Simon Dolan, How to make millions without a degree

Things I learned from his book.

To be an entrepreneur, create a business by doing it yourself, your initiative, create what customers will want then go out there with it.

Get On With It GOWI

An entrepreneur needs GOWI, which stands for Get On With It.

Try loads of different things, with loads of different people, in loads of different ways, learning for each person at each time. This means they learn loads and loads and builds up a big network of people.

Once can do that job, or learned all need from it, time to move on so learn how to do more things and what are good at. Then use those skills to start your business.

They also learn some very marketable skills for their business, some of these may even make up what the business offers as a product or service. The entrepreneur will also discover what their natural abilities are and what comes easy to them.

An entrepreneur must not waste any time and GOWI.


Duplication is how go from a thousands to a billions pounds business, it grows little by little year by year. They open another, then another and so on. It is not a glamorous or exciting thing to do, which is why most millionaires only talk about the starting bit and when got there, not this bit in between. It takes many years and loads of patience, then have thousands of branches all over the world.

Each Mcdonalds branch only makes a quarterly net income of just $30k, but with 31 000 restaurants it makes a quarterly net income of $979.50 million.

Each Starbucks store only makes a net income of about $25k per year, but with 16 709 if them they make $390.8 million.

Each time the business is duplicated, the business is doubled.

First hire someone for the cheapest to fill position, such as licking stamps, stuffing envelopes, etc. Your income will go down at first while you train this person and so in total the business is not doing more work, but then income will go up once you are both working. If hire well, this person could even have the potential to become a regional manager etc.

Need to be able to duplicate yourself and duplicate the business.

Then have to keep a duplicate yourself, with somebody else doing the same job as you. It is difficult as needs trusting someone else. It takes courage, stepping away from the business realising it is something in its own right and a big leap of faith.

If the first person you had to do this does not work out, hire someone else and try again.

Need people who are naturally motivated and can work things out for themselves. Each person does do things a little bit differently and need to give them some flexibility.

The person must be passionate about the business with the great products/services you provide. As otherwise will not care about the job, will be demotivated and so cannot succeed.

Opening a new branch things are slow at first, slowly winning new customers, it takes time to gradually build up. Do not expect too much too soon and learn from each one.
Eg he was:
Year 1: 80 clients
Year 2: 150
Year 3: 300
Year 14: 10 000 clients

McDonald’s took about 40 years to be global success and Starbucks 20 years.

Most people massively overestimate what can achieve in a year and massively underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years.

Write manual outlining service should offer and guidelines for managers. Incentives them so treat business like their own, if work hard can read big rewards, make each branch as independent as possible and step back.

Employment and formal education

Do not expect others to give it to you, that is just getting a job in an organisation and depending on them, only doing things for them if and once they will pay you.

Authority says will be successful if do what told and they will give it to you, but maybe their way is not right so will not work and also they will not give it to you.  They do not know all of reality and their views on life change all the time.

Thinking for yourself, not just doing what told means you find out your real ability, do the maximum of your potential, engage in life, senses sharp, mind is alert and imagination is free.  Can be really yourself and not a clone of the person who is in charge.

Depending on someone to give you academic grades, creates dependency in a person, for safe comfortable positions in organisations. Business is actual creation of products or services that causes money to change hands in the grubby world of commerce. Without that experience it will remain a dark mystery. A person needs to be on the ground, in the real world, learning how business works, mucking in, doing what seems natural.

University can give false sense to a person that they know a lot of stuff, when in reality do not. May know about a lot of stuff, but not have actual skills based on experience, in terms of real ‘how to’ knowledge, know nothing.

Need to be at the bottom of the job ladder for a few years to learn what the real world is about, university can make people go into the job market at a higher level and so they are robbed of that.

The formal education system and being employed in a large organisation can be so ‘hand holding’, to succeed a person needs a taste of the real world.


Anyone with sales skills will not be out of a job for long and it is essential for business as well.

The first rule of sales is that the potential customer must like the sales person and the sales person needs to do what is needed for that happen. For example asking the potential customer what they do for a living and letting them talk about themselves, which they will love the sales person for doing and giving them attention.

Sales person: “What do you do for a living sir?”

Then after potential customer has answered say: “Is that right? You know I’ve always wanted to do that.”

It makes the potential customers feel great and you will get along really well.

Need sweet talk and huge enthusiasm.

If people do not want to buy now, offer them a very extra special package remaining for one very extra special people. Then need a deposit, even something small, this stop them from pulling out later.

To close the deal, is fine if have to hand over to a senior person who is best at that.

Dodgy sales people try to spend as long as possible with the customer, keep them there, in an enclosed space and get some deposit from them before they leave. This is because once they leave and get into to the real world, they will no longer want the product.


Only do things you see the point of, not just trust it because someone tells you.

So staff take responsibilty, things must have consequences. If staff member late, tell them that if not going to show up on time are of no use to the business, no exam retakes or cosy chats.  This is the real world, if they want the job and are good, then this will get their attention and they will never be late again.

Need to have focus to succeed.

An entrepreneur needs between a few months and a few years to work out what the should be doing. During this time doing lots of different jobs, business ideas and research to see what they are good at etc. Others will see this as messing around and failing, but the entrepreneur knows it is not.

To see if a person is honest, look at the first promise they make, do they promptly deliver on it without being asked and are they happy to deliver on it, specially if it is not in their favour. This may be a tiny tiny promise, which is why it can come so early on. People who offer dreams and make you wait for it, usually are con men.

Need to work hard starting a business signing up loads of clients, easy to work hard when is a labour of love.

The best ideas for a new business can come when at the end of the road, no money left, these ideas can work and be brilliant.

‘Borrow’ ideas from entrepreneurs who have succeeded before you.

A new thing may kill off the old business, but if can learn this new thing, you will be one of a lesser amount of people who can do and knows all about this new thing, as it is so new. Maybe new business from this will be bigger than the old one.

Amazing presentation can make even a mediocre product hot, display it on amazing things, wrap brilliantly so looks amazingly new and great etc.

Most entrepreneurs experience a few bumps in the road whilst amassing their fortune. Times when it looks like a venture is at it’s end, but a solution is eventually found.

Need know-how, guts, vision and luck.

Great to get into a business which is new and currently niche, but will soon become mainstream, because then will be in the right place to make a lot of money. Like Simon Caudwell who started in mobile phones when they were large and expensive. Then they became, smaller, cheaper and mainstream and he made £1.46 billion.

When people are working correctly they are so absorbed in what doing, they loose consciousness of themselves and world around them. It is like being in a trance and they do not notice the time pass and doing a job like that is easy.

Successful entrepreneurs often come from tough backgrounds, because from this they have learned that they have to do it themselves and no one is going to help them.

People prefer to hear stories of failure than stories of success, because these stories justify their own timidity. They feed on gossip about how vicious, crooked and vain rich people are because it allows them to feel superior. For this reason even close friends and family may secretly want you to fail. They want their belief in playing it safe to be reinforced.

Self belief is essential to set up a business and get rich. Have to believe that:
● Your goal is worthwhile
● You can achieve it
● you deserve to get rich

Need constructive thinking, like hope, responsibility, courage, affection, trust, curiosity, imagination, truth-telling. These lead to a long term elation and connect to other good things so does not stop. So takes you to better places characterised by knowledge, empathy, connection, understanding, empowerment, passion, energy, clarity and so on

The opposites are blame, self justification, resentment, envy, bitching, moaning etc. They scratch some kind of an itch but end in a puddle of bile. These are habits that can be changed.

Good thinking creates a good tomorrow, focus on what grows.

A person ends up where they want to be. The problem is people do not have a detailed destination in mind for their whole life, just a few dim shapes of maybe a holiday, relationship, or something and nothing very bold.

A person will end up where they aim to be, even if they are only aiming by going along with someone else’s thoughts. So an entrepreneur decides they themselves will choose where they want to end up.

People will often pour scorn over a person’s attempts at self improvement. People not like it if someone thinks they are better than everyone else, or worse wants to be better than everyone else.

Deadbeats and downers need deadbeats and downers around them as successful people are a threat to their authority.

People pressure others into failing like them, like school kids may pressure another svhool kid to start smoking.

Self belief is more important than capital, get, keep and guard it fiercely.


However educated, important and whatever line of business it is, the entrepreneur has to be able to sell. Without selling, there is no business. A magazine will only succeed if can sell advertising in it, etc.

Need selling at all levels of a business, for example:
●to get the best staff to join your business, work hard once in the business, etc. ●Negotiating with suppliers, have to sell the business to them, to get the best rates.
●selling franchises

These all take sales to get people to do these things.

Entrepreneur gets the ball rolling, then hires others to sell. Entrepreneur knows if they are doing it well or not, if they are not doing it well, immediately sorts it out.

Sales people are resilient. They are not discouraged by not selling anything and just getting no answers, people saying no and timewasters. As:
●Have had some nice chats with people
●Still more people can sell to
●With a new business, easier to get customers once already have them.
●Always get more ‘no’ than ‘yes’

Even if not good at selling, can be taught and acquire those skills. Practice and have fun with it. What matters is getting better at it than was before.

Money always goes to good sales people.

Choosing a business

The biggest is for it to be based on who you are, secondly on your situation.

1, Be Narrow

Look for a niche, the narrow gate. Not the big door everyone has noticed and is going for.

The markets where have to be big to compete, like cars, computer operating systems or supermarket pasta sauces
▪need too much money to advertise to the whole population
▪the markets are so big there are so many people competing for the space.
▪is a huge thing to do the marketing, distribution, process manufacturing and economies of scale. Takes a lifetime, or a team of experts to learn.

Normally people go for these big mass markets as want to be famous. As it is so hard, it can be an excuse for doing nothing.

NIche is not just doing VAT returns, but doing just for IT contractors.

Define a community, know where they hang out, what they talk about and worries them.
So know how to get in front of them with your message.

Doing stands in office where sell books to office staff, display books and one week later take the orders sell books to office staff. The Book People has turnover of £97 million doing this, as they buy the books outright and not sale or return, get great discounts from the publishers.

To get rich the business needs to be infinitely expandable such as going national etc.

2, Low startup costs

Do business where need low capital to start, such as service where you can do the work yourself and brings in money from day 1. Products businesses often cost more as have to pay for stock being there until bought.

Even in high tech age people providing service level well, for agreed price, on time with a smile draws gasps of delight and relief.

So something that can start small, but grow to be big.

3, Be unoriginal

New ideas:
▪need development, in concrete detail from concept to delivery
▪extensive testing
▪somebody else probably already doing it
▪need to re-educate buyers to get them to buy it, huge time and effort getting them to think like you do

Best to copy ideas already out there which are proven to work. Do them better, more cheaply or with a twist.

People though often want the glory of having come out with the next big thing. Do you want to be remembered, or rich?

3, Be early

Go into new growing industries for meteoric growth, like how computer chips, railroads, ecommerce once were.

Also as will be loads of people wanting to understand the new market, they will want you who then understands it.

When IT was booming he did tax returns for IT people.

4, Believe in your business.

Need to be something you believe in, so your emotions jump on board. Not something you think will be done for fraud etc.

A service needs a backstory, people don’t buy stuff, primarily they buy feelings. Needs to be the people recognise the business’s genius.

It can mean whatever you would like it to mean. For example
●his accountancy firm does the books, so IT people can get on with being brilliant, amazing, courageous and wonderful at what they do. Building, creating and running the computer systems that run Western civilisation.
●Home care for the elderly is about connection, relief from being isolated and giving them dignity. Is not just about making beds and clipping toenails.

It has to feel true.

Has to have meaning.

Have to believe in it.

Needs to be a solution to a problem.

If you are excited, energised and convinced by the meaning of your business, staff and customers will be too.

Starting a business

A startup business need to get and please customers.

Get and keep customers.

Focus on the customer experience better than anyone else.

Is not about pretty office, computers, staff, business cards etc. that people want to show off and enjoy. These are costs that do not make money. So can start a business from home.

Business is a harsh and unforgiving light that shows up people’s negative character traits. Customers just go elsewhere, they loose money, fail etc.

People may want a business partner to be social, but not mean they are the best for making money with. One normally does more than another, so resentment soon forms. Better to own it all and employ the person, or give things to friends, but not give ownership shares in the business.

To get referrals
▪Do what say going to do
▪For the quoted price
▪when say going to do it
▪remember enough personal stuff about customers to have a chat with them

Hire people to do specific jobs, so can tell if doing it properly. For example this person does administration.

Do not hire friends, is hard to tell them what to do, deal with it when they disagree. Friends are about mutual empathy, company and social, being there when you are in crucial need is only 5% of friendship.

Divide yourself up

As business grows, hone what you do down constantly to the most profitable stuff and delegate rest to others. Eg. Not worth taking someone on that costs more than the extra clients will bring in.

Eg. Could be that you go out selling and they do the customer services and administration.
Then need to get to point where business is fine if you not there working. Stop working in the business and start working on it. This is the next stage according to Michael Gerber:
●How can get business to work without me?
●How get people to work without constant interference from me?

The organisation needs to be separate from you, lives and breathes on it’s own and relentlessly pursues single goal – to find and keep customers.

To do this make so business can be replicated 5000 times by individuals who follow the system. Operations manual for each function in the company, sales, marketing, warehouse operative etc.

Need to be clearly defined roles in the business, easy to understand standards by which success and failure can be judged and hire good people to fill them. Fire them right away if they don’t match the standards.

Most small businesses fail as owner not get past the point where if they do not do everything, nothing gets done, or nothing gets done correctly.

If not do this then
▪will get exhausted
▪becomes an ordeal
▪business cannot go further
▪get frustrated and angry at customers

Learn from clients and incorporate these things into your business.

He did a franchise system where regional directors (Scotland, Newcastle, Birmingham and London) ran their operations and kept percentage of the profits.

Hiring and firing

Do not hire friends
▪Friends feel own a piece of business as friendship is about sharing and is not about accountability.
▪Friends then employ their friends to be nice to their friends, who may not be best for the job. Then they also will not take responsibility for what their friend has done wrong.
▪ Friends are about mutual empathy, not so much accountability. So not mean they are best for the job.
▪Cannot tell a friend off and so on when they have done wrong.

Is a business, not a social club. Favour and hire who is best at the job.

Get people who are miserable, angry and bitter in the job, they bring the office down. Must never feel uncomfortable to chat with a person.

The owners must never be too timid to sack people who are not good and must fight back within the law. Bad people will bring down the morale in the business, do untold damage and erode your self belief. These bad people will bring the business down.

The regional directors are franchisees so have a lot of autonomy, they own their own franchises. He provides marketing and customer service support and they hand over a chunk of their profits. He does sack if not doing well enough though.

Must not burden people yourself with too many failsafe controls, just take the gamble on them being good.

The business owner will get ripped off from time to time and often quite seriously. Regional directors will steal money, clients etc. and the business owner will have to go and sort it out.

Many new companies go bankrupt as not collect the money owed, customers fob them off with well rehursed false promises of payment and the supplier not follow up on each promise. Need to call every 2 weeks to chase payment, might be a downer and uncomfortable to do, but even temporary cash shortage can kill a business. Make sure payment period terms agreed up front, do not let customers go past it.

Ask for payment in advance first, many will happily accept, if customer not want say is company policy. Can negotiate from there, such as half payment mid way through.

Credit for covering costs while waiting for payment is a big cost, can make a customer unprofitable.

Try snd get a person who can be stern on the phone, so people pay as not want to face their calls.

Marketing and advertising on search engines

When people are buying or working with something where they have not been involved with that field or specialism before. They spend lots of time in a week or weeks before, researching the about it. So his company writes loads and loads of articles, so when users are in the research stage they come across your site as it comes up on the search engines.

A bit like if someone is diagnosed with an illness, they research it on the internet, so know all about it before even meeting a doctor.

98% of people are at the stage of researching a product or service before at the 2% stage, of being close to being ready to buy. Talk to that 98%.

They have over 3,000 articles on their site, they have little knowledge of seo, just how to write lots of articles relevant to people who are researching.

It really has to answer the questions of how things work to answer their special detailed questions, for example the full details of how to get build a conservatory, get planning permission, etc.

Saying how great the company is and who they are, is not for this part of the website. Focus on helping answer the buyers’s question.

For IT contractors they have stuff for people thinking about becoming an IT contractor:
●double entry book keeping
●contracting compared to permanent employment
●everything have learned about the whole IT contracting businesss and how to do it

This comes from their expertise, what gleaned from customers and would-be customers.

A million people a year use their articles to make tricky life decisions, like whether to go independent or not.

Then when they want services, the company is the obvious starting point.

Make sure write good articles.

Great, interesting, easy to understand and relevant copy. Label pages and url keywords correctly and make sure matches the content. Must be honestly related to the user’s search, not just pretending to be.

Make sure first two lines of the articles, says what article is, as that is what will be in the search engine page listing. Eg. ‘Top tips for building a conservatory without planning in Cherryside’.

The articles must serve the customer by answering their questions; they are not for saying about the company.
Eg. Top tips for building a conservatory without planning permission in Cheershire.

At the end does mention your company and how it maybe relevant to the user. It is there to attract, inform and sell.

Need to think like the customers, really understand their stresses and pains and write interesting, helpful, effective and friendly articles to help them.

Helps create spark of gratitude and empowerment for the in the visitor. They have worthwhile 2.5 minutes when read each one.

Quality, relevant text.

For them their articles come up while people are thinking about whether to become a contractor or not. If you are talking to them, they will not be able to get away from you with their search engine searches.

Need to love and understand your customers, genuinely try and help them. If you do this the search engines will love you forever, as a web page lasts forever.

Think about new questions customers will be asking. They even called a nuclear power station, got information and facts from them and wrote an article about being an engineering or IT contractor in the nuclear power industry. They then got a top Google result for the search term ‘becoming a nuclear contractor’

Article must echo the page title and url words, or Google thinks something dodgy could be going on.

Best to write great copy to naturally get links, can pay peoole to get links but they will jot last. Google also sniffs out fake links.

Make a list of questions of what they will want to read, useful answers to their questions. Do first very basic, then intermediate and then advanced questions.

Some questions users will only realise are good once seen them. The questions do not have to be about you or your expertise, if you get your hands on useful and honest answers, use them.

Eg for a home care company, can be all things relevant to old people, eg. medical advice, care, equipment, how to convert your home etc.

Each article 200-400 pages, each with own web page.

The headings of each article must really sell the article and show clear value to the information hungry visitor, so they really want to read it. Eg top tips for, essential guide to, secrets of, how to, six ways to etc.

Write plain, naked and exposed writing to connect with people. Do not pretend to be something you are not.

Write like you talk to a friend, just answer the question, write for your customers and no one else. Organise your answer into a short list of points, use short sentences, get them checked by another person, be helpful and write like your audience would speak.

It is a lot of work to explain complicated things in a simple manner.

Use the keywords in the articles, that get you customers on Google Adwords.

Talk about what customers want to talk about, not what you want to talk about!

People spend loads on advertising only when they do not know who their customers are.

Adverts only speak to those tiny 2% ready to buy, they miss the 98% who are at the research stage.

You must write the articles as you know your customers. The best things in life and business are free, but require effort.

Find out what customers are asking and give them answers in simple effective prose.

Entrepreneurial masterclass

Academic people do not take simple and unsophisticated things seriously, but they are the answers.

If you are sitting in the office a all the time as think will not work without you, then have not divided yourself up, or just are trying to find things to do, but this is not making you money.
Go out of the office, have time away and find new money making ideas, like the one that caused your business. Talk to interesting people, read, find experts.

Need to keep an eye on your business, but if it takes all your time, then need to work on your business, not in it.

Make sure research is not just to find reasons why it is bad idea, once can tell is good, go for it.

If have to choose, choose efforts to increase sales, over decreasing overheads. Sales have no upward limit if chosen correct business, costs cannot go below zero. However people find it easier to cut cost than sell.

Luck happens when you have a good business to make the most of any good luck. Customers recommend and get you more customers. Bigger, gets you even bigger.

Failing is the best way to learn, landing on your ass is the best way to learn and eventually leads to confidence, clarity and commitment.
However must fail correctly so not use up the different forms of capital
▪Social: Have been honest with people, so they did it with eyes open will work with you on other ventures.
▪Intellectual: can you use the failed business idea in other forms?
▪Spiritual: pick yourself up and do again. No blame, resentment and self justification.

So you have enough capital left forv the next venture.

Enthusiasm, good idea and solid relationships are more important than money to start up a business.

Bad gambler: wrecks that tumble out of casinos. Know the game but risks are not calculated. Big bets based on a couple of emotions, usually hope and mis placed sense of entitlement, basically that God owes them this time. They are driven by delusion and desperation.

Good gambler: people not notice are quietly successful, making a pretty good living. Know the game, know what can afford to loose and make calculated risks on big rewards. if loose just start at different table next week.

A successful entrepreneur works hard and builds something carefully, piece by piece that is theirs.

Getting a degree can stunt a person’s imagination, prospects for personal growth and autonomy.

Love, health, intelligence, art etc. are more important than money. Money does not buy happines.
Money does buy space, time, beautiful settings, pleasant experiences and the best legal and medical assistance available.

How to be a good parents of a would be entrepreneurs

Parents set the patterns for their children’s behaviour, they repeat it later.

People may not allow themselves to be rich, because of what other negative people say about those who have money. This can create deep feelings and attitudes in a person and can cause a them to loose wealth if they come into it.

So need to promote the message that wealthy people are good for society and not be ambivalent to money.

Staff who are pampered babies are no good. A business needs hungry grafters.

Messing around phase of doing lots of jobs only works if it is self directed. The person may put energy into misguided messes, but do not tell them because
at least they are learning. They learn more in this 6 months than from 10 years listening to you.

Jumping through hoops to get exam grades is a treadmill that does not lead to a rich, exciting and independent life. A person has to intend to be that, to get it.

An entrepreneur wants to be independent.

Need to grow up so can get the rare skills and handle the pressure.

People who want the feeling of safety will want employment and not to be an entrepreneur.

Lazyness may mean are scarred to fail, tried something once and it did not work, not sure where to start or what to do next.

Most adults who have rare talents and powerful spirits, were awkward, headaches, worries and disappointments to their parents when they were teenagers. They had a tough job as teenagers, working out their place in the world and how they fit in, which was not obvious at all. This drive for independence is important and needs to be encouraged.

If a teenager has a few of these, it is a good sign:

1, a realistic perception of money and not be trained to expect clothes, toys, moneu and treats by whining.

2, To know and take an interest in what is going on around them.

3, persevere if I hit a brick wall and not give up.

4, Try new things and learn from them

5, Mix okay with people

6, Have some constructive interests of some kind, school, music, job, sports, hobby etc.

It s about
●being your own boss
●setting up a business and making lots of money
●being free and independent adult

Saying Que Sera kills achievement.

Studying business is seperate to learning economics.

Even when see for example McDonald’s, see the angle of how it is a business that someone thought up and made lots of money from.

Business owners and managers are always desperate for willing grafters.

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