Carter Thomas is a marketer and strategist in the mobile app space. Since 2011, Carter has published over 1,500 apps on multiple platforms that have generated 18M+ downloads. Since early 2013, Carter has built and sold five separate app portfolios to private buyers. Along with apps, Carter’s blog, Bluecloud Solutions, has reached over 2.5 million visitors and been responsible for over 100 million downloads from the readers who implemented his strategies. On the weekends, you can find Carter swimming in Hawaii, looking for new investments and working on his next creative project, LemonDrone. Follow him @carterthomas.
Who’s your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
From an inspiration standpoint, I really admire James Cameron. I’ve never met him and can’t speak to his personality, but I do know that the guy spent nearly 20 years dreaming up Avatar. People like Steve Jobs put a dent in the universe with products. Cameron did that for my imagination. To this day, I’ve never felt the way I did when I first saw the movie in 3D. When I think that someone I don’t know dedicated their entire life to make this happen — to give me this gift — I am flooded with gratitude.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Over the long term, it is infinitely more important not to lose money than it is to make money. Disciplined, systematic businesses are unstoppable in any market and in any industry. This single lens of perspective is often the key to massive profits.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Early on, I was so obsessed with growth that I never took the time to properly organize my business. I convinced myself that growth conquers all. I thought, “If I make more money I can buy myself out of this friction that scaling is causing me.” I learned that organization is everything. Otherwise, you inevitably end up watching all the money you made at the beginning bleed out in a slow, agonizing fashion as expensive professionals piece together your messy mistakes.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
First, I drink a lot of water. I’ve tested everything, and being hydrated is the biggest ROI when it comes to 3 p.m. productivity.
Second, I go through all my reports and see how the businesses are doing. What’s working? What’s not? I make a list of anything I notice. This helps me get a handle on what’s going on so that my desire to control doesn’t come out another time later in the day when I’m less present.
Third, I go into the big conference room and write down three things that could maximize my company and life if they happened this week. What’s the one move that would solve all other problems? I find this is a lot more effective than to-do lists because it keeps me away from worthless “tasks” and focused on power moves.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Putting money back into your business only works if you treat it like a real investment: mitigate risk, maximize opportunity. When it comes to scaling cash flow, 90 percent of the work is done before spending a dime. Put more eloquently, you can’t buy your way to the next level.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Get in shape. Seriously.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success to me is balance. It’s being able to pour yourself into a business then be equally engaged in your personal and spiritual life. Without balance, you accelerate in one direction but miss a lot of the bigger wins out there. As much as we like to think otherwise, entrepreneurs are humans too. You can change the world and make all the money imaginable, but it really doesn’t take much to be happy. Balance is the key and passion is the gasoline.
I think if you go to bed each night feeling proud of the work you’ve done, surrounded by people you love and connected to a deep purpose, you’ve succeeded.