Introduction to our Success Stories
How to achieve entrepreneurial success
Hello, I’m Jürg Conzett, founder of the MoneyMuseum. For years I’ve been advising entrepreneurs on how to invest their money. Along the way I’ve had many fascinating conversations and learned much, not least because every individual’s story is unique. My work has sharpened my investment skills and given me, I think, some useful insights into money’s secrets. It also lead to the idea of the MoneyMuseum.
The MoneyMuseum has created a series of short videos that trace the often-bumpy path to success of 16 entrepreneurs. Big stories told in just two minutes. I often think about these individuals and look for parallels between their lives and my own. Let me introduce a few of them to you now.
Pius Notter was born into a struggling farmer’s family. After first working as a baker he began selling insurance and worked his way to senior management. But the money that came with his success didn’t satisfy Pius Notter. He was drawn instead to the mountains, where he passionately collected crystals and seedlings. This hobby ultimately changed the course of Notter’s life. His expertise in cultivating Bonsai won him world renown. Today he is a successful garden designer. His former hobby has rewarded him both spiritually and financially.
Tucked away in a small Swiss mountain town, Hansjörg Hinrichs was a schoolteacher with a dream. One day a monk told him that if he wanted to reach new shores he would have to burn his bridges behind him. And this he did. He quit his job and headed to Borneo, where he became a tour guide. He liked the jungle but he soon discovered his real passion — the South Seas — with its blue lagoons, friendly people and music. Today he organizes exclusive South Seas tours, work that he loves, that has also made him financially secure, all because he pursued his dream.
Art Furrer grew up in a remote alpine village in Switzerland. As a gifted skier, he found work as a ski instructor at a local hotel. With his talent and artistic flair, he showed his students that skiing could be fun, and not just a race against the clock. His easy-going approach so displeased the ski instructors association that they revoked his license. Without work, and without any English either, he set off for America, where his acrobatics soon brought him much success. Later, homesick after years away, he returned to Riederalp to fulfill his childhood dream, becoming a successful hotelier and builder of ski schools.
Christian Wenk was already ambitious as a youth. He participated in musical competitions and performed as a concert pianist. He studied medicine and was also national champion in duathletics — biking and running — until a bicycle accident left him largely paralyzed. His convalescence was long, but today Christian Wenk is a senior emergency room physician. He is also a prominent advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. His story illustrates that success can be achieved even in the most difficult situations.
Gabriella Baumann worked as a physician’s assistant with a strong interest in people. After her children were born she began to write, always about people. Her first book about a project in Africa became a best-seller but her publisher rejected her second book. Undaunted, Gabriella Baumann founded her own publishing house, Wörthersee Press, which went on to great success by focusing on stories about people. Combining her love of people and stories, Gabriella Baumann’s own success story is inspiring.
Financial success came early to Peter Koenig and by the time he turned 30 he was wondering if making money was all there was to life. What does money actually mean, he asked. Today, thirty years on, he is still asking that question, as he travels the world holding seminars and lecturing on the meaning of money. But it’s not just his thoughtful ideas about money that explain his success. Far more, I think, his fees are earned by his insights into the psychology of personal happiness and his ability to help people achieve fulfillment. That’s what drives Peter Koenig’s success, personally and financially. Indeed, sometimes success can be so simple.
Andy Keel was a successful banker who became a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his second child. What a change! No longer the aspiring banker and also without the banker’s income. But soon enough he realized he could not be the only former professional, now stay-at-home parent looking for part-time work. So he founded a web platform for part-time work, which became a market leader in Switzerland and Andy Keel became an innovation consultant. His quest to create his personal work/life balance — with quality, family, time and a meaningful career — has been fulfilled.
Always open to new ideas, Roman Tschäppeler attended an alternative business school in Denmark. Returning to Switzerland, however, he discovered no one wanted to hire him. And then it hit him: “I don’t need a job; I need ideas!” he thought. And thus he found his true talent: taking unorthodox ideas and making them happen, with energy and conviction. Now he says, “When my work feels like a hobby — done for fun and with a sense of joy — then I know I’m succeeding.”
And what have I learned from these diverse individuals? Pius Notter impresses with his great care in how he interacts with his surroundings, whether humans or plant life. This is a decisive part of his success. Art Furrer shows that believing in yourself and taking a leap into the unknown can bring success miles closer. I am still astonished that Hansjörg Hinrichs had the courage to leave the quiet security of being a small-town teacher to move to the South Seas, at first with little success but then with much more. And Gabriella Baumann’s remarkable evolution from successful writer to successful publisher, and only of books she loves, is also inspiring.
The thread shared by all 16 personalities portrayed in this series of short videos is their complete lack of a common thread. They couldn’t be more different as individuals. But in fact there is a pattern here, an old one going back to the age of the classical heroes: (1) a most difficult situation arises, (2) leading to a journey abroad, (3) followed by an all-or-nothing act of liberation, and then finally, often, (4) a return home. The crises starting these stories are all different. And we are not talking here about money worries per se. Rather the key was a strong desire to make a complete change in their current lives. Undertaking such profound change demands courage. Which reminds me of the monk telling Hansjörg Hinrichs that if he wanted to reach new shores, bridges crossed must be burned.
I hope you enjoy and benefit from these short films. They compress much wisdom into two minutes.