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Entrepreneur First, Specialist Second: The All-Time Problem-Solver


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The One Entrepreneurial Mindset That Can Change Everything with Katrin Schmidt

Don’t get them started!

Ask any business owner on the planet about the problems they run into as an entrepreneur, and you could be in for the long haul. Seriously, constant problem-solving is a tough road, so there are plenty of woes with which to bend a listener’s ear.

The problem with problems.

Solving problems that crop up in a business is not only time-consuming, it’s energy-draining. Most important, it takes time and energy away from actually doing what you really should be doing to grow your business.

A problem at its worst can also be paralyzing. All forward motion stops, momentum fails, and any growth goals are now in jeopardy.

Sometimes, you’re not even the right person to solve the problem.

A way of thinking that can solve all problems.

Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach and coach to thousands of successful entrepreneurs around the world, believes that all the problems in your business could be solved by adopting one clarifying entrepreneurial mindset.

Dan wants every entrepreneur to recognize that regardless of your profession or industry, you are not your profession and you are not your industry.

What you are is an entrepreneur with a specialty in your profession or industry.

It might sound like a relatively small distinction, but it clearly states that you are first and foremost an entrepreneur.

Taking the first step to being an entrepreneur first.

Dan encourages every entrepreneur who’s not happy with the way things are going in their business to adopt this freeing entrepreneurial mindset. He advises, “What you have to do as an entrepreneur is ask yourself this clarifying question to get focused:

‘What are the two or three things that I do extraordinarily well?’

“These are going to be your new focus from this moment on. This means you must be prepared to put everything else into the hands of your team and outside specialists.”

When you accept that you are an entrepreneur above all, and you focus on your “three extraordinary things” every day, it shifts everything.

Learn 8 Strategic Coach strategies that entrepreneur Katrin Schmidt calls on to focus on what she truly loves to do and that are creating exponential results in her growing veterinary practices. Visit

Meet Katrin Schmidt, entrepreneur with a specialty in …

Strategic Coach client Katrin Schmidt became a veterinarian not out of a lifelong passion like most, but because she was a good student and thought it would be a good path to follow.

Today, there are no regrets—just a shift in mindset from seeing herself as a veterinarian to seeing herself as an entrepreneur first, one who just happens to have a specialty in veterinary medicine.

This shift in thinking is serving her well.

Never say never!

In the early days, Katrin, like many entrepreneurs, believed that if she just worked harder, each day she would accomplish a bit more, and it would all add up to bigger results.

Unfortunately, that thinking is flawed.

At some point, you hit a ceiling. You can’t work any harder and you can’t work any longer. Time, after all, is finite, and because of that, your only choice is to do things differently.

Either that, or you stay stuck.

Katrin’s shift in mindset and new focus on the business side of her profession led her to discover all the benefits of seeing herself as an entrepreneur first.

“In the beginning, I was never going to make my focus small animals; I was going to be a large animal veterinarian. And I was never going to own my own business, and then almost casually asked someone if their practice was for sale. Now we own two practices and counting. Never say never!” she laughs.

How Katrin’s “entrepreneur first” shift came about.

At an industry conference, Katrin and a fellow veterinarian, who happened to be a Strategic Coach client, struck up a conversation. What he’d accomplished in a fairly short time made an impression on Katrin, who still wanted to accomplish those same things.

Her colleague introduced her to The Strategic Coach Program, where she accomplished 80 percent of what she had listed on her three-year plan in her first three months of the Program.

“What am I going to do now?” she worried. “Um. Make a new list!” Doing less of what she disliked and more of what she loved was energizing, and other great things started to happen.

The freedom to say no.

For one, the freedom Katrin feels she now has to think and do things differently suits her nature and her natural strengths. She explains, “Being an entrepreneur gives me the freedom to choose to do certain things, yet say no to others.

“I’ve learned at Strategic Coach that saying no is OK, as long as it’s purposeful. It’s not that I forgot to do it; it could be that I decided it’s not as important right now as something else I’m working on.

“And, more than that,” Katrin continues. “There’s someone who can do it better than I can because they have the skills and passion for it, while I don’t!”

At Coach, we call this working in your Unique Ability. And by learning to delegate to someone whose Unique Ability naturally lies in the area where you lack talent or skill or passion, you can focus on yours.

No sabotage intended.

Katrin fully credits great teamwork for any transformations at work and in her personal life.

As she began to understand what her most valuable contributions to teamwork were, she realized that everyone likely had skills that were going untapped. “I discovered it’s much easier, more fun, and so much more productive to engage other people,” she says.

“I realize now that no one is trying to sabotage my efforts. Maybe they weren’t trained properly, maybe they’re in the wrong role, maybe the activity just isn’t their thing. And maybe they haven’t had the opportunity to figure out where their strengths lie.

“Discoveries like these have made me more aware of how others are different from me and have different ways of accomplishing tasks, both at work and at home with my family. I feel I’m much more tolerant. And I’m so much happier having zeroed in on what I really am and what I really want to be doing in our business.”

Ready to follow Katrin’s path?

If you, like Katrin, have hit that hard spot where the only solution to being stuck is to do things differently, switching gears to think of yourself as an entrepreneur first instead of being boxed in by your specialty or industry opens up opportunities you might not be able to see right now.

Dan Sullivan believes it’s the secret not only to personal satisfaction as an entrepreneur, but to exponential growth—and all the benefits that can mean in life.