Since we are all locked down, we may as well have some fun perfecting one of the two most commonly heralded ingredients of entrepreneurial success, Resourcefulness. The other one is Tenacity and together they make an unbeatable duo that most successful entrepreneurs will readily credit for their success. But for now, let’s just explore Resourcefulness (or “self-reliance”).


This is almost a lost skill when we live in an age of “push button – get banana” and “write business plan -get financed.” What happens when the buttons don’t work so well and the investors starts to pull in their horns, sort of like now? Well, in a lot of ways, whether you like it or not, you are on your own. Now you have to start thinking about self-employment and starting up without a lot of help from institutions or private equity.

Our History

Thinking back to the laundry room where we started the now famous Barefoot Wine brand, no banks would touch us. We were forced to be resourceful. We had to look around at what we had, constantly taking inventory, constantly looking for hidden resources, and constantly repositioning assets and pressing them into service in new ways to solve problems.

So we had to get resourceful. Our first office was a laundry room (because we couldn’t afford a washer and a dryer, we had space there). We found an old door in a barn, cleaned it off, put it on two sawhorses. That was our first desk.

Our first “real” office was an unused dark and dusty attic in a neighboring winery we offered to fix up in lieu of rent.

We couldn’t fail just because we got turned down for a loan. The bank kept telling us that we were self- employed entrepreneurs which made us ‘financially unstable.” And the fact that we didn’t own property meant that we couldn’t offer a “secondary means on payment.” When we said, “Wait a minute, what about our employees that you have given mortgages to?” “Well, that’s different,” they said. “They all have good stable jobs!”

You Can Do It!

We figured out a way to sell our suppliers and buyers on the idea that if they gave us certain accommodations, they would benefit by our growth. These are some examples of resourcefulness. We didn’t have any choice. When they’re shootin’ at your boots, you learn how to dance pretty fast, Partner!

The virus is now shooting at all of us! We must do what we did during the Great Depression, World War II, and the Great Recession, the same thing successful entrepreneurs have done throughout history: we must be resourceful.

When you are in a shipwreck on a deserted island, the first thing you do is take inventory of what’s on board and how you can possible use it to survive. Maybe now that we are all shut-ins, it’s time to look around your place and see what you have. Take a look at your contacts. Who do you know who can help you? Folks want to help right now.

The Game

We have created a game that will help you hone your abilities to be self-reliant, get the most out of your stuff, re-discover, and make the best use of your contacts. We call it the Resourcefulness Game:

  • The object of the game is to solve any problem or need without spending money. And the corollary is to help others do the same thing.
  • The skill is to notice, acknowledge, and comment on any examples of this kind of success. It’s important to recognize how unlikely sources were repurposed or employed to solve problems.
  • You win when you solve problems using your own resources.
  • You cheer when you acknowledge others for doing the same thing.
  • You keep the ball rolling by proving to all the players that it is possible and “here is another example of resourcefulness!”

Using what you already have to solve a problem is how we all win! And, as we all know, we are all in this together.

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact