Dorie Clark shares the strategies of a successful entrepreneur

When I first started my business, I accepted a gig running Facebook ads, it paid $250 a month. Now keep in mind that I used to work on Facebook so I should have charged a lot more.

Photo credit: Mark Thompson

This is where it gets even more interesting. Within months, I turned down a similar opportunity that paid $20,000 per month.

At this point, you must be wondering why I made this decision. The answer is simple, I read a very good book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. It is written by Dorie Clark and with her guidance I was able to make the right decisions for my business and my family.

It took me a while, but eventually I was able to find other opportunities that eventually allowed me to earn over $20,000 a month, and I was able to do it on my own terms. I played the long game and it paid off.

What does this mean for you? By learning how to leverage strategic patience and build a powerful network, you can also experience lasting success and growth for your business. Fortunately, Dorie will show you exactly how to do it in her latest book, The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World. It will also teach you to keep moving forward, even in the face of adversity.

Dorie sat down to tell me about it on the latest episode of the Launch Your Business podcast.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways.

Grow your business by “thinking in waves”

Your first wave of clients will most likely come from your personal and professional network. This is a good place to start since these people already know you, like you, and trust you.

When you start to gain momentum, your next wave usually comes from your own sales efforts. Then you’ll have more credibility and feel more comfortable talking to strangers about how you can help them. It will work, but don’t get stuck here, especially if you want to scale.

As Dorie mentions, “If you want to have a successful business, making sales all the time becomes a problem. And the reason for that is that sales often aren’t incredibly scalable. If you want to grow exponentially, rather than just incrementally, you need marketing to expose yourself and your business to a new audience.”

She then offers you an approach to consider when you are starting out and once you start to grow. “As we think in waves early on, you’re over-indexing sales, but eventually you need to improve your marketing as well, so you can grow your business long-term.”

Action Item: Figure out how you can turn your first wave of customers into a marketing asset. This includes testimonials, references and case studies.

Why taking time for white space is your competitive advantage

Dorie referenced an executive survey that blew my mind. Ninety-seven percent of respondents said strategic thinking was responsible for the majority of their success, but only four percent said they actually spend time on it.

Fortunately, this is good news for you. As Dorie explains, “If we’re talking about a growth advantage for you and your business, saving time and getting good at strategic and long-term thinking is one of the best investments you can make in your business.”

It could be as simple as blocking off – and protecting – a few hours a week to think about your business. With this intentional white space, you are able to reflect and discover what actions you should start, stop, or continue to grow your business and become more fulfilled.

Action Item: Block out thirty minutes for strategic thinking this week. Determine exactly where you are going to do it and put it on your schedule.

Leveraging Strategic Patience to Grow Your Business

Overnight success is rare and often short-lived. To build a sustainable business, Dorie recommends leveraging strategic patience.

Here is an example from my career so you can get an idea. Years ago I was asked to speak at an Amazon event here in New York. I didn’t get paid for it, but I kept in touch with the organizer and found other opportunities to add value. Fast forward to this year, I gave a speech at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. This same organizer recommended me and yes, I got paid for it.

Clark explains “Strategic patience is about placing small bets and watching them. It’s not like you sit back and let life come your way. You place a bet. You place your money, you see what happens. pass, then you adjust a new pivot as needed.”

She continues: “I think that’s really what we need is patience with the understanding that it’s going to take a while, but I’m going to look at this thing and I’m going to make sure it goes. point in the direction I want.”

The part of making sure things are going in the right direction is crucial. Although my partnership with Amazon has gone well, I can share many examples of high-potential opportunities that have completely failed.

The key is to place bets so big that if they work out there is a huge upside for you and your business. And if they’re not doing so well, know when to practice strategic surrender rather than strategic patience.

Action Item: Think of a big bet you could make on the future of your business. Examples include proposing a partnership, starting a new service, or joining a relevant community.

And after?

These are some key points from my conversation with Dorie. To hear the full conversation and access additional resources, tune in to this week’s episode of Start your business podcast.

Start Your Business is brought to you by ChatterBoss. A company that helps entrepreneurs make money, save time and avoid burnout by providing top-notch executive assistants. To learn more and save $50 on your first month, visit

Do you have questions about starting your business? I’ve partnered with Chatterboss to offer free office hours where you can ask me questions and get answers live. You can learn more and register here.

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