Those are the words I would use to describe this amazing book written so eloquently by Michael Ellsberg. I’m glad I chose to read this first because it encompasses my entire motive for this blog: to take my education into my own hands and learn real-world skills that will undoubtedly be key on my path to success. What sparked my interest in learning even more is when I read the interviews and success stories of the entrepreneurs. The featured individuals weren’t special in any way, they only possessed large amounts of drive and passion which are available to anyone and everyone. They didn’t give up and neither will I.
Ellsberg provides a plethora of scenarios and examples of highly successful individuals who had humble beginnings and describes the path that they took that differentiated themselves. He calls them the 7 core success skills that are common with these people and this is what I have learned:
Success Skill #1: Have a Clear Vision
- Most people will contend that there is a risky path in which the risk and a safe, less risky path in which the risk involves a life full of regret. I believe that to be truly successful, the intersection of both paths must be found to create a path that “both provides a high likelihood of financial security and allows you to follow your dreams and make a difference in the world.”
- To make a difference in the world, you must first get on your feet financially. This will make things infinitely easier as you won’t have to worry about putting food on the table every day.
- Second, set aside a few hours each day to pursue something that is meaningful to you and begin experimenting. Start a company, prepare for a different career, find ways to make money from what you love to do.
- Third, do what you love and create your own path. Begin working full-time on your business or freelancing ventures.
“Success is its own skill.”
Success Skill #2: Learn the Right Way to Network
- Give, give, give. Give service, give time, give connections, give advice and don’t expect anything in return.
- Give to people in your network and to people who you hope will be in your network.
- Helping people along their path makes it easier to gain mentors and teachers that will help you along your path.
“I hate the word ‘reform.’ You don’t ‘reform’ the iPod into the iPhone! You change it! You reimagine it! It’s not reform, it’s reimagination.”
Success Skill #3: Learn Marketing
- Marketing is a mentality and EVERYONE needs to learn it.
- It is not something you do after you create a product, but rather it is a starting point for a product.
- Direct-response marketing focuses on “causing a specific response to occur” NOW.
Success Skill #4: Learn Sales
- As with marketing, EVERYONE needs to learn how to sell. Whether it is an idea, a product, or yourself, you will be selling something to someone no matter what field you are in.
- In the Fortune 1000, the most highly paid positions are (in this order): #1 sales rep, #2 sales rep, VP of sales, then CEO.
- It’s about asking the right questions and then listening. The more the prospective customer talks, the more likely he will become a real customer. This way you can identify a problem and suggest a solution rather than the usual “here is my product, wanna buy it?”
“Understand that no matter what you’re doing, even if you want to be a ballplayer, a rapper, a movie star – nothing happens until something gets sold.”
Success Skill #5: Bootstrapping
- Invest in yourself and your business by the most cost-effective and efficient means possible.
- “Bootstrapping your education involves getting on sold footing financially, and then making incremental investments to your earning power, over time out of the car flow – so your constantly learning and never going into debt.”
- Have a “serious passion for lifelong learning.”
“You’ve got to increase your rejections. The faster you fail, the more you are going to learn.”
Success Skill #6: Build the Brand of YOU
- “Your brand is one of your biggest assets – far more important, in most cases, than your resume.”
- Everyone will have a great resume, but most won’t have a brand or even know what it is.
- Your brand will open doors for you for more opportunities in life.
- Google is the new resume for the 21st century, make your presence known on the Internet.
Success Skill #7: Take the Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Focus on contribution and outcome.
- Sort for what’s needed not for what’s requested.
- Go toward the big decisions that will be beneficial to the company, even without authority (if at all).
- Write your own script in life
“[Successful entrepreneurs] see how they can bend currently accepted ‘reality’ toward the reality they would prefer.”
I will be implementing all of these “success skills” in my life and to anyone who thinks it’s too late: it’s never too late to succeed. Michael Ellsberg has become a big inspiration and role model to me, you can learn more from him on his Forbes blog, his website and from his speeches and videos.