Why mindset is critical to your success as an entrepreneur


When I started my first business in 1996, I wanted to use my skills, talents and dream to start my own business to build something exciting that didn’t limit me to my city of Eugene, OR.  I had a desire to go big and work in a bigger way to make an impact. The only problem was I didn’t have a vision of what that would look like as an end result.  All I had was that strong desire.

Yet I was determined to make it work. I was persistent.

I started as a PR freelancer working on projects.  Then in 1998, I landed my first big PR contract with the big PR firm that represented Microsoft. My business contracted with that PR firm to represent Microsoft’s Healthcare Industry Solutions Group.  That year I hit six-figures.

By 2002, I hit mid-six figures and survived one of my clients going bankrupt in the dot com bust. I lost $96,000. I had to pay my staff $45k (that never came in), and I essentially worked for free for that company for the rest (three months worth of work).  I learned a lot.  Little did I know at the time that I would be a “pioneer” working as a solopreneur for my clients around the world in a virtual environment.  I worked at home and my team worked around the country virtually from their home too.

Fast forward, when I started my coaching practice in 2010, I was on retainer with one PR client that developed global standards for electronic health records. I love working with smart people.

I had trained for two years on the side while I did my PR work. I was doing what I suggest to clients today – have a “gig” on the side while you build your new business.

I coached people for free in the beginning to get my certification and experience, and then slowly started working way up to charging $150 an hour for my sessions. At the time, I didn’t realize how many clients I would have to coach to make this business work and generate income. I borrowed money from us for a few years and went into debt to start this business.

I did what everybody else did back then… I put the word out to everyone that knew me to let them know that I had started coaching. I got some clients from being listed as one of Martha Beck’s life coaches. Back then there weren’t that many of us.

I was determined to “crack the code” on what other successful six-figure entrepreneurs were doing that I wasn’t doing.

The truth is most coaching programs out there don’t teach you the “insider” information on how to attract clients and make consistent income. They teach you the basics. This is not a slam but the TRUTH.

I began to realize that I couldn’t figure it out on my own.

I had now struggled for two years.  I thought if I worked “hard enough” that I could make it work.  After all, I had built a multiple six-figure business while I also bought and sold real estate making another multiple six-figures.  So I kept “trying” in this new coaching business.

At the same time, I spent so much money on online classes, working long hours trying to figure out how to generate consistent income and learn to create lucrative programs that brought in money without me. In 2010, I took Marie Forleo’s B School to learn online marketing, which helped tremendously but it didn’t help me learn how to attract more clients and learn how to authentically sell what I was doing.  I didn’t learn sales.

I realized I needed my own coach.

It was when I hired a coach/mentor that everything changed. My income doubled.

Now I am investing three times what I spent last year on my coach because now I have her 1:1 helping me with my business.

In the first two months of working with me, she has intuited that I’m not offering and working in my zone of genius.  She has shined a light on that so I could see it.

Sometimes we can’t see that about ourselves.  Sometimes we need someone else to point that out.  Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way.

Standing back and connecting the dots from this second business this is what I learned that I want to share with you:

It’s the people who seek out mentors who know more than they know that understand how to create consistent income and the basics of selling. They are those entrepreneurs that have the highest profits, the best customers, and a business that makes money 24/7.

What’s even more important then skill or talent is mindset. Your mind is your biggest asset.

If you aren’t in charge of your mind, it’s in charge of you and you’re being driven by your thoughts, beliefs and emotions.

If you aren’t conscious and aware of your thoughts/beliefs, you’re living unconsciously, which is what most people do in life.

What I teach my own clients is what I learned to be a successful entrepreneur.  This, my friends, is my zone of genius.  This is where I sing inside when working with clients, this is what I am here to help you do – get out of your own way.

*This is the program that will be named How to Get Out of Your Own Way that is coming to you this fall.

The Keys to a Successful Entrepreneurial Mindset

  1. You must be determined to make your business work.  I call this having a “desire to go bigger.” You don’t let setbacks stop you (this is your mind stopping you by the way). This is the key to my success.  I become unstoppable because of my desire.  I take challenges and turn them into opportunities (just what I did in PR with clients;)
  2. You must understand fear and learn to alchemize it into your rocket fuel.  Learn to decode it, ask it what is really saying to you. Fear is part of life – it has a lesson for you. Fear looks like resistance, procrastination, overwhelm, and making excuses why you can’t do something.
  3. You must learn to tame your inner critic – observe it, name it and don’t resist it. Again – it’s trying to protect you so notice if it’s trying to keep you playing a small game or a bigger game.
  4. You must learn to look for opportunities in front of you. They are right under your nose but you aren’t seeing them.
  5. You will and can learn to take risks that move you one tiny step at a time out of your comfort zone. If you take small, calculated risks, you will learn how to use a new muscle and it will help you become more confident.
  6. You learn not to let your mind stop you when obstacles are in your way. You find a way to work with them or go around them. You become a creative problem solver. This is one of my greatest strengths.

When I started my first business in 1996, I wanted to use my skills, talents and dream to start my own business to build something exciting that did not limit me to my city of Eugene, OR.  I had a desire to go BIG.  This desire fueled me to play at a global level working with a world-class company – Microsoft – and world class journalists from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC Worldwide, Fortune and BusinessWeek. 

All of these are key to your success. This is what I teach my business clients, the women in Smart Women Make Money and this will be a core piece of my new 6-month small group program called Make Money Now: Everything You Need to Create a Profitable Business, which will start the first of November.

I’m bringing everything I know into this program as a master life coach, a facilitator in the Institute of The Work of Byron Katie and a two-time successful entrepreneur and real-estate investor.

You know that I love to hear from you.  I would love to hear what resonates with you about these lessons. 

If you liked this article, please share the wisdom by sharing it with those people that could use this.

I believe in you.  I see you.  I talk to people like you every week.  If I can do this, you can too.

Here’s to your success!  Love, Sherold



  1. Sherold, I just love this post, and the funny thing, while I can’t yet “take on” a coach as you describe as so valuable, I am interestingly belong drawn to my “zone of genius,” I believe. Because of all the work I’ve done with Spiritual directors, and my own inward movement with ACIM, I am noticing a “pull” to the area that really lights me up. Because I believe a lot of what we do is a “feeling” thing, I do trust this… Thank you for offering me another way to look at my own process, through your own sharing here.

  2. Carol Egan you are so welcome. Maybe later you will be able to have a coach and you will have me in MMN;) That counts. And this zone of genius is where it’s almost so easy for us that we discount it. At least I didn’t see this as my thing until a few months ago. It’s the Inner Game where I shine to help people make it realized in the outer world. You will get there. I know that about you.

  3. Great post and find your story and professional development so inspiring. My goal is to complete several classes, MBI Coach Training, Smart Women Make Money, Michael Trotta’s nature based coaching and when I have those under my belt would love to take a the entrepreneurial training.

    I believe too that having a mentor coach would be critical and I wonder, how do you decide who to select?

  4. Jamie – it’s so nice to hear that this article inspired you. Yes finish your training. I am offering Make Money Now: Everything you need to build a profitable business. It starts Oct. 28 and goes for 6 months. I’m teaching what no one taught me and this is to focus on revenue generating activities. It’s not taught out there. You select a coach you resonate with, one that is living it and doing what they teach;) That’s how I picked my coach. thx;)

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