Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
There is not just one person I look to as my hero. I’m surrounded by heroes every day. To me, heroes are the people in my life who possess qualities that I admire. For example, my mother demonstrates an incredible amount of perseverance during difficult times. My twin brother, a Navy SEAL, exhibits extreme focus, resilience and selflessness for his country. These are all qualities I consider to be heroic. And the list goes on.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Find your passion, discover your skills and focus on them. As an entrepreneur, you have to wear a lot of hats— especially when you’re building a business. I’ve always wanted to be good at everything… and I mean everything. That lack of focus has led to burnout, unfulfillment, being “good” at a lot of things but not being “great” at anything, and a loss of identity. The most successful people I’ve read about, known and admired discovered their passions and strengths and were able focus on integrating the two in their careers.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Focus. Notice a theme here? At Causely, we grew very quickly in regards to customer acquisition. That’s good, but it created a false positive. The more we thought our product was for everyone, the more we sold it to anyone. The phrase “a product for everyone is a product for no one” rang loud and clear. After functioning under this mentality, we were losing customers faster than we were acquiring them. We learned to focus on finding our best customer, building a specific product for that customer and tailoring our sales pitch for that customer. Customer focused versus product focused.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I start tackling my top priorities. Email is a death trap and will kill any chance of accomplishing real work. This ensures that I complete the work that matters most.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Spend enough money building an MVP and test it until you prove the model works (or doesn’t work) with the audience you’re targeting before going all in. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get caught up in thinking your product is amazing and your target audience is the correct audience. If you don’t do this, you’ll pay for it later on every level— investment, your team’s time, your time, company morale, customer perception, etc.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Read books. I was a one-book-a-year person for awhile until I read that the most successful people read 60+ books a year. I now average two books per week (Audible at 2x makes this doable, as I’m a slow reader). I listen to business books and biographies of people who have had great success in life (business, health, relationships, wealth, etc.). It’s like having personal coaches from some of the most well-known experts in their fields. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of the knowledge, experience and insights they are willing to share?
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Fulfillment. If you love who you are, love who you spend your time with and love what you do, you’ve succeeded. Size of company, budget, revenue, profits… nothing matters if you don’t love those three things first.