What Would Oprah Do? One Entrepreneur's Guide to Making the Right Business Moves

07/07/2015 04:11 pm ET Updated Jul 07, 2016

It's not every day you hear a male entrepreneur channel his inner Oprah Winfrey, but then again, David Ralph isn't your ordinary entrepreneur.

David - who runs and hosts the wildly successful Join Up Dots podcast from his home recording studio - is on a mission to create a career he directs on his own terms. When we started talking about how he creates that path, he played me an audio clip of Oprah Winfrey. In it, she says, "The way through the challenge is to get very still and ask yourself, 'What is the next right move?' From that space, make the next right move, and the right next move. You're not defined by what someone else says is failure for you."

So, that's what David does. For him, business success isn't defined in monetary terms (although he admits he wants enough money to comfortably pay the bills and take care of his family.) For him, the journey to mindful wealth has more to do with the freedom that comes from being in control of how and when he conducts his business. As a mindful wealth coach myself, I recognize his path as a good guide for any new entrepreneur to follow. Here's what David did.

Hitting the Reset Button
Before launching his podcast, David was a corporate trainer. He enjoyed his work but, he told me, something was just flat. He never considered himself one for the corporate environment. Even so, he was a strong performer and he found himself coasting through life.

"I decided to take a leap of faith," he told me. "I just had to get away from that environment." So, he leveraged the performance skills he'd built up as a corporate trainer and launched a podcast. For David, hitting the reset button wasn't the scary part. It was the five or six years leading up to switch that was terrifying. "When it actually happens," he said, "you're ready for it and it's not scary."

Building an Audience
For any entrepreneur, it's important to offer something of value. For David, that meant creating educational or inspirational podcast content and booking guests from which listeners can grow. When David first started booking guests on his podcast, he didn't yet have a show. "You literally go to complete strangers and you say, 'Will you come on my show?'" he said. "Without any audience figures to back you up, it's difficult at first, but it's not impossible."

He conducted one interview that was so boring, he told me, that he almost didn't post it. "But then I decided it was part of the journey," he told me. The first year, he said, is about getting good at what you're doing. After that, it's about building an audience. Only after that, he told me, it is about figuring out how to monetize.

Getting to Say "No" To Opportunities That Don't Fit
"True wealth is the time freedom that you've got," said David. "You can get up and do your work at a time that you want so that you can sit there and watch Netflix all afternoon when everyone else is at work."

David's goal is to have complete freedom over his time, location, and the people he surrounds himself with. "Then I would truly be a rich man," he said.

Success in his journey hinges upon his ability to get clear about what's most important to him. "I've had 30, 50, maybe 100 opportunities thrown at me," he said, "but I knew they weren't what I wanted to do." His journey could have sped up, he told me, but that might have taken him off in the wrong direction.

Today, he's very focused about the path he wants to follow which, for him, is to be the best podcaster he can be. If it doesn't fit into his path, he disregards the opportunity.

He considers remaining on track to be of utmost importance to his personal success. "You assess every step of the way," he told me, when asked how he's building his dream career. "I say to myself, what would Oprah do?"

You can listen to my interviews with David and 26 other inspirational people who share stories about hitting their personal reset button (and what happened next as a result) as part of my free Art of Mindful Wealth Virtual Conference by visiting www.artofmindfulwealth.com