Interview with Fred Dawkins, Author of Everyday Entrepreneur

Interview with Fred Dawkins, Author of Everyday Entrepreneur thumbnail

Interview with Fred Dawkins, Author of Everyday Entrepreneur

Posted on January 10 by Fred Dawkins
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On this snowy Friday

Caitlyn: Tell us a little about the overarching theme of your work and why you felt compelled to explore it?

Fred:  Everyday Entrepreneur focuses on promoting entrepreneurship at every level from the corner variety store to the high tech innovation. I have chosen a narrative style to make the material relatable to a broad range of readers. The story shares a wide range of anecdotes from the business world to convey the philosophy of being an entrepreneur, the personal issues involved and the fundamental business issues that every entrepreneur must face.

My motivation to explore the topic stems from my passion for entrepreneurship which I believe is becoming more critical in a fast paced global economy that dictates flexibility, adaptability and resilience, attributes that are fundamental to entrepreneurs but lacking in the oversized huge businesses which have been the core for our business model for the past fifty years. On an individual basis the ability to create and manage one’s own career may be the most important skill to develop.

Caitlyn: How did you research your book?

Fred: My entire working life of 45 years has been spent as an entrepreneur. I’ve started and built businesses in very different fields including manufacturing, retail, management consulting and land development. I love the process of being an entrepreneur and creating. There are many definitions of entrepreneurship but two key elements are recognizing opportunity, often a problem to be solved, and the determination to find the solution and most importantly implement it. Entrepreneurs make things happen. The right people can make a bad idea a success. The wrong people can destroy the best idea. I have spent my career making ideas, that others thought could not be done, a success.

Caitlyn:  Describe your most memorable response you’ve received from a reader?

Fred: The most memorable response came early on from Terry Fallis who has been riding a crest of success as a prolific writer. This year alone he has won the Libris Author’s award and CBC is producing a series based on his first book The Best Laid Plans. In the midst of an extremely busy schedule he took the time to read Everyday Entrepreneur and gave me a very encouraging endorsement which ended “You are so wrapped up in the story that you may not realize how much you’re learning until you’ve turned that last page.”  I could not have asked for a more positive comment from someone for whom I have a lot of respect.

Caitlyn:  Has a review or profile every changed your perspective on your work?

Fred: As a new writer almost every response has some impact but the feedback I received from Ajay Agrawal, Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto had a profound impact on my thinking. I wrote Everyday Entrepreneur for a very broad audience. While I certainly had hopes to appeal to a wide range of people, the response from the academic community has made me realize that the subject and approach work on all levels from the sophisticated MBA student to the new immigrant searching for independence. This is a humbling lesson that continues to amaze me. Since meeting Professor Agrawal, I have become a partner in the Creative Destruction Lab at Rotman which focuses on mentoring start-up companies based on the innovations of our best and most brilliant minds at the University. It is a fantastic experience to be a small part of creating a culture of success which sets a great example for entrepreneurs at all levels.  I feel that a sense of achievement is critical for Canada- basically an “own the podium” approach for business.

Caitlyn: What is your new project?

Fred: Thanks to Dundurn I have two additional works under contract for my series The Entrepreneurial Edge. The next book Family Entrepreneur – Easier Said than Done will be released next year and the third Ageless Entrepreneur-Never too Early-Never too Late will be released the following year. Family businesses have traditionally been a cornerstone of start-ups here and around the world. There are many special issues involved so lots to relate on the subject. In our current economy the most difficult challenges of our careers seem to occur at the entry and exit levels. It has become increasingly difficult to launch one’s career and increasingly necessary to extend it so there is a real need to explore the entrepreneurial options at both ends. Beyond that there are four more potential titles in the entrepreneurial series depending on the level of interest. I also have an historical fiction series I would like to write which I call The Beardmore Chronicles plus a sequel and a prequel for my first self-published novel 2020 Hindsight and a series of short stories to be titled The Leading Edge, so no shortage of projects it there is continued interest in my work.

Fred Dawkins

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014

Fred Dawkins

Fred Dawkins is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded the Olde Hide House, Canada’s largest leather goods store. He is a partner in the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The first book in this informative series, Everyday Entrepreneur, was published in 2013. He lives in Guelph, Ontario.