Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
My hero is Warren Buffett. He started his first investment partnership in Omaha Nebraska, which is a midwest town just like where I started Ritaway. He was unwilling to buy stocks in companies the old-fashioned way and spent time learning the company beneath the ticker symbol instead of just watching the trend of the chart. It served him well!
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Before I founded Ritaway, I worked many hours on my family farm when I wasn’t in school. When you put an image in your mind of where you want to be in the future, don’t forget to look ahead one, 10, 20 or even 50 years. Some young people forget that building wealth is a marathon, not a sprint. When you’ve forgotten that, you’re bound to make wrong choices.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I’ve let excitement and emotions take hold of me in the past before I learned the importance of control. When I let emotions take hold, the decisions I make are not decisions that come from a business standpoint, but from an emotional one.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
During the first hour of my day, I like to spend some quiet time reading my newspapers. This is when I like to brainstorm and get caught up on what’s new in the world. The world is always changing, and it is good to have an idea of what is going on.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
I think it’s best for an individual just starting out to invest with his own money — and only his own money. This will give you time to not only see if your idea works, but it will put your emotions to the test since your own money usually has lots of emotions tied to it.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Find someone you admire and aspire to be like them. Spend time researching their current and past life. Just remember, who you surround yourself with is who you will most likely become.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
It’s hard to imagine that there will be one milestone in my life that really feels like I’ve achieved success. While building Ritaway, I’ve experienced lots of wonderful mini-milestones that I enjoyed celebrating. When Ritaway was first starting out, my bedroom in my parents house was my office. So at that time, success to me was getting my own office. I have since found that success means so much more. Success to me means a conglomerate of different things: happy home life, happy partners, and of course, still having the joy to wake up in the morning to do what I do.