I’m a big fan of learning from the people I admire, and while I certainly know that money isn’t everything, I do take notes when I encounter a successful business person who’s made it big. Why? Because I already have a firm handle on my values and needs, but I can certainly learn more about how to scale my business for big growth. Here’s what I’ve observed:
1. Don’t borrow money
Debt is a set of shackles. You have to work harder to pay money back than you would have to earn it in the first place. The ultra-rich understand that sometimes it’s best to defer a purchase until you can pay for it in cash. You’re far better off learning to accomplish your goals with creativity and determination than you are if you ask others to shoulder your risk for you. Find ways to cut costs, create a new way to make money…do everything you can to be beholden to nobody.
2. Put others to work for you
All the money in the world doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have the time to enjoy it. If you insist on doing everything yourself, then your earnings are determined (and limited) by your hourly rate and the finite number of hours in each day. Say you can bill $100/hour for your time. If you work ten hours a day, then your earnings are $1000. But if you need more than that to keep your business and family afloat, then you’re in a pickle! But imagine that you employ ten people who earn you $15/hour. You’re instantly pulling in $1500 for a ten-hour day, and if you add more employees, you can continue to grow your company. Think big!
3. Memories > Stuff
One thing you’ll discover if you observe rich folks is that while they may have expensive things, oftentimes, their focus is on experiences rather than stuff. If you’re contemplating purchasing a frivolous item – like a sportscar or a Rolex – consider instead what it could mean to your family to take a trip of a lifetime. When we’re old, we’re unlikely to wish we’d had more stuff. Instead, we’re likely to wish we’d spent more time living it up with the people who matter to us.
4. Love what you do
When I’m giving advice to entrepreneurs who are looking to refine their niche, one question I like to ask is “What would you be doing if it weren’t about the money?” Now the answer can’t simply be “Drinking margaritas in Mexico.” The point is that if you can find a way to incorporate your passion into your work, then you’re learning one of the rich folks’ secrets. They don’t derive pleasure simply from amassing wealth. They feel motivated because they love what they do. You can do that too! Ask yourself what matters to you apart from money…and then find a way to make money from it!
It pays to learn from the experts. And if you’re looking for ways to improve your financial standing, it only makes sense to look at the folks who’ve already done it.
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan has already been called “the next E-myth!”