The best definition of the word “entrepreneur”?

… according to Mike McDerment, CEO of FreshBooks

entrepreneur: Someone who is too naive to see the obstacles.

Listen to the experts. Listen to smart people. They will tell you all the reasons why it won’t work.

And then you go and do it anyway.

Keep your feet moving. Stay in the game long enough to figure it out.

Other things @MikeMcDerment talks about in this talk:

As a business, are you crayon or aspirin?

Crayons help people to draw a brighter future.

Aspirin reliefs a pain, makes something difficult more easy.

Surround yourself with the right people

People who are better and smarter than you.

Who are good at things you suck at. Who do the stuff you hate doing, and thus help you to stay in your “happy place”.

Michael Gerber’s E Myth and his three business personalities:

  • entrepreneur
  • manager
  • technician

Hire 49% for skills, 51% for value fit

Even if someone has the exact skills you desperately need, if they don’t share the same values, don’t hire them.

Identify your own values, and when you interview people, check if they have these values too.

Just say no

Say no 27 times for every time you say yes. You’ll be tempted to say yes to opportunities and ideas. But most of them are simply distractions.

Take your time

Being first doesn’t matter as much. Being best does.

  • Google wasn’t the first search engine.
  • FreshBooks wasn’t the first online invoicing service.

Just staying in the game longer radically increases your chances of success. Don’t burn money. Don’t do things fast because you’re afraid of going to slow, don’t make stupid decisions because you feel rushed.

Ignore your competition

Know who they are, and roughly what they do. But don’t fixate on them.

BlackBerry was trying to make Apple products. Look how they’re doing.

Instead, focus on

  • your customers
  • your customers’ wants
  • delivering to your customers

Your approach to the market, your knowledge of the customer matters so much more than what your competition does.


Entrepreneurs are creative and have a million ideas. They often have trouble to pick one idea.

Stay focused.

Do one thing really well, execute the hell out of it, and in 5 years pop your head up and see where you are.

Thinking of running a business? Already running a business? Starting one?

You’re a very special person.

People who take ideas and turn nothing into something don’t come around every day.

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