How to Survive and Thrive as an Entrepreneur – John Meese
Being an entrepreneur may sound ideal, but like everything in life, it also comes with a lot of challenges and obstacles. According to our today’s guest, entrepreneurship is about serving humanity and giving back, so he makes it his goal to lift other entrepreneurs by helping their businesses thrive.
John is, as we like to call it, a serial entrepreneur. He’s the CEO of Cowork.Inc, Co-founder of Notable, host of the Thrive School podcast, and a best-selling author. He has a lot of hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and business scaling, as he’s built three companies all by himself with nothing but the help of his customers. As John likes to point out, relationships yield better results in business so every business is actually a platform for solving real-life problems for real people.
John is very passionate about entrepreneurship and believes it’s a unique way to serve humanity and add value to the world. Since business owners sometimes make mistakes, John is on a mission to help them survive and thrive.
In this episode of the Think Business With Tyler podcast, we talk about all things entrepreneurship. What is bootstrapping and why it’s often a better use of funds. How to avoid business failure and overcome obstacles. The true impact of entrepreneurship on the world. And how to build a business by building strong relationships. Tune in to this episode to hear more.
💡 Name: John Meese
💡 What he does: John is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, Co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.
💡 Noteworthy: An economist-turned-entrepreneur, John is on a personal mission to eradicate generational poverty by helping entrepreneurs create thriving businesses. He also wrote a book called Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One).
💡 Key Quote: “I always look at profit as the ultimate scorecard of how will that serve humanity. Because business is serving humanity when it’s done right. It’s servant. Entrepreneurship is servanthood.”
💡 Where to find John: LinkedIn
Bootstrapping is about looking at your customers as your investors. As a serial entrepreneur, John has often found himself getting creative about his resources and figuring out how to make his businesses scale. According to him, bootstrapping is about solving your customers’ problems and using their money as a sort of business fuel. It’s about using that money to grow your business rather than relying on investors or debt. “It typically means it’s a slower climb, you have to be patient, and you have to get creative. But also, I think it’s a better use of funds and money. I mean, so many venture capital companies are notorious for just burning through money, without any real progress to show.”
Small businesses fail when entrepreneurs quit. John says that when you look for a business opportunity, you shouldn’t (only) look for a groundbreaking idea. The key is to identify a problem and solve it for your customers. That’s your genius idea! It should be something that can sustain over a long period of time and that you fundamentally enjoy doing because when things get hard, you should be able to keep going. According to John, it’s when entrepreneurs quit and can’t adapt to new circumstances, that’s when their businesses fail. “The reality is, you have to find something that you can do, pick it up, focus execution on over the long, long term because those are the businesses that succeed. […] you should pick something that you genuinely enjoy and are passionate about because it’s gonna take a lot of work.”
Entrepreneurship adds value to the world. John believes that through entrepreneurship and profits, we serve humanity. According to him, entrepreneurship – when done right – is about serving others and providing value. He explains this theory in detail, “When I become more successful, as an entrepreneur, I’m actually adding wealth into the world and making the world full of humans a wealthier place to live. And so because of that, and because of the fact that that wealth comes from creating value, by solving problems, by creating real solutions to real problems for real people, that I always look at profit as the ultimate scorecard of how will that serve humanity. Because business is serving humanity when it’s done right. It’s servant.”
Relationships are greater than results. Businesses are built on creating real solutions for real problems for real people. And when you solve someone’s problem, you inevitably form a relationship with them. That’s what business is all about – building relationships that ultimately lead to results. “Transactions are what glue us together, it’s the fact that we need each other is why we have community. […] So business is just a combination of all those transactions in one hub of what forms the basis of our relationships as human beings. So yes, relationships lead to results and integrate the results.”
[01:56] “So I come from this family of just like generation after generation of bad money decisions. And just like some families pass down wealth from generation to generation, other families pass down poverty. And it’s just not just the lack of resources. It’s the lack of connections, it’s the lack of a secure network. It’s the lack of just the good thinking about how do you make good financial decisions.”
[17:21] “The reason why profit is that ultimate scorecard is because profit is a combination of three different factors. And one of them is your effectiveness. If you are not effective as an organization, you’re not going to generate revenue. So you could say it’s a measure of revenue, it’s sure, but revenue is actually just an indicator of your effectiveness.”
[19:27] “Entrepreneurship is so unique. Nothing creates value like entrepreneurship. Even look at nonprofits, government organizations, government organizations, they rely on entrepreneurs to create wealth, so they can take some of it to then do other things with that money that then they can claim credit for. But they couldn’t have done it without the wealth from the entrepreneur.”
[23:45] “When you look at it, it says two things at the same time, A, relationships are greater than results. And B, relationships lead to results. And that’s something that a lot of I didn’t get when I first started business.”
[29:45] “Business is built on solving problems right off, producers are solving problems for a profit. So even in a crisis like this one we’ve been through in the last year and a half. The question is, well, are there more problems or less problems than they were before? […] Whether or not they succeed in a time of crisis really depends on whether or not they’re willing to adapt their business model to solve problems.”