An interview with Gino Wickman, about his book “Entrepreneurial Leap: Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur?”.
Who was this book written for?
I wrote this book to help entrepreneurs in the making, get a huge jumpstart on taking their entrepreneurial leaps and to increase their odds of success. Because as you may know, the odds of success are quite horrific for startups. So that was the reason.
And who it’s for is primarily, it’s for an entrepreneur in the making. So it’s for anyone that believes that they might be an entrepreneur, this is the book to help them ultimately determine if they are. So that’s the primary audience. And then there’s a secondary audience. It’s for anyone that helps entrepreneurs in the making. So it’s anyone educating them, mentoring them, it might be a parent, a guardian, a teacher, a professor a mentor. This book is intended to be a tool for them. It’s great content for them to help them help the entrepreneurs in their life that they like to help. Then there’s this third audience I did not anticipate, but it’s evolving out of this and it’s an entrepreneur that has taken their entrepreneurial leap, is in the very early stages in that startup phase, that crazy startup phase, and it’s a great tool for them to make sure they made the right decision. It’s also a great tool to make sure they’re doing all the right things to increase their odds in their startup. So that’s what it’s for.
What is the big idea behind the book?
The content is broken into three parts. So it’s part one is confirm, part two is glimpse, part three is path. So in the confirm step, it’s all about confirming whether you are or you aren’t. A true entrepreneur has six essential traits. They are visionary, passionate, problem solver, driven, risk-taker and responsible. You either have those traits or you don’t. I believe you are born with them. They can’t be taught. It is nature over nurture. So the big idea there is you either have them or you don’t. If you do and there’s an assessment you can take, I take you through this emotional, psychological soul searching, self-discovery to decide if you have those traits. Once you do, then we go to the next two parts of the book.
The second part is about glimpse. It’s then showing you all of your options as an entrepreneur and there are so many options. I get into various stories. I share a day in the life, both the good and the bad, heaven and hell, what it looks like when it’s great, what it looks like when it’s bad. I share how to avoid the mistakes and so it’s showing them what’s possible.
And then we take them to part three, path, and we show them a path that is less bumpy. It will help them eliminate half the mistakes they’re about to make. They’ll still make the other half. It’s all part of the learning process, but it will truly help increase the odds of their success.
How important is passion for an entrepreneur?
There’s an entire chapter on the subject of passion because it’s so important. Assuming you have those six essential traits and you are a true entrepreneur, if I were to teach one thing, it would be you’ve got to find your passion. It all starts with passion, purpose, or cause or your why or whatever you want to call it, but this thing that absolutely drives you to be successful because it is the number one reason that entrepreneurs survive because you get your ass kicked so many times and this thing you’re trying to create or this idea you have, the odds are against you. Most people think you’re crazy. So you’ve got to have absolute belief in that. When you get knocked down, it’s the passion that lifts you up. If you’re just doing it for the money, you might survive the first time getting knocked down, but you’re not going to survive the multiple times. The nugget I would leave…
So I give various ways to discover your passion, this book, because it’s so important. It’s actually the first part in the first part of the path because it’s so important. But it’s an exercise I learned and I wish I could remember where I learned this. I can’t remember if I read it in a book or a mentor taught it to me, but it’s a 30 minute exercise where you go sit someplace quiet, the library, a coffee shop. For me, it’s always a coffee shop, where there are no interruptions or distractions and you sit down and you answer three questions about yourself.
Question number one, is what are your three greatest successes? Question number two, what are your three greatest failures? And then question number three is, what has life prepared you for? Out of that, when I did that exercise 20 something years ago, I mean it was a light bulb moment for me and it has helped so many that I shared that with, because in that, your passion always or most of the time stems from a wound, a pain, a need, a void you’re trying to fill in the world, a problem you’re trying to solve.
So for me, my light bulb moment was in my late twenties after I turned around a family business. It’s so ingrained in me seeing an entrepreneur suffer and struggle with their business, that I just want to help entrepreneurs become free, become more creative, make an impact on the world. So that’s what drives me.
How can someone find their passion?
Second take away I would give you and your audience from this conversation is a chapter I write called, “Take action and be patient.” Okay? So what I’m teaching and what I’m urging is 10 year thinking. I ask an urge, please change your thinking because most young entrepreneurs, and this book is for any age. If you’re 16 or 60, this book is for you. But young entrepreneurs, they want it now, they need it now or they think they’ve got to be successful in a year and if you’ll shift your thinking to 10 year timeframes, you can accomplish anything in 10 years. So to your point in your question, I still believe you need to take action, which means you got to try a lot of stuff, practice a lot of stuff. From 18 to 25, my life was so messy in terms of me trying different things, different jobs, different careers. But when I look back on all that though, there are these wonderful things that happened that led me to my passion.
So be patient. Your passion will come. Keep your eyes peeled. Just take action, do things and it will come. To your question, I believe finding your passion before you take the leap is going to increase your odds of success. To take a leap without a passion, you’re doing it for the money. I’m reminded of an interview I did, a podcast interview I did where the very successful entrepreneur that interviewed me was talking about when he started and he took us entrepreneurial leap, he was money motivated because it was about survival. He was broke. He needed to pay the bills. So I think there’s a thread of truth in what you’re saying, if you’re doing this to survive. But what I found fascinating about his story is, did it to survive and then a few years into it, he learned and realized his passion.
What I believe is that if he had soul searched, the passion typically was there. So if he really knew on the front end what that passion was sooner and these tools may have helped him, I think it would have been a better leap for him. There’s an example of someone that didn’t really know their passion. It came later and it was discovered through the entrepreneurial leap, but started their business out of sheer survival skills. So I think that there’s a thread of truth in what you’re saying and that’s the best answer I can give you there.
How can someone take the Entrepreneurial Leap?
Yeah. The beauty is they can go to the website e-leap.com and all the tools are free. This assessment I’m talking about is free. There’s a free chapter of the book. So the first, roughly 30 pages are available for free on the website to download. They could already get started. It won’t cost them a penny. And if this draws them in, then certainly buy the book and go deeper. But yeah, it’s a resource center, that website. I want to help as many people as I can and it’s there for anyone that wants to take the leap.