How To Be A Master Entrepreneur


Black+beltscI recently finished Robert Greene’s book, Mastery, yet another master-piece of the author who brought us The 48 Laws Of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and many others.

If you know me or are familiar with N2ITIV, you know that I  believe there is no such thing as an expert  (let alone a master) however, that being said, there was a very strong point that he drove home which I think is essential for every entrepreneur to know.

In order to master a skill, Greene concluded that it takes roughly 10,000 hours. If you include distractions, that amounts to approximately 9-10 years, assuming that’s pretty much all you do.

Therefore, how much time does it take to be a master entrepreneur?

How To Become A Master Entrepreneur

In my opinion, there are two answers to that question. The first answer is, quite simply, NEVER. It simply ain’t gonna happen. The other answer I have is also quite simple… 10,000 hours (or 9-10 years).

If you are an entrepreneur you should see that there appears to be a major flaw with that answer because being an entrepreneur requires quite a bit more than learning (or mastering) one particular skill-set or trade. The fact is that an entrepreneur must deal with a cross section of multiple trades and skills on a daily basis.

So how can you become a master entrepreneur in 10,000 hours?

Again, there is only one answer… working with other masters. Let me flesh this out a bit using a personal example.

The most recent project I have been working on is in a space that requires 5 main components:

 1)   A sales and marketing component

2)   A branding and product development component

3)   A complex financial component

4)   A legal component with heavy IP emphasis

5)   A software and coding component

In order to make sure each of the components are handled to the absolute best of their ability, I need the help of not one but 5 masters.

Again, I need to mention that I absolutely hate words like mastery, expert and/or guru HOWEVER, having a tremendous amount of respect for Robert Greene’s work and, being in total agreement with the point he is trying to make, I will make an exception in this case…

OK, back to my current venture…

The People Who Make Me Masterful

From the 5 components listed above, my new venture is in need of 5 such masters. Fortunately, I have four partners who fill 4/5 of the equation:

The first person is me. My mastery is sales and marketing and, fortunately, I have far exceeded 10,000 hours in that area.

The next master is Gary. Gary has a very extensive background in branding and product development having not only run companies with me, but also having run branding and product development for some of the largest and well known brands in the world. (23 years of experience altogether)

The next master is Big John, who I highlighted in my recent article on how to overcome fear. John has an extensive financial background, having worked on Wall Street on a very high level for well over 20 years.

Our fourth master, Ed is an attorney with an extensive background in IP law, and handles the legal work for some of the largest brands in music and entertainment. He also has 25+ years in this field.

72 Years?

If I were to try to handle the responsibilities myself, according to Greene, I would need a minimum of 40 years until I could be masterful enough to handle each area. Couple that with the software and coding component, I would have to be a minimum age of 72 before I could even begin to start a business with the mastery of these 5 areas (50 years out of college).

Hopefully you see where I am going. The only way to be a masterful entrepreneur is to have partners who are masters at what you need, or at least hire people who are masters in a given field.

According to Greene, the road to being a master is first observation, then apprenticeship, and finally, practice. If you are an entrepreneur or have aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur you need to know that there is no such thing as a master entrepreneur who achieves success on the efforts and expertise (and mastery) of him or herself alone.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

What Do You Need To Be  A Master Entrepreneur

Here’s a good rule to follow. Look at your business. Most of my businesses have consisted of 6 areas:

1-    Design

2-    Branding & product development

3-    Marketing & public relations

4-    Sales

5-    Financial

6-    Production

 Look at your company and break down what areas your company needs. Then figure out what can be done in-house and what can be done through outside help. Take those areas and make sure you have each department run by someone who has passed Greene’s criteria.

I know what you may be thinking… I am a startup entrepreneur ya dummy! I don’t have 10 minutes let alone 10 years, nor can I hire anyone with 10 years to help me!

I have an answer to that question. Email me with the subject line HELP ME YA DUMMY and I will respond to you within 48 hours… or leave a comment below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to explore a more in depth look at starting a business and raising money, Gary and I have shot 4 FREE product training videos that we have created that provides a much deeper and comprehensive look into starting a business. To visit that section, click here now.

Have a great day!




3 Words You Never Want To Say On Your Deathbed


kenny I recently finished the book Unlabel by Marc Ecko, a book that hit very close to home to me as his fashion brand and mine were in the same stores at the same time for a very long time… until I eventually went out of business and he went on to become a billion dollar brand.

The reason why I went out of business was not unlike why I lot of other companies go out of business. I have learned that there is an extremely thin line between success and failure. Sometimes you realize that line is so thin that it is hard to identify until you are on the other side of it.

Destination vs. Process

I eventually managed to start another brand and then another, building one bigger than the next only to find myself on the wrong side of the line once again. I kept struggling until I finally realized that being a successful entrepreneur has nothing to do with the destination but with the process. I also came to the understanding that the successful entrepreneur is not the one who wins but the one who loses and keeps on going.

Note: This is the follow-up to a post I wrote last year entitled, 4 Words That Will Destroy Your Life (& Business)

I not only expect but also know for a fact that I will have a lot more stumbles, failures, bumps, lumps and bruises in my life before I punch my ticket. I have accepted that and so should you.

Marc Ecko said a few things about failure that I very much admire. He said “You will only stop having failures after you take your last breath.”

He also said “anyone that doesn’t talk about failure being part of their path to success… is full of sh*t.”

I am only slightly paraphrasing because I only read (listen) to books on Audible and cannot find the bookmark where he said this but I think you get the point.

My Business Bucket List

I have a lot of things on my business bucket list. I understand some will not happen, however at the end of the day, I will only regret the things that I never took the time to at least try my best to accomplish.

Some of these things I have consciously made a decision to put off in order to focus on what I have in front of me as I try not to dilute my energy and wear myself too wide and thin so to speak. Those are conscious decisions I have made and I am cool with those choices.

That being said, I think that it is important that we be very careful with what we decide to focus on and what we decide to put aside as, if the world ended tomorrow, or if we were on our deathbed, there are 3 words I think you will agree we never want to say…


In business as in life, if you are lucky, there will be a lot of goals that you will not achieve. I say if you are lucky, because if you consistently set goals throughout your lifetime, you are being proactive and going after what you want in life, as opposed to being reactive and just letting life happen.

To me, a big part of my life is setting short-term goals, accomplishing them (or not), only to set new goals in order to go out and achieve them as well. Some goals take longer to accomplish then others and, at the end of the day some of those goals will never be met. That is a fact.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

Setting Goals & Being Proactive

Setting goals and proactively going after what you want is the only way to prevent you from saying if only I on your deathbed, however let me clarify… goals are not etched in stone and should be changed and modified if and when necessary.

A lot of times what we think we want changes and some things become less important and some more important allowing for new goals take their place. Again, that is part of life and the flexibility to change and modify can only happen if we are open to change and modification.

One caveat… changing and modifying goals can be tricky. In my opinion, goals shouldn’t be changed simply because they seem too difficult or impossible to attain. History shows us pretty much everything within reason is possible. I say within reason because if your goal is to be able to fly… that is not within reason.

Your Homework

Not to be morbid, but close your eyes and pretend you are on your deathbed. Pick up the voice recorder on your phone and record what you regret you haven’t accomplished.  You will notice these regrets fall into one of two categories.

In the first category are things you have not accomplished but are currently proactively working on. The other list is what you have given up on or have been putting off.

Write down those items on your list that you have put off, print it out and put it in a place where you will be forced to read it every day. Prioritize them. When one of the goals you are focusing on is achieved, move the most important one from the given up on or put off  list and add it to currently working on list.

Keep up this pattern. You will find the more you accomplish the more new goals get added to the list that you never thought of, simply because you have scratched something off your bucket list so there is room for something new to take its place.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

The Wrap-Up

Accept the fact this list is never-ending and will never go away… and know that it shouldn’t. The moment we have achieved all of our goals we will have nothing to look forward to. Tony Robbins explains this well when he talks about people who reach their goals and then think to themselves, “Is that all there is?” …

Your ever changing, ever evolving goals in life will enable you to accomplish more than you ever possibly imagined.

Have a great day!


How To Lose The Fight & Win The War


jack-johnson-bYou may be aware that Jack Johnson was the first African-American Heavyweight Boxing champion of the world. What you may not be aware of is how he managed to achieve such a seemingly unattainable goal. The reason why I say “seemingly unattainable” is because he was poor and had no money to pay for anyone to spar with him or train him.

How could a person who couldn’t afford any coach, teacher, trainer or sparring partner become the world champion?

Turns out it seems to have everything to do with being willing to lose some of the battles in order to eventually to win the war…

The Misconception Of Success

In my opinion, there seems to be a preoccupation that many people have with focusing on winning every battle they come across. I believe that this line of thinking not only hurts more than it helps but can be devastating in an entrepreneur’s path to success.

Every experienced entrepreneur I know has come to terms with failure being part of the process of being successful. People who don’t accept failure as a stepping stone to success are either part of a very rare and exclusive club who have not only won the lottery, but won the lottery the first time they ever played it (which is quite a small club if a club at all) … OR… they are not successful and just like to hear themselves talk.

A Quick Digression…

Someone recently tweeted me saying (I’m paraphrasing) “Aren’t you tired of talking about your failures? Do you only attract losers who fail?”

I didn’t take offense to the comment as I come across this quite a bit in some way shape or form being that I wrote a book about failure (and what we learn from it). I was actually about to respond to the woman but figured I would check out her twitter stream to see if she really wanted an honest answer.  I have no problem with genuine questions however, If I am going to take the time to answer someone I want to make sure that person really wants an answer and is willing to actually listen to my response.

As I looked at her stream I saw she didn’t want an answer as she was simply just lashing out to everyone and everything in her entire Twitter stream. I truly wonder why people do this. It is one thing to challenge people in their thinking but a different thing altogether to take the whole day to tell people you don’t agree with them without saying what it is in fact that you DO agree with! To me, it is a huge time suck with zero payoff. That being said, I move on…

Back To The Story

 So Jack Johnson was poor and could not afford a trainer. Because of this, the chips were stacked against him. The only way he could get any practice was to actually book live fights, despite the fact that he was completely unprepared to fight in them. As you can imagine, he had to fight quite a bit more fights than any other fighter in his time, as he needed to get in all of his training inside the ring. But he didn’t stop there…

Losing To Win

Not only did he take more fights than anyone, but when he got into the ring he would specifically stay in the ring far longer than he had to in order to learn as much as possible.

Back then, fights were 20+ rounds and he would make sure not to make the mistake of knocking anyone out since that would end the fight prematurely and he never wanted the lesson to end short. To him, getting hit by punches were lessons on how to avoid getting hit in the future… so he took a lot more hits than he had to. So much so, he was known to hold his opponents up when he would hit them too hard so they wouldn’t fall.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

The Lesson

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest business examples a person can get as it has everything to do with getting experience any way you can… even if you have to lose a bit or prolong your pain in order to get it.

In my opinion, the smartest entrepreneurs are quite often the most prepared and preparation comes only from experience, as you obviously cannot prepare for something you have no experience with.

Nobody wakes up with experience and no one comes into the entrepreneurial world being a skillful entrepreneur. All experience starts with complete inability. Babies finally walk only after they fall a million times. We only hit a ball after a ton of strikeouts. No one I know of dunked their first time, except maybe Manute Bol whose wingspan was taller than the rim.  Bottom line, in order to win the war you have to accept losing a ton of battles along the way.

Know you are going to take hits today and look forward to it. It’s the only way you will learn how to hit back.

 Have a great day!


The Startup Entrepreneur’s Obsession To Be Perfect

Hustle Branding - obsession to be perfect

About a month ago, Gary and I were having a conversation with a business partner of ours about a project we have been working on that has progressed a great deal and gained significant momentum that now seems to be circling the runway in a prolonged holding pattern.

Truth is, we have done a tremendous amount of work on the project, however, I began to sense we were starting to over-do it and over-think it to the point that it was reaching a point of diminishing returns.

This is not uncommon when startups try to achieve perfection…

Trying To Be Perfect Before You Begin

There is only so much you can do in the pre-market phase of a new startup. In my opinion, we have taken this new venture about as far as we can possibly go in this pre-market phase and we are starting to try to solve issues that we have no idea will happen until we first bring it to market. I told one of our partners, “we are trying to be perfect. As you know, perfect is the enemy of the good.”  To my surprise, he didn’t know what that meant, despite the fact that he admitted he had heard it a number of times, many of those from me.

To me, perfection is a 4-Letter word because to a perfectionist, everything is a failure. Why? Because we are never perfect. Ever. It just doesn’t happen… and even if it did it would be very sad, as there would be no room for improvement.

Do you remember those video games where you mastered the most advanced level? What happened? … You stopped playing it because once you mastered it there was nowhere to go! In life and business, you never master anything, you are never perfect and there is no such thing as an expert . The best you can be, in my opinion, is great.

Great vs Perfect

People need to understand that there is a huge difference between being perfect at something compared to being great or even the best at something. In my last post, I mentioned that I am re-reading (via Audible) Jim Collin’s, Good to Great. One of the 3 parts of the good to great circle is that a company must be the absolute best at what they do. I am in 100% agreement, however that does not mean they are perfect. There is a big difference. You need to understand that.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

This project that Gary, myself and our two other partners has taken up a tremendous amount of our time. I am fine with that because I am 100% behind it in both belief and commitment (they go hand in hand) but, like I said, in my opinion, we are trying to be perfect, and perfect just ain’t gonna happen.

If you look at the greatest entrepreneurs and investors, they will tell you that the biggest problem companies have is trying to get their product perfect before launch.

Companies that do succeed are never perfect. They come to market with a good and often great (but imperfect) product or service, and then consistently fine-tune the product or service over time AFTER their product or service goes to market. I am convinced this is the correct mindset.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

Fine Tune

If you are currently creating a product or service and you are trying to be perfect, my strong suggestion is that you stop what you are doing, take a look at what you have created, and see what needs to be addressed now, and what can be worked on later after you go to market. The truth is, there will always be mistakes and there will always be failures of some type or another.

I have had so many failures I literally wrote a book on it. I even started a series on ‘failing up’ in Forbes with David Williams & Mary Michelle Scott called, The Lemon-aide Interviews which is all about what we learn from our mistakes. In first interview, we had Shark Tank’s Daymond John to provide his feedback on what he has learned from his mistakes. As he said in the interview, “If you’re not making mistakes, you are not making moves!”

You can visit the column, here.

Being a sports guy, I’m going to use basketball as an example…

The 3 Kings

When the Miami Heat drafted Lebron, Wade, and Bosh it sounded perfect. The truth, however was that, although it seemed they had all the talent to win, they had to get on the court and start figuring out how this 3 man mechanism was going to work in the way Pat Riley envisioned.

Truth is, they needed a little bit of time to get on the court and figure it out. In fact, they couldn’t even figure it out in the first full season. They fine-tuned the radio until it finally sounded perfect… but you and I should know at this point… there is no such thing as perfect, just great.

Have a great day! (pun intended)




The Necessity Of Discipline vs. The Necessity Of Distraction


Recently, I have started to go back to doing something that always inspired me. After I lost my first business in 1996, I buried myself inside of Barnes & Noble and devoured every book I could get my hands on that involved inspirational stories of success in order to motivate me and get me out of my depressed state of mind. It worked.

These days, fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have the time to read at my leisure. While I am not depressed anymore, I like to keep up on books, especially ones that relate to business strategy. I was talking to Gary a few months ago in our normal daily morning meeting and he mentioned another quote from another book he read. I had been meaning to ask him, “How in the world do you have the time to read books?”… Being his business partner, I know any moment away from our business he spends with his wife and kids. It simply didn’t make sense… Enter AUDIBLE. As it turns out, Gary listens to audiobooks every time he is going from point A to point B (and not on the phone with me!). I said to myself, I can do that too… so that is exactly what I have been doing.

My New Best Friend

These past few months since we had the conversation, I signed up for Audible and have gone through 5 books thus far, some of which I read a number of years ago and some I am tackling for the first time. They are all strategy books; Contagious, Made To Stick, Tipping Point, David & Goliath and Good To Great. These days, whenever I am traveling from point A to point B and am not on the phone, I am always listening to an audiobook. To me, audio books are insanely productive to people who don’t have the time to read. They are also extremely helpful for people who read extremely slowly; like me.

Culture of Discipline

I am currently listening (revisiting) Good To Great by Jim Collins. While there are many things that I absolutely love about the book, one of my biggest takeaways is what he calls a culture of discipline. That culture of discipline is broken into 3 components; disciplined people, disciplined thoughts and disciplined actions.

I frequently talk in the N2ITIV Blog about issues I have had with my own discipline and productivity (and/or lack thereof). The simple truth of the matter is that there are some things in business that I am pretty good at and some things I have to admit I truly suck at .


This past week kind of got by me quickly so I guess you can say my agenda kind of kicked my ass. While I did take care of a number of things, I could have done way better to say the least. The biggest problem I have is with distractions…at least so I thought

About a month ago, Gary shot a video module that touched on this called, 8 Reasons Why You Need To Hire a Brand Specialist . In this module he mentioned some statistics that made a lot of sense as it relates to distractions.

These statistics really explain everything to me. Distractions will kill your productivity if you let it. It’s no wonder why Jim Collins found that a culture of discipline is a major component that makes companies go from good to great. You will see, however, that, to an entrepreneur, distraction becomes a necessity.

Discipline meets Distraction

At the end of every day, I try go the gym as I need it for the sake of my sanity, as I normally feel like I have fought a losing battle as there is always a ton of things I had scheduled and haven’t done. I take my disheveled mind and body to the gym and pound the heavy bag until all of the chaos is out of my mind and body and I actually feel relaxed.

What I am realizing is that, on average, one day a week I am actually OK and not out of sorts the way I am the rest of the week. This is typically the day that I will not allow interruptions. It’s what I call my catch up day. I stick to my agenda undisturbed and at the end of the day I actually feel great….

The problem, however, is that I am pretty much responsible for the operations side of the business. Currently, I have two businesses. One is solely owned by Gary and I. The other is owned by Gary, myself and two other partners. I am responsible for making sure everyone is up to speed on everything at all times, so it is difficult not to get distracted because each person has different wants and needs… so that one day a week that I use to catch up, normally is at the expense of other things that didn’t get done because I wasn’t corresponding with my team.

Is There Really An Answer?

So what’s the answer? After all, I’ve been at this long enough that I should know. One thing I can do is not let any distractions throw me off course and just focus on my work… but I just told you how that is a problem. The other thing I can do is take the distractions and accomplish far less and feel out of sorts.

I believe the answer is that there is no answer. It’s called being an entrepreneur. To an entrepreneur, distractions must happen. They are required, I have no choice.

So there you have it. There is no answer. It is give and take. What I try to do is find the best balance I can. The more on the front lines you are in your business, the more you will be distracted, that is the simple fact. Once you understand and come to terms with the fact that this is the bed we made, it becomes far easier to agree to sleep in it.

This is my path. I chose it. I never have enough money to do everything I want to do and I never have enough time to do it either. Personally, it keeps me hungry and on my toes. I have no complaints… and if I did, who would listen to me anyway?

Have a great day!


Daymond John’s Creative Hustle- When Forty Bucks Makes You A Millionaire


Yesterday I had a great time meeting up with my man Daymond John from Shark Tank for a new series I am doing at Forbes with Cheryl Snapp Connor, Mary Michelle Scott, and David Williams.

I want to share a quick story about one of the things I admire most about Daymond. It is what I call extreme creative hustle. Truth is, Daymond has always had extreme hustle. If you don’t want to take my word for it read his book which tells his story.

I am currently reading Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David & Goliath, which talks about how many people turn their advantages into weakness, while others turn disadvantages into strengths. Daymond used his biggest disadvantage in the very beginning of FUBU (lack of money) and very creatively and strategically moved it into great strength… with the help of his washing machine (will explain in a moment).

Daymond’s Creative Hustle

He started the business in his garage in Queens. He had nothing but a few random pieces in his line. A friend of his (LL Cool J) had achieved mega-stardom as a rap artist, and Daymond used his powers of persuasion to convince him to wear the product.

Daymond knew he could not stop with LL Cool J alone and needed to wardrobe more recording artists and celebrities in order to establish further credibility in the market. The challenge was that there were tons of artists, but Daymond only had a few samples. Implementing his creative hustle, he devised a strategy. He would take the few samples he had, have the celebrities wear them at their events, videos and concerts, then he would take them back, wash them (or dry clean them) and re-circulate them to other entertainers. I remember when I met him back in 1996, he walked into the conference room where I was and he gave me a VHS tape (yes VHS) to play. I put it on and saw every entertainer in our market wearing FUBU. I couldn’t believe my eyes! How in the world could he have done that???

As his product became visible in the media, he closed a deal with one of the largest corporations in the world who became his strategic partner (who happened to be my partner as well). The rest is history.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

When It’s NOT About Money

Did Daymond go after the money at first? Absolutely not. What he did do was create something that nobody else had and no investor in his or her right mind could ignore. He created the sizzle. So much sizzle, anyone in their right minds should have invested… but all he needed was one company… and he got it.

Why do I know all of this? Because the company that signed the deal with his company simultaneously dropped their deal with me when the demand for FUBU put them in the position where they couldn’t afford to give us both the necessary attention… so I know the situation rather intimately. They actually gave Gary and I the opportunity to jump on board but we stubbornly refused, as we let our emotions and our egos cloud our judgment. If you want to learn about that story, read how my ego destroyed my business. 

So Why Forty Bucks?

If someone were to advertise their brand in a magazine during that time, it may cost thirty thousand dollars. If they wanted to run a thirty-second ad on television, it may cost them several hundred thousand dollars for one single exposure. So, what would it cost to run a ten-minute commercial on prime time television once a month for, say a year? If your math is at all good, it may cost well let’s see…. Ten minutes into thirty seconds is twenty, multiplied times twelve times for the year, multiplied times a few hundred thousand…. Almost fifty million bucks… give or take a few million.

Well, Daymond got the that ten-minute commercial and infinitely more, as his product appeared quite a bit more than twelve times a year…actually, a lot more. FUBU was worn on prime-time television shows, music videos, cable stations, you name it. Hundreds of hours of footage.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

So what do you think it cost him? Fifty million? Perhaps forty million since they gave him a volume discount? Try about forty bucks. I say forty bucks as that was about the cost he paid to make a sweatshirt for a celebrity to wear on a show or a video. Most of the times it was a t-shirt or a hat so it cost even less. Remember, he was washing (or dry cleaning) the few samples he had and re-circulating them, as he didn’t have the money at first to make tons of samples.

Not a bad price for exposing your product to hundreds of millions of people… and that, in my opinion, was the Tipping Point for him (thanks again Mr. Gladwell).

Flip Your Disadvantages Into Strengths

Think about your disadvantages and think about how you can turn those disdvantages into strengths. If you look hard enough, you will find the answer.

Many people think the advantage is the money. This example should show how that is most often not the case. From my experience, the biggest advantage is hustle, and if ever there was a person with hustle, it would be Daymond.

Have a great day!



David Williams owns a super company called Fishbowl Inventory, has a weekly column on Forbes, and wrote an incredible book which you can read about here.

Mary Michelle Scott is President of Fishbowl Inventory and collaborates with David each week in Forbes. You can find out more about Mary and Fishbowl, here .

Cheryl Snapp Connor is Chairman of Snapp Connor PR. You can find out more about her here .

Help For Entrepreneurs Stuck In The Mud


Gary & I believe the best way to provide help for entrepreneurs is to show what we have learned from our experience in business, and that includes both the good, the bad and of course the very ugly…

Our first year of the N2ITIV blog we focused mainly on article and video based content as it related to our experience. A few months ago, however, we made a decision to take new content and, rather than the normal posts or videos, create a solution-based video module section on the blog in order to give step by step insight and direction for those that may want a little more structured content.

The result a series we have created called, The Bear Esssentials. This series is geared strictly to provide help for entrepreneurs who may have reached a point where they are not sure where to go or what to do.

The first 8 Modules cover what we feel to be the most important element of your business, namely your brand. These modules cover subjects including:

How To Brand A New Company

Branding Campaigns

Creating A Brand Story Worth Remembering

Steps To Build A Framework For Your brand

Designing A Brand Identity

Examples of companies who Achieve Branding Brilliance

Brand Specialists- Who They are and what they can do for your company

Watch the short intro video below and then click here to open the Bear Essentials page.

Click on video below and Enjoy!


Once on the page you will be able to watch the series, whenever and wherever you want. There is a lot to watch so I suggest take it in doses, module by module. Some are short and sweet, others are longer and cover more detail. If you have a business or are starting a business, I think these videos will come in extremely handy.

If you want to explore a more in depth look at starting a business and raising money, Gary and I have shot 4 FREE product training videos that we have created that provides a much deeper and comprehensive look into starting a business. To visit that section, click here now.

Have  great day!



Everything You Wanted To Know About A Blog But Were Afraid To Ask


One of the things I love most about our blog is that Gary and I write and or say what we want, when we want. Another reason is there is no debating as to why we write or say it. We simply want to share our experience with you if you care to hear it. This is our digital home and, unlike our own homes, ‘Mi casa es su casa’, so everyone is invited… and can leave any time they want. That is the true beauty of the internet.

The Great Thing About Blogs

Blogs are incredible when you know how to navigate them. Unfortunately, there is no good way to extract all the good information unless you have a guide to help you. If you have a blog, I suggest you create a post like this to help people find all the articles you have worked so hard and so long to write. It is such a tremendous injustice that most blogs have less than 1% of its information read.

I was inspired to do this post as Gary and I constantly send article links to people who ask questions about various subjects that we have covered in detail somewhere on this blog… So I have created this guide..

Here is a simple, easy-to-follow guide through that should include everything you wanted to know but (perhaps) were perhaps afraid to ask.


 If you look at the last few entries you will see they are very solution-based and offer quite a bit of information on branding, something Gary (in my opinion) is one of the best at. Gary has spent the last 23 years handling the branding for four of companies in which we have owned together, as well as for some of the top brands and entertainment personalities in the world. If you want to catch up on all branding posts, click how to brand your product.

Turning Failure Into Success

 I, on the other hand, write a lot about what I have learned from failure, and how to turn failure into success. So much so, I wrote a book about it. It is no twenty- page E-Book.  It is an eleven chapter, 213-page book that contains fifty-five case studies of what I have learned from the mistakes I have made over the course of the last 20 plus years as an entrepreneur. If you want to find out more about it, click How To Ruin A Business. You will see that some people and brands you may have heard of have said some good things about it.

 I have also dedicated an entire section of this blog to everything an entrepreneur should NOT do when running a business. My belief is that, by reversing the traditional way we learn and teaching people to learn from the mistakes of others, we take the ego out of the equation so entrepreneurs can take their guards down and learn objectively, while still allowing them to enjoy the freedom of their own experience. If you want to go to that section, click what not to do in business to see the list of articles.

How To Raise Money To Start A Business

 I have also written a number of articles on the subject of raising capital and pursuing investors. I have been on both sides of the table as well as in the middle quite a few times so I have an interesting perspective and decent insight on the subject I think. If you want to read those articles, click how to raise money to start a business.

Help For New Businesses

 If you are starting a business, there is a section you should not miss, as it will give you access to 4 training modules that Gary and I spent quite a bit of time on. It is called The Start-Up Toolkit.  A lot of people contact Gary and I and ask us questions that we have already answered in detail in those videos. To find out about The Start-Up Toolkit, click help for new businesses.

Business Strategy Tips

There is another cool section on the blog that contains short video modules offering business tips that you can implement in your business to help you. It is called the Bear Essentials. To access it click business strategy tips.

For The Entrepreneur

We have developed a section specifically with the entrepreneur in mind. This area of our blog highlights a lot of the challenges we have faced as entrepreneurs and what we have learned in our experiences along the way that may be of help to you. To access this section click help for entrepreneurs

Success Tips & Advice

One of the biggest portions of the N2ITIV blog contains stories of success and various tips and advice on how to be successful in your business affairs, whether you work for yourself, or somebody else. If that is more your speed, click success tips & advice.


 If videos are more your speed, we have tons of videos on this site as well. To watch videos, instead of reading text, by all means, click entrepreneur videos.

 Who Are MJ & Gary Anyway?

 If you want to learn about who Gary is and what he does both professionally and personally, click who is Gary O’Neil. If you want to find out about me, click who is MJ Gottlieb?.

So there you have it. That should keep you reading and watching for weeks. Enjoy and let me know what your favorite section is!

Have a great day!




How To Create A Brand Story That Sticks


With more and more entrepreneurs entering the marketplace, how do we stand out and create a social and psychological imprint of our brand in the minds of customers? In this episode of Bear Essentials, I talk about a few essentials that will start the ground-work on developing a ‘Sticky’ story for your brand.

7 Flat-Out Ways Entrepreneurs Can Become Super-Achievers


When I think of comfort-zones, I think of spas. I also think of my humble little man-cave where I take refuge from the fast paced world we live. The word ‘refuge’ is a good word for it – a shelter, a sanctuary.

I believe it’s OK to decompress, but some people build comfort-zones in their minds, and trying to move out of them becomes increasingly hard because of a lack of confidence and fear. Continue reading “7 Flat-Out Ways Entrepreneurs Can Become Super-Achievers”

When Trust Is A 4-Letter Word


Before I started my first business in 1991 my father gave me one piece of advice.

He told me, “Ninety-nine point nine percent of all the people you will meet in business are full of sh*t… and most of them would sell their souls for a dollar.”

The rest, he said, I would have to figure out for myself. Continue reading “When Trust Is A 4-Letter Word”

5 Skills And 3 Wills To Be An Elite Entrepreneur

19. 5-Skills-And-3-Wills-To-Be-An-Elite-Entrepreneur

Often times the word ‘great’ is not only overused, but used mistakenly. We know when we see greatness but what is it that makes up this mystical level of performance? Is it in the genes? … Is it luck? … Perhaps something bestowed to us by some higher power?

While it is certainly possible that some these do have something to do with being a top performer, I would hate to think that they are solely based upon things I can’t control! Continue reading “5 Skills And 3 Wills To Be An Elite Entrepreneur”

6 Powerful Lessons I learned From Failure and 18 Quotes To Support Them


I have grown to love failure, although I’ll be the first to admit it kicked my a*s for many years. I remember the helpless and empty feeling of losing my first business and having to put both the business and myself through bankruptcy. It was absolutely horrible.

I remember losing the house, the office, the warehouse, the car, & putting the furniture on the front lawn for people to take it as I didn’t even have the money to put it in storage Continue reading “6 Powerful Lessons I learned From Failure and 18 Quotes To Support Them”

5 Uber-Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal 5 Vital Keys to Success

28. 5-Uber-Successful-Entrepreneurs-Reveal-5-Vital-Keys-to-Success

When I was in my early 20’s, I thought becoming a millionaire would be simple. My thought was, a million dollars was simply one million one dollar bills. Simple enough right? Well, it’s kinda right if you believe that becoming a doctor is as simple as buying a scalpel! What I came to learn was that money, as important as it appeared, was not what really mattered. Continue reading “5 Uber-Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal 5 Vital Keys to Success”

5 Reasons Why I Would Rather Work 80 Hours A Week For Me Than 40 Hours A Week For You

30. 5 Reasons Why I Would Rather Work 80 Hours A Week For Me Than 40 Hours A Week For You

Though the title may seem weird, or maybe even ridiculous, entrepreneurs are truly a breed unto themselves. Most people start out early in life with a very robotic answer as it relates to our professional future – Do well in school, get a good job and retire at sixty-five (or now supposedly sixty-eight). Statements like this have driven me crazy since the age of twenty, coincidentally the year I started my first business senior year in college. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why I Would Rather Work 80 Hours A Week For Me Than 40 Hours A Week For You”

5 Things Every Entrepreneur Can Do When They Can’t Do Anything


What can you do when you can’t seem to do anything? This has happened to me many times on both a business and personal level and it can be quite frustrating.

Maybe you are waiting for a call or for someone to get back into town. Perhaps it is a product you are waiting to arrive in your warehouse or a service that has not been performed yet that is tying your hands behind your back. There are a million and one reasons why we get what I call, stuck on stupid. Continue reading “5 Things Every Entrepreneur Can Do When They Can’t Do Anything”

Why I Never Put A Title On My Business Card

39. Why-I-Never-Put-A-Title-On-My-Business-Card

MJ Business card

This is my business card. All two lines… If you ever watched American Psycho you would know that Christian Bale would not be impressed… But that’s kind of my point. There are many reasons why I choose not to put my title on my business card. Here are six of them… Continue reading “Why I Never Put A Title On My Business Card”