I’m often told how lucky I am to be able to glean powerful lessons from the successful entrepreneurs we interviewed for Secret Entourage Academy. As a serial entrepreneur myself, I love being able to relate on a uniform level to so many incredible people. Part of what makes our interviews so compelling, powerful and exciting is that I’ve shared many of the same struggles and successes, so together we’re able to dig deep and uncover the processes to achieve success.
Throughout this journey, I have been exposed to different aspects of entrepreneurship and business that I never really saw before, and I’ve learned so much.
These are my top five lessons from successful entrepreneurs:
1. It’s more than vision; it’s about perspective.
In many cases, people will complain they simply don’t have the necessary vision to see where they are headed. But many of today’s most successful entrepreneurs didn’t start with a vision; they started with a unique perspective on a product, service or venture, which eventually prompted a vision based on their initial efforts.
Vision comes from the ability to see further into your future. Typically, this means your perspective on life plays a very strong role. Perspective is what helps launch the business; vision is what guides it to long-term success and allows it to survive any turbulence. Nine out of 10 people I interviewed didn’t know the success they would find. They knew they were onto something, so they chose to act. From their perspective, they believed they had identified an opportunity.
2. Simultaneously scale multiple verticals, not businesses.
People often ask me if they should simultaneously own multiple businesses or focus on one. Although I am a believer that you should commit to one business until it gains traction, other successful entrepreneurs have validated that those who succeeded the most were not the ones who diversified their business portfolio from the very beginning, but rather those who diversified their revenue streams from within the business.
They maintained their focus on the growth of one business, but they realized the business is not solely dependent on one revenue stream to survive. Utilizing multiple revenue streams allows the business to grow despite the ebb and flow consumer behavior, market demand or economic changes.
McDonald’s is good example of this: Although it might just look like a restaurant franchise with thousands of locations and low pricing, in reality, it is a clever real estate play. McDonald’s is one of the largest real estate retail location holders in the U.S. The business’ goal is to be a profitable restaurant, but their revenue is complimented with a real estate strategy that can survive independently from a bad sales year.
3. You can’t suppress your fears—they just evolve and take new form.
We all have fears. Those who learn to master their fears and their reactions to those fears tend to get further in life and business. One of the biggest surprises during my interviews was learning how those fears never actually disappear, but rather they get suppressed deeper within, just enough to not obstruct the actions that would make a person successful.
In other words, the same fears continue to exist within us but evolve to take on a new form. As more than 90 percent of my guests shared, learning to control emotional reaction has proven to be a very successful trait.
4. Those who embrace leadership get the furthest.
Many in my academy have succeeded on their own—without partners, without funding and without employees. Leveraging the power of outsourcing or task delegation to other agencies can be beneficial. But those who have truly made the biggest impact as entrepreneurs all share in common the ability to leverage a team—a team they have built, coached and grown to adapt to the long-term vision and skills required to bring the project to life.
Typically, those who showcased leadership skills as a priority in their business reached much higher levels of success. Everyone knows six hands and three minds are better than two hands and one mind, but imagine the power of all those hands and minds if they’re synchronized and working toward a common cause. The ability to build and grow team cohesion is huge.
5. Self-awareness trumps skill set.
Most people assume success is directly correlated to the specific skills an individual possesses. But in my case, I was the complete opposite; I didn’t study or understand business when I first started, but I understood people, who are one of the biggest assets in business.
Many of my guests lacked specific skills that would help them succeed, but they had enough awareness to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, they found alternative ways to get the job done. Self-awareness and honesty is one of the greatest skills in humanity—and often the most lacking because we are often byproducts of our environments and the observations we make early on.
Those who know themselves no longer allow their environment to shift their perspective, but instead they understand how to influence such environments to shift others’ perspectives. That ability is much more important than acquiring all the skills needed to bring a business to life. Skills you can learn; being honest with yourself and practicing self-awareness is something you choose.
Over the past six years, I have learned that success comes in all shapes and forms. I’ve also learned that money is the simplest and most common commodity we hold, and although we learn to value money very early in life, it can often become a never-ending rat race to achieve more of it. Successful people know you have to disconnect your emotions from money to gain the real mental freedom to achieve what you’re passionate about.
Pejman Ghadimi is the author of Third Circle Theory, a book that explains how some of today's top visionaries are made. Since he was 25, Pejman has been financially independent and has dedicated his time to bringing Secret Entourage and Secret Academy—a unique platform which focuses on helping motivate, educate and improve the lives of young entrepreneurs—to life.