Dragos Roua is a longtime online publishing entrepreneur who focuses on personal development as a business. Using everything he’s learned from being a successful entrepreneur and programmer, he works to help other people become successful.
For 3 years in a row his work has appeared on the Top 100 Personal Development Blogs at Start of Happiness, and he’s a regular contributor to Lifehack.org and occasionally writes on Medium. His blog began in 2008 to chronicle his personal development experiments, and in the time since it has evolved into a platform for connecting, sharing, and engaging with thousands of people every month.
What inspired you to start engaging in “personal development experiments” and writing about the experiences and results on your blog?
It all started at a moment in my life when I couldn’t get a sense of fulfillment from my life as an entrepreneur. I was already 5 years in my own business, and doing quite well, but I felt the need to explore other areas of my life. In the beginning, I barely squeezed time for reading personal development material and trying new things, but then, eventually, after selling my first business, in 2008, I had all the resources to dive in and start a full fledged blog about that.
How would you describe the intersection between personal development and entrepreneurship?
As I said, in the beginning, too much entrepreneurship led me to the conclusion that I need to invest a significant part of my time in myself, not necessarily in the business, because otherwise my sense of fulfilling, of enjoying life, was simply not manifesting.
As I recouped on this side, I tried to put together the two activities and combined entrepreneurship and self help in various business models. I wrote 9 self help books, published online courses and held workshops and live events (more than 150 to date).
The blog is just an acquisition channel, the business consists of various other processes (coaching, book writing and community management – I maintain a premium community of like-minded people at http://dragosroua.space.
What are some of the unique qualities needed in an entrepreneur when it comes to starting and running successful online businesses, contrasted with businesses in the traditional brick and mortar sense?
First of all, an entrepreneur has to have a much higher risk tolerance (in other words, to be comfortable with taking risks). Second, I think the ability to be flexible and respond to the market signals, no matter what industry, is fundamental.
Money is always in other people’s pockets, and you, as an entrepreneur have to find a way to make that money coming to you, repeatedly. And those people have to be happy giving you money over and over.
How did you come up with the 10 Golden Rules of Productivity and how has following these rules helped you in your own life and career?
I come from a long history of productivity techniques and studies. I was a very early adopter of GTD, but then fell of the wagon when I realized this can only help me do more, not be more (which is essentially what we all want). So, I came up with my own productivity framework (called Assess, Decide, Do – there is a book on Amazon, if you want to know more. The 10 golden rules of productivity are just a byproduct of this framework.
In your coaching work, how do you go about helping people find their own answers to their problems?
It’s a process. Coaching is all about asking the right questions. People already have the answers within them. But some of them don’t have the power to admit them, some of them lack the clarity to see them, some of them are going overboard in some areas and they’re creating imbalances. Each person is unique, so the coaching approach is also unique with each of my clients.
In my portfolio I have clients that are top managers of big spa centers, but also founders of cloud computing startups. Its all about being aware and staying with them long enough until they’re able to implement their own answers.