Elon Musk’s first wife explains what it takes to become a billionaire

Justine Musk, first wife of billionaire Elon Musk, knows a thing or two about wealth and hard work — her ex-husband is a founder of PayPal, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and has an estimated net worth of $12.1 billion.

She recently posted a response to a Quora thread asking the question “Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in all the necessary work required?”

Her answer is “no,” though she says that the Quora reader is asking the wrong question altogether.

“You’re determined. So what? You haven’t been racing naked through shark-infested waters yet,” she writes. “Will you be just as determined when you wash up on some deserted island, disoriented and bloody and ragged and beaten and staring into the horizon with no sign of rescue?”

She then offers some advice:

“Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it.  Choose a second thing and become a master of that.  When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.

The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.)  The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you’ll have to figure out how it doesn’t apply to you because you’re coming from an unexpected angle. And you’ll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.

Have courage. (You will need it.)

And good luck.  (You’ll need that too.)”


7 Networking Secrets Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s

Fresh out of college, my first job was doing marketing research for McGraw Hill in New York City. I didn’t know many people in the city and, to me, networking was all about finding new friends to hang out with. Networking was purely social.

What I discovered over the years is that networking is much more than that. It is an essential part of building a successful career, and if done strategically and intentionally, it can be very powerful.

Here are the seven secrets about networking I wish I learned in my 20s:

1. Effective networking involves focus, attention, and strategy.

Many of us network haphazardly. We join some industry groups. We meet coworkers after work for a drink, but we don’t have a plan. We might even think the more people we meet, the better. But meeting the right people is most important. The right people are those that can help you reach your career goal. The right people are those people who are willing to speak up for you. You need to focus on people with whom you can build strong mutually beneficial relationships.

2. There is a direct relationship between networking strategically and increased income.

Upwardly Mobile, Inc., with the support of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business Management, conducted research in April 2008 about how professionals use networking. They surveyed more than 600 high-earning “elite” professionals about how they use networking to cultivate richer relationships, gain more access and enjoy more success in their careers and personal lives. Their findings confirm that “networking is a key driver behind higher salaries and career advancement.”

3. Keeping in touch with former alums and colleagues is money in the bank.

When I wanted to make a career move after having lost out on a promotion, I tapped into my network and let people know I was looking for a new opportunity. Almost immediately, a former colleague gave me information about an opening in her company. She worked in another business unit there and knew the management team. Not only did she give me the lead, but she pre-sold me to the key stakeholders. I interviewed for the position and landed the job. My income almost doubled.

4. Paying it forward pays off.

One important lesson I’ve learned is that the more you invest in your network, the more valuable your network is. Taking calls, responding to emails, offering to help people creates a strong bond. People trust that you will be there for them and are often willing to respond in kind. It’s important to network proactively so you have these relationships when you need help.

One of my clients is a great example of this. Lisa was always willing to offer her help and support to her former colleagues. An executive with a long history in banking, Lisa took a risk and joined a technology startup as COO. After one year, it was apparent that this new opportunity wasn’t working out. Lisa was let go. The primary breadwinner in her family, she needed another high-level job as soon as possible.

She immediately let her network know what she was looking for. They gave her leads about openings and she was able to secure a senior executive position within a month and a half. The job had not even been formally posted yet. The time and energy she invested in helping her network contacts paid off.

5. Collecting business cards is better than handing them out.

Do you go to networking events armed with a stack of business cards? We have been instructed that giving out our cards is the best way to make connections. The secret to effective networking, however, is to make sure you collect business cards of those people you meet. This way you can control the follow up. You give away your card, you give away the control. After you go to a networking event, write notes on the back of the cards about the conversation you had with this person and potential ways to follow up.

6. Forget the elevator pitch; find commonality.

I often hear from clients that they don’t know what to say when they first meet people at networking events. They stumble over their elevator pitch trying to impress someone with their title or expertise. Here’s the thing to remember: It’s the commonality that matters. Enter into conversations and ask questions and listen. The things you might have in common help to establish a connection that will blossom over time.

7. Don’t just network with people you like and people like you.

Our comfort zone is to hang out with people most like us, but research supports the benefits of diverse networks.

Ronald S. Burt, professor of sociology and strategy at the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business, has done extensive research on the efficacy of diverse networks.

“Indeed, it might not be who or what you know that creates advantage, but rather more simply, who you become by dint of how you hang out — the disadvantaged hang out with folks just like themselves, while the advantaged engage folks of diverse opinion and practice.”

How are you currently networking? It takes focus and intention to network effectively for your career advancement.


How to Hire Like a Shark

I am very good at hiring because I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve learned to look at the specific individual and look for the most important traits and then ignore everything else, especially the resume. It sends you in the wrong direction. I learned through trial and error what makes a great manager, what makes a great salesperson and that’s who I always hire.

If you’re going to hire a lot of salespeople for your organization I found that I look for the same three things in every single person I hired. I wanted someone who was insecure with something to prove. If somebody walks in there cocky, they never become your great salespeople. My top ten salespeople making millions of dollars a year, every year came to my office in December swearing they would never have another good year. Why? It was ridiculous. But they were insecure enough to think it could never happen again. You want an insecure person if you’re hiring a salesperson with something to prove.

You also want someone who has a positive attitude in every way because you know what happens? A positive person when they get hit — and sales is all about getting hit and knocked down. They spend very little time feeling sorry for themselves. They get right back up. They’re back at it. You almost need a low IQ like hit me again, hit me again, hit me again. That’s a great salesperson. And then you need the work ethic to go with it. Nobody is great in sales unless they work like crazy. So those are the three traits I look for in every great salesperson.

What I look for in a manager is someone who’s gonna be loyal. I mean heck, if I’m gonna build a giant house which is my business on a shaky foundation, how far am I gonna get? I need a structure with a footing as loyal as can be that’s gonna stand there through the thick and thin. I also need someone who believes that we’re gonna succeed. I need someone with a positive attitude. Always a positive attitude because you know what I find? I find a manager with a positive attitude is always gonna find a way to get to where you want them to go.

A mark of a good manager is someone who’s organized. I always ask everyone I’m interviewing in an interview on a scale of one to ten how would you rate yourself as an organized person? I never hire anyone who says nine or ten. I want the guy who says oh, I’m about a 12. A manager without follow through is useless. You’ve got to be able to give the command, they get it done and they don’t forget about it when something distracts them. A manager always follows through.

How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up

Finally the SMS arrived:

“Tomorrow morning 5am, flight number AZ610 from Rome to NewYork.”

An SMS hitting my BlackBerry on Sunday evenings used to decide my destination and client for the coming week.

I was working for one of the top three global strategy consulting firms.

A life packed in a suitcase. A consulting life where you miss out on everything and everyone in life, except Excel spreadsheets. A fancy business life we are taught to be ideal slaves of, at top business schools whose degrees we are proud to hold.

After few hours of sleep, the private driver was taking me to the Rome Fuimicino airport so I could take my fancy business-class flight to NYC. Upon arrival, I was checking in to a fancy five-star hotel and heading to my client’s office afterwards.

The salary? It was fancy, too. The company was proud to be among the top payers of the industry.


There was something wrong with this consulting life, though. I couldn’t stand this fancy bullsh*t any longer and one day I called my parents:

“Dad, mom, I just quit my job. I want to start my own startup.”

My mom almost had a heart attack. It wasn’t the first thing a perfectionist mother wanted to hear after encouraging me to graduate from the world’s top business schools with top grades.

I tried to ease her distress. No chance.

“Mom, I hate it. All these consultants are pretending to be happy and they are taking happiness pills. I get to sleep only 3–4 hours a day. All those benefits the company promised don’t exist. Remember the fancy five-star hotel? I am working almost 20 hours a day and I don’t even enjoy it. Fancy breakfast? We never have time to have that. Fancy lunch, dinner? It’s just a sandwich in front of our Excel spreadsheets.

Oh, by the way, instead of enjoying a champagne, I stare at spreadsheets during my entire business class flights, too. The fancy salary? I never have time to spend a single penny of it.

I hate my life, Mom, it’s such a loser life. I don’t even see my girlfriend. I can’t fake it anymore. I want to start my own business.”

My parents had retired after years of a 9–5 working routine at their secure and boring government jobs.

I knew that coming from a family with no entrepreneurial background, it would be difficult to explain my situation to them, but I didn’t expect the call next morning.

It was my mom on the phone:

“Sooooooooo, how is your business doing?! Is it growing?!”

No matter what I said, I couldn’t explain to her that a business needs more than one day to grow.

Girlfriend, Friends & Social Circle

Having had the most supportive girlfriend ever, it was now time I shared the news with my friends who were busy climbing the fancy career steps in the fancy corporate world.

I told everyone that I just quit my job to follow my startup dream. Some of my friends gradually stopped seeing me, probably because they thought there was something wrong with me since it was the second “fancy” job I had quit in a short period of time.

While the rest of my friends were supportive, there was, however, still something wrong with my relationship with them:

I soon realized I was starting to pull myself away from social gatherings.

Every time I met with those friends, I didn’t have many updates to give them in response to their repeated questions, such as, “So, how is your startup going? You are going to be the next Zuckerberg, right?” “Oh man, we are so proud of you and we are so sure you will soon receive a huge round of investment.”

Doing a startup was a long journey and I was putting myself under so much pressure by giving such a f*ck about what other people think.

Day by day, I was getting lonelier and more depressive as I avoided social occasions. My startup progress was not as fast as my social circle imagined it to be and I was fed up with telling people it took years for startups like Facebook and Twitter to arrive at where they are now.
The only comfortable place was next to my few entrepreneur friends. It was true, only an entrepreneur could understand an entrepreneur.

Cash, cash, cash.

As if the social pressure and loneliness were not enough, I was meeting the mother of all stresses: running out of cash much faster than I had imagined.

This was killing my productivity and ability to make proper decisions. I was panicking and rushing to be successful and to make money.

One day, I even found myself asking my girlfriend for a few cents because I had no money to buy bottled water. I didn’t know it was just the beginning of such a difficult life full of ups and downs…


Enough with the drama: more than two years have passed since those days. I am now writing this blog post in a beautiful resort in Phuket, Thailand, while enjoying my mojito.

Wait, I am not selling a dream. No, I haven’t become a millionaire startup founder.

However, my business has a constant stream of cash that allows me to travel the world and to work from wherever there is WiFi.

There are, however, five things I wish I had asked myself before starting this painful journey. Five questions I believe every future entrepreneur should ask himself before taking the first step to entrepreneurship:

1. Are you ready for the social pressure?

If you have friends and family who are not entrepreneurs, they won’t truly understand what you are trying to achieve and the public pressure will be even higher.

I cared so much about what other people think of me– so much that it ruined my life.

I was so hard on myself and punished myself with even more work so I could announce my success as soon as possible. That is, until the day I realized no one gave a f*ck about me, so why would I?

You are no more than a few seconds of attention other people give to a Facebook status. In 2014, no one has time to care about others in such a crowded, noisy world.

If you care so much about what others think, you will waste your time trying to prove that you are successful instead of focusing on your startup.

Get a life. I got mine quite late.

2. Are you single or do you have an extremely supportive partner?

As we grow up, we share more of our life with our partners than with our friends or family. While I was lucky to have such an amazing girl, it was so sad to see many of my entrepreneur friends breaking up with their girlfriends along the way.

Doing your own business is tough – way tougher than I could have ever imagined. Your mind is constantly f*cked up with a million things going on inside and no other person, including your girlfriend, has a single clue what is going on in there.

If you are not single, make sure your partner understands it’s sometimes normal not to have a mindset even for a simple kiss. Yes, for a simple proper French kiss.

3. Do you have enough cash to last at least a year?

Good, then multiply that amount at least by three because you will be running out of your savings way faster than you ever imagined. Along the way, there will be so many hidden costs, accountant fees, lawyer needs, broken iPhones or PCs, etc.

Get ready for a smaller apartment, smaller food portions, or counting your cents, which you never cared about in your life previously.

The last few months before you totally run out of your cash will be especially difficult and the pressure will grow so exponentially that you won’t be able to sleep properly.

Success will come slowly, and cash will burn fast. Be smart – plan from day one.

4. Are you ready to sleep only few hours a day?

Having escaped from the corporate consulting world, I was thinking I was finally going to live the dream by working whenever I wanted to work – until I read Lori Greiner’s following quote:

“Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”

It all started by little wake-ups in the middle of the night. At the beginning, it was because I was too excited about my ideas and I had so many of them. I simply couldn’t wait for the morning to arrive so that I could start working again.

Then came the exaggeration phase. I was working too much because I never had enough of working for my idea and I wanted to do more. However, the more I worked and the later I went to bed, the more difficult it was to fall asleep and the lower the quality of my sleep became.

As a result, at least two or three days of every week I was having days with almost no productivity.

Don’t be fooled by my fancy Instagram picture above. Don’t be fooled by over-hyped funding news about startup founders becoming millionaires.

The stories behind the scenes have so many painful days, sleepless nights, and continuous rejections and failures.

The journey to success is long. Very long. Very often, too long.

5. How do you define success?

Each of us has a different priority list in life. For most people, money is the number one priority on the list, while work-life balance ranks higher for others. Consequently, people define success differently.

Depending on your definition of success, the difficulty of your entrepreneurial journey will differ, too. If money and public success are what matters to you the most, you are likely to have a hard time along your journey.

Remember Hemingway’s wise words:

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the

Successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily those who raise millions of investment rounds. Don’t forget, they are one in a million.

There are, however, thousands of dreamers out there who manage to bootstrap their startups or live so well off on their own, but even they do not make it to the top of tech news.

No matter how much your journey f*cks up your life or how difficult it will be, enjoy the ride and keep following your passion. As Tony Gaskin puts it perfectly:

If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.”

View at Medium.com

Simple Yet Powerful Business Lessons From a Broke Entrepreneur Turned Multi-Millionaire


A boy grows up poor in Poland, drops out of high school and moves to the U.S. at age 17 without speaking one word of English, becomes a millionaire, loses it all and rebuilds over and over again, each time with more success.

That may sound like a movie script, but it’s part of the fascinating real-life story of serial entrepreneur Tomas Gorny, co-founder and chief executive of cloud-based communications provider Nextiva — as well as iBoost (funded by SoftBank) and IPOWER, now part of Endurance International Group where he remains a director.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Gorny recently and he shared some of his secrets of entrepreneurial success:

Creation is greater than accumulation: Gorny’s biggest lesson came from learning to focus on creation, letting his drive and passion guide his decisions instead of money. “Don’t chase the money,” he advises. He says it is too easy to get caught up in the game of capital raising or focusing on an exit strategy — which was a roadblock to his own success. When he refocused his energy on creating and innovating, the money followed, instead of potentially compromising decisions that ultimately would not have been in the best interest of the company.

Never compromise quality, especially with people: Quality is paramount, and that extends to the people that you surround yourself with, from friends to employees. Gorny said that having friends that were focused on wealth and flashy lifestyles made him unfocused and actually led to his temporary financial woes. He learned from that lesson and brought it into his professional life where he only hires people that he is proud to work with. This creates the quality environment on the inside of the business that translates into high quality interactions with customers, every time.

Good products will thrive and survive: There is a lot of noise in every marketplace, which is something that every entrepreneur trying to compete for customer mind-share is acutely aware of. However, Gorny advises delivering the best products or services you can that solve customer needs. Those products and services outlast the noise as customers can’t live without them and often refer them to friends.

Making sense makes sense: When Gorny first came to America, he distinctly remembered needing to buy shoes and seeing a July 4th special sale offering two pairs for the price of one. This two-for-one special bothered him, because he only needed one pair of shoes and informed how he approached marketing from then on — always from the customer perspective. That’s why in his current company he focuses on one-stop bundling and offers that are precisely what the customers want and help them simplify their decision-making.

Your past is not your future: Having been extremely poor, losing his fortune and having to start over working as a valet and carpet cleaner in between building million-dollar businesses, Gorny encourages every entrepreneur to realize that your past and current circumstances don’t determine your ability to be successful in the future. Only you and your willingness to work hard, work smart and keep trying do.

Having been there a number of times, Gorny’s success speaks for itself and will hopefully inspire your success too.


The One Controversial Thing You Should Do Before Starting Your Business

We all come to turning points in our lives. Decisions we make in those moments can shape our entire business and life. In the startup world, this couldn’t be truer.

When my co-founder approached me about starting a catering-delivery startup together, I was exhilarated by the prospect of a new venture and the potential to achieve success far beyond what I’d be able to accomplish in the corporate world.  I had come from a household of successful parents, graduated from an Ivy League school and worked for a top-tier consulting agency. If anyone was prepared for this, it was me. Or so I thought.

After being open for about six months, I hit a wall back in April 2011. I had been putting in more than 100 hours a week, with little to show for it. The company wasn’t progressing as quickly as we had expected, and we weren’t sure we could scale to make the business worthwhile. During that time, I started to question if I made the right decision. 

One weekend, I decided to take a drive to the ocean to clear my head and think about what I wanted in my life. After a lot of soul searching, I decided to continue down the startup path. And I am glad I did. The company now has locations in six cities, more than 60 employees and is continuing to grow rapidly.

As I look back to why I was ready to quit, I realize it was because I still hadn’t fully burned my bridges back to my old life. I still had the thought that I could go back to how things used to be. Over time, I realized that holding onto that lifeline turned out to be what was holding me back.

It wasn’t until I had cut off my escape route that I could truly focus on the way forward. From then on, I started each day by telling myself that what others thought (or what I thought they thought) didn’t matter, it was all about my own focus on the task at hand. Just making that choice didn’t guarantee success, but if I continued on and later failed, I at least knew that I would have given my all and had no reservations.

Starting a business requires total dedication and allowing yourself a safety line can be enough to keep you from being able to give it everything you have.

Here is what I learned about just letting go.

Survival mode sets in. When you no longer have a crutch to lean on, you realize your startup is all you have. While this can be petrifying, it can also help put you in a mindset where every decision is crucial to the success of the business. Nothing was too small or insignificant — if it affected the business, it became my sole focus.

Perception changes. When I had an easy way out, I was bitter about the sacrifices that I was making, because my life had been so much easier before I became an entrepreneur. Once I burned my bridges, I saw the sacrifices as the first steps towards the lofty goals I had set when I started. I saw each new roadblock as a challenge to overcome, not as a wall that couldn’t be surmounted.

Priorities shift. Before I was constantly questioning whether I had made the right decision but after letting go, I realized I couldn’t succeed unless I saw the business as an extension of myself. This shift allowed me to prioritize the business above all else and simplified and clarified my direction.

Keep in mind, by proposing that people burn their bridge, I’m not suggesting throwing caution to the wind. Before moving forward with a startup idea, people need to make sure there is a product-market fit, will have the tools to execute and can scale the concept. Throughout our startup process, we used lean startup principles and didn’t take large, uncalculated risks.

What makes most startups successful is the will to overcome challenge after challenge. The hard truth is that genius insights and breakthroughs are often the result of fear of failure. 


10 reasons you will fail as a real estate agent

Success requires a particular mindset especially when life and clients throw you a curve ball

If you have ever met me, you know I’m a fairly optimistic person. I work hard to avoid and focus on the negatives of life — to me they are just something that gets in the way of enjoying it to the fullest. So when you look at the title of this post it probably throws you off as to why I’m bringing up why something WON’T work for somebody. Well, I also think that I know people — and negative news tends to get more press and attention that positive news. I guarantee if the title was “10 reasons you *will* make it in real estate,” you might not be reading this right now. Tell me I’m wrong — haha. 

Anyhow, being an agent for over seven years I have had the opportunity to watch what successful agents do, and what unsuccessful ones do. It’s night and day, folks. Here is what I can tell you — there is one thing, and one thing alone, that will cause your success or failure. And that’s YOU. More specifically, your mindset.

So ask yourself: What are you thinking about most of the time when you think about your business?

Since mindset is kind of a fuzzy subject for most people, I thought it appropriate to discuss 10 specific items why you’ll end up not making it in real estate over the long haul.

1. You won’t prospect.

Prospecting conjures up big-time fear in most people’s minds. We’ve been conditioned to associate the word “no” with rejection, failure and pain. I can’t remember the stat exactly, but I have heard that by the time we’re 18 years old we have heard the word “no” 250,000 times vs. “yes” a mere 10,000 (apologies if I don’t have the precise numbers, but I do know they are worlds apart). So you have subconsciously learned to associate “no” with not getting what you what. It’s normal — don’t feel badly about it — BUT you have to start getting back on track and reassociating “no” with what you want.

Real estate is a numbers game — no matter how you slice or dice it. I hear a lot of real estate agents say they aren’t in sales, that they just want to help people. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to increase your business and help lots and lots of people, you have to work through the numbers.

And please don’t hear what I’m not saying — I’m not saying that people, clients, etc., are numbers. I care about everyone I talk to on the phone and don’t treat them like a number. You have to be interested in the situation and looking for a way to help them out — assuming they want help. I’ve talked to plenty of people who just don’t want to be helped, and you know what? That’s OK.

If you are going to have success in real estate, you have to prospect. There are about a million ways to prospect in real estate — I won’t go into specifics because that isn’t what I’m after here, but get to it!

2. You won’t follow up.

Follow-up is everything in real estate. How many times have you talked to somebody for the first time and they say, “Yes, I want to buy or sell a home immediately! Where do I sign up?”

Yeah, almost never.

You can’t build a lasting, concrete, sustainable business that way.

Many agents give lip service to follow-up and tell people they’ll call when they are supposed to, but lack the decision to set up a follow-up task to do so. It fascinates me how many people I see in the business world (not just real estate) that say they are going to call me at such and such a date , or do something for me, only to find out it doesn’t get done! It’s actually more normal than abnormal, and that’s not OK.

In my business, nothing is left to chance or falls through the cracks. EVER.

If you want to last in real estate, simply be a person of your word. Everyone admires someone who does what they say they’ll do.

3. You’ll let one bad experience throw you into a downward spiral.

This one is huge!!! As humans, we tend to enjoy drama. All you have to do is turn on TV and find all of the great reality TV shows out there (sense the sarcasm) and you know what I’m talking about. We love to wallow in how bad a situation is and give it all of our time and energy.

Stop it!

I know it’s hard but you have to train yourself to do it. Otherwise, you’ll end up broke, depressed and unhappy.

So what do you do when something bad happens in your business, like you lose an escrow, a client you thought was solid says they are going to work with another agent, you get a letter from the local department of real estate, a client yells at you? Is your stomach turning yet?

Here’s the secret: Keep moving. Deal with the situation and do the best you can to remedy, and if you have given everything you can into turning it around or finding a solution, move on and do something else productive. Don’t let it suck you down to the bottomless pit of anxiety. That isn’t going to help you get what you want. A good word to describe this is to compartmentalize your thoughts and actions.It’s crucial for your business success (and life success, really). What I mean by this is don’t let the bad feelings you have from one problem bleed over into other parts of your life. I see it all the time.

4. You’ll think the business is too hard, when the truth is you just haven’t made the decision to be great yet.

I’m sure I might get some backlash on this, but I believe it’s important to speak the truth. Real estate is not a complicated business. You find people who want to move from one place to another, and assist them in that process. Simple. I didn’t say it was easy — it’s just not complicated. If you talk to (the right) people, be genuine in your approach and have a proactive plan of follow-up, you’re going to do well. You just will.

What makes real estate hard is your perception that it is hard. Again, going back to mindset. There are so many excuses people make up why real estate is hard — because of the economy, the market is bad, too much competition. And all of those reason are true – for that agent. What you need to do is instead of focusing on why it’s so hard, focus on what you’ll gain when you do well. A much more empowering perspective and one that is likely to yield substantially better results.

What does it take to be great? Your mindset, of course, but underneath that you need discipline, stamina, determination, a personable attitude, the ability to ask people the right questions, a “do whatever it takes” mentality, perseverance, and the skin of a rhino (as Hector LaMarque of Primerica would say), among others.

5. You’ll say it’s too competitive.

Notice what I said here. I didn’t say “because it’s too competitive,” I said “you’ll SAY it’s too competitive.” Big difference. I work in Phoenix, Arizona. If you look at how many agents there are in relation to the population, it’s one of the worst areas in the entire United States to be in real estate. And that’s a fact. Just look at the numbers. Everyone here knows probably five to seven Realtors. No joke.

But so what? If you are great, clients are going to find you. Focus on building your skill base, cultivating relationships around you better and associating with other like-minded professionals, and the competition is going to be virtually nonexistent. I assure you.

Now, do I go on listing appointments and don’t take the listing? Absolutely! All the time. But I walk out of there knowing I did everything I could to set myself up for success.

6. You will keep making the same mistakes over and over.

Let’s go back to my listing appointment example: When you don’t take a listing, do you ASK the person why you didn’t get their business? I bet 9 out of 10 agents don’t. Why don’t we? Because it’s painful and uncomfortable and means we are less than perfect. But that’s OK. By asking “why” you are humbling yourself to see what you could do differently next time to alter your results. Maybe it’s something you were completely unaware of that would make all the difference in the world. So the conversation goes like this:

“Mr. Smith, I understand you aren’t going to list with me and that’s fine — can you tell me what led you to that decision? This way I don’t make the same mistake with the next person I sit down with to list their home (or buy a home) with me. I’d really appreciate it.”

And then shut up, they’ll tell you. Then thank them for being open and honest with you, and best wishes in your transaction.

7. You’ll choose comfort over success.

I start my day on the phone. I will make anywhere from 10-50 calls depending on the day. I remember when I first starting doing this the phone looked like it weighed 100 pounds. If you make the decision to be disciplined and just get it done every day, it gets easier. Just like any good, positive habit you are trying to develop. Since it’s at the start of the day, I want to get all discomfort done and over with as soon as possible. That way I can better “enjoy” the rest of the day and do things that don’t require as much mental focus.

I’m not saying that is the way you need to do it, but understand the concept — usually when we do more comfortable activities (cleaning out the garage, updating people’s contact info in your database, working on paperwork for an escrow, etc.) we find that the uncomfortable tasks tend to grow more ominous in our mind the more we postpone them, and oftentimes we don’t do them, which ironically ensures our failure.

8. You won’t make it a team sport.

There are many people involved in a real estate transaction, and if you don’t have the ability to work well with others (i.e., if you are overly demanding, indifferent, rude, or unresponsive) you aren’t going to do well. Although the Realtor is “top of the food chain,” so to speak, in the transaction, treat people badly and things won’t get done, or they will get done slowly. You are the central hub of communication and it is vitally important you keep a level head at all times, regardless of what is happening.

9. Your outlook is too shortsighted.

Most agents are looking for the next transaction to close in order to put food on the table, and this can cause you to cut corners or make decisions that aren’t in the best interest of your business long term. Bottom line: Do the RIGHT thing all the time and you’ll never have anything to worry about, even if it is a little painful for you in the short term.

10. You’ll focus on your expenses instead of focusing on growing your sphere and level of influence.

We all have bills to pay. They aren’t fun, but they’re a necessary part of life. By getting overwhelmed with your financial responsibilities you are diminishing your effectiveness in business. I once heard a speaker talk about going out and buying a big house, a fancy car and all the “stuff” that success is supposed to be in the eyes of the public. Horse rubbish. All that does is stress you out and keep you up at night because you have no idea how you’re going to pay for everything.

Instead, keep your expenses (especially personal ones) at a minimum. You don’t need all that crap right now. I never once had a client ask me what kind of car I drive. It’s a good car, reliable, but it’s no Lamborghini, I assure you that!

Focus on finding help to help clients and how specifically you can provide a solution to their challenges, and you’ll always have a good income.

I hope you’ll take these in stride — often the best medicine is that which we are least receptive to because it doesn’t necessarily taste good. Would love to hear your comments, thoughts and questions about other reasons Realtors won’t make it in business and what the solution is.

So fire away below!

10 reasons you will fail as a real estate agent

Focus on Priorities

Let common sense prevail when applying the 80/20 rule at work.

I think most people have heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle. What it means basically is that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

In business, it is often the case that 80% of revenues come from 20% of the clients.
It can also be suggested that 80% of your problems come from 20% of your clients.

The late American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn would suggest: “Spend 80% of your time with the 20% that produce the most”

In a perfect world, you might be able to use that data to fire 20% of your clients, replace them with “better clients” and hence your business would improve. In reality, life is never that simple.

This principle is, however, a very handy way to look at your efforts at work because very often, an 80% solution is perfectly adequate.

And if it can be achieved with 20% of the effort that would be required for a 100% solution, then that is often a far better answer than expending the other 80% effort to go from 80% to near perfection.

Don’t get me wrong – if you are surgeon, an 80% success rate for your operations is clearly not acceptable. Equally, if you are an pilot, then 80% of your landings being good is not acceptable either!

However, if you are developing an IT project, then just maybe a solution that meets 80% of the needs but is developed at 20% of the cost would be a great answer.

If you are producing internal reports, do they need to be “pretty” or do they need to be functional?

If they are readable and professional, is that OK – or do they need to be in colour, formatted to the “nth” degree and of publisher quality?

Well, sometimes they do and sometimes not. This is where business common sense comes into play.

Ask yourself some basic questions:

  • Does the 80/20 rule apply to my situation?
  • Will the extra effort it will take to improve my result “here” be better spent elsewhere?
  • Will the extra effort it will take to improve my result be time well spent?
  • Am I aiming for perfection at the expense of practicality?
  • Will my client be happy with the result I am providing? (note that it can be an internal or external client)

Do bear in mind the following caveats:

  • Quality is always something to strive for… but it needs to be viewed through the lens of practicality. If you achieve perfection but the result is unaffordable, then you lose.
  • Never undermine an employee’s commitment to excellence, but if applying a “common sense” approach will help him to be more efficient, it is worth teaching that lesson.

As management consultant F. John Reh said: “The 80/20 rule should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80% of your time and energy on the 20% of your work that is really important.”


27 Acts to be Successful

The following list of ways you should act in order to be successful is based on what I have discovered about successful people and the way they do things.

1. Have a “Can Do” Attitude


People with a “can do” attitude approach every situation with the outlook that no matter what, it can be done. They consistently use phrases like “We can do it,” “Let’s make it happen,” “Let’s work it out”—and they always maintain that a solution exists. You must believe and convey to others that a solution does indeed exist—even if you’re going to have to work a little harder to find it.

2. Believe That “I Will Figure It Out”


Even if you’re not sure how to do something, the best answer is “I will figure it out”—not “I don’t know.” You can admit that you’re unfamiliar with something—as long as you immediately follow that admission up with the promise that you will figure it out or find someone who will. An alternative response to “I don’t know” is “Great question. Let me check into that and figure it out.” You are still being honest, but you’re inciting a solution instead of implying ineptitude.

3. Focus on Opportunity


Where others see difficulty, successful individuals know that problems solved equal new products, services, customers—and probably financial success. Remember: Success is overcoming a challenge. It doesn’t really matter what the challenge is; as long as you handle it adequately, you’ll be rewarded. And the bigger the problem is, the bigger the opportunity as well. These people are able to use the issue at hand to separate themselves and dominate the marketplace.

4. Love Challenges


To achieve your goals, you have to get to a place where every challenge becomes fuel for you. Life can be quite brutal, and people can incur a fair amount of losses over time. Many get to a point where every new challenge they face automatically equals a loss in their mind. When you are able to develop a more positive outlook, you begin to see a challenge as stimulation to engage—rather than as an excuse to avoid something. And don’t kid yourself—winning in life is vital. The more you win in life, the higher your potential will be—and the more you will grow to love challenges.

5. Seek to Solve Problems

Chalkboard - Problem to Solution

Successful individuals love to seek out problems because they know that almost every problem is universal in some way or another. You get yourself on the successful list by seeking problems to solve— for your company, employees, customers, the government— whatever they may be and wherever they might exist. One of the fastest and best ways to separate yourself from the masses is to establish yourself as someone who makes situations better, not worse.

6. Persist until Successful


The ability to persist on a given path regardless of setbacks, unexpected events, bad news, and resistance—to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, or course of action in spite of conditions—is a trait common to those who make it. Persistence is a great advantage to anyone who wants to multiply his or her success—because most other people have given up on their innate ability to persist. When you retrain yourself to do whatever is necessary to ensure that you are in the best mental, emotional, and financial position to persevere— you will find yourself on the list of the most successful.

7. Be Unreasonable


Unreasonable doesn’t mean being mentally unstable—but that you refuse to validate the alleged “sanity” of reasonable actions that will never get you what you want. Think about it: Would we have cars, air- planes, space travel, telephones, and the Internet—if someone hadn’t done something that another person had labeled “unreasonable”? Man would do nothing exceptional if it were not for the willingness to be unreasonable. So be one of the unreasonable ones. They are usually the people who make a huge difference in our world.

8. Be Dangerous


Do you want to get investment dollars from a billionaire? A salary that pays you a million dollars a year? Take your company public? If so, you have to be willing to be dangerous because more will be expected of you with each of those situations. To do something big, you have to embrace danger. The way to ensure that danger doesn’t kill you is to be sufficiently trained so that you can get into the ring and come out the victor.

9. Create Wealth


Poor people believe they need to work in order to make money and then spend their lives either spending it on nothing of importance or conserving like crazy in order to protect it. The very successful think in terms of creating money and wealth, not salaries and conservation of funds. They figure out how to create wealth through the exchange of great ideas, quality service, and effective problem solving. Remember: You don’t need to “make” money. It has already been made. There are no shortages of actual money—only shortages of people creating wealth. Move your attention from conserving money to creating wealth, and you’ll be thinking as successful people do.

10. Readily Take Action


The unsuccessful people talk about a plan for action but never quite get around to doing what they claim they’re going to do. The successful people assume that their future achievements rely on investing in actions that may not pay off today but that when taken consistently and persistently over time will sooner or later bear fruit. Action is necessary in order to create success and can be the single defining quality that will enable you to make the list of successful people.

11. Always Say “Yes”


When being asked to do something, say, “Yes, I will be happy to/would love to/want to make it work for you.” Life is to be lived— something that becomes impossible to do when you’re constantly saying no. Although many suggest that it is critical to know what to say no to, the reality is most people don’t venture out and don’t experience enough in life. Give this a try: Say yes for now until you become so successful that you are forced to add “no” to your arsenal and start managing your time and efforts. Until then, make “yes” part of your successful habits.

12. Habitually Commit


To acquire success, it is vital that you quit testing the water’s temperature and simply jump in! Commitment is a sign that someone is pledging him or herself completely to a position, issue, or action. Successful people see past the problems and are able to keep their focus on the promise they’ve made to themselves or others. Commit fully as though you are already successful and demonstrate that commitment to all those with—and for—whom you work.

13. Go All the Way


Until an action is turned into a success, it is not done. Until you make the potential client a client or the potential investor an investor, you have not gone all the way. This might seem harsh, but if you called a client 50 times and didn’t get the deal done, then you might as well have not called that person at all. Commit to being completely unreasonable and going all the way. Don’t accept any excuses! No settling allowed!

14. Focus on “Now”


There exist only two times for the successful: now and the future. “Now” is the period of time that successful people utilize most often to create the futures they desire in order to dominate their environments. You must acquire the discipline, muscle memory, and achievements that result from taking massive action—while others think, plan, and procrastinate. Discipline yourself to perform now and I assure you that the volume of endeavours you are undertaking will quickly increase the quality of work—and propel you to move with enhanced conviction and certainty.

15. Demonstrate Courage


Who wants to do business with or support someone who readily gives in to his or her fears? Who wants to invest in a project when the people behind it don’t act with confidence and courage? Do things that scare you more frequently, and they will slowly begin to scare you a bit less—until they become so habitual that you wonder why you ever feared them in the first place!

16. Embrace Change


Successful people love change, whereas the unsuccessful do everything they can to keep things from changing. But how can you create success when you are trying to keep things from becoming any different? It is impossible. Although you never want to alter the things that are working, you should always look for ways to improve what you are doing.  Change is not something to resist; it’s something that should keep you excited.

17. Determine and Take the Right Approach


The successful know that they can quantify what works and what doesn’t work, whereas the unsuccessful focus solely on “hard work.” Whatever the method may be, the successful don’t think in terms of hard work. Instead, they figure out how to work “smart” and handle the situation by finding and using the right approach until they succeed.

18. Break Traditional Ideas


The most successful of the successful go beyond the concept of mere change and challenge traditional thinking. Look at organisations like Google, Apple, and Facebook, and you will see companies that challenge traditions and create new ways of doing things. They break that which already works in order to get to a better place. The most successful are looking to create traditions—not follow already established ones. Do not be a prisoner of the thinking agreed upon by others.

19. Be Goal-Oriented


Successful people are highly goal-oriented and always pay more attention to the target than the problem. They are seemingly able to bend bullets because of their commitment and focus on the goal. If you don’t stay focused on your goals, you will spend your life achieving the objectives of other people—particularly those who are goal-oriented.

20. Be on a Mission


Successful people approach their activities as though they are on a religious mission—not as work or merely “a job.” Until you start approaching your job as though you are on a mission, it will always be reduced to “just a job.” Approach every phone call, e-mail, sales visit, meeting, presentation, and day you spend at the office not as a job but as a calling for which you will forever be known. Until you adopt this attitude, you will forever be stuck in a job—and probably one that isn’t very fulfilling.

21. Have a High Level of Motivation

UntitledTo succeed, it is critical that you be stimulated, excited, and driven to some action or actions. The study of successful people makes it apparent that their high levels of activity are fuelled by being goal-focused and mission- driven. Elevated motivation isn’t the kind of enthusiasm that lasts for a few hours, a day, or a week; it’s based on what you do each day to stimulate yourself toward actions and inspire yourself to keep going.

22. Be Interested in Results

8-things-make-results-268x300Successful people don’t value effort or work or time spent on an activity; they value the results. Unsuccessful individuals attach great importance to the time they spend at work and their attempts at getting results—even if nothing happens. Quit patting yourself on the back for trying, and save your rewards and accolades for actual accomplishment. Be hard on yourself and never let yourself off the hook until you get results. Results (not efforts)—regardless of the challenges, resistance, and problems—are a primary focus of the successful.

23. Have Big Goals and Dreams20140606_105413

How big are your goals and dreams? The middle class are taught to be realistic, whereas the successful think in terms of how extensively they can spread themselves. “Big think” changes the world. Realistic thinking, small goals, and trivial dreams simply won’t provide you with any motivation—and they’ll land you smack dab in the middle, competing with the masses. Dream big, go big, and then figure out how to go bigger than that! Think big, act big, and reach your full potential.

24. Create Your Own Reality

tumblr_mn2n5cpnzB1ralxhxo1_500The successful don’t deal in other people’s realities. Instead, they are bent on creating a new reality for themselves that is different from the one that others accept. They aren’t interested in what other people deem possible or impossible. Do a bit of research and you will see that those who have made it really big created a reality that did not exist before they came along. The next reality of how things will or can be is only as far away as the next person who creates it.

25. Be Interested in the Group

studyGroup9The successful people always expend energy and express interest in their associates because they know that if they are not doing well, even the most well-to-do will be dragged down with them. You want everyone on your team winning and improving because this is likely to improve your game. For that reason, you always want to do everything you can to bring the rest of the team to higher levels.

26. Be Dedicated to Continuous Learning

learningThe most successful people see every opportunity to train and educate themselves as the most solid and sure investment they can make. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, simply worry about the cost of a book or seminar without ever giving consideration to the benefits it will provide. So join the ranks of successful people who know that their income, wealth, health, and future are dependent upon their ability to continue to seek out new information and never stop learning.

27. Be Uncomfortable

BUSHNELL PICTURESThose who succeed were—at one point or another in their lives—willing to put themselves in situations that were uncomfortable, whereas the unsuccessful seek comfort from all their decisions. Whether it was moving to a new city, cold calling a client, meeting new people, doing a new presentation, or venturing into new sectors, most of it was uncomfortable until you got used to doing it. It is so tempting to become content with your surroundings, daily rituals, and habits. It feels good when things are familiar. Successful people know that getting too comfortable, too relaxed, and too familiar causes a person to become soft and lose his or her creativity and hunger to stay out front. So be willing to be uncomfortable, and do what makes other people uncomfortable as well. It is a sure sign that you’re on your way to success.

None of the things on the list above is a superhuman quality. Every single one is attainable. Don’t use just one or two of the techniques. Start thinking and operating with them, and they will become a part of you. Use them all.

Source: The 10X Rule

Obsession Isn’t a Disease; It’s a Gift


The dictionary defines the term “obsessed” as “the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, or desire.” Although the rest of the world tends to treat this mind-set like a disease, I believe that it’s the perfect adjective for how you must approach success. To dominate your sector, your goal, dream, or ambition, you must first dominate your every interest, thought, and consideration.

Obsession is not a bad thing here; it is a requirement to get where you want to go. In fact, you want to be so fanatical about success that the world knows you will not compromise or go away. And until you become completely obsessed with your mission, no one will take you seriously. Until the world understands that you’re not going away—that you are 100 percent committed and have complete and utter conviction and will persist in pursuing your project—you will not get the attention you need and the support you want.

If you become obsessed with your idea, purpose, or goal, you will become equally addicted to the idea of making it work. After all, if your ideas do not excessively preoccupy your own thoughts, then how can you ever expect them to preoccupy the thoughts of others? Something has to absorb your thoughts every second of every day—so what should it be? Be obsessed with something. Make your dreams, goals, and mission your mind’s and actions’ dominant concern!

The word “obsessed” tends to have a negative connotation because many people believe that obsession with something (or someone) is usually destructive or harmful. But show me one person who has achieved greatness without being obsessed on some level. You simply cannot do it. Any individual or group that accomplished something significant was completely obsessed with the idea of it. Whether it was an artist, musician,

Obsession Isn’t a Disease; It’s a Gift

Source: The 10X Rule