hands just kept getting higher. I finally gave up. Perhaps I’ll just listen to the interview later.

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Vince L July 28, 2009 at 11:47 am

Interesting he says to get away from all the negative people. What if you are married to one? My spouse would NEVER let me do what he did regardless of how many people I talked to “Infinite Interviews?”. She is VERY cautious about finance and finds this idea of being out on ones own WAY to scary. The question I’d like to hear is how do you show/convince your other half?

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Millionaire Mommy Next Door July 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

@Kristin: No, I don’t use Facebook. Keeping up with my blogs, Twitter, and emails is enough for me!

@Eden: To read about his business, click on the hyperlink in the third paragraph of this article that reads, “turning into a franchise”.

@Diane: Funny, I didn’t even notice Brian’s hands. If his gestures bother you, I’d suggest listening — he does share some great insights.

@Vince: Your questions could spur a lengthy article from me… I’ll consider expanding my ideas into post format. Briefly, for now, have you considered moonlighting and bootstrapping your own business? Moonlighting means continuing with your current job while starting a side business during your off hours. Bootstrapping means you pay as you go (no loans or big monetary investments). This is how I started all 6 of my businesses. Gradually cut back on your job hours and quit once your business is making a strong profit. This all but eliminates your financial risk.

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Vince L July 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

@MMND: Thanks for the reply. Moonlighting? As in taking even more time away from my family? The business I would be interested in starting would require a physical presence both a building, bodies, and merchandise. I am not interested in an internet-only business but one that actually involves physical products and people. This leads me to ask which Entrepreneurs had family input to consider? How many were service vs physical based? How many were 1 income families when they started? Does the book list the businesses that the entreprenurs started?

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Vince L July 30, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Reading through the list of entrenpreneurs only proves that point that it all has to be consulting/internet based. I could not find (honest: didn’t reasearch EVERY Company) one that was a hobby/craft store, auot parts store, tool use and supply store, anything that required a physical presence more than a basement and a DSL connection.

I’ll keep looking and hoping…

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Millionaire Mommy Next Door August 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Today, Tuesday 8/25/09 at 4PM MST, I’ll be talking to Brian Schwartz via open conference call. Join us if you’d like to ask questions about his interview process, his “authorpreneur franchise”, or his interviews with entrepreneurs.
Conference Dial-in Number: (712) 432-0080
Host Access Code: 199069#

@Vince L: All of my previous businesses involved direct contact with people and I provided services and products. In two of them, I used a physical space. I moonlighted and bootstrapped them all. It can be done! Brainstorm solutions, not the problems.

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dolores April 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm

very good stuff If I grew up so confident and postive why do you think as I get older55 I have lost some of it.The world has gotten so bad people let you down ect. .I miss how I use to be. Help

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