As I always say, if you want to work for yourself, you have to know yourself first, and there’s no better teacher of self-knowledge than self-employment! Peter Kozodoy, knows how critical self-exploration is if you want to become a successful entrepreneur!
He’s the co-founder of GEM Advertising, a multi-million dollar ad agency based in New Haven, CT, near my hometown of Orange, with clients including Sony, Berkshire Hathaway, and TEDx.
He had an unlikely entrance into the world of entrepreneurship 8 years ago at the age of 22 when his coach turned into his mentor and business partner, the first of many pivots in his career . . . and a few of them are doozies, so keep listening!
As you’ll soon hear, he is a passionate advocate of both entrepreneurship and learning, which are deeply intertwined in his life and his journey of self-exploration. He’s written loads of articles about leadership for publications like Forbes, the Huffington Post and Octane Magazine. Currently, he’s working on a book about the Millennial generation.
There are loads of great lessons in this episode including:
- Why your lack of excitement about learning is a huge red flag about the work you should really be doing.
- How to become a better learner by teaching.
- How Peter would evaluate potential new hires if resumes weren’t a factor.
- The importance of likeability and legitimacy when telling your story.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Self-directed learning.
- Telling your story.
- Build community.
- Practice self-exploration.
How Peter Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: 7 am
- Core work habits: Writing, mentoring others, and doing nothing
- Ideal work environment: In the morning, alone
- Superpower: Really fast critical thinking and problem-solving
- Wants to meet: Marcus Lemonis
- Book recommendation: Smartcuts by Shane Snow
- Favorite productivity tool: Email
- 90-day goals: Launch Entrepreneurial Operating System, make the Inc. 5000 List, and find an agent for his book
“Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.”
“Just go out and start moving around. If you ask the right questions, people and opportunities will come toward you.”
“If I declare I can do it better, I have to seek the knowledge to do it better.”
“Every person now is a personal brand.”
If you’re looking to start an agency as part of your path to self-employment, Peter has the following advice:
1) Choose a niche that intersects with your passion.
2) Be very specific about who you want your business to reach.
Resources + Bonus Materials
Honest to Greatness: How to Engage Millennials
Here’s a photo of Peter from his days as a competitive figure skater.