Season 3 – Episode 03

Mastering the Entrepreneurial Self

with John Jantsch

Photography by Gregory Berg

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We are barraged by digital distractions to the point where it can warp our perspective.

It’s profoundly challenging to hear ourselves think, let along carve out an identity of our own. So, how can we step out of this Matrix-like web of endless bombardment and live our own version of an excellent life?

How can we learn to listen to and rely upon our own point of view? What does that take? Are there skills of self-reliance we can practice?

Today, Jeffrey explores the art of mastering the entrepreneurial self with John Jantsch, the founder of Duct Tape Marketing and author of the forthcoming book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. John explains how his curiosity informed his early days in business, discussing what living a life of excellence meant to him then and what it means now. He describes how the ideas of great mid-nineteenth century American thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller apply to contemporary entrepreneurs, challenging us to foster the self-trust necessary to uncover our personal passion and purpose. Listen in for John’s insight around the characteristics of a self-reliant entrepreneur and learn to listen to your own authority, nurture a sense of empathy and openness to growth, and evolve to become even more of yourself.

Our Guest

John Jantsch

John Jantsch is an author, speaker, and marketing consultant who specializes in assisting small businesses. The heart of Jantsch’s work is identifying your ideal customer, creating a content driven infrastructure, and then taking a disciplined approach to nurturing that system in a way that brings the best, most profitable customers to you. In 2002, John created the Duct Tape Marketing System with the understanding that small business marketing must be simple, affordable, always-at-the-ready, and effective at solving any of a host of problems. He chose duct tape as a powerful symbol of versatility and effectiveness that flies in the face of a lot of what passes for marketing today. As hundreds of small business owners can attest, the metaphor sticks. Two years later, John added the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network, which offers marketing workshops and consulting to small businesses around the world.

John’s newest book, published by Wiley, is called The Self Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. In it, John offers overworked and harried entrepreneurs a much-needed guide for tapping into the wisdom that is most relevant to the entrepreneurial life.

» John’s Website
» Purchase The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

Key Takeaways

[0:02] Our addiction to information and digital distractions

  • Challenge to hear self think, carve out own identity
  • Learn to listen to + rely on distinct point of view

[5:35] The portrait of a young John

  • 7 of 10 children, freedom of time spent in woods
  • Characterized by curiosity (attention-getting device)

[8:57] How John’s curiosity informed his early days in business

  • Confident in staying one step ahead of client
  • Served in emerging digital marketing space

[11:17] How John built and scaled his marketing firm

  • Sell system to small businesses (traditional agency model)
  • Back to working alone after 9/11, create online course
  • Speaking, writing and building network of consultants

[15:45] What a life of excellence meant to John early on

  • Explore link between curiosity and creativity

[18:19] What inspired The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

  • Affection for mid-nineteenth century American thought
  • Apply ideas to life of contemporary entrepreneur
  • Need for self-trust and empathy to see connections

[28:49] How John’s writing voice has evolved over time

  • Write as member of audience (no first person)
  • Hone art form of writing short passages

[36:08] The relationship between self-trust and purpose

  • Stop letting others control, trying to control outcomes
  • Self-trust necessary for purpose to find YOU

[38:19] The tension between the values and practice of self-reliance

  • Technology + capitalism denies us pride of workmanship
  • Disrupt digital matrix programming view of what’s true
  • Foster wonder and appreciation of beauty as antidote

[41:45] John’s practices for listening to our own authority

  • Quiet the noise and seek solitude
  • Seek opportunities to experience new things
  • Get outside in nature, foster spiritual connection

[45:36] How self-reliant entrepreneurs will change the world

  • Goal to work much deeper on fewer things
  • Nurture sense of empathy and openness to growth
  • Give self break from judgement, need to compete

[55:00] The evolution of a self-reliant entrepreneur

  • Shift focus from passion to success to impact
  • Continue to embrace change and growth
  • Prioritize mentorship, most important work

[1:03:14] The value of change by evolution vs. revolution

  • Make profound change without crisis or drama
  • Progression toward depth and richness
  • Become more of self, able to engage and serve
  • Slow down long enough to hear own voice

Season 3: Gregory Berg

Gregory Berg is a veteran photographer, multimedia storyteller, and the host & producer of Life on Purpose, a podcast that explores how to lead a more intentional life. Since he began his career as a professional photographer in 2004, Gregory has traveled the world seeking to capture the light and beauty that connects us all.

Gregory’s quest has led him to visit breathtaking destinations and photograph amazing humans, including world champion skateboarder Tony Hawk and distinguished entrepreneurs at Camp GoodLifeProject, a summer camp for adults where he has served as a photographer for the past five years.

After realizing the power of mindfulness and intention to infuse creative expression with transformational power, Gregory has developed projects (coming soon) to share this revelation with others. In the meantime, he posts stunning iPhone photography with his reflections on the world around him each day on Instagram.

For a brief primer on mindful photography, see his post written for Digital Photo Mentor. To see more of Greg’s photography, visit his website:

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Each week brings you in-depth conversations with leaders, stories from change-makers, and provocative ideas from artists and scientists – all designed to inspire you to shape your best work with more possibility, impact, and – yes – wonder.