February 23

The Result Driven vs. Project Driven Entrepreneur


The Result Driven vs. Project Driven Entrepreneur

By Deborah Johnson

February 23, 2021

comedy improv, entrepreneur, podcast, relationships, Results driven, scrappy, selling, small business, stand-up comedy, systems, Thom Singer

Result Driven

If you are result driven, looking at the bottom line, it may take throwing a lot of spaghetti against the wall, as Thom Singer* pointed out in this show! Many people love projects and creating, especially artists. I am definitely one of them! However, projects alone don’t buy groceries or pay the mortgage. You have to have a viable product and be able to sell it. Creating systems and a good process are very important but keeping your eye on what’s working and what isn’t is absolutely necessary, especially after a year of COVID shutdowns. Many have had to totally regroup and reinvent and the principles here will help most anyone.

We spoke about the importance of relationships, multiple streams of income, being scrappy and taking risks, all a part of acting with a results driven focus. Also, the value of obtaining advice, especially when entering a new area of your business. The year 2021 is already starting off with its own unique challenges and being intentional and being results driven will continue to be vitally important.

In this article, I will focus on these four main areas to become more results driven. They are relationships, multiple streams of income, being scrappy and taking risks.

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson The Result Driven vs. Project Driven Entrepreneur with Thom Singer 2-23-21
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Focus on Relationships

Thom currently not only hosts, but guests in more podcasts than anyone I know. Giving time to others has paid off for him and is a great principle for anyone in business. If we remember that our clients are our competitor’s prospects, this puts a good slant on how important it is to nurture those relationships. Service, good communication and quality are extremely important.

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want,” is a famous quote by Zig Ziglar, motivational author and speaker. Referring others for positions, jobs or projects to help them reach their potential or build their business has a ricochet effect. If you move mountains for others, they will tend to move mountains for you. I found this especially true in the music business. There’s always a gig, and if already booked you can easily refer a qualified colleague. The reciprocation has also worked very well through the years for me.

I was inspired by Thom’s habit of contacting one smart person every day and just speak with them 15-20 minutes on the phone. I guarantee this has kept his referral base and prospect list growing and alive! This may be something you want to also implement as you focus on being results driven.

Create Multiple Streams of Income

I am a strong believer in multiple streams of income. When COVID hit, many were hit hard with shutdowns, especially anyone who had to travel. The events business shut down completely, leaving vendors, musicians, speakers and venues scrambling. Having many contacts in the music business, I heard from some who were devastated by this move. They had no income and lost a great deal of momentum.

Many speakers faced the same dilemma. An online presence became absolutely necessary for survival and even though some were still getting their normal fees, most weren’t.  With the shutdowns, many who said they weren’t tech savvy bucked up and learned ZOOM. Others decided it was finally time to create online courses. (See: Online Learning) You can find many illustrations demonstrated in history how disastrous times bring innovation and growth as creativity flows. Huge companies were started during times of hardship and recession such as G.E. General Motors, IBM, Disney, etc....

Events are going to be hybrid for a long while and adjusting to this sooner than later will serve you well. It’s helpful to have some product that works while you sleep. For me, Sheet music (over 70 selections) and song licensing creates income. It’s not a huge amount, but still comes in automatically every quarter. Books do the same. I’ve been working on scores for both Stiltz the Musical  and Tsarina the Musical to be able to license these musicals independently with a couple other large projects I’m updating as well. A year of isolation and sequestration has been the perfect time to complete these projects and to be even more result-driven.

Be Scrappy

To be scrappy is to be determined, quick to act and taking the mindset of a serious competitor. This attitude takes you getting beyond the negative self-talk, endless ruts and inaction. It is an active term of moving forward. Most all entrepreneurs need to be scrappy in some way, shape or form. Sitting back and doing nothing, just waiting for the world to change or open up to you is not an option!

Postponement could mean the loss of a client, a job-offer or even a dream. Consistency and perseverance are words that fit well with the term scrappy. I’ve taken on the mindset for years that when a door shuts, look for a window. When a window closes, find a crack in the wall. If that fails, look for a place the draft comes in. You will find an opening at some point.

Deborah Johnson quote-results-driven

Take Risks

Risk is defined differently for every single person. A risk for one person may be getting on the phone, for another, getting on a stage. A recent KPMG scholarly study says, “Women’s readiness to take risks declines as they become more experienced in their careers—even as their self-confidence grows.” This was research specifically taken from women over 40. (officially halftime!) This fact is why I believe so many men and women at the halftime of life are not using their skills, resources and talents to the fullest.

I spent a couple years taking community comedy improv courses to improve my spontaneity on stage. I’m not sure it really did me much good to develop my actual improv skills, but it did stretch me in many ways to respond quickly. Personally, I’ve been used to rehearsing scripted shows. I do know that comes across as spontaneous is usually rehearsed. However, the more you rehearse, the more freedom you have in creating moments for spontaneity. I wanted to open up that opportunity.

Thom decided to take risks by attending and participating in stand-up Comedy open-mic nights in every town in which he spoke. His goal was to do 100 and he came close before COVID hit. It was a good practice in saying yes, which is a main proponent of comedy improv. This particularly helped him in developing his expansion of keynote speaking into being an M.C. for large events. It took him taking a risk by stepping out.

Result-Driven Projects

I will continue to start and complete projects until my last days here on earth, I’m sure of it. It is what I do extremely well, and I help others do the same. But I’m also looking at the results more carefully. I have created projects for fun and in many ways, all my projects moved me ahead, but weren’t always as profitable as I hoped.

Realize this will be the case for any creator and inventor. Some projects work well and some not so well. It’s important to be ready to cut bait and move on. When CD sales started declining with song downloads, even Amazon shipped back extra CDs of some of my projects. They were no longer profitable and were taking up storage space in their system. I understood their move and subsequently, made them available on my music website.

Yes, CDs still sell, but it depends on the client base, the type of product and the actual demand. Last fall, I started making unreleased song tracks and accompaniment MP3s available as downloads on my website. (similar to karaoke MP3s) The list will grow through every season as I add additional titles, adding to residual income. I see this a viable product that will expand through the years. Look at your business and products in the same light. Find what’s working, then build on it! Slowly but surely, it will work!

*Thom is the current host of the podcasts Speakernomics of the National Speakers Ass'n and Making Waves at C-Level. Check them out!


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


26th U.S. President

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1,341 words

Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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