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Ep. 075 – Six brilliant ways successful entrepreneurs started their businesses – and what you should learn from each of them.


Many people are dreaming of leaving their 9 to 5 jobs and becoming entrepreneurs. But how do you make that first step?

Being an entrepreneur means finding what will work for your unique skill set. Aiming to gain income and profits as fast as possible and grow your entrepreneurship quickly from a one-person show to a substantial 6 or 7 figures company within a few years.

In this episode, I bring you the stories about the first steps of the most successful of this new breed of entrepreneur.

Who is the new kind of entrepreneur?

John Lee Dumas (JLD) is the founder and host of the leading entrepreneurship podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire, and is one of the founding fathers of this new age of entrepreneurship.

John established his podcast after finding himself unhappy with traditional 9 to 5 jobs and frustrated with the weekly podcasts he listened to on the road because there wasn’t enough content. So, he decided to create a daily podcast for entrepreneurs. It quickly grew into a huge success and John, along with Kate Erickson, his partner, built a successful seven-figure business around the podcast.

The new entrepreneurs are building businesses around their unique skills, and by doing so, are creating new market categories. They start from scratch, and unlike the earlier model of startup entrepreneurs, they are not looking to raise someone else’s money; instead, they build their businesses aiming to gain income and profit quickly.


Bruce Van Horn’s entrepreneurial journey is an incredible story about the fresh start of a man who survived prostate cancer, the death of his daughter, a divorce, and 2 bankruptcies; and transformed his life, becoming a bestselling author, speaker, thought leader, transformational life coach, and business and leadership coach.

  • I was in total victim mode in my life. I had a long list of everybody and everything that was responsible for what had gone wrong in my life. But I wasn’t on the list.
  • Running a marathon changed me. I learned what was holding me back in my life. In marathon training, if you aren’t successful, the only one to blame is you. You can’t blame someone else. And I realized the top problem I had was a thinking problem.
  • My brother, who got me into running marathons, said the hardest part of running a marathon is making the decision to do it. And he was right, but I misunderstood him. I thought i was a decision you made once. But actually, it’s a decision you have to make every single day.
  • And when I realized how training transformed my body, I started to apply that philosophy to every area of my life, so my finances started to turn around after my second bankruptcy, my relationships got better; I started to enjoy my life again.
  • People noticed I’ve changed and asked about it, and I told them. And one day I got an invitation to be someone’s life coach (I didn’t even know what that was at the time). It worked well and I discovered my gift: working with people on their mindsets about their businesses and their lives. .
  • I’ve been doing it for six years now. I had to take a year off in 2014; I was diagnosed with stage 4 of prostate cancer, and the treatment and surgery had a lot of complications. I had to focus on recovery and my mindset.
  • While I was focusing on my mindset, I realized we always get more of what we focus on. It’s all about what you believe you are capable of. And from that place, there are no obstacles. This is what I always tell the businesses I work with: you have to forget about competition and focus on creating your thing.


Pascal Guyon lived in France and loved American music. He discovered MySpace and used it to communicate his skills. That led him to start producing music. However, the brilliant part was moving to the US and mastering social media.

  • I love modern, popular music, however, I am French and all my heroes were in America. So, I thought, ‘I want to be there! How do I do that?’ This was when MySpace boomed, so, I used MySpace to communicate my skills. I maximized my opportunities,   by using additional software that ran in parallel with MySpace to maximize my visibility. This is how I started producing songs for big stars.
  • Most people are known as specialists in a single field. I’m more like a polymath if you will; I get bored extremely quickly. So, I have different specialties. Of course, my first specialty is music. I ended up doing a lot of live music, playing with bands, but I discovered I prefer to create; so  I became a music producer. My passion for computer science came much later after I spent 15 years producing music and mentoring.
  • What I really like to do is combine all my specialties to create a unique experience. This is how I managed to create a video game six months ago, which pays me every time the game, which features my music, is played, at no cost to the player.
  • I think my game is the best thing I’ve created. I decided to go into computer science; it always made a lot of sense for me. I decided I was going do a game, but an educational game. And since I know quite a bit about social media, I hid information about social media marketing in the game; as people play, they collect information while avoiding enemies of course. People cant learn how to do better in social media while enjoying my music! That’s one of the really cool things I did last year.

When did you fall in love with social media?

  • So basically, I am French and I love modern music, modern, popular music, and all my heroes were in America, and I was like: ‘I want to be there! How do I do that?’ So, this was when Myspace became really big, so basically, I used Myspace to communicate about my skills. So, I maximized my opportunities, I was also using additional software that was running in parallel of Myspace to maximize my visibility and it worked out really well, this is how I started producing songs to like, really big stars, from my French village.

Who are your customers?

  • As a music producer, at first, my customers were mainly music artists, music labels, that kind of stuff. But since I got bored of that circle, and also because I found out it was a very inefficient circle, I moved on to get to know the entrepreneur circles; basically, I moved from producing music and mentoring artists to mentoring business owners on how to do well on social media.
  • So now my customers are mostly brands, startups, and celebrities in business, and because they are hungry people, it’s perfect for me; they are willing to learn, they want results, and it’s very satisfying for me too.


At the age of 13, Adriana Cecere decided she would own a business. She opened her first business at 17, and since then she has started, developed, and sold over 10 businesses. 

  • I’ve been passionate about developing businesses since I was 17 years old. I bought a hairdressing business, developed it, and turned it into franchises. I had a formula. So since then, for 19 years I started, developed, and sold more than 10 businesses in various industries.
  • Then people started approaching me for help in developing their businesses.
  • I started helping entrepreneurs and small business owners to develop their businesses, and in time, we started to scale and work with more and more businesses, all based on the formula I started with when I was 17.                          
  • The middle (core) is the fundamentals, which are identified in the initial discovery alignment phase of any consulting and coaching program I run.
    The square represents the transformation phase.
    The outer area represents the optimization phase.
  •  A year ago, my team and I wanted to approach more businesses around the globe, so I remodeled the formula into an online structure, allowing more businesses to go through my formula step by step, helping them to develop, get good results, and reach the next milestone. We launched the online model and it’s become a huge success.
  • So now, we are scaling globally and helping business leaders develop their businesses.


As a co-founder, brand strategist, and sustainable business specialist at Greenblut, Christoph Dahn helps green, sustainable, and ethical brands, companies, and services to succeed in digital marketing and E-commerce.

His roots are in the fashion business, where he started his business life 30 years ago. In 2005, after a career with conventional brands like Calvin Klein, he decided to dedicate his work life to helping green, fair and ethical companies succeed.

  • I started my work life in the 90s, doing marketing for conventional brands in the fashion business. After a few years, I had a crisis and started thinking about what I wanted to be doing. I realized that nothing would happen if any of these conventional brands disappeared. So, like Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote — ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’, I decided to dedicate my work life to helping green, fair, and ethical companies succeed.
  • I started GREENBLUT at the end of 2012, with my wife Suzanna. We found there was a problem with green brands. In the studies, 90% percent of consumers are keen to buy ethical and fair products, but when it becomes too consuming, many consumers chose conventional products.
  • That’s the place where we want to help; our services are all focused around this blind spot and these issues.


One of the most exciting and inspiring stories for me is the story of Mike Stelzner. He started as a writer, and through his Social Media Examiner blog, became one of the biggest influencers and a major part of what social media has become.

I am a frequent attendee of the largest global social media annual conference in San Diego, which Mike Stelzner founded with his incredible team and hundreds of volunteers from all over the world.

Social media has had a huge effect on today’s businesses, not to mention marketing.

  • I started as a writer. In 2009, I did ‘my great experiment’; I was able to secure the website,, for 10 dollars. I connected some of my writer friends and encouraged them to write for the movement that I was starting called Social Media Examiner. In 2009, there were not many websites giving out free information and this thing just took off. In months, all of a sudden I had a crazy successful blog!
  • And then the rest is history… right? From that blog, we were able to launch online conference, and then a physical conference, and then a podcast and live show; all these things that we are doing today, over eight years later.


John Nemo represents the classic case of an entrepreneur that started his business to spend more time with his family while impacting the lives of others by helping them reach financial freedom.

John is an online course creator and bestselling author who helps business coaches, consultants, and small business owners generate quality leads, build their client base, and increase revenue using digital marketing platforms and tools like LinkedIn and Webinars.

  • What I’m most passionate about is the ability to teach others. I create, online courses teaching consultants, coaches, entrepreneurs, and small business owners how to grow their businesses online through LinkedIn, webinars, copywriting, and email marketing.
  • Ieee.  d I want to spend as much time as possible with my family. What’s really neat about the world we live in today is you can automate most of your business, without sacrificing the quality of customer service or one on one interactions.
  • That is what I’m passionate about, finding a business that is built around the life that I want to live. I’m able to be with family, work from home and yet, make an impact by teaching and training others through online courses.


Two things differentiate these six successful entrepreneurs from the wannabes that only dream about entrepreneurship.

The first and most important is having the vision and the courage to create your own reality.

The second is the understanding that the key to success is already in your hands.


The best places to connect with our guests

The best place to connect with Michael Stelzner

The best place to connect with John Nemo

The best place to connect with Christoph Dahn

The best way to connect with Adriana Cecere

The best way to connect with Pascal Guyon

The best way to connect with Bruce Van Horn


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