Entrepreneurship is like crack

13 Rules for Success - Follow them and you’ll be rich bitch!

It’s Friday the 13th, so here are my 13 rules for success.

  1. Never give up. In my career I have missed payrolls, been behind on payments for every one of my credit cards and, at one point, had amassed more than $12,000 in overdraft fees at $20 each.  Looking back I can see that these were all stepping stones for me to achieve financial independence.  It’s tempting to quit when your financial situation is looking bleak, but as Thomas Edison said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

  2. Befriend well networked people. Become close to well-networked people and suddenly you will gain access to well-developed networks. I found my CFO, two key advisors and a primary investor from one well-networked lawyer. Return the favor and do whatever you can to help these people, a one-sided relationship won’t last.

  3. Surround yourself with experts in areas where you are not an expert. I always surround myself with the smartest people I can find. Spend at least 25% of your time searching for these people. Never stop searching, everyone is a potential employee.

  4. Entrepreneur/Business groups are a superb resource (e.g. EO, Master Minds, Vistage). These groups allow you to learn from others’ experiences. You can avoid serious headaches and stress by learning from other people’s mistakes. You also gain insight into what the successful people are doing that their competitors are not.

  5. Stay balanced so that you remain creative and your brain functions at 100 %. Take vacations at least three times a year and rarely work on weekends.  You’ll be more effective if you do. Read the Sharpen The Saw story for more on this subject.

  6. Constantly seek new ways to grow your business. I changed the way Client Shop attracted customers every six months. From pay-per-click marketing to e-mail to affiliate programs to partnerships with marketing companies to offline marketing to an in-house call center to an oversees call center. The reason for doing this: competitors will catch onto your strategies and tactics. What once worked will no longer work. You always need to stay one step ahead.

  7. Generate Creative Ideas Consistently – Take time every week to read, listen or watch some type of information pertaining to your specific business, sales or marketing. I often find when I’m reading a magazine, marketing article, book, blog or even watching a movie on business is when my ideas to improve the business are born.

  8. Motivate your team. Hold pep rallies / weekly meetings to pump up your troops and keep everyone accountable.

  9. Have Goals, Scoreboards and Top Priorities – Everyone in the organization should have a monthly goal that directly effects their departments goal that directly effects the companies #1 goal.  A goal should be stated as we are here right now, we want to be here by the end of the month, so X to Y by Date.  There should be a visible scoreboard that anyone can see at any time.  There should be individual planners that management reviews weekly to ensure each employee is accomplishing their top priorities.

  10. Read, Read, Read – When facing a certain business challenge, select the highest rated book on Amazon.com that is directly related to that issue.

  11. Never criticize an employee. It will only break down their morale. If you are upset with someone in your organization, wait a day or two before addressing them or approaching them and start the conversation with appreciation for something positive that they have done. Then, in a cooperative and fostering manner, look for a solution to the problem.

  12. Stay Laser Focused. There are always plenty of ideas that seem like great ways to make money. Focus on your core competencies / core business. Never try to run two businesses at the same time. Example: My second company Client Shop was a lead generator that happened to start in the mortgage industry. We had plenty of opportunities to go after other verticals like insurance. But we chose to stay focused on mortgage to come up with creative ways to generate better leads than our competitors. In the end, we were acquired due to the fact that we had a superior mortgage lead generation business than the competition – why – because we stayed focused on mortgage. Many entrepreneurs get caught attacking multiple ideas. This will only assure one thing: you will be mediocre at multiple businesses instead of excellent at one, which ultimately will ensure a mediocre outcome at best.

  13. Retirement for true entrepreneurs is worse than death. Don’t believe that the goal is to make lots of money and retire. It’s about the journey and not the destination. You will find when you’ve made a ton of money that you can’t retire like you always thought you would or you will die of boredom. A true entrepreneur sees a problem and wants to solve it.

Bonus: Tips to happiness and less stress

  1. Cash in whatever you can whenever you can. When you get offered a good deal to sell your company act on this instead of waiting for an ‘amazing deal’ that might never happen. You can eliminate so much stress with a little ‘safety net’ in the bank.  I promise you’ll be able to find another business idea that can make the world a better place, there is an endless supply of problems that need solving.

  2. When you have achieved your financial safety net, never touch it. Invest it conservatively (70% bonds / 30% equities). This is a safety net and is not intended to make you rich; it’s intended to support you between your companies in case one fails. The risk you take with your company is the vehicle that may make you rich. Use OPM (other people’s money) to fund your next business.

  3. We are lucky to be entrepreneurs. We get to follow our dreams, live an exciting life, be free, create jobs, help the economy and change the world for the better.

  4. Stay humble. Be confident not cocky (nobody likes a cocky person).

  5. Never compromise on integrity…period.

  6. Materialism is a slippery slope. The path of materialism leads to loneliness and being constantly unfulfilled.  The opposite of materialism is focusing on forming lasting loving relationships with people, that is the guaranteed route to happiness.

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