I recently compiled a list of questions and sent to Bernie Swain. Below, you would find the exact answers he typed up and sent to me. But before you read…I’d let you start with a quote.
No man is capable of self-improvement if he sees no other model but himself. –Conrado I. Generoso
Bernie Swain is an American businessman and author. He has made and is worth millions of dollars. He is the co-founder with Paula Swain and Harry Rhoads Jr. of Washington Speakers Bureau, a lecture agency which represents many prestigious authors, former presidents, Cabinet members, business executives, public figures and sports legends.
What are the 3 Mistakes You See Young Entrepreneurs Making?
- Concentrating on money and revenue more than the product. Money will come if the product is better and different from its competitors.
- Trying to do everything yourself. I learned from and relied on my wife and partner Paula, who often saw things better and with clearer eyes than I did.
- Giving up too soon. We sat in our stationary closet for 14 months before we had our first product, our first speaker. Never give up if you believe in what you are doing.
What 3 Things would you tell your younger self to do or NOT DO?
- Not do: Not take education for granted. I took high school for granted because no one in my family had ever attended college. Attending college changed my life.
- Not Do: Don’t be in such a hurry. Wise decisions take time and thought.
- Do: Learn from those older than you. I had some of the best mentors I could have ever expected in life, and I paid attention and learned from what they said to me.
What 3 Books would you recommend any young aspiring entrepreneur to read.
- What To Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom. A children’s book, but an inspiration for any age.
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angelia Duckworth. Shows us how passion is more important than talent.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Best quote from the book: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
What are your top 3 Favorite quotes of life and entrepreneurialism?
- When an old person dies, it’s like a library burning. Alex Haley
- Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. Lou Holtz
- If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Tony Robbins
Who are the top 3 people that inspire you the most?
- Lou Holtz, football coach. Probably the greatest motivator of all time. Took each of 6 college football teams with losing records to a bowl game in his second year.
- Colin Powell, Former secretary of State. Would have been a great president of the United States.
- My wife Paula. Without her, I would have never started the Washington Speakers Bureau or aspired to make it a success, if it was not for Paula.
What are your top 3 Biggest regrets of Life?
- I don’t have any regrets. I did the best I could and if I ever took the wrong fork in the road, I found my way back.
From your own perspective, share any 3 things you think I should know or care about.
- I care about people.
- I am a worrier.
- I analyze everything, looking for the best result.
New BOOK: What Made Me Who I am.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously said…If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. Fortunately for us, Bernie not only reads…he writes.
His most recent book, What Made Me Who I am is available on Amazon. The book explores the formative experiences and turning points in the lives of its subjects. People featured in the book include Tom Brokaw, Colin Powell, Terry Bradshaw, and Condoleezza Rice. A highly recommended read.
Starting a business is a wonderfully naïve venture. Only a fortunate few will survive–and very few of those who thrive will have something special to say about failure, success, and leadership. Bernie Swain is one of those few very fortunate people.
Stay Humble! Stay Curious!
P.s: Thanks to Bernie for responding to my cold email for answers. I hope the InspiredReaders of this blog find value out of this. I was certainly humbled to receive a response and very delighted to share with the world. It goes to show, if you ask, you will receive. Or better yet, you will never receive if you don’t ask.