Ever since I started writing about business, I've had the idea of leading a very special, very high-priced retreat for entrepreneurs.[5]

My goal was not financial. By the time I became a business writer, I no longer needed money and could have readily come up with many easier ways to make the $300,000 that such a retreat could generate.

What inspired me was an ego challenge: All around me, self-proclaimed business experts were charging $1,000 to $5,000 for seminars, and they were getting plenty of eager people to pay up. Most of these guys were one-trick ponies—zero-down real estate gurus, direct-marketing experts, or motivational speakers. Few of them had my depth or breadth of experience. If they could get away with charging $5,000, I reasoned, I should be able to charge $10,000.

So that's what I did. I spoke to MaryEllen Tribby, the superstar who runs the business advisory business (ETR),[6] and she agreed to do it. Three months later, she had everything set up and 30 tickets sold.[7]

The only thing left was to come up with a seminar schedule that would justify an investment of four days and $10,000 by each attendee.

"Pride comes before the fall." That saying haunted me as I pondered the question: What could I do for those 30 people that would be worth so much of their time and money?

It wasn't going to be easy. Although they had all achieved a great deal in their lives, each had a different sort of business. Some were beginning ...

Get Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.