Brian Kurtz on Avoiding “The Entrepreneurial Gap”

Today’s guest has recently ended a 34-year career as a serial direct marketer, and made the transition from intrapreneur to entrepreneur.

He made this transition while taking Boardroom Inc. — which he worked within and later became a partner of — from around $3 million in revenues in 1981 to a high of $150 million, and creating marketing messages that have reached well over 1 billion people.

As of last January, my guest made the official and final step into entrepreneurship with the launch of his own consulting business. To kick off, he held a conference called The Titans of Direct Response and featured today’s greatest direct marketing entrepreneurs.

Now, let’s hack …

Brian Kurtz.

In this 43-minute episode Brian Kurtz and I discuss:

  • Brian’s entrepreneurial disclaimer
  • Understanding the concept of 100 Zero (and why it matters)
  • Surrounding yourself with the best and the brightest
  • Why Brian doesn’t like the idea of networking
  • Becoming a contributor, rather than a connector
  • Brian’s epiphany and how it helps you right now
  • Doing whatever it takes to find a mentor


The Show Notes



Brian Kurtz on Avoiding “The Entrepreneurial Gap”

Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur,the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now here is your host, Jon Nastor.

Jonny Nastor: Hey, hey, welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur. I’m so, so happy that you decided to join me today. I’m your host Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny. Today’s guest has recently ended a 34-year career as a serial direct marketer and has now made the transition from intrapreneur to entrepreneur.

My guest made this transition while taking Boardroom Inc which he worked with, and later became a partner of from around $3 million in revenue in 1981 to a high of $150 million, and they created marketing messages that have reached well over a billion people. This is all done offline. This is awesome.

As of last January, my guest made the official and final step into entrepreneurship with the launch of his own consulting company. To kick off, he held a conference called, The Titans of Direct Response, and featured today’s greatest direct marketing entrepreneurs. Now, let’s hack Brian Kurtz.

I want to thank today’s sponsor, FreshBooks for making my life easier. What is the one thing that I am no good at? I’m horrible at staying on top of my bookkeeping and accounting for my business. Now rather than losing the receipts and having my accountant this giant messy box of papers, FreshBooks has this amazing app for my iPhone and let’s me instantly just take pictures of receipts and sort them by touching a couple of buttons.

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Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, and I have an extra special guest. Brian, welcome to the show.

Brian Kurtz: Pleasure to be here, Jon. Really honored.

Jonny Nastor: It is my pleasure. Brian, let’s jump straight into it. Brian, as an entrepreneur, what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?

Brian’s Entrepreneurial Disclaimer

Brian Kurtz: It’s interesting. I think I need to just back up a step because I don’t necessarily consider myself an entrepreneur in the traditional sense, in that I’ve not ever bootstrapped a business from the starting point. I think your audience needs to know that right off the bat. However, I think they’re going to be able to learn a lot from me because I’m probably one of the most successful intrapreneurs that I know of.

This is part of my mission going forward — the idea that you can work inside an organization not having started the business from scratch, yet think like an entrepreneur, work like an entrepreneur, and then use the skills that I think that I’ve developed over my 34 years that are as valuable as any entrepreneur I know.

I spend most of my time in mastermind groups and in places where I always say, “If I’m the smartest person in the room, I’m in the wrong room.” It’s so critical to do that whether you own your own business or you don’t, because you’re not going to be able to move your career forward if you’re not surrounding yourself with people that you can always learn from.

Of course, they always learn from you, too, so that you have to keep learning. You have to keep moving. I’m going to answer your question, but hopefully, we’ll get into this distinction between entrepreneur and intrapreneur and I will give your listeners access to a piece I wrote exactly on this subject at the end of the interview.

I think the biggest thing that I’ve done that’s contributed to my success is what I call the concept of 100 Zero. The concept of 100 Zero which I’ve also written about is the idea that you just don’t go into relationships with expectations. When I say that, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect greatness from people around you. You shouldn’t expect people to share with you when you’re sharing with them.

What I mean by that is that you give 100% of yourself and if you don’t get anything in return, and it’s not one of these situations where it’s a quid pro quo or that I give you so you give me, or you have to match somebody. It sounds kind of simple, but that alone has contributed probably more to my success in just about any other philosophy that I follow. I follow a lot of different things, but that’s the one.

When you go into relationships not expecting anything in return and you’re giving 100 percent of yourself all the time and you’re surrounding yourself with the best and the brightest people that you can always learn from, it’s an exponential way to grow while you’re doing all the other things — like reading the best material that you can. Always on a learning curve so that you don’t end up with one year of experience for 30 years as opposed to 30 years of experience. It’s a big, big difference.

If you want to dig a little deeper there, I can give you examples, but my experience is that if you’re going to be what I call a ‘taker’ or a ‘matcher’– and these are terms that I read in a book called Give and Take by Adam Grant. If everything is about what you can take from a relationship or everything is about what you can match in a relationship, ‘you give me so I give you,’ you’re not going to get the most out of your relationships. You’re not going to get the most entrepreneurial experience.

Understanding the Concept of 100 Zero (and Why It Matters)

Brian Kurtz: I guess the best way to put it so that it’s kind of tangible is that the concept of ‘I meet you’ — like I just met you, Jon, and I follow you, and you’re doing an amazing job. I’m not looking at our relationship starting today as I’m going to meet you half way on something. I never use the term, ‘I’m going to meet you halfway.’ I don’t use it in anything I’ve ever done in my career. That includes multimillion dollar contracts with people, whether it’s copywriters, whether it’s vendors, whether it’s printer, whatever.

Meeting you halfway and meeting me halfway, not a concept that’s part of my makeup. I’m always starting with 100 Zero. If I had to pick one thing, that’s it, although I got dozens more that I think I’ve contributed, but that’s the one that popped in to my head. I didn’t prepare too much for this interview. You told me that I should really be as free as I can with you, and so that’s what I’ll stick with at this point. If we want to dig deeper, we can.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, I like the 100 Zero. It’s great, and I think you’re correct. You are, but I’m just thinking, as it gets easier for me maybe, talk about masterminds, you talk about surround yourself with the best, and already at the stage I’m at, which is just lowly on the ladder, I still do have access to people I didn’t have access to three years ago.

I know that when you hear somebody say that and you don’t have access to really anyone, you’re kind of isolated. Even your family or friends, they don’t even think in an entrepreneurial sense or a way of even progressing as a person and making yourself better. You’re just kind of stuck in that world. How do you surround yourself with better people? Where do you find these people? How do you do this without already being part of the best that you are now?

Brian Kurtz: Great, great question. Here’s the deal. It takes time. This is not something that you do immediately on day one. However, your mindset must be such that you’re not … I hate the word ‘networking.’ Just hate the word ‘networking.’ I think networking implies I’m going to just call a bunch of people. I’m going to meet you. I want to pick your brain. I hate the term ‘pick your brain,’ too. It’s like people who want to pick my brain usually want to pick my pocket. It’s not like so inaccessible. You found me pretty easily, and I said yes to this interview pretty quickly.

Jonny Nastor: You did.

Brian Kurtz: However, I got to be more careful going forward as an independent entrepreneur with a lot of people who want a piece of me now, whereas I always wanted a piece of everybody else. And I still want a piece of everybody else. How do you get there? It’s all about the concept of contribution. If you go into any relationship, I don’t care how, whether it’s a family member, whether it’s a new friend, whether it’s someone you meet on the street. If you start the relationship with, “How can I contribute to this person? How can I make their life better? How can I make their life more meaningful?” That’s how you start developing a group of people around you.

Surrounding Yourself with the Best and Brightest

Brian Kurtz: Let me give you specific examples why I’m connected to probably some of the best direct marketers in the world, and I didn’t get there by magic. In almost every single case, there was an opportunity for me based on my skill set to contribute to them. One of the greatest consultants I ever worked with was a guy by the name of Dick Benson, who’s probably the top — he’s passed away since and we became very, very close, but he wrote the book on direct mail basically. He was the number one expert on direct mail.

We had an opportunity to work with him as a consultant. That would have been a straight business relationship. I wouldn’t have been able to get that intimate with him. Then one day I figure out that he had this other business that he was launching his own newsletters, and he didn’t understand the list business that well. Personally, he knew everything about direct mail, but he relied on a particular list broker to rent all his lists for him, and I knew that I was probably the number one expert on mailing lists in the country, or at least one of the top ones. I’m not bragging when I say that. It’s just the fact.

I went to Dick, and I said, “We have a consulting call coming up or a consulting visit coming up, and I’d like to make sure that we spend a couple hours on your business, Dick, even though I’m paying you on me helping you with the kinds of questions you should be asking your list broker when your renting lists.”
So here I was giving advice to probably one of the top gurus in direct marketing in a specific area that he was not an expert in. It was from Dick Benson that I also learned this incredible concept. I said to him once, “Dick …” — I’ve blogged about this numerous times. — “Dick, how did you get so smart about direct mail like you seem to know everything?”

Although he didn’t know as much about lists as I did, but he did know everything about testing, about list segmentation. Not list segment, but segmenting audiences and creative as it pertains to audiences. I said, “How did you get so smart?” He took his thumb and his index finger and put it an inch apart, and he said, “I know everything about this much.”

If you go through life hanging out with people, you find out what they know everything about ‘this much’ about. About that inch or two inches or four inches of everything and what else would they need to know about for them to move their thumb and index finger a little further apart. If you could be that person that could contribute that, that’s how you’re going to create a network.

Why Brian Doesn’t Like the Idea of Networking

Brian Kurtz: Again, I hate the word ‘networking,’ but I have to use it here. Create a connection to people that is so much deeper than just glad-handing people and calling them up and saying, “Hey, I’m Brian Kurtz. I’m a smart guy. I want to talk to you.” As opposed to, “Hey, I’m Brian Kurtz, Jon. How can I contribute to you?” Which is exactly how our relationship started.

This relationship has not started, Jon, with me figuring out how I can network with Jon Nastor. This relationship started with, “How I can contribute to your podcast?” I don’t know where it’s going to lead. I don’t know if I’ll ever make a sale because of this. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a new subscriber to my blog because of this. I don’t know if it’s going to lead to anything.

The fact that I contributed to you and you’re a rising star, I don’t know, 100 Zero, total contribution. You put those two things together, you will start building a group of people that will want to be with you. Once they want to be with you, they’re going to want to share with you. If you’re sharing with them, with no holds barred, you’re there. I’m going to tell another quick story, and this one is not about a marketer. It’s about a baseball pitcher. I don’t know how many of your audiences in Canada, but baseball is pretty popular in Canada, too.

Jonny Nastor: It is. Yeah.

Brian Kurtz: There’s a pitcher who pitch for the New York Yankees by the name of Mariano Rivera and those of you, anybody on this call who knows baseball, will know Mariano Rivera, but I’ll quickly tell you who he is. He may be the best pitcher who ever lives. He’s certainly the best closer who ever lived. By closer, meaning in baseball, there is a role that if you can get the last three outs of the game and finish the game off when your team is ahead by three runs or less, you get what they call a save. Mariano Rivera has more saves than anybody in the history of baseball. Basically, he spent his whole career getting the three most difficult outs, and he did it better than anybody who’s ever lived.

The amazing thing about Mariano Rivera, who retired last year, is that he only had one pitch. Most pitchers have three or four pitches. They have a fastball. They have a curveball. They have a change up. They have all these different pitches, to try to get the batter out. Mariano Rivera had one pitch, and his pitch was, it was called a ‘cut fastball,’ and it was virtually on hit ball when he was on. Basically, Mariano Rivera took the mound, his percentage of how many times he got saves was higher than anybody else. He did better in high pressure situations in World Series and playoffs than anybody else, and he did it with one pitch.

But the lesson for your listeners I want to share is that Mariano Rivera taught that pitch. He would teach that pitch to anybody who would come to him. Basically, here he is with this kind of secret weapon and if you went to Mariano Rivera and say — you’re a pitcher or a young coach — “Mariano, I want to learn the pitch from you so I could teach it to my young pitchers.” Or, “I’m a pitcher, I want to learn how to do it.” Without hesitation or question, Mariano Rivera will teach you the pitch. In fact, in his last year in the Major Leagues, he visited every clubhouse in the Major Leagues one last time to say, “Last chance guys. I’ll teach you the pitch.”

The lesson here is that — I’m sure he taught it because he knew no one can do it better than him — but besides that, he knew that all boats rose in the world if more people knew how to do this pitch. That the game of baseball would be that much better because you’d have all these other rising superstars, and he would much rather get credit, not because he was the egomaniac, but get credit for contributing at that level than just winning more games, or closing more games.

The concept of the ‘competition because coexistence’ is all wrapped up in this, and I’ve lived that my entire career. I was able to do that because I didn’t have these big trade secrets that I was running around with, because everything I did in direct mail and direct marketing was out there in the millions of pieces or promotions, so people could see what I’m doing. But teaching people how I did it was so important to getting that incredible connection to people. To getting that incredible feeling that, “Wow, I can’t believe Brian shared all that with me.” Whether they came back and said, “I better share something with him or not,” irrelevant, but I can tell you after 34 years that the best and the brightest in direct marketing have shared with me at that level. And I never even had to ask them.

Jonny Nastor: I love it. Is it easier to be able to share your knowledge, to be able to help other people and to always be able to say give and give and train, teach that pitch that you know to others once your career has already taken off? You know what I mean? When I was just getting going, I was so worried about making the money to pay for my mortgage next month. You know what I mean? You get so, “Take, take. I need to take because of this.” I don’t think that that’s right, but I’m at a point now where I don’t have to be like that.

I’ve set myself up that I have the freedom to now give back to people. Last week actually was the first time, just from people emailing me, and now I’m trying to put them together because everyone’s looking for connection, and I feel like I’m being their connector because they’re emailing me. They’re by themselves they feel like. I’m like, “Well, you’re not by yourself. I have 50 people this week that emailed me that all think that they’re by themselves all in different aspects of where they’re starting out.”

Now I’m just starting to put them together, and be like, “Actually, you two should meet. You two should just start your own mastermind because you guys are perfect.” It works, but I wouldn’t have had this freedom I don’t think three years ago, but maybe that’s wrong. Maybe I did have that, and I could have been further ahead if I would have started, but you know what I mean how when you feel like you’re just getting going and you feel like you need to take because, “I have bills to pay. I have a light bill that has to get paid or else I don’t have internet anymore to work from.” Does that make sense?

Brian Kurtz: Yeah, but you got to turn it on its ear. Your intuition is correct, and this is going to be easy to say but tougher to do. Early in my career, I wasn’t starting from scratch, but I wasn’t making a lot of money at all. I think the irony is that the ‘contribute to connect,’ and again, I hate the word also just being a ‘connector.’ I think that’s really not the way to look at it.

It’s you’re contributor. You’re a contributor to connect. You need to be part of the process of contribution before you can connect. It’s a real subtle distinction, but an important one, because the idea of just connecting means I’m just going to put people together, connect the dots, and let it go where it goes — as opposed to being part of the process, being part of the contribution.

The irony that I want to just make sure that everybody gets here is that, when you actually have less money and less resources is the time to contribute even more, even at the expense of maybe extending out your electric bill and extra month. What’s happening to me now is that, because I’m at a point where it’s not about survival in terms of money, I actually now am so inundated with requests and time that I have to start charging for everything. I always say, overload doesn’t serve anybody. If I keep saying yes to people, I’m going to be very ineffective in what I do with them. I’m working with young entrepreneurs in coaching situations, and it’s not because I want to make a ton of money from them, but they have to pay me 1000 bucks an hour to do it.

They need to understand that them paying — I’m going to deliver. I got to tell you, most of them I given more than an hour anyway. Plus, I ended up sending them all these wonderful books that I own afterwards. What they’re getting for $1000 is probably worth even more. That doesn’t mean I’m being an egomaniac because I have to charge them, but the irony, of course, is that I don’t really need the money for that call anymore. But I’m not going to do it for free because I can’t afford to give up the time because I’m too busy contributing at a high level.

I will tell you that the advantage I did have — this is in that post I told you about being an intrapreneur is that I still have a full time job — I wasn’t bootstrapping a company while I was doing the contributory staff. But I was spending a lot of my own time in the evenings and on the weekends doing all this contribution making the equivalent of $10,000 a year. I live in the New York metropolitan area. That is not a lot of money, even in the 1980s, to live on. I wasn’t in poverty. I was able to pay my bills, but I was living in a very small apartment with a lot of cockroaches. I’m not saying that I had this hero’s journey that I was living in a box outside the bus station homeless, but I have my equivalent of it.

I was making very little money. I had a full time job, and I still needed to do all of this contribution on my own time and my own dime. I know what it’s like to give of that when you really can’t afford to. I think your intuition is correct, “Easy to say, tougher to do.” I’m not telling people that they should go starving to give things away. I just heard a story about a guy who was an amazing — he was a young copywriter, and he told me that early in his career, he decided — I think he was living in Ireland – he knew he had to learn from somebody. He needed a mentor. You can’t just run into somebody and say, “Will you please be my mentor?” It just doesn’t work that way.

Doing Whatever It Takes to Find a Mentor

Brian Kurtz: He went on his own, found somebody, and it happened to be Gary Halbert, whose one of the greatest copywriters who ever lived who’s no longer with us. This guy actually came to the United States. He asked Gary Halbert, “Can I live in an apartment near you?” He ended up I think living in an apartment upstairs from him. He’ll do some introductory stuff before and I don’t know all the little details, but the result was that he ended up living above Gary Halbert for a year. On his own time, his own dime, basically to look over Gary’s shoulder, and Gary was a tough mentor. He was not easy. I didn’t know him that well, but I know that he was very, very difficult on the people that he coached.

Yet this guy, in a period where he couldn’t afford to do it, he afforded to do it. How did that happen? Now the guy is an incredibly successful copywriter, but during that period, I’m sure he questioned every day whether he was making the right decision to forsake all of this to do this. I think it’s just really, really important to understand these kinds of stories.

I think you asked a great question. I am established now. I can get people to pay me — again, I’m not bragging — I’m just saying that they will pay me a lot of money for my time, but that’s not what jazzes me. What jazzes me is that I can help them at that level, and they can get their money’s worth from me for that time. That’s what really excites me about it. I didn’t get there because I was charging people when I was making $10,000 a year.

My journey is a little bit different, again, since I didn’t bootstrap a business, but if your folks read my blog post From Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur, I think they’ll really understand this whole concept that even if you’re an organization, even if you’re kind of what they say — I don’t know how they say it in Canada — but ‘working for the man.’ There are so many things you can do while you’re ‘working for the man’ to be doing the things that we’re talking about in terms of building that incredible connective network that is built through the deepest contributions you can make to people.

Jonny Nastor: You’re not talking like side hustles sort of thing. You’re talking directly within the organization.

Brian Kurtz: Exactly. In fact in my piece, I think I have some specific things, and sometimes it’s not so easy in a big company. But little things like make sure the guy, if possible, or a woman who signs your paycheck, knows who you are, knows the contribution you’re making to the organization. Don’t do it like, “Look at me. Look at me. I gave you this idea.”

You may not get the recognition all the time for all of your innovative ideas within an organization, but as best as you can do it, make sure that the person signing your paycheck knows who you are and what you’re doing — and that you then can figure out what could you contribute to that person. I assume that the person signing the paycheck is someone who’s achieved at a pretty high level, so therefore, they count as far as somebody to contribute to, and not just because you want a raise. You know what I mean?

Jonny Nastor: Yeah.

Brian Kurtz: I have all of this in the blog post because I figured how did I get to where I got to not being the person who started the company. It was a lot of this. I got lucky. I had a mentor, a guy who started a company saw how valuable I was over time and made me a partner, made me an owner, but it took time. It took me 10 years. Ten years of being an employee to becoming a partner in the business.

Jonny Nastor: That was Boardroom Inc, right?

Brian Kurtz: Correct.

Jonny Nastor: And that was 34 years when you retired?

Brian Kurtz: Yeah. I just left there after 34 years two weeks ago.

Jonny Nastor: It’s impressive, and now you are going fully solo entrepreneur.

Brian Kurtz: Yes.

Jonny Nastor: Let me finish with this if I can. Success and the future for you. If your career, now after to 34 years of working at Boardroom Inc, now you’re going to solo. If something horrible was to happen and your career happen to end today, would you be happy with the legacy you got to leave up till this point, or is there now things you want to do by yourself?

Brian Kurtz: I would be content with what I’ve left. I had left a pretty nice legacy of stuff — of information, of teaching, of mentoring. It’s funny. A lot of people when they heard I was leaving, they said, “Oh, so you’re retiring.” I’m 56 years old, and I feel like I’m just getting started basically. I have a definition of retirement. That’s from one of my mentors, Dan Sullivan who runs Strategic Coach — who is probably the best coach for entrepreneurs in the world.

His definition of retirement is that you retire from the things you don’t want to do. You retire from the things you don’t like to do, and you retire from the people that you don’t want to hang around with anymore. In that definition, I’m retiring.

However, what the thing that I really want to do as the next level is I want to use what I’ve accumulated over the last 34 years and be the bridge between the internal truths of direct marketing of what I’ve learned and bringing it forward into the present and the future, so all the new marketers who don’t even know these things exist.

Before this call, you told me you read Claude Hopkins’ My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising, and you read a lot of Dan Kennedy books. And I told you about Gene Schwartz’s Breakthrough Advertising, which I actually own the rights to. All of that stuff, if I’m a 28-year-old entrepreneur running an internet business and I don’t know those eternal truths of direct response marketing and copywriting, I’m in a deficit. Those people are in deficit in my opinion.

I can be the guy of teaching that, of creating courses for that. The thing I want to achieve beyond what I’ve already achieved is to take what I’ve accumulated even more so and bring it into the marketing world on steroids. That’s on steroids already, because the current marketing world is fascinating to me. I think there’s no better time ever in the history of mankind to be in marketing. What can I do as the dinosaur — I call myself T-Rex roaming the Wild Wild West. I was going to call my company ‘Dinosaurs and Cowboys’ but I won’t do it. I really believe that’s my calling at this point.

I think that creating high-end mastermind groups of people who want to do multichannel marketing and not just on the Internet, and then being able to take their messages and reach millions more people, because they’re not just doing email and websites but they’re doing direct mail and inserts and space advertising and radio advertising and TV — all those things that I did in my career. That to me will take what I’ve done to the next level.

Brian’s Epiphany and How It Helps You Right Now

Brian Kurtz: I am just getting started I guess. If I got hit by a car tomorrow and it was over, I think I made a pretty good contribution to direct marketing, and based on the outpouring of people who have known me for 30 years when they heard I was leaving Boardroom and the pleas of, “Don’t retire please. Don’t retire. Please share.” It was like, “Wow, this is like reinforcement that I better just get started.”

I’ll leave you with one other quick thing that Dan Sullivan talks about. He talks about what he calls ‘the gap’ for entrepreneurs. What the gap is for entrepreneurs is that most entrepreneurs, because they’re so motivated to just do things at such a high level, that they’re always looking to what he calls ‘the horizon.’ If you ever try to walk to the horizon, just for your information, you’ll never going to get there. So just stop walking now, okay, Jon?

That’s good news for all of your listeners. If they’re walking toward the horizon, stop. Instead of keep walking to the horizon, turn around, and look back. Set goals, and when you achieve a goal, turn around, look back and say, “Where I was, where I got to today, and that I achieved this goal,” and celebrate that victor. That is how you stay out of the gap.

The gap is what’s between today’s goal and the horizon. If you live in there all the time without having one goal achieved and then turning back around and looking back and where you were and where you’ve been and where you are now, you’ll stay out of the gap. If you’re constantly walking towards the horizon, without turning around and recognizing each of those goals as you achieve them, you will not ever think that you can ever fulfill.

You asked the question beautifully, that you’ll never feel like you got hit by a car today that achieved anything. I’m not living that way. If I could hit by a car today, I achieved a lot of good stuff. I got great kids. I got a great family. I got tons of people who would consider me their mentor. I’ve got tons of people who I’m on the shoulders of who are very old now who are not in position to do mentoring anymore, yet I recognize them every chance I get. Some of them are dead, and I recognize them every chance I get because their families appreciate it, because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.

I think I answered that question. I just want to make sure that the entrepreneurs on this list and the people who are going to be entrepreneurs in this list don’t live in the gap and I credit Dan Sullivan for that. It was one of those kick in the head epiphanies that I had. Really celebrate every goal, everything that you achieve. Set your goals. Hit them. Turn around, celebrate them. Then go on to the next goal. Don’t go on to the horizon.

Jonny Nastor: Beautifully said. I discuss this with people on the show, and I’m struggling to get through it. I guess because I feel like I’m still fairly young in my entrepreneurial journey. I feel like I haven’t achieved anything worth looking back at yet, and so I’m constantly …

Brian Kurtz: That’s a mistake, Jon.

Jonny Nastor: I know. I know. It weird because if I look at myself three years and the goals I set that I’ve blown out of the water and now I couldn’t even imagine being back there, but I’m still like every goal I hit, just breeds five more goals. You know what I mean? It’s constantly like, “I know, but at this time in six months, I’ll be here, and then I’ll be here.”

Brian Kurtz: You know what, I won’t mention names because it may not be right, but you told me about one before the call. It was a specific interview that you did with somebody that’s going to lead you getting into a place where you’ve always wanted to get into in terms of getting a bigger audience. If you didn’t spend any time before this interview with me, turning around and looking at that as a huge goal achievement, then you’re in the gap. I want to really encourage you to get out of the gap, and everybody else on this call as well. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Jonny Nastor: I do. Yeah. I appreciate it. Okay, Brian, we’ve talked a lot about your blog, your writing, and what it is you’re going to head into in the very near future, so can you specifically tell the audience where they can find out more about you?

Brian Kurtz: Yeah. I’ve got a website. It’s modest, but I’ve got a lot of free content. It’s I couldn’t get, that’s some faith healer or something, so is not me. What I’m going to do is I’m going to do, for your audience, I’m going to set up a special squeeze page that they can go right to this blog that I call ‘From Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur,’ which I think is just so perfect for everybody here to — it’s not that long, maybe a 1000 words.

I really want your folks to read it, so I’m going to set up a special squeeze that’s going to be, since your show is called Hack the Entrepreneur, so There’s another squeeze at, which is another interview I did about building your list, and they can go to that as well, and they can get that for free. Everything is for free. It will be a special page I’ll set up for your guys, and I really want them to read that interview.

If you want to opt in to my list, that would be great. I try to blog every week about my 34 years of mentoring and teaching and doing all this great stuff. I’d love your folks to be on my list. I have a feeling that your tribe is my tribe, so that’s why I decided to say yes to this interview. I hope I can share with your folks like you’re sharing with your folks, and the two of us together will continue to teach and mentor., and I will put up something very, very special for your folks.

Jonny Nastor: I love it. I will directly link to that from the show notes, so go to and you will be sent right through this page and get all the good stuff from Brian. Brian, thank you so much for everything you’ve done up till now, everything you’re going to do leading into the future, and for spending the past half hour with me.

Brian Kurtz: My pleasure, Jon, and good questions. Really good questions.

Jonny Nastor: Brian, thank you, thank you so much for stopping by. I truly appreciate you taking the time to do that. That was a lot of fun. Before we get any further, I need to acknowledge you, my listener, because you are awesome, and I cannot believe the feedback I get and just that there’s so many of you out there. I have to say one thing. I really, really want to meet you in May.

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Brian said a lot of really, really smart things, but he said one thing that was not only really, really, really smart, but it’s completely changed my mindset I think forever. It has truly, truly affected my life and my business. And now we need to get to that one thing. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.

Brian Kurtz: That is how you stay out of the gap. The gap is what’s between today’s goal and the horizon. If you live in there all the time without having one goal achieved and then turning back around and looking back and where you were and where you’ve been and where you are now, you’ll stay out of the gap.

Jonny Nastor: That’s the hack. … Wow, Brian, the entrepreneurial gap, this has been kind of epic in scope and in a mindset shift for me. Instantly after this interview, I added ‘the entrepreneurial gap’ as a concept and a question to a lot of my interviews. The response has been actually amazing. I’ve had people tell me, they get goosebumps, and they don’t understand. They think that I’m reading their mind.

That’s exactly how I felt when Brian said this today. It is crazy that we live as entrepreneurs always searching for that horizon. We set goals three months, six months, a year, five years in advance, and I thought that we are always even trying to — we hit those goals, and then instantly set five or 10 loftier ones ahead of us. It’s actually been brought to my attention that I think we actually don’t even always hit those goals, and we’re already setting new ones.

We’re not, in the basic sense, living today, living in the day, living in the present, but also just stopping and turning around. I don’t care how early you are in your journey of this whole entrepreneurial game and figuring the stuff out online, but just think back to even what you knew three months ago. What you knew six months ago about all of this stuff and think about the amount of knowledge you now have. That’s amazing.

Congratulate yourself for that because that seriously is worth congratulating. It’s an amazing accomplishment to be working towards something to better yourself, to better your family, to better everything about your life is awesome. We need to spend more time even when we think that, “Oh, it will be better when I do this. When my podcast ends up doing this. My business hits a million dollars.” It will be awesome, but just seriously stop. Look, turn around for one moment, and just look at where you’ve come from six months or a year ago. It’s usually amazing, and it really, really is.

I appreciate so much, Brian, that you brought this concept to my head, and you mentioned it the gap for entrepreneurs and I’ve since been referring to it as ‘the entrepreneurial gap.’ I’m honestly thinking about writing a book about this, because I think it’s something that we really, as entrepreneurs and as people who dream and want to do big, cool things, we can get caught up and always walking towards that horizon and never just appreciating where we are. I cannot thank you enough, Brian, for that, because that’s amazing. Thank you.

For once, I can tell you, The new one is live, and it’s beautiful. It’s amazing. It’s on the Rainmaker platform. You got to see it. It’s so good. Get on the site, You’re going to see my face right at the top and a place to put your email. Drop your name in that, and you will get my best hacks sent to your inbox. Every Sunday afternoon I am writing them, and I am sending them out to you. You can also respond and reply to any of those emails, and you have direct access to me. I would love to have a conversation with you.

Either way, check out the site, and you can also check out That is the new podcast network that Hack the Entrepreneur is now officially a part of. There’s nine other amazing shows. All I do is listen to Rainmaker shows now, and it’s awesome. Please, go check that out and if you have a chance, check out I would truly appreciate hearing from you and seeing you stop by and getting your feedback on it.

This has been a lot of fun. I know you have a lot of choices for podcasts out there, and I do appreciate you taking the time with me today. But until next time, please keep hacking the entrepreneur.