Which Type of Entrepreneur Are You?

Which Type of Entrepreneur Are You?

There are two different types of entrepreneurs. Some become wildly successful because they’ve learned from and adapted to their mistakes, while others suffer in mediocrity because they’ve simply ignored and repeated their mistakes over and over again.

Let’s look at an example of each:

The Potential Client

A potential client called me over a year ago because he wasn’t getting the results he needed from his website. In a nutshell, his business collected and sold leads for a particular industry. Only, he wasn’t selling. The traffic he received didn’t convert, so he didn’t generate any leads that he could sell.

We talked over several options, including redesigning his website to improve conversions, an SEO campaign to drive targeted traffic to his site, and developing methods that would enable him to continue marketing to his visitors long after they’d left. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the budget for any of the strategies.

In a last-ditch effort to help, I offered a consulting session, which would give him the information he needed to improve his conversions. You would think that for a modest fee, he’d be more than happy to learn how to make improvements so he could start generating revenue.

Instead, he wanted to wait until his website began making money before he invested any into it.

In other words, this potential client had invested time, money and energy into a website that produced absolutely no results, and rather than fixing the problem, he wanted to wait until the site magically began producing the results he wanted.

That’s sort of like waiting until a broken-down car starts working before spending any money on repairs.

This potential client is the type of entrepreneur that waited for the magic to happen for over a year. Can you imagine your business not making any money for a year and not doing anything about it?

The Real Client

Another potential client came to me with the same problem: a website that wasn’t producing the results the company needed.

We talked over several options, including an extensive redesign, an SEO campaign, and a variety of print marketing solutions. Just like the first potential client, this one didn’t have the budget for the proposed strategies…

But he understood that nothing would change until the company changed how it was responding to the situation.

So rather than waiting for something magical to happen, this type of entrepreneur made sure his company scraped together what it could afford, then went out and raised the rest of the necessary investment. They didn’t jump right into every solution I proposed, but they did move forward aggressively enough that the website began producing results, which increased the budget.

Over the next year, the company’s traffic, leads and revenue increased dramatically and even created an opportunity to work with a well-known Fortune 500 company, bringing revenue to a completely new level.

The first potential client wanted results, but he wasn’t willing to do anything to create them. He wanted to benefit before he made any commitments or took any risks.

The second potential client wanted results too, but his company was willing to find ways to help create them. They pulled together the funds they could, negotiated with investors, started small and built on the success.

Realistically, most companies probably won’t land a multimillion dollar contract with a Fortune 500 company, but that’s not the point. The point is that tremendous success is certainly attainable by anyone… but only if you take massive action and risks.

And most people won’t take risks, because that means moving well outside of their comfort zone.

Easy Ways You Can Start Taking Small Risks

You don’t have to rush out and invest thousands of dollars in a new website or an aggressive marketing campaign, but you do have to make continuous forward progress. You need to constantly improve your business so it achieves results.

Here are a few small, easy changes you can make to bring yourself the leverage you need to create positive results. The best part? They’re affordable:

  • When you want better results from your existing website or are planning on launching a new site, a website checklist helps make sure you have everything you need so your website generates more revenue.
  • Most businesses have a blog, but few use them effectively to market their company. That’s where Beyond Bricks and Mortar comes in: it’s an ebook that provides tons of practical advice on using your blog to promote your business.
  • Most of the challenges you face in business are mental ones, and Peter Shallard’s Seek and Destroy is exactly what the doctor ordered to overcome those limitations and achieve the success you want.
  • You’re probably wasting a lot of time on unproductive tasks, which limits the available time you have to spend making real money doing the things you love. That’s why I highly recommend the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss (and I know James enjoyed 168 Hours).

Now it’s time to really get to work.

  • Start writing every day. It doesn’t have to always be a blog post; you could write a white paper, work on developing an info product or even start writing a book. The idea is to put your thoughts down on paper (or screen) so you can improve your communication skills, help inform and educate your prospects and even help you launch info products that you sell.
  • Advertise small, test each one, refine the message, increase volume and repeat.
  • Connect with other peers in your industry. You may be great at what you do, but you can always learn from others. Plus, the more connections you have, the more quickly you can accomplish your goals. And you can probably teach these peers something in return. Remember, it’s not always about you.
  • Use social media properly. Connect with people. Discuss, share and contribute. Don’t be the guy that posts, “Check out my website www.xyz.com,” thirty-five consecutive times on Facebook or who always tweets links on Twitter.
  • Measure performance. Taking action can lead to great things, but if you don’t measure results as you go along, you’re probably leaving a lot of money on the table.
  • Do some digging and find your competitors’ weak points. That was one of the ways we helped the client I mentioned earlier. We saw some amazing opportunities that the competition was ignoring – leveraging that ignorance produced nearly $100,000 in additional monthly revenue for the company. If multimillion dollar companies miss opportunities like that, you can be damn sure your competitors have missed some already – find out which ones!
  • Invest some time in guest blogging each month. If you can spare a little more time, try for each week. No matter how influential your own site might be, there’s always an opportunity to reach new prospects. Plus, it helps build your brand recognition while you hone your writing skills.

Take Action, Learn, Adjust, Repeat

As a veteran Marine, I know that even the best of plans change drastically once the first round is fired. Business is much the same, though there is a lot less danger involved!

You may have the best plan in the world, but it won’t produce any results until you’re willing to put your fear aside, take a risk and act. You also need to be prepared to adjust on the fly, because business is complex and dynamic. Learn from your successes and failures, and use that new knowledge to develop better plans in the future.

Finally, keep moving forward towards the future, because yesterday’s accomplishment is just that.

Post by Jeremy Knauff

Jeremy Knauff is the founder of Spartan Media, a proud father, husband, and US Marine Corps veteran. He has spent over 15 years helping small business up to Fortune 500 companies make their mark online, and today, he’s busy building his own media empire.

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  1. This is freaking WONDERFUL! I love everything about this post. Unfortunately I often find myself in the first category – wishing my site was better but not being able to afford a redesign. It sucks, it really does, as I know I’m not getting the kind of client I should be getting because my site just looks like someone’s personal blog. I’m not charging what I’m worth and not using my site the way it should be used.

    I actually left a similar comment on a post on The Launch Coach about not charging what I’m worth. One thing led to another and a web designer I know contacted me because of that comment. We ended up working out a deal – I’ll do her social media and she’ll redesign my site. We’re mid-design now and this whole bartering thing? BRILLIANT. We’re both getting something out of the deal and I’m so excited for the future of my business and my site.

    All the advice in this post is spot on and if I could add one more it would be: Think about what you need to go from Potential Client to Real Client. Some of us can’t “scrape together the money” or find investors, but we all have something to offer and I’ve found that bartering is an amazing way to build your business when you’re feeling stuck.

    • Marion, love that you were able to barter and create a win-win. That proves this really is a community.

      I am always struck by the fact that people all over the world are connected on Men With Pens.

      Jeremy, best quote of the day: “That’s sort of like waiting until a broken-down car starts working before spending any money on repairs.” Guess we all want the magic without the work and expense.

      Better get off my butt and write. Thanks.

    • Marian, congrats on your arrangement! Be sure to let us know how it turns out. This should show everyone that money isn’t the only tool to get what you need. We all have something that someone else needs, and barter can be a great way to help climb further up the food chain.

      • As a passing gearhead who fancies himself a community builder, I’d like to throw it out there – if you stare at a broken car long enough, it will end up working again – often better than it ever had. This approach takes longer than most, but does work. It’s a lot of tiny, if not microscopic steps, finally adding up to action.

        Consider the poor, pouting sheep pictured above. Nevermind the implausibility of their new Toyota leaving them stranded (without being a result of *their* negligence). Nevermind their finding relative solace *in front* of said sketchy Toyota (further discrediting the unintended acceleration nonsense from earlier this year).

        They’ve turned their backs on their problem.
        They whine and complain and pout like spoiled little children.
        But what are they doing to rectify the situation? Apparently – nothing.

        Confucius said, “It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.” Stand there and stare at your problem. Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action (AIDA). The more you stare at that dead hulk, the more attention (thought) you give the problem. When the time is right – for you – the decision will be made and you’ll take action.

        /random, left-field, gearhead metaphor

        Oh yeah, and big time thank you to the Marine in the house for his continued service.

  2. Hi Jeremy!

    Excellent post. My fav line: Take Action, Learn, Adjust, Repeat. Most folks have weird relationships with their businesses. It’s almost adversarial and you can trace it back to childhood where we learn to “restrain” our natural proclivity to explore (that’s what real entrepreneurs do and they are quite rare) and get on the beaten, organized societal path.

    As you say adjust on the fly! Totally agree about guest posts. I did one this week for Logo Design Love called “Facing Your Toughest Design Client.” It’s a great way to expand your reach …


  3. Fantastic advice! An entrepreneur won’t get anywhere if he doesn’t take action. You’ve touched on every point in this post, and I absolutely love the 4-Hour Workweek (though I haven’t finished it yet). The first two chapters were extremely helpful.

    I’m going to consider advertising and testing each advertisement as I go along. Great post!

  4. This post is filled with so much useful information! It’s nice to really find a valuable article while hunting through my RSS feeds. Your point of not expecting anything to change unless you change something is something we all have to keep in mind. Of course, it raises the fear, “Spending money to make money? But what if I don’t make any?” Well, you certainly won’t be making any unless you change something, and that’s where it becomes important to follow the advice you’ve provided here. I especially like the idea of a website checklist. Thanks for the great post!

  5. Thanks for the comments and compliments everyone, I’m glad I could help!

  6. I wholeheartedly agree that even the best of plans change drastically once the first round is fired. It’s finding your focus and continuing action towards the objective. Measuring and analyzing the results you get and taking action to align them better next time with your desired outcome.

    And Jeremy, you put it best to wrap it up: “Finally, keep moving forward towards the future, because yesterday’s accomplishment is just that.”

    Learning to take calculated risks to move your business forward and leveraging your new accomplishments is some of the best advice I have come across and could share with anyone that intends to succeed as an Entrepreneur.

    Cheers guys

  7. I see these two types as well and the first type is sooo frustrating because you can see that they’re in a catch-22. Yet there’s no way to get them to understand that they’ll need to find the money to invest in order to start bringing in income.

    I recently had a client in the second group and he was amazing to work with. He was on very limited income and had to take money out of his savings to work with me. He did that and we worked together for about four months – he was one of the most highly motivated and successful clients I’ve ever had.

    The two types have such a huge difference in attitude towards their business and investing money. It’s not an expense, it’s an investment.

    It’s like the saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result”

    • Absolutely! There is a huge difference in mindset between the two, aside from what I’ve covered in the article.

      I’ve noticed that the 1st type (in the rare cases when they do take a step forward) are, to say the least, less than pleasurable to work with. The 2nd type are more often than not, the most enjoyable clients you’ll have.

  8. Strong stuff Jeremy…I’m especially partial to your suggestion on writing something everyday. Without question, there is something simply magical about this practice of forced cognition. Since I ventured down the road of writing something every day about a year ago, the changes that have been wrought in my life are nothing short of unbelievable. Great stuff, sound advice….keep up the good work man.

  9. That’s an awesome reminder, Jeremy.

    I’m definitely the second one, because I had no money for my website but I got my moola together and invested in a premium designer that was super-expensive.

    Grreat design and branding matters, if you are not willing to invest in it, you just show that it’s not important to you.

    Pushing constantly your comfort zone is the surest way to grow (your biz), and taking small steps like you suggested is the best way to launch that avalanche.

    Tiny steps every day mean HUGE results in the long run, you just got to get your momentum going and going and going πŸ˜‰

  10. Hey Jeremy,

    This is a really useful post and you’ve put your finger on a major (often psychological) roadblock that holds back entrepreneurs in the beginning, crucial stages of their careers.

    In my experience, that reluctance to invest is almost always driven by totally irrational (but real) Fear… so thanks for the mention of my Fear ebook. Very appropriate! πŸ˜€

    • Thanks Peter!

      I agree…my completely arbitrary assumption is that 99% of fear is BS. It blows most people’s minds to see what they can do when they just take action rather than waiting for all of the stars to line up.

  11. Man what a great post! I cannot tell you how many times I wished for that magic pill formula. I have only been active in my niche for five months and my site is gaining traffic exponentially due to the advice given from posts like these from Nathan Hangen, Chris Brogan, and you folks here as well. I have to also mention that my excellent friend Marco Corona has been and continues to be an integral part of what I am doing and he is constantly reminding of the small steps that we can take to make the things I do better. Even when it seems to be moving at a snails pace it’s important to remember if you’re investing in moving forward then the speed really doesn’t matter. If you’re not investing in moving forward then there’s a real opportunity of failure.

    • You mentioned the small steps…that really makes all the difference.

      There is very little difference between what someone with average accomplishments and someone with outstanding accomplishments does on a day to day basis, but over time, the tiny difference eventually adds up.

      The little steps build not only progress, but also your own confidence.

  12. Love the potential client story. You see that so much, and some people just can’t be moved. Why contact somebody if you aren’t willing to pay for their assistance? Thats a win/lose dynamic and it just won’t work…

  13. Too true, I seem to deal a lot with ‘potential clients’. Must work on trying to catch the real clients instead. It’s a great definition of it and i’m sure just about all of us have had this problem before.

  14. As the old adage goes, you have to spend money to make money! An entrepreneur won’t get anywhere if they just sit and wait for things to happen.

  15. I guess it’s all about taking risks and being able to persevere and not be easily contented. Thanks for sharing

  16. Just back from a refreshing and unplugged week in Acadia National Park & this was a great post to get me back in the business groove. πŸ™‚

    As Peter Shallard said, the difference between these two types of folks often boils down to how they deal with fear. Do they let it paralyze, or do they use it to motivate themselves into action?

    If you look at it another way it’s a difference in how much faith you put in yourself. The people who have a lot of faith in themselves aren’t as afraid to take risks. They know that even if they have temporary setbacks, they will be able to pick themselves up and try again. The people who aren’t so sure that they have what it takes will hold back – worried that if they risk something and lose they will never be able to get back to where they are today.

    On a purely pragmatic basis, this post also speaks to the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money.”

  17. I wouldn’t say you always have to spend money, but you do always have to take action. As Marian has proven, you can find creative ways to take action even if/when you don’t have lots of extra money sitting around.

  18. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I just don’t know how to get started. The 4-Hour Work Week certainly did really get the ball rolling in my head but I still couldn’t find ways to formulate what I actually want. Only thing I know is I want something I can Automate and Auto-Pilot (“Muse”). But I still couldn’t figure it out. The only thing I have started so far is my blog (Productivity Bits). May be it will start something.

  19. I can relate to your post as I had a similar thing happen to me, good point and gives me an interest on it. Take a risk and do all the action to preserve it.Good work


  1. […] to be confused with our own article on entrepreneurship, Jeremy L. Knauff guest posted on Men With Pens asking the question – what type of entrepreneur are you? great inspirational post for those looking to lead an entrepreneurial […]

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