#5. Work Hard
Actor Will Smith is famous for his line “I am not afraid to die on a treadmill”, in other words Will Smith is not afraid to give it all he’s got. He credits his success in the movie business not to lucky breaks, charm, good looks, or connections, but simply a “ridiculous work ethic”. Will states, “If you and I both get on treadmills I am going to outlast you or die, period.” Many successful entrepreneurs have been noted as having the same attribute. In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates would be caught sleeping overnight at his desk. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and PayPal mentions that he works a 100 hour work week. On a slightly lower scale, Thomas Stanley, who wrote “the Millionaire Next Door” found that the average self-made millionaire works upwards of 55 hours/week. Also business guru Brian Tracy mentions that self-made millionaires work “hard, hard, hard, and everybody knows it”. Hard work can often overcome many obstacles or shortcomings. Even the writer of ancient scripts notes in proverbs 14:23 that “all hard work yields a profit.” Obviously one of the key ingredients to business success is not much of a secret: WORK HARD!
It may seem ironic, but failure can be the biggest key to success. Many successful business leaders failed over and over before finding the code to their success. One of the most famous would include Thomas Edison who tried over 10,000 different materials before successfully finding in 1879 that carbonized Japanese Bamboo worked the best to light his incandescent bulbs. In the end Edison said, “I have not failed, but have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Many successful entrepreneurs have a similar attitude about how setback can lead to success if they persevere. Steven Spielberg for example was rejected from film school three times before he became a hit. Walt Disney reportedly ate dog food to survive after his first animation company did not work out. Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit” for TV before she became a household name. Sometimes success comes early on, but for most there is a degree of perseverance that is required. Despite setbacks winners refuse to give up. Persevere!
#3. Pioneer & Take Risks
Pioneers are risk takers. They are those who are not afraid to fail and yet overcome the odds. One such pioneer is billionaire Elon Musk. The South African native who started Space X, Tesla Motors, and Paypal is considered a pioneer in multiple industries: e-commerce, aerospace and automotive. While he enjoys the success of his businesses, it did not come without adversity. In 2008 with the US economy in financial upheaval, all of Elon’s enterprises were struggling financially. He had put his entire $1.5 Billion fortune on the line in order to keep his then fledgling start-ups, Space X & Tesla Motors alive. In 2008, Elon Musk, the man who had in previous years been worth over $1.5 Billion from his sale of pay-pal to E-bay, was actually borrowing money to pay rent. At that time Space X was berated by critics for several failed rocket launches, but Elon Musk and his team were willing to risk it all to make the company a success and it paid off. Today Space X sales are soaring over $100M a year. The company also received a 1.6B contract with NASA. Tesla Motors also has seen record sales with the all-electric Model S car.
Another risk taking pioneer that bet big was Tim Westergen of Pandora. He and his entire team deferred over $1.5 million in salaries before finding an investor to back the company. Westergen himself had over 11 maxed credit cards by the time he had an investor. Today he is worth over $20 million for his efforts.
#2. Plan around what you want
Both Tony Robbins and renowned business author Michael Gerber agree: planning is more about what you want than what you do. Gerber is noted as stating that a business plan is really about starting with the question “what do I want out of my business”. He goes on to say a business plan that is made out of obligations, or duties not aligned with the deeper dreams of the owner, is simply an empty document. Decide what you want, what inspires you, what makes you come alive. Then out of that, incorporate those outcomes into your business. Once what you want is decided, planning becomes much easier.
#1. Love what you do
In 2007, Steve Jobs appeared with Bill Gates at the D5 conference in Carlsbad, CA. It was an incredible event for two competing tech legends to sit down for a rare interview in front of a live audience. When Jobs was asked from the audience what advice he would offer entrepreneurs he replied, “People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing, and it is totally true. The reason it is (true) is because it is so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. So you gotta love it, you gotta have passion.” In another interview Jobs says, “If you do not know what you love to do, keep looking. As with all matters of the heart you will know when you find it. Don’t settle”. Jobs indicates that having a love for his work helped him persevere when he was at one point fired from Apple and didn’t know which direction to go.
Similarly, many successful people who have made fortunes continue to work well into their retirement years simply because they love what they do. Sam Walton continued to work as the executive of Wal Mart until the time of his death. Barbara Walters continues to work in television despite having had a long successful career. Also, Warren Buffett who is near 80 continues to work even as America’s richest man. What do all of these wildly successful people have in common? They love what they do. The love that got them working is the same love that keeps them working.
While loving what you do may not mean you will never work, it does mean that you will enjoy your work much more and you will have a passion for what you do. Love what you do!
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