There are a lot of myths about what it means to be an entrepreneur out there… not to mention what success looks like and how to get it.
As author of the bestseller Traction and the new book, Entrepreneurial Leap, and the creator of the Entrepreneurial Operating System, Gino Wickman is in a unique position to define all those elements.
The tools he’s built are impacting more than 100,000 businesses worldwide – this interview is your chance to be one of them.
He kicks things off by revealing the six essential traits of the successful entrepreneur, and that’s just the start. We also talk about…
- How to figure out if you should be an entrepreneur at all
- What being “passionate” about your business really means
- The right thing to do when you’re struggling – it’s not what you think
- Why you must be a visionary – and what that means for “boring” businesses
- Why the ideal entrepreneurial mindset might just be a mental illness…and why that can be a very good thing
Mentioned in this episode:
Ryan Englin: Welcome back to another episode of the Blue Collar Culture Podcast. I’m your co-host, Ryan Englin. I’m here with Jeremy Macliver.
Jeremy Macliver: Welcome back, everyone.
Ryan: So our guest today really needs no introduction. And if you own a business, it’s likely you’ve heard of or read one of his books. Since the age of 21, he’s had an obsession with learning what makes businesses thrive, and he set out to help as many entrepreneurs as possible. The tools he’s built are being used by over 100,000 businesses worldwide, and they’re making a dramatic impact on business results. Today he’s sharing his personal passion, helping entrepreneurs in the making get a huge jump start on creating a successful business and living the life they were born to live. Please help me welcome our guest today, Gino Wickman.
Gino Wickman: Pleasure to be here, guys.
Jeremy: So Gino, we’ve obviously talked. Obviously, I’m an EOS implementer and we’ve, you know, so we go back there with the book Traction. But I know in and talking to you, you’ve had this almost secret passion for, I say secret because I didn’t know about it for a while, of really digging into the beginning of the journey. And from what I’ve heard, it almost sounds like you had sticky notes and some papers and building this up over the last 10 years. So tell us a little bit about your new book and what it’s all about.
The Author Part of Gino’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Gino: Fantastic. I’d be happy to. So I’ll give a touch of history that leads us up to this conversation we’re about to have and that is, you know, for the last 30 years my life has been entrepreneurship and obsessing about what makes a business successful and an entrepreneur successful. And so, you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur for 30 plus years, and I didn’t know I was, but right out of high school, barely graduated with a 2.3 GPA, I knew college wasn’t for me.
And so as all of my friends went off to college I just knew in my gut that academia is not for me, and I just, I wanted to go make money. I wanted to go do something and I just knew I was different. And so long story short, tried a bunch of different entrepreneurial endeavors ended up taking over the family business, doing a big turnaround, ran it got it healthy, we successfully sold it.
I then took my leap to help entrepreneurs, created EOS, wrote five books, sold over a million copies. We have 350 implementers, EOS implementers all over the world, and then sold that business two years ago. And I say all of that because when I was 40, I said that when I turned 50, I’m going to shift my energy and focus on helping entrepreneurs in the making. And the truth of the matter is what I realized is I want to help my 18-year-old self because if I had what the three of us are about to talk about for the next hour or so here.
When I was 18 years old, I would have been much further ahead because I didn’t realize clearly until, that I was an entrepreneur until I was about 29 years old. And so I would have had an 11-year jumpstart because at 18 I was this mislabeled, derelict, I was insecure, I was uncertain. And so it was really, really tough. I was just kind of lost as I was finding my way up until ultimately realizing, holy cow, I’m an entrepreneur.
Jeremy: What was it that you all of a sudden said, oh, my I’m an entrepreneur. What was that that clicked?
Gino: Well, it was a bunch of intersecting data points, but I think that, you know, I would say one word and one name. And that is Dan Sullivan. And so I’m a 23-year student of Dan Sullivan Strategic Coach program. And I discovered my unique ability, as he calls it. And so it was about two years, three years into that program that it was crystal clear to me exactly what I was.
Jeremy: And so I know in you’re in reading your book, which I highly recommend, that you have outlined for all of us what it really means to be an entrepreneur, what are those traits that you have so that we can discover it at 18 versus 29. And I love your story because I was struggling in school. I was, well I wasn’t struggling at school, but I was struggling with going to college and I felt the pressure of that.
Ultimately I decided not to either because I was making money in body shop class at school and figured why should I stop this? This beats going to English class every day of the week. So you’ve really compressed this down into the six essential traits for being an entrepreneur. So I’d love you to just give us an overview of those, and let’s just, let’s dive into them.
Six Essential (and Inherent) Traits of an Entrepreneur
Gino: Fantastic. Well, so I want to start by saying, you know, there’s not one ounce of theory in what I’m about to share with you. And so where this comes from is, you know, number one, me living this for 30 years. And then me helping thousands of entrepreneurs and, and working hands-on with entrepreneurs. And so what I have is this ability to see patterns and trends. And that’s how EOS was created by me just seeing patterns and trends and listening to entrepreneurs’ problems and obsessing over five years and 500 full-day sessions about how to solve their problems and help them build great businesses.
Well, the same thing has been going on just observing an entrepreneur in the DNA of an entrepreneur. And so what I’ve learned and what I’ve realized, to put the finishing touches on, as you said, what I call the six essential traits. And so I believe that every true entrepreneur has these six essential traits. And this has been validated by hundreds, if not thousands of them now. And so those six essential traits are, I’ll give you the fast overview and that is visionary, passionate, problem solver, driven, risk taker and responsible.
And as we maybe do a little bit deeper dive into that I urge you know, your audience, I urge that listener as we’re having this conversation to just kind of do a checkup on yourself, because everything we’re going to talk about is how these are nature over nurture. You are born with these. They cannot be taught they are in you. You’ve been exhibiting these your whole life. And so whether you’re sitting there and you’re 15 years old, or you’re sitting there and you’re 65 years old, you have been exhibiting these your whole life.
Jeremy: I love that because, you know, we do our annual planning and it’s always interesting when you go into the what nobody knows about me type conversation. And often you’ll find that the visionary or one of those founders will start telling a story about very early on in childhood, some scheme that they had wired up to make money. And we’ll hear some great crazy stories including one was putting duct tape in the vending machines at high school to the collect the quarters but, so, but they were a visionary they saw opportunity.
So I want to dig into this because, you know, here we’re blue collar culture, we’re proud of that. And so let’s just talk about a plumber or a technician that wants to go out there and sometimes when we think of a visionary we think of them as they got groundbreaking, you know, new territory. These are the Steve Jobs, the Elon Musks of the world. And so is a plumber that wants to jump out how would they know if they were a visionary or they were just something else?
Gino: Yeah, that’s great. And so what I want to do is I answer that question. And as we dive into that a bit, I want to zoom out and create a little context. And so you know, where I want to start is, you know, I’m so excited to have this conversation with you guys Because I will tell you that blue collar entrepreneurs have a place in my heart. It’s kind of near and dear to my heart. I’m kind of a blue collar gritty guy at the end of the day. I’m a Detroit boy.
So here in Detroit we’re a bit gritty. And so with that, I’m really excited to, you know, narrow the focus on this conversation. And as we narrow the focus to true blue collar entrepreneurs in this plumber example, as you’re talking about, you know, I do want to say my intention is to help spawn every entrepreneur under the sun in every industry. And there’s a tool I created that helps somebody who has these six essential traits ultimately decide what the right business is for them. And it’s called My Biz Match. And we can talk about that later.
But the point here is, you know, the media touts the billion-dollar tech unicorn entrepreneur and they’re admirable, they build great businesses. It’s impressive. But I would suggest to you, you know, it’s just as impressive the plumber that builds a $20 million plumbing company with 100 people and, you know, they’re all dealing with the exact same issues. They’re dealing with competitors and hiring and marketing and sales and making their product and service better. So anyways, I just say all that because I’m really excited to have this blue collar conversation, if you will.
And so, you know, with this plumber question that you’re asking, you know, I want to go back to and rein me in, because I really want to make sure I’m answering your questions specifically, but it starts with these six essential traits. And so again, whether that’s a plumber or an electrician or a heating and cooling or trucking company or whatever we’re going to talk about here, it all starts with first and foremost, they’ve got to make sure that they have these six essential traits.
Jeremy: Yeah. And so just like you mentioned a little bit about the year in high school and everybody’s going off to college and you’re feeling a little bit left behind. Maybe I’m a misfit. Sometimes, you know, I see that. I don’t know if you see that, that, you know, we, obviously the tech companies, they’re entrepreneurs.
And this book is definitely written for them. But sometimes I see some of those plumbers say, Well, I don’t have that visionary. And I want to dig into that visionary piece of it. I’m not the visionary. I’ve just want to build a plumbing company. And then it becomes a $20 million plumbing company with 100 people or a trucking company or a call center or whatever that is, but they have the motivation there. And so let’s just dig into how would they be able to recognize that they are a visionary?
Recognizing Your Capacity as a Visionary
Gino: Yeah, okay. So I love that. So thanks for bringing me back to that. Because you also reminded me of another conversation I had with an entrepreneur who literally built 100 million dollar tech company that’s just kind of a boring type of a tech company business but he didn’t consider himself a visionary. And it’s just so funny when that happened.
And so what’s important here is one of the other EOS books that I’ve written is called Rocket Fuel. And I described something I call the visionary spectrum, okay? And so, you know, visionary doesn’t mean you’re going to be the next Thomas Edison, Elan Musk, Henry Ford. So it’s not about that, but certainly, every industry and every business has this visionary spectrum. And so the example that I always love to give is, you know, Apple.
So in terms of a spectrum, you know, if you’re running Apple, if you’re Steve Jobs, you are on the red line far right side of this visionary spectrum and you’ve got to be on your toes because you’re literally reinventing your product every week. Where on the other end of the spectrum, let’s use a property management company, you know, and so it doesn’t require the Steve Jobs level of visionary but nonetheless, you still have to be visionary. And so let me define what visionary means for that listener that’s sitting there wrestling with, you know, how am I as a plumber, who just built this $4 million company, a visionary?
And so a visionary just has a lot of ideas. They’re able to connect the dots. They have a sixth sense. They see things that others don’t. They’re able to kind of see around corners. And so just like, you know, Steve Jobs and Apple and technology, a plumber who takes the leap to go start their own business, become self-employed and starts to add employees, you’re being visionary from a standpoint of, if you’re a person who’s having lots of ideas, you’re coming up with creative ways to deploy, you know, your plumbers and your team.
And create ways to improve upon a process to get them there faster or reduce costs or creative ways to do the job better or faster or different or a creative way to treat that customer in such a way that you blow their mind. That’s all being visionary. And so hopefully that sheds a little light on the definition of what we mean by the visionary trait.
Jeremy: Absolutely. I just, I know that. I mean, I started body shops and how boring can you be. right? I mean, they’re insurance regulated, fixing car accidents. But, you know, you can look at that and say, what was that visionary? Well, absolutely. We were perfecting the process, digging in deeper, how do we make it go faster? That’s what you’re talking about there. So I just wanted to clarify that for our audience that they can understand that hey, we too are visionaries.
Gino: I was just gonna say so now you’re making me think of, you know, in here in Detroit, I have a client you know, It’s an asphalt company. And so, you know what, a boring business on the surface but it’s two brothers that started out painting the parking lot lines for parking lots and have grown that into one of the largest asphalt companies, hundreds of employees, here in Southeast Michigan.
And these two guys are visionary. I mean, they’re so creative. It’s so competitive. It’s just impressive. And so yeah, those guys are true entrepreneurs in what would appear to be an incredibly boring business, which there’s nothing boring about, it for what that’s worth.
Jeremy: Yeah. So let’s just jump, let’s maybe take it to the next one and talk about passionate. And with passionate, I’d like to dig into a little bit of obviously, you’ve seen the inverse on these two, right? You’ve seen some of the thought I want to go start my own business and you’re like, cringing. I can only imagine. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I know I have so I’ll stay there. And so when you see this passionate, how would we maybe explain this so we can recognize are we passionate or are we not?
Gino: Yeah, that’s such a great question. And I want to split this into because there’s a little bit of a, there’s a little bit of confusion around this. And if any of your readers read the book, what you’re going to see is this, these two places that I’m talking about. And so the first place that passionate shows up is in these six essential traits. The second place it’s going to show up is I write an entire chapter on finding your passion. Because the truth of the matter is, you are not going to succeed as an entrepreneur until you know your passion.
You got to know your passion, and I walked through a bunch of ways to discover your passion. But let’s set that second thing aside for a second and let’s come back to this trait, because your job is to decide, do you have this entrepreneurial trait? As we’re talking about this, there is an assessment, a free assessment that your listeners can take online. So just know at the end of all of this, in addition to what we’re going to teach them right now, they can go take that assessment online for free and figure out if they possess these six essential traits.
So there’s more coming. And so to zero in on this, where it shows up and how it shows up as a trait is if you look at your life, you just always tended to be a very passionate person, you get very passionate about your interests, okay? This doesn’t mean you’re passionate about everything, but the stuff that you’re interested in, you have strong beliefs in it. And so this passion is all about the entrepreneur having passion for their product, or their service for the difference they’re about to make. They, there’s this void they want to fill.
There’s just something that they’re driven to absolutely fill that void, make a difference. And Steve Jobs was accused of having a reality distortion field. In other words, he believed so much in what he was going to create and so many people told him it’s not possible, you can’t do that. He just didn’t see reality. And obviously, he’s put a huge dent in the universe. And so that’s what we’re talking about passion is just you having a strong belief, this desire to fill a void, and it’s just always been with you.
Ryan: I love that Gino. That passion is such a strong part of being an entrepreneur because that’s what I believe helps you get through all the ups and downs and dealing with the market and the outside influences and anything that is an internal factor.
Gino: Here here.
Ryan: One of the things that I really enjoyed in the book was the entrepreneurial range. So being in, our focus being blue collar culture, a lot of times we’re talking to that plumber or that technician that all of a sudden said, Hey, you know what, I’m going to go start my own business. I’m going to go get a truck, I’m gonna start doing some marketing, I’m gonna go do this. And there’s a lot of what might be considered a myth about if you’re self-employed if you’re the only person in that company, you’re not really an entrepreneur. And that’s not really the case. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Gino: Yeah. And I love that you’re introducing this at this exact point because this really is the place to create another context for your audience. And so in the book, I write about something called the entrepreneurial range. Okay, and so let’s just talk about self-employed people, okay, because when someone takes a leap and takes responsibility for making their own income and starting a business, they are now officially self-employed.
And so now every self-employed person falls on this entrepreneurial range. And so if you can picture your mind, on the far right side of that range are the greatest entrepreneurs in history. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Oprah Winfrey, Sara Blakely, Elan Musk, you know all the names.
Jeremy: Do you know Wickman?
Gino: Yeah. We don’t need to go there. So that’s on the far right side. On the far left side of that range are self-employed people. These are one-person shows, these are freelancers, this is somebody with a hot side hustle. There’s no question those people are all self-employed, and they’re taking a risk. And there’s no shame in, you know, being that one person show and it’s very admirable. But every self-employed entrepreneur falls somewhere on that range. And what I will tell you as we drill down on these six essential traits, we’re talking about the people on the right half of the range because these are people that go build organizations with people.
And so my point is on the left side of that range, being self-employed, you don’t necessarily have to redline all of the six essential traits. And also, frankly, you don’t necessarily have to have all of these six essential traits. And so the more that you have them, and the more that you redline them, odds are, you’re going to end up on that far-right end of the range in terms of really blowing up what you’re creating.
And I want to give you an example. And so, you know, the example I always love to give is, you know, think of somebody who’s handy, okay, and you’re good with your hands, and you’re great at fixing things and fixing things around the house and so you decide to go become a handyman or handywoman. What’s powerful and interesting about these times is you literally can go take that leap, start your own business, become a handyman or handywoman, you could be charging $60 an hour, you could be making a six-figure income and go be self-employed and be completely independent, be completely free. And so that’s someone who has taken the leap.
They are self-employed. And again, if they’re not these, all of these six essential traits, odds are that person is probably not going to build a 1000 person company. But somebody who takes that leap, and redlines these six essential traits, odds are, they’re going to be six months into being that handy person, they’re going to start generating about 150, 200 grand for themselves, and they’re going to see Wow, I could leverage this and they’re going to hire somebody.
And then they’re going to hire another person. And then they’re going to start doing add ons to the house and then they’re going to start building houses and then they’re going to start building subdivisions and all a sudden they’ve got this 300 person construction company. So again, there’s no shame where you are on that spectrum and all of those people are self-employed people. And so hopefully that answered your question that made sense.
Ryan: Absolutely. And I love your passion in talking about that. There’s no shame in being on the left side of that and staying small and creating a lifestyle business for yourself. But one of the things, again,
Gino: Actually, Ryan if I can interrupt you because I’ll also want I want to say is because there’s nothing written that says, you need to go build the hundred person company. And just for the record, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It is most of your time is spent in hell, for lack of better term. It’s hard is my point. And so being an entrepreneur, you’re borderline crazy to want to take these kind of risks, to want to do these kind of things.
But we love it. We relish it. We love the challenge every single day. We love getting our ass kicked every single day. We love having to make these tough decisions every day. And so I say all that because, quite frankly, that handy person that’s making 150 grand a year working 40 hours a week working on houses doing what they love to do, they’re the smarter ones because they’re doing what they love. They’re practicing their craft.
They’re making a damn good living. They’re taking care of their families. So for what it’s worth, I mean, it’s easy. You have to choose for yourself the life that you want, but we entrepreneurs, we choose this crazy ride. And yeah for the ones that knock it out of the park and build that 200 person company and maybe sell it, or sock away all the cash they’re making, and they’re worth $20 million, yes, it’s wonderful. But it’s rare, and it’s hard. And so anyway, I had to go on that little passionate rant. So
Ryan: I love your passion, Gino. Thank you for that. So for those of us that are crazy and want to go on this ride, or one of those entrepreneurs that all of a sudden woke up 5, 10 years later and go, Wait a minute, I got 300 employees. And it has been a tough ride. You talk about some of the nightmare scenarios, some of the mistakes that you see entrepreneurs make. Just because you have those six traits, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a perfect ride. Is that correct?
Gino: That is 100% correct. And, you know, just two points on that. That’s why I wrote this book. And so the book is written in three parts. And so the three parts are confirm, glimpse and path. And if you picture the sequential order the linear approach to those three things, what I’m doing is I’m taking the reader and this person who thinks they might be an entrepreneur in the making on this emotional, psychological, philosophical soul searching journey of discovery to decide if this is right for them.
And so if we jump to, for a second, the glimpse part of the book, what I then show them once they confirm that they believe they are an entrepreneur in the making, to your exact point, I show them a glimpse of what their life could look like. I give them countless real-world stories about entrepreneurs who were exactly where they were, and what they built. I then share both the dream and the nightmare, okay? And so what I do is I show them what life is going to look like.
And there are lots of entrepreneurs living the dream and we at EOS help entrepreneurs live that dream. But there are more living the nightmare. And what we’re wanting them to see is what that nightmare scenario looks like so they can make the best decision for themselves. And then I go on to teach them the eight critical mistakes that most entrepreneurs make when they take their leap, and how to avoid and solve every single one of them so they’re living a lot closer to the dream than they are the nightmare.
And then very quickly from there, the second point, in the third part of the book, I then go into the path. And the path is designed to show them the way. It’s designed to give them guideposts. There’s no perfect process for becoming an entrepreneur. It’s not something you do. It’s something that you are. You just figured out each step of the way. But what I do is just prepare them for what’s going to happen on the path so that I can help them eliminate half the mistakes they’re about to make, and greatly increase their odds of success.
Ryan: I love that you’ve been through this and you’re able to share that path. And I like how you said it’s emotional, it’s philosophical, like it’s a mental game that everyone is going through. And I love the way you’ve laid out the book and the way you’re able to take them on that journey. That’s just fantastic.
Gino: Yeah. And if I can, I just want to say one other point because now I want to go back to, you know, one of the reasons I wrote this. And right now, everybody wants to become an entrepreneur. And, you know, it’s the new rock star. In the 70s, everybody wanted to be a rock star. You know, now everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. And so, you know, somebody looks at an Elan Musk and says, Wow, that’d be really cool. I will choose that career choice. Well, it doesn’t work like that. This is a cautionary tale. I believe 4% of the population have these six essential traits.
And so it’s a choice you have to make by deciding do I have them? Being an entrepreneur is not about this cool thing you want to do. It’s not about this skillset that you learn. It’s not about this process. It is just something that you are. And as a result of being that, you just have this way of being drawn into an opportunity, a need you want to fill in the world, figuring out and solving a bunch of problems and emerging an entrepreneur. So it’s a cautionary tale for the people that are thinking, Oh, that’d be cool. I think I want to be that. This is the opportunity to decide if you even should.
And I know I’m going to break a lot of hearts with this book because people are going to realize they shouldn’t. But for me, I believe I’m going to save a lot of lives, save a lot of people from 10 years of hell, and really help pull the 4% out of wherever they are, whether that’s in the corporate world, whether that’s out of college, whether that’s from the inner city. Wherever they are, I want them to realize what they are and get a huge jumpstart, like I said, like I wish I would have had when I was 18 years old.
Jeremy: I love that. As I was preparing for this actually read, when I was reading the book, I thought, you know, so many kids grow up, they want to be a football star or a basketball star, whatever that is. And there’s tests all the way through that and they either make it or they don’t. And it’s really clear. Those who decide they want to be an entrepreneur, unfortunately, the test is jump out and they just, it’s really expensive. You know, if I didn’t hit my NBA goal, I at least pivot and I’m not bankrupt or anything. So I love how you’re
Gino: Yeah, and I was and I was gonna go there because, I just didn’t, but you know, it’s maddening because you know, somebody who is six foot seven and 300 pounds is not going to be a horse racing, Jackie, okay? And so we’re just, we’re not all cut out to be everything. And your job is to figure out what your thing is. And this world needs police officers and teachers and nurses and, you know, so I’m most fond of, you know, cops and firemen and military.
I mean, those are the people that I look up to. And so again, being an entrepreneur, it’s not this elitist, ultimate pinnacle thing that everybody should do. It’s just a choice because that’s what your genetic encoding is. And there are 1000 other choices. You just got to figure out what is your genetic encoding, what are your essential traits, and choose the right path for you that’s going to make you happy for the rest of your life.
Jeremy: We talk about all of this pain, all of this and I don’t know, one entrepreneur that hasn’t lived at least a little bit of time in the hell side of your story there. And that really brings us to as we’re looking at those six essential traits you have the next two that we haven’t talked about are the problem solver and driven. And we really need those and you explain that to overcome all of this stuff that we’ve been talking about.
Gino: Well, I just gonna I was gonna jump in. Stop me if I’m jumping too fast.
Jeremy: You qualify passionate Gino. So you have that trait for sure.
Gino: I am definitely passionate about this thing. I’m hoping to hear 10 years from now about the 200 entrepreneurs we spawn from this conversation. So problem solver is, you know, as a trait. You are a creative problem solver. When there is a setback, you lean into it, you don’t run away from it. When there is a problem, you lean into it, you saw that you are an optimist by nature, every cloud has a silver lining, you see solutions where people are seeing problems and so you just have this way of leaning into stuff.
And then to jump to the second one, driven. Driven is about this internal fire that you have. You have this sense of urgency, you are competitive, and so it’s this competitive nature you’ve always had, you want to succeed you are increasing credibly self-motivated, you can motivate yourself. You don’t need others to motivate you, and you hustle. And so those are, that’s how I would define those two.
Jeremy: Absolutely. As we look at this, you know, the next you know, we’ve had a lot of different changing events over my career and just, you know, we’ve had some high time so low times and we have to ride through these. Can you give us a story of somebody that you are working with and you really saw that drive or that when it really kicked into gear and just maybe help us as, in from a blue collar standpoint understand as I’m working as a technician, do I have that drive? Do I have it because I’m working for someone right now? I’m not sure. You could maybe share an example?
Gino: I will try. You know, so whenever I get asked for an example, you know, my mind flashes to, you know, the 134 clients that I’ve had over the last 20 years that I’ve worked with intimately to help build great companies, and they’re all get rolled into, you know, just one kind of universal story and so all I can do is like, I’ll tell you a story about me and maybe there will be one specific one about a client.
But to me, again, they’re just driven, they drive forward. And so it’s all rolled into one. But an example is how, what prompted for me is a dear friend of mine who has been with me on this entrepreneurial journey for the last 20 years, he is our tech guy for EOS Worldwide. His name is Tyler Smith. And he’s been right there with us building EOS Worldwide and he’s experienced these levels of success.
And so we were probably about four or five years into being pretty successful, making an impact on a lot of people. By every measure we were successful and frankly, I’m just never satisfied. And so I was pushing for something. And I can’t remember what the specific thing I was pushing for. But he looked at me and he just said, it’s, you fascinate me and he’s a little frustrated, but you’re just never comfortable, you’re never satisfied. You never just kind of rest on your laurels.
And so that’s an example where I’m just always pushing. I believe we can do more, I believe we can accomplish more. And so that’s, you know, that’s the one example that kind of pops into my head. But now take what I just said, and apply that to all 2000 sessions I’ve done with all of my clients, and that entrepreneur in that session room doing that literally 15 times through the seven-hour, eight-hour session while we were locked in that room. And so that’s why it’s hard for me to say here’s one example because I’ve witnessed it happen a million times in the last 30 years.
Jeremy: I know I’ve seen it as a, you know, lead companies and use, there’s that one person, they’re the foreman or the whatever, and they just seem to have more steam. Like their steam engine is just running hot, fast. They’re coming up with ideas, ways to change this or just constantly.
Gino: And so, you know, it’s like you reminded me of something similar to that. And it’s just a general example of rolling these million data points together. But it’s like, you know, when you achieve the goal, and so let’s pretend you have this big goal for the year and you achieve it. You know, I don’t do a great job celebrating and so, you know, for me, I’ll celebrate for about three seconds and then it’s time to get back and go to the next level.
And so the point is, you know, when you’ve reached that level of success, you know, most people will fit in that success, dwell on that success, ride that success for the next three years. And to me, it’s like, Okay, great. Ring the bell. Let’s move on. And now let’s go to the next level. And so that’s all that driven trait. And again for your audience listening, if you tend to do that, and again, not necessarily a level that I do it because I’m a pretty intense guy, but if you tend to keep pushing forward, wanting more, are competitive, then, you know, you, odds are you’ve got that driven trait.
Jeremy: Yeah. So, let’s talk about risk-taker. And let’s hear a little bit more about that.
Compulsive Risk Taking Makes for Great Entrepreneurs
Gino: Yeah, so risk taker is that you simply don’t freeze when it’s time to make a tough decision. You are rebellious in nature. A stop sign is merely a suggestion to you. You are willing to fail and you tend to beg for forgiveness as opposed to ask for permission. And so, you know, I say willing to fail, you know, no entrepreneur wants to fail. But they know that they may fail. And so you’re just willing to fail. You don’t intend to fail.
And this point about you don’t freeze with tough decisions, you know, I always like to say that, when you take your entrepreneurial leap, that’s one of 1000 risks you’re about to take over the next 10 years. And everybody thinks that taking the entrepreneurial leap is the risk, it makes you a risk-taker. Not at all. That’s like 1% of it. It’s the decisions you have to make every single day. The brutally tough decisions you need to make every single week that will potentially put you out of business.
When you’re faced with a major issue, you’ve got to make a tough call. And those are all risks. Those are all demonstrations of risk-taking and it’s never-ending and until the day you sell your company and ride off into the sunset and retire, it’s risk-taking every single day and it’s tough decisions every single day. And risk takers just love it. They just love to lean into it, make those tough decisions, be rebellious, push the envelope. And so that’s a risk-taker.
Jeremy: No, I have to share a personal story right here because that made me laugh so much. So in 08, the markets crash, my business is struggling through it. Times are extremely tough. And, of course, my family is taking the personal financial toll at the same time. And, you know, I’m feeling all the weight, the burden of that as we try to navigate that. My wife was reading this book about, I guess, trying to understand me, some, you know, how your husband thinks type deal.
And I remember hearing her tell a friend, like her aha moment that who has she basically signed up with for a life partner. She says, You know, I was reading this book and it talks about Orville and Wilbur and they had this bike shop and they sold everything and they went to try to fly. And she goes, the book actually said that they were more happy risking everything to go try to fly.
And they had no guaranteed success, but it was about that endeavor. She goes, that’s my husband. Like it had to happen. Like, there was no way, yes, we can risk all safety, everything. And so it put it in her mind that she knew she was, she had married an entrepreneur and we were going to fly whether we had the equipment, the tools, the resources, we were going there. So,
Gino: Yeah, and you, so you that prompts, you know, a teaching opportunity here because the point is, what we’re describing right now is probably a psychological disorder to be quite frank. You know, I mean, it’s entrepreneurs are not sane. Okay, I mean, it’s, we’re crazy people. And so it’s, as I keep wanting to say, I mean, it’s not like the perfect scenario. Greatest job in the world, you’re the best type of a thing. It’s just again, what we’re genetically to do, genetically encoded to do, and it’s probably a disorder because it’s borderline crazy.
And then the one little story I’ll share, again with EOS Worldwide and we were two years into building it, we had our 15th EOS implementer, the model was not working, it was not working at all. Don and I were making no money. And we had to change the model. And so I sat in a Starbucks all day, I actually read two books, I pored over all the data and I completely changed our business model by the end of the day. And I had to go present this change to the business model first, I shared it with my partner, of course, but then shared it with the 15 implementers. And we ran the risk of them all leaving and it worked.
But it could have potentially put us out of business just as fast as that was the turning point for the company and where we really took off. But that day I had to make a really tough decision and take the ultimate risk of losing everything that he and I borderline killed ourselves building for two years. And by the way, I was as high as a kite in terms of excitement and energy and elation. I was like I was I had more energy than I could ever imagine and so. But again, you’ve got to be borderline crazy to get a high out of that stuff. I do and did.
Jeremy: When my wife realized that Orville Wilbur were happier trying to fly then having a bike shop, it was like for her it was like, Okay, this is just, this is a mental disorder. We have to go somewhere, we have to navigate this. So I love hearing your EOS story there and down to the wire and pulling it out. That’s great.
Gino: And by the way, again, every single one of my clients and the hundred thousand companies we’ve helped can share the exact same story somewhere on their journey, they were faced with the death of their company and pulled it out of the fire. So again, that story’s been done a million, a billion times, probably if we look at 1000 years of history.
Ryan: Yeah, I’ve got the same thing. My wife thought I was nuts when I told her I was gonna leave my corporate job, climbing the corporate ladder to go start my own business. And it was amazing because she gave me this ultimatum and she said, here’s the deal. You can leave your corporate job when we’ve got 12 months of savings saved up.
And I was like 12 months, we’ve never had that. I mean, it happened in four and a half months. It’s amazing what will happen when anybody that has these traits puts their mind to it. Like we can solve problems that the world wasn’t able to solve before. And I see it so often in entrepreneurs that have these traits. They’re just born in them and they’re the risk-taker type. So
Gino: Here here. Good for you.
Jeremy: You. So Gino, I want to, as we bring this to the end, I want to move to a couple of the resources you have for the audience to go through and begin this journey. So I know you mentioned My Biz Match, and you had a couple other things. I’ll let you share those.
Gino: Yeah, fantastic. Well, first of all, everything, the epicenter of all things entrepreneurial leap is on the website. And so it’s e-leap.com. What your listeners will find there are a bunch of free tools. A couple of which is that free entrepreneur in the making assessment. So I urge everyone to go take that assessment and find out if this is right for you.
There’s a free chapter of the book. So the first 30 pages of the book is there so you can get a sense of if this book is right for you. And then the other tool amongst many others, is what you said, the My Biz Match tool. And what that is, is what I’m trying to teach, and this is also in the glimpse part of the book, is I’m trying to teach all of the options an entrepreneur has for starting a business because again, the billion-dollar tech unicorn, that’s one type of business you can build. There are 1000 other choices.
And what it does is it helps walk them through all of the industries that exist, size of businesses, are they a b2b, are they a b2c type of an entrepreneur? Are they high price, low volume, high volume, low price? So they got to decide for themselves the type of entrepreneur they are. And they literally go through the My Biz Match tool, just kind of click click, click, click, click on a bunch of different buttons, answering questions, and out of that, they’re going to get a result.
That would be the ideal business for them and it just helps them zero in on the type of business. Again, if you’re a blue collar entrepreneur, that’s where it’s going to take you as to a bunch of blue collar type of businesses to build. And again, if you’re a tech person, it’s going to take you to a bunch of tech type of business you can build. And so it’s called My Biz Match. But everything is at e-leap.com and that’s where they can find wonderful resources to figure out if taking the entrepreneurial leap is right for them.
Jeremy: Gino, I have loved our time together. This has been exciting and I really enjoyed it. For all of those listeners that are out there, I do have a couple asks and the first is that you read this book. And more importantly, if there’s somebody in your life that you feel like is, looks like they’re, they may have those traits, give it to them. I know my son definitely got the assignment of reading this book as he wanted to set on his venture. So if you see a friend, an aunt, an uncle, brother, a cousin, your son or daughter, a student, I definitely would recommend this as they process through that.
And the other request I have is we’re passionate about the blue collar world and, you know, starting and growing businesses within it. So I would ask if you heard about Leap and it encourage you to start on this journey through this podcast, I would ask that you send us an email telling us about your story. We’ll pass it on to Gino. We would love to share and hear some of your stories as you take your leap and you work toward your destiny. So, thank you, Gino, so much for being with us. I appreciate it.
Gino: Thanks, guys. This was a blast.