The Instruction Manual for the Entrepreneurís Mind

Paul Graham is the perfect example of an Empowered Entrepreneur. The acquisition

of his earlier company, Viaweb, by Yahoo for $49 million and 145

start-ups since have made him somewhat of a hero to techies and

entrepreneurs who dream of translating their ideas into some of the

red-hot Web 2.0 companies Graham has helped launch.

In a suffering economy, few would think it possible to create bundles of wealth, but according to Graham there is opportunity

everywhere in the world of software. His new company, Y Combinator,

advices and funds 40 start-ups per year. His idea was to create a

start-up machine by innovating the start-up process. His

guiding principle is smaller, cheaper, faster, precisely those factors

that lead to the innovation that fuels successful entrepreneurship.

Graham has proved that even the process of innovation can be innovated.

According to Inc. Magazine, which features him on the cover of its June issue, “Graham’s

system generates scores of ideas, churns out dozens of new companies,

and creates hundreds of jobs – for a lot less than you might think.”

Graham’s accomplishments prove that even when the economy is in

decline, there is room for innovation and that innovation can be highly


What about the story of Millennium Music. With sweeping changes to the music industry and the sale of online music, Millennium music’s profit had declined by double digits each year. Kent Wagner and

his partner Clayton Woodson did what any great business mind would do:

adapt. Instead of folding up the business, they decided to transform it


Although the focus of Millennium Music was around record and CD sales, the store also featured a used music section which allowed customers to trade used CDs for store credit. Wagner and Woodson used this as the basis for the company’s future and in 2006 launched

By 2007, the site has brought in almost one quarter of the company’s total revenue. And the entrepreneurial pursuits of the two don’t end there.


is it that enables Graham, Wagner, Woodson and others like them to turn

even the most difficult challenges into opportunities for profit? Few would claim that the phenomenal success of these three is due to chance. There is a secret to success, and that secret is in the mind.

Behind the entrepreneurial results individuals like Graham have produced is the mind of an entrepreneur. Hiding

behind the scenes are beliefs, perceptions and mental strategies, the

very mental strategies that lead to extraordinary results.

If so, just what is hiding behind the scenes?


define performance as the behavioral manifestation of aspects of

cognitive functioning. Put more simply, the results we achieve in life

are a product of what we have in the mind- our internal programming.

How we get from the stuff of mind to results in life functions based on

a simple formula: Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to actions which

lead to results. You can try to do what Graham did, but without his

beliefs, mental strategies and perceptual filters, you will quickly

fall short.

What are the beliefs of an empowered entrepreneur? In working with and studying the mind’s of successful entrepreneurs, I’ve

found a common theme, an idea they swear by that gets them up in the

morning and inspires them to do what they do with unrelenting focus.

What is it? Opportunity is everywhere.


run this idea like software of the mind. The program acts like a

driving force, pushing them to seek out and uncover hidden

opportunities in the most unlikely situations. While

opportunity passes by all those who believe that times are tough, the

economy is in a slump, and now is not the time to be investing or

taking risks, some entrepreneurs are seizing up opportunities and

delighting in the returns.


all the risks and difficulties involved, what is it that leads

individuals like Graham to devote all their time and energy to starting

a business (or 145 of them)? The belief that founding a company is the most efficient way to create wealth. Average

individuals think that if you need money, you get a job. And that’s

precisely how the successful entrepreneur sees it: If you need money

get a job… if you want wealth, build a company.


beliefs aren’t the only secret to success. In the back of the mind of

the empowered entrepreneur are mental strategies that lead to success.

To produce any result in life, whether its poor performance or

impressive results, there is a strategy operating in the mind – a

sequence of thoughts, perceptions and ideas that lead to decisions and

actions. A

strategy is like a recipe- when you combine all the ingredients in the

right amount and in the right order, you get the desired result. What

are the ingredients of a mental strategy? Thoughts, ideas, perceptions,

and feelings.


mind of the stunningly successful entrepreneur is filled with great

questions. Bright questions lead to bright results, and questions are

the first step in the mental strategy of the world’s most impressive

performers. Questions direct thinking. Most people ask themselves poor quality questions. “Why do I always fail?” “What’s wrong with me?”


interesting thing about the mind is that it will search for and find an

answer to whatever question you ask it. If you ask poor quality

questions you will get poor quality answers and poor quality results.

Running behind the scenes in the mind, individuals like Graham ask themselves first-rate questions, questions that lead to superior results. What’s the secret question that fuels the innovation behind successful entrepreneurship? How can I make this better, faster, cheaper? Brilliant business minds like Graham ask themselves this question as if it held the key to life. They

might not come up with an answer right away, but it doesn’t matter.

They plant the question like a seed and water it with continued focus. They ask and ask and ask as if they were chanting the question like a mantra until the seeds begin to germinate and answers begin to arrive.


right questions lead to a flood of creativity that can lead to

innovation. When you ask the right question, the mind becomes filled

with images, snapshots and movies of ideas, possibilities and opportunities. Bright questions lead to bright ideas.

And the mind of the entrepreneur is filled with many more secrets. July 14th

at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel is The Empowered Entrepreneur

Event. Some of Montreal’s brightest business minds have teamed up with

local Entrepreneurial groups to connect, share and learn with the aim

of fueling the economy by empowering entrepreneurs. I

will be kicking off the day by giving the secrets to running your brain

like a Paul Graham, Warren Buffet or a Donald Trump. What could you do

with The Instruction Manual for the Entrepreneur’s Mind?

Author:. Sales and business coach, marketing strategist and direct response copywriter, David is every business owner's secret weapon. Former Vice President of the Canadian Association of NLP, David's  expertise has landed him training and consulting contracts with companies such as Sun Life Finan... Go Deeper | Website

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