Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Running a business can be challenging, and it takes hard work and perseverance to achieve a high level of success. Whether you’re already in business, or looking to start a business, it pays to heed the advice of others who have walked in your shoes. I asked a few self-made millionaire entrepreneurs to share their advice for being successful in business. Here’s what they had to say:
Even when you have everything to lose, act like you don’t
I used to have nothing to lose, but now that I have a lot to lose, I have a whole new perspective on this. Even after you’ve made it to the top, you still have to act like you have nothing to lose. And beware a man who has a great deal to lose, but acts like he doesn’t. Regardless of the amount of money a person has or the size of their company, or the amount of wealth they have—those people that take action and risk without the fear of failure are the ones that will ultimately take market share.
Ryan Blair is the CEO and Co-founder of ViSalus. He is a former gang member turned serial entrepreneur multimillionaire. [Photo Credit: Sally Peterson]
Work toward being significant
If you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant—and the success will naturally follow. If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. I truly believe that the reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.
Nellie Akalp is the CEO of CorpNet, a passionate entrepreneur, small business advocate and mother of four. She has formed more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S., building a strong passion to assist small business owners in starting, running, and protecting their small businesses the right way.
Seek and you shall find
There are thousands of clues and even direct blueprints to how to make money if you know where to look. Find a successful company that is creating products or services that you are interested in and figure out HOW they are doing it. I use a process called reverse engineering to isolate two important factors: Their traffic and monetization. Where are they getting people to see their products? How are they converting them into buyers? If you can answer these two questions with a systematic approach, you can start to build a business around it immediately.
Trey Smith is the founder of Kayabit Games with over 11,000,000 downloads, GameAcademy.com and L-System Records. He’s created three different 7-figure businesses over the last 6 years totaling over $18,000,000 in sales of his own products and services. Trey recently finished authoring a book on reverse engineering wealth.
Love what you do
1) Choose something that is in line with your own personal interest and passion, then it never seems like work. 2) Don’t be afraid to fail. 3) It’s critical to spend the time early on to hire the right people. If you are disciplined in finding the best and brightest people who are also team players then management is easy. 4) There is no substitute for talking directly to customers. Whether they are happy or upset about something, it feels great to connect with people who are using your products, because you immediately get a good sense for how to make it even better.
Brian Sharples co-founded HomeAway with Carl Shepherd in February 2005. Since then, he has raised nearly $405 million in private funding, completed a successful IPO in 2011 (NASDAQ: AWAY) and acquired 17 websites, to create the world’s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals.
Don’t let them intimidate you out of your dream
1) Work harder than everyone else—I may not be the most formally educated, the most financially set up, or even the smartest, but I will give them a run for their money when it comes to ambition and determination. It’s a bit cliché, but I always remember this quote: “Always go the extra mile, there’s a lot less traffic up there.” 2) Every expert was a newbie at one point—don’t let them intimidate you out of your dream. Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can. 3) Ethics do matter—I don’t care what they say about “it’s just business,” the world comes full circle. Be competitive, but stay true to your beliefs and principles. It always comes back around eventually.
Amber Schaub is the Founder and CEO of RuffleButts.com. The company landed at #166 of the 2012 Inc. 500 list and surpassed $10 Million in total sales that year.
Focus on quality and execution
1) Hire exceptional people, make sure they feel valued and can work as a team. 2) Work to achieve synergy (energy and alignment). 3) Practice Kaizen (Japanese for “small improvement” and “better”) everyday focusing on getting a little bit better with the belief that over time outcomes become significant. 4) Focus on expands and set outcomes that are bold, passionate, measurable, written and positive. 5) Worry less about growth and more about quality and execution. When you take care of your customers and exceed their expectations, growth and opportunity follow. 6) Remember that success often comes to those who get in front of the inevitable.
Brothers Chad and Troy McWhinney made themselves millionaires when they founded their own real estate investment and development company, McWhinney, in 1991 with the purchase of 440 acres of prime Colorado land. Since founding McWhinney, Chad and Troy have taken on over five million square feet of development projects throughout Colorado and beyond, partnering in the redevelopment of Denver’s historic Union Station, set to re-open 100 years after its original opening in 1914.
Be a thought leader
Based on my own experience, it pays to be a thought leader in your own industry. In today’s world, it is easy to publish your own information (including videos), but the traditional media outlets still carry a lot of weight. Get positive exposure and help others by sharing your expertise. By building up a following and strategic partners, good things will happen. On a side note, it pays to love what you do. Hard work and dedication can separate success stories from those that do not have their heart in it. As the old Confucius quote goes, “Find something you love to do and you will never have to work for the rest of your life.”
Mike Byrnes is a national speaker, owner of Byrnes Consulting, LLC and has been published over 250 times. His firm provides consulting services to help businesses become even more successful.