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Entrepreneur? Taking The Leap To Being One – Three Quotes To Inspire


Entreprenuer In The Making
Entrepreneur In The Making?

Entrepreneur – thinking about taking the leap? If you believe in the idea of a portfolio career & that independent working will increasingly be the norm in the 21st century, then here are, in my opinion, three great quotes in support of the idea. First of all:

What’s In It For You

“Being a successful entrepreneur is about improving society, adding things that were not there before. This includes personal wealth accumulation, but if that was your only target you are nothing more than a miser. The wealth of money is nothing compared with the wealth of being totally free to think, create and innovate at will, and the knowledge that you have added value to society. An entrepreneur is an innovator, inspirer, leader and creator who adds to the lives of customers, staff and shareholders. An entrepreneur’s life is full of excitement, energy, fun, friends and job satisfaction.”

                                                                                              Alex McMillan
                                                                                              “Be Your Best Entrepreneur…And Beyond”


What’s In It For Society

“We need, each and every one of us, to know that we can make a difference. We need business that respects and supports communities and families. We need business that safeguards the environment. We need business that encourages countries to educate their children, heal their sick, value the work of women and respect human rights.”

                                                                                             Anita Roddick


Your Guiding Compass

The Conduct of a True Professional:

“I will create value for society rather than extract it.”

                                                                                          Rakesh Khurana, Harvard Business Professor

Of course these are personal to me  and I could have picked out many more but in deciding to do what I now do – setting up Smart-21 & being a business advisor – reading quotes & stories from many other people who had done something similar helped me in coming to more than one decision. Data & research analysis very definitely has its place but so do inspiring stories or quotes. As a result, therefore, I hope these give you a start.


Be Your Own Leonardo da Vinci



Independent Working & Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci – it is time to become your own version, meaning that you never stop learning & that you rely on yourself to do so. Writing in the Financial Times a number of years ago (February 2015), Charles Handy stated that the education system fails to prepare people for independent working. He also referred to the “increasing inhumanity” of most work organisations. 

He makes a fair point on both count -and it is still very much applicable today. One can argue that rather than producing people of real imagination, creativity, true initiative & most importantly independent thinking, the school system really only churns out huge number of conformists. After all, if when the caveman all those years ago, when he came to the front of his cave, took a look out and said, “I don’t like the look of that”, then where we would be now? And conformists can fit in very nicely at most large organisations where the work equivalent of colouring outside the lines is positively discouraged & frowned upon.

I came across a quote from Scott H Young (link to his website) where he stated that hard work was being replaced by three other factors that will be more important in the future:

  1. Creativity
  2. Relationships
  3. Learning.

This points us in a very different direction.

What To Do

So, what are we to do? Take control of our own development & education. Do not rely on an organisation – they are likely to want you to do it in their way only. Become a free spirit. Be your own Leonardo da Vinci. Explore. Learn. Go live. Create sparks.

Ten Questions

First Post Pic - Questions

To open the blog, I thought it would be an idea to imagine being given a series of questions by a journalist. Then, the answers appear as a mini profile article in a newspaper. Other sections of the website detail the services offered by Smart-21 & why. I wanted this first post to further build the picture people have. So here goes with the questions:

Where did the idea for Smart-21 come from?

Leadership, soft-skills, personal development, management as well as “Gets Stuff Done Skills” are key in the 21st Century where Portfolio Careers & independent working will increasingly be the norm. So, providing a supportive resource for individuals & businesses to successfully navigate that environment is why I set up Smart-21.

How did you come up with the name?

Simply put, the 21 refers to the 21st Century & the Smart is about being well, smart in developing the proper talents & skills to be effective.

What brought you to Smart-21?

Starting to read business books from my early twenties, which led to exploring not just business & management practices, but also the so called soft skills side. You cannot perform a role properly without he necessary technical or “hard” skills but being strong in soft skills (e.g. critical thinking) really adds that extra “oomph” to performance. This interest was further piqued when I completed a Diploma in Management with the Irish Management Institute as one of the core subjects was organisational behaviour. Combine all this with how I believe the 21st Century is from a work perspective & the need to provide supportive resources to people, led me to creating what I believe will be just such a supportive resource.

The most important innovation in your lifetime to date?

Without any shadow of a doubt, the internet. A great leveller allowing people set up businesses easily & at low cost.

Give us one of your favourite quotes

“To rely on youth…. not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” – Robert Kennedy

What books do you have at your bedside?


– “The Snowball – Warren Buffett And The Business Of Life” by Alice Schroeder
– “The Fix” by David Baldacci, though this is on a Kindle with many many more books!

What would you most like to tell the thirteen-year old you?

Three things:

  1. Think back all the way to the Stone Ages. Then imagine Mr. Caveman coming to the edge of his cave, looking out &
    saying “I don’t like the look of that”. Now if he had stayed inside & not had the courage to venture out, then where
    would we all be now?
  2. – “Life is a challenge – Meet it,
    Life is a song – Sing it,
    Life is a dream – Realise it,
    Life is a game – Play it,
    Life is love – Enjoy it!”
    – Unknown
  3. Finally, remember that your parents do know things – ask them questions. Teenagers do not have a monopoly
    on knowledge!

If you could interview one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Nelson Mandela to ask him how he did it.

Are you messy or organised?

Organised, definitely but with an occasional bout of messiness to show I can be… messy!

Finally, would you rather be a tiny elephant or giant hamster?

A tiny elephant. Despite its size, it would still be able to roam & explore.  A giant hamster would likely just have a giant wheel on which to run in one place. No thanks.

Keep dreaming!