The mind blowing visionary Elon Musk is transforming the way we live today. He founded his first company (Zip2) at the age of 23 and sold it for $300 million. But that was not enough to quench Elon’s thirst for startup success, so he opened a new online payment platform called PayPal which allows users to safely buy and sell online.
Since then, Elon has made solar energy affordable for the public through his company SolarCity, and has made the dream of an electric car possible and inexpensive with Tesla Motors. If that wasn’t enough, his SpaceX space travel adventures have proven to be a major success with a very promising future.
Musk‘s mind was set to focus on things that would most affect the future of humanity: The internet; clean energy; and space.
Elon Musk’s Early Years
Elon taught himself computer programming at an early age, which allowed him to sell his first program by the age of twelve. A space game he created named “Blastar” for $500.
Leaving home at seventeen, Elon avoided serving the South African Military, and decided he wanted to live in the U.S, believing “It is where great things are possible.”
Elon moved so that he could acquire his Ph.D. In applied physics and materials science at Stanford University in California but ended up dropping out early to fullfil the dream of launching his first startup.
(Founded In 1995)
Elon’s first taste at being an entrepreneur was through the creation of ‘Zip2‘. A website that provided online content publishing software for various news organisations, which he started with his brother Kimbal Musk. It wasn’t long before they managed to get investment for Zip2 from such companies as: The New York Times, HEARST Corporation, KnightRidder and many others.
Although ‘Zip2‘ was only a small business. Compaq’s AltaVista bought ‘Zip2‘ for over $300 million, which made Elon and his brother multi-millionaires by twenty-eight years of age.
“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that… you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.” – Elon Musk
(Founded In 1999)
Musk used $10 Million of his earnings from Zip2 to create an online financial service and e-mail payment company in 1999 called ‘X.com‘. Musk acquired ‘Confinity Inc‘ which was initially a Palm Pilot payments and cryptography company. The merged company’s intentions were to keep the name ‘X.com‘, but public surveys eventually showed that major consumers considered the name ‘X.com‘ vague and mistakenly pornographic at which they found ‘PayPal’ more appealing to its intentions.
After an initial public offering, the company was bought out by eBay.
“We could either watch it happen, or be a part of it.” – Elon Musk
(Founded In 2002)
Elon’s obsession about space was showcased from the game ‘Blastar‘ he had created when he was twelve years old. Eventually exhibiting the world that he could beat NASA in space technology. At which he produced the company ‘SpaceX‘.
His greatest vision was to yield technology that takes you and I to another planet! And funded the project alone coming close to $100 million, spending a majority of his net-worth during that time.
In September 2009, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fuelled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit. On 25 May 2012, Elon’s launched his next project “the SpaceX Dragon” vehicle successfully docking with the ISS, making history as the first commercial company to launch and dock a vehicle to the International Space Station.
Last week Elon Musk announced that his team has built a system that allows one to design rocket parts with “hand movements through the air.”
“There’s a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their ass-covering.” – Elon Musk
(Founded In 2003)
Musk‘s idea for electric cars had stirred into his mind long before ‘Tesla Motors‘ was present. Co-founding ‘Tesla Motors‘ and contributing to the company as head product designer, Musk managed to build the first viable electric sports car to help humanity break away from fossil fuels. The high-end electric car, the Tesla Roadster, was sure enough in high demand, which allowed ‘Tesla Motors‘ to produce an affordable model to launch to the public.
Musk hit a snag in 2007 as ‘Tesla Motors‘ was falling short of available funds. The cost to build the cars at a high quality were over $140,000, at which their intentions were to sell the cars for $65,000. At this point, Musk had to take responsibility for the companies declination. Hard decisions had to be made and Elon spent additional dedication to the company, forcing the company to replace Martin Eberhard as CEO, which Elon claimed the duty.
Tesla Motor’s come-back was outstanding and almost over schedule, by substituting a daimler smartcar’s gas engine with the Tesla drive-train and battery. At which the company gained $70 million.
“You want to be extra rigorous about making best possible thing you can, find everything that’s wrong with it and fix it. Seek negative feedback, particularly from friends” – Elon Musk
Elon’s Financial Crisis
Musk faced the worst crisis of his career, all 3 of his companies were collapsing. Things that appeared unneeded had to be closed down. Musk had to lay off almost 1/3 of his staff and close Tesla’s branch in Detroit.
‘SolarCity‘ began staggering, the bank that had backed their leases, pulled out of the deal.
Musk was in the fight of his life. With only a week’s worth of cash in the bank. There was little time to resolve. Musk never thought it was possible to have a nervous breakdown. Forced into only one direction, in hopes of keeping his empire afloat, Elon decided to raise $40 million to keep the company going out of his own pocket to keep the dream alive.
After six years of funding and advancing his companies, the fourth launch through SpaceX was a great success.
NASA decided to team up with Elon and fund ‘SpaceX’ for a $1.6 billion contract. Much to the publics surprise, Elon managed to pull through with An unexpected and heroic recovery.
Entrepreneurs and other company workers starved to see ‘Tesla Motors‘ fail due to the company’s products being seen as an attack on mainstream vehicles. Musk launched the electric cars to the public, which had the public and other companies in doubt of the success of ‘Tesla Motors‘. Poll votes and TV hosts belittled Tesla cars and told the public they weren’t worth buying.
But Elon did not care and decided to push through to make it happen. He released an offering to the Public in 2010 for Tesla, and was granted a place in the stock market, there hadn’t been an IPL since Henry Ford and the net-worth grew to $2 billion. This courageous move put faith in other companies to finance and produce electric cars.
Fun Elon Musk Fact:
Jon Favreau, the director of the movie “Iron Man” decided to base Robert Downy Jr’s character off the real life billionaire inventor Elon Musk, and to show his appreciation, he even invited Elon for a short cameo appearance in Iron Man II.
Most of Elon’s innovative ideas and visions became true. His learning curves from failure and loss, didn’t vanquish his visions and amazing goals for the future. Elon Musk never seizes to dream big, whether it be travelling to the moon or Mars to changing the way that we drive and operate cars, or creating sustainable energy, changing the culture and technology of the commerce businesses, to financing dreams of space travel in advancing what was forty decades out of date.
Elon Musk continues to pursue his goals to change humanity and live up to the expectations he set for himself in risk taking and self-confidence. Even when years of effort seems to be a loss in the moment. He believes that his success still will prevail.
What a Legend!
Elon Musk Picture Quote
Feature Image Courtesy of Wired
What if Elon Musk Ran Your Business? 4 Lessons From the Real Life Iron Man
The story of Iron man and Elon Musk starts when Robert Downey Jr. visited SpaceX headquarters miles away from the setting of the first Iron Man movie back in 2007. The actor was inspired to base his character on Elon Musk’s personality. Ashlee Vance writes in Elon’s biography “both Musk and Stark were the type of men, according to Downey, who ‘had seized an idea to live by and something to dedicate themselves to’ and were not going to waste a moment.” (more…)
5 Ways to Prepare for Your Entrepreneurial Journey
There are many ways to get ready for entrepreneurship regardless of whether you’re ready or not. The migration to the unknown will take you through many places, emotions, and people. Your journey will be both easy and difficult, but hopefully in between, you prepare yourself with an expectation of helping people by solving problems. The quest that you are about to enter will be one to remember if you are willing to adapt quickly and not give up.
Arranging for this huge change in your life should be one of the most memorable expeditions that you will ever experience. Looking into the future and being able to lay out a road map for your entrepreneurial journey will definitely be beneficial. Though there will be challenges every step of the way, being prepared will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
To help you get started, here are 5 ways to plan an entrepreneurial expedition:
1. Form Ideas By Visualizing And Writing Them Down
Before beginning your entrepreneurial quest, brainstorm to come up with many amazing ideas even if you never act upon each of them. It’s always a good thing to write them down on paper, computer or via a mobile device app such as Google Docs. An abundance of suggestions about your processes is better than none or even a few objectives that can possibly help in some way.
The key is to breakdown those ideas to come up with better solutions to move forward in your voyage. See what’s more in line with your mission and values to be effective for your core audience, products or services that you may want to create. Whether you categorize those ideas or check them off one by one, coming up with different concepts will be a great start to your journey.
“Creativity is contagious – pass it on.” – Albert Einstein
2. Begin A Pattern Of Consistency By Quitting Bad Habits
Repetitive actions can present their challenges but if there’s a way to make progress and eliminate bad habits that aren’t hindering your itinerary then keep doing them. Have you ever noticed that negative thoughts, lack of confidence, and no exercise regimen could negate persistence of not only your entrepreneurial journey but other goals as well?
Get your mojo or swagger back by committing to a life of constant and everlasting consistency by stopping eating bad foods, wasting your time with hours of playing video games, watching television and other things that will stall your progress. When you get rid of actions that are slowing down aspects of your life, you’ll begin to pursuing things to help you lay the groundwork for success.
3. Be Disciplined While Listening More
Another way to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey is by being in control of yourself while paying more attention to everything else. It’s quite common to focus on things outside of your realm and instantly become something other than what you see fit. Difficulties can arise if your focal point isn’t there and somehow an opportunity pass right by you.
Mentorship even from a distance from someone that you don’t know can be a key element as you learn the importance of your mission. Listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos of someone that has validated your idea is a great starting point as well. Mimicking them on some level can help you understand different phases that are ahead and how to deal with them.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
4. Work Effortlessly And Prioritize Your Time
You will have to work extremely hard with an emphasis on actual time value before pursuing your pilgrimage. We often hear about the results of hard work and it sounds cliche but when many other things are happening outside of your control, finding a way to manage your time can become difficult.
Most people will start off alone with zero help in terms of having a partner and putting in 100% effort. You will likely wear multiple hats as the visionary, programmer, marketer, content creator and so on. You may have to function with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep or even none at times while being respectful and cognitive of the time of others as well.
5. Persist Like There’s No Tomorrow While Planning For The Future
What’s in you? Nobody knows the answer to that question but you and the determination for reaching your destination as an entrepreneur. Whatever the answer is, you should be driven with an undaunted passion to pursue your expedition. Go after your dreams with a tenacity that you didn’t know was within your soul and keep pushing no matter what.
Be mindful that your strong pursuit can be done all while determining the proper destination of where you want to eventually end up. Never lose your focus admist numerous distractions that will happen. The emphasis comes from experience along with talking to other entrepreneurs who had similar occurrences at multiple stages of the process.
Put in the work early with the mindset of expecting obstacles and pushing forward pass them. It will be tedious and preparing for a grind will make your entrepreneurial journey more understandable through tough times. You will be a lot wiser and better after all of the hard work whether it’s considered a failure or success.
Which one of the above 5 ways to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!
7 Things You Need to Do to Grow as an Entrepreneur
Startups are on the rise and youngsters are keen to launch their own business instead of a nine-to-five job. As simple as it sounds, opening a business needs patience and the right planning. Moreover, the profits gained can help you meet your financial obligations and realize other dreams.
Young entrepreneurs must learn the skills of investing money within the right channels as most startups fail because of a shortage of funds. Every entrepreneur has a chance to innovate, create new jobs and have an influence on society. It’s our responsibility to continually grow and push forward, usually beyond our comfort zones.
Here are the seven must-learn tips to grow as an entrepreneur:
1. Read Books and Articles
For many new entrepreneurs, your first mentors are usually found in the pages of books and blogs. Much often learned from the writings of others, and fortunately these days, people are sharing their experiences. A survey found that 88% of the world’s wealthiest people read for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. By comparison, only 2% of the overall population reads this much daily.
Read chapters in books, and articles to get new ideas and skills. Some ideas might not be directly relevant to what you’re doing these days however, it could come helpful a year or so down the road.
My advice is to search out those leaders and writers who resonate with you. You’ll understand when you’ve hit on something when you find yourself returning to a book for answers and inspiration time and time again.
“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato
2. Perform SWOT Analysis
Business students and old-school marketers should be very aware of mapping out SWOT Analysis charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). If you’ve never made a SWOT chart, write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in four quadrants on a piece of paper.
In reality, you’ll jot down a couple of notes on the back of a cocktail napkin, however despite the simplicity, if done right, a SWOT will shed light on crucial areas that require improvement. Most significantly, don’t shy away from the truth. Dissecting your weaknesses isn’t fun however, no good comes from avoiding the fact.
3. Be Willing to Take Risks
It’s impossible to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take risks. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen. See how many times you stand-up. Being an Entrepreneur isn’t that easy; it’s an up-and-down game like a business. Be willing to come up with new plans even when old strategies are working. It’s through such risks that your business will grow. You’ll learn and meet new partners or investors. Even so, the risks must be calculated. Doing the analysis and making consultations is vital in this case.
4. Open Your Eyes Wide
Many opportunities are arising in the business world every day. For instance, many companies are willing to come up with a mobile solution for a startup without charging immoderate prices. This info can only be discovered if you’re keen.
Before dismissing adverts from websites and mainstream media, conclude if they’re relevant to your business. Also, follow the events happening in the stock market and international business summits. You’ll find the opportunities which will take your business to a new level.
Becoming successful as an entrepreneur is possible if you learn, take risks, evolve, innovate, and stay motivated. You must be realistic regarding your abilities and watch the events that unfold in your world.
5. Lead the Way for Your Team
Young entrepreneurs need to encourage employees and provide help at every juncture. For any young entrepreneur who aspires to be a leader it’s necessary to be:
- Courage and Risk Taking
- A Team-player
- An effective listener
- An effective communicator
- Able to inspire confidence
An entrepreneur who has all the attributes of a leader leads the employees to productivity. It’s essential that the team respects a leader. The hunger and aspirations of the leader to strive for success inspire the employees to put in that extra effort to be successful.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
6. Learn How to Keep Initial Success at Bay
Do not enjoy the shrubs of initial success for too long. Return to the drawing board and draw the future course of action. To move on to the next phase:
- Utilize local and online channels to make hype for the services
- Start expanding by hiring employees to enhance productivity
- Cater to a good segment of the audience by providing various services
- Re-invest the profitable revenue into new business efforts
Never let the initial success get to your head. The online platform is an ever-changing arena. Analyze what’s working and what new tactics can be utilized to strengthen the market base.
7. Find and Keep Business Partners
You will always go far if you have people to carry your hand during hardship in business. They’ll share ideas that have made them successful and provides you funds whenever necessary. Demonstrating that you are organized, capable, and serious is vital when nurturing such relationships. Keeping records, creating financial contributions to society, and attending forums are some of the choices worth trying.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ll face many up-and-downs, risks, financial crisis, and many more. Be ready to face these problems if you want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship isn’t about making money, it’s about innovating new things and represent new concepts and ideas to the world.
Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First
Studies show that 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time and that an estimated 27 million Americans will transition from the traditional workforce to full-time entrepreneurship by 2020. Additionally, it is asserted that entrepreneurs are 125% more successful if they have previously been employed in the industry in which they presently do business. This is all great news on many levels.
Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are considering transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, or perhaps you have already made the shift. I get it. I am one of the millions who has made the switch – trading stability and comfort for passion and freedom. However, if you are a potential full-time entrepreneur, there are many things to consider before making the leap.
How will I support myself and my family in the initial stages of development? What do I do if I fail? How do I maintain the drive needed to make a business successful? How will my business harness the creativity and innovation required to thrive in the marketplace? These are all valid questions and should be considered deeply.
If only there were a training ground to test your management capabilities, gain knowledge, think innovatively and be solution-focused. But, wait, there is. Your current employment can offer these opportunities and more – through intrapreneurship.
By definition, an intrapreneur is an employee of a company who has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. Intrapreneurs are highly motivated self-starters and innovative, solution-driven thought leaders, who work within an organization. Because of this definition, acting in an intrapreneurial capacity in your current place of employment makes a great deal of sense when considering the move to self-employment. You can use your current employment status as a testing ground for where you want to be.
Here are four reasons why intrapreneurship can work for you:
1. See a problem. Solve a problem
All businesses should be designed to fulfill a need. Just as your own business should be able to justify its existence in the marketplace, initiatives within an organization should do the same. Closely examine processes and products in your place of employment. Determine what could be executed more productively. Alternatively, design a new initiative to creatively meet and exceed customer expectations. Acting in this manner will prepare you for building the structure and mission of your own business.
2. Creatively capitalize on skills and talents gained outside your employer
In many instances, we separate business from personal, and there are many good reasons for this approach. However, there are notable skills and talents used in your personal life that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you engage in team sports, use your team building skills and charisma to involve your colleagues in projects.
If you love to read fiction books, integrate the creativity of the stories to bend the thinking of traditional methods of operation. The possibilities are many. Business owners rely on all life experiences, directly or tangentially related, for the benefit of their enterprises.
3. Intrapreneurship is for all employment levels
If you think intrapreneurship is only for c-suite executives, think again. Intrapreneurship is for the mailroom to the boardroom. As noted in the definition, intrapreneurship is about being a self-starter. You do not need permission from anyone to be highly motivated. Just as all parts of our bodies have a function, so do all positions in an organization. Even if you feel your position has no purpose in your organization, make one. We all have to start somewhere in our entrepreneurial journeys, so start right now, where you are.
4. Experiencing failure is inevitable. Move forward anyway.
All of us will experience failure at some point and multiple times as well. Failure will happen regardless if you remain employed or set out on our own. Be bold enough to move forward with establishing your voice and your place anyway. Business and life are about forward movement. Decide now what next step you will take if you fail. There is always a path forward. Get used to the possibility of your ideas being rejected and your designs being flawed now, so when you are a full-time entrepreneur, you will know how to advance.
Whether you are at the infancy stages of developing your own business, currently self-employed or even wish to remain an employee, establishing yourself as an initiator and innovator can reap many benefits for you and your company. That is the beauty of it.
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