Believe it or not, self-made billionaires, at one point, were in the same position as you are in today. Each of the fabulously wealthy people that I highlight below struggled through challenges and issues much the same as those you’re facing. There are some amazing business lessons to be learned from these individuals. The lessons below will help you understand how they broke through, beat the odds and grew their fortunes into billions.
Lesson#1 – “If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.” — Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon)
Jeff Bezos’s management and leadership approaches at Amazon are constantly questioned because they are different. In fact Amazon, as a company, is criticized constantly because they don’t fit the mold of what people have long thought of with a “retailer.” The lesson of this is to make sure you grow a thick skin when you are executing on a vision that is outside the mold. This will allow you to stay focused and block out the noise.
Lesson #2 – “Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.” — Mark Cuban (Owner of Dallas Mavericks)
If you have ever watched an episode of Shark Tank, you will notice that a large percentage of business owners want him as their investor. The reason for this is because he is an inquisitive entrepreneur that works extremely hard. Mark Cuban also has an amazing track record of growing several successful businesses that have been acquired over the years, including Broadcast.com that was acquired by Yahoo for close to $6 billion. The lesson behind this is to work harder in your business than anyone else and be a student of your industry to ensure success.
Lesson #3 – “The trouble in America is not that we are making too many mistakes, but that we are making too few.” — Phil Knight (Founder of Nike)
The single thing that differentiates entrepreneurs from everyone else is that they took the leap into the unknown. They left the security of a steady pay check for your chance to determine their own destiny. That is a powerful step that shouldn’t be overlooked and you need to keep this attitude in mind as you grow your business. So don’t be afraid of making mistakes because you won’t be able to do anything significant if there isn’t a risk of failure.
Lesson #4 – “Find that thing you are super passionate about. A lot of the founding principles of Facebook are that if people have access to more information and are more connected, it will make the world better; people will have more understanding, more empathy. That’s the guiding principle for me. On hard days, I really just step back, and that’s the thing that keeps me going.” — Mark Zuckerberg (Founder of Facebook)
The most successful entrepreneurs share the same trait; they are extremely passionate about whey they are doing. Zuckerberg has always been fascinated by building systems that connect people. His passion was always to make the world more open, sometimes radically so. Having passion for something means that you don’t give up. It gives you energy to work through difficulties. Passion is what turns an entrepreneur into a successful business leader: If you are driven by passion you won’t give up, no matter how long the journey, and you keep learning constantly.
Lesson #5 – “People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they?” — Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft)
No entrepreneur needs to be told this, fear comes with the territory. Roughly 30 percent of all U.S. entrepreneurs confess to a fear of failure, according to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report from 2015. Fear of change comes in different forms in business but it is not change per se that people fear. We fear that the regressive stage of change will become permanent. The reality is this fear is natural but it can be managed and overcome. It can even be used as an opportunity to learn new things that will give you a competitive advantage in business.