I first met Michael Gerber in November of 2006 when he generously gave of his time and knowledge to come to Phoenix as a volunteer to speak at the First Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference. OTEF was a fledgling organization in those days – but we had a dream – to provide entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and support to at risk populations in finding economic sustainability through entrepreneurship. To do that we needed the funds to offer programs and the conference was a way to share our message and raise the funds to pursue the dream. Our project captured Michael’s imagination.
Since that day, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know each other better. During my years as CEO at the ASBA, Michael was a wonderful supporter, sharing his knowledge on teleconferences with our members, coming, with his wife Luz Delia, to share in the celebration of the 2007 Arizona Companies to Watch, sharing ideas with me and our small business community at the Enterprise Business Conference in 2008 to celebrate Small Business Week, and best of all inviting me to The Dreaming Room and plopping me down in the Hot Seat for a challenging one on one session.
Over the years he has had many titles – but my favorite – is Chief Dreamer. When you get to know him, you see how important the dream is to him and to the tens of thousands of entrepreneurs he has worked with.
In the video below from the Cisco Innovators Forum, Michael shares some of his thoughts on how entrepreneurs can get it right from the beginning. After the video – I have a few questions of my own to ask the one and only Michael Gerber.
“A life without a dream is a life without a purpose. A life without a purpose is a life without meaning.” Michael Gerber
JKW: Michael, in your books, seminars, and programs, you share the secrets of entrepreneurial success. You have spent decades sharing these secrets – WHY do you do it?
MG: What else would I do? Everywhere I look, people are suffering for a lack of direction. During my life I have worked with thousands of those people, and as they begin to see their lives through the entrepreneurial prism dramatic shifts occur. It’s a fantastic feeling to witness those shifts.
JKW: You have made a career helping entrepreneurs succeed in achieving their dreams. Have you always been successful or was there a time when something happened that others would term an entrepreneurial failure? If so, how did you recover?
MG: I’ve had so many failures I can’t count them. In fact, I don’t even want to, the pain is too great. But, at the same time, my failures have always led to successes. Not necessarily connected, perhaps, but the one, the failure, taught the other, the success, that the deliberate straightforward path is not always the best path, that the success is most often realized as an epiphany that arises out of the failure in a completely unexpected fashion. So, I have come to look forward to the unexpected.
JKW: You have written over 13 books for entrepreneurs and you have a new one being released in January 2010. Can you give us a little sneak peak at what it’s all about?
MG: It’s name is The Most Successful Small Business In The World: The Ten Principles. It speaks to the essence of what I believe must exist in an enterprise, and an entrepreneur’s relationship with it, for it to truly flourish. You’ll have to read it to find out the secret.
JKW: When you are not writing, speaking, and inspiring others, I know that you like to read – a lot. Whose book inspires you – and why?
MG: I read fiction, not business. I rarely read anything to do with business. The reason is, I don’t learn from books, I learn from action. On the other hand, I highly recommend that all small business owners and entrepreneurs read my books. Because unlike all other business books, my books are born out of the actions I’ve taken, and the conclusions I’ve reached as a result of those actions. In short, they are less books, than they are cautionary tales.
JKW: You and I have talked about social media, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter as it has been evolving. So Michael, do you tweet?
MG: Not yet, but soon.
JKW: I’ve heard that this year, as a special gift, you are hosting a FREE con call on New Year’s Day with entrepreneurs to help them kick the year off right. How can our readers participate?
MG: Very easy. Just call in at +1 (866) 951-1151 (Conference Code Number: 1984938# )
It starts at 4 p.m. PST and will last 90 minutes. I do this every year, but this year is special, as my new book comes out on January 6th, and during my Teleconference I’ll be sharing The Ten Principles for creating the most successful small business in the world.
JKW: Thanks so much Michael for taking the time to answer a few questions. As you know, I always have more. I guess I’ll just write them down and heave them ready for when I see you in Phoenix for a Meet Up on January 25th. (Readers: Stay tuned to @joankw for more details in January.) Who knows – maybe some of our readers will be there too and have new questions for both of us.
So readers, what do YOU think. Are you ready to kick off the new year right? I’ll be on the call – will you?
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…