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Now 2008 was a year that left many shirtless and bald. It was the year when the global economy went off the rails and took bankers, businesses and whole nations with it. It was a year when everyone got scared. Well, sort of. At monocle we look back at 2008 almost fondly because it taught us a big lesson about you, the people who buy monocle, and what you are made of.

As other magazines put out covers featuring illustrations of fraught ceos about to jump out the window or graphs showing the only way was down, we decided to stay positive. OK, things were tough in Reykjavík, New York and Dublin but what was the vibe in Rio de Janeiro or Singapore or Perth?

Again and again we sent out our reporters and editors to find the business leaders who were staying ambitious, people with fresh ideas and perspectives. And you responded. Then in 2009 we ran our first Small Business Guide encouraging people to take the plunge and go it alone – and we still get the emails from the people who did just that and are now running their own law firms, hotels and design agencies.

Maybe everyone does have a book in them but monocle readers definitely have a business idea filed away for an “I resign” day. That’s why this month we are publishing our second Entrepreneurs Guide, which offers advice for anyone considering a startup moment and also some encouragement for anyone already at the helm of a small or medium-sized venture. And, in a way, that includes ourselves. monocle is at heart a family-style enterprise that maintains the buzz of a startup and over the past seven years we have learnt lots about how to make a business that hums and the people you need on your side to succeed. Hopefully that’s why the guide works – we believe in this stuff.

The entrepreneurial theme spreads beyond the guide. Our Expo features three cities that have turned on the charm to attract fledgling businesses, while the design pages host Alex Calderwood, the man who started the Ace Hotels group in Portland, Oregon, and has gone on to create a unique hospitality brand now set to open a new outpost in London’s Shoreditch. We meet the Japanese entrepreneur who, in just over a decade, has created one of the world’s most talked about whisky brands with a belief that a bit of tradition mixed with a splash of new thinking can fight off even the biggest market players. We also visit some leading business schools to see if the mba is still a route to success.

And don’t forget our weekly show for the business-minded on monocle 24. The Entrepreneurs, presented by our business editor Sophie Grove, premieres every Wednesday and is always packed with inspiring stories. And after all that, we really hope you feel inspired to say goodbye to corporate boredom and do your own thing. Good luck.

How to make it happen

  1. Ignore them. You don’t need an exit strategy before you’ve even sold your first cake/pair of shoes/bicycle. Create a business you love, that you want to nurture and that you care about. Put your time into making a business that can employ your kids and add value to your city. This business could be your life.

  2. Face it, you might not be rich. You may not earn what you did when you were the head of acquisitions but it’s not just about money. This is also about the joy of creating something that’s all you.

  3. Don’t be a loner. Partners can be tricky to find but too many new entrepreneurs fall down because of a belief they have to do everything themselves. Pull in talent. Pay them with equity – or beer. But don’t let pride be the killer.

  4. Don’t be a loner – II. There is a new world of shared workspaces that not only get you away from the proverbial kitchen table but also introduce you to likeminded people and offer advice.

  5. Be brave. Entrepreneurs are a race apart. The best ones know when to bet it all and when to stay quiet. But success only comes with risk. Sorry.

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