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10 Brutally Honest Success Lessons from Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank

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Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian born entrepreneur and TV personality who rose to prominence in the business world after his software company sold to Mattel for $3.65 Billion in 1999. He is best known for his no-nonsense and often blunt criticism of aspiring entrepreneurs and startups on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Also known as “Mr. Wonderful”, Kevin O’Leary has since written 3 best selling books about life, entrepreneurship, and money; and what it really takes to make it in the big leagues of business.

Here are 10 success lessons you can learn from Kevin O’Leary:

1. Business is war

An entrepreneur should be in it to win it – to crush the competition. Kevin has a no nonsense approach to business which is void of emotion. Business is war, and you have to play to win. Don’t let your feelings get in the way. The market will determine who survives and who doesn’t, so play the game with everything you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to lose. Just reassemble your troops and try again with a different strategy.

“Business is war. I go out there, I want to kill the competitors. I want to make their lives miserable. I want to steal their market share. I want them to fear me and I want everyone on my team thinking we’re going to win.” Kevin O’Leary

2. Your dollars are your soldiers

Money is the lifeblood of business. Many will espouse how money is over rated, and shouldn’t be the most important pursuit of business. Kevin disagrees. He likens your start up finances to your soldiers on the battlefield of business. “Here’s how I think of my money – as soldiers – I send them out to war everyday. I want them to take prisoners and come home, so there’s more of them.” If some of them die, that’s bad. If they all die, that means you’re broke.

 

3. Entrepreneurship = Freedom

Kevin tells a story of when he was a teenager and worked at an ice-cream store in a local mall. One day he was asked to scrape gum off the floor, and when he refused to, was fired. Reflecting on this years later he says that it taught him that being an employee is slavery and being an entrepreneur is true freedom. From that day forward he vowed that he was never going to work for anyone else again.

 

4. Spend the interest, never the principle

As the chairman of O’Leary funds, Kevin’s entire investment firm is based on this fundamental lesson he learned from his mother at an early age. His mother would always say “Spend only the interest, never the principle.” This means don’t let go of your nest egg. Leave the principle alone to accumulate interest, and send that interest back out into the battle field.

 

5. Don’t fall in love with bad ideas

Money runs from bad ideas. Entrepreneurs who are in love with bad ideas kill companies and send money running. On Shark Tank, you will often see incredibly passionate entrepreneurs who are infatuated with terrible ideas that either don’t sell or aren’t backed by viable business models. Kevin is quick to bring a dose of reality. “I have met many entrepreneurs who have the passion and even the work ethic to succeed – but who are so obsessed with an idea that they don’t see its obvious flaws. Think about that. If you can’t even acknowledge your failures, how can you cut the rope and move on?”

 

6. Opportunity comes fast

Known for saying “opportunity knocked, nobody was home”, Kevin shows entrepreneurs on Shark Tank that opportunity comes fast. It also leaves just as quickly. An offer from an investor can arise and expire in moments. You need to think fast, and make quick decisions under pressure.

 

7. Passion isn’t everything

Kevin started out wanting to be a fashion photographer until his father shot down that idea with some brutal honesty. “You’re just not that good.” his father told him. Kevin realized that to make the kind of money that he wanted to make, his passion of photography just wasn’t going to get him there. He wasn’t prepared to be a starving artist with most of his photos going unsold, so he left his passion behind to pursue business.  Don’t let your passions blind you and lead you away from success.

 

8. Sales are everything

Many otherwise viable business ideas and startup companies have been harshly rejected in the Shark Tank because they simply have no sales. Sales are everything. You could have the greatest idea in the world with a plan to execute, but if you approach an investor with no sales or tangible purchase orders you will be in for a tough sell. Investors want to see real market demand with real paying customers before they will back ventures. They don’t want to back speculation without actual sales which will confirm that your business model works.

“Do you have what it takes to make the sale?” – Kevin O’Leary

9. Money doesn’t care about you

Kevin once said “Don’t cry about money, it never cries for you.” The lesson here is to keep your emotions separate from your money. Never let your emotions dictate what you do with your cash, especially if you are in the early stages of a start up. If you are losing money, the market is trying to tell you something. Change your model or get out of that business – but don’t cry about it.

 

10. The price of success is high

“Working 24 hours a day isn’t enough anymore. You have to be willing to sacrifice everything to be successful, including your personal life, your family life, maybe more. If people think it’s any less, they’re wrong, and they will fail.” Kevin is not a believer in the life work balance. There is no balance. You must be willing to give everything to be successful. It is this kind of hardcore work ethic that separates those who fail from those who succeed on a big level.

What do you like most about Kevin O’Leary? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Nick James is the founder of TrueMotivation.com, a Toronto based company that publishes motivational articles and interviews with entrepreneurs. Nick is passionate about entrepreneurship and believes that motivation is the cornerstone to success. He is launching the Massive Success Podcast in early 2016 to pick the brain of successful entrepreneurs from around the world.

Success Advice

How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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why you should have a podcast
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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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