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Posted: February 25, 2013

Introducing the Empire of One

An option most VCs want you to overlook

Thomas Frey

What are the odds of you ending up age 65-70 and having regretted your entire life? As people edge towards retirement, reflective moments like this can be a gut wrenching experience. If you’re like most, the odds are well over 90 percent.

For many, the jobs world has transitioned from a lifelong career path to frenetic stints of work with amping levels of stress at the beginning and end of each new gig. Many are desperate to gain some control over their own destiny, but few know how. 

Launching a new business can be a terrifying experience, especially if you go down the old school path taught in most entrepreneurial schools. The process of writing a business plan, raising money, and hiring a leadership team has killed far more businesses than it helped. Death by 10,000 distractions.

People launching a business have limited resources – limited time, energy, money, talent, and intellectual bandwidth. Chasing after meaningless accomplishments simply because a so-called “expert” told you to do it is a sure path to failure.

The new Empire of One business model we’re developing at the DaVinci Institute starts by building the mindset of an entrepreneur, before overloading people with extraneous options. As an example, the one-person entrepreneur doesn’t need to know about raising money, SEC rules, investor relationship strategies, HR requirements, hiring policies, or any of ten thousand other details designed for explosive growth businesses that only represent a fraction of one percent of the ones that succeed. 

Once people learn to be successful as a one-person entrepreneur, without putting their family, house, and lifetime savings on the line, they can consider larger endeavors. Let me explain further. 

Empire of One Defined

An Empire of One is a one-person business with far reaching spheres of influence. Since its oriented around the lifestyle, needs, and desires of you, the person in charge, it can be as big or as small as you want it to be.

Running a solo business in the past most often meant that you had a one-person practice, offering a professional service such as a lawyer, accountant, dentist, or doctor.

Even though these are still viable options, the Internet, 3D printing, online storefronts, and other emerging technologies are opening up far more possibilities. Our approach will be to focus on this burgeoning category of “other possibilities.” 

The business you create can be formed around a product, a service, or a combination of both. It can be a for-profit, non-profit, domestic-only, international, have broad appeal, or only be for be for left-handed people in Armenia.

Best of all, you can keep your current job, keep your savings, and keep your family intact. You decide the level of risk you’re comfortable with. After all the decision-maker in any Empire of One is you.

That said, learning everything you need to know will involve a steep learning curve and it won’t come without hard work, trial and error, and several introspective moment where you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall. 

In addition, there’s no such thing as a totally risk-free venture. It will require a time commitment, a money commitment and an emotional commitment.

The Announcement

Since we live in a world oriented around financial drivers, our worth as an individual is often tied to the salaries we earn. However, most people grossly underestimate their true earning potential. 

We believe this new way of thinking is best taught in a small synergistic group setting formed around passionate, driven people wanting to take control of their own destiny. Here’s what we have planned:

  • COURSE: Empire of One
  • LAUNCH DATE: March 26, 2013
  • SCHEDULE: March 26 – May 30 (10-Weeks)
  • CLASS DATES: Every Tuesday & Wednesday evening
  • TIMES: 6:00-9:00 PM
  • COST: $6,000
  • WEBSITE: http://empireofone.org
  • APPLICATION PROCESS: All who apply will be interviewed and evaluated. Many will apply but only a few will be chosen. 

Since this is a pilot program, all classes will be held in-house at the DaVinci Institute. There will be no webcast options for the first one.

Classes will be primarily taught by Dave Taylor, but an entire faculty of guest speakers, experts, and advisors will be involved to make this a truly remarkable experience.

In addition to normal class times we will be adding special one-on-one “ask an expert” sessions that will enable people to ask detailed questions about their specific situation.

The Empire of One Philosophy 

Businesses are living, breathing organisms, operating in fluid environments, constantly adjusting to every shift and change in the world around them. Money serves as its breathable oxygen.

And in much the same way nature feeds off the less fortunate, big animals eating smaller ones, all businesses are competing for the same revenue streams using superior acumen, prowess, and resources to feed off of the revenue streams of the little guys. 

However, just as lions have little concern for what ants are eating, big companies have little concern for the tiny markets that feed countless niche businesses currently cropping up on the horizon.

According to Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, “Increasingly, the mass market is turning into a mass of niches.” And “all those niches, when aggregated, can make up a significant market.”

Read more tomorrow.

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

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