I work and live for the moments like the picture above – watching my boys laugh and play together. There is a code among industrious risk takers. It’s one that almost every successful entrepreneur lives by. Within that unspoken code are five rules every great entrepreneur should follow. Not only does it enable a healthier mental and physical life, but these rules give one the potential to make boatloads of money and build a real legacy.
Measure every decision and performance: Be a stickler for results. Ingrain it into your company’s culture, and your own brain if necessary, that performance is what matters, not time served. By that I mean, understand and explain that no one is expected to trade hours for dollars; instead, they are supposed to get results and are compensated for that. Time served is irrelevant. Such a mantra will automatically create a culture of efficiency, continual improvement, and accountability.
Those who don’t measure their performance are difficult to motivate.
Say no more than yes: Remember that boyfriend or girlfriend you couldn’t break up with because you were too worried about their feelings? Mostly you were worried about saying no to what they wanted. You liked them but knew they weren’t for you, and that was hard to tell them.
Your time is valuable. It’s the most valuable currency we have, particularly the more successful one becomes. As a result of your success, more people, and other entrepreneurs will ask for investment, advice and help with their ventures. Although it may seem curt to say no to such offers, it’s not.
After my early success as an entrepreneur, I wanted to help as many others as I could be it through investment or my time. However, that ended up spreading me way too thin, and I disappointed those I committed to because I was too busy. They suffered, and so did my reputation. That’s how I learned the importance of saying no, although I still routinely struggle with it.
Know your bandwidth and play within it.
Your family is more important than your business: When family life is suffering, everything else goes with it. Companies come and go, but your kids and spouse are your lasting legacy; and they need you every day. Whether you’re on the road or in town, make time for your family every day (even if it is just 5 minutes of ‘face time’ on your mobile when you’re gone). Remind them they are your number one. Take it from someone who knows the importance of this…
I witnessed a brilliant entrepreneur meltdown and nearly lose everything because his family life was falling apart. He was never home, obsessed with being at every meeting and on every conference call for his company. His wife ended up developing feelings of disdain for his business, or as she put it, ‘his other wife.’ Long story short, alcoholism took hold in their household, and things deteriorated rapidly. That’s an extreme case indeed but serves as a good reminder.
Reinvest as much of your profits as you can afford: This one is simple. Feed the beast. If it is roaring along and profits are rapidly growing, fan the flames and keep it going. Disruption is always right around the corner. Invest in people, infrastructure, and innovation. Moreover, don’t be afraid to speculate on a grandiose idea. Boldness is a critical trait of successful entrepreneurs.
Invest in other entrepreneurs: The power of leverage… you are a successful, capable entrepreneur. So you can recognize kindred spirits. Invest in other entrepreneurs early on in their ventures. Imagine how lucrative it would be if you could invest in you. Find other entrepreneur-versions of you and watch your wealth multiply.
To recap, successful entrepreneurs manage their bandwidth appropriately, continuously invest in their business and others, prioritize family life, and hold themselves and their team accountable by having clear measurables. Simple stuff but rarely followed. So often, I see entrepreneurs with a kick-ass business and imbalanced personal life and schedule. This inevitably proves unsustainable. While my five rules of successful entrepreneurship may seem contradictory to the Gary Vaynerchuk philosophy of hustle, hustle hustle, they’re not. Hustle your ass off, but be smart about where you’re hustling and how you deploy time and capital.
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