Entrepreneur YOU!

Symptoms of the chronic disease of entrepreneurialism to be on the alert for.

Posted in Personal Journey by Robert Lindsay Thompson on February 3, 2011

Within your mind there are rich, undeveloped entrepreneurial ideas that require cultivation

One thing a would-be entrepreneur has no shortage of: IDEAS. In fact, it’s one of the surest signs that you may be, in fact, a “closet” entrepreneur. Additional symptoms may include (but certainly are not limited to): a reoccurring and lingering DISCONTENT despite whatever your job is or has been. A secret sense of GRANDIOSITY. You privately think you have much better ideas for new products and businesses than others that appear successful. An inherent REBELLION. You hate being given orders by anyone, particularly by those who you know are less intelligent or capable than yourself.

In the final stages of chronic closet entrepreneurialism, before you break out into a full blown episode of what may appear to be insanely irresponsible behavior as you impulsively quit your secure job, abandon your commitments and squander your nest egg… you may experience MANIC DEPRESSIVE periods; “high” on visions of starting your own business and imagined feelings of future success followed by depression to the point of immobility thinking about what will be the likely wreckage that your life will become… unemployed, homeless, bereft of sanity and companionship.

Whether you are in the early or later stages of the “disease” of entrepreneurialism, you are not crazy. You are not irresponsible. You are not somehow flawed, unable to settle into a normal job and be happy. You just have a disease. The disease of entrepreneurialism. Fortunately or unfortunately, with time, it will only become worse, never better. Ultimately, you will face a choice. Accept the growing misery that an unexpressed, unfulfilled entrepreneurial spirit brings. Or figure out a way to make it happen.

In my mid twenties, I get my first “real” professional full-time gig. The vice president of development at CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) created a new position – a sort of “special teams” thingy – just for me. I helped design seminars, produced tv spots, developed innovative market research and new “tools” to add to or improve upon their $100,000,000 fund-raising buffet. Really cool stuff.

Another (even better) opportunity came up when the Executive VP in charge Global TV Marketing) who used to be in charge of a whole freakin’ hemi-sphere for Exxon) offered me a job. I would be traveling the world (to like 50+ countries) selling ancillary rights to all their television programming (CBN owned the Family Channel). It sounded like THE perfect job. However, as a discerning and wise man, he quickly discovered in the interview process, my inherent restless entrepreneurial spirit. We ended up talking about my “vision” of producing a theatrical feature film on the book of Revelations.

He advised me thusly: You could get this job. Travel the world. Be successful. However, one day, you will look back and regret not “going for” your vision, your hearts passion. I advise you to “go for it”. Go for it with wisdom, but go for it. I took his advise. I didn’t take the job. I quit CBN. I started a company. I worked to develop my feature film. He became my chief advisor and primary investor.

So. I advise you to do the same. “Go for it.” Go for it with wisdom… considering the times and seasons of your life and the market place… but go for it, non the less.

If you don’t. As a subplot in the movie Flashdance depicts, something inside of you will die.


Entrepreneur Material? My own quirky background is a strange alchemy.

Posted in Personal Journey by Robert Lindsay Thompson on January 11, 2011

Entrepreneurs are made of a strange brew most times

I distributed this list of questions to a class of 2 dozen students I was (guest) teaching at my daughters high school entrepreneur class. I hung $100 in twenties on the board and told them I would award it to anyone who could correctly guess the number of true answers.

I ended up keeping my $100, but did lead to an effervescent discussion on the nature of entrepreneurship.

Q: How many of these statements do you think are true?

1. I am currently 49 years old, married with 5 children
2. I’ve given away over $1,000,000 in cash
3. I’m a high school drop out
4. I’ve survived 2 major urban riots, 3 earthquakes, 2 tornados and 2 armed assaults.
5. I’ve been in and out of 12 maximum-security prisons, numerous treatment centers, rescue missions and a psyche hospital
6. I’ve been investigated by the FBI and held as the prime suspect in a murder case
7. I’ve gone Bankrupt twice
8. I was a homeless, a panhandler, a hobo riding the rails, ate food out of garbage cans and once slept in a cardboard box
9. I once carried around a briefcase stuffed with $200,000 in small bills for several weeks armed with a loaded 9mm.
10. Like Captain Cook, I’ve ventured to the actual “treasure island” in order to bury a $1/2 million treasure.
11. I founded a company that had clients in 95 countries and touched 1 million companies
12. I’ve studied seven forms of martial arts, my body is branded with a Samari symbol and I’ve studied Chinese for five years
13. I was in a drug rehab program for almost three years
14. I once tried to sell guns to the infamous Black Panthers in inner city Detroit, back in 1969.
15. I have been shot at twice, chased with a butcher knife and had my convertible fire bombed
16. I established the largest motion picture studio in Hollywood
17. I’ve produced three features films, written a novel and published a book.
18. I filmed a documentary in the worst death row in the U.S. featuring some of its most notorious inmates
19. I started and ran a kids toy store in Tennessee
20. I helped raise $100,000,000 for a right wing evangelical TV preacher who once ran for president
21. I sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of survivalist supplies to religious cult groups
22. I co-founded a committee promoting global peace within an organization that has been nominated for the Noble peace prize 8 times and won a prestigious international award.
23. I helped produce over 100 movies, TV shows and commercials including Terminator 2 and Star Trek 4
24. I have created websites that have generated over $1,000,000
25. I have been serenaded by a man who once ripped out the heart of a Christian “do-gooder” with his bare hands
26. I once swam with a school of hungry 8 to 12 foot sharks, coming within inches of being eaten
27. I’ve shot machine guns and automatic weapons with an FBI anti-terrorist strike team
28. I’ve been personally assailed by the LAPD and swat team
29. I was involved in a high-speed chase with an armed bank robber
30. I saved the life of a 12-year-old crack addict-prostitute with the help of his friend “Vampire”
31. I once sold myself for $500 to a politician in the mid-west
32. I have birthed over a dozen companies in many industries
33. I’ve created a $25,000,000 company in 5 years from only $22 in start-up capital
34. I inadvertently made a multi-million dollar deal with a guy with mob “connections” and thereafter had to go into hiding for years
35. I once ran an offshore investment firm that performed several million dollars worth of trades in China and Asia
36. I once possessed two numbered Swiss bank accounts in two different continents
37. I created a Y2K grain distribution business which generated almost $1 million dollars in only 8 months in 1999.
38. I once started a multi million-dollar business with just credit cards
39. I’ve have fed 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles
40. I once stashed $400,000 in gold and platinum coins in my refrigerator
41. My personal friend was the man who actually built and ran the World Trade Center (Twin towers) in NY
42. Jack Nicholson once stayed with me for a couple months one summer
43. I’ve hosted Monkees, Zombies, spiders, cockroaches, blobs, aliens, and androids
44. I studied Kong fu in China town with the champion from Shanghai
45. I once held the actual starship Enterprise in my hands
46. I built a motion picture sound stage that was large enough to lay the entire empire state building down within – end-to-end.
47. I was a millionaire by the time I was 35.
48. I’ve hitchhiked across Canada twice and the U.S. several times
49. I’ve made over $30,000 from Web names I’ve thought up
50. I’ve lived in 3 foster homes, beginning at 14 years old
51. I’ve been knocked around by the guy who trained the real “Rocky”

A: Check in next week for the answer. Also, I’ll fill you in on what 1 thing I think ALL entrepreneurs have in common. I think it will surprise you. It surprised them.

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