Making It: How to Be a Successful Online Entrepreneur
First What, Then How (Dov Gordon)
November 26, 2021
According to Dov Gordon, making it is about being free. In this episode, Dov encourages entrepreneurs to be “the one who naturally causes” the results they want by committing to a creative intention and trusting the process to yield a clear path forward.
Welcome to Making It! This weekly show explores the lives and stories of entrepreneurs as they share their unique perspectives on their success and the path to making it.  

     For Dov, founder and CEO of Profitable Relationships, the what is the essential element to entrepreneurial success. Too often, people get bogged down in the how and limit themselves and their opportunities before they ever start. Dov equates creating a business to creating a work of art. It’s a creative process in which you know roughly where you want to end up—what you want the finished product to look like—and you trust through the journey that each step in the process will reveal itself as you move toward your masterpiece. 

     In this episode of Making It, Dov takes us through his own journey of finding his secret to success after years of “pushing the boulder up the hill and watching roll right back down” only to realize that he was the one making it hard. Dov’s greatest teacher was experience in those early years, and the lesson was letting go. There is no right or wrong way, there is only the individual path, and no one else can chart it for you.

“To me, making it is about being free to live according to your own genuine values and priorities.”

“Worry less about yourself and focus more on contribution.”
– Dov Gordon

Dov Gordon is the founder and CEO of Profitable Relationships. Starting out in his 20s, Dov knew a “real job” wouldn’t cut it and that anything less than success was not an option. With no formal training or experience, he began coaching small business leaders. After nearly a decade of arduous ups and downs mixed with enough wins to keep him going, Dov knew he wanted to go bigger. 

He started a peer group for CEOs of companies doing $150 million or more in annual sales, pushing his then-current business to a new level. Since then, Dov has created even more success with his latest company, Profitable Relationships and the Under-the-Radar system, uniquely helping consultants find and retain a steady stream of ideal clients.

After experiencing firsthand the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, Dov discovered the secret that brought a lot of success to his own small company. He started teaching this secret to others, and one by one, they too experienced the success that was elusive for all those years.

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:
Dov’s website ProfitableRelationships
Dov’s Twitter

Guest – Dov Gordon
Associate producer – Danny Bermant
Producer – Cynthia Lamb
Executive producer – Danny Iny
Assembled by – Geoff Govertsen
Audio Post Supervisor: Evan Miles, Christopher Martin
Audio Post Production by Post Office Sound
Music soundscape: Chad Michael Snavely

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Music and SFX credits: 

• Track Title: Sweet Loving Waltz
Artist Name(s): Sounds Like Sander
Writer Name: S.L.J. Kalmeijer

• Track Title: The Sunniest Kids
Artist Name(s): Rhythm Scott
Writer Name: Scott Roush

• Track Title: Onwards
Artist Name(s): Matteo Galesi
Writer Name: Matteo Galesi

Episode transcript:

I'm Dov Gordon and you're listening to Making It! I run a business called Profitable Relationships Dot Com and we help consultants become under-the-radar leaders in their industry as a way of gaining ideal clients consistently.

     I think of business as a work of art. You're creating a work of art and you need to know what is this painting or a piece of art that I'm looking to create? One of the lessons that so many of us really need to learn is really the trust is to have that faith that the path forward will show itself. As I take a step towards it. Every step. Another step, another step. Things will start to come together only after you make a real commitment to a certain outcome to a certain vision that you have to a certain artwork, let's say a painting that you want to create. But if you do the other way around where you start with how in order to figure out what, well you say what do I know how to do or what kind of clients that know how to get, then you're not even envisioning what you really want. You're starting with what you think you can have. you're settling for what you think you can have rather than going after what you really want. And that's a big mistake that a lot of us make. Now, first what then how. Once you have a clear ideas about what kind of clients you want to have then the next question, Well how do I get them And that could be a journey. 

     I got started as a coach for small business really just because I'd always enjoyed studying different aspects of business as a teenager and after discovering the self help and the business sections in the library. Then after getting married and realizing, well I need to do something, you know, I was early twenties and starting a family and what am I gonna do? I came across this idea that there's this thing called business coaching. I looked into it a bit more, signed up for one of these coach training programs, and went through it. It gave me the tools to get started. I heard that there was a Dale Carnegie course starting up in my area and I realized that this is a 14 week course of mostly business people of one kind or another, small business, and it was four hours once a week for 14 weeks. I realized that well if I join this course, I'll be able to get to know other small business people, I didn't really know where else to go and maybe I'll get some clients from it. And I did use that as a way of beginning relationships, getting to know people. And I recall that after the 14 weeks are calculated in about 14% of the class have become my first clients. So in that sense, it was a success. 

     The first seven, maybe eight years was like pushing a boulder up the hill and watching it roll right back down there was like Sisyphus incarnate. It was, that was me. I knew I had a lot to offer. I knew that I was pretty intelligent, I knew that I cared perhaps more than some others... but I didn't know how to turn that into a consistent flow of ideal clients. At some point I had the idea of bringing together small business owners to learn from each other. Did some research, discovered that there is something called a CEO peer advisory group, a round table, and that there are thousands of such groups out there. So I started this little pair advisory group, small business owners and that ran for a while. Again, everything I was doing was, I mean that was the greatest lesson, the greatest teacher was experience. 

     And then I realized well how do I get to the larger companies? These were all really small businesses. I think the largest one had maybe a couple of dozen employees. How do we get to larger businesses? And I ended up getting a copy of the Dunn and Bradstreet largest companies in the area. And I started called calling the CEOs in their offices, right? And got to where I was pretty successful at getting them on the phone and getting meetings with many of them. And then close down the original CEO or small business Pc advisor group and I started a new one which was with for CEOs of companies doing between $10-150 million in sales. This is very exciting. I learned an awful lot. But again, I found myself in a situation where I was pushing a boulder up the hill for two or three years. 

     I have worked for myself my entire career. I've never had a real job, although I tried on three occasions when I was struggling to get a job and neither of them worked out. I think the question you have to ask yourself is what is it that I hope to gain from having a real job? And if you have that as one of your options, you're just going to weigh the pros and the cons one against the other. I don't think that there's one right answer for everybody. I think that we all need to understand. But you know, in 2008 I was interviewing at a management consulting firm. It turned out to be the, I think was the Wednesday or Thursday before Lehman brothers collapsed, which I think that happened over the weekend or Sunday maybe, and by Monday they weren't hiring anymore. And it was, it was just fine because I don't think that would have fit into their lockstep culture anyway and they wanted everybody to think a certain way and I've already raised questions about this or that, which they had shared, trying to understand why they do it that way and I got the sense that they are looking for clones. I'm not a very good clone. 

     Just stop worrying. Just let go. I'd like to share that with my current self, to, you know, it's a lesson that I still need to learn, although perhaps a little bit less. So I'd like to think I made some real progress, but let it go, you know? Just focus on the creative contribution, focus on doing things that matter to other people. Worry less about yourself and focus more on contribution. I just get really excited when people who have sacrificed so much to get really good at something, when their eyes open up and they come to realize like, wow, I don't have to do A, B, and C like everybody says I have to do. I really could do it my way. I really could chart my own path. I think that it's so important that everybody comes to realize that it doesn't mean that we can just do it anyway. We want to we do have to be creating something that some people find valuable. We can find a way that works for us that fits with what is most important to us. And it's not for anybody else to tell us this is how you should do it. 

     Giving up or stepping back from what it is you really want to create out of worry or fear is a huge mistake that so many people make in all areas of life. It's about again, it's about first what then how. It's about going after what you really want. Having the calmness of mind and the courage to decide what you really want. And then to take steps towards it every single day knowing that it will fall into place along the way. As opposed to, oh, I can't even really go after what I want because I don't know how to get there. And I have all these limitations and and that's definitely not making it, definitely not making it. That's living in fear. That's settling and it's it's not really living, it's existing. I think that's the greatest failure to me. 

     Making it really is about being free to live according to your own genuine values and priorities. And the truth is that in that sense, we can all make it every day. You know, we all have the opportunity every single day every minute of the day to live in alignment with what's really most important to us. And that's not an easy thing to do in my under the radar Leaders Network. We talk about how the greatest challenge that we really have. It's not just that I need to know to do this and then do that. And so on. I need to become the one who naturally causes the results that I want. I'd say to me making it is where perhaps, you know, more often than not, you're being that higher what we call the ultimate you rather than the old you. So we can make it every single day.

     This is Dov Gordon and you've been listening to Making It! You can find me at where we put up a free book for you!