When Entrepreneurs Fail

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Thirty-four percent of the 177 self-made millionaires in my Rich Habit Study acknowledged that they had failed at least once in business.

Failure is painful. It emotionally and financially threatens your family life. No one likes to fail. But failure forces you to change and grow. The lessons you learn from failure stick. Failure leaves scar tissue on the brain. You never forget your failures and the hard lessons failure teaches. Failure forces you to learn what to do and what not to do. For those who are somehow able to pick themselves up and try again, failure is almost always temporary.

In my books, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life and Rich Habits Poor Habits, I share many of the reasons entrepreneurs fail. Here are the top 8 reasons: [Read more…]

Bright Shiny Object Syndrome


Tom Corley boats - cropOne characteristic of self-made millionaires is their ability to focus on one thing for a very long period of time. It may be five years, ten years or twenty years. That’s a long time. It requires a long time to succeed.

Unfortunately, for most, when something does not immediately pay off, they move on to the next bright shiny object. These Bright Shiny Object Syndrome sufferers never experience success because they lack dedication.

Just the other day I saw Facebook posts of two people I know who suffer from Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. They must be on to their fourth or fifth next big thing. They were very enthusiastic about their new venture. But I know in a year or two they will have lost all interest and moved on to the next big thing. That makes me sad.

Success requires grit, determination, devotion and a significant amount of time to overcome failures, mistakes and the obstacles, all of which lead to growth. Bright Shiny Object Syndrome victims never grow enough to learn what to do and what not to do. They quit and move on when the next bright shiny object catches their eye.

If you are struggling in realizing success in your life, let me ask you this: have you stuck to pursuing success on one specific thing for more than five years? If not, that is probably why you are not achieving success in life. Most individuals shift their focus to something else when things get hard. Unsuccessful people perpetually chase the next big thing because the thing they were previously pursuing did not immediately pay off, was too hard or was just taking far longer than they expected.

Success can take a long time. Those who succeed are relentless. They devote themselves to something and stick with it for a long time. How long? Until they succeed. Never quit. Never give up on your dream. Stop chasing every new idea that comes along and stick to one thing until you achieve success or die trying. Persistence is a trademark found in all self-made millionaires.

Self-Made is a Mindset


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What does self-made mean? Self-made means you are able to rise from poverty or the middle-class to become rich and successful.

But self-made is a mindset. In order to become self-made you must first think like a self-made person.

How do Self-made’s think?

  • Self-Made’s Think Like an Owner – They take ownership of everything they do. Taking ownership means making your job, whatever it is, your personal domain. You become expert in it. You seek to control and oversee the process.
  • Self-Made’s Think Bigger – Thinking bigger means having a vision of the future you. You pursue dreams and stretch goals that will force you out of your comfort zone and enable you to grow as an individual.
  • Self-Made’s Run Towards Responsibility – Self-made’s continuously seek more responsibility. Increased responsibility also force you outside your comfort zone and enables you to grow as an individual.
  • Self-Made’s Embrace Risks – Self-made’s fear risk but do not allow that fear to dictate taking action. Self-made’s have developed the habit of running towards and not away from risk. You can never become truly successful without taking risks.
  • Self-Made’s Take Action – Self-made’s are action oriented. They are impatient with endless planning. They prefer to dive into the waters and learn how to swim. They like to figure things out through trial and error.
  • Self-Made’s Are Not Afraid of Failure – Self-made’s pursue things they know could lead to failure in order to learn what to do and what not to do. This failure learning allows them to grow as an individual.

4 Self-Made Millionaires Who Failed and Bounced Back

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“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Confucius

As children we are programmed to believe that failure is bad. If you fail a test it negatively impacts your grade for the course. Fail enough tests and you will fail the course. Teachers call parents, parents yell at child. When we become adult we get bad grades in life by taking risks. As a result, we avoid taking risks in life in order to avoid failure.

Well most of us. The ones who don’t shy away from taking risks that could lead to failure are called self-made millionaires. Self-made millionaires somehow are able to re-program their minds in order to see failure as a good thing, learning experience, rather than as a bad thing. Failing, for self-made millionaires, helps them learn what what works and what does not work.

I thought I’d share some real-life stories of millionaires who failed and whose failure brought them to the brink of financial ruin, only to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of failure. [Read more…]

The False Assumption Habit Will Keep You Poor

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Humans have a bad habit of making assumptions. Assumptions are, by definition, the act of accepting a truth without definitive proof. A habit of making assumptions is a bad one because it can lead to unexpected consequences, oftentimes bad ones that cost you not only time but money.

In my five year study of the daily habits of the rich and poor (Rich Habits Study), 56% of the rich and 72% of the poor in my study engaged in the bad habit of making False Assumptions. This one data point initially slipped through the cracks because there didn’t seem, to me, to be enough of a difference between the rich and the poor when it came to making assumptions. But when I drilled deeper, I made an important discovery. Out of the 233 rich people in my study, 177 were self-made millionaires. Forty-one percent came from poor households and the rest from middle-class households. In this self-made group of millionaires, only 43% of the self-made millionaires had this False Assumption habit. Why?

Sixty-seven percent of the self-made millionaires in my study were entrepreneurs, or individuals who were pursuing some dream, purpose, calling or big goal in life. As a result of their past experience in making assumptions, they learned that many of their assumptions were dead wrong. They found out the hard way that making false assumptions leads to mistakes that cost them time and money. Time is one thing, but money is a precious commodity to budding entrepreneurs and they need every dollar. They simply cannot afford to lose too much money. Successful entrepreneurs figure out along their journey that making false assumptions can put them out of business quickly. So, the smart ones, the ones who become self-made millionaires, learn to avoid making false assumptions.

I found in my research that individuals make false assumptions in one of four ways:

  1. You do not ask enough questions or
  2. You do not ask enough of the right questions or
  3. You don’t seek feedback from experts in your industry or
  4. If you do seek feedback, you dismiss it and simply do what you want.

There’s a narrative out there that all entrepreneurs go with their gut, or their intuition, when making decisions. Because of this misleading perception, entrepreneurs are viewed by most as bold and daring. That may be true of unsuccessful entrepreneurs, but I discovered it wasn’t true of successful entrepreneurs – the ones who go on to become self-made millionaires.

Self-made millionaires do not make important decisions until they have evaluated all of the feedback they receive from many different sources. Then they weigh that feedback. Feedback from industry experts obviously carries more weight than feedback from non-experts. Seeking feedback from others, prior to making any important decision, is a firewall against making a false assumption.


Entrepreneurs in Wonderland


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Starting a business leads you downs paths you’d otherwise never tread. For most, this uncertainty is way beyond their comfort zone, so they hold on to dear life to employment. But for those few brave souls who venture into the looking glass of entrepreneurship, they are in for the experience of a lifetime.

In the beginning, that experience is fraught with many unknowns. The obstacles and pitfalls force you to change, to grow and to learn very quickly what to do and what not to do. Sometimes the lessons are painful, but only in pain can you appreciate pleasure. Eventually, you will figure things out, get it right, develop processes to prevent further mishaps and experience the wonderland of entrepreneurship – more money, more control over your time and more freedom.

Along your Wonderland adventure you will meet many interesting people. Some will discourage you, others will take advantage of you, a few will talk a great game but fail to deliver on their promises and there will be those you meet who will actively stand in your way, preventing you from moving forward. This downside of entrepreneurship is a learning experience. Eventually, you will be able to see these types of people a mile away and avoid them.

But, along your journey, you will also meet some people who will help you. These individuals will energize and inspire you. They will open doors for you. They will mentor you. They will go out of their way to steer you in the right direction. This is the upside of entrepreneurship. Eventually, you will also be able to see these types of people a mile away and learn to embrace their help.

Fortune favors the brave. Luck visits entrepreneurs in a way that can never be anticipated. Luck favors the bold and the brave. All luck asks is that you take action. There is a Wonderland of opportunities out there but you only have one life to find out what those opportunities are.

Create a WOW and Success Will Follow


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Have you ever been wowed? We remember wow events. They stick in our mind. Wow’s happen when someone does something for you, paid or unpaid, that wow’s you. It stokes your emotions. Emotions, it turns out, creates long-term memories. When you wow someone, you create a long-term memory for that person. They will never forget what you did to wow them.

In pursuing any dream, the ability to create a wow event will dramatically improve your chances of making that dream a reality. When what you do wow’s another person, it causes a buzz. That buzz spreads like a virus through the social networks of the individual who was wowed. Soon family, friends and co-workers are looking for their own wow event. This draws more people into your herd. The more people you are able to wow, the larger your herd grows. In time, you will have a large herd. Millionaires have large herds, deca-millionaires have bigger herds and billionaires have the largest herds.

The key to realizing your dreams and success, therefore, is to wow those you serve. You wow others when what you do exceeds their expectations. When our expectations are exceeded, we remember it. And we tell others about it. So, if you want to make your dream a reality, if you want to be a success, you need to wow others. Creating a wow in what you do will virtually guarantee success. So go out and start wowing others. And watch your herd grow!

Bad Luck Follows Poor Choices


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Life rewards you with good luck when you make good choices and punishes you with bad luck when you make bad choices. It is a universal law: bad choices – bad luck, good choices – good luck. Every decision you make builds the foundation of the life you live. If you make prudent choices you build a foundation of success in life. If you make imprudent choices you build a foundation of struggle. You need to make a habit of making good choices.

Everyone makes poor decisions every now and then. The key is to learn from the bad decisions you make and not repeat them. When you continue to repeat making the same bad decision it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a conscious choice, a way of life.

Finding Your Life’s Purpose


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When you find your life’s purpose, that thing you were meant to do, born to do, you know it. There is no doubt. You are 100% certain. If you have any doubts about whether you are pursuing a career that is your life’s purpose, you are not. Doubts are life’s way of informing you that you haven’t found your main purpose in life.

So how do you find your main purpose? Your main purpose is revealed any time you try something new and right out of the gate that new thing comes easy. Being a quick study at something or a natural at something is just life’s way of informing you that you have some unique talent. It then becomes your job to perfect that talent. When you find your unique talent, your main purpose, and pursue it for the rest of your life, the rewards are financial and emotional. You will make more money because you will want to engage in your main purpose 24/7. The more you repetitively practice any skill, the better you get and the more expert you become. The world rewards experts with higher compensation because true expertise is a rare and valuable resource.

We all have innate talents but most of us never unearth our unique talents. We get stuck in jobs that we don’t like, that make us unhappy and our paychecks or net profit reflects that. The key to finding a main purpose, a hidden talent, that can become your life’s profession is to engage in new skill-based activities. Explore various professions full time while you’re young for at most two months until you find something that comes easy. If you’re not young, your time is limited to mornings, nights and weekends. Finding your main purpose on a part-time basis will take you longer. It may take as long as six months for each new activity. If the new activity does not come easy and is actually harder for you than others, move on. You don’t have an innate talent for it. Keep experimenting with new, skill-based activities until you stumble upon something that comes easy to you. When you find your main purpose in life everything about your life will change. Happy hunting.

Boredom is Life’s Wake Up Call


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Most average people are bored to death of their job. Boredom for most is a daily occurrence. But boredom is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s your brain’s way of telling you that “we’re not doing what we should be doing in life”. It’s a wake up call that what you’re doing is not challenging enough and not creative enough.

Our brain loves creativity. It craves to solve problems. It’s hard wired for creativity and problem solving. When you are not being creative or solving problems, the brain lets you know by sending you the boredom signal. In two studies on boredom (Creativity Research Center: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400419.2014.901073#preview and Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103113002205http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103113002205) it was determined that being bored is a brain trigger intended to nudge you into doing something creative and challenging.

If you were lucky enough to spend time picking the brains of self-made millionaires, you’d find out that they just don’t get bored. They are constantly moving and thinking and planning and pivoting. They’re too busy overcoming obstacles, too busy coming up with creative solutions and too busy doing what they like or love to do. If you’re bored it’s because you’re not doing what you were intended to do in life, which is to be creative, to pursue challenging goals, to overcome obstacles and to push your individual envelope as much as you can. When you’re not living up to your potential, your brain lets you know – with a yawn.