Yesterday, a Published & Profitable member called told me he was becoming an entrepreneur in 2012, buoyed by his responses to the questions Dan Schawbel asked in Me 2.0 Revised and Updated Edition: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.

After many years in higher education,  Mark decided to look beyond a “job” during 2012 and commit to a new, entrepreneurial phase in his life. His decision was easy after he answered Dan’s 10 questions! As he put it, Dan’s questions,

“provided the tipping point I  needed to take a major, and, perhaps, long overdue step.”

The perfect end-of-year gift

Mark’s call and decision to act, sparked by Dan’s questions, is the perfect “end of year” gift for both Dan and I. (Dan wrote the book, and I encouraged Mark to read it).

More important, though, the story of the power of Dan’s questions is an also an end-of-year gift for you, if you’ve been considering becoming a published author. Here’s why:

Because, long after the advances and royalties have been spent, what really matters for nonfiction authors is the satisfaction of making a difference in a reader’s life.

So, I hope this story will convince you to take action, if you’ve been thinking about writing a book to build your brand and help others build their brands during 2012.

How would you answer Dan’s questions?

The power of Dan’s questions is that they engage readers to rate their agreement or disagreement with the key attributes that contribute to entrepreneurial success. How do you feel about each of the following?

  1. I don’t like conforming to the status quo. Do you often agree to avoid “rocking the boat?” Are you frustrated when you can see a better way?
  2. I want control and power over my life. Do you feel you’re better qualified or less qualified to make decisions about your life?
  3. I am on a constant search for new opportunities. Do you find security or frustration in routine. Do you embrace, or avoid, the unknown?
  4. I like to create things. Do you find it pleasurable or stressful to solve problems?
  5. I prefer not to be managed and enjoy being in control. Do you welcome opportunities for taking responsibility for the welfare of others in your group?
  6. I hate not coming in first. Do you consider yourself a competitive personality at work and when relaxing with others?
  7. I have a strong personal vision for my career path. Do you enjoy setting your own goals and standards? Do you know where you want to be in 2, 5, and 10 years?
  8. I like the challenges of starting a new project. Do you enjoy identifying problems and trying out different solutions? Do you feel more or less comfortable when there’s an assembly manual you can follow?
  9. I don’t like taking no for an answer. Do you take it personally when others disagree with your recommendations and suggestions?
  10. I am a forward thinker and look to the future. Do you welcome change? Do you feel your best days are ahead of you or in the past?

Allow your mind to wander as you address Dan’s 10 questions. Allow experiences, conversations, and memories to bubble to the surface.

Don’t view the questions as a “chore” you have to complete. Don’t feel you have to finish them at one sitting. Review the questions and your earlier responses before turning out the light and going to sleep, or before starting a long drive. Be as objective as possible, but–also–allow your intuition to guide you.

Consider the alternative

Finally, consider the alternatives if you don’t write the book you want to write, or don’t start a business to invent a new type of computer or a new way to listen to music.

During 2011, the world lost Steve Jobs, whose entrepreneurial drive and creativity changed things for all of us. Ask yourself, “How would Steve Jobs have answered Dan’s questions?” and “Suppose Steve Jobs didn’t return to Apple?”


Roger C. Parker started Published & Profitable because he believes everyone who wants to write a book should have access to ideas, examples, and tools that have been proven to work.