The American Dream

Has The American Dream Hit The Skids?
Best-Selling ‘E-Myth’ Author Michael E. Gerber
Is Determined To Shock People Out Of Their Stupor

Michael E. Gerber is miffed and he doesn’t care who knows it.

The best-selling author of the “E-Myth” book series says the American Dream has been waylaid – no different than if it had been besieged by robbers in a dark alley – and Gerber is intent on rescuing it.

The way Gerber sees it, the issue is our confusion about the American Dream and what every one of us believe to be true about it. And it’s time to get it back on track, says the fiery 78-year-old small-business guru who vaulted to fame in 1986 with his original “E-Myth” book and has been engaged in realizing a dream of his own over the past 40 years.

“Somehow we’ve forgotten our roots and why there was an American Dream to begin with,” Gerber says. “We’ve lost track of the reason why millions upon millions of people came here to try to make a better future for themselves. We’ve also forgotten that the dream never was a political one, but a personal one for each and every one of us.  It’s the politicizing of it that’s created all the trouble.”

Gerber (www.michaelegerbercompanies.com) has a great deal of experience in how to restore faith in the American dream. He has worked with tens of thousands of small business owners over the past 40 years.

The trick, Gerber says, is giving small business owners and aspiring small business owners a splash of cold water to wake them up to see that the American Dream isn’t dead, nor is their business. Instead, what they are missing is a lack of commitment to their own dream.

To bring his point home, Gerber began a nationwide campaign this year in Riverside, Calif., where the city’s mayor, Rusty Bailey, helped launch Gerber’s first city-sponsored Dreaming Room.

Gerber invented the Dreaming Room, which he describes as an “entrepreneurial incubator,” in 2005, and has been delivering it to individuals worldwide ever since. It’s a program where the unemployed, underemployed, self-employed or small business owners who find themselves stuck in their current unworkable circumstances join together, led by a facilitator.

In an intense, small-group setting they go through a step-by-step process where they create, collaborate and test ideas to develop or improve their current circumstances by inventing a new business. 

Once developed, the concept for that new business is then put to work, with Gerber’s team helping the new entrepreneur apply Gerber’s entrepreneurial principles to design, build, launch and grow their new company.

Riverside was just a first step in Gerber’s vision for city-sponsored economic development initiatives in cities and counties throughout the nation and the world. Having launched Riverside, it’s on to Fresno and the 14 counties surrounding that California city of 509,000 people. In May, Gerber plans a Dreaming Room for the 96 mayors of all the cities in those counties “to awaken the spirit of entrepreneurship in them.”

“We will be teaching people how to make it on their own in Fresno, San Mateo, and every U.S. city who invites us in, you name it,” Gerber says. “In the process of inspiring and leading them and mentoring them, something remarkable will happen. Each and every individual will understand, many for the very first time, that he or she and no one else is responsible for their circumstances.”

Even as he makes more Dreaming Room plans, the prolific Gerber is still pounding out books, with three he’s working on simultaneously. They are “Beyond the E-Myth,” “The 5 Essential Skills of Extraordinary People” and “Making It on Your Own in America.”

The latter title has become an overriding theme for him of late. For Gerber, economic development is all about the individual and how personal responsibility is the key to making it in America.

“It happens with the individual or it doesn’t happen at all,” he says. “Every single individual is accountable for their own economy – an ‘economy of one’”.

“Our economic problem has been created through the belief that big government can solve our problems. We then created a monster of a government that presumes to think for us. That’s why our economy is in tatters. It’s why the number of people on food stamps has grown exponentially. It’s why the number of people who are impoverished has grown, and the number of unemployed has grown exponentially. It’s also why our federal debts and deficits have grown beyond the pale.”

“The way forward is to go back”, Gerber says. “Back to those inspirational days when the nation took its first awkward steps, the Constitution was written and the Bill of Rights was tacked on like a brilliant afterthought”.

“If it becomes a political discussion, it misses the point,” Gerber says. “It was never political back then, it was existential. It was an existential reality to liberate each of us to follow our own path.”

About Michael E. Gerber

Michael E. Gerber (www.michaelegerbercompanies.com) is an entrepreneur, thought leader, speaker and best-selling author whose modern classic, “The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,” has sold more than 3 million copies. He is the founder of The Dreaming Room™, where entrepreneurs and others are provided the tools and facilitation to see, experience, develop and design their Dream, Vision, Purpose and Mission. His next book, “Beyond The E-Myth” is a passionate response to America’s current inspiration deficit.

Be the Boss of Your Own Life

How to Be the Boss of Your Own Life
Businesswoman Provides Tips for Being Your Own CEO

Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the United States with hundreds of thousands of new businesses opening each year.

More than 22 million of our small businesses are one-man (or woman) shops, and the number of those ringing up more than $1 million in sales is growing – it was nearly 27,000 in 2011, the most recent U.S. Census statistics available.

“Americans are very savvy business people, and for more and more of us, the rewards of running our own business trounce the risks associated with stepping out on our own,” says Lynda Chervil, a longtime businesswoman, thought leader and author of the new book, “Fool’s Return,” (http://lyndachervil.com/).

“Imagine what would happen if we applied our CEO mindset and skills to our own lives? Sometimes, it takes a boss to tell you to do something in order for it to get done. Now’s the time to become that boss.” 

Chervil shares tips for doing that:

• Embrace change, renewal and rebirth. There is no shortage of opportunity to notice change in life. Don’t be afraid to use milestones to provide yourself with an “employer’s review” on how you’re doing in your own life. What are you doing well, what needs work and how are you going to improve? Create a detailed plan on how you expect to accomplish your goals. Give yourself a timeline, such as losing 20 pounds by summer or increasing your net worth by next year.

• You’re your own best entrepreneur. Part of being a good boss means trying out enterprising ideas; it’s the mediocre bosses who are content with the status quo. You don’t have to start with something wild. Instead, follow through on ideas that are good for you, such as buying healthy food that you haven’t yet tried. Look up recipes for how to prepare a healthy item like quinoa – make a project out of it. Have fun with the new you. Just because you have a new job with plenty of responsibility – being your own boss – doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

• Manage what you can control; accept what you cannot; and look outside the box. This is not as easy as it may sound because we often think we can control things that, in fact, we cannot, including how people respond to us or how quickly our bodies respond to diet and exercise. Progress does not happen all at once. While it makes sense to focus on what we can control, you may also consider alternative methods of living. That may include riding a bike to work rather than driving, or exploring alternative forms of spiritual healing.

• Don’t be a victim! To a greater or lesser extent, we’re all taught to be obedient conform to the standards set by parents, teachers and bosses. Unfortunately, for many, this passive role can shape one’s identity and influence other relationships. It all starts with one’s own relationship to one’s self, Chervil says. As most parents and teachers will say, the best students are those who need the least help and are willing to be proactive in their own improvement. Understand that it’s not others who determine what you can do; it’s you!

About Lynda Chervil

Lynda Chervil is the author of “Fool’s Return,” http://lyndachervil.com/, a new novel that incorporates valuable life lessons in a page-turning tale that touches on technology, the green movement, and other aspects of contemporary society. She graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and has extensive experience in consumer and commercial banking and has held positions in new business development, sales management and executive leadership. Chervil seeks to push the limits of established understanding by exploring alternative forms of spiritual healing, and, through creative writing, to expand the narrative of cutting-edge energy technology to promote sustainability.

Recharge Your Enterprise

How a Blank Piece of Paper Can be the Best
Tool for Your Small Business
Best-Selling ‘E-Myth’ Business Author Shares Strategies
to Recharge Your Enterprise

Statistically, new small businesses have the odds against them, with more than half failing within the first five years, according to the Small Business Administration.

They’ve hamstrung themselves even more recently with their reluctance to hire new employees. Almost 80 percent of small businesses did little to no hiring this summer, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

“No new employees, no new ideas, no new projects – too many entrepreneurs have become paralyzed by fear and uncertainty,” says Michael E. Gerber, http://tinyurl.com/DreamingRoom, best-selling author of “The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” and creator of the world’s first incubator for entrepreneurs, The Dreaming Room.

Instead of operating out of a place of extreme caution, essentially treading water and just waiting for something good to happen, Gerber says small business owners should sit down with a blank piece of paper and a “beginner’s mind.”

“With that paper in front of you, open your mind to all you’ve never thought of and  create something that doesn’t exist: a product, a service, a system,” he says. “That will awaken your creativity and inspire innovation. Create something new!”

Gerber cites the general lack of consumer excitement over Apple’s newest iPhones, the 5S and 5C.

“They’re not new!” he says. “People have come to expect something truly new every time Apple comes out with something, so they’re disappointed.”

How else can small-business owners reframe their thinking and tap into that spark that initially set them on their course?

• Don’t be so mired in today that you don’t lay the groundwork for infinite possibilities tomorrow. Modesty is often seen as a virtue, but if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s a tragic flaw. What if Steve Jobs’ ambition was to make electronics “a little bit better?” What would the world look like today without iTunes, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Jobs started out with only $5,000 – but also a grand vision that he believed in. Thousands of entrepreneurs see their business as a means of doing their work autonomously; they get by and see this as a win. But that modest success may be a tragic handicap.

• Self-employment is one thing; a thriving business is something altogether different. A small business starts with an idea, but too often the idea is: “I have a talent (or technical skill); I’ll build my business around my execution of that talent.” While this may create the means for self-employment, it closes off the avenues for growth. When a business owner trusts no one else to get the work done, he or she can’t pull away enough to develop new ideas, new products and new opportunities to grow. Find people who can replicate the technical aspects of what you do so that you’re free to explore, experiment and test.

• Make sure everyone is working toward the same goal. A small business is a system in which all parts contribute to the success or failure of the whole. A human body cannot move forward unless all parts cooperate. If your employees are working toward different goals, they’re not only not moving the business forward, they’re not playing as a team. Foster creativity, enthusiasm and energy by clearly communicating the dream and the importance and value of each person’s contribution toward it.

About Michael E. Gerber

Michael E. Gerber is an entrepreneur, thought leader, speaker and best-selling author whose modern classic, “The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,” has sold more than 1 million copies. He is the founder of The Dreaming Room™, where entrepreneurs and others are provided the tools and facilitation to see, experience, develop and design their Dream, Vision, Purpose and Mission.