Chicago has some powerful entrepreneurs. I’m not sure if it’s something in the water, or if it’s just part of living in that vibrant city, but something cool is obviously happening in the Windy. Heck, my friend, Barry Moltz lives in Chicago. He’s a highly successful entrepreneur. And he introduced me to Carol Roth, a rather laid-back Chicagoan….
Ok. She’s not really laid-back. At all. That’s why I liked her right away….
I started to read her take on things. I liked what I read. My 1st Tweet to her;
“Hi Carol. Barry Moltz says good things about you. I think that you’re the female version of me.”
Carol tweeted back, rapidly; “Oh no! LOL.” (Something like that.)
I finally met her in person last year. Let’s just say that she has a real fire burning. (When it comes to entrepreneurship.) She’s also a great idea person. (She was kind enough to sit down with me for an hour or so, and give me some advice concerning my own business. It was great advice.)
Her advice is actually so good, that she’s about to release her first business book. It’s called “The Entrepreneur Equation,” and it will be out real soon. (You can pre-order it on Carol’s website)
Would you like to learn about Carol? Here goes. Fasten your seatbelt.
Me: I remember seeing some posts that you wrote that mentioned your family. Please share how they influenced you-you’re decision to become an entrepreneur. How did they influence you?
Carol: First, you have to understand that I am the “white sheep” in a family of “black sheep”. Neither of my parents went to college, nor did they really focus on what I was doing academically/professionally and my sister sings in a rock band. So part of it is just unexplainable.
That being said, in terms of helping entrepreneurs, my mom had a HUGE impact by showing me what so many do entrepreneurs do wrong. She had a hobby that she turned into a job disguised as a business (a jobbie, as I like to call it). She ended up working full time for ten years and when she stopped to do the math, she was making like $4 an hour. So many entrepreneurs work more hours for the same or less pay and more stress than if they had a traditional job. I am highly focused on teaching entrepreneurs to make better risk and reward tradeoffs and be aware of the different types of businesses.
Me: When I first found out about you, and read a few of your posts, I was attracted to your..well..bluntness. (I have that, too.) Can you explain your business philosophy, your business style?
Carol: I actually have it trademarked (lol)- I call it the Spinach In Your Teeth® philosophy. See, spinach is a lot of great things- it is healthy, low in calories and fairly tasty as well. But for some unknown reason, it always gets stuck in your teeth, making you look like a crazy person with really poor dental hygiene. If I see spinach in your teeth, I will tell you right away so you can get rid of it. If you miss it, I say “no, you haven’t quite got all of it yet- yes, move three teeth to the left- now pick deeper!” I respect you and believe it is better to give you the uncomfortable news that you have spinach in your teeth (or toilet paper sticking out of the back of your pants or a booger sticking out of your nose) right away so you can deal with it properly. Then you can use your wonderful smile to its full effect (and I don’t have to sit and stare at it for an hour).
Not everyone feels that way. So called friends, family members and acquaintances will sit through an entire lunch looking at the spinach in your teeth (or booger sticking out of your nose) and not say anything. They don’t want to “feel uncomfortable” or “embarrass” you (or themselves) by telling you about that spinach. No, these geniuses think it is much better to let you walk around for the rest of the day with that big green leaf covering up your tooth so that you resemble Grandma Vivian when she takes her dentures out. They will let you smile at that cute man or woman on the bus, take a driver’s license photo or go to an important client meeting with food stuck in your teeth instead of addressing the issue.
A lot of entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs have spinach in their teeth. Instead of telling them, their friends and family don’t want to engender hurt feelings. They would rather spare a hurt ego rather than spare the entrepreneur from wasting time, money and effort.
I say beware of anyone who won’t tell you when you have spinach in your teeth.
Me: I’ve found that owning a small business has to somehow be about more than just making money. What else “does it” for you?
Carol: I guess the long and the short of it is that I am seeking to accomplish goals that I could not do otherwise. I couldn’t do what I need to do without being on my own. If I could do so without the financial risk (and stress and long hours, etc.), I would. I think that it’s all about risks and rewards though- I am in a place where not only is it the right time for me to pursue the goals (finances in order, right amount of experience, right mindset), but also the upside is great enough. When the risks are too big for the rewards and the preparation hasn’t been done to “stack the odds”, the whole “equation” crumbles.
Me: When did you know that you would someday write a book?
Carol: It’s an interesting question. I was never someone who said, “I want to write a book”, but two things happened. As I focused on my long-term goals, I realized having a book would be a necessary milestone in the strategy. That being said, I wrote my manuscript for The Entrepreneur Equation unintentionally. Most non-fiction authors start with a manuscript. I started by being pissed off at the rate of business failures (or lack of success, if you want to argue semantics) and then basically vomited 80,000 words onto paper. Then I said, “Gee, I guess I have my book…now what?”. And here we are, nearly a year and half after I finished that manuscript.
Me: As gently as possible, please tell my readers why they may want to pre-order your book?
Carol: Short answer: for $25, it’s the world’s cheapest business insurance policy.
Long answer: The book is a critical piece in my quest to help business owners. From Wall Street to Main Street, entrepreneurship is being heralded as the growth engine that will save our economy, but that’s only if those small businesses succeed.
Even with the advantages of technology available to us, up to 90 percent of businesses still fail within the first five years and many entrepreneurs are overworked and overwhelmed by their new ventures. It’s also critical for entrepreneurs to understand that not all businesses are “created equal”, which encompasses the risks and rewards associated with not only with starting a business, but the types of businesses that are too dependent upon their owners.
Given this reality, The Entrepreneur Equation helps entrepreneurs do the necessary preparation before they invest time, money and energy in launching a business- and also helps existing entrepreneurs tweak their existing business models- so that they all can have the best chances for success. It’s an absolute must for anyone who is thinking of starting a business or in the early stages of a business. It is also incredibly valuable to those who have a business but may be stuck, re-evaluating their business model, feeling overwhelmed or overworked, or trying to figure out how to get to the next level.
Plus, if they order direct from me, they get some extra goodies too- they can visit http://theentrepreneurequation.com/special-offers/, to learn more!
Thanks, Carol. You can follow Carol on Twitter; @caroljsroth
So, are you going to order Carol’s book?
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