Entrepreneurs Will Make Business Great Again – so What Are You Waiting For?

Have you thought about starting your own business? Entrepreneur and author Michael Sonnenfeldt had some encouraging advice for you on today’s show.

The economy is still upside-down with more businesses shuttering than new businesses starting, but every entrepreneur with a bright idea who is willing to put in the work can change that.

Founder and chair of the learning network TIGER 21, Sonnenfeldt recently published the book “Think Bigger: And 39 Other Winning Strategies from Successful Entrepreneurs.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

DOC: Hi there. It's Doc Thompson in for Glenn. Regularly heard on TheBlaze Radio network. More information on me by going to TheBlazeRadio.com. Throughout my morning broadcast, we have a couple running themes, and things we like to do. And one of them is to promote America and the idea of entrepreneurship, day in and day out. It's been one of the keys to America's success. And I think it's also one of the keys to returning America to some of the past glory we've had. Some of the economic success. If you've paid attention and looked at studies over the last 20, 30 years, our level of freedom has dropped. Our economic power has dropped.

Our educational standards have dropped. And they continue to. Now, we had built up so much steam in the previous couple of hundred years, that we had a long way to drop. And some of these categories, we still are competitive.

But it's going to keep dropping, unless we do something.

Dance with the one that brung you. And what brought us to where we are is freedom. Free markets. Entrepreneurship.

Something that we have boiled down to the entrepreneurial spirit, dreaming and doing.

Lots of people dream. You probably dream every day. You drive down the street and you're like, you know, I've always wanted to open that hot dog stand. I've always wanted to go and do this. I've always wanted to start that company that does this. And you don't do it.

But for some, they're actually driven, obsessed, passionate about something, where that idea grows and grows. That they just have to act on it. And they do.

Many times, failing. You know the stories of people like Milton Hershey, who start company after company after company, before they started. You know the story, Edison and the lightbulb, trying 5,000 times before he found the right filament for the incandescent lightbulb, or whatever the reason, they're just driven to do.

We need to teach that. We need to grow that. We need to understand it. So how can I help you? Well, one of the biggest challenges we face when starting a company, even if it's just a side business to supplement your business for your family, is marketing. Is promotion.

How do you get attention without having millions of dollars to advertise and cut through? Well, once you get some attention, a little bit of the word out there, you know, it can grow. Word of mouth. It's such a good idea, product, or idea or service, that it can grow.

Well, how do you start? Well, social media, great. There's a million other people trying as well.

Well, on our morning broadcast, we offer people some free airtime. Free. Just to promote their products. We call it Building America.

In fact, if you go on Twitter and look up the #buildingAmerica, you can go back and find great products and services.

Sometimes, those people have such success, they end up becoming advertisers on our program. Sometimes they don't. But we try to help them.

And along the way, our listeners get some good content. They get to hear about good products and services. They hopefully get to hear about companies and a good story about how they started.

I mean, how many movies have been made about people who started companies and -- and musicians and actors, and how they made it, and their climb and rise to fame. Well, you get a good story along the way and hopefully some inspiration.

We are just days away from Black Friday, one of the biggest capitalist days of the year in America, where everybody runs out, their retailers and start buying things. And then cyber Monday, a little under a week from now. We're at the time of year where a lot of people in the retail world make their money. It sets them up for the next year, or don't.

So this Friday, as I fill in on the Glenn Beck Program, as I've done in the last couple of years, I'm going to extend my Building America idea for my morning broadcast, and I'm going to offer you free airtime on Glenn Beck's program, as long as he doesn't stop me.

And as far as I know, he's held up in a bunker somewhere right now, roasting a turkey. As long as he doesn't stop me, I'm going to give away free commercials on this program, and all you have to do is call up Friday morning, and I'll give you 60 seconds to promote your business.

Now, if you don't get through, still use the #buildingAmerica, and tell us about your business, products, or services. And if you hear good stuff and you don't remember, look it up, #buildingAmerica. That's my commitment to you. How can I help you promote your business? How can we together grow America and again become leaders in the world of development, entrepreneurs, and just fostering good ideas?

Joining me now is Michael Sonnenfeldt, author of Think Bigger and Thirty-Nine Other Winning Strategies From Successful Entrepreneurs. He's also the founder of TIGER 21 Investment Group.

Hi, Michael, how are you, sir?

MICHAEL: Great. Thanks for having me, Doc.

DOC: I enjoyed having you so much on my morning broadcast a few months back. I'm like, I've got to get you on this week as we start talking about entrepreneurs. I don't know if you could hear me discussing just now before I -- before I went to you, the idea of entrepreneurship. And it's just so lost in America now.

MICHAEL: Yeah. You know, there's an interesting study of all-time low rates of formation between 25 and 30-year-olds of entrepreneurship. And in the last five years, we had three years where business deaths exceeded business births. And the one that's most interesting is the average new company today employs 25 percent fewer people than a new company did a decade ago. That may be because of technology, but it all leads to the crisis that we're having in creating working and middle class jobs that we so desperately want.

DOC: You know, it's funny too, we look around and see all the other problems, whether it's crime or shiplessness, or whatever it is. You know, one of the things that gets you out of that is when you have something you can feel passionate about. When you have a reason to get up in the morning. So you have this idea, and you start that cookie company or whatever it is. If you're young, I don't even think they get the joy that can come out of creating something.

MICHAEL: Yeah, it's so interesting. Because, you know, we're facing a crisis that's unique in human history. Some people believe that technology is now advancing so that for the first time, 20 percent of everybody might be able to build everything that's needed for 100 percent. What are we going to do with the other 80 percent of people?

And we have this middle class and working class problem. We have low unemployment. But we have even low rates of participation. So the low unemployment masks it. And the problem isn't China or India or Mexico. It's computerization. Automation. Artificial intelligence.

And these are really where the job stresses are. Take Amazon. Fantastic company. Puts a shopping center on everybody's desk. But 46 percent of retail jobs have disappeared in the last decade. And we have automation coming with cars and autonomous driving. And with all of these changes, the only thing that's going to save us is entrepreneurs creating new and exciting companies that employ the next generation of working and middle class folks.

DOC: Yeah. And it's not just the company. It's creating, you know -- from ideas, products or, you know, that eventually may be gobbled up by the big guys or done more efficiently. But it is about ideas.

That's one of the things that makes us human is thinking and then dreaming and then sharing.

MICHAEL: Yeah. In fact, one of the things that's most concerning for me is there's a proposal called universal income. The idea is if technology is taking all the jobs, maybe we should pay people just to do nothing. And I can't think of a worse program, precisely because of what you're talking about. People want to work. They want to be productive. And they want to have a society in which they can be productive. The last thing I want to do is give people money not to work. Use all those dollars, if they're going to be spent on creating great jobs and infrastructure in our country. But don't pay people not to work.

DOC: No, it doesn't work. Trust me, I have members of my family and some of my producers I pay, and they do nothing, and it's a failed process.

KRIS: Excuse me.

DOC: Look, they do very little.

So, Michael, how do we, first of all, inspire? I think telling stories helps. But how do we inspire? What would some of these successful entrepreneurs say?

MICHAEL: You know, first of all, successful entrepreneurs -- the title of the book Think Bigger -- comes because the great entrepreneurs just naturally constantly think bigger. They go from one falling ladder to the next. They have this grit that keeps them going.

So part of it is personality. And one of the things I just want to stress is not everybody is cut out to be an entrepreneur. You have to have a certain kind of fortitude. And if your career anchor is security, you probably shouldn't be an entrepreneur, because there's a lot of risks.

But most entrepreneurs start a business because they have an idea for a product our a service. It's not just to make money. They're passionate about making a difference, about delivering something. Doing something better.

So I think coming up with these ideas, look around, everywhere you turn, you can do something better if you think about it and envision it. And sometimes we get confused. Because you mentioned Edison, but you could have said Apple.

DOC: Yeah.

MICHAEL: These are the inventory entrepreneurs, but not all businesses are inventor entrepreneurs. Take Five Guys hamburgers, 2500 franchises.

DOC: It's incredible.

MICHAEL: They just felt that they could make a better hamburger, that was the best quality. And they didn't want to focus on anything, but the food. So the stores are red and white tile. They spent the least amount of money possible, and put everything into making the best food and the best hamburger. And in poll after poll, they're voted, you know, best hamburger in the community.

DOC: They do great, yeah, they're good.

MICHAEL: So that's just one of thousands of stories of people who have these ideas. One of the stories I like is, in the book, I feature, Robert Oranger (phonetic), who is fascinated by diabetes and helping people with diabetes do better in their lives and lead normal lives. And lo and behold, in the weird irony of life, he has two kids who end up having diabetes, and now he's able to provide a life for his kids with better products and new innovations that give them a completely normal life. And they're doing great.

DOC: It's funny because I extend the entrepreneurial spirit even to things that aren't, you know, traditionally entrepreneurs. You think entrepreneurs meaning capital, free markets, you know, for profit. Even people that have ideas for nonprofits, it's -- you know, it still takes that passion, number one, or an idea, and then number two, that you actually step off a safe ground at some point and try it.

MICHAEL: You know, you're so write. One of the pleasures of having written Think Bigger, is that a lot of social entrepreneurs, that's who you're talking about, are reading it. And we found that it exhibits many of the same challenges when you're a social entrepreneur. You're starting with nothing. One way or another, you have to raise the capital.

You have to have an idea, and you have to throw it out into the competitive landscape. And you have to have people get by.

And whether you're, you know, running a community center or you have an idea to help people make -- get healthier or running a hospital or a for-profit business, you need many of the same skills that it takes to be successful.

DOC: And you've certainly had your share of businesses as well. Tell us about TIGER 21. What is that?

MICHAEL: Sure. TIGER 21 is the premier network, I think in the world today of first-generation wealth creators that have been enormously successful. So today we have 580 of the top entrepreneurs from across North America. We just opened in London. And our first meeting in Hong Kong is coming up this month. And these members join together in groups of 12 to 15, totally confidential settings. And these are people who are so successful, they're about one in 10,000, by -- by level of success.

And the group as a whole manages tens of billions of dollars of assets. We're not a manager. Each member manages their own assets. But when you sell your business and you now become a wealth preserver, that's a completely new challenge. An entrepreneur is totally different than an investor. Entrepreneurs milk one opportunity for everything it has. It's like their child. They don't want to give it up. An investor is dispassionate and has a price for everything they want to sell. And you could be a great investor and a lousy entrepreneur, or a great entrepreneur and a mediocre investor. And this is the place where we have a personal board of directors. And each member looks around the table to peers whose only objective is to help one another. It's totally confidential. People are totally vetted. We don't want any skunks in the room.

DOC: It's a great idea.

MICHAEL: And it's just magic what people can do when they're learning from one another and teaching what they know to one another.

DOC: It's a fantastic idea. I'll tweet out a link to it. It's TIGER21.com. And that's the number 21. Not spelled out. TIGER21.com. And I'll also tweet out a link to your Twitter account. It's MWSonnenfeldt, is that right?

MICHAEL: Exactly.

DOC: All right. Michael, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

MICHAEL: Thanks for having me. Have a great day.

DOC: Michael Sonnenfeldt, author of Thinker Bigger and Thirty-Nine Other Winning Strategies From Successful Entrepreneurs and also founder of TIGER 21.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

Use code BECK to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.