061: Figuring Out This Entrepreneurship Thing with Dorie Clark

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Dorie Clark, adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the author of Entrepreneurial You.

Here’s what Travis and Dorie discuss in this episode:

  • About Dorie Clark:
    • She’s worn a lot of hats.
    • Her first book was called Reinventing You.
    • Started as a journalist.
    • 11 years ago, started doing marketing strategy consulting.
    • Focuses on helping get talented professionals seen and heard in a busy market.
    • She used to be a non-profit executive director.
      • She was running a tiny organization with three staffers.
      • She was under a ton of pressure to do fundraising.
      • She realized that if she didn’t raise funds the organization would go under.
    • She realized that she could run her own business and be less stressed while making more money.
    • She took a year to take classes and read books to learn how to launch her own business.
    • She then decided to become an entrepreneur.
    • She felt that it was less risky to be an entrepreneur.
    • If you want to jump into entrepreneurship, don’t feel like you have to do it without having a plan.
  • How Dorie “jumped in” to entrepreneurship.
    • Over time the vision of what you’re doing might change.
    • She originally thought she would be starting a political consulting business.
    • Based on where it was in the cycle, she didn’t get a lot of political clients up front, she got inquiries from non-profit and government agencies.
    • She quickly pivoted to being a marketing/PR consultant.
    • She recognized that the targets she was approaching were less receptive than she’d imagined, but other people were more receptive.
  • How long did it take to realize she needed to switch directions?
    • Within two or three months she learned that she had different clients than she thought.
    • Originally a lot of the work she was doing for people was a lot of pitching and PR stuff.
      • She did a lot of copywriting, speeches, etc.
    • Within 3-4 years of starting her business, she knew she’d need to move away from copywriting and PR.
      • Social media was on the rise.
      • Newspapers were collapsing.
      • She started to realize that doing PR was a losing battle and she had to pivot away from that.
    • What inspired Entrepreneurial You?
      • She wanted to understand what people were doing to be able to build 7-figure businesses as solo consultants.
      • She had a six-figure business but felt like she could benefit from learning some things.
      • Her go-to instinct was to interview people and then share those interviews.
      • She wanted to learn how to make more money and help other people make more money.
      • Interviewed over 50 entrepreneurs to create an action plan for people.
      • There’s gradations of becoming an expert at something.
        • She says to use “the peer that is just ahead of you” model.
          • You are often an expert to other people, even if you know just a tiny bit more than them.
        • Josh Kauffman wrote a book called The Personal MBA
          • He did not have an MBA, but he thought he could teach himself.
          • He read all of the foundational books in the business canon.
          • He wrote a book about what he learned.
        • A lot of people can lay claim to a form of expertise like Josh Kauffman.
          • A lot of people wait too long to position themselves as an expert.
        • Dori has a worksheet for people interested in thinking about ways to develop their own multiple income streams.
          • Ways to monetize what you’re doing.
          • It’s 88 questions to walk you through the process.
        • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
          • It’s both, but if she had to pick it would be who you know.
          • We all know something, we just might not be the world’s expert at it.
          • If you can’t convey that you’re an expert, then you’re not helping anybody.
          • If you’re pretty good and have a good network, it’s a powerful combination.
          • If you’re pretty good and have a large network, you’ll become really good.
        • Tell us about a time where a connection led to a big moment of success.
          • As a side project, she will be entering a program called the BMI Musical Theatre Fellowship.
            • She will be training as a musical theatre lyricist.
            • She met Jeff Marx, the creator of Avenue Q.
            • She met him at the Ted conference, and he told her about musical theatre.
              • Jeff tipped her off to the BMI progam.
            • She applied and was denied, applied again and then got in.
          • She met Michael Roderick who is a networking expert who connected her with another colleague.
            • She was able to get into a program that will open up other professional pathways.
          • She does some stand-up comedy – got into that through a connection as well.
          • It’s easy for people to fall into ruts once they’ve mastered something.
        • Why do you think that a lot of people neglect to network?
          • Her connection invited a different colleague from a different department out to lunch every week.
            • At the end of the year you have 50 new contacts.
            • You could do this in your company or in your community.
            • People don’t do this because they fall into a pattern.
          • People think that networking just happens on accident, but it doesn’t.
            • That’s an irresponsible way to look at the activity of your life.
          • If you had to choose one networking tip to apply to people’s life, what would that be?
            • She interviewed Michael Katz for a Forbes article and he gave her this exercise:
              • If he had a list of 150-200 people who are the top people in his network.
                • Every day, he’ll take between 5-10 minutes and write 2-3 of these people a personal note.
                • By doing this you stay in touch, friendly and on the radar.
                • This way it’s not weird if you email them actually needing something, it’s not strange.
              • The Random Round
                • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
                  • A spy
                • If you could sit on a park bench for any hour with anyone past or present, who would it be?
                  • Greta Gerwig, Indie film actress and director
                • How do you like to learn best, books, blogs, podcasts or video?
                  • Podcasts, there’s a large volume of them and you can listen when you’re doing other things.
                • What are some of your favorite podcasts?
                  • Revisionist History, Jordan Harbinger
                • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine:
                  • Wake up and go for a walk outside
                  • Go to a coffee shop
                  • Get an acai bowl
                  • Read the newspaper with breakfast and begin the workday
                • What is your go-to pump up song:
                  • Tegan and Sara’s music
                • What are you not very good at?
                  • Assembling things, spacial kinesthetic things
                • Can find her on her website: dorieclark.com

Tweetable Quotes:

  • If you’re pretty good at something and have a good network, it’s a powerful combination
  • Over time the vision of what you’re doing might change.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.com – Podcast website

dorieclark.com/entrepreneur – Dorie’s website

Entrepreneurial You – Dorie Clark’s book

Revisionist History – One of Dorie’s favorite podcasts

The Art of Charm – One of Dorie’s favorite podcasts



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