Interested in starting your entrepreneurial journey in product development, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with David M. Giltner, co-founder, and president of TurningScience, an author and internationally recognized speaker from Colorado, USA.

Tell us all about your business...

I help scientists of all disciplines work productively with the private sector, either as employees, entrepreneurs or as academic collaborators. Our goal is to help people 'turn science into things people need.'

What's your background and motivation to grow as a solopreneur?

My current career journey began with a chance opportunity to write a book back in 2010. That led to speaking arrangements that soon grew to international audiences. As I learned more about the challenges that scientists faced attempting to transition from an academic environment into the very different environment of the private sector, I realized this was a problem I could help solve. I'd seen the challenges firsthand in my own career as I realized that I needed to replace some of my academic habits with new habits that were critical in the industry. I had also spoken to many tech company executives about the challenges they faced with the scientists on their own team - valuable technical skills, but little understanding of the game of business.

In 2017 I left my job and began building the project that became TurningScience. I set out on this path with three specific goals:

  1. To make a difference.
  2. To work by my own design.
  3. To travel the world and have awesome stories to tell.

I make progress on these goals on a regular basis with my work, and that is very rewarding.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Building a business from something that was my idea to the point that it funds my lifestyle and makes a very positive difference in the world at the same time.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a solopreneur?

Being responsible for the future direction of the business - how to grow and how to increase impact.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?

  1. Planning is important, but don't make your plans too detailed, because they will need to change. The more detailed your plans are, the easier they are to miss. Think more in terms of the general direction you want to head and how to move boldly in that direction. Then capitalize on what happens.
  2. Embrace ambiguity. Wonderful opportunities can come from uncertainty if you are grounded in your values and a general direction.
  3. Operate outside your comfort zone. That's where the most value and the most growth occurs.

If there was one thing you could do repeatedly to help grow your business, what would it be?

I wish I knew one thing that I could do to repeatedly grow my business. One of my biggest struggles is identifying a scalable business development process.

What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?

I think I have done a great job at building a business that maintains a good balance. How I did it:

  1. Pursue something that excites me and that I truly believe in.
  2. Ensure a portion of my work can be done from anywhere, so I can work on my terms.
  3. Incorporate travel, which I love, into my business. These elements have greatly blurred the lines between business and life, but that is ok because I love what I'm doing and I'm doing it where I want to be.

Where can people find you?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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