My late wife, Jane, inspired me to write The Entrepreneur Ethos. (BookLocker – ISBN: 9781634925501) She was a publicist for professional athletes. Standing at 5’2”, and of Asian descent, she would routinely put 6’5”, 300-pound NFL linemen in their place. Although she was a tour de force, she had the same challenges, if not more, that minorities, and especially in a field where women entrepreneurs have to deal with the white male-dominated culture — to which I happen to belong.
When Jane and I first met, I was working at my digital health startup, which was trying to reduce medical errors. The company had been accepted into a popular startup accelerator that contained over 30 young companies, with equally young founders, trying to make their “dents in the universe.”
Before I started the digital health company, I had been at five other startups spanning over 20 years, with one being successful. I had learned a lot about the power of mindset, and not worrying about the external trappings of fame, fortune, and prestige. All those external trappings were fleeting, and never kept me going. What kept me going was my “Why?”
I had looked around for a book that detailed the internal mindset of being an entrepreneur, and did not find any that met the standard of how to build a more inclusive, resilient, and ethical entrepreneur community. The topic continued to interest me because of both Jane’s struggles, and the questions that my fellow accelerator cohorts would ask. These young founders were worried about growth hacking and being externally successful, but they were all struggling with the roller-coaster that being an entrepreneur entails. It was this internal struggle that was giving them the most challenge.
Writing The Entrepreneur Ethos began on December 25th, 2015 when I interviewed my father-in-law, Tim. He was an import/export entrepreneur who was a role model for Jane and I. The very next day, Jane was diagnosed with leukemia. This devastating news made it all the more important to look deep in my own soul to figure out why I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and how I could also help Jane with her business. It was a test of my ego since I had to put aside my aspirations for startup success to squarely focus on helping Jane get better, and take on a business that I had zero interest in. It turns out that both of these challenges are at the core of the book.
The traits, values, and beliefs that make up the core of The Entrepreneur Ethos focus more on the good of the community, as opposed to the short-term benefits to the individual. This lesson was repeatedly revealed to me as I interviewed over 35 entrepreneurs, ran Jane’s PR & Marketing business, and got help from friends, family, and strangers in caring for Jane. It turns out that the entrepreneur journey, like life’s journey, requires a community of like-minded individuals that share a common esprit de corps. This esprit de corps was how the book formed itself into a simple yet powerful set of five principles that, when adhered to, create a more inclusive, resilient, and ethical entrepreneur community.
These principles include:
- Failure is an option but never the end result
- Integrity is my middle name
- Seeking the truth will guide my decisions
- The journey is my reward
- Being an entrepreneur is an honor I must earn daily
Those are what got me through writing the book, and Jane’s heroic fight against leukemia. It’s these principles that I try to live each and every day to not only be the change I want to see, but to honor the legacy of Jane and all those entrepreneurs that came before me. For it’s through them that I earn the honor of being an entrepreneur daily.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Entrepreneur Ethos is a book which combines the essential mindset required for success, along with the practical steps required to get there. It draws on the experiences of entrepreneurs from around the world to give a rare insight into how ethical, resilient, and inclusive entrepreneurs survive and thrive.
Thousands of companies get started each year to buck the trend, disrupt the market, change the paradigm, and put their own dents in the universe. Friends, family, and others often ridicule the people who start these companies because they don’t believe they have what it takes to succeed. Who are these people who dare to believe they are creating the next Facebook, Twitter, Tesla, or insert your favorite unicorn (a company with > $1B valuation) here? Most of these new companies will fail, but thousands will try anyway, even though the odds are stacked against them.
The thing to realize is that, without entrepreneurs, many of the greatest and most significant innovations we rely on daily would not exist – mobile phones, streaming audio and video, online software, electric cars, self-driving cars, etc. Even corporate “failures” like AltaVista, Webvan, and Pets.com paved the way to make our lives better. That’s why it’s critical to set forth an Ethos that provides a framework to enable all entrepreneurs to not only have a shot at success, but to also encourage inclusive and ethical behavior so that the entrepreneur community can remain resilient to the challenges of the 21st century.
About the Author
Jarie Bolander is an engineer by training and an entrepreneur by nature. He has over 20 years of experience bringing innovative technology products to the market. This gives him a unique perspective on the power of storytelling for businesses since the best story, not technology wins. He is a Certified Story Grid Editor who uses his editor training to help mentor entrepreneurs on how to tell better stories. He has published six books with his latest being a Big Idea Nonfiction book called The Entrepreneur Ethos which shows how to build a more ethical, inclusive, and resilient entrepreneur community. He is also a podcaster on the Story Grid Editor Roundtable podcast, which digs deep into story structure and how to tell better stories.
This book is available from the publisher, BookLocker.com, as well as from Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and many other stores. If purchasing from BookLocker, use this discount code when checking out to get 10% off: Backstory
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