Writing a book is similar to launching a business. Each requires more time and effort than expected, and most of the sacrifice comes from people other than the author (or founder). Looking back, I’m amazed at how many talented people generously contributed to this project. I cannot name them all here, so I will hit the high notes.

The only thing harder than being married to an entrepreneur is being married to a first-time author. My wife, Kristin, has endured both. She advised and supported me throughout the writing process, providing invaluable feedback on chapter drafts and all kinds of emo­tional and tactical support. She took on more than her share of re­sponsibility for our family life while continuing to inspire me in her own professional career. Thanks, Kristin, for being my best friend and most trusted editor.

Thanks to Phoebe and Isabelle, for cheering me on while putting up with the strange hours and obsessive habits of a book-writing dad. Phoebe consistently motivated me with her own quiet determination, and Isabelle single-handedly risked life and limb to save thirty pages of a chapter draft that had blown into the street from the roof of my car. Thanks, girls, for encouraging me and for keeping me going.

This book couldn’t exist without its central characters. I’m in­debted to founders Lynn Ivey (The Ivey), J. C. Faulkner (Decision One Mortgage), Mark Williams (Modality), and Mark Kahn (TRAF - FIQ), for their courage, expertise, and openness—and for allowing their founding stories to be shared with the world at large. One of the themes of this book is that launching a business is a highly per­sonal, emotional process. I have not taken it for granted that these founders were willing to be so generous with their lessons learned, and I know readers will benefit greatly from this generosity. I owe a special thanks to J. C., who has been a favorite client, trusted friend, business partner, and mentor for many years now.

Thanks also to other colleagues and experts who lent their voices to the narrative by allowing material from their interviews to be in­cluded, especially Chris Holden, Robert (Bob) Tucker, Ken Macher, Shaun Cassidy, John Davenport, Doug Crisp, and Jerry Schiano.

Dawn Ballenger, who came to this book project just as the writing of the manuscript was beginning, has been the person most indispens­able to the quality and integrity of the finished product. Dawn spear­headed the book’s research, was a close partner in developing the ideas and structure of each chapter, and brought a gifted editorial eye to all drafts. She has also become the rock of Ready Founder Services and ReadyFounder. com, driving our most vital research and product development efforts.

I owe a great debt to David Fugate, founder of LaunchBooks Lit­erary Agency and a thriving entrepreneur himself, who was willing to back a first-time author and provided expert coaching throughout the process. Lori Spangard, of Terrace Blue Marketing, was vital dur­ing the project’s earliest days, helping me shape first proposals and connecting me with David Fugate (thanks also to entrepreneur ex­traordinaire Louis Foreman, founder of Enventys and creator of Everyday Edisons, for the assist here).

It’s been a pleasure working with the publishing professionals at AMACOM Books, especially Robert Nirkind, who believed in this book and invested more than his share of energy and ideas in making it a reality, and Erika Spelman, who did most of the heavy lifting to bring it past the finish line.

Adam Ortiz, of Executive Development Consulting, has provided tremendous thought partnership and friendship throughout the proj­ect. Thanks, Adam, for reading early drafts, for codeveloping the En­trepreneur Core Characteristics Profile (thanks also here to S. Bart Craig of North Carolina State University), and for being a rock-solid business partner.

Thanks also to Mary Bruce, a pro’s pro when it comes to business and management consulting, an early believer in the concept of as­sessing entrepreneurial readiness, and a trusted colleague and busi­ness partner.

To Pamela Slim: Thanks for your generosity, leadership, and sup­port for me and for Charlotte’s (and the planet’s) entrepreneurial community.

In no particular order, for a range of contributions without which this book would not exist, thanks also to: Matt Spangard and the team at Enventys, Daniel Isenberg, Barbara Spradling, Mark Peres, Colleen Gentry, Ted Zoller, Jill Olmstead, Ken Murrah, Bruce Nofsinger, Julie Nance, David Schroeder, Carol Ham, Ben Williams, Suzanne Fetscher, David Dotlich, Peter Cairo, Stephen Rhinesmith, Fletcher Fairey, George McAllister, Ron Meeks, Paul Wetenhall, Phil Hajek, Gary James, Karen Hills, Nancy Owens, Julie Negrin, Richard Good­man, and Jeffrey Kane.

Finally, I am grateful to my parents, Mary and George Bradberry, for instilling in me a curiosity and a love of learning, and to brothers George and Jim and sister Julee. Your teaching and spirit are deeply imprinted throughout this book.

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