We are John & Jan Olson, co-hosts of The Entrepreneur Next Door Show on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. We are a happily married couple (implanted subliminal message: entrepreneur capitalists to the core maniacs) from Colorado Springs, CO.
We have five kids, 2 horses and 2 dogs.
We have been in numerous business ventures for over 34 years. We are “unemployable entrepreneurs”. Somehow, you just can’t seem to fit a square peg in to the corporate round hole. lol
Recently after a stressful week we took a ride to absorb as much breath taking scenery as we could in our home state. Here is a recent picture of us at a Starbucks in Aspen, Colorado getting our “Rocky Mountain High” on:
How Entrepreneur Next Door Became a Reality
We have been entrepreneurs for over 34 years. We have been involved in all kinds of business ventures, including real estate investing and sales, property management, mail order (back in the day), furniture manufacturing, sales of every kind of product you can imagine, online marketing and right-of-way management for power companies. In December 2013 we sold a company we had owned for 18 years.
The company we sold made us a lot of money over the years and put food on the table for our dedicated employees. We served many wonderful and loyal customers during the time we owned it. Over time, things change. People change. After a lot of prayer and talks between us we knew it was time to sell out and move on.
During the years 2012 and 2013 we were on a quest to discover our NBT (next big thing). We asked ourselves deep questions. We prayed and sought God’s wisdom. Then, God began to reveal the NBT.
So, how did God give us the idea for “Entrepreneur Next Door – Engaging Conversations with Exceptional Entrepreneurs?
We’re glad you asked!
First of all, He revealed it through a process of daily living. You see, we are active people. Most people live very active lives.
Along our journey we discovered podcasts! What we discovered in our own daily lives is that they proved very useful for learning, growing and connecting with great leaders all around the world.
For example, John rides his mountain bike over 1,100 miles every summer and listens to podcasts during almost every mile. For the summer of 2014 the goal is 2,000 miles and John will listen to podcasts almost the entire journey. Just think how much information John can absorb as he rides. Admittedly, some times John is more chill and just listens to music while he rides. Side Note: MapMyRide is the app John uses to track his rides)
Sometimes, we listen to leadership podcasts together.
Podcasts make it convenient to consume good information while driving, walking, exercising, riding a bike, relaxing, and many other things we find ourselves doing on a daily basis. The best thing is podcasts are free, compliments of billion dollar giants like Apple.
The big idea came to us after listening to many business podcast episodes from business leaders such as:
- Ray Edwards of the Ray Edwards show
- Cliff Ravenscraft of the Podcast Answerman Show
- Michael Hyatt (former CEO of Thomas Nelson) host of the This Is Your Life Show on iTunes.
We can’t begin to tell you how much we have grown personally and professionally as a result of listening to the 3 guys mentioned above plus other great thought leaders via the podcast medium.
We listened to many more business-type podcasts where the show host would interview another business person. As business leaders ourselves we found this to be incredibly beneficial to us to learn about the successes and setbacks of fellow business people. We felt connected and encouraged with the various guests on the show and learned tons of valuable information to implement into our own businesses.
Somewhere along this listening-to-podcasts-while-living-life journey, we developed a passion to help other entrepreneurs. Having personally benefited from podcasts for about 2 years mixed with the knowledge gained during our 34+ years of entrepreneurial pursuits, we decided to invest in a podcast studio of our own so we could connect with business leaders all over the world. So we risked a small amount of the money we received from the business we sold in 2013 to provide the technological tools to bring you the Entrepreneur Next Door show.
As you can see, we haven’t always been podcasters, in fact we are both newbies as we launch this show in early June 2014. We have no broadcasting background, nor have we ever hosted a radio program. We are both nervous and excited at the same time. We are trying to model the entrepreneurial spirit by pushing through our fears, doubts and inevitable mistakes.
Lots of questions swirled through our minds prior to launching the show. Some were good questions designed to help us think through a solid plan. Some came from a place of doubt. “Can we be successful at something we have never done before?” This last question seems to be one of the biggest and baddest questions of all that an entrepreneur faces in any worthwhile endeavor. It comes from a place of fear and it stops way too many people from moving forward. This is the kind of roadblock to success we want to help entrepreneurs all over the world to remove, work around, or leap over it altogether.
How The Entrepreneur Next Door Show Got It’s Name
Back in the middle 90s, when the Internet was just a baby, we read the famous book “Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. This book is a compilation of extensive research by the two authors. One of the main things they discovered is that most millionaires are created through careful planning and wise money management. Millionaires don’t necessarily invest in expensive homes and cars. They live within their means. They spend less than they earn and do it for a very long time. This is what creates their wealth over time.
So, it is very likely that you have at least one millionaire (probably more than one) living in your neighborhood, even if you live in an area with moderately priced homes. Take Warren Buffet for example, he is the billionaire extraordinaire who continues to live in a modest home he purchased in 1958 for $31,500. The property was last assessed in 2003 for $700,000 — still a modest price for a billionaire.
The “Millionaire Next Door” was first published about the same time that the Internet was opened to commercial use. As you know the Internet has exploded on the scene and created so many awesome opportunities for entrepreneurs, everywhere!
After we decided to do a podcast for entrepreneurs we needed a name for the show. As we looked around for ways to connect with other business professionals, we discovered several work at home entrepreneurs in our own neighborhood.
One of our neighbors has a construction business, one couple owns and manages local coffee shops from their living room, another neighbor owns clock shops but we see him at home a lot! We won’t belabor the point here but we can assure you our neighborhood is loaded with work at home entrepreneurs. We ourselves have been work-from-home entrepreneurs even before it was cool to be work-from-home entrepreneurs. (Since 1987)
Our favorite neighbors live right next door to us. They sell pen kits to D.I.Y. hobbyists and to many professional craftsmen who like to create fancy pens turned on a lathe using acrylic or wood stock. They sell their product through their website to customers all over the world. Our next door neighbors set their own hours and make a boat load of money right from their own home.
As we began to look around our own neighborhood and ponder how things have changed since the middle 90’s, it hit us. Less people are commuting to work these days. More people have become work at home entrepreneurs with a daily commute of about 20 feet. Most neighborhoods now have several work at home entrepreneurs in them. Many people, whether they know it or not, now have a neighbor who is the ENTREPRENEUR NEXT DOOR.
We feel a strong connection with the entrepreneurs of this world. It is our desire to build a community of entrepreneurs world wide that want to accomplish some of the same things we want to do with our time and influence.
As entrepreneurs we have to have a BIG IDEA, its what keeps us going. Its what keeps the embers of passion hot within us. So we put out the following big idea to you. Please comment below and tell us what you think.
Here is our BIG IDEA in 65 words:
We believe Entrepreneur Next Door is the NBT (Next Big Thing) In fact here is the BIG IDEA behind Entrepreneur Next Door in 65 words:
By creating an international podcast show, entrepreneurs from all over the world will be encouraged, entertained and enlightened by other successful entrepreneurs. The result:
- we exist to facilitate the sharing of great content to strengthen every entrepreneur,
- we exist to produce a better connection with fellow thought leader entrepreneurs – “a rising tide lifts all boats”,
- we exist to create more collaboration opportunities between entrepreneurs worldwide!
So, as you can see the NBT is very important. We ask you to partner with us in this process.
- We are asking you to become a subscriber to the show and listen to the stories of other business leaders so you can grow and be encouraged.
- We are asking you to comment on our blog, making your contribution to other entrepreneurs around the world.
- We are asking you to go to our iTunes account and post a note about your thoughts on the show. This helps our podcast rise to the top in the iTunes ranking system so other entrepreneurs can find us and be encouraged.
- We are asking you to apply to be on the show. Other entrepreneurs can benefit from your journey as a business professional. (Some restrictions)
Thank you so much for taking your valuable time to read about our vision of things to come. We really look forward to serving the business community.
Stand tall business pro! We salute you. You are the backbone of the entire world economic system. Be hungry. Stay crazy. Remember that the road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure, so fail often and fail fast. Pick yourself up and keep moving.
Much Continued Success, (Joshua 1:8)
John & Jan Olson