re:THINK Blog - Jon Dwoskin: The Power of “No” with Shaan Patel

Learning from a mentor is the best way to protect and make efficient use of your time

 In such a fast paced world, learning to slow down is a must in business. When we see shows on television that champion entrepreneurs, it can seem like entrepreneurship is a simple process. You have a good idea, pitch it to a billionaire, win their affection, and get a partnership deal. It seems like a simple process, but the truth is that entrepreneurs pour hours, even years, into their ideas before pitching them on Shark Tank. Entrepreneurs know that success takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.

Shaan Patel may be a name you know. He took his idea, Prep Expert, to the television show, Shark Tank, and landed a deal with Mark Cuban. Since that episode, he has grown his company to over $20 million, but he cautions that it didn’t happen overnight. Shaan is a dermatologist who took his experience with tests like the ACT and the SAT to help college-prep students.

 Below is an excerpt from my conversation with Shaan on the THINK Business Podcast.


Jon Dwoskin (JD): So, you hop on Shark Tank, you get a deal…fill in the background and fill in the back story a little bit…

Shaan Patel (SP): You know, Shark Tank was the biggest moment in my life and my business life. I think Shark Tank is the most powerful marketing machine in the world…It’s an amazing show because it really is real…there’s nothing fake about it. There’s nothing scripted. They didn’t know anything about me when I walked into The Tank…And what’s interesting about Shark Tank is, you know, it makes every entrepreneur look like an overnight success…

I was kind of a nobody, had a small business in Vegas doing test prep classes and then post Shark Tank, I…had one of the, if not the largest national test prep brands and …a lot of people don’t see the years of work that I put in and the years of work every entrepreneur that goes on the show put in.

JD: Let’s talk about mentorship for a minute because I think it’s so important and I think the undercurrent of Shark Tank is about mentorship…. But to me it’s the mentorship that draws people in  [and shows them how to evolve] to a new level of consciousness and new frequency and new vibration so they can take themselves and their businesses to new heights. …Talk a little bit more about your mentor/mentee relationship. Because Mark [Cuban] strikes me as the type of guy, …where he’s probably learning from you as well and you’re learning from him

SP: Yeah, absolutely. I mean it’s interesting because I used to not really believe in having mentors and I didn’t think it was that important to…learn from someone who has more experienced than you. And now that I’ve had mentors, especially Mark Cuban,  [I realize] you learn so much just from learning from how they operate.

…For me, one of the biggest lessons I learned from Mark Cuban is the power of saying “no.” …I say “yes” to everything. And then …my schedule gets crazy busy…[But] Mark Cuban, he says “no” to all phone calls. …And I think that’s so much more efficient…he sends a thousand emails a day, and gets back to every one of his entrepreneurs and investments and it’s because he’s not sitting in 30 minute or hour long phone call meetings like a lot of us do every day.

The other thing is Mark is …the most humble person. …I called him an expert entrepreneur one time and he’s like, “really? I’m not an expert.” …he’s sold companies for $6 million and then $6 billion and he still doesn’t consider himself an expert. So learning that humility, learning that power of “no,” just through their actions and not necessarily even them saying to you, …“be humble” or, …“say ‘no’ more.”…But, learning just from example.

Shaan Patel has us reTHINKing our approach to mentor/mentee relationships and learning the power of saying “no.”

  • Success doesn’t happen overnight, unlike what you see on television.
  • Having a mentor can help you learn how to most efficiently use your time.
  • Learning to say “no” is a wonderful tool for entrepreneurs to learn to use.

To hear more of my conversation with Shaan Patel on the THINK Business Podcast, click here.