What You Can Learn from the Super Rich
It Ain’t Just for the Money
One thing you’ll discover if you observe rich folks is that while they may have expensive things, oftentimes, their focus is on experiences rather than on things If you’re contemplating purchasing a frivolous item — like a luxury car or a Rolex — consider instead what it could mean to your family to take a trip of a lifetime. When we’re older, we’re unlikely to wish we’d had more stuff. Instead, we’re likely to wish we’d spent more time living it up with the people who matter to us.
Limit your Debt
Debt is a set of shackles. You have to work harder to pay money back than you would have to earn it in the first place. The ultra-rich understand that sometimes it’s best to defer a purchase until you can pay for it in cash. You’re far better off learning to accomplish your goals with creativity, determination and hard work than you are if you ask others to shoulder your risk for you. Find ways to cut costs, create a new way to make money…do everything you can to avoid falling into too much debt, which can enslave you.
Love What You Do (but you have to make money from it)
One question entrepreneurs who are looking to refine their niche, ask is “What would you be doing if it weren’t about the money?” Now the answer can’t simply be “Drinking Coronas under a coconut tree.” The point is that if you can find a way to incorporate your passion into your work, then you’re learning one of the secrets of the super-rich. They don’t derive pleasure simply from amassing wealth. They feel motivated because they love what they do. You can do that too! Ask yourself what matters to you apart from money … and then find a way to make money from it!
Luck goes both ways
Luck is always involved in entrepreneurship. No matter how hard you work, there will be some (good and bad) luck in it. Yes, luck favors the prepared and it is not all about luck. But when it comes along, recognize it and take advantage of it. And when you have bad luck, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Embrace it and get back out there. There will be setbacks. The only question is: how will you respond? Will you get down on yourself and think “why me?” or will you bounce back and find a way to persevere? And remember, luck goes both ways. So if something happens in your favor, be thankful and embrace it. And don’t pat your back too hard, but learn from the ups and the downs, they are both important…many times the downs are actually more insightful and important than the highs.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
The goal is to increase your chances of success. Being an entrepreneur is hard. It takes sacrifice. There are no overnight successes (well, maybe one or two), but for most successes out there, the real backstory is much more tumultuous. Success is almost never linear. Sometimes there are ups and downs, rights and lefts, forwards and backwards. The goal is to take one or two steps forward every day, with the understanding that there will be setbacks. My favorite analogy is comparing entrepreneurship to mountain climbing in Antarctica. Successful climbers don’t dwell on the peak; they focus on the next 20 feet, and then the next, and then the next. Building a business takes time. You need to be able to weather the storms and take advantage of serendipity.
Don’t Try To Do It All
All the money in the world doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have the time to enjoy it. If you insist on doing everything yourself, then your earnings are determined (and limited) by your hourly rate and the finite number of hours in each day. If you bill $200/hour for your time and work ten hours a day, then your earnings are $2000. But if you need more than that to keep your business and family afloat, then you’re not doing good. But imagine that you employ ten people who earn you $15/hour. You’re instantly pulling in $2000 for a ten-hour day, pay out $1500, a $500 a day surplus, and if you add more employees, you can continue to grow your company. Think big!
Be Determined, but Humble
Be open to feedback. Learn, but don’t be a ping pong ball. Have humble confidence, take feedback well and realize that while you may be smart and capable, you can’t do it alone. (And that some luck plays into everything.) With that said, entrepreneurs must evoke confidence. Again, they take feedback well but don’t bounce around on ideas. They have a point of view and they own it! It’s their unique take on the world, and they are building their business around it.
Don’t Give up
Get as many “at bats” as possible. Most entrepreneurial efforts fail. And most of your ideas will also fail. The best way to increase your chances of success is to be around as long as possible. The best way to do that is to be frugal. Benjamin Franklin talked about being frugal and industrious. So be wise with your money, but not in a way that suffocates growth. The longer you can stretch your runway, the more chances you have at bat. And hopefully one of those chances leads to a hit. “To be in business you have to be in business.”
You are Responsible
This is your company, mentors, lenders and investors are here to help, but ultimately it is your business. If you want or need something, don’t be afraid to ask your supporters for help. But remember, it’s all you.