If you are currently working your way to be successful in your own line of business or in your field of profession, one of the most important things you ought to have is a good mentor. Naturally, small and starting entrepreneurs and professionals as well as aspiring millionaires and billionaires all look up to the existing top-grossers in the world today and try to follow their examples. What many fail to realize is that these amazing billionaires at present have also had their share of mistakes in the past that have helped them become what they are today.
What are some of the most common mistakes that most billionaires make? These are also the same blunders that have probably caused them setbacks in their careers or businesses and have even caused great failure for some. The only thing that sets them apart from those who have not reached their level of success is that they chose not to give up and to instead use these slipups to help them achieve more.
Mistake #1: Lack of Research
Sometimes when you are suddenly hit with a striking idea that you deem as a stroke of genius, you jump right into it without doing the proper research involved. Naturally, any idea for a product or service can turn into a great business and can also end up in the opposite direction. No matter how excited you may be to get right into something, you need to research all the details involved first, to study your target market, and do a feasibility review. This is especially important when you are planning to shell out a huge amount of money for a business idea that can turn out as a flop.
Henry Ford, for instance, is a well-known billionaire today in the field of automobiles. He has always been recognized as a man of efficiency, being able to make ordinary things extraordinary. However, Henry Ford has also had his share of gaffes.
One very big and expensive mistake Henry committed was to start up a company town called Fordlandia to serve as his own rubber production plant. Because he was not an expert in putting up a town especially in Brazil, he failed. He made the mistake of not doing sufficient research first before indulging in this project. He also did not hire excellent specialists who could have given him the needed advice and guidance for going about this town.
Mistake #2: Focusing on the Wrong Opportunities
It is certainly difficult to tell the right opportunities from the wrong ones, especially if you lack experience. Being a risk-taker is an important characteristic in the business world. However, you ought to weight the risks you take. You also need to know when to quit. Always remember that when you focus too much on one or two things that do not seem to be picking up even after you have given so much, you might not realize that you are actually missing out on other better opportunities for you. Thus, you still have to keep your eyes and ears open for other breaks or prospects while you are trying to work out your existing ones.
One example is the story of Warren Buffett, one of the most popular billionaires of today. Back in the 1960s, he chose to buy a New England textile mill and ran it for twenty years even though it was not improving at all.
Warren Buffett did not immediately see that the textile business then was truly hopeless. Eventually, when Buffett accepted his mistake and decided to move on, he shut down this company and went on to the insurance arena and to other industries that brought him great fortunes.
Mistake #3: Miscommunication
It is very important to communicate well with the people you work with and those who work under you. Keep in mind that the people who work for you are your greatest assets. You cannot be as successful if you do not have leverage on these individuals. Thus, it is vital to build a good relationship with them.
Steve Jobs, for example, was known to fail in open lines of communication. Because he always assumed that people ought to instantly understand and grasp his ideas and suggestions, he ended up losing highly talented people who could have made work much easier in the future. When you lose people, you will end up spending more from hiring and training efforts.
Even billionaires cannot just buy people’s loyalties and emotions. Relationships are of essence too.
Mistake #4: Cost-Cutting
When you really need to cut on your costs to save your business or to make a greater profit, you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons first. You also need to check if the methods you will be utilizing are worthwhile and will not aggravate many. The successful billionaires today have had their share of cost-cutting decisions.
In the case of Ralph Lauren, he made the huge mistake of having Chinese laborers make the 2012 US Olympics team uniforms under his brand name. Since this event is rooted in a nationalistic aspect, it is imperative that the uniforms bear the sign “Made in the USA”. This wrong decision certainly caused a big stir in the nation, which has provoked tons of people to boycott Ralph Lauren.
Indeed it has caused a stain on the name of this famous clothing company.
Mistake #5: Missed Chances
When you are engaged in a certain industry, you have to continuously study the market and its needs. Even if your current products and services are doing well, you still have to be on the lookout for related opportunities in this field. What’s more, it is best to keep up-to-date with the latest innovations.
Who would have thought that Bill Gates, one of the well-known billionaires at present, would make the mistake of overlooking the great potential of the search engine?
When the Internet was just beginning, Microsoft chose to concentrate on developing a browser or navigator instead of coming up with its own search engine. Hence, Google beat Microsoft to this turf, quickly tripling its revenue shortly after it came out.
Bill Gates admitted that it was a lost billion-dollar opportunity.
Mistake #6: Failure to Explore Options
When you see an opportunity that you want to grab, it is crucial for you to check out all your options. Along with the proper research, you have to explore the different ways that you can make this opportunity work out for you. If you fail at one, you have to try another one before someone beats you to it. Would-be billionaires should learn how to weigh opportunities.
One great story in this regard is that of Larry Page of Google. He already had the idea about the amazing promise of social networking especially when Friendster had become popular. When Google offered to buy Friendster in 2003, Larry Page did not act on developing their own.
Before Larry realized it, it was already too late because Facebook had captured the market and no one else stood a chance against this booming social networking site.
Mistake #7: Negative Publicity
In every business and in any industry, publicity is very important. Your public image and that of your brands count. Of course you need to carefully build a positive name that will make people feel good all the time instead of reminding them of negative things. This is why PR is a very important aspect in business too and even in a career that exposes you to the public. Hence, you should learn to be more charismatic and to know how to use the media to your advantage.
Since young billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has always expressed himself without much regard for what others think, he has made a lot of mistakes already with his statements and actions. Mark Zuckerberg’s cocky, arrogant, and blunt personality has been known to give his company ‘Facebook’ a bad image as he is a representative of the website. As a public figure, he is still in the learning process. Not taking crap from people is good in business, but the thin line between cocky and confident should be something you are very clear on when you are constantly in the public eye.
These are the seven common mistakes that a lot of billionaires have made in the past and have learned from. As an aspiring billionaire, you ought to consider these mistakes and do your best to avoid them and to use them for your own good.
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed
We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)
How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life
The Truth About the Law of Attraction
7 Simple Ways to Master Your Emotions When Making Decisions
55 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change Your Life
72 Positive Thinking Quotes For More Inner Strength & Growth
30 Famous Quotes That Will Inspire Success In You
- Life12 hours ago
How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life
- Motivation1 week ago
A Step by Step Process That Will Help You Make the Impossible, Possible
- Entrepreneurs6 days ago
What if Elon Musk Ran Your Business? 4 Lessons From the Real Life Iron Man
- Success Advice1 week ago
The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
The 5 Components of Emotional Intelligence for Great Leaders
- Success Advice3 weeks ago
6 Lessons From Design Thinking That Will Help You Rethink Success
- Quotes3 weeks ago
30 Inspirational Quotes by Michelle Obama That Will Lift Everyone Up
- Entrepreneurs4 weeks ago
Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First