I always get asked the question of how I became successful. If you ever hang out with me for a day or two, you’ll notice that most of my friends are 30 to 50 years old. When you start hanging around with people in this age group, you will soon realize that they have tons of experience under their belt and they usually don’t mind sharing it with you.
Here is what I have learned in the last year from 10 successful entrepreneurs:
There’s no such thing as a safe bet – just because a friend or a family member tells you about an investment, it doesn’t mean it is a good opportunity. If it was that good, they wouldn’t tell you about it and instead they would put in all their money. The only reason people tell you about investment opportunities is because they want to diversify due to the risk. (David Niu – sold a company to aQuantive and is the co-founder of BuddyTV)
You don’t have to start a business to be successful – if you find a good business you can always buy it, grow it, and sell it for a good return. In many cases it is less risky to buy a business than to start it from scratch. (Ben Huh – bought I Can Has Cheezburger)
Just because you have money, it doesn’t mean you should blow it – there is no need for small companies or startups to waste money. You have to be scrappy at all times, such as subletting a 660 square foot office space at a good deal and squeezing 12 employees in there as well as a conference room. (Andy Liu – sold a company to aQuantive and is the other co-founder of BuddyTV)
If you want to keep making money you have to spend some on yourself – if you end up spending money on yourself, it will create a drive in you that will cause you to want to make more money. If you just keep on saving money, there isn’t much to motivate you to keep making more of it. (John Reese – the godfather of email marketing and a Lamborghini owner)
Have some balls – stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to confront others. If you let people push you around, when will it ever end? Letting others push you around may not seem like a big deal at first, but it can impact your life and business in a negative way. (Jeremy Schoemaker – sold a company to MediaWhiz and made $132,994.97 from Google in one month)
Raising venture capital is harder than being stricken by lightning – a venture capitalist usually has no clue about most of the investments brought to him or her. But if you make the investor feel that they can contribute to your company and if you can show growth, the investor must be on crack if they don’t fund you. (Guy Kawasaki – writer, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist)
There is nothing wrong with being last in line – if you miss out on an opportunity, who cares, there are plenty more out there. See who else is involved and think things through carefully before you jump in and make a commitment. (Alex Algard – investor and founder of Whitepages.com)
Staying under the radar isn’t always a bad thing – getting press and buzz maybe nice, but it can also cause your company to be getting too much attention. This can lead to things like increased competition. It may just be better to stay under the radar and make millions while you can. (Edward Yim – sold a company to Marchex and founded a company that has been stealth for years)
Don’t judge a book by its cover – whether a Harvard MBA or a bum hits you up, take the time to listen and respond to everyone. Don’t judge anyone too quickly because you don’t know who is going to be the next Bill Gates (Geoff Entress – made millions by investing in companies that either went public or were bought out)
Ride other peoples’ coattail – being successful isn’t always easy, so why not increase your odds by following other successful people. You may not be as successful as them, but you’ll do well enough. (Mr. C – invested early into a company that went public with a 30 billion dollar market cap)
P.S. If you are trying to make your first million or want to make more millions let me help grow your business.