Elon Musk, because he’s literally a real-life Tony Stark.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Help others get what you want, and you’ll get whatever you want, which is from Zig Ziglar. Once I started to align myself with helping others instead of just trying to make a living, my perspective on things opened up a lot more.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Not being thorough when evaluating partners. Working with partners is like going into a long-term relationship — you want to have people that complement your abilities. Most importantly, you want to be able to respect each other. If you can’t respect each other and you don’t feel that you’re pulling your own weight, it’s going to become a sour relationship. So make sure you vet your potential partners well and don’t jump into bed too hastily.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I’ll work on the hardest thing for the day because my days typically start to fill up with calls and meetings. If I can actually work on something that moves the needle in the morning, I’ll feel accomplished and feel like my day just got a great jump-start.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Try to set up a cash buffer of at least six months of runway and put it into a money market account. That will protect you in case Armageddon happens.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Wake up early — like 5 a.m. early. A lot of Fortune 500 CEOs like Tim Cook do this. The reason is simple: When it’s that early in the morning, you are truly free from all distractions and it’s a tranquil feeling that you won’t be able to experience once the day begins. Take a second to just take in the early morning air and then you can get to work on a tough assignment for the day. You can make yourself breakfast, read a book, write a blog post, or go work out — whatever you want. There’s no one to call you, message you, or tap you on the shoulder. It’s you time. Try it a few times, it’s life-changing — trust me.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
This is going to sound a bit crazy but after reading “The Billionaire Who Wasn’t” and finding out that entrepreneur Chuck Feeney donated $6.2 billion, I told myself that giving back to the world would truly be reaching success. My goal is to donate $40 million (which is 1 percent of $4 billion) before I die.