Blog | Entrepreneurship

How to be a Success in Business

Rich dad’s secret to entrepreneurial success is deceptively simple: less talking; more doing

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  • Over time, people have strayed further and further away from the meaning of the title “entrepreneur.”

  • Being an entrepreneur requires a firm understanding of the CASHFLOW quadrant

  • How to be a success in business isn’t just about mindset, it’s about taking action

Many ‘experts’ say, “entrepreneurs fail because they are undercapitalized.” This fear of being “undercapitalized,” this lack of money as well as the absence of a steady paycheck, is what keeps most people clinging to job security as an employee. But it’s not why entrepreneurs fail.

While being undercapitalized is a challenge, it’s a lack of entrepreneurial education, real-world business experience, and guts that result in most people not being a success in business.

Which generation is the most entrepreneurial?

The funny thing is that the word entrepreneur has taken on a different meaning than it used to. Historically, most people thought of entrepreneurs as crazy people who took risks no sane person would. It was not a badge of honor.

Today, however, it seems to be a trend to call yourself an entrepreneur. Even full time employees who have a side hustle or contract wear the badge proudly. Or if you read a lot of books by entrepreneurs and have a hustle mindset, you might call yourself an entrepreneur. You may know people who drive an Uber on the weekends and deliver food via Doordash on weeknights who consider themselves entrepreneurs.

But the reality is that most millennials aren’t entrepreneurs. They’re wantrepreneurs...and they’re overworked. They don’t understand the difference between the E (employee) and S (self-employed) side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant, and the B (business owner) and I (investor) side. Working a side hustle is not entrepreneurship. It’s self-employment at best and contract work at worst. It’s owning a job, not a company.

Given that, there were no surprises in David Meltzer’s article in “Entrepreneur” magazine that deals with millennials and entrepreneurship. David is an entrepreneur who started a sports marketing firm with former NFL quarterback, Warren Moon.

As David shares, “Most millennials that I meet consider themselves entrepreneurs, or at least innovators. The editor of MiLLENNiAL Magazine, Britt Hysen, claims that 60 percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs and 90 percent recognize entrepreneurship as a mentality.”

He then goes on to give some pretty surprising statistics around entrepreneurship:

  • The average age of an entrepreneur is 40

  • They have at least six to ten years of relevant industry experience

  • The biggest growth group in entrepreneurship in the last two decades are folks between the ages of 55 and 65

  • And “a successful, high-growth company is twice as likely to be started by someone over 55 years old than the age group of 20 to 34”

As you’ll find in our article The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Work After Retirement, the above statistics are no surprise to the Rich Dad community.

Why most entrepreneurs fail

As interesting as those statistics are, what’s most fascinating aspect about David’s article was the reasons he gave for why entrepreneurs fail.

The first reason for failure, regardless of whether you’re in your thirties, forties, fifties or sixties, is because entrepreneurs forget the No. 1 rule of entrepreneurship, which is to stay in business. Every day, each of these entrepreneurs should be obsessed with how to take care of themselves in order to guarantee that they’re in business the next day. Long-term goals are important, but irrelevant if your business is unsuccessful out of the gates.

Second, these entrepreneurs don’t understand the difference between innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation is the action or process of using imagination and making it real, while entrepreneurship is the action of monetizing innovation. Great entrepreneurs don’t have to have a creative thought other than, "How do I monetize my ideas?" Or, "How do I monetize somebody else’s ideas?"

Finally, many entrepreneurs fail to diversify within their own business. So, if someone had $20 million in a startup, they would have 10 separate business initiatives funded by $2 million each, knowing that if they could stay in business as a whole, one of these 10 businesses could evolve with a multiple of 50 times or more. So, at the minimum, that $20 million investment could have a return of over $100 million. And even if they were unsuccessful in nine businesses, everyone would consider them and their business highly successful, because they took their $20 million and turned it into $100 million.

Rich dad’s secrets on how to be a success in business

If you were to boil down David’s observations, it would be in line with what Robert Kiyosaki once emailed out to Rich Dad Community members (yes, they get exclusive emails from him). In that email, he talked about his friend Matt, who graduated from a university entrepreneurship program. He felt the education was very helpful, but he realized that until he put it into practice, it didn’t mean much. As he wrote:

In a school setting, it is hard to really understand that entrepreneurs have to be flexible, nimble, and able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and effectively.

Entrepreneurs have to have spirit. They have to fight for everything and push through adversity. 

Matt realized those lessons do not come from school. They come from life. Those lessons make one, “street smart”.

At the end of the day, what Matt learned, and what David writes about, are the hard-fought lessons that come from simply doing entrepreneurship. That is the only way to be good at it.

This is why rich dad’s secret for how to be a success in business was simply to do more and talk less. As a young man, Robert Kiyosaki talked a lot about his business (a velcro wallet business that licensed band names and logos) but didn’t do the hard work of keeping his business alive. He didn’t follow the steps outlined above to stay in business. As a result, his business failed and he was $1 million in debt. Rich dad, his mentor and best friend’s father, didn’t bail him out when he went to him with his business troubles. Instead, he gave him a hard but painful dose of truth—Robert’s business was doomed and it was his ownnfault. Yet, it was the very act of doing business that helped him learn valuable lessons, hard-fought lessons, that allowed him to be a success in business later in life.

If you want to be a success in business, you must do the same.

Building entrepreneurial characteristics

While the desire to be an entrepreneur should be applauded, it is not just a mindset that makes you an entrepreneur—nor is it a book-smart education. Instead, it is the hard-fought lessons of going out in the world, trying, and yes, sometimes failing that helps you build the characteristics and skill sets that entrepreneurs need to succeed in business.

It’s easy for people to say “Oh, she was lucky.” Or “They’re an overnight success.” Few know or appreciate the real story behind entrepreneurial successes. The reason they succeeded is they learned the secret to leadership.

The primary reason why most new entrepreneurs fail is simply because they lack the core training, the core strengths they need to withstand the rigors of being an entrepreneur. Some people call it guts. Others call it perseverance. In the military, it might be put this way: “Stand up, get off your butt, stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop pouting, stop sucking your thumb, and get going again. Your mama is ashamed of you—because your mama is tougher than you are.” You get the point here—a true characteristic of an entrepreneur is to simply keep going.

Another important reason why most entrepreneurs fail is because our educational system trains people to be employees, not entrepreneurs. The world of an employee is very different from the world of an entrepreneur. One big difference is the concept of paychecks.

If you think about it, you’ll realize that the person who signs your paycheck controls your life. Shouldn’t that person be you? It probably should be, if you are strong enough.

If an employee does not receive his or her paycheck they quit and go looking for a new job. Most entrepreneurs must be tough enough to operate, sometimes for years, without a paycheck.

It should go without saying, but in order to build the characteristics of an entrepreneur, you have to stop displaying the characteristics of an employee. A side hustle is a good way to ease in, but you need to actually cut the cord at some point and go all in.

Who can be a success in business?

So, does all this mean that millennials can’t be entrepreneurs? Of course not! A success story like Mark Zuckerberg is testament enough to that. But it does mean that simply having the mindset or calling yourself an entrepreneur is not enough.

The only secret to being a success in business is that you have to actually do the thing.

The good news is anyone can be an entrepreneur—from millennials to baby boomers—if they’re willing to put in the work. Each has their own strengths to bring to the table, and each has their own things to learn along the way.

Original publish date: October 31, 2017

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