The Bill Bland story: An adventure in entrepreneurship

Matas (2010) shared a story about Bill Bland, a serial entrepreneur, who never worried about change. Bland grew up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where he started his first venture, a bicycle shop. By the age of 17 Bland  owned the first Schwinn bicycle dealership in town.  Everyone Bland grew up with could see his entrepreneurial spirit as he found himself just as comfortable with an Allen wrench in his hand as with a harmonica in his mouth or even a paintbrush. Bland had an interest in music and painting at an early age and would tap his talent at any age.

Bland and his first wife moved to San Francisco during the Haight-Ashbury District hippie era to start a sign shop. In 1970 Bland sold the sign shop to move to the old mining town of Jerome to start a new shop concentrating on making root beer, candles, and incense.  Residents of Jerome to this day still refer to the old Bland House. The business did not produce much income, but allowed Bland to study in Phoenix to become a luthier, one who makes stringed instruments (Matas, 2010).

In 1971 Bland and his family moved to Tucson to open Mingus Music on Fourth Avenue. Carolyn Cooper joined Mingus Music in 1973 to help repair guitars.  In 1973 Bland left his wife and formed a partnership with Carolyn Cooper called Guitar Workshop, which lasted 12 years. The shop sponsored Music on the Mountain  in Summerhaven in which Bland performed on guitar and harmonica (Matas, 2010).

Many years after Cooper had left the shop she noted how Bland affected the way she lived her life because of his pro-activity in creating his own life and not waiting for life to come to him (Matas, 2010). Bland’s story shows many traits typical of entrepreneurs including focusing on new opportunities, not worrying about failing, and continually moving forward to something new. Bland’s story highlights how entrepreneurs focus on what they are passionate about and do not let anything stand in the way.

Entrepreneurs have a certain rebelliousness to do tasks their own way and not stick with convention. Entrepreneurs are always willing to learn new tasks within their area of interest. Serial entrepreneurs are always searching for new ideas to exploit opportunities and make a life for themselves. Entrepreneurs learn by doing and take an active role in their communities. Entrepreneurs are comfortable trying different ideas, but routine stymies them.

Not all entrepreneurs find the big prize, but they enjoy the chase! Do you want to find out if you have what it takes to enjoy the life of an entrepreneur? You can learn more about if you have the right skills by clicking here.


Matas, K. (2010). Life stories: Parkinson’s merely meant a shift in life for entrepreneur, McClatchy – Tribune Business News. Retrieved from

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