An entrepreneur since the age of 21, Gino has had an obsession for learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. At 25 he took over the family business, which was deeply in debt and in need of help. After turning the company around and running it for seven years, he and his partners successfully sold the company.

Gino then set out to help entrepreneurs and leaders get what they want from their businesses. Based on his years of real-world experience, he created the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a practical method for helping companies achieve greatness.

He has personally delivered more than 1,900 full-day sessions for more than 135 companies, helping them implement EOS. He is also the author of the award-winning, best-selling book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, as well as Get a Grip, Rocket Fuel, How to Be a Great Boss, and What the Heck is EOS? which have sold more than one million copies.

Gino is the founder of EOS Worldwide, an organization that helps tens of thousands of businesses implement EOS with the aid of an international team of over 350 professional and certified EOS Implementers and online support. There are almost 100,000 companies using the EOS tools worldwide.

Gino is now devoting time and energy toward helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making get a huge jump-start on taking their entrepreneurial leap, which is why he created Entrepreneurial Leap. The mission of Entrepreneurial Leap is to find all of the entrepreneurs-in-the-making, at any age, wherever they are—to help them realize their purpose and live the life they were born to live.

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Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Free chapter of the new book Leap

Leap: Do You Have What it Takes to Become an Entrepreneur? by Gino Wickman
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

3 Key Points:

  • 6 essential traits that will help you have an amazing journey as an entrepreneur.
  • 8 Mistakes that an entrepreneur needs to avoid.
  • 2 dynamics of people that define an entrepreneur.

Show Notes:

[0:42] Gino has been an entrepreneur since the age of 21. He has been obsessed with learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. On his journey, he has created The Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS, which has a practical method for helping Companies achieve greatness and there are almost 100,000 companies using the EOS tools worldwide.

[3:29] My goal is to help anyone who thinks they may be an entrepreneur realize what they are so they can go and put a huge dent in the universe.

[4:59] There are two dynamics going on in what you’re saying and what’s going on in the world.
(1) I believe it’s about 4% of people in the world who have these six essential traits that define a true entrepreneur.
(2) These people don’t have these traits. But they’re seeing all these entrepreneurs being successful and they’re thinking that looks really cool. And they want to be entrepreneurs.

[8:44] You are born with these traits. It’s nature or nurture. You are genetically encoded to run into the fire.

[9:57] The recipe for failure is not giving it your all.

[10:48] The book that I wrote, and again, this conversation is all about taking that person on an emotional, psychological, philosophical soul searching journey of discovery. And so the book is written in three parts.

[21:11] The classic entrepreneur mistake is you start the business, and you just really don’t spend enough time connecting with your people.

[24:03] Well, the parting advice is just please be honest with yourself, you know, when you fill out that assessment on the website, just be honest because you’ll do yourself a disservice to kid yourself. So be honest with yourself.


For FULL Transcript click here:

Read Full Transcript, click here:

Christine Schlonski [0:02]
Hi Gorgeous! This is episode number 240 and we have the amazing Gino Wickman on the show today.

Gino Wickman [0:10]
Hi! This is Gino Wickman, you are listening to Heart Sells! Podcast with Christine Schlonski. Enjoy!

Christine Schlonski [0:18]
Well, I am so excited about our guest today, I have been waiting for this interview quite a while. It’s the amazing Gino Wickman who is going to share with us today. Everything he knows about the entrepreneurial leap and we will be discussing if you have what it takes, because there are six traits that will help you to have an amazing journey as an entrepreneur. Gino has been an entrepreneur since the age of 21. And he has been obsessed with learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. On his journey, he has created the entrepreneurial operating system EOS, which has a practical method for helping Companies achieve greatness and there are almost 100,000 companies using the EOS tools worldwide. Gino is now on a mission, devoting his time and energy towards helping entrepreneurs in the making to get a huge jumpstart on their entrepreneurial leap. So I’m so super excited to have Gino on the show today. So let’s dive right in. Well, I am so excited to have you on the show today. Gino, welcome.

Gino Wickman [1:32]
Thank you for having me here. Happy to be here.

Christine Schlonski [1:34]
Yeah. And you have such an entrepreneurial journey in front of you or behind you. So and a book has just come out this is gonna be pretty, yeah, mind-blowing or breaking for some of the readers because it takes them on their journey. If they are suited to be an entrepreneur. It’s not like you know, maybe they lost their job in those uncertain times, or maybe they just felt, well, I have this passion I’m just gonna jump and leave everything behind. Because that is usually how we do create chaos instead of a strategic business. And yeah, so let’s just start there because I’m so super excited to have the opportunity to talk to you about the book about your work. Why? Why did you write the book?

Gino Wickman [2:27]
Yeah, great question. So I wrote it to teach my 18-year-old self. That was a miss label derelict, an insecure lost kid who knew he was something different than the normal course that everyone in the world was going on. And, you know, I was an entrepreneur in the making, and I didn’t know that I didn’t realize I was an entrepreneur until around age 29. So for the last 30 years, my life has been helping entrepreneurs obsessing about what makes businesses great and entrepreneurs great and built a system called EOS, The Entrepreneurial Operating System, we have a team of 350 EOS implementers all over the world. And we’ve helped almost 100,000 companies. And so, in that, when I was 40 years old, I said, when I turn 50, I’m going to shift my energy to helping entrepreneurs and making it a huge jump start, I’m taking their leap. And so there’s an old saying that says we teach what we needed the most. And I just saw the need because I realized my lost 18-year-old self would have benefited greatly by this. And so my goal is to help anyone out there who thinks they might be an entrepreneur or somebody in their life thinks they may be an entrepreneur, to help them really realize what they are and know that as soon as possible so that they can go put a huge dent in the universe.

Christine Schlonski [3:51]
Yeah, I love that there’s a huge dent in the universe. And I also know so many people who are kind of fed up with their jobs and that was also true for me some years ago, I was so fed up with not having the freedom I wanted. So the only solution I saw was becoming an entrepreneur. And I’m kind of feeling that a lot of people are in the situation where you know, where they might have a new boss that they don’t like all of a sudden anymore, or don’t like at all, where they feel like they are trapped in that nine to five, where they get told what to do when to do it. And then they kind of just snap out by thinking, well, I’m just going to follow my passion, and I’m going to create this company or this product, and then people will come and just buy. I’m sure you’ve seen so many mistakes of people and you, I mean, you turn around businesses, you help so many entrepreneurs, what would be the number one advice that you can give someone on that journey?

Gino Wickman [4:59]
Well, you know, there are two dynamics going on in what you’re saying and what’s going on in the world. And that is number one, these people that exist in the world, I believe it’s about 4% of the world that have these six essential traits that define a true entrepreneur. Part One, part two, the other dynamic is you have these people that don’t have these traits. But they’re seeing all these entrepreneurs being successful and thinking that looks really cool. And they want to be entrepreneurs. And so this content, this book, this conversation you and I are about to have, is intended to help both audiences. Okay, and so first taking them in reverse. It’s designed to help someone who really thinks they want to be an entrepreneur to decide if they really are and sadly, this is going to break some hearts because some people just don’t have the six essential traits. And it’s a cautionary tale. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And I’m trying to save them, frankly, 10 years of hell. On the other side, there are people that have these six essential traits and they don’t even know it, you know, they can’t figure out why they feel so uncomfortable and itchy in the corporate world, or they’re, you know, in college right now in academia, it just doesn’t feel right to them, might be in the inner cities, who knows where they are, but they’re these wonderful entrepreneurs in the making. And the idea is to help them really realize that they are and again, so you might be a parent listening to this and you’re thinking, you know, my kids, a little rambunctious, maybe he has A.D.D., whatever it is, well, you’ve got an entrepreneur in the making there. And this is an opportunity to help them realize what they are and become what they’re meant to be. And again, just the same, somebody who’s really wanting to do this because it looks cool, but doesn’t have what it takes. You got to be careful because it’s just it’s, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s hard stuff. It’s tough challenges every day and you got to be cut out to live that life.

Christine Schlonski [6:58]
Yeah, I love that you mentioned that and you said like 10 years of hell. So and, you know, we all have these ups and downs on our entrepreneurial journey, right? Some days are just awesome. And then other days just so suck. And you ask yourself, well, what did I get myself into? If you are an entrepreneur, if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur, you find some solution, probably. But, it’s not always wonderful. It doesn’t always feel good. But as you said, oftentimes we see others succeed. And we think, well, if they can do it, I can do it, right? I want to have a Ferrari, I want to be in that big mansion, I want to be on the boat. And the motive sometimes might not be good enough or big enough to keep you going on that journey. So what are those six traits that someone needs to have to have a chance in that world?

Gino Wickman [7:58]
You bet, you know, and when you talk about what you just said, there, and as I define this, you know, it’s really interesting because with it being so challenging, these six traits are I’m about to share people that have these six traits really love all of those challenges you described. And if you don’t, it’s just not fun. It’s like work, you know, so so the six essential traits are visionary, passionate, problem solver, driven, risk-taker, and responsible. And you know, add with that, but that pause there. So somebody that possesses those, and again, I believe you’re born with these, these are not skills we’re talking about. These are traits, they’re inherent, you’re born with them. It’s nature or nurture. So again, somebody that has these traits, you are just, you are genetically encoded to run into the fire. I mean, you just love a challenge and so somebody that doesn’t have these, it’s just probably not, you’re probably not cut out to do this because you’re just not going to have fun solving a problem six times a day. I mean, it’s exhausting. But an entrepreneur is so driven and so passionate and wants to succeed and they think so bad they can just they push through all of those hurdles because they see nothing but that end game.

Christine Schlonski [9:24]
Yeah, yeah, I love that and I hope that our listeners now, just really did, like I did all the checkmarks, check, check, check. And you know, sometimes that might feel like a pickup challenge. There always challenges like, no matter if you are an employee, or if you are an entrepreneur, I think it’s just when you are an entrepreneur, and you’re not cut out for it, it’s easier to just let the challenge be the challenge and you don’t participate, right? And that’s, that’s the recipe for failure as well because you’re not giving it your all. But if you are excited about what you do you figure out a way for your own company or our entrepreneurial endeavor and for your clients as well, because they will bring their problems to you.

Gino Wickman [10:14]
Yes. How do you resolve all your problems? You need to resolve all their problems as well.

Christine Schlonski [10:19]
Yeah. So you need to be a problem-solving machine. So to speak. So what if somebody just ticked off those checkmarks? And think that, uh, that doesn’t sound too difficult. What is another piece I need to know before I decide to burn the bridges behind me and leave my job?

Gino Wickman [10:39]
Yeah, fantastic. And so that, you know, this, the book that I wrote, and again, this conversation we’re going to have is all about taking that person on an emotional, psychological, philosophical soul searching journey of discovery, okay? And so the book is written in three parts. And everything we just talked about, there was the first part and that is confirming that you have the sense, okay? And there’s an assessment, I know you’re going to give everybody the website at some point, but there’s a free assessment they can take to really confirm that they do have it. But let’s pretend that your listener or your listener confirms, or again, the listener with the parent of a child was sitting there going, yep, that’s my kid. We then move to the second part of the book, which is called glimpse, and a glimpse is all about helping that person that has now confirmed that they are probably an entrepreneur in the making. It shows them a glimpse of what their life could look like. I give countless stories of entrepreneurs who were right where they were and how they built what they built. I show them, kind of a day in the life both the dream and the nightmare and then I show them how to avoid the nightmare in terms of the eight mistakes that almost every entrepreneur makes when they start their business. And then I show them all of the options for becoming an entrepreneur, every industry every business, helping them to decide, are you a product entrepreneur or us service entrepreneur? Are you a B to B entrepreneur? Are you a B to C entrepreneur? Are you an entrepreneur who’s gonna build a million-dollar company? Are you an entrepreneur is going to build a billion-dollar company? Are you a high price, low volume, low price, high volume? And so when you weigh all those factors, I created a tool called my biz maps that helps an entrepreneur in the making, decide the right business for them. That next step that you’re asking about helps them start to really play around within, decide what is, what am I drawn to here? And then from there, once they start to get that clarity, we then go to the third part of the book, which is the path and that’s where I show them a path on how to become a successful entrepreneur. I show them how to avoid half the mistakes they’re about to make. They’ll still have to make the other half it’s all part of the process. But I show them a road that’s a lot less bumpy. And then very quickly, a last 30 seconds on the answer this question. In that third part of the book, I just take them through a handful of chapters that helps them decide college or not, is college right for me as an entrepreneur in the making, I show them how to discover their passion. I show them how to find a mentor, which is a secret formula to expedite your success. I show them the power of tenure thinking. I show them eight disciplines for increasing their odds of success, and then the nine stages of building their company.

Christine Schlonski [13:18]
Wow, that’s pretty compact. So if you go back to your 18-year-old self and you just think like, if the 18-year-old Gino would have had that information, how would you feel?

Gino Wickman [13:35]
A heck of a lot more confident, you know, I’m not saying that I would necessarily have this perfect lightbulb moment where I have the clarity that I have today, but I literally believe I would have been 500% further ahead. In other words, I would have had a better path and would have seen I would have known what I was going to become in that’s the idea. And that’s the cautionary tale. I also share in this book, you know, I talked about tenure thinking, let’s pretend you read the book, you realize, yes, this is what I am. And you’re sitting there and you’re 17 years old. There’s nothing wrong with going and playing and practicing, and trying a bunch of stuff, knowing that at 27, you’re going to take your entrepreneurial leap. So the point is to know what you are going to be someday, is so much more free and validating. Then, you know, again, that 18-year-old that I was, which is totally terrified as to what in the heck am I going to do with my life?

Christine Schlonski [14:36]
And well, I’m glad you figured that out. Anyway, even to write this amazing book. So thank you for doing the hard work. But do you remember what’s the very, very first thing was that you ever sold in your life?

Gino Wickman [14:51]
That I’ve sold? Oh, man.

Christine Schlonski [14:53]
The very first one.

Gino Wickman [14:54]
Yeah, if I think about it, I’m sure. So I’ll give you a little bit of my bumpy path. So I graduated high school with a solid 2.3 GPA and so barely graduated high school. High school was just a party for me and it was nothing but fun. And academia was not for me I knew I was not going to go to college as my friends all went off to college and so I finished high school and just went to work. I was debating, should I go in the military? Should I just go to work? And I went to work in a machine shop, I was a gear hopper for three years. And then my idea was to save a bunch of money and then go make my millions you know, I thought I was going to get rich quick. I lost all my money twice in my 20s. And so then I sent out I tried a bunch of stuff and so when you say the first thing I sold, the first time I was actually truly selling was I thought I was going to open a corporate travel agency and so I went to work for a corporate travel agency selling travel and so that I think the first real sale I made you know from a real business job standpoint was closing a corporate account that was going to buy our travel. If we go all the way back to the very first thing I sold, you know, that would have to be nine years old. And it was to cut a lawn, convincing the neighbor to let me cut their lawn for about five bucks. You know, that’s probably the first sale. And then I sold fireworks, and I sold stained glass that my brother would make. So those were all the kind of non-formal business selling that I did from, you know, age nine to 18. But the real sale was a corporate travel account.

Christine Schlonski [16:38]
Well, I would say the real sale was convincing your neighbor to cut the lawn to have that first experience that you made up something. And they said yes?

Gino Wickman [16:50]
Yes. One of those push lawnmowers, and it took me all day. I know it was excruciating, but I made like five bucks so it was awesome.

Christine Schlonski [17:01]
You were probably over like rethinking your pricing strategy by the end of the day. So how did it feel when you actually got that money into your hands?

Gino Wickman [17:12]
I mean, I, I can’t take myself back to that exact feeling, but I’m quite certain it felt pretty damn good.

Christine Schlonski [17:18]
Yeah, pretty empowering. And that’s what I also think that entrepreneurship is about. Like, if we are service entrepreneurs, we, we come up with something, we just create it. It wasn’t there before. If it’s a product, well, maybe we buy it from someone or we manufacture it. So I think it’s super exciting always to take people back to like, what was the first thing and oftentimes they realize, oh, I always had this entrepreneurial gene in me. I was always doing something right. I was not just the good kid that went to school, got the good grades, you know, follow that path. And now trying to figure out like, where do I go from here? Like what happened that right now, many people have lost their jobs. So they might think becoming an entrepreneur is the only journey for them to take. And then also you mentioned if you’re not cut out for it, you might go to, to hell, like, or through not to hell, any difference? So what else like now I have those six points, I checked them out. I know I’m passionate, I’m driven. I can solve problems all day long. I’m cut out for this. And I’m, I’m on that journey. What are those mistakes that I do need to avoid? So that I don’t give up too fast?

Gino Wickman [18:47]
Yeah, that’s great. And there are eight of them. And it’s important to understand where these stem from because there’s not one ounce of theory in what I am teaching? What is in this book, and what we’re talking about? And so this comes from 30 years of my experience, we’ve now helped almost 100,000 companies around the world, all entrepreneurs. And so what happens is when these clients come to us, these are clients that have started their business taking their entrepreneurial leap. And they’ve built relatively successful businesses. And so they tend to have 10 to 250 employees, they’re privately held. And so what we’re basically doing is we’re helping to solve the problems and the mistakes that they made when they started the business. And so the idea here is to head all these off because every single one of them is avoidable. And I’ve now proven that through two businesses, starting them and building them and avoiding all eight mistakes, knock on wood, hopefully, I’ll be able to continue to do that. But here they are at a high level and I’ll share what the mistake is. And then I’ll just give a sentence or two in terms of what I need. And then if you want to drill down on any one of these, we can certainly do that. But the first mistake is not having a vision. And so what that means is I do not recommend that somebody who starts their business taking entrepreneurial leap has a formal business plan. It’s a gross waste of time for 95% of entrepreneurs, because 95% of them, don’t go raise outside money. And so you but you’ve got to have a vision, though, you’ve got to get clear on what the vision is for your organization. So you can communicate that to people. And I offer a very simple tool called my vision clarifier. you’re answering eight things about what you’re going to build. Mistake number two is hiring the wrong people. And so it’s a classic mistake that when you start the business, you start to grow your business, suddenly, you need people and you grab the closest person to you. So you hire your brother, your sister, your best friend, your mom, your dad, and you’re throwing these people at your business when you never really confirmed that they’re the right people for your business in a year to three years later, as your business is growing. You’re realizing, holy cow, what have I done? This person does not fit in my business. And so I think teach how to hire the right people right out of the chute. So you’re not having to kind of clean house because you hired wrong and you hire the wrong people. Mistake number three is not spending time with your people. And so the classic entrepreneur mistake is you start the business, you build the business, people are joining you due to your sheer passion. I mean, they just are drawn to you, you’re like a magnet, and you start to build this business. And you just really don’t spend enough time connecting with them. And so what I urge is that you meet with them weekly, you meet with them quarterly, you give feedback, often, open and honest. And what’s going to do is going to help you kind of keep the circles connected because you tend to fray and communication is always the biggest issue our clients bring to us and that will solve your communication problems. Number four is not knowing who your customer is. And so a classic mistake is an entrepreneur taking a buckshot approach to the world when you’ve got to get laser-focused on exactly who your customer is. Number five is not charging enough, classic mistakes every entrepreneur makes. Your breaking even or losing money for the first year in a 10% increase in prices, the difference between profit or loss, staying in business not staying in business. And so Dan Sullivan has a great quote that says when it comes to your pricing, pick the number that scares the heck out of you and add 20%. So there’s a rule of thumb for pricing. Number six is not staying true to your core. So once you know your business’s sweet spot, stay true to that sweet spot until you maximize every opportunity and don’t get distracted by all the shiny stuff. Number seven is not knowing your numbers, you’ve got to know your numbers, have a weekly scorecard, have a monthly P&L, and manage your budget. And number eight is not crystallizing roles and responsibilities. Even when there’s just two of you and your company. Make sure that each of you knows exactly what your role what your responsibility is? What you’re accountable for? You will get a lot more done when everyone’s rowing in the same direction knows their exact role. They’re planning on taking the company to the next level.

Christine Schlonski [23:02]
Yeah. And in your vision not in theirs?

Gino Wickman [23:05]
Yes, you got it. That’s why vision is first. It all starts with the entrepreneur’s vision and most entrepreneurs are just terrible at articulating their vision and so that’s why you got to start with getting it on paper, getting it in a document, know your vision.

Christine Schlonski [23:20]
Yeah, I just, I love it. And I thank you so much for sharing all those resources, which I will connect into the Show Notes into the Resource tab with all of the Links that lead to you on social media to your homepage, but people can and get really a deeper dive at and I’m looking forward to our next episode because I do have questions especially about the mistakes to avoid. I already pick two. I would love to pick your brain on and thank you so so much for having been here. Is there any like parting advice you would like to leave us best for this first episode?

Gino Wickman [24:03]
Well, the parting advice is just please be honest with yourself, you know, when you fill out that assessment on the website, just be honest because you’ll do yourself a disservice to kid yourself. So be honest with yourself.

Christine Schlonski [24:17]
Awesome. Thank you so much. And I’m looking forward to our next episode.

Christine Schlonski [24:22]
What an interesting conversation. I’m so excited. I have Gino back pretty soon for a second interview. But I’m also really excited that I do have those six entrepreneurial traits, which kind of is a good confirmation. So I hope you have those six traits as well. And if you have them and you’re still in a nine to five, I hope you are inspired to take some action towards building your own company, your own business. So hop on over to Find the Podcast tab and there you will find the Show Notes, the Transcript and all the Links to Gino, his books, and the Resources we have been sharing in this episode. And once you’re over there, sign up for the Empowerment Notes. That’s Empowerment right into your inbox, where I share content that I usually do not share on social media. And where you also get an update on Heart Sells! Podcast, and amazing invitations to events, virtual and life so that you can build your business with your heart, from your heart, because, Heart Sells! Thank you so much for having been on today. Have a wonderful day wherever you are in this beautiful world. And I’m saying bye for now.


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