Business

Arlene Dickinson on her new book All In

Dragons' Den co-star Arlene Dickinson focuses on the mental and emotional skills required to succeed as an entrepreneur in her new book, All In.

Dragons' Den co-star has advice for entrepreneurs

Arlene Dickinson discusses her new book about being an entrepreneur 5:57

Dragons' Den co-star Arlene Dickinson focuses on the mental and emotional skills required to succeed as an entrepreneur in her new book, All In.

A follow-up to her first book Persuasion, which told her personal story, All In explores what it takes to overcome the self-doubts and rejections common to all entrepreneurs, looking at stories from successful business people of all backgrounds.

You know what, it’s hard. It’s emotionally hard, it’s physically hard. Your life and your business are all one thing – nobody ever tells you that stuff- Arlene Dickinson

In an interview with CBC’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange, Dickinson said there seems to be a lot of help for start-up businesses, but very little in print that addresses the small or mid-sized entrepreneur who is struggling.

“It’s really about using lessons from other entrepreneurs to learn the business lesson from their story,” she said.

“It’s a primer for people who are entrepreneurs now or people who are thinking about being entrepreneurs and wondering what this is going to be like.”

Dickinson said she cannot make people into entrepreneurs if they don’t have the initial spark, but she believes her book can help those who are on the journey.

“To me, I believe you either are wired this way or you’re not. I can help people discover if it’s in them, but I don’t think you can make them have it,” she said.

Dickinson was a struggling single mother when joined Venture Communications in 1988, and discovered she had a flare for marketing. She became sole owner of the company just ten years later after turning her own entrepreneurial skills to building it into a communications powerhouse.

Now she helps other entrepreneurs, through Arlene Dickinson Enterprises Ltd., which funds investments in entrepreneurial businesses and creates entertaining and educational media aimed at them, as well as choosing promising businesses on Dragons' Den.

All In outlines an entrepreneurial 3Rs -- resilience, roadblocks and rejection. Dickinson says resilience is a key skill for entrepreneurs, as they are sure to face both roadblocks and rejection.

“As it relates to rejection, I’ve had my share, both personally and professionally and I think that’s exactly what the point is – it’s all one thing. I’m one person and the more I learn on one side, the better I am on the other,” she said.

One of her messages is that entrepreneurialism requires a deep commitment that takes over your life.

“You know what, it’s hard. It’s emotionally hard, it’s physically hard. Your life and your business are all one thing – nobody ever tells you that stuff,” she said.

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