Spotlight: Michael Port
You can do it—he can help
by Jill Yris

As an actor turned author, speaker and entrepreneur, Michael Port is a rock star of the seminar circuit. He coaches small business owners to success through regular spots on MSNBC and CNBC as well as online at, and The Wall Street Journal calls him a “marketing guru.”

Port is an amalgam of ‘change your mind-set’ work ethic and martial arts training—he has a black belt in Aikido and blue in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But he says is his most significant responsibility is “the job of being a devoted parent, son, friend and citizen.” From his Doylestown home, where he lives with his wife and son, Port talks about his life and career.

Q: As the bestselling author of four books, what are you working on now?

I’m just wrapping up an updated and expanded second edition of my first book, Book Yourself Solid, to be released in December 2010.

Q: One of your post-seminar attendees noted, “He’s just figured things out.” Give us a taste of your mission to rally big thinkers.

You’ve heard that frightening statistic that 80 percent of small businesses fail within the first five years. It’s true. The common perception is that these businesses fail because the marketplace is so competitive and success is like a blip over the horizon. But I see it differently.

Make your business work. Make a non-reversible, do whatever it takes, no holds barred, beyond a shadow of a doubt, absolutely no going back, stick to it like super glue commitment to finish what you start. Think bigger. Carry on. Get more clients. Make all the money you desire and deserve.

Q: In today’s economy, if a struggling business owner attended one of your seminars, give me one major skill he would learn.

I’ll give you two: The kind of marketing strategies that cut through clutter and actually work. And the skill to continuously adapt and change the model of their business as the marketplace expands and contracts so that they’re always in-sync with what their clients want.

Q: Tell us about transitioning from an actor to your current career.

I live by the saying, “The measure of a man is not how well he starts, but how well he finishes.” Looking back on my life, there isn’t too much I regret.

But, there is one thing...I regret not finishing my acting career. I was right on the cusp of big time success, and I quit.  I threw up my hands and quit. And I was so close. In 1997, as a 27-year-old actor, I was on shows like “Sex & The City”, “Law & Order”, “Third Watch”, “All My Children”, and more. That put me in the top 1 percent of the Screen Actors Guild.

At first, I put everything into my acting career.  I attended the best graduate school in the country. I had a great agent. I was on the cusp of doing big things. Nonetheless, I quit. I couldn’t take the rejection. I didn’t like waiting around or leaving my future in the hands of others. And, to be brutally honest, I felt alone and scared. So, I gave up and quit.

I tell this story—and it’s not one I often tell—because I don’t want [others] to look back on life and have a shred of regret. … It takes far more fortitude to finish something than it does to start it.  

Jill Yris is a professional writer based in Doylestown. (