Anyone in the business world offering help is going to charge for their services, and while it’s always nice to hear from our friends and family, they generally aren’t experts themselves.
Fortunately, there is free expertise available that is ours for the taking, from the very public millionaire entrepreneurs who have made many millions of dollars selling products that have impacted millions of lives. Not all millionaires are in the public eye, of course; the “private” ones enjoy their success without fanfare. But we should carefully study and emulate the ones in the public eye who have openly shared their wisdom, for they offer our best shot at skyrocketing success of our own.
In this article, we’ll explore the most important words of advice from millionaire entrepreneurs. Their collective wisdom for skyrocketing to success can be summed up in five major lessons:
- Be relentlessly passionate about your business.Entrepreneurs who are truly passionate believe their idea for a product or service is the best thing since sliced bread. They believe so strongly in their idea they are eager to pour limitless time, energy and resources into their endeavor, even at the cost of living a “normal” life. They eat, sleep, and breathe their idea, and they sacrifice precious family and social time to develop and promote it. Walt Disney is a prime example of unwavering passion for his animation business. He started his entertainment empire with just a cartoon mouse and a dream. “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably,” Disney said. Similarly, Nick Woodman, the founder and CEO of GoPro cameras who became a billionaire at age 36, said he found success only after founding a business that truly accentuated his passion. Woodman, in fact, had two businesses prior to founding GoPro, but neither were related to his passion for surfing, and both were failures. Then, while surfing, he recalled longing for a camera that could film the moment from his perspective, and the idea for GoPro was born. “As soon as I stopped trying to think about a business idea and started focusing on what I’m passionate about, that’s when it came to me,” he recalled.
- You need more than a dream; you need perseverance.A successful entrepreneur must never lose his or her dream, but a dream in and of itself will not translate to success without perseverance. In fact, perseverance is passion in action, the “grit” that gets us over life’s hurdles and obstacles. It is the trait that pushes people through failures and challenges – both the little, day-to-day walls that stand in the way of the business they are trying to launch or grow, and the colossally big ones that threaten the core of the business. Perseverance ensures we understand that giving up is never an option. Perhaps the most classic example of perseverance is Thomas Edison. When asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times before inventing a viable electric light bulb, Edison famously replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” What Edison was trying to convey is that every magnanimous accomplishment requires incredible perseverance and determination. Similarly, Apple founder Steve Jobs extolled the importance of perseverance, saying this quality is one of the most influential in determining who emerges on top. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance,” Jobs said.
- Be unafraid to take risks.Most people think of risk in terms of financial risk, but risk is more than just putting your money where your mouth is. Entrepreneurial risk is a willingness to go “all in” with your time, your energy, and even your reputation. In fact, people who take risks do not deal in limitation; they deal in possibilities and goals, and they understand that failure is a natural part of risk-taking. Sir Richard Branson, the flamboyant British billionaire, operates his businesses under the contrarian assumption that he can make significant profits by entering large, entrenched markets. From wedding gowns to airlines to record stores, Branson has taken outsized risks bybeing the David in industries dominated by Goliaths, and using outlandish publicity stunts such as driving a tank down New York’s Fifth Avenue to promote his businesses. “Few first ventures work out,” Branson said. “It is how a beginning entrepreneur deals with failure that sets that person apart. In fact, failure is one of the secrets to success, since some of the best ideas arise from the ashes of a shuttered business.”
4. Exude patience. Everyone wants instant gratification, but entrepreneurs must be patient if they expect to succeed. And that’s not always an easy feat, especially when we have the opportunity to make rash and contradictory decisions that we feel, at least at the moment, will accelerate our success. But the truly successful among us understand they cannot act irresponsibly or become angry and disheartened with every hiccup in the road. Rather, we must maintain a laser-like focus on our long-term, strategic goals.Warren Buffett, the billionaire head of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, says the difference between a patient and an impatient entrepreneur is on full display on the floor of the stock exchange. As he bluntly put it once, “the stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” His point is that financial entrepreneurs who cannot be patient will always lose to the ones who are patient. Similarly, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, offered his own tongue-in-cheek view of the importance of patience: “Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
- You must have confidence (but not arrogance!).Millionaires understand that their confidence does not come from having all of the answers and solutions. Rather, they rely on an internal “knowing” that they will always be able to make it through the wild ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Along this road, they’re willing to experiment, to push boundaries, and to keep going even when the outcome could be disastrous. Millionaires also understand there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and that arrogance can be a real negative, especially when success depends upon good interpersonal relationships. Oprah Winfrey grew up with an absentee mother and male relatives who repeatedly molested her as a child. Although the odds of success were stacked against her, she had confidence in her own abilities, and she parlayed them into her highly successful TV show and eventually a media empire. “It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures, new directions to grow in, and new lessons to learn,” Winfrey said.
Entrepreneurs don’t become millionaires by accident. Somewhere along the way, they learn the importance of unwavering passion for their businesses, persevering through great odds, being unafraid to take risks, exuding patience, and walking the fine line between unabashed confidence and self-destructive arrogance. Every entrepreneur can benefit from these universal truths on the journey to business success. Additional reporting for this column was provided by Leah J. Thurber.
source: forbes.com by David K. Williams