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Posted: February 26, 2013

More about the Empire of One

Fickle consumers create scads of niche markets

Thomas Frey

(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part 1.)

In today’s business world, there is competition for every dollar spent, but in the end, consumer make the final decision. The beauty of the consumer marketplace is that all consumers are wonderfully erratic, creating literally trillions of variables that they use to make their decisions.

So even though major brands work overtime to infiltrate the minds of every consumer on the planet, there are still tons of tiny markets left untouched. That’s where the Empire of One comes in. The massive world of untouched opportunities is already huge, and growing bigger every day.

Three Key Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about starting businesses and the life of an entrepreneur, but I’ll mention just three important ones here:

First, all new business start with an epiphany, a moment of rare insight into the world around us. In addition, all new products also start with an epiphany.

So it’s in our best interest to create more epiphanies.

However, successful businesses are never created with just one big idea. Rather they require tens of thousands of small ideas clustered together with enough momentum to drive the original epiphany forward.

Second, learning how to succeed also requires learning how to fail. In a best case scenario, failures can be minimized, deflected, or cauterized before they cause too much bleeding to occur, but there will always be another failure waiting for you to contend with. 

As an entrepreneur, your ability to deal with failure will define who you are and how successful you will ultimately become. Very often failures can be leveraged, turned around, and used to your advantage, but that can only happen once you become comfortable with failure. 

Finally, every startup is an emotional roller coaster ride. While we often hear the comment, “It’s just business!” …it’s NEVER just business!

Every successful business requires that you make an “all in” commitment. During the early stages you will eat, sleep, and breathe the business. It becomes part of you.

If someone says something negative about your product or business, it will feel like they are insulting you personally. If someone takes advantage of you in a business deal, it will feel like they are out to hurt you personally.

In the online world, people can be particularly rude and abrasive. 

The emotional side of business requires a thick skin. Your ability to manage your emotions and formulate a reasonable response is not an easy skill to learn. Those who are the best at it typically have a mentor network of like-minded entrepreneurs they can call at a moments notice.

As you enter the rollercoaster life of an entrepreneur will experience “higher highs” and “lower lows” than you ever thought possible. But in the end, you’ll feel like you’re truly living.

Final Thoughts

The Empire of One is a phrase I first coined in early 2008 after seeing the rise online tools and an emerging form of entrepreneurship taking place.

Now, after several years of watching this trend evolve, we’ve decided to take it to the next level and develop a formal training experience around it.

Here are the six primary tenants around which the course has been formed:

  1. Traditional entrepreneurship training is far too complicated. It demands too many skills for any one individual to master.
  2. Startups that requires investors and hiring a startup team have a very low probability of success. Most fail in the very early stages before they ever find a single investor
  3. It’s far more important for people to learn the “mindset of an entrepreneur” before putting everything at risk. This can be achieved by building a one-person business.
  4. Many new online tools enable us to automate aspects of business that previously required hiring people.
  5. Startup people love to hang out with other startup people. Mentor networks are an important part of the success variable.
  6. People who master the fine art of one-person entrepreneurship are well positioned to launch other more sophisticated entrepreneurial ventures. Those who know how to control their own destiny are destined for greatness.

An Empire of One business puts you squarely in the captain’s seat of your own starship. We will help you set the stage, chose a starting point, surround you with experts, and build your own communities.

Most importantly, we plan to make it fun. But in the end, this is a journey that you’re in charge of.

Is this something you’d like to be part of? Since we are always looking for ways to do things better, Please let us know your thoughts.

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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