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058 From Lawyer to the Lonely Entrepreneur- An Interview with Michael Dermer

From Lawyer to the Lonely Entrepreneur- An Interview with Michael Dermer – Part 1 of a 2 Part Series


In this episode, Christina Martini and Michael Dermer discuss:

  • Michael’s personal background, his decision to go to law school, and his professional and personal journey.
  • What he learned as an M&A attorney in New York.
  • The beginning stages of IncentOne and his entrepreneurial journey.
  • The efforts and fortitude of the IncentOne team to keep the company alive during and after the financial crisis.

Key Takeaways:

  • The 2008 financial crisis was transformative for all companies and redefined the business paradigm.
  • Innovation, determination, and focus are key ingredients to a successful business, especially at key inflection points.
  • The importance of aligning your skillset and talent with making a positive impact in the world.

“It was never about being recognized as anything. If you feel like you have a vision and you feel like you execute on that vision, hopefully with clarity and true belief and passion, what they say later doesn’t really matter.” —  Michael Dermer

About Michael Dermer: Michael Dermer is an entrepreneur, speaker, lawyer and founder/author of The Lonely Entrepreneur. Michael is considered the founder of not only a company, but an industry – rewarding individuals for healthy behavior. Michael left a promising law career to start IncentOne, the first company to provide rewards for healthy behavior.  At the time, rewards in healthcare were not only non-existent – they were offensive.  He was told over and over “we will never reward people for things they should be doing to be healthy.”


After bootstrapping for a decade, his company received a large private equity investment on October 15, 2008. They had arrived. It should have been a time for celebration. Then the financial crisis hit. Ten years were gone in ten days. Bankrupt customers. Investment gone. Credit dead. Family dollars at risk. Angry investors. Family relationships on the brink. It would take two years of working 24 hours a day to save what took ten years to build.  The perfect storm.


It was doomed. Or was it? Today, health rewards are everywhere, he sold IncentOne to industry innovator Welltok and his company is credited with creating the health rewards industry. What resulted was not only a business success, but the discovery of a unique method on how to thrive under the pressure, chaos and burden of being the entrepreneur. The Lonely Entrepreneur was born.

Connect with Michael Dermer:

Twitter: @thelonelye

Facebook: The Lonely Entrepreneur


Book: The Lonely Entrepreneur: The Difference Between Success and Failure is Your Perspective

Instagram: @the_lonely_entrepreneur

YouTube: The Lonely Entrepreneur

LinkedIn: Michael Dermer & The Lonely Entrepreneur

Connect with Christina Martini:

Twitter: @TinaMartini10


LinkedIn: Christina Martini


Show notes by Podcastologist: Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it. 


About the author, Christina Martini

For nearly 25 years, Christina (Tina) Martini has been an intellectual property attorney practicing in BigLaw. Tina is a partner at the law firm McDermott Will & Emery and focuses her practice on domestic and international trademark and copyright law, as well as domain name, Internet, social media, advertising and unfair competition law.

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