John Jantsch’s Advice on Becoming a “Self-Reliant Entrepreneur”

On March 11th, our ‘Inner Circle’ members were joined by John Jantsch as our newest ‘Inner Circle Book Club’ guest author to discuss how to become a “Self-Reliant Entrepreneur”.

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker, and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, SEO for Growth, and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

His latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business, is a daily reminder to entrepreneurs that a better you makes a better business.

He was interviewed by Phil about his book and his key ideas for how Inner Circle members can apply his simple daily practices for thinking and performing at a higher level.

Here are some key highlights:

How the Self-Reliant Entrepreneur came to be

Having worked on the area of self-development and having had a daily routine for decades, John explains that this book was initially written for himself more than anyone. It’s not a “how to” book as much as a “why to” book and is the book he wishes he had. Now these daily practices are part of the toolkit he uses with his clients to help them achieve even more success.

Why 366 meditations?

John reveals that his brother was born on March 1st and has always been aware of leap years and how close his brother was to having a birthday every 4 years! The idea of the book is that people will read it for years to come – leap years included – and use it as they evolve and change and see the significance change over time.

How John intends for us to use the book

The book may be viewed as something like a journal or planner, but John’s intention for the book was that it became something to have on your night stand, refer back to and become something for collecting it all together. For John, a book felt like the right “package” for it all.

John knew that not everybody would use the book in the same way. But his expectation was that perhaps people would start with “today’s date”, though he doesn’t prescribe a right way to use it. Whether it’s sitting for an hour and consuming several mediations, jumping around and choosing at random or picking the monthly theme that resonates most closely with where they are or how they’re feeling right now.

Why it’s important to take this time to reflect

As entrepreneurs we put a lot of stress and pressure on ourselves and it’s easy to be knocked off course. John explains that establishing a routine of putting yourself in your highest mindset, gets you thinking about what’s important as opposed to what we can’t control. It also sets us up to be able to deal with challenges better. Putting yourself in the right space before you go out the door and sucked into “busy-ness” has been a very valuable discipline to him.

What is today’s meditation?

Phil picked out the March 11th meditation – entitled “Crazy for You”. But first John explains the structure of each day as beginning with an excerpt from a selection of 19th century literature. Then John spends around 150 words contextualizing the excerpt and then it ends with a question to keep in mind for that day.

Some of John’s words for this day read as follows:

“Is it madness to lurch out on your own or is it moreso to show up and collect salary in the service of someone else’s dreams. Is it riskier to control your own destiny or to depend on the decisions of another to feed your soul. Yeah you’re probably a little mad in somebody’s definition, but all that is glorious springs from some form of madness. Today be crazy for yourself and no-one else.”

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The challenge of explaining what you do

John and Phil go on to discuss this particular challenge where when starting out it’s very common for friends and family to not really understand what you do or why you’re doing it. Most of us can relate to this and as an entrepreneur it can be hard to articulate what you do, but also explain why we’re so passionate about it.

But is an audiologist really an entrepreneur?

How many audiologists have been met with people mishearing and thinking they’re a cardiologist or even archaeologist? Being able to proudly and passionately explain what you do without fear that others will get it, has more than likely been a challenge for most. Tempering your passion for audiology for the benefit of others helps nobody and potentially holds you back from success.

John’s intention for this particular meditation was around whether there could be something you’re not sure about, whether you perhaps fear judgement – “Are you a real doctor?”. He also reveals that it took him writing 3 books to feel comfortable to refer to himself as an author.

It’s also likely that technicians or high trained professionals such as audiologists more commonly don’t refer to themselves as an entrepreneur because they haven’t invented an innovative concept. But the outcome is that we become consumed in the work instead of being able to focus on what joy your practice can create in your life and the lives of others.

How can we bring this daily approach to our hearing care practices?

The challenge of this industry is that the widget has become the hero, but the service is the true hero. This book allows you to have conversations with yourself as a practice owner but also in adapting it to ongoing patient care and asking the right set of questions that unlock further patient needs.

How can you use more questions in your emails and other communications that could help to reveal valuable answers that improve the patient experience?

A look at “creative genius”

The theme of October in the book is “Change”. And the random date of October 14th came up for John to unpack for us.

In the book John says: “Creative genius is often seen as something that comes to the chosen few who pick up a brush or sit at a piano and craft something so original that duplication is unthinkable.”

John’s actual definition is all about how we can search high and low for something and discover it has not yet been created. So we become the creator of that thing, often after finding an answer in an otherwise unrelated place where we don’t normally look for it.

The lesson here is to look for the signs, identify the gaps and trust in the answers that can randomly come up for us.

Paying attention to the questions in your daily life

Phil’s asks John why some of the questions at the end of each meditation are so seemingly simple such as thinking of your favorite color. John explains that it’s less about the questions themselves, but more about where the questions take us, even through the whole day as we consider them and remain curious as to where it takes their imagination and creativity.

What people often think they need is a list of actions, but questions force us to tailor it to ourselves and open up our thinking. John prefers to find his ideas from books completely unrelated to what he does and adapt and find a unique perspective on a subject, rather than repurpose what’s already been done.

The importance of finding your place for reflection

The final example we hear from John is from February 28th and is all about creativity through reflection. He highly recommends finding a particular place outside of your daily life and work to open and clear your mind and reflect – whether in nature or just somewhere different.

Perhaps the best way to end and move forward from this interview is to challenge you to go and find your one “sitting spot” where you will regularly go to and be still, look and listen to your surroundings and see what ideas and insights appear in your mind.


These are just some of the key notes from a 70-minute interview with John Jantsch. The full interview is only available to “Inner Circle” members, but you can view the highlights below.


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