Success is every entrepreneur’s dream. To get there, effort should be done on oneself and on one’s people. There is no magical key, but experience has shown that the entrepreneur should work both on the intellectual and organizational levels of the business. In fact, the two go together. Successful entrepreneurs are those who overcome both objective and subjective hurdles.
There have been thousands of books written about what it takes to be successful in business, and a thousand more about achieving success in life as well. You can find another thousand articles on the web that discuss the topic, and a thousand more will be written tomorrow. With such a broad subject and with so many things that can play a role in making us happy, it can be difficult to boil it down to a short list of things that anyone can read and apply in their lives.
However, across those thousands of books and articles, among the countless legends and stories, you’ll find some common themes woven throughout. You’ll find principles about us as human beings that many of us think about but never try hard enough to achieve.
Below, are ten things you must do to to conquer and succeed in a world that is changing so rapidly:
1. Success is in the mind.
It is an attitude. A disposition. If you set your mind on earning a million dollars, you will most probably earn it. If once you earn it, you start being afraid of losing it, you will most certainly lose it. Adopt a success-driven attitude even when you reach your goals. Set up higher goals and challenge yourself.
2. Understand Finance
Now, people all the time will talk about how a well known business brand started at one time in someone’s basement or garage, so much that it’s become a romantic notion of sorts that going from rags-to-riches is what really identifies a true entrepreneur. The reality of most successful businesses ventures couldn’t be farther from the truth – if you want to make it, you’re going to need money. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a lot of it when you’re just getting started, but more importantly understanding how finance works and how to use your money to grow in the smartest way.
Robert Kiyosaki is most famous for teaching the world about the importance in how financial literacy plays such a crucial role in the lives of successful entrepreneurs. Those who live from paycheck to paycheck are also those that fill their lives with liabilities – car and house payments, credit cards, and other materialistic things that cost them money. Those who are financially literate, however, understand the importance of building assets – things that make them money instead. Once you start having a positive asset column, you can then learn how to make even more money through investing. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to know how to take money and make it work for you.
3. Bring out the best in everyone.
There is good in all of those working for you. But each one has something special about them. Tap into that to make them grow, stay motivated and be creative.
Just because you need to possess leadership qualities does not mean that everybody successful in business has to be the CEO, face of the company, or person “in charge”. When Google started to really grow, the company’s founders brought in a successful CEO in Eric Schmidt to come in and run their company – they were engineers, not CEOs. The ability to lead a team or lead the masses can sometimes come down to just having the right charisma and message to get the right people to do the things that need to be done in order for the entire thing to just work. A great soldier may be good at leading troops on the field, but not managing the entire war. An amazing product designer may also be a lousy salesperson. But a great leader will discover what they do best and where their weakness lies, and know who to put where in order to ensure that their company is one that achieves real success.
4. Be Fearless
Want to know why becoming successful in a business venture is considered such a daunting feat by society? While there are obvious hurdles to face, one of the biggest challenges is in overcoming the fear of jumping into a business in the first place. Most people dream all day about launching a successful business while watching the clock tick at their mundane day jobs. The reason they never quit the security of a paycheck is because they are too scared by the unknown that comes with starting a business. If you want to separate yourself from that crowd, you need to learn how to manage your own fears. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. When I quit my job to start my business, I was making double my salary outside my day job than I was inside working my eight hour job. I still had that huge fear of failure.
5. Acquire Partners
We talked earlier about how becoming a leader is one of the most important qualities one needs to “move the chains” in the game of business. In order to achieve greatness as a leader, one must then have a team of individuals who believe in the mission in order to move forward. That’s where assembling a great team of partners plays such an important role in any profitable business. Many start out alone and the wearer of many hats, but a business can only scale so far if there is only one source of energy, of inspiration, and of the actual sweat equity it takes to keep the lights on.
As we will see in understanding the meaning of success both in business and in life, a true “business owner” is one who does not need to be a part of the day-to-day operations in order for the business to run and stay profitable. The classic book “The E-Myth” is a great story of how many try (and fail) at running a business all by themselves. Instead, you need to take those leadership skills and motivate others to take their own specific skill-sets and apply them together as a team for the greater good of the company. This doesn’t just include employees, but also includes knowing who to shake hands with, how to create strategic partnerships, and how to use that leverage we previously discussed to convince others to have an interest in your venture. And once you reach a certain level of success, it will be an even greater feeling when you get to share it with all who helped make it possible.
6. Lead instead of playing the boss.
Be a mentor, a model. You are the person with the ideas, the vision. You know where you want to go. Your collaborators should trust you and do their best to follow your trace, your footprints. Leadership is the most effective power. Use it to motivate and achieve.
7. Showing Gratitude
We live in a world that is changing each and every day, at a speed that any of us can really truly appreciate. Technology over the last 30-50 years has altered the way we communicate not only with our neighbor and loved ones but our business contacts around the world. The generations that have grown up with this technology often take it for granted, never once stopping to “smell the roses” and to realize that they live in an amazing time in history and that much of what they have in their lives – everything from the electricity powering their lights, the cars that help them get to their next meeting, to their smartphones in their pockets are all things they should very much be thankful for.
Those who are happy in both business and if life are those who are grateful for the world they live in. These are the people who make sure to thank the barista for their coffee in the mornings, who open the door for others, who actually listen to those who they have conversations with. Successful entrepreneurs should never forget all the people, places and things that have played a role in their lives that helped them get from their humble beginnings to where they are today. The next time you’re flying on a plane, remember the comedian Louis CK’s amazing observation that you’re “sitting in a chair in the sky”, and be grateful for all the wonderful things we get to experience every day.
8. Staying Healthy
Your money and success isn’t going to do you any good if you’re not around to use it – so why would you live your life so dangerously that you would sacrifice your health? What good is all the passion you have for your business dreams if you’re not going to be around to see them come true? Too many of us get caught up in the game of life that we never think about the damage we all do to our bodies along the way. As entrepreneurs our days are so full of work and juggling projects that are lunch breaks become mere small breaks in the day where we shove fast food down our throats to get rid of our hunger. I personally inhale my food.
Our nights turn into a time where we sometimes burn the candles at both ends, turning the stress of the day into an excuse to ease the pain with alcohol and drugs. While we worship the celebrities who died before their time, is that how we define success in life? Our obsession with money and material things makes us greedy and insecure of who we are and how others perceive us. Without our health, we can never truly achieve success. A leader needs to be strong, and we’re not just talking about a lean body or muscles here – your mind has to be healthy in order to persevere through the day and not only achieve the success you’re looking for, but to be able to enjoy it as well.
9. Keeping the Right Friends
We’ve discussed the importance of not going it alone along your path to building your business, and this same ideology applies to your personal success and happiness. What’s the point of doing anything if you don’t have special people in your life to share it with. No one wants to be the Bruce Wayne of their city, the quack who owns the huge dining room table with no one to dine with.
People are social by nature, and it’s important to have a life outside of those you work with. Your friends are people to share your experiences with, who will be there to high-five you with every victory and also pick you up after every failure. Make sure they are also the ones who have the same attitude, give back gratitude, and remain a positive force in your life. Those who feed off of negative energy are the ones you can bring the whole house crashing down around you.
10. Build trust
The world is full of crooks. But it’s not a reason for you not to trust anyone. You have to build trust; renew it; and reinforce mutual commitments.