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Sunday, December 06, 2009

About InCouraged- Because Courage is Contagious

Who is Megan? Honestly, I don't have a clue. But Megan encouraged me today with a blog post.

Her blog is called InCouraged. The sub caption is..."Because Courage Is Contagious".

Megan shares a series of five posts this month that I have really enjoyed:
Dec. 1 - Being A Better Decider
Dec. 2 - Liberating Your Emotional Real Estate
Dec. 3 - Rounding Out Your Inner Circle
Dec. 4 - Adding Structure to Gain Freedom
Dec. 5 - An Open Letter to Aspiring Entrepreneurs

If you are considering becoming a baby boomer entrepreneur, I encourage you to check out InCouraged.

On her blog, Megan talks about an epiphany she had one day in the shower. She shares the story behind the birth of the blog. Let me just share with you this part of the story:

So why are we doing this? Because it takes courage to look fear in the face, embrace it, learn from it and convert it into a positive force that only you can create. And in this day and age, we need more of it. A lot more.

I hope you will be encouraged by InCouraged. Let's prove that Megan is right...that Courage Is Contagious.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, What "Blank" Are You Trying to Sell?

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, what "BLANK" are you trying to sell? Will your customers be able to find you because your BLANK is clearly available through all the important channels?

Will all the right sources tell your potential customers that your BLANK is the best BLANK available? Will people see you as the guru of BLANK? Are you the world wide leader of the BLANK Tribe?

If you struggle with getting the word out about your BLANK, you might want to know about MY FREE BLANK, Join The Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Ben McConnell at the Society for Word Of Mouth for the video:

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Entrepreneurship At Any Age - So What?

Does age matter if you are an entrepreneur? The answer is "no" according to 18 year old Houston based entrepreneur, Keith J Davis. He makes his debut as a book author with "Young? So What!" (K. Jerrold Publishing, U.S. $15.00).

He lists 10 steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur. He shares that the common question is "What can an 18 year old tell me about achieving success?" ReShonda Tate Billingsley, a national best selling author answers. "I recommend 'Young? So What!' to anyone looking for greater clarity on how to achieve success as an entrepreneur or in life period."

Davis' top ten list begins with having the right mindset. He credits his parents for leading him in the direction that helped him develop his mindset. "They instilled in me that there are no excuses for not attaining your life goals and no certain age for when a person should begin to leave a mark in the world."

Though Davis has targeted sharing his message with other kids his own age, he has a message for us baby boomer entrepreneurs as well. "Over 50" So What?"

You can find more about Keith Davis at

Shallie Bey
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baby Boomers, Listen To “The Next Iron Chef” Winner's Recipe For Entrepreneurship

Michael Symon, 2007 winner of The Next Iron Chef, has recipes for food and for business success. Learn how he starts new projects. Learn why national hotel chains are giving him offers to design and operate new restaurants. Learn his concepts that apply to any business strategy. Learn what you can do to effectively get your business started.

Learn why in a volatile business like restaurants, 75% of his initial staff still works for him. Find out what he means when he says his first goal is to figure out how to do it the right way, and then how to make money.

This is a 27 minute video by an amazing and entertaining entrepreneur. See if he can get you to “drink the koolaid”.

Shallie Bey
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, What Are The Behaviors of Successful Business Owners?

Would you like to know the three issues that every business owner must deal with regardless of the size of the business?

Would you like to learn a three step process to successfully address those issues?

Do you know why you must evaluate your success based upon the success of the people you hire?

Do you know why beginning with the One Page Business Plan can be the foundation of your success?

If those are interesting to you, you want to watch Ron Finklestein's video, Behaviors of Successful Business Owners. Ron is a business coach. He is also an expert author at This site is promoted as the Internet's #1 resource for small Business motivation and strategies.

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of all ages, five minutes invested in this video could give you the leg up to success that you are seeking.

Shallie Bey
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, Does Business Incubation Improve The Odds of Business Success?

As the economy continues to be weak, it is important for baby boomer entrepreneurs to know about business incubation. Business incubation in a formal program may be the key to business success as you form your new enterprise. If you can't join a business incubation program, you may want to simulate one of your own.

The National Business Incubation Association says that business incubation programs provide entrepreneurs with a guiding hand to help them turn their ideas into viable businesses. Since the first incubator opened in Batavia, N.Y., 50 years ago, incubation programs around the world have been providing client companies with business support services and resources tailored to young firms to help increase their chances of success.

Does Business Incubation Improve Odds of Success?
The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration validates that incubation works. Their research says that business incubators provide communities with significantly greater results at less cost than do any other type of public works project.

Researchers found that business incubators are the most effective means of creating jobs – more effective than roads and bridges, industrial parks, commercial buildings, and sewer and water projects. In fact, incubators provide up to 20 times more jobs than community infrastructure projects (e.g., water and sewer projects) at a Federal Government cost of $144 to $216 per job compared with $2,920 to $6,872 for the latter.

In another EDA-funded study in the mid 1990s, it was found that 87 percent of all firms that had graduated from NBIA member incubation programs remained in business – and about 84 percent remained in the incubator's community.

It is estimated that in 2005 alone, North American incubators assisted more than 27,000 start up companies that provided full-time employment for more than 100,000 workers and generated annual revenues of more than $17 billion. Many thousands more jobs were created by companies that had already graduated from these business incubation programs and now operate self-sufficiently in their communities.

If a strategic focus on innovation and entrepreneurship makes the difference in businesses started in business incubators, a similar focus will work for you.

Find out more about business incubation by visiting the National Business Incubation Association at

If you can't find an incubator, you may be able to simulate the incubation process by participating in a structured process. See our suggestions on doing this by visiting Join The Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs.

Shallie Bey
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shallie Bey Joins New Twitter-based Question and Answer Resource for the Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, gain access to a community of over 80 professionals and organizations for free timely advice!

If you are a baby boomer looking for help with career choice options, beginning an encore career, or launching a new business venture, there is a new resource available to you.

Shallie Bey of Smarter Small Business Blog, dozens of other professionals and the Baby Boomer Knowledge Center (TM) are contributing to the improvement of communications and relationships between professionals and you, the baby boomer consumer. This new initiative is called @BoomerAuthority. Shallie Bey will serve as one of the authorities on baby boomer entrepreneurs and other business issues.

You can submit questions to @BoomerAuthority through Twitter. It doesn't matter whether you need help with an issue, have a question, seek an opinion, or simply want a recommendation. You just send a public message on Twitter to @BoomerAuthority. The twitter message will be monitored and directed to a person with the appropriate expertise to help you. You will get a direct response back to you in your preferred method of response.

For more information on how to use this resource, go to Baby Boomer Knowledge Center
Or, go directly to @BoomerAuthority to ask your question.

Shallie Bey

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, Michael Gerber Says There Is A System To Create What You Don't Know How To Create (Part 3)

In Part 3 of this interview on The New Millionaire with Kean Wong, Michael Gerber continues his discussion on how to create the system to create what you don't know how to create. He shares his new thoughts on the role of dreaming as the missing ingredient that kept him from inspiring entrepreneurs to the level he wanted to inspire them.

Listen to the concept of the entrepreneur incubator. This incubator is not the incubator of your business but the incubator of your mind.

And please see our free directory of other information about Michael Gerber and the E-Myth Revisited. If you missed Parts 1 and 2 of the interview, you will find them there.

Shallie Bey
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Michael Gerber Says There Is A System To Create What You Don't Know How To Create Part 2

In Part 2 of this interview with Kean Wong of The New Millionaire, Michael Gerber takes up the issue of how to create a world class business operating system. He shares how he used that concept to build his company and to have his company train other business owners to do the same thing.

And please see our free directory of other information about Michael Gerber and the E-Myth Revisited. If you missed Part 1 of the interview, you will find it there.

Shallie Bey
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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, Michael Gerber Says There Is A System To Create What You Don't Know How To Create (Part 1)

Baby Boomer, as you stand before the task of creating a new business, to join the entrepreneurs, you have a problem. The problem is that you have to create something that you have never created before, a working business. Further, you have to do that and you probably don't know how. Even worse, the majority of people who have tried what you are doing have failed.

Michael Gerber says that does not have to be a problem for you. The author of the E-Myth Revisited, the man who has explained why so many small businesses fail, says there is a system that you can follow to achieve success. In an interview by Kean Wong of The New Millionaire, he begins to explain the system to you. Please take a look.

And please see our free directory of other information about Michael Gerber and the E-Myth Revisited.

Shallie Bey
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs Jailbreak Your Life Not Just Your Phone

Imagine you have this great new phone, with all kinds of wonderful applications. There is just one little problem, there is one important application that you need and your phone doesn't support it. Do you learn to just live with what the manufacturer gives you? Or do you have options? For many, the solution is to “Jailbreak your phone”.

Though I am very proud of my degree as an electrical engineer from Purdue University, I don't know much about jailbreaking your phone. However, there is a very interesting blog called “What Do You Know” that recently spoke to the topic. It got me to thinking about us baby boomers who want to become entrepreneurs but haven't taken the step yet. What Do You Know...about Jailbreaking Your Life?

The Pwnage Tool & Jailbreaking an IPhone is the title of the post by Robert Bockenkamp. In all fairness, I need to start out by saying that Robert does not advocate jailbreaking your phone. He points out clearly that he is only explaining to you what it is.

I, on the other hand, not only want to explain to you what jailbreaking your life is, I want to encourage and possibly even help you in taking the step. But let's begin with Robert's definitions:

Pwnage Tools is a program that facilitates the jailbreaking of an IPhone or Ipod Touch.

Technical Definition of Jailbreak: The iPhone and iPod touch hack that allow users to gain access to the entire Unix file system. In Unix terms, this refers to changing the root of the directory tree to /.

Understandable Definition of Jailbreak: A hack that gains access to areas of the iPhone or iPod Touch that users aren’t supposed to mess with. Typically, this is an immediate prelude to either installing cool programs, unlocking the handset for use with another cellular network, or both.

Through jailbreaking, you are able to add additional applications to your iPhone or iPod Touch. It allows you to do so by adding an application called Cydia (firmware 2.x) or Installer (firmware 1.1.4 and below) to your iPhone or iPod Touch. It also also modding (changing) of your iPhone/iPod Touch application icons, wallpaper, dock, status bar, chat bubbles, weather backgrounds, keyboard

On to Jailbreaking your life

So, do words like the following interest you:

  • Ending the pawn age (pwnage)

  • Controlling parts of your life that you aren't supposed to mess with

  • Installing really cool programs into your life

  • Are you tired of having to accept what is given to you?

Then it is probably time to begin thinking about how to Jailbreak Your Life. Many people us entrepreneurship as the tool to bring freedom into their lives.

Among baby boomers, entrepreneurship is fast becoming an alternative to the traditional retirement path. Americans aged 55 to 64 are starting businesses at a higher rate than any other age group.

But mooding, as in changing the mood of your cell phone, is also necessary for jailbreaking your life.

  • You have to change your thinking, your mindset, from that of an employee to that of a business owner.

  • You also have to learn new skills that might not have been used in your last job description. One of those key skills that you must introduce is how to master marketing. You can have the best product or service in the universe but you can't sell it if people don't know about it.

Plan Your Jailbreak

You can consume many resources in the process of starting your business. Let me recommend to you that you use the many free and low cost resources that are available on the Internet. I have become particularly interested in social media marketing as a free tool to help with marketing. You can find more about that at: The Secret Recipe...

I have also created for you a free resource directory at:

Join The Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

and a video for you Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs You Need A Guide

Now - Click the links and check out the resources I have for you. Make a good plan to Jailbreak Your Life!

Shallie Bey

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs - The Story Lady Has A Story About You

In the beginning, you were not having the life you wanted, but in the end you lived happily ever after.

If you like that story, you want to read some of the work of The Story Lady.

Quoting from her bio on Amazon:

Ronda Del Boccio unknowingly began her path to becoming The Story Lady as a tot when she invented skits and stories with her stuffed toys. She was born with an eye conditions that mean she will never drive or see "normally," so she lives every day with added challenges that she calls "speed bumps."

All her life people have opened up to her and shared their lives in the safe space she innately offers. Recognized globally as The Story Lady, she teaches authors, business owners, entrepreneurs, and visionary individuals just like you to reach your ideal customers, readers, and associates through the power of your story.

Along with Bonnie Tesh, she co-authored the inspirational book I'll Push You Steer: The Definitive Guide to Stumbling Through Life with Blinders On.

Her new book The Geometry of Success comes out soon. She is an award-winning author, transformational speaker and mentor who teaches you how to connect with anyone through the power of storytelling and live from your power.

"When you share facts, you touch a mind, but when you share your story, you touch a life. And when you touch one life, you touch at least a thousand lives." -- Ronda Del Boccio, The Story Lady.

Ronda Del Boccio tells us to serve before we sell. And that is exactly what she does on her blog

Please check her out to get the story of your happy ending.

Follow her on twitter at

Shallie Bey

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs - Use Twitter Secret Recipe to Develop Leads and Cashflow for Your Business

What skills do you need to develop if you plan on going into semi-retirement as a baby boomer entrepreneur? New business owners tend to suffer from lacking three skills:
  • Lack of knowledge about business development
  • Lack of knowledge about marketing
  • Lack of knowledge about building positive cash flow
Interestingly, if you are planning on becoming a baby boomer entrepreneur, there are some shortcuts to help you with building those skills. One way is to use the highly popular social networking platform, Twitter, as a learning exercise. As you develop a marketing project on Twitter, you develop all the skills you need to design and market a larger business. It doesn't matter if that business will be on the Internet or the more traditional bricks and mortar.

If you are not familiar with Twitter, you can get a good overview at the free directory I have prepared for you Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs You Need To Know Twitter.
You will find videos and a directions that will help you understand it quickly.

Like most things that are really effective, Twitter is pretty simple. The challenge is not in how to use Twitter, but in knowing how to craft a strategy to use Twitter to develop your business skills.

Some months ago, I shared with you what internet marketing guru Ed Dale calls the Symphony In Four Parts. If you missed it, just click on the link. It points out the four parts of the symphony:

1. Market Research
2. Traffic Generation (Lead Generation)
3. Conversion (Sales)
4. Product Development and Delivery

A conservative estimate is that 95% of mistakes are made in the MARKET RESEARCH stage. This is because most people don't do the MARKET RESEARCH.

Following this universal pattern can't guarantee a success every time. The beauty is that it will help eliminate the stuff that will not work.

Whether you are doing a traditional business or an Internet business, the MARKET RESEARCH capability of the Internet opens new roads to success in starting a new business or growing an established business.

A low budget business that lets you develop the required skills is an excellent strategy as you transition from employment to business ownership. In addition to building the skills, it can help you fund the business development effort by generating cash flow.

A friend recently introduced me to a fully developed system for using Twitter, a Twitter Secret Recipe, for for building any kind of business. It pulls all the pieces together and gives you the exact recipe to follow. As you use this system to promote your followers on Twitter, you will understand how to do market research, how to develop leads, how to convert lead to build customer lists, how to use the customer list to make sales, and how to deliver your product.

By following this recipe, you will have rapid growth in your skills, an increase in your entrepreneurial mindset, and a great boost in your confidence that you can build a successful business. Please go watch the free Twitter Secret Recipe video.

Shallie Bey

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, What Is The Right Size For Your Business?

If your goal for being an entrepreneur is to enjoy the life style you want without having to fully retire, how big should your business be? What are some of the things you should think about?

Seth Godin recently commented that he had been doing a lot of thinking about issues of scale and units of measure. He concluded: “Many businesses that are in trouble are in trouble for a simple reason: they’re the wrong size”.

If you are the typical Baby Boomer Entrepreneur, looking for a business as an alternative to full retirement, what size fits your life goals? What are the units of measure you should consider? Here are a few to start:

  • How much of your time should your business consume?
  • How much of your financial resources should be invested in the business?
  • How much personal cash flow should your business produce for you?
  • When do you need that cash flow?
  • How big a geographic scope should you serve?
  • How many employees do you need to deliver on the promises you are going to make to your marketplace?
  • Are you delivering a full scale system solution to your customer’s problem or a piece of the entire system?
  • If you are successful, can you scale the business up and still enjoy the quality of life that is your goal?

The folks at Small Business Labs continued the discussion by commenting in their blog and sharing some of their research.

They observed that most industries are moving towards a barbell shaped industrial structure with a few global giants on one end and lots of small businesses on the other. Mid sized firms are being acquired by the larger firms or squeezed out.

Their second major observation was that variable cost business models allow small firms to be competitive with large firms in an increasing number of market spaces. New technologies have reduced the cost of starting and operating a business.

So, baby boomer entrepreneur, what is the answer for you? What combination of size and agility will allow you to compete in your market while still allowing you to live your desired lifestyle?

Shallie Bey

Back track URL to Seth’s post:

Back track URL to SmallBusiness Labs:

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, Would You Like A Free Pass to the Classrooms of the Top Scholars In Your Field?

Could you benefit from hearing the key issues in astronomy, biology, chemistry, or our beloved topic of entrepreneurship? Would that help you find and develop your business ideas?

In our topic of entrepreneurship, there are 737 free guest lectures on such issues as why you need a business plan -- to The 5 Essential Skills that Entrepreneurs Need.

This is the work of Richard Ludlow. Richard is a 22 year old Yale University student. He is also a finalist in Business Week’s 2008 competition for America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.

Richard felt that many people could not have access to the top lecturers in fields of interest to them. The barriers might be money, location, or time. So he found a way to bring Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale to the students. As a Baby Boomer Entrepreneur, you get to benefit by being a fly on the wall. You can look for business opportunities, build your knowledge, or simply increase your skills in entrepreneurship, all for free.

Thanks to young entrepreneurs Xavier Lur for bringing this to our attention. Xavier blogs at’ .

Go visit Academic Earth at : . I recommend to you Five Critical Skills That Entrepreneurs Need by Jerry Kaplan: . If you want an alternative view to Jerry Kaplan, you might want to see .

Shallie Bey

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, What You Can Learn About Twitter From Teen Entrepreneurs

Are you confused about how to use such social media platforms as twitter and facebook? Are you wondering how to keep your friends easy to follow and yet looking to follow and make new friends, then let me introduce you to Stanley Tang.

Stanley is a teen entrepreneur who has some insights on these subjects. He recently found a video by another teen, Min Xuam, that he thought was so good he decided to share it on his blog. It is called “How Twitter changed my life”. It isn’t the only strategy for how to used twitter and facebook, but it is a great strategy. This slide show, How Twitter Changed My Life, is well worth the time.

I was most impressed with the suggestion that you tweet not about what you are doing but what has your attention. This is a massive revelation for me. It really helps me understand why I love reading certain tweets and why others do not capture my interest.

Twitter is probably not a fad. Even if it is a fad, we baby boomer entrepreneurs must learn to effectively communicate with our markets. Teen entrepreneurs are creating new tricks for us old dogs to learn. Let's keep on learning so we can stay on the porch with the big dogs.

You can follow Stanley on twitter at @stanleytang, Min Xuam at @minxuam, and even me at @
. You can get a free twitter account by going to .

Shallie Bey

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Reply to: Is Gladwell Right About What’s Most Likely to Make You Successful?

It took me awhile to finally decide to write this post as it runs against the tide of most readers’ opinions. And many feel strongly as I discovered at dinner last night with friends, but here goes. Outliers purports to reveal the real reason some people — like Bill Joy, the Beatles and Bill Gates— are successful. Yet what Malcolm Gladwell finds is, as Michiko Kakutani notes, “little more than common sense” – except when he draws conclusions about what’s most important for success.

I admit that my summary of the book is not as fascinating or sticky as the

vignettes in it, yet see if Gladwell’s conclusions surprise you:

1. Talent alone is not enough to ensure success.

2. Opportunity, hard work, timing and luck are also essential.

3. Poor children are less likely to succeed than those raised in rich or middle-class families.

4. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become successful.

The first three seem blindingly obvious yet I disagree about what’s most important. And he over-generalizes. While it’s also obvious that mastery improves one’s chance for success, his conclusion that there’s a magic amount of practice time cannot be substantiated by the studies, interviews (Bill Joy, for example) and stories he offers…

…As Isaac Chotiner concludes, Gladwell “dislikes attributing individual accomplishment to the accomplishing individuals. He has set out to prove that people with social advantages do better than people without social advantages, and so the really wise thing for society to do is to arrange for more advantages for more people.” In fact Gladwell never really defines success.

Here’s my problem. He plays up the power of cultural background, timing and economic class and downplays the role in success of talent and perseverance...

You can read her full post at

This is my response in turn:


Thank you for your kindness in sharing your "cautionary notes" about Gladwell's conclusions. I agree with your topics of caution to varying degrees. I think that is exactly the issue, that we do not have mathematical precision on how to measure some of the points. I visited your blog and enjoyed not only your comments but those of your readers as well.

I posted a rather long response there that I would like to elaborate on here. I think Gladwell did take into account personal responsibility and perseverance and such things as deliberate collaboration. He lumps them under what he calls "meaningful work".

He says: "Those three things -- autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward -- are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be that fulfills those three criteria is meaningful...hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning...once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig...the most important consequences of the miracle of the garment industry, though, was what happened to the children growing up in those homes where meaningful work was practiced...a lesson crucial to those who wanted to tackle the upper reaches of a profesion like law or medicine: if you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world."

Just as I pieced the run on sentence from pages of discussion on meaningful work, I think meaningful work is the tread that holds it all together. I suspect that it is not that Gladwell ignores the concept of purposeful effort that he focuses upon the cultural issues. I think he makes the point that people flounder until their culture gives them the opportunity to discover purposeful effort. So, my conclusion is that if you were to sit down with Mr. Gladwell, he would agree with your cautionary concerns, except perhaps about the 10,000 hours. It is the combination of advantage, however it is produced, with meaningful work, that ultimately marks the path of the outlier.

For the convenience of readers to this blog, I will share below my more detailed post to your blog.

Thanks for taking time to both read my original post and to share with me your observations. As a blogger, you know how precious a gift that is.



Thanks for a very thoughtful set of comments about Outliers. I do believe you are correct to say that the ideas should not be accepted unchallenged. Like many things around us, this is a story of trends and probabilities. There is no exact science that we can develop at this point that describes everything perfectly.

I tend to agree with your challenge of the 10,000 hour rule, for example. I have heard it said that one can become exceedingly knowledgeable about many things with 1,000 hours of study. One thousand hours for you and I as newbie bloggers will leave us much more talented than we were at hour five. The same is true for learning to drive a car, learning a foreign language, or playing softball.

I do believe that Gladwell is right about building upon successions of advantage. Small advantages can grow into large advantages. As a former venture capitalist, for example, I did some research on the probability of someone getting financing from a venture capital company. The odds are small that you will get any attention at all, perhaps one in 100 at the time. But if you could get attention to your idea, the investor began to help you think it through and your odds went to one in five. Similar numbers apply to getting your book published or even finding the perfect date with an on-line profile.

In my own personal life, I can see much of the trend that Gladwell discusses. People often ask me how I got from being a minority kid from a low income family in a steel town to the point of being visible to the President of the United States and appointed to be Superintendent of the United States Mint Philadelphia, the world’s largest Mint.

I can assure you that I did not start my youth with that as an aspiration. However, after a couple close scrapes with death, I did know that I did not want to be a steelworker all of my life. I had above average academic skills and was named a National Achievement Scholar by National Merit Corporation. That lead to a degree in engineering from Purdue University, which lead to sharing an office with an engineer who worked on a taskforce doing operations research, sort of a combination of engineering, operational planning, and finance in a refinery. When he was temporarily moved to fill another critical role, I was assigned to step up to fill in for him because we had become friends and I had been interested in what he was doing.

We discovered that I had a talent for this stuff and I was nominated to fill a position as a financial analyst in a new division that was being formed to train some oil people in understanding non-oil related business as a possible diversification strategy. I assumed a managerial role and officer title in a very small subsidiary of a very large corporation. This created eventually an opportunity to back up my trial and error education in business by going to a little school down the street, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

So when the head of the search team looking to fill the position of the President’s appointee to Superintendent of the United States Mint Philadelphia came to town, he and his team talked with engineers, and oil company executives, and bar association chancellors, and bankers, and the Dean of Wharton. One of the things they asked was if they knew any minority person who might be a good candidate for them to interview since the President wanted to make some non-traditional appointments of minorities.

I was not on the top of anyone’s list, but I was on everyone’s list. That got me the first interview. And that interview was much like the eye to eye meeting with a venture capitalist or the endorsement of a literary agent for your book. It changed my odds.

And interestingly enough, my advantage was I had been a steel worker as a kid. I had worked on the bottom rung as a laborer in exactly the same type of heavy industrial environment as the Mint. My ultimate advantage was the disadvantage that got me started on my course of self-improvement.

Surely there is much more detail to how finally getting noticed led to my selection, nomination and ultimate Senate confirmation to become the 16th Superintendent, the youngest in the history of the United States and the first African American. Yet, the point is clear to me that my life correlates exactly to Gladwell’s hypothesis. I worked hard in one way or another every day of my life, but working hard was not sufficient to make me step into a small place in history. Everyone around me worked hard.

Shallie Bey

Smarter Small Business Blog

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs - Don't Expect To Build Your Business By Accident

Baby Boomers who are becoming entrepreneurs have serious intentions of building businesses that go beyond being hobbies. Research shows that they expect to build businesses that will support and fund their desired lifestyles rather than opting for the traditional path of retirement. Unfortunately, many are depending on building the business into a success without being willing to plan for success.

Regardless of the industry, most new entrepreneurs start with a common problem. As an entrepreneur, you face the challenge of establishing a complex business with limited resources and limited time. You have very little room for big mistakes. Because the challenge is bigger than what you can do by yourself, you have to involve others: employees, independent contractors, investors, and possibly even partners. And of course, your ultimate success is based upon how you are received by customers.

As a professional entrepreneur, it is your job to set the expectations for the business, for all aspects of the business, for everyone associated with your business. People often refer to this as having the entrepreneurial mindset, being willing to accept responsibility for what you are creating.

People often think of the business plan as a tool to raise money. Your business plan is far more importantly your tool for designing and operating your business. Writing your plan does not have to be as complex and time consuming as most people expect that it must be to produce results. One very good resource comes from Jim Horan, a skilled writer dispensing advice to entrepreneurs and author of The One Page Business Plan: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Write a Business Plan.

It is in accepting the responsibility for creating your expectations for your business and seeing that they are properly aligned with the expectations of your customers and employees that you avoid the trap of depending upon things to come together by accident. It is in defining and aligning expectations that you differentiate your business in the marketplace. This is what makes you stand out from the commodity businesses.

The overwhelming majority of business owners either fail to establish expectations or to communicate the expectations they hold locked in their minds. They think that common sense should tell people what to expect. They fail to establish specific systems that explain to customers how they will be served. They fail to establish systems and procedures that employees follow to make sure that customers get exactly what was promised to them.

People so often depend upon everything to come together by accident. What people fail to understand is there is no such thing as common sense. What we call common sense is actually an agreement or alignment of our expectations that results from dialog over time. By establishing the expectations on how you will serve the market, what promises you will make to your customers and how you will keep those promises, you make your business stand out from the many that lack direction and only do the same thing twice in a row by accident. That is how customers develop the common sense to come to you rather than other sources in the market, you are consistent in meeting your promises. Customers can feel in control because if what you promised is exactly what they want, they know exactly where to go to get what they want. They come to you.

Don’t assume your serious intentions are automatically built into your business. Take specific calculated steps to: 1) create the vision; 2) document your vision; and 3) find a way to express it to others so they can join you in delivering on your promises. Delivering on your promises cannot depend upon everything coming together by accident. Build your business on the solid foundation of a plan that honors the needs of everyone, you, your customers, and your employees alike. Make your plan. Make your promises. Deliver on what you promise. Expect it to all come together by plan, not by accident.

Shallie Bey

Andrea Stenberg, blogger for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs, was one of the first to report on the Bank of Montreal study about the serious intentions of baby boomer entrepreneurs. You can see her post at: .

For more insights on The One Page Business Plan, see the free resource directory I have created on How To Write A One Page Business Plan at:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Career Renegade - A Book for Entrepreneurs

Are you a young person looking to make your mark in life? Or, perhaps, are you a Baby Boomer looking to redefine your life as an entrepreneur? Are you wondering how to live a life of fulfillment and joy, and a life with a proper work life balance?

So many people begin their life wanting to make a difference and find themselves side tracked along the way. They begin by asking what they want to be when they grow up. And then they discover that they are grown up and they still don’t know what they want to be.

Jonathan Fields saw that happening in his own life and in the lives of so many people around him. He saw people running faster, working harder, climbing higher, sweating more blood, and pushing through stifling fatigue. Most importantly, he saw that usually they were no freer or happier.

He saw people trapped in their fear that if they tried to do anything about it they would become poor or a failure…or even worse, perhaps both.

He decided to find the solution to the riddle of actually doing what you love for a living without leaving your life behind. Not only did he succeed, he discovered that part of what he loves is sharing the solution with others. Jonathan wants to share it with you in Career Renegade.

He describes his intent as wanting to deliver something that is not only fun and inspirational, but insanely useful. Once again, with the clarity brought by intense focus, Jonathan has another success.

Discipline is required for success in every pursuit. Part of that discipline is acquiring the fundamental information, as he calls it, that is required to participate in any activity. He will give you a lot of information and will point you to other sources to help you learn the fundamentals: the rules of the game, the knowledge of systems, wisdom, cheats, hacks, and secrets you need to know.

In Career Renegade, Jonathan moves what information marketers call the free line. He will give you for free what could cost you hundreds of dollars to learn in other courses. In addition to sharing with you for free his take on ropes to know, he points you to other useful free resources available on the Internet that you might not find easily by yourself.

One of the things you will enjoy is that Jonathan provides complete information. Unlike what so often happens, he won’t just tell you what to do, leaving you in the dark about why or how. He will even talk about how to explain what you are doing to your friends and family so they won’t think you have gone crazy.

So if you want to understand work life balance, if you want to pay the bills while pursuing your passion, whether you are a prospective young entrepreneur or one of the fast growing segment of the population composed of Baby Boomer entrepreneurs, talk with Jonathan Fields. Career Renegade is a good place to begin that conversation.

If your answer is yes, you want to know about Jonathan Field’s new book, Career Renegade. I have created a Squidoo Lens at This site gives you a quick tour of the book and the thinking that will show you how to make a great living doing what you love.

Shallie Bey

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs – Commit To Taking The First Step

Unwritten, the song performed by Natasia Bedingfield ( click here it see her perform the music video on YouTube), has a message for would be Baby Boomer Business Owners.

I am unwritten,

Can’t read my mind

I’m undefined.

I’m just beginning

The pen’s in my hand

Ending unplanned.

This is where many aspiring Baby Boomer business owners find themselves, undefined. And this leads us to the very first step defining what being a Baby Boomer Entrepreneur or Baby Boomer business owner means to you? Is this something to which you are committed? At the very minimum, are you committed to finding the answer about your level of commitment before you spend your money and your life on the task of starting a business?

Are you willing to test out your role as a business owner? Are you sure you really want to be a business owner or is that just the next trendy thing to do because everyone else is doing it? Is this a life you really want to live?

Staring at the blank page before you

Open up the dirty window

Let the sun illuminate the words

That you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance

So close you can almost taste it

Release your inhibitions

Are you willing to release the inhibitions that come from years of working for someone else? Are you prepared to set aside the fears associated with being in the driver’s seat? Are you willing to go from a fuzzy generality to a specific commitment to be an entrepreneur? Are you willing to confront how you can define a work/life balance that works uniquely for you?

Feel the rain on your skin

No one else can feel it for you

Only you can let it in

No one else, no one else

Can speak the words on your lips

Are you ready to take the first step? Are you ready to commit to being an entrepreneur or business owner? If so…

This is where your book begins…

For more information to help you make that first step see: Join The Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs (click here ).

Shallie Bey