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I Built Three Businesses Before I Graduated College – Here’s What I Learned

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My first experience with entrepreneurship involved dumpster diving. I was 10 years old and wanted to make some money. There was a warehouse that manufactured stickers close to where we lived, so what did I do? I hopped the fence and dove into the dumpster after the sheets of reject stickers that were smudged or uneven. These were skate and surf stickers with big name brands like T&C (Town & Country) and Vuarnet. I sold them for 25 cents a pop.

My classmates put them on their book covers, Trapper Keepers, and lockers. I used the profits to buy a bike (which, in hindsight, was definitely stolen) and start a paper route. At that point, I was flying. I never realized you could just do something and make money. My eyes were wide open, and by the time I finished college, I had started three businesses.

I want to briefly share a few nuggets about starting these three businesses. I’ll also detail the skills that served me well, what I wish I’d paid attention to back then, and some steps my fellow entrepreneurs can take to prepare themselves as they pursue their ambitions. My hope is that if you’re starting a business (or want to start one), you’ll learn something from my story.

How one business opportunity led to another

At age 13, I started working as a DJ and did that until I was 22. Using money from my sticker sales and paper route, my buddy and I bought some records and rented the tables from a guy named Dom-Unique. That first day spinning in the garage, we were both hooked.

Cesar, the guy who owned Funky Town Records (where we bought records) saw our ambition and took us on as his apprentices. We learned about DJing from watching him spin. When I went to Boston College, I was spinning at top nightclubs in Boston six days a week. My second business came from promoting the nightclubs where I was spinning.

How did I promote these nightclubs? AOL chat rooms, baby! I developed a reputation amongst the club owners as a guy who was blowing the numbers out, so one of the owners asked if I would build a website and chat room for his club. I taught myself HTML in a weekend and started FunkyWeb, which I sold in 1998 for a stock-only deal and with no help from lawyers. As a result, I made zero money. The lesson: use lawyers when selling a business!

The third business came from the second. I was approached to sell golf clubs online. We secured a sick domain, built the website, and launched it. In 2000, I helped sell the business using an iBank—and this time, we used lawyers to help! But then the tech bubble burst, and just like with FunkyWeb, the millions on paper didn’t translate to hard cash.

The skills that benefited me the most

As I reflect back on building these three businesses, several skills proved invaluable along the way. The first one is what professionals call “resourcefulness.” I called it “down to get dirty.” I was literally willing to dumpster dive to make money. I wasn’t afraid to roll up my sleeves and solve problems as I went. It’s the cart before the horse, no doubt, but it worked for me.

Something we’ll discuss later that served me well was getting into a flow state. Before each set, I had a ritual that would trigger flow state, which to me meant a deep state of concentration. I also used this ritual with homework and times when I’d sit down to work on my business. Being in a flow state is what allowed me to do so many things in parallel.

I also learned to spot and make what I would call “adjacent moves.” I went from DJing house parties to DJing school parties to DJing nightclubs. Same product, three different markets. After DJing for nightclubs, I started building websites for those clubs to promote them. Same customer base, new product. Then I moved from building websites for nightclubs to building a website for a golf company. Here again we have the same product, different market. 

“If you’re the type of person who has to fulfill your dreams, you’ve gotta be resourceful to make sure you can do it.” – Vin Diesel

The one skill I wish I’d had back then

As I think about my life now and the work I do, one important skill I wish I’d had as I was coming up through college was vision. Here’s what I mean by that: while I was DJing and building websites, I never put the two together. I couldn’t see the connection between what was happening online—Naptser was about to launch—and how it would impact DJs.

The reason I retired from DJing was because I saw no future in it. Had I seen what was coming, I could’ve combined my skills as a DJ and website developer to become a producer twenty years before I actually became one. Producing my own music, or remixing other people’s music, was sitting right there under my nose and I didn’t see it, so I retired instead.

Vision is a crucial skill for an entrepreneur. You can get by in the short-term if you’re resourceful and willing to hustle, but at some point you’re going to have to pivot. If you haven’t been reading the landscape as you go, you might not have anything to pivot to when that time comes.

How you can prepare for this journey

If you’re an entrepreneur yourself or you have aspirations of being one, I hope my story and the lesson I learned inspired you. As we close this article, I want to leave you with three steps you can take to set yourself up for success. 

There’s a tremendous amount of advice out there that detail tactics for starting a business, and great resources like Porter’s Five Forces and a SWOT analysis. You should absolutely dig into those, but that’s not where I’d start my journey.

Success with entrepreneurship begins with preparing yourself internally. You want to become the type of person who is capable of building a business before you go out and do it.

With that in mind, here are three steps I’d recommend:

1. Remove your ego from the equation

Your ego is selfish and gives terrible advice. As you begin to observe its running commentary, you can separate yourself from it and avoid making decisions from the ego. Trust your soul instead. You’ll make mistakes, it’s true. But you’ll be capable of rebounding quickly.

“Receive without pride, let go without attachment.” – Marcus Aurelius

2. Manage your energy effectively

When you “recharge” your batteries, you’re actually just restoring the natural energy in your body because, as the first law of thermodynamics tells us, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. 

How do we restore our energy? Through proper sleep and regular meditation. You should also hoard energy by preventing energy leaks. When your energy levels are where they should be, time becomes less of a constraint because you’re so effective.

3. Become adept at getting into a flow state

In that state of deep concentration, you’re able to accomplish far more than you otherwise would. Find what triggers flow for you, master that ritual, and use it often.

Have you tried starting a business or side hustle? How has that worked out for you? Share your stories and thoughts with us below!

Andy Seth spent his childhood living in a Los Angeles motel, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a wildly successful entrepreneur with a beautiful family and all the trappings of wealth. Despite having it all, Andy felt some emptiness inside. When he concluded that his old beliefs were standing in the way of the relationships, creativity, and self-realization he wanted, Andy set out to rewire his operating system. In doing so, he discovered newfound levels of creativity, gratitude, and love. Today, Andy devotes himself to meditation, pursuing his passions, and time with his family and friends. Visit him at www.andyseth.com.

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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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Success Advice

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

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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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