Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brian Ahearn, Founder of Influence PEOPLE, LLC., located in Westerville, OH, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My "why" is to help clients enjoy more professional success and personal happiness. I do this by showing them how to apply the science of influence in their daily activities. The goal is to make it easier for people to say yes to them. My primary clients are leaders and salespeople in the insurance industry because getting to yes is a critical component of their success.

Tell us about yourself

More than 30 years ago, I wrote a personal mission statement where I stated my driving force is to hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Each morning starts with an hour-long walk to give me time to pray and contemplate.

I bumped into the science of influence more than 20 years ago while doing sales training in the insurance industry. I was so fascinated by the topic that I quickly realized it's what I wanted to do with the rest of my career. I started working on my business in 2009 on the side. After 30+ years in insurance, I left at the end of 2018 to work with clients full time.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I had a client. A family-owned business that was looking to move its operations from the suburbs into the city. Negotiations with city officials hit a sticking point. Using influence approaches I'd taught them the week before, they were able to bring the negotiations to a successful close. It's very likely they'll be at that location for decades which will impact their customers, employees, and family for many years. It's gratifying to know I had a hand in that.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There are so many things you don't anticipate when you start a business, so you have to become a jack of all trades until you can afford to start out-sourcing some activities. That's a challenge because most of those activities are not your core competency, so they don't drive income.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start taking steps today. When I left my corporate role, I was thankful I already had my website, had a good social media presence, and had started my first book. You don't show up at the starting line to run a marathon without having trained first.
  2. Find mentors. I have a few business owners who've pointed me to the right tools, people, resources, etc., which saved me a lot of time. Athletes rely on coaches, and so should business owners.
  3. Get comfortable selling yourself. This is probably the hardest thing for most people. It can be discouraging when people don't return calls, texts, and emails but do it long enough, and they will. If you believe in what you do, then you have the opportunity to enthusiastically share that.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Stepping out on your own is scary because no matter how prepared you are, it's a bit overwhelming. However, once you get your feet under you and begin to have some success, it's amazing! The freedom to choose what you want to work on and knowing you sink or swim with your choices is exhilarating. I could not see myself working for anyone but myself after experiencing life as an entrepreneur.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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