A.J. Lawrence_Putting Deliberate Entrepreneurship into Practice episode cover

Putting Deliberate Entrepreneurship into Practice with A.J. Lawrence, The JAR Group

January 18, 2023

This is episode 100! Through personal experience and learning from the guests who have been on the show over the past 99 episodes, A.J. has developed the concept of Deliberate Entrepreneurship, a set of principles that are key to becoming the best version of your entrepreneurial self. To hear real-world examples of how past guests are putting these principles into practice along their own entrepreneurial journeys, tune in today!

Putting deliberate entrepreneurship into practice

Deliberate entrepreneurship is the process of taking specific, deliberate steps to achieve your entrepreneurial goals. It is a systematic approach to entrepreneurship that includes assessing your strengths and weaknesses, setting specific goals, and developing a plan to achieve those goals.

Here are some tips on how to put deliberate entrepreneurship into practice:

Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Begin by assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Determine what you excel at and enjoy doing. Recognize areas where you may need improvement. By understanding your strengths, you can leverage them to your advantage, and by acknowledging weaknesses, you can develop strategies to overcome them.

Set specific goals

Define your entrepreneurial goals. Be specific about what you want to achieve. Break down your long-term goals into smaller, achievable milestones. This approach allows for a clearer focus and enables you to measure progress effectively.

Develop a plan

Craft a comprehensive plan that outlines the steps needed to achieve your goals. Determine the strategies, resources, and actions required to execute your plan successfully. Consider market research, target audience analysis, marketing strategies, operational aspects, and financial projections. A well-defined plan serves as a roadmap to guide your entrepreneurial journey.

Take action

Putting your plan into action is crucial. Take the necessary steps to bring your vision to life. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you; actively seek them out. Embrace calculated risks, make informed decisions, and consistently push forward. Remember, taking action is a key driver of progress and growth.

Be persistent

Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with ups and downs. Setbacks and challenges are inevitable. However, it is essential to stay persistent and maintain a resilient mindset. Learn from failures, adapt your strategies, and keep moving forward. Persistence is often the differentiating factor between success and giving up.

Remember, entrepreneurship is a dynamic and evolving process, so continuously evaluate and adapt your approach as you progress. Embrace the challenges, stay focused, and let deliberate entrepreneurship propel you toward realizing your entrepreneurial dreams.

Episode highlights:

  • Your journey as a Deliberate Entrepreneur starts with clearly defining your vision. This vision is the purpose that will keep you motivated through the ups and downs of your entrepreneurial journey. (03:52)
  • Set goals (lots of them!). Goals are the things that keep you on track (i.e. moving toward your vision). Without goals, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “shiny object syndrome.” (04:34)
  • Focus on progressing 1% a day rather than looking for quick wins. If you put in the effort to move your business forward slowly and steadily, you will go much further in the long run. (09:24)
  • Being a Deliberate Entrepreneur isn’t just about running a business; it’s also about the life you live outside your business. Pay attention to your well-being and happiness, check in with yourself regularly, and make sure that your actions align with your values. (14:51)
  • Whether you run a large company or you are a solopreneur, the people around you are essential to your success. Your community, your team, your customers, your mentors; make sure that you always prioritize them. (19:00)
  • When you approach entrepreneurship in a deliberate way, you free up a lot of time that would have otherwise been wasted. With this additional time, you will be able to put more effort into the actions that create the most value. (25:00)

A.J.’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“As entrepreneurs, there’s infinite amount of work and finite amount of resources. And the practice of being deliberate, being a deliberate entrepreneur, allows me to focus more on what’s gonna create that value.” (21:18) 

Guests Mentioned:

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[00:01:23] A.J. Lawrence: You know I kind of feel like it’s, When do you talk about being pregnant? Uhhh. But the idea is, I am now in negotiations, due diligence with the company. I have the amazing Elliott Holland, who’s been a guest on the show. Elliot and his team are going through the books, helping us move forward with the acquisition. So that’s gonna be really good.

[00:01:47] I plan to have Elliot come back on the show once this gets a little further or after the deal closes so we can kind of talk about this process because it’s such an amazing learning process. As someone who has done deals before, but not to this specific type and very entrepreneur. It’s fun to learn. But nonetheless, I will come back to this acquisition later, but that’s really where a lot of my own entrepreneurial focus has been.

[00:02:18] I also wanna just talk a little bit more about how we’re planning on moving the show. We have some guests, as always coming up to talk about their own entrepreneurial journey, but we’re gonna have a few shows where we talk about specific aspects of the journey with a few guests at a time so we can go deeper and kind of compare and contrast and create a little bit more of a deeper understanding of what’s possible to help grow our own entrepreneurial efforts.

[00:02:47] I think you’ve heard me use the term trying to be a more deliberate entrepreneur. I jokingly take it from the concept of deliberate learning, where you set out different principles to educate yourself on different concepts, greater. We’ll appear with all these amazing guests we’ve now had on 99 episodes and I’m bottles of beer and Oh God.

[00:03:11] I thought it would be really cool to kind of talk about the different things I’ve been learning to be more deliberate in my entrepreneur journey, based upon the guests we’ve had on the show. So for me, there’s five basic principles that I think when you look at being an entrepreneur, that our guests have really highlighted in this, that can help you be more deliberate.

[00:03:39] It all starts with the vision that we set. The vision and then the goal is to achieve that vision. We’ve talked about mission driven, we’ve talked about how to make this, the reality is so often we start with just like, can we make something happen? And we don’t go deep enough into that vision of why.

[00:03:59] And then obviously, setting the goals that are really useful for us to measure our progress. We just sort of move towards a constantly expanding effort. I’ve failed many times at that and struggled with setting the right vision in goal setting. This is why I love some of the guests we’ve had on the show. Laurie Barkman, the founder of Small Dot Big, where she helps companies prepare to sell themselves, and she talks about how much effort it takes earlier way before you get ready for a sale.

[00:04:32] That you should be thinking and planning ahead in the terms of the end of the life of your business. Not that the business is going to end, not that you are going to sell it, not that you’re gonna fail or anything like that, but you should constantly be evaluating what you want the potential end of your business to be.

[00:04:50] She said specifically about constantly being a planner, being proactive about the potential in the future. Too often entrepreneurs, as I just said, are running their businesses looking at the rearview like, this is what I see, this is what the sales were, this is what it is, what do I have to do now? Instead, try and push yourself looking to forward and then move the parts you need to achieve that.

[00:05:15] Also, really diving in to setting vision and goals was the episode we had with Dru Riley. And Dru Riley is one of those Uber entrepreneurs. He is so focused and deliberate in his efforts to achieve and grow Trends.vc. I love Trends.vc. It is such a great source for how I see what’s possible out there, and the community is great too. And I know that’s such a big focus of his efforts.

[00:05:46] Dru talked about how he sets goals, constantly setting and resetting his goals around long-term, annual, monthly, all the way down to daily, and how he spends an hour or more every day re-evaluating his progress towards his goals and consistently fine-tuning and measuring his efforts towards that.

[00:06:12] For him, it’s this kind of comfort challenge where he’s able to push himself to more align his efforts to where his vision is. Really just such a cool, inspiring thing. Not that I’m ever gonna do that type of level of focus, cuz I don’t think it’s necessary. But I do love seeing that it’s possible to gain that type of success as Dru is having by that type of effort.

[00:06:41] Because I think as another entrepreneur and other entrepreneurs listening can look at that and evaluate their own desire, their own visions against that and see if that’s where they’re gonna be comfortable. Okay, maybe you can gain that effort. What does that give you if you do? Just by seeing Dru’s approach, you can re-evaluate your own approach towards vision and goal setting. Really cool.

[00:07:11] And then we had Nima Tisdall, and we’ll talk a little bit more about social entrepreneurship in different episodes coming up. But as the founder of Blue Lobster, she really has this long, big vision. And she realized that in order to achieve this vision, she had to be very specific on goals she was setting.

[00:07:35] She had to constantly tighten what she was trying to achieve. Because by having too many goals, she realized she was having opposite effect of where her vision was. She was derailing it. So she built a whole process and effort to consistently hone in on her main goal and stay focused on that. As she said, find the one thing, the one thing that can change the world and focus your effort on that because you can’t change everything all at once.

[00:08:10] I know I am guilty at times at being that squirrel. Oh, some cool new bright, shiny object. Let me go chase that. And then all of a sudden I have 20 things I’m trying to do at once. I get lucky and I get things done. But at the end of the day, the more and tighter we focus and the more we think about how we can tighten, doesn’t mean we’re always going to be pure and good and have that one thing, but the more we give the consideration of how to focus our efforts and how to deepen our vision, I think the easier it will be.

[00:08:47] And this is then the next kind of principle is this incremental progress. When we talk about what it takes to be a success, too often we talk about the hacks, the 10x, the crush it. All this, and we look at these big rocket ship businesses that go nuclear over short periods of time. But the reality is so often, from talking with other entrepreneurs, it’s all the work they’ve done for years on the foundation of their capabilities of an entrepreneur in the business.

[00:09:25] You know, asking a master how to become a master. Well, you chop the wood, carry the water, you sweep the ground. What do you do once you become a master? Chop the wood, carry the water, you sweep. Doing the work you need to do, but looking at incremental opportunities to improve daily. By doing that, you set the foundation that not only allows you to grow but set the foundation to succeed when new big opportunities happen. You get to increase your luck.

[00:09:57] Mike Smith, the founder of Rabble Mill, who’s this amazing social entrepreneur. I mean, what he’s doing is so cool. He is so cool in so many other ways. Yet for him, all of his success from skateboarding, public speaking, from helping other brands develop their coolness factor in all the work he did, it all went back into the long term incremental progress of Rabble Mill.

[00:10:30] From starting the afterschool program, spending the years of funneling everything back into it in order to then grow it to now where it’s a full-time school. This is a long-term vision and it’s succeeding. But he talked so much in his episode just about his willingness as an entrepreneur to reinvest his efforts to do the work he needed to do to then get to the big vision. Because tons of what he was able to achieve with the bigger vision – the pride of seeing these students start thriving, starting to feel like they have their community.

[00:11:10] All of us have different reasons and different vision, and a lot of it is going to be about money and other things. But we’ve gotta listen to Mike and realize it can be so much more.

[00:11:24] I also really liked when we had Jamie Lieberman talking about, you know, the founder of Hashtag Legal, who I think I recently saw just took on a really exciting. She’s now, uh, in-house legal, and I apologize I’m forgetting, but really great company.

[00:11:42] You have to look at it as the work you do is this marathon. She became really popular with her Instagram and became this Hashtag Legal and thousands of people were following her and she was engaging and all this great stuff. But she talked in her episode about the work she had to do consistently to even get there. The work through other law firms, through her own practice, all these things, and then bringing in her people to not think in legal terms but think in business terms and just that consistent amount of work, to then build up to where they could be successful because of that social rush.

[00:12:24] It takes so much to get to where we want, but that effort, that daily working effort just to be in a position to be hopefully lucky when the moment comes, takes a lot out of us.

[00:12:39] I know I’ve experienced burnout in the past. And I realized that I could have been more mindful of my own needs in the pursuit of the vision I had for my previous companies and then the work I was doing to achieve that. The principle of being more mindful, it’s not just sitting there and meditating and going, you know, drifting off.

[00:13:09] It is about understanding our own needs in alignment with these visions we set for our businesses, with the workload we give ourselves. We can talk about it being something like, once again Dru. Dru talks about consistently re-evaluating. We talk about his effort constantly, this big long effort he does to evaluate his progress. But he also includes regular reflection in that process of his health. Is his health getting to where he wants it to be?

[00:13:43] This is something that is so easy to forget. Dora Palfi, the founder of imagiLabs, she has this huge long term vision to improve access to STEM. And yet for her, she realized that the effort to build imagiLabs, she had to stay motivated in the sustainable way.

[00:14:07] She knew she was gonna need a constant eye level of motivation, so she took up yoga. She talks about how she used the practice of yoga all the way to actually becoming an instructor as a means of giving herself the outlet and the foundation to sustain a high level of motivation, a high level of effort.

[00:14:30] Craig Cecilio, Craig’s an amazing guy and Diversyfund is so cool as how they’re growing and everything, and especially now with real estate changing, not changing, but markets changing into the approach. And Craig talked about it in his episode just how busy and intent that is, the growing.

[00:14:53] He had to constantly look at where he was and evaluate his progress, not just about the business, but about himsel and then allowing himself to reassess what progress was going to be. Because he kept coming up to points, that he realized that he could go further but he also had to go differently. He had to take more of his own needs into that. So he talks about that in his episode.

[00:15:23] And Dominnique Karetsos, the founder of Healthy Pleasure Group. She talked in her episode one of the coolest thing, I think, that helped me think more about being mindful of my own efforts and my own needs towards these efforts.

[00:15:39] It’s just finding joy. Finding joy in being an entrepreneur in the entrepreneurial journey. It’s too easy to take it as a slog, as the things you need to do. With Dominnique, it was about finding how it can make her happy and realize all the things she was doing through the Healthy Pleasure Group to create the change and the benefits she wanted to see.

[00:16:05] I mean, it is a mindset and it is consistent effort to evaluate the mindset that you approach your work at, that someone like Dominnique shares. You can’t just snap your fingers and say, okay, yes, I’m gonna have fun doing this. But you can consistently remind yourself of these moments that are fun when you have your team grow, when a client is super happy with the work, there’s a result that’s above expectations. Take that moment, as Dominnique shared, take it and enjoy it.

[00:16:43] Once you are more mindful of your own needs and you can be in a more stable place within your vision and your goals, and then the effort you’re doing to achieve them, then you can start looking at how to incorporate the vision and needs of the people around you into your vision.

[00:17:04] It’s not about getting people to sign up on your vision, but how you bend your vision to their vision. Because no matter what your goals are, or how much effort you’re willing to do yourself can’t really achieve a huge amount of success truly on your own. You need a strong team, a support network, a community around you.

[00:17:33] Yes, there’s a growing discussion and the evaluation of the one person million dollar firms of multi-million dollar insurance. And there’s a lot you can do with technology nowadays. But you still need people to help you along the way. And we had people like Dominnique, again, talking about how hard it is to break boundaries all by yourself. That you have to build a team that is aligned with the vision that you have to be able to break these boundaries.

[00:18:07] Not telling them what the vision is and not selling them, but aligning to the vision. I think Kara Goldin of Hint, talks so much in her episode about how she had this amazing background of working with so many successful entrepreneurs. Yet, when she started her own thing, it was really about putting herself deep into finding what was gonna be important to her – her health and working on Hint Water all by herself.

[00:18:43] But the success really didn’t happen until all of a sudden she was able to find the reason why her employees, the people helping her build and sell Hint, why it was important to them. Not why they should think Hint was important, but why it was important to them. That’s like different thing.

[00:19:08] That was the inflection point for Kara. We had Kevin Lee, who have had only given me a job, I probably wouldn’t have started. I’m glad. Years ago, back before I started my last company when I talked with Kevin, it didn’t work out. But Kevin, the founder of Didit and the e-Marketing Association and so much amazing not-for-profit work, he talks about surrounding people who you trust, who you can bounce ideas off of. Who are there to grow, so then you can consistently try and create the value and the change you want to see.

[00:19:52] But it’s all about understanding their needs, so then you can enjoy the process of working with them. Talk specifically about recruiting process and at how you can improve as an entrepreneur to get better at picking and growing these people. So it’s a really cool episode to listen to but that does get to the main point of what we do as entrepreneurs. We try and create value.

[00:20:22] And this is the last principle that I think is so important because it’s so easy to just say, we wanna make money or we want to do X. But in talking about these other principles, I came to the realization that having the right vision, setting the goals to that vision that really are measurable, time-based and focused, doing the work I needed to do in a consistent, incremental, focused way, being mindful of my own needs, then bringing in the needs of my own people and really looking at building success through them not myself, I was able to be more deliberate in my own efforts to create value.

[00:21:06] It was being able to focus more on the things I need to do, not in all the noise of the gazillion things that need to be done at any given time. As entrepreneurs, there’s infinite amount of work and finite amount of resources. And the practice of being deliberate, being a deliberate entrepreneur, allows me to focus more on what’s gonna create that value.

[00:21:33] Cause the more deliberate our actions, the less we have to waste our time. The more time we spend on focusing becoming better entrepreneurs, our ability to solve the problem increases. And then the fun of creating value, whatever we define our value, increases, both for our self and for the world.

[00:21:55] Once again, I’m getting back to Dora Palfi. She has this big vision. She has this goal to create so much value and she realizes that she has to link up, and she talks about it in the episode, the impact she wants to create to the profit. Because if she’s not building the profit, she won’t be able to create the impact. So being able to consistently evaluate what that means and how, allows her to go further in her own entrepreneurial journey.

[00:22:27] Once again, Kara Goldin talks about all this effort to create this difference. It’s about focusing on her need to create a better environment, not just be an entrepreneur for an entrepreneur’s sake. She needs to change positively people’s life. She realizes that the more she focuses on that, the stronger her own entrepreneurial capabilities are. And that’s what pushes her to create more value. And she talks about that.

[00:23:03] And then yes, there is the really big picture and I kind of feel like we’ve had some amazing people on the show talk about the big picture and the money you can make by being a successful entrepreneur, obviously, the show is called Beyond Eight Figures, so duh.

[00:23:20] This is about making money at the end of the day. But let’s just think about what we do with that money. And Gabe Galvez, the founder of Verde Holdings, he’s had all successes. Entered into multiple businesses, selling them, creating them, now he has this family fund.

[00:23:40] He talks on the episode about his intention of investing, creating and supporting businesses that are sustainable for multiple generations. At the end of the day, if we create this, what are we doing with this? I mean, is it just going into some fancy cars and some real estate? Are we eating at fancier restaurants? Why? Why are we doing this?

[00:24:11] I just liked listening to the episode of Gabe because he just talks about it being this concept of it being multi-generational, and he’s still defining what that’s going to mean for him and his family. But it is a really powerful thing.

[00:24:27] So look, I appreciate every last minute you’ve given us here on the show to listen and learn from the amazing entrepreneurs. And I’m dedicating myself to the next 100 episodes to help become a better deliberate entrepreneur, to be more deliberate in how I bring this show to you. To go deeper into the ideas that can help you on your journey. So thank you.

[00:24:57] Thank you for this past 100 episode, and I can’t wait to do the next hundred with you. Have a wonderful day. I’ll talk to you soon. Goodbye.

[00:25:10] This episode of Beyond 8 Figures is over, but your journey as an entrepreneur continues. So if we can help you with anything, please just let us know. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone who might learn from it. Until next time, keep growing and find the joy in your journey. This is A.J., and I’ll be talking to you soon. Bye-bye.

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