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Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

By John Hilston

February 5, 2013 - The results of public opinion surveys indicate the majority of Americans are unhappy with the direction of their country.

Locally, Brevard County is in the midst of a post-recession, post-space shuttle economic transition that has been difficult.

Have these things dampened your outlook? If so, you’re not alone.

While not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, thinking like one could dramatically improve your life.

This entrepreneurial mindset is expressed in the 2010 book “Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons From An Unlikely Entrepreneur” by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger.

All of us – regular folks without big bank accounts or Ivy League degrees – can live empowered, independent, and, yes, happy lives. To do this, we need to understand and apply simple lessons related to choice, opportunity, action, knowledge, wealth, brand, community and persistence.

For instance, Carol Craig found herself medically discharged from the U.S. Navy after an unsuccessful knee surgery. She could have chosen to wallow in the disappointment of a flight career cut short.

Instead, through action and persistence, she made herself into a textbook example of a successful entrepreneur, founding Craig Technologies in 1999 in Cape Canaveral.

When I say a textbook example, I mean this literally. Her picture is on page 172 of a nationally-used textbook as a shining entrepreneurial example.

The entrepreneurial mindset need not always be applied in the business world. For instance, take Mike Curb.

He began a successful songwriting career as a college student but took an extended leave from his record label – and wealth-building – to serve his nation and state. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of California in 1978, and served as co-chairman of President Reagan’s successful campaign in 1980.

He went on to head MGM Records, Verve Records and found Curb Records in Nashville, producing more than 400 No.1 records. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Curb will be speaking at Brevard Community College on Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. at the Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Cocoa Campus, and 11:45 a.m. at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne Campus.

Not all of us are naturals at spotting opportunity, but the ability can be enhanced by listening to those like Curb who have succeeded.

Catch his lecture if you can. Your community is depending on you to find opportunities, take action and help put the nation back on a strong economic course.

Dr. John Hilston is an Associate Professor of Economics at Brevard Community College.