The 10% Entrepreneur – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Patrick J. McGinnis

New book: The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job

The_10__Entrepreneur_coverQ: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

Marketing starts with you. Make your name the most important one of your business card so that no matter where you go in your career, you will always be investing in the only “brand” that you can actually carry with you – your own.

Choose the one or two things you most want to be known for professionally (and sometimes that intersects with personal interests as well). Then create content, whether it’s a blog, blog posts for others, or articles for publications, that support all of your efforts. Also try to speak at conferences or maybe even on TV.

Q: What was the inspiration for Born For This?

My book seeks to help the millions of smart, well connected and talented professionals face a pervasive dilemma. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that nearly 70% of American workers are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” Although traditional corporate roles are neither as stable nor as rewarding as they once were, pursuing the upside and excitement of full-time entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

Depending on your particular skills, your interests, and your stage in life, you may find that taking an entrepreneurial course is not practical or even accessible. The answer to this dilemma is to become a 10% Entrepreneur. You don’t have to be a full-time entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial. Instead, you can invest, advise, and start entrepreneurial ventures, all without leaving your day job.

Q: What is the key concept behind your book?

This book is a direct result of my experience as a refugee from the 2008 financial crisis – I worked at an emerging markets private equity firm that also happened to be a division of AIG. It was chaos. I realized at that moment that I wanted to build a far more diversified career by investing 10% of my time and capital building something for myself – on the side.

Now I’ve learned that while part-time entrepreneurship is great for protecting against downside, there are a few other critical benefits. You create upside, have fun, and learn how to be an entrepreneur so that you are better positioned to win at your day job.

10% Plan - figure


Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book

I want you to think like an owner, morning, noon, and night. That will empower you to build ownership stakes in projects that are meaningful to you and building something that will always belong to you no matter what happens in your day job. Also, I want to make it clear that you can have a lot of fun in the process.

Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?

I connect people, capital, and ideas together – always thinking globally – in order to support new ventures.   Those themes penetrate my work as an investor, an advisor, and a writer.

Q: What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?

  • Bright Light, Big City by Jay McInerny convinced me to move to New York City (even though I have happily avoided the fate of the main character).
  • The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk reminds me what fearlessness looks like.
  • The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law by Constance E. Bagley is my go to reference when it comes to the legal aspects of entrepreneurship. I took Prof. Bagley’s class at Harvard Business School and it was transformative for me.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome?

When I was a kid, I had a pretty rough case of Tourette’s Syndrome. While the symptoms went away once I reached my teen years, that experience was formative and valuable. I learned not to care too much what people thought about me, to put myself out there, and to be my own person.

Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

I am credited with coining the term FOMO or Fear of Missing Out.

Q: Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m pretty amazed that the piece of content about FOMO that I produced a decade back while in school – Social Theory at HBS: McGinnis’ Two FOs –gestated for year in the bowels of the internet and then reemerged as a major marketing slogan. I guess the lesson there is that you never know what will happen to content once you launch it out into the world.

Q: Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?

Never forget, you don’t need to have lots of money to become a part-time entrepreneur. You just need to find projects that fit with your resources and your talents. It’s an option that’s available to the vast majority of people.

Patrick headshot jumperContact information

Thanks, Patrick.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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