Interested in leaving uninspiring work and starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Samuel Gerstein, president of Dreams For Real Inc., located in Thornhill, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is helping people become aware of one of the greatest stressors at work - the mismatch between themselves and the work they do. I then show them how to deal with the fears that keep them stuck and guide them to their own unique Dream Career.
My customers are people who feel uninspired by their work and are looking for a better match. It’s like career dating, and I am the matchmaker.
Tell us about yourself
I am a medical doctor, and I worked for 20 years in the ER. Because of the nature of the ER, I often saw people in their worst pain, both physical and mental, and sometimes they were at the stage of dying. I felt like I was doing something meaningful, for which I was grateful. But after becoming chief of the department, I noticed I wanted something more – after some soul searching, I realized that something was more passion.
I began wondering how much emotion plays into people’s pains and illnesses at work. So, I began asking my patients and researching this. I found that work stress is one of the biggest causes of stress. Stress is a contributor to over 60% of patients who present to the ER and family doctors’ offices. It is a silent killer.
I wrote a book after researching people in my community who loved their work. I began studying psychology and changed my career from ER to counseling people with high work stress. I am motivated by the knowledge that I am now in the business of illness prevention when I help guide people to a better career match for them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments is writing and publishing my book, Live Your Dreams: Doctor’s Orders. It took three and a half years of research and rewrites and a lot of collaboration between myself, the inspiring people I interviewed for the book, my editors, and marketers. I am so proud of the product and the team who helped me make it happen.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a business owner, one of the hardest things for me is to know when to say “no.” Like many entrepreneurs, I tend to take on too much. But the worst part of that is taking on projects in my areas of weakness. In the last couple of years, I have been delegating more and more, freeing me up to what I do best – Coach. I now counsel my clients to do the same.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start with your Heart: Find something you are passionate about and gives you a feeling of meaningful contribution to others.
- Go to your market’s heart: Find your target market and interview them to understand their biggest pains. That’s is where you should start because it is more likely to sell
- Take action: Make a product or provide a service that your target market told you it wants. Selling gives you the confidence to take the next step.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We have to break the paradigm that you have to endure work for the paycheque. I help people do what they love and find ways to make money doing it. Because of the advent of technology and the low barriers to entry, there has never been a better time in the history of the world to make money doing a very wide variety of things.
Let’s start spreading the new paradigm and let people know that the term “starving artist” is a non-sequitur.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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