This article on successful business principles is, by design, more vague than some of the others on our entrepreneurship blog. As an avid reader, I know that sometimes you get into a blog and then get worn out halfway through and never make it to the other posts.
In some sense, this is one of the most important. I know a lot of people who nail some of the more tactical strategies we cover in the blog…
They create a great offer. They learn how to sell it. They lock in their advertising. And they remain, sadly, unfulfilled and unhappy for many years while trying to prove to everyone how successful they are. This is a waste! In fact, one of the most important points we drive home for our clients AND our employees is health.
I’d rather be healthy than anything else about having a successful business… because long term freedom and wealth flow out of health first and foremost. If you want to get to the end of your life having built great net worth but zero legacy – SKIP this post. If you are willing to sacrifice everything to make a bit of money and have a successful business – SKIP this post.
If you want health, wealth, harmony, fulfillment and longevity – this is the article to hang your hat on! First things first, let’s talk about growth and why becoming a “person of growth” is so important.
Some time ago, in a sushi bar in Memphis, TN – I sat with a young entrepreneur who was just embarking on his journey. He asked a question that I’ve since thought a lot about…
“If there is a secret to guaranteeing success, what would you say that it is?”
I thought about it for 30 seconds before this word came to mind,:
“Environment, that’s the secret.”
A strong man in a weak environment will LOSE to a weak man in a STRONG environment. And vice versa — if most people would just fix their environment they would find success so much easier.
Your environment consists of the things that surround you.
Friends (good ones and bad ones)
Family (good family and bad family)
News (good news and bad news)
Content and material on social
The car you drive
Everything feeds into this “image” that you project to yourself, telling you who you are going to become. It matters LESS how equipped or intelligent you are, if everyone around you is dragging you down. It doesn’t matter how genetically superior you are or even how bad you want to be in shape – if all you eat is pizza and you never exercise. I told him that environment was the most important element. That was a long time ago, and I’ve had many years to think on my answer. While it’s still true — environment is probably one of THE greatest influencers of your long term success — I would now change my answer.
Since then, I’ve worked with 100,000+ clients, I’ve exchanged tens of millions of dollars in real estate and consulting and product. The experiences I have had have changed my answer. And I’m about to give you the “new and improved” answer!
HOW COMMITTED ARE YOU TO GROWTH?
I’ve studied the richest men and women in all of history. You can get deep into a person’s psychology by studying their behaviors and reading about the friends they kept around them. I’ve looked at all of them from modern day Jeff Bezos to John Rockefeller to the Abraham of the Bible. I have distilled and packaged the choices they made and the thinking they carried with them.
If you take the BEST of Henry Ford and ignore the worst, and you mix it with the BEST of Elon Musk and ignore the worst, mixed with the BEST of Warren Buffet and ignore the worst (so on and so forth)… you begin to get a “winning package” of what success looks like and how it is created.
One word tends to rise to the top, amidst all of the nuances and chaos:
A relentless life of nonstop growth in every area. A desire, a HUNGER, not to be ‘rich’ or ‘famous,’ but just to keep growing. Personally, professionally, in all areas. I think our environments contribute to this growth substantially — but the reason I have changed my answer is because you can have a great environment and be content with where you are in life. So content, in fact, that your desire to grow is no longer present.
How committed are you to keep growing, even after your bills are paid, your team is happy, your assets are flourishing, and you have no money worries? That answer defines your long term trajectory. If you can keep your desire to grow alive, you will win.
Maybe you will not win every single game you try to play. We have to lose from time to time, or else we cannot learn. Not every business venture I’ve started has turned out how I hoped it would. Not every investment I’ve made has paid me to the level I desired. But I have learned from the ups AND the downs because I’ve just kept going.
You will learn that my commitment to you is always to be a partner, first and foremost, to your never ending growth. That’s our mission. It is a fail if you come in as a client, and you only earn more money, but you don’t enhance your value as a HUMAN. Our “profitability” as a mentor, coach, and partner is far beyond money (although money will be a significant byproduct of this new relationship!).
With this in mind, let’s talk about a few of the common caps I see that limit people from their growth towards a healthy life and successful business.
THE LIMITS YOU SET ON YOUR GROWTH
An important component to this growth conversation is understanding how to “normalize.” Normalizing means taking what used to be extraordinary, and turning it into the new ordinary. Your “floor” represents the lowest level you are willing to tolerate. Your “ceiling” represents your record highs.
One of the reasons we have created such a successful business is because our floor is always rising. Your revenue has a floor. Your team size has a floor. Your client success rate has a floor. The higher you build, the stronger your foundations need to be and the higher your floors need to get.
What I earned last year is now the lowest I will tolerate in my life this year. The RECORD month I had in the last 12 months is now the LOWEST month I want to have over the next 12 months.
This is something that happens in MANY areas outside of your income, too.
I remember buying my first car, a Honda Accord, for $30,000. Then I bought my next car, a Tesla Model S for $110,000. Then my next car, a Tesla Model X for $135,000. Now, I don’t need to keep getting more and more expensive every time – but one thing is certain: I won’t be going backwards.
I remember my first investment into real estate, a hard money loan for $20,000. Then my next, a loan for $50,000. Then I started buying actual houses, and before you know it, I am buying 20-30 houses per month and my floor just keeps getting higher and higher.
Our first focus for those we mentor, like you, is for you to build income. Then you want to stack cash and build assets in your business. Then you want to start locking in your future long term income via wealth and tangible assets… but all along the way you are creating this “normalization” process that keeps making your highs higher and your lows higher as well.
Here are some of the most common “caps” that limit a person’s growth and success in business.
Whenever a person says, “I feel like I can’t” or “How did you get over feeling like you deserved it,” it is usually indicative of a belief issue. There are two categories of belief:
1) the process
The first is easy to fix. I can place you in a room with a 22 year old who makes $10 million per year and you will likely do what it takes to figure out that process. The second can be tough.
Here’s the secret: to fix belief issues, fix your REASONS.
Don’t sleep on this. Your “WHY” is your torque, it’s your liftoff power. It’s the fuel for your fire. Without an important reason to accomplish something, you’ll lack fuel. It’s easy to think, “That house is on fire. I’m not a firefighter. I would love to help, but I’m not trained,” when your child isn’t in the house. When your child is inside, and the house is on fire, it doesn’t matter. The reason outweighs the lack of belief that you “can do it.”
We talk a lot about the three “sectors” in a person’s life:
When you are just surviving it’s difficult to have an awareness around what’s stopping you from growing a successful business. And that’s why it’s important to move UP the sectors into a place of true impact — where you are free to BE YOU and help people who need you. Don’t let identity obstacles stop you on your path to growth. First, create stronger reasons for success in business and life (every obstacle is big when it’s bigger than your vision).
Second, focus on your impact – this will skip you up into level 3 sector and you will magically begin to think BIGGER of your life and your capacity.
My first idea of “making it” was having a grocery budget larger than $20 per week. My wife and I lived on twenty bucks per week — insane, right? Most of my SLOWEST growth moments happened immediately after hitting a goal. Why is this? You work for years to hit a goal, and then we just, “slow down” after hitting it?
Humans are wired to REACH for things. What’s that saying…
“necessity is the mother of invention,”
It’s true… when we NEED something, we tend to expand our horizons. Contentment is one thing, comfort is another level.
– I don’t need to grow
– I don’t want to grow
– I need to grow
– I WILL grow
I don’t think this means you need to sell everything, and begin to dress in rags and hitch hike everywhere! I mean you must, again, enlarge your vision… expand your horizons… make it such that where you currently are is no longer “acceptable” for you, based on what your POTENTIAL is.
One day, I was driving home from a quick Starbucks run, and I’d just collected $7,500 for a consulting program that we were selling at the time. I was in a Honda Accord, and as I pulled into the parking lot, it just felt janky. We lived in a poor apartment neighborhood in Memphis, TN. I got out of the car, walked up the steps, 45°F in February and I had an iced drink for some reason so I was rushing to get inside.
As I walked through the front door, I had an epiphany (no, the epiphany was not “this apartment sucks” but it was close to that!). Here I was, on the phones, selling a program to people for $7,500, two years worth of lease payments for my car and 10 months of rent checks for our apartment… and I was battling.
On the phones dealing with objections, I was trying to show people that $7,500 was NOT a lot of money, easily recouped through behaving and working the right way, while sitting in an environment that said exactly the OPPOSITE.
It’s tough to grow to a new level when everything in your current environment is warring against you.
I was expending energy trying to hype myself up to reach out of my environment, instead of allowing my environment to REINFORCE the level I wanted to play at.
I discovered the secret here was normalization which is about lining up your inner world and your outer world. You can be really healthy internally. You can have big visions, big mindset, big goals, but you live with your mom in the basement and eat Cheetos all day. The opposite can be the case… your outer world is great, yet you’re worrying big time internally. In both scenarios, your inner world does not match your outer world.
So, for me this was all about lining up my worlds. I had to ask myself…
What is my outside world versus what is my inside world? And… what did I have to do to make them the same?
Getting back to my story, what I noticed was that I was telling people that $7,500 is not a lot of money. It's an investment. But in my lifestyle, $7,500 would have supported me for 10 months. It wasn't adding up. So, I changed my outer environment. I bought a Tesla, moved into a nicer apartment, and got a Lexus for Lindsey.
Business started growing and rather than leaving all the cash in a bank account, I made sure that my environment always matched up with what I said about myself on the inside, in my mental world. Does that make sense?
This doesn’t just pertain to “physical” things that you own or drive — it applies to your entire life. Who are you spending time with that is no longer supporting the future version of yourself? What clothes are you wearing that, if you’re honest, enforce an OLDER, poorer version of yourself? You will always struggle if you’re trying to tell yourself something different than your environment is telling you.
Lack of knowledge (how to make goals a reality)
This is simple, and easy to fix — but tough to acknowledge. Many times, a person will get lulled into the trap of staying stuck FAR longer than they needed to, and they’ll justify it by saying “I just need to figure it out myself.” It’s pretty difficult to figure something out yourself, you’ll either have to spend the time or the money – but you will not achieve the goal without spending something.
You can compress time by spending money. You can decrease the amount of money it takes by spending time. Growth in creating a successful business is a daily, consistent activity I focus on, and the timeline of my growth is very important to me. I would rather invest the money that is easy to get back than the time which is impossible to get back. You get to choose!
Ambiguity (with targets OR timelines)
There are two types of ambiguity:
1) what you want
2) when you want it
Ambiguity on both sides will slow you down. Let’s address the first point, first. We are emotional creatures – without a destination in mind, we just wander around in the wilderness! It’s crucial to know what you want, because without that you have no coordinates to plug into your GPS system. You need clarity here – not ambiguity. If your goal is “to have a cool business,” you’re going to miss the mark.
What does that mean? How do you know if you’ve achieved it? It’s too vague and won’t make a difference to your motivation levels.
Asking yourself clarity questions will help you nail this down:
How much money do I want to take home every year?
Where do I want to live and how do I want my home to look?
What does my perfect day look like?
What kind of car am I driving and what does it smell like?
Important questions don’t often answer themselves, you have to think about them and get your answers drilled into TARGETS. To answer the second question, you simply go through each answer and ask, “by when?” This puts a stamp on them, so you know what progress you need to make in between, to arrive on time.
A few example answers that might inspire you to dig deeper here:
I want to be able to take 3 days off per week by the end of next year.
I want to take a small trip once per quarter with my family, by the beginning of next year.
I want to give $3,000 a month to my church each month.
I want to drive a black Range Rover by January 31st.
I want a team of 3 people so I can focus on sales and marketing only by the end of next quarter.
Sometimes you just battle a bit of old fashioned human nature. For me, historically, and many of our clients – it can be a full time job just to STAY FOCUSED. We have a legendary tool for this, called the Productivity Pack.This is a part of the game, and you just need to be aware that there are many things constantly fighting for our attention.
One of the most devastating distractions, though, is going to be false problems… things that don’t matter but you feel like they do. I will never forget this coaching call, back in 2016. The client on the line was saying that they had a desperate problem. I asked them to share it with me, and I would help them solve it.
The short version is, they were worried because they had seen another consultant take on a lot of clients at once, and they weren’t able to fulfill all of them. It was a difficult time for this “other consultant,” where refunds were required and a lot of stress was endured.
“Okay, I’ve been there. Let’s build out the fulfillment systems. How many clients do you have right now and how many are you wanting to enroll?”
Silence. I waited, and eventually said “How many clients are you at right now?” The answer was zero. And they didn’t really even have plans to scale quickly beyond a couple per month. I was stunned, but I shouldn’t have been. Humans love to solve problems that we don’t have yet. It makes us feel like we are working while at the same time fulfilling the natural temptation to procrastinate.
Solve the actual problems first — ignore the problems you do not have yet.
I told this person to stop worrying about it until they went and got clients. Guess what? They never did. They were so afraid of a problem that they thought they were going to have “one day” that they never doubled down and got their job for TODAY done.
If you keep hitting a ceiling in any area of your life or business, ask yourself this question:
“Am I focused on the ACTUAL problem I am dealing with RIGHT NOW? Or am I distracted on solving a future problem that I have not earned the right to deal with, yet?”
What is the “one thing” that you can focus on RIGHT NOW, to eliminate the obstacle in front of you RIGHT NOW? Important question – not enough people slow down to answer it and then activate a solution.
If you aren’t sure of the answer, you can either waste time spinning around in trial and error — or you can do what we have done: purchase the blueprint. Shameless plug, it’s laid out in my book, The Consultant Next Door.
There is always someone out there who already has what you want to have, has done what you want to do, and knows how to replicate that process for you to achieve it, too.
There have been many times when I have realized, wait a second — I don’t actually know what I don’t know in this situation. Rather than assemble the wheel all by myself, testing and pressurizing and figuring out all of the ins and outs — I will simply go out and purchase that solution from someone else who’s already solved it for me.
Today, I invest multiple 6-figures per year into my greatest true asset: my thinking. I have mentors, advisors, and consultants that have dealt with the issues I am dealing with and can tell me exactly how to solve them to achieve a successful business.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON FIGHTING WELL
The contents of this article are too important to get lost. I want you to spend time going over the contents of this, more than once. Simply put, how we THINK truly defines how we show up in the world. There is no better investment than into your thinking. As I’ve said elsewhere, your goals are probably very low compared to your locked-up potential.
Learn to unlock your THINKING, in regards to what’s possible and probable and you will give yourself that ability to grow much faster. As an aside, one of the most amazing resources we have for this type of thing is our daily mindset podcast, Daily Mind Medicine. It’s powerful, short (3-5 minute episodes, daily), and FREE!
Specifically, though — how does a person’s thinking impact their ability to earn, to have, and to live well?
A few weeks ago, a client sent me a picture of a yacht and said, “I want one. What’s the fastest way to this kind of money?” He’s a young entrepreneur who came in as a client two years ago and is pulling down several million dollars a year with (MAYBE) 1-2 staff people. Talk about leverage!
But a yacht? That’s a different level of cash. You need more than a few million to bring home one of those. My answer,
“First step to getting a yacht, realize 50k/mo, 200k/mo, even 1m/month is NOTHING. It’s not going to pay for that.”
I have lost track of how many people have approached us to work together who say things like,
“This business has HUGE opportunity. It could make so much money. How about I give you 10% of the profits… I’m talking this could get to $500k/month super quick. Do we have a deal?”
If your best case scenario is only $500k a month, you need to understand that this is very small compared to what is possible. This isn’t meant to be derogatory or condescending. I have a serious passion for helping people unlock wealth and abundance by creating successful businesses and investments. I also know that the first step to creating wealth is your DEFINITION of “good” vs “bad” and how you think about money.
My full response to this client, pasted below:
“First step to this is realizing $200k/mo isn’t enough. It’s not even close to enough. You need 10 years leveraging debt to create a large asset base (such as real estate)…
Or take cash out of a cash producing business and invest it into businesses with large market caps (tech, AI, SaaS) that can grow quickly and you can finance out of them through a sale.
But there is a 99% chance that once you go through the hassle to create the base to be able to afford a yacht like this you will no longer want the yacht.
The best way to build towards anything like this is to build a healthy business — one that is sustainable and you can stay in for a while. It will fund a lot of lifestyle upgrades and you can use the revenue from it to fund other types of opportunities.
Too many people are focused on ‘revenue’ when they should be focused on HEALTH. Health produces revenue. All healthy businesses are flush with cash. But not all businesses flush with cash are healthy… focus on health and enjoying what you are doing. That’s step 1.”
It’s appropriate for this report… but really, what’s important is that you understand that the fastest way to create wealth is by creating value and then mastering advertising & sales… AKA growing a healthy, cash flush BUSINESS.
This is the all time fastest vehicle to sustainable and significant wealth.
Let’s take somebody like Warren Buffett. Since 1965, his company (Berkshire) has generated a positive 20.8% year after year return. Take 2015 and put $100,000 into Warren Buffett’s hands, and you’d get approximately $120,800 back (a gain of $20,800).
Let’s take one of our businesses for an example to compare.
In 2016, for “Smartest Guys In Marketing™” we put $170,000 into our business, and got $1,485,000 back (a gain of $1.3 million). In 2017, same business, we put $575,000 into our business, and got $4,600,500 back (a gain of $4.02 million). That’s an average return of over 810%.
This is wealth creation at a level you can’t get anywhere else. Not real estate. Not Wall Street. Nowhere else…
If you made an 810% return in any Wall Street investment you’d be on the front cover of every financial magazine in the country. It’d be unheard of. You’d be a prodigy… a god among men (and women). Yet our clients produce these kinds of returns all day, month after month, year after year…
And nobody’s ever heard of them.
It’s not because what they’re doing isn’t amazing… it truly is. It’s because today’s CULTURE has wired a certain mindset into you regarding money & wealth. Here’s the thing: the fastest way for you to become a millionaire?
Build a great business & learn how to advertise.
As you progress up the ladder, different skills come into play. To get to $10 million you need to understand product scale & people. To get to $100 million you need to get into mass market trends and leverage your cash in a really savvy way. To get to a billion you need a roll up of companies in your portfolio and enough of them have gotta have recurring revenue so your valuation has a healthy multiplier.
So on and so forth…
“The fastest way for you to become a millionaire is to build a great business and learn how to advertise.” This is true because, as you will learn – MONEY FOLLOWS A CODE of rules. I’m going to give them to you really quickly.
YOU have to believe that you deserve it
Money flows where the perceived value exchange is highest
Fulfillment comes when you have a purpose outside of “accumulation”
Money doesn’t care what you do with it, but it tells a story about you and that story determines how much you’ll have, and how long you’ll have it
Let’s tackle these individually…
RULES THAT ATTRACT ABUNDANCE
1. DO YOU DESERVE IT?
It’s been our personal observation that so many people suffer financially because subconsciously they believe they should suffer. This is a messed up place to be.
If the ghost of Rockefeller were here writing to you right now, he’d talk to you about how he was gifted to make money and how “god” had uniquely called him to make money.
He’d talk to you about how he deserved to be the one creating all this wealth so that he could use it for the betterment of his fellow man. No matter which way you look at it, every single prosperous man or woman in history has believed that they deserved to be that way.
Not to get too deep on you here, but I’ve spent a lot of time studying kinesiology and formative causation lately, and we can now logistically prove that our thoughts create energy waves.
We can track them, rate them, and tell based on the rating that comes back whether someone is thinking a “high level” thought (like courage, or selflessness) or whether they’re thinking a “low level” thought (like fear, or pride).
This is powerful stuff. Because it means your thoughts are actually creating “ripple effects” in the circumstances that are going on around you.
We can get into more on this later, because I don’t have time to tie a neat bow on this so you just gotta trust me: how you think about YOU, whether you feel like you deserve it or not, definitely impacts your ability to create wealth.
So get it straight…
2. KEEP THE VALUE EXCHANGE HIGH
Don’t overcomplicate money. It’s a resource, like water, and it flows the path of least resistance. Here’s the law: money always congregates where the value exchange seems to be highest. You’re going to have to break yourself of thinking “raw material” and “nuts and bolts” here. I didn’t say “worth,” I said VALUE. And value implies perception.
Think about it: you have a favorite hoodie or a piece of furniture your grandma gave you. It’s “worth” 20 bucks… but it’s value to you is sky high. This is how money operates. It will flow to wherever the value OUTRANKS it. Again… so you get it.
Money will flow to wherever the ‘value’ OUTRANKS it. I’m at Starbucks right now. This double shot I’m drinking probably is only “worth” $1.50 cause that’s all it took them to make it. But the value of it (to me at least), outranks the $4.64 I paid to get it.
I’d rather have the drink than the four bucks. Making sense?
Here’s what you have to know: your successful business must master the exchange of value so that people would rather give you their money than live another day without your product or service.
Two reasons people seem to always be behind the 8 ball on this:
- They don’t understand “VALUE VS WORTH” so they’re undercharging
- They don’t understand VALUE period so they’re selling stuff that doesn’t matter and people don’t care about them
3. WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?
Andrew Carnegie said,
“He who dies rich, dies disgraced.”
Sounds a little bratty, eh? He and Rockefeller traded places for the wealthiest man in America multiple times. What did BOTH of them have in common? They gave away warehouses full of money. They had a clearly defined purpose. Here’s what we’ve discovered…
The “cool stuff” is fun. Driving a Tesla is fun and having nice houses (Chris just bought a mansion) is a lot of fun. But it isn’t anywhere near “enough.” If you’re not making a real difference, if there isn’t a real MISSION attached to it all, then it’s for the birds…
It’s been my observation that the accumulation of money is only fun until you reach a certain point. There are a lot of times now, when if we didn’t have a mission (which I’ll get into later), it’d be like “What’s the point?” We have enough to not work anymore. We have enough to just coast by for the next 10 years and still live amazing lives.
So why are we doing this?
If that annoys you it’s probably because you don’t have one… I talk a lot deeper about the whole process of inside my book, The Consultant Next Door.
4. THE STORY MONEY TELLS
Money is amoral, without a spirit. It doesn’t care what you do with it; but it talks… it’s got a loud mouth and it will betray you if you disrespect or misdirect it.
A few years ago, Chris and I were just getting going and, to be honest, we were still very new to handling large sums of money. One of the beautiful things about the internet is you can develop friendships with people who don’t live anywhere near you — we have a lot of friends and contacts from all over the planet who are involved in similar ventures and we all sometimes meet up to talk about what’s working…
One of the guys brought this up and it was true then, and it’s true now, so I’ll share… this guy had seen the rise and fall of one of the newer “internet marketing” gurus. The guru was boasting about making $4 million (roundabouts) on a new product launch and how it funded his new house that he bought for $4 million, and I tell you what…
I knew as soon as this guy started telling the story that this person was eventually going to crash and burn. Here’s something you’ll recognize amongst the players at the top who’ve been around for a bit — they carry with them a deep respect for money. They genuinely want to use what they’ve earned to create more…
They don’t indulge in frivolous expenses for the sake of showing how rich they are. I remember when I bought my first Tesla. We were doing about $250,000 – $300,000 every month. I negotiated the lease down to a thousand bucks a month and my god I was still a little nervous about it. It is funny, but also in hindsight, it wasn’t because I was worried about not having the money to pay for it.
It was because I am — like Chris, like every other long-game-oriented entrepreneur I know — concerned with the story I’m writing with my money. I want it to be used for good, leveraged in a way that can create more money. I want the story I tell with money to be so good that it goes out and convinces other people’s money to come hang out in MY bank account…
When you see someone make $100k and then go spend $100k, they’re telling a story that will cause money to run from them. This doesn’t mean you cannot have nice things once you earn them…
You’re reading this from a guy who flies private, builds a new house to live in every couple of years, and the cheapest car I have is $130k. I am not “suffering” or living without nice things — but I also have millions in real estate, several 8-figure businesses, a collection of 7-figure businesses, and at the end of the day – I live UNDERNEATH my means because I want to be diligent with the money I have been entrusted with.
You do not have to rob yourself of a quality standard of living to be wise. You must learn the language that you want to speak, though, and the language of money often sounds like ‘investment,’ ‘saving,’ ‘diligence,’ and more.
My sincere hope is that you would truly lean into becoming a STUDENT of the wealthy. We have put together many resources for you to do so. Seek them out, and pay attention – and you will only grow as time grows beside you. The greatest place to start is by picking up our book, “The Consultant Next Door.”
In your service,