ABA Entrepreneurs: Keep Moving Forward

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Todd A Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA

Brett DiNovi & Associates

Jobs are crucial to the survival of behavior analysis.  Without jobs, no one would be able to support themselves, or their families, by engaging in the various types of work that comprise the field as a whole.  Academics would have no place to teach or conduct research.  Practitioners would have no clients. Consultants would have no industry.

Jobs are provided by entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurship can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, and one of the most challenging. Part of the reason for the challenges is that most of us are raised with an employee mindset.  Behaviorally this means our deictic frames mix with hierarchicals in the service of someone else’s vision.  Employee mindset can be seen in relations such as “I work for a company”, “I report to my boss” and “My salary and benefits come from my employer.”

However, when you “cut the cord” from employee life, and become fully independent financially, your deictics shift.  Examples might include, “I need a marketing plan”, “I need to hire people”, and possibly self-doubt such as “How will I pay my bills this month?”

In other words, when you cut the cord, it is all on you.  You are no longer riding on someone else’s ship.  You have to propel yourself forward or you will drift into choppy seas and capsize.

Let’s not sugarcoat it – entrepreneurship is hard.  You will want to quit and go back to the “easy life” of living as an employee with a steady paycheck.  But if you can find a way to keep moving forward, the wins will be worth it.

Keep moving forward – that was the central message underlying the tips given in a recent video by Brett DiNovi, CEO of Brett DiNovi & Associates, the largest Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) agency on the East Coast.  “Don’t listen to the doubters” he exclaimed.  People close to you will tell you that you shouldn’t leave the security of a steady paycheck.  Some will question your entrepreneurial vision, while others might even question your abilities to pull it off.  But at a certain point you have to make a decision about what is best for you, and you alone.

On the other side of the spectrum, Brett discussed how you will also run into people trying to give you advice on how to run your business.  Some may be credible, while others may not.  In such cases, it may serve you well to step back and look at their own experience.  Has the so-called “expert” ever run a business themselves?  If not, then you may want to question their expertise.

The more you know what you and your vision are about (i.e., deictics) the easier these things will be.  To hear more of Brett’s thoughts, be sure to check out the full video and to subscribe to his YouTube channel for future updates.  Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is a science writer, social philosopher, behavioral systems analyst, and the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which aims to connect behavioral science to the world in an engaging, non-academic way.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  His publications follow a theme of behavioral systems analysis, organizational performance, theory & philosophy, and language & cognition.  He has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward can be reached at [email protected]

Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at [email protected]


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