10 Humbling Lessons Learned After Mentoring 1,200 Entrepreneurs

by / ⠀Blog Entrepreneurship / February 27, 2015


Four years ago my life took a detour.

I invited 88 entrepreneurs to come and create a software business at The Foundation. They came with no idea, limited cash, and no experience in software.

I wanted to prove the impossible.

I wanted to prove anyone could start a software business when they had nothing.

We did it. It worked.

We had a number of success stories graduate from the first program.  So we did it again, again, and again.

To date we’ve had over 1,200 entrepreneurs in our program, and it has been humbling. I’ve had the privilege of watching people chase and create freedom.

After the first group of 88 entrepreneurs, I wrote an article on the 10 lessons I had learned. And now after mentoring 1,200… I’d like to update that list.

1.  Commitment is the greatest source of freedom.

Commitment is freedom. Only the disciplined are free. The students I’ve worked with who only have 90% or even 99% commitment get slaughtered. They die slow painful deaths. Why? Because when you don’t have a full, 100% commitment, your mind wavers back and forth. All of that wasted energy is exhausting. If you’re not completely committed, you spend more time debating actions in your mind, than you do taking them — and making things happen. The simple act of making a full commitment is what separates people who get what they want, and those who don’t.

2. Unconscious unprocessed emotions rip apart entrepreneurs.

How do you take action when you feel panic, fear, or uncertainty? Most don’t know how. If you don’t have the tools to calm fear — and be with the paralyzing uncertainty that comes with entrepreneurship, you’ll be fighting an elephant with the strength of a mouse. Emotions rip our students apart. Which is why we’ve developed the most sophisticated emotional release tools in our field.

3. There is no one best way for all to succeed.

Our top students take what we teach and make it their own. They do this by morphing our framework to fit their personalities. Once they do this, they find alignment and begin seeing a more effortless success. This commitment to action — and to tweaking the system to match their style, is crucial to the students we see becoming entrepreneurs.

4. The “best way” for people is shown while on the path.

The best route for success is shown to our students while they are on the path, not when they are sitting, planning or reading books. It’s only after action number 5, 6, or 7 that you see students finding their flow. Sticking through the difficult first few steps is what separates those with freedom from those without.

5. Gold is hidden and only shown after commitment is tested.

Have you heard of the book Three Feet From Gold? It is a story of an entrepreneur who was just three feet from millions in gold when he sold his rights to the mountain. He gave up just before the big find. I find the students who stick with it are the ones who find the gold, while the uncommitted give up and leave with nothing.

6. There are profit pockets and business ideas everywhere.

A profit pocket is an open space where money is easily found. I am continually delighted at how many business ideas are being found by our students. They’ve shown that in just one niche, you can find over a dozen different business ideas waiting to be made. And the customers in that niche are asking for your help. You just need to find them, talk to them, and make the product they ask for.

7. Learning how to sell is #1, you can’t get around it.

No matter how creative a student gets to avoid selling, if they don’t learn how to sell, they don’t succeed. Learning how to sell is the greatest start to freedom in business. Our students learn how to sell with respect, grace, and without being pushy. At The Foundation, we believe selling is noble. We also don’t allow students to build a product until they’ve gotten their first few sales.

8. Money is attracted to speed.

The faster (and more reckless) your action when starting out, the faster money will be attracted to you. Slow action is death. Take action while in doubt. Take action while feeling uncertainty. Take action while feeling fear. These are all possible with the right tools and support. This is critical.

9. Successful entrepreneurs are obsessed with the process.

Our students who have the most freedom are obsessed with the daily process of entrepreneurship. Each day is another day they enjoy the process of entrepreneurship. There’s no “end” in mind. Nowhere to “get to”. Just commitment to the day-to-day. Once you know the actions to take daily, it’s only a matter of execution.

10. Dreams and desires are sacred. They’re easily destroyed by inner self talk, and inner demons.

In the initial stages of starting, the dreams and desires of a student are so sacred. They can easily be stolen or taken away by critical self talk. What gets in the way of a student’s success? Their internal chatter. Once we get their mind right, and their self talk on course, the rest falls into place. The greatest killer of our dreams and desires… are our own inner critics.

In the end, if you ever decide to make the journey into entrepreneurship, I commend you. It is a noble journey. One where freedom is certain, when you’re committed. I’ll sign up for that challenge everyday.

Dane Maxwell is a partner at The Foundation – Learn how to start a recurring revenue software business when you have no experience in software. To date they have had over 1,200 students in their program. Dane is a serial entrepreneur with multiple software companies.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.