Aug. 9, 2021

Six Lessons From Everyday People Who Became Successful Entrepreneurs

Do you often imagine what life would be like if you worked for yourself? Many people who feel stuck in 9-5 jobs fantasize about a life of independence, fueled by a passion in work they believe in.

You might find yourself daydreaming about launching your own business, consulting agency, blog or podcast. You might be bursting with an idea and fantasize about turning it into a powerful source of change.

As you consider this, one question may interrupt your thoughts: do you have what it takes?

Giants in the entrepreneurship world seem to be just that -- giants. Otherworldly beings equipped with all the productivity hacks and business superpowers. But that’s not the case at all!

The three Beyond 6 Seconds podcast guests featured in this article are ordinary people. Read about some of their entrepreneurship secrets below to see how they’ve built extraordinary lives.


David Shriner-Cahn: Building a Business After a Job Loss

 David Shriner-Cahn

David Shriner-Cahn is an Ivy-League educated engineer and former non-profit executive. Back in 2006, after 28 years as a highly-skilled employee, he was told his job was over.

Now, David is a successful entrepreneur, podcaster and speaker. He guides high achieving professionals to independent careers as consultants or coaches, enabling them to use their knowledge and creativity to make a change. David shares many lessons he has learned from his own and others’ journeys.

  1. Take Time to Reflect

Yes, few people have the luxury to call it quits and take time off for themselves. But it’s still possible to reflect on the direction you want to take for your life and career. For David, recognizing his grief was an important part of this reflection.

He noticed that many people in early stages of their entrepreneurial career experience a kind of “emotional turmoil” or even grief. This can be due to hardships and complicated feelings from leaving a job, either voluntarily or involuntarily. The early stages of any entrepreneurial venture can be difficult, and this is where many people struggle.

An important key to staying focused and motivated is to recognize, reflect on and process these feelings. In David’s words, ignoring these feelings makes it much harder to be successful.

  1. Be Prepared to Work Hard

Recognizing your feelings does not mean staying stuck or giving up. Process your feelings, then get ready for the fact that starting your own venture is difficult. David does not hold back about this:

“Being an entrepreneur is way harder than being an employee. It’s not for the faint of heart. You know, many people don’t have the focus, discipline and perseverance that it takes to be an entrepreneur.”

If you’re wondering whether you have it in you to start your hustle, ask yourself if you’re ready to work harder than ever to achieve your entrepreneurial goals.

To hear more about what David learned about success as an entrepreneur, you can listen to his interview on the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast.


Sydney Nanberg: Designing a Life with Marketing, Mental Health and Mindset

 Sydney Nanberg

Sydney dropped out of college, but by the age of 20 she had successfully built a 6-figure marketing business.

Sydney’s experiences with bullying and her mental health challenges inform her work today. She is an anti-bullying activist and uses social media to inspire young people who are struggling with their mental health.

For Sydney, life was not easy. Here is how she embraced the challenges.

  1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Sydney’s path to success is paved with one step at a time out of her comfort zone.

She knew she wanted to make a change in her life, in order to be happier. She decided she would challenge herself as much as possible. If she got out of her comfort zone, something would change.

The wonderful thing about Sydney’s story is how each step she took to challenge herself led her closer and closer to founding her own six-figure marketing agency. All of her small decisions ultimately led to something great.

  1. Get Ready to Learn

For Sydney, getting out of her comfort zone was not about plunging blindly into challenges. It was about learning:

“I took courses and classes that would challenge me. I got a job in sales to become really good at sales. I took public speaking to improve my speaking skills. I took comedy improv classes to really do something outside of my comfort zone and be quick on my feet. I took leadership classes, and I spent a lot of time just working on my habits and personal development and growth.”

A critical part of learning is doing something you’ve never done before. Sydney’s journey of learning and improving herself eventually led her to success.

As an entrepreneur, especially one who starts solo, you have to wear many hats. Many start out as CEO, social media manager, brand strategist, blog writer and even graphic designer all in one. At the beginning of your journey, get ready to learn as much as possible.

Learn more about how Sydney Nanberg became a successful business founder at a young age.


Michelle Tillis Lederman: The Connector’s Advantage

 Michelle Tillis-Lederman

Michelle, a Forbes Top 25 Networking Expert, has written a book called The Connector’s Advantage about what she has learned by helping people connect and work better together. 

Michelle believes in the power of connections. You’ve probably heard a lot about good networking as a professional secret. As an entrepreneur, this is especially important.

  1. Networking Fuels Your Success

If you’re intimidated by the idea of networking, or find it ingenuine, you’ll be happy to know that Michelle has a fresh approach to this professional skill.

When you begin your new venture, you will need people. People to learn from, people you can help, people who will use what your venture offers, and more. When Michelle spoke on the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast, she talked about six types of professional relationships that everyone should have in their network. Listen to Michelle’s episode of Beyond 6 Seconds to find out more!

Get ready to connect with people as you start your exciting new venture, or if you want to take an existing project to great heights.

In the podcast, Michelle also offers strategies for introverted networkers. In fact, she says that introverts are often the best networkers!

  1. Have a Clear “Ask”

No one can help you if you don’t know what you need. This is why one of Michelle’s secrets is to have a clear “ask” when you’re building relationships.

Different people can provide different types of support for you. People can help you best when they know what you’re asking for.

This advice applies to business ownership and life in general. Circling back to the first piece of advice above from David Shriner-Cahn, you need to reflect and know what you want. Your own “ask” for yourself and your life will determine how you deal with success and setbacks.

Learn more networking advice from Michelle on the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast.

Entrepreneurship is not easy, but for many people, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding path to independence and financial freedom. The three guests on the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast featured here show how they built extraordinary lives in challenging circumstances. Their tips and strategies provide insights that can help you achieve big goals and dreams.


Beyond 6 Seconds is a podcast that shares the extraordinary stories of everyday people in their own words. For more stories of people who have done extraordinary work to promote diversity and inclusion, subscribe to the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast on your favorite podcast platformandsign up for the free newsletter.