The Aspiring Solopreneur

Kris Kluver – Professionally Trained EOS Implementer & Strategic Advisor and Author of  The Aspiring Solopreneur: Your Business Start-Up Bible


Jim: I’m excited to introduce you to Kris Kluver. He is an entrepreneur with 30 years of experience. Get this he started his first business when he was 19, and he has started 14 of them in total, in a wide variety of industries from consulting to real estate, online services, counseling, advertising, financial services, a whole basket of things. He’s also been a business broker, which means that he has helped you and me buy and sell businesses, and because of that he got to look at hundreds of the inside of businesses and see what was going on in them. He has just written a new book called The Aspiring Solopreneur Your Business Startup Bible. I love that, we will talk all about it. He is also an advocate of the entrepreneurial operating system, which we talked about a couple of weeks ago the EOS we’ll get some more on that Kris welcome to the show, how you doing?

Kris: Well I’m doing wonderful and Jim, thank you so very much for, for having me on today, I’m humbled to be here, so thank you.

Jim: Tell us about the book, The Aspiring Solopreneur.

Kris: You know, the entire purpose and intention of the book and where it came out, is that, I think a lot of the statistics are wrong. The statistics would suggest that, that 50% of all small businesses fail within the first five years. And I think that that part’s probably true but they talk about the remaining 50 as if it’s not even there. I would argue that of that remaining 50%, a large vast majority of them are succeeding despite themselves, because they’re being stubborn, or they keep throwing money, or whatever it may be, but they’re not thriving. And I don’t think it has to be that way I truly do not believe it has to be that way. But we have to be able to get out of our own way and figure out how we can thrive in that environment and the entire intention of the book is to help people thrive. I make the argument that almost never does a sole proprietorship fail because the person who’s doing the business isn’t a great technician to steal from Michael Gerber. There are great technicians, it’s, it’s all the other reasons, it’s the marketing the business the accounting everything else associated with it where people run into a brick wall.

Jim: All right. So, how do we start, what do we do first, and is this more useful if I’ve already started the business or pre startup phase, but while I’m still doing my planning.

Kris: You know, I would say that it’s good for both. If you are currently a technician working in a business for somebody else you’re like, dude, I’m cooked, I want to go do my own thing, or maybe you’re looking to change careers, or maybe you’re,  doing your own business but you know you’re not really thriving. It can help in those areas. But more often than not, I started a lot of businesses that I’m conflict avoidant. I would prefer to be very detailed in my research and creating the roadmap to success, before I actually pulled the trigger, when I get ready to go and jump I want it to be a no brainer. So, this a lot of times will be the ideal candidate would be somebody who’s like, yeah, I think I really want to do this, but I don’t know exactly what this is but they know they want to work for themselves. If you look at it the same.

Jim: They don’t even have an idea yet.

Kris: In some cases they may not, they don’t have to it. The thing is the numbers suggests that we’re going to have over 40 million gig workers, solo printers, in the economy by 2021. I think that we’re going to see a paradigm shift and people choosing to go and work for themselves. When we do that we have to define out of the gate, what does success look like for me. Not according to wine commercials or my peers or what my parents are telling me but, on my terms,, you know and that’s where we start is is helping people to define what that success is it doesn’t mean more money, maybe it does Maybe not. Maybe it means you want to go to every one of your daughter’s speech tournaments or your son’s soccer games, or you want to play golf four times a week, you know, I take three months off a year. And I’m living my ideal life. I am vastly successful on my terms, but it doesn’t mean I make the most money on the planet. So, I guess what I’m saying is, starting with figuring out why. If you find what you really want, what turns your crank. What’s your what’s your jam, man you win. If you do that, and your success on your terms, then you’re not working. But when you have to go to the salt mines every day. I don’t care how big your paycheck is if you hate what you’re doing, you hate life. That’s just the way it is.

Jim: Kris, I can’t wait to get your thoughts on this my whole you know I’ve interviewed Simon  about why and I’ve interviewed Steve Olson or about what and you know I’ve interviewed all of these people and I’ve had a lot of time to think about this. And what are your thoughts on this. My why, my what, I group them all together I don’t really care. The thing I want to do is make some money and or even worse I just got fired and I have no choice but to start my own business. I’m starting a business to make money and going to do whatever I can make a lot of money at. I am passionate at woodworking, and I know I’m really bad at it and so I’m not going to do that I am however very good at auto repairs I’m going to start an auto repair place and do that. And I believe that by doing a lot of that which I could stand and put up with. I like it enough it’s okay. But I will be so happy by being my own boss by being the guy in charge. The dream of owning a business will make me so happy that I’m willing to own a substandard non passionate business because I’m so damn passionate about being an entrepreneur that that’s my why. What do you think?

Kris: I’d push back a little bit on in that. I love the idea of people falling in the idea with owning their own business, but it’s a perception of what it is, and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve advised and worked with, who, that’s where they think they want to go, but when they actually get there they wanted something different. So, when we talk about the Why, to me its defining and taking that time in the book and there’s some exercises on the site stuff on how maybe you can help to find that a little bit better. But if we know what that is. So, you know, use your, your auto mechanic example, what is it about being a mechanic, or aspects of that person may love. There are other aspects that person may hate.

Jim: I’m really good at it. I’m faster and better than anyone else I make more money than anyone else. That’s it.

Kris: Okay, but I would argue that if you’re really good at it. There’s probably aspects within there that you do like.

Jim: I don’t hate the job. I’m very willing to do it, but there’s no love there, right, you know, it’s not like being at Disney or having sex or something like that Kris.

Kris: Okay. All right. Well, so with it then, I think the rest of it is, is if you’re using it as a vehicle for your lifestyle then what’s the rest of the lifestyle that you’re trying to support.

Jim: Yeah, I want to take a lot of woodworking classes and I want to take the kids to Disney and I want to have sex at Disney, you know, and I can only do those are all really expensive things, you know, except for the sex part You know those are expensive right Disney is $1,000 a day, you know, woodworking classes are $500 a day. But I think the overall argument is that when you add those into my lifestyle I’m really happier, doing the job I like because it allows me to do more of the expensive passionate stuff, maybe that shopping maybe that’s cars maybe that’s food.

Kris: Okay. Sure, no and and i i don’t disagree with that at all. I would say that if you are great at being a mechanic, and you can make good money and it provides the lifestyle that you like and you’re, you’re doing, decent at it, that could go from being a mechanic to owning a mechanic shop, are two very very different animals, and that when you transition from being a mechanic to being a mechanic, but then you also have to be the manager, then you also have to be the person who drives the business, and you also have to be the person who’s invested in the business, getting all the equipment and everything else associated with it. And you have to be very intentional when you go in each one of those steps so that you can have that success.

Does that make sense?

Jim: Yes it does, it does. I went to high school with a woman named Catherine Simpson, and she went off and got all sorts of counsel for reason was in some sort of female, maybe rape counseling or something like that, and gave up because she wasn’t actually solving those problems those women were still, you know, dealing with the horrible things. And she opened a car mechanic store instead, an auto shop because she knows the car is fixed when it leaves her place. Isn’t that a cool story?

Kris: It is, and okay so coincidentally, my wife was an accountant for a venture capital firm in London, and she was really good at it, and it paid well. And she freaking hated it. So she quit. And at 40, she happened to be passionate about counseling and at 40 she went back to school. And it was about a 10 year journey. And she didn’t know anything about it and she started with her way through. But now she owns her own private couples and family practice, where she makes more money than she did as an accountant, but she gets to have an impact in a positive way. And in that particular case, because she speaks a certain language and she because she’s married to me as an entrepreneur. She understands those areas that end up being one of her unique niches, is that she can work with business owners because she can understand and speak that language, as well as a fit for her being counselor. So again, I think it’s just a matter of figuring out what those bits because I would imagine your person because the counselor uses certain techniques when people come in and they’re wigged out because oh my god this is a big investment or Holy smokes that she’s going to be able to handle them in a different way. But use it in a different tool, you know, or different success with her business.

Jim: So I want to go back to the book a little bit and sort of wrap up this passion thing. Another thing that is important or interesting in this discussion, I think, is the idea of the corridor principle the fact that I start a business that allows me to walk down the path of entrepreneurship and I may discover my passion, way down the path, but I would not have discovered it had I not started down the path, and maybe my passion is to own a really big expensive gorgeous far with all the mahogany wood work, you know the Irish theme and all of that, that’s going to cost a million dollars, but so if I start off now as a solopreneur with a really small bar with cinderblock walls and linoleum floor. At least I’m working toward my passion as a solopreneur. What are your thoughts on all of this, the idea Kris that maybe I’m not doing exactly where I want to go but I’m getting closer by my actions?

Kris: Well, i think you’re spot on, I think. Usually the, the dream that people have their enamored with a certain what they think is one outcome but more often than not it’s going to be a different direction. And, and that’s where like in the book I talked about how, if somebody goes through and does a bunch of research, and they vet their idea. And they decide, wow, this really doesn’t make any sense. I think that’s a massive victory. That means that they may have saved their entire retirement fund or relationship or something. It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to go down a different direction. Or maybe they start with one direction thinking they’re going to go this way but they can pivot. And as they evolve and as they do their research it makes them smarter in figuring out where they can can’t go. I’ve literally done the process, hundreds of times, and realize that yeah it’s a pretty decent idea but it wasn’t a great idea and sometimes it’s like, oh my goodness that was a train wreck.

But we live in the easiest times to research and bet ideas to decide is this something that we do want it. But we can talk a lot later there’s so many people that are willing to help us. And being able to research. So, we can solve those problems and pivot, and then we’ll grow and we get smarter and the new evolutions so eventually you can own the bar of your dreams, or whatever it is.

Jim: That’s the Joey Tatum story, by the way, Kris. He wanted the big bar. Got a place with $5,000 It used to be a barber shop and had the big rings on the floor where the chair outline used to be and first week that he opened he couldn’t afford kegs, so he only sold beer by the bottle or the can and made enough money to stay in business until week two, and now 20 years later he owns half the bars in that town.

Anyway, I was thinking about that story as I was asking the question. All right, go back to the book I’m actually looking at the index of the book, the table of contents. Where do we start making money in your biblical system?

Kris: In, my belief. I encourage people to start it and if they can. How can they, how can they start testing their ideas, bet it out, test it, so that they’re, you know done is better than perfect to steal from Silicon Valley.

Jim: Would you do that so before you have an accountant?

Kris: No, no, no, no, The thing is you don’t need to pay an accountant to start with an accountant is going to be more than happy to be great advisor and help you figure out is this a direction you want to go or not. There’s so many things that you can do, but ultimately I would love it if people have where they’re in their existing job, they start working on weekends and evenings, to start moonlighting so that it’s a slow transition from when they go, rather than. Okay, I’m going to go start my own business they quit. And then they go start trying to figure it out after the fact you can figure out a lot of this, so that it’s a very smooth, very safe transition, so that when you do get into it you know it’s a no brainer.

You know, and you thrive in that space.

Jim: I love that Kris. I love that the idea of working and then moonlighting I take it a step further, that I want my startup solo entrepreneurs to take up smoking cigarettes.  Because if you smoke, then two or three times a day, you can go outside and smoke a cigarette which means you’re really on your cell phone doing business for your own business.

Kris: Exactly.

Jim: Yeah, and I’ve had people say, Are you serious about that and I look at them and go “NO”. Duh…hit on the forehead. But I love the slow transition, because, you know, here’s sort of the

corollary I guess to our passion conversation is the risk conversation. I hate, hate, hate, hate, risk, and I’ll do anything I can to reduce ameliorate it, and if that means pre selling or keeping my job or keeping you know hell all I really need is my health insurance while I transition, you know just only have my health insurance another three months.

Kris: Yeah. And the thing is that when you start doing it. If you start asking other people and maybe you can’t maybe you’re maybe you’re restricted by geography and sometimes you get on computers, or whatever. But even if you are doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to people in other parts of the country, or talk to other people on your, you know, go and ask people who are doing what you’re doing and say, Hey man, if you were in my shoes, what would you, how would you be doing this, what would you do, and nine times out of 10, they’re going to want to talk to you about it, because you’re showing interest in what they do. And if they have an abundance mentality, which I do in spades. Then, that they’re going to want to help you if they choose not to them, let them go, go find somebody else. But when you do that eventually you’ll have some it’s like wow I really liked, I liked what you’re doing and I think, you know, what you want a little extra work I can, I can give you some moonlight, but it’s got to be the start, you’ve got to go out and ask questions, got to start figuring out what that looks like. And, but there’s so many entrepreneurs that will tell you that we love to celebrate our train wrecks. Entrepreneurs are so different for most people in this like, dude, when I did this was the dumbest thing and then I’m like no man when I did this was the dumbest thing, and we celebrate those failures, because we don’t want others to go through those. And if you think the good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, you can use that accordingly and listen twice as much as we’re talking. Oh my goodness. The world is yours.

Jim: That reminds me of one of my favorite stories. A guy southerner was doing business and something bad happened and his partner freaked out and said well what are we going to do what are we going to do, and the entrepreneur the southern guy says, what we’re going to do is pain it red, and what he meant by that was then we’re going to turn it into some way to brag, you know figure out some way, you know, you know our car costs $300,000 and, you know, obviously if you’re not in the market for a car like that we understand that you can’t afford it.  Very few, you know, are you know we just lost our biggest account. Let me tell you how losing our biggest account is going to make me the best ever. For my next client, you know, something like that. Yeah, we call that paint it red, Kris.

Kris: I love it.  You know as you mentioned earlier the idea of somebody just lost their job…whenever I hear somebody say hey, I just lost my job, I’m like hey, congratulations.

I had a, I had a guy an attorney that I was doing some advisory work with, and he called me up and said he just got fired.  I’m like man, Congratulations, and he looked at me said Why are you being like that? I said I know you. You are wicked smart. And you know what, if you got canned, you probably weren’t doing a good job, and the only way you weren’t doing a good job is because you really don’t care. So, congratulations you get to go on your own treasure hunt now find out what’s going to float your boat, what’s going to make you happy. And those people just helped you along with that. So, congrats.

Jim: Best thing that ever happened to me was getting fired by Coca Cola. Kris, how do we find out more, how do we get a copy of the aspiring solo entrepreneur your business startup Bible, how do we hire you visit you on social media and come to your house for vittle?

Kris: Well anybody who’s in Omaha, let me know. I’ll be more than happy for vittles I choose to live in Omaha because I think it’s Shangri La. The book, The Aspiring Solopreneur can be found on Amazon Kindle, regular soft paperback, hardcover is coming out, we’ve got an audible. And we offer boot camps and success camps at And you are welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn, at Kristopher Kluver. coincidentally I used to own a content marketing and social media management, I did work with companies from New York to Indonesia. And I kind of backed away from the social media. I like to stick around I do LinkedIn fairly well. And I do everything else, but I try and get away from it, control my time better.

Jim: I hate social media I hope they all burn in hell.

Kris, great, great getting to know you. Thank you so much I enjoyed the hell out of Omaha I was there, one time for a gig for First Data. First Data has a huge facility there right, and saw college baseball game world series baseball game.

Kris: Yep. College World Series.

Jim: Awesome, awesome town. Kris, thanks a lot for being with this great stuff and I hope you’ll come back soon.

Kris: Hey, thank you so very much I’m humbled to have been invited.

Whenever I hear someone say, ‘Hey, I just lost my job.’
I say, ‘Congratulations!’

Kris Kluver
Kris Kluver

Kris Kluver is a seasoned entrepreneur with more than thirty years of experience, who started his first of fourteen companies at age nineteen. Since then, he has been involved with businesses ranging from business consulting to real estate, online services, counseling, advertising, financial services, and many more. A former business broker and current strategic advisor and mentor, Kris has seen the inner workings of hundreds of businesses, some good, some ugly, all interesting. Through his many experiences he has gained a unique understanding, appreciation, and love of solopreneurship along with a genuine passion for helping others achieve their dreams. He applied EOS® in his own companies and fell in love with its systems. EOS® now provides Kris with the opportunity to help good companies become great, while simultaneously allowing him the opportunity to feed his obsession with entrepreneurship and passion for assisting others.

Richie Jaynes – CEOof Hemp Lyfe

Ultimately, I would love it for people to stay where they are in
their existing job. They can start working on weekends and evenings
to start moonlighting so its a slow transition rather than quitting
to start their own business. You can figure out a lot of this so that
its a very smooth, very safe transition.

Richie Jaynes

Richie Jaynes has over 30 years of experience in health, fitness, wellness, and entrepreneurship. He has never ceased his hunt for the great competitive advantage—the next edge in feeling good and living better. When Richie’s mother-in-law faced life’s looming inevitabilities, he and his wife desperately pursued relief and remedy to help her revel in her remaining days. CBD was the answer they had been searching for. As a result, Richie developed anawareness of the empowerment of CBD to boost wellness, enrich vigor, and ultimately trigger prosperity and happiness. After studying the biology, essence, effects, and other aspects of this compound, he felt others could benefit from this miracle substance as well. In fact, he knew there was an entire community in pursuit of a better lifestyle that can be possible with CBD. Richie pledged to devise a clean, stigma-free, all-natural method to capitalize on the advantages of this product and allow it to elevate the lives of those around him. It is Richie’s passion to help people live a superior quality of life. These roots became the foundation for the movement of CBD as a lifestyle we call Hemp Lyfe. Richie has assembled some of the best and brightest and most successful minds in the entire CBD Hemp space to work with him to produce some of the most innovated, exclusive CBD products to ever hit the market. It is Richie and his team’s life mission to reach the world and let everyone know about the life changing benefits of CBD and Hemp Lyfe products.

Josh Fonger – Business Performance Architect

Most owners of companies don’t act like owners. The things that
owners do, the strategy, the culture, the joint ventures, the finance,
the business relationships, the growth, the branding. That stuff the
owners never do because they’re too busy putting the stamps on.

Josh Fonger is a consultant, coach, and speaker who is recognized as the leading authority in Business Performance Architecture. With his unique ability of developing and implementing systematic solutions to complex business problems, Josh has personally consulted or coached over 600 business owners from more than 100 industries, from small startup businesses to large $500M enterprises. Due to his phenomenal success rate, and a mountain of client testimonials, he has quickly become one of the most in-demand small business consultants in North America. In 2011, Josh connected with Sam Carpenter after reading Sam’s book, Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. Recognizing their shared vision of helping business owners get unstuck using systematic solutions, Josh and Sam partnered to co-manage consulting firm Work the System, which has now attracted over 100,000 business owners from over 50 countries. One of Josh’s greatest strengths is helping businesses properly organize and systematize their operations so they can achieve exponential growth. Using the Work the System methodology, Josh has inspired hundreds of success stories among small business owners around the world. Many of Josh’s clients acknowledge that his ideas and coaching have increased their profits by millions of dollars.

Author: James Beach

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