YourStory spoke to Ed Abel, a serial entrepreneur and founder of the Abel Business Institute and the person behind the Skillpreneur program. Ed lives in New York City, where he is an avid participant in different Volleyball leagues as well as a student in boxing. He also has a huge collection of Napoleon Hill original writings.He speaks about his entrepreneurial journey and the Skillpreneur Program.He teaches Entrepreneurship in one of the most prestigious universities in New York and is the Director of the business division at the world class Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). At iPEC, Ed directs the business division that is responsible for supporting the graduate coaches in their business development process.
Determined to find a way to educate and advise others in the construction and sustainability of a vital business, he founded ABEL Business Institute. Over the course of this process, he developed The SkillPreneur Business System, a systematic approach to the construction, maintenance, and growth of a businesses--an approach that has become the philosophy and methodology of ABEL Business Institute.
I started my first venture at 24. I am a registered nurse and saw a great opportunity in healthcare by offering patients intravenous therapy who have checked themselves out of the hospital. In the next 7 years we built the company which helped thousands of people and a company which had 585 employees at its peak.
I realized while running this business that one of the biggest challenges was that I had no real knowledge of the methodologies behind a successful business. I had a good understanding of my skill. I felt as if I was trapped in a maze never certain about what is the right thing to do. I realized there are many people like me who are good at what they do, have skills and offer a great service/product but don’t have the business acumen to run a successful business.
Between 1984 and 2005, I founded 13 businesses. There were common themes behind successful ventures. This experience helped me come up with this program.
This was the idea behind Skillpreneur : someone who has the right skills and goes out there to monetize these skills as an entrepreneur. I saw that business owners who were nor trained in the skills of running a business ran their business emotionally and not scientifically based on sound principles. This inspired me to come up with this program and the business institute to help other Skillpreneurs.
The Skillpreneur® TrackWhat exactly is a Skillpreneur®? And why should it matter to you?
The term Skillpreneur® actually defines itself pretty handily. It is a melding of the skilled professional and the entrepreneur. Not all skilled professionals are entrepreneurs and not all entrepreneurs use their unique skills as the foundation for their businesses.
A Skillpreneur® is a special kind of animal. And we believe it is exactly the kind of animal that will thrive in the new economy of the 21st Century. In fact, the Skillpreneur® track - we modestly suggest - is the career path of the new millennium. A Skillpreneur® takes his signature skills, passions and talents and builds a business around them. In short, he takes what he is good at and finds a way to replicate it and take it to market.
A skilled copywriter who’s employed full-time by an ad agency is not a Skillpreneur®. Nor is an entrepreneurially-minded dentist who buys a Subway franchise to increase his bottom-line income. But a skilled copywriter who launches his own ad agency is a Skillpreneur®. Skill, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit linked together; that’s the hallmark of the Skillpreneur®.
The Skillpreneur® distinguishes himself from other income earners because of the way he leverages his natural design – his gifts and skills - to generate income AND create a life of deep satisfaction. The Skillpreneur®, in effect, does what he loves, but does so in such a way that he can control his own financial destiny. The Skillpreneur® doesn’t want to do meaningless or generic labor. Not does he want to entrust his career path to anyone else. He wants to do what matters to him and do it in a way that puts the reins of his career in his own hands.
Becoming a Skillpreneur® is certainly not the only way to make a living. Plenty of wonderful, talented people lead contented lives and make respectable incomes working for someone else. And plenty of folks run moneymaking enterprises that have nothing to do with following their inner calling.
The Skillpreneur® track, however, may just be the most rewarding career path available today and in the decades to come. For it is not only a path to making an outstanding living, but to living an outstanding life.
Why Choose the Skillpreneur® Track?
There are many compelling reasons for becoming a Skillpreneur®, which this book will help you to see. I’ll mention just a few of them here.
On a personal fulfillment level:
We all want to do what we love. There is a basic human yearning, which almost all of us share, to do what we love for a living. Only a few generations ago, most people had little choice in how they made a living. What you did for income was largely based on your social/economic class, your geographic location and your family background. You fished, you farmed, you baked bread. You did what your parents and their parents did.
You were not encouraged to “follow your bliss.”
The Industrial Revolution changed the way we work. Jobs became specialized and workers were willing to trade off autonomy and variety for a steady salary, benefits, decent working conditions and predictable hours. In this new business world, you could advance by climbing the corporate ladder, but often when you got to the top, you realized the ladder was leaning on the wrong building.
You often followed someone else’s bliss to the grave instead of pursuing your own.
Today, the face of work has transformed again. Changes in education, communication, and technology have opened the doors for us to pursue careers that not only pay the bills, but satisfy us mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Not only has traditional corporate career path broken down, but we, as a culture, have begun to freely acknowledge the desire we all share to make a difference in the world. And to do so in a way that flows directly from who we are as individuals.
We want to follow the urgings of our hearts and souls and to make a positive difference in the world.
That genie is not going back in the bottle. Just as we would never go back to the idea of pre-arranged marriages, most of us have no desire to go back to the idea of working a job only because it pays the bills.
We are no longer happy to be cogs in someone else’s career machine. We crave work that we can pursue with passion and purpose. We want to do work that is ours.
That’s the heart of the Skillpreneur® model.
We are all designed to do at least one thing uniquely well. Each of us is born into this world with a particular blueprint or design. We are engineered to do one thing – or one set of things – better, or more uniquely, than just about anyone else on Earth.
When we find that one thing that we do uniquely well, we unlock our deepest passions and energies. By doing what we are designed to do, we remove friction from our lives. We no longer swim against the current. By doing our signature work, we allow excitement, enthusiasm, creativity and optimism to flow into our efforts and turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
It is, in fact, through doing precisely what we are designed to do that we bring our greatest market value into the world, too. It’s how we create a vibrant brand. A talented writer is doing no one a favor – not himself, not the world - by selling life insurance. A gifted inventor does not create his highest value by marketing someone else’s products.
When we do what we are supposed to do, on the other hand, everyone wins. Following our design is the way we make our branded contribution to the planet while bringing ourselves the highest level of personal satisfaction.
The Skillpreneur® track is the surest path to maximizing our natural design. Only by choosing the Skillpreneur® path can we “be all that we can be.”
There are sound business reasons for becoming a Skillpreneur® as well:
Job security is a thing of the past. You don’t need this book to tell you that the days of working for “The Man” for thirty years and retiring with a pension and a gold watch are over. The idea of working for a single employer for a whole career has gone the way of the slide rule.
There is no longer a “sure thing,” or even the illusion of such, in the corporate world. The traditional reasons for devoting your life to a corporation – security, advancement, benefits, a sense of “family” – have all but evaporated.
The combination of a rapidly changing marketplace and a shifting business focus toward short-term results means that companies no longer maintain a long-term commitment to their employees. And so, the savvy employee has begun to realize that it makes more sense, economically and psychologically, to control his own destiny. Which means striking off on one’s own.
If my career path is going to be a risk anyway, the thinking goes, then I may as well be the one who reaps the dividends.
In a flat world, you need to create unique value. The opening of global markets, coupled with the explosion of internet commerce, has resulted in a leveled playing field for worldwide business. Anything that can be made better and/or cheaper somewhere else is being made somewhere else.
What does that mean for the small businessperson or start-up? It means that you must find a unique edge that makes your product or service distinctive and attractive. You must add your personal value to everything you touch. Selling a generic product or service “just to make money” no longer makes good economic sense; there’s probably someone out there who can do it better, faster and cheaper than you.
The future of business lies in finding something that you do distinctively, creatively and intelligently, with a personal flair and touch. The way to add value today is by adding your value, by building a brand around what you do uniquely well.
That doesn’t mean running with the pack or replicating someone else’s products and services. It means pursuing your highest, most you-nique gifts, passions and talents. It means doing things your way and trusting that there’s an audience for it.
It means, in short, choosing the Skillpreneur® track.
• Believes in his own skills, gifts and talents
• Knows that his unique talents have commercial value
• Thinks he can better optimize his talents by running his own business than by working for someone else
• Craves more independence and personal responsibility than a salaried job can offer
• Has a vision for doing business “the right way”
• Knows he can inspire others – employees, contractors, customers – with his vision
• Is self-directed
• Is not averse to taking risks
• Is unafraid of either hard work or wild success
• Wants to control his own destiny and achieve his personal and financial dreams
• Longs to make his signature contribution to the world
• Desires more than just a paycheck; desires fulfillment
• Recognizes that he can’t do everything himself and wants to build a great team of people with diverse talents
• Knows his own values and principles
• Trusts his tastes and instincts
• Wants to share his dream with the widest audience the market will allow
In today’s world, the choice to become a Skillpreneur® not only makes personal sense, it makes business sense. The competitive edge you will need in today’s flat world is to be found, not in emulating others, but in being relentlessly true to your talents, your vision and your values.
That’s good news, wouldn’t you agree? It turns out that the very pursuits that are most likely to bring us personal fulfillment are also most likely to bring us business success.
Being true to yourself is good business. That’s what being a Skillpreneur® is all about.
How can entrepreneurs in India access the Skillpreneur program?
SkillPreneur Forum is a Free 12 Week Business Development Program. Now offered as a free series through the SkillPreneur Forum, the Creating Business Harmoney - 12 Week Program will provide the keys to have you create a business that will attract more clients, get more business and earn more money!
Facilitated by Ed Abel, you'll participate in weekly tele-class meetings with other business owners. In these calls, we will go in-depth with each business development module of the SkillPreneur Business System. Through discussion, real-world examples, and demonstrations, you will understand and be able to take the steps that will evolve your business into a profitable, sustainable, and independent organization.
Apart from that there is a wealth of information available in the resource section of the website. We plan to launch the program in India very soon.