6 BEST Pieces Of Business Advice That Made Me Millions | E103 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "6 BEST Pieces Of Business Advice That Made Me Millions | E103".


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Opening Remarks

Intro (00:00)

Quick one. The Dirova CEO live, my live show, my live reincarnation of this podcast is coming on tour and it's coming to a city near you. There's a link in the description below, put your email address in and I will email you when tickets go on sale. Can't wait to see you. I get so many questions from all of you guys and my DMs in the comments section on YouTube everywhere. So I wanna try something new. I'm gonna start answering some of those questions that I've historically answered privately in public. So more of you can gain access to those answers. I asked everybody in my telegram community to submit videos of questions that they want answered from me and in this video today, I'm gonna answer those questions with total, total honesty. And these questions range across business, to personal questions, to questions about relationships and mental health and challenges that you're facing. So here is the first question you asked me this week.

Strategies For Success In Business

Where do I best focus time? (00:54)

- My name is Anjala, I'm 18 and I'm about to enter my first year at uni study economics. I have a lot of commitments. I'm running a business, my business partner. I'm making music, I'm learning languages and I'm playing sports. And I worry that my focus is split. How do you suggest that I move forward? Do you think I should grip my teeth and balance everything to the best of my ability? Or do you think I should prioritize and sacrifice for better quality output despite loving every single thing? I'm looking forward to your response. Thank you so much for listening. - I think the single biggest lesson that I learned when I was starting off early in my business career was the importance of focus. And I had this drummed into me by one of my investors one day when I came to them and presented this new idea which was an addition to the current company that I was building. And they hit me really hard with this like verbal whip and told me, they said, "Steve, focus is everything." And that stayed with me. I was annoyed at the time because naturally when you're a creative person and a very inspired person, as many of us are, you have so many ideas. And the problem is you can't take on all of those ideas at once. And any attempt to do so compromises each individual idea. So if you have three ideas and you're giving them 33% of your time each, the chance of mastery or success in any of those things is drastically, drastically reduced. And especially when it comes to business, if you're giving anything less than 100% of your focus to your business, you can rest assured that there are very competent, probably better funded competitors out there that are giving 100%. Focus and your time is the only currency that you have. So making the decision to invest only a part of your time and focus into what you're doing is a decision to reduce the chance of a really successful outcome. And here's another thing. So I don't know how solid this is as advice, but honestly, when you're young and you're broke and you're bootstrapping, focus matters even more. So for me, what I would do, and when I think about the 50 years of my career, is at the very, very start, I'd go very, very, very narrow. And I'd try and succeed in something that will be the gateway, if it is successful, to me being able to build my resources, my financial resources, my team, so that I can focus on multiple things. And that's really the trajectory I've taken in my life. I, at 18 years old, focused on one thing, one business idea and really nothing else. And when I say nothing else, I also mean a lot of personal things were sacrificed. I focused on that for about seven years in total. That business became a success. I now have resources to allocate against multiple things that I want to do, which frees up more time. So I can start companies now and not even be the CEO of these businesses. But when you're starting out in life in your career, that's not a luxury you have. So my advice for young people would be to do everything in your power to focus. In business, what we do is we operate in sprints, which means when you have an idea, you assemble a team around it and you focus them for a dedicated and predetermined period of time, say three months or six months, only on that idea to give it its best possible chance of success. And after those six months, you assess it and you make very brutal, very honest, very ego-free decisions, whether to continue or not. That's how I like to think about focus and projects and how to make the decisions around allocating your time. What you really should do if you want to give an idea, it's best possible chance of success. If you want to give DJing your best possible chance of success or writing that book or becoming a content creator, is you should look at the task and dedicate the next six months to doing that and only that. If you allocate time to other things in that period, you're reducing the chance of a positive outcome for that one thing. And I tend to see as well, especially young entrepreneurs, when they have multiple businesses and multiple things they're pursuing and multiple things they're trying to master at the same time, as the phrase goes, they become the master of none. Which means they kind of stumble through life, never really achieving any real substantive success because they've spent all of their life trying things in a half-assed timid way. If you want to be successful, if you want to get mastery in anything that matters to you, here's where discipline really, really matters. You have to install into your mind something I call the someday shelf, which is inspiration comes to you. You have a new idea when you're walking down the street or in the shower. You think that's brilliant. That would be a multi-gazillion dollar idea. We all do it. If you want to be successful, don't then add it into your successful idea. Don't then try and contend with two different ideas and give 50% to each. Put it on the someday shelf and see if it nags you. The great ideas will sit there on that someday shelf and they will nag you. And if it nags you for long enough, six months for a year, then maybe it's time to take action. But my mind has a someday shelf on it that has hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of things on it. And if something sits there for more than a year, more than six months and it's still screaming at me and it doesn't dissolve away and collect dust on the someday shelf and disappear into the back, then I pull it forward and I plan in place to give it the sprint it deserves to resource that I do and give it its best possible chance of success. - Hi, it's Steven.

Important character traits to build a successful business. (05:57)

My name's Chloe and my question to you is, what do you believe to be the most important character trait that a person has to possess in order to achieve a hugely successful business? I would love to know. - In terms of character traits to build really successful businesses, I kind of think of it in stages of the business's life. The question here is about the character traits. It's not about skills or talent or resources, it's about character. So at the very start of launching your company, the most important character trait is self-belief, it's believing that you can. Because businesses, they feel like Mount Everest at your doorstep and they look like incredibly daunting tasks that you typically don't have a ton of experience in overcoming, right? You've never climbed Mount Everest before, you don't have the resources, you don't have to get up there, you don't have the experience to rely on. So there has to be somewhat an extreme level of delusion slash self-belief to even want to start doing something you've never done before. And then when it comes to creating really innovative things, you're bringing something into the world that even the world hasn't seen. So that's where having a belief that this thing can exist and having that self-belief is also incredibly important. This is just kind of the inception point of the business. And when you go out into the world and you start telling people about your amazing business idea and how successful you think you're gonna be and that you're gonna be able to change the world in some type of way or solve a problem in a new way, you're gonna get tons of positive feedback from your friends maybe, but also a ton of resistance. Whenever one of my friends starts a company and they ask me for one piece of advice, I always say the same thing. I say there's gonna become a day in your company where things are just awful, where it's so unbelievably painful. I've never seen it not happen. So I can say it with such a high degree of conviction that it is gonna happen to you. So let's not argue about how we stop it happening because it'll find you at some point. Let's start thinking now about what it takes to overcome that day. It requires a ton of resilience. It requires a ton of self-belief. It requires a certain temperament where someone defaults to logic and reason and not emotion because when emotion arrives on that day, then your decision-making will go down and you'll make really bad poor decisions that often exacerbate the problem. But the first encounter of the 35 packages of bullshit will build evidence that you can overcome. And I think that will compound in your favor over time. I think self-belief and resilience are probably the number one in number two character traits of anybody that wants to be wildly successful in business. And then quite honestly, everything else is outside of character traits. I mean, of course it matters to be really, really nice. Of course it does. That's a fact that will increase your probability of success. Of course it matters to be, you know, have a great sense of humor. But I think those two are at the very core of what it takes to be successful, especially when you're a startup. And then everything beyond that is quite often luck. It's quite often outside of your control, especially in industries like technology and when you're building products. Because the question then becomes, okay, I was resilient, I had belief, but does the market care and is their product market fit? Do people want to use my website, my social network, my app, do they want to use my product that I've invented? And that's somewhat outside of your control. However, what is in your control in that phase, let's call this phase two of business, is your humility and ego, which will often show up stubbornly trying to prove that you were right. And entrepreneurs like me in the past have been too romantic about our initial hypothesis, about how we thought our product was going to be used, how many people we would use it, the problem it would solve. And you look at your product and you see clearly in the data that people are using it in a different way. They want a different thing that is outside of your original thesis, your original hypothesis. And some people at that moment, they'll stubbornly try and push their original idea, their hypothesis into existence. Let's increase the marketing. Let's educate the user base. But really, if you're humble enough and you're not attached to your ego, you're attached to the outcome and success of the business, you'll say, let's pivot. Let's change what we thought was true to fit what we now know is true. And that's where I think humility and a little bit of experience, 'cause I think you experience, generates humility, comes from. When I sit here on the podcast and I speak to people like, Tom from Monzo and other founders of these massive companies that have disrupted industries, one of the things they consistently say to me is, I now know it was 10 times harder than I thought and we were like 10 times wrong in our initial hypothesis about how this business would play out than I originally realized. Throughout all of this, as I've said multiple times in my podcast from day one to the day that you exit the business for a $500 billion, sales is everything. Sales is at every single touch point. And also, especially as your business gets bigger and bigger and bigger, it's incredibly important to be self-aware because there's gonna be a million things that you're actually not that good at, that need to be done within your business. There's gonna be a million things, whether it's finances or typing into Excel sheets or it's creative or it's whatever. And so many entrepreneurs I know, especially young inexperienced entrepreneurs and I know fail late in the day, their business explodes at first and then plateaus and then declines because they didn't realize that they needed to put in place another CEO. Because for them, the ego here of replacing themselves and giving someone that very prestigious, very lauded title wasn't worth it. I can also think of the opposite. I can think of companies like Jim Shark, like Hule, like Tala Grace Beverly's business, where those founders have said, you know what, there's someone better to run the company, it's super successful, I'm gonna get out of its way and I'm gonna spend all of my time doing something else that I'm uniquely positioned to do. This is an incredibly important skill and even in the companies that I found now, I say to myself, am I really capable of being the CEO? Is that really where I should be playing? And in the two businesses that I founded since leaving Social Chain, I am not the CEO because that is not what I'm best at. And I'm more attached to the outcome and the success of that business than I am of having that title which might get some brownie points from people that don't really matter anyway. Do you know what I hate? I hate powder. I hate mixing powder with water. I hate protein powders that you have to mix with water up until now. And obviously, Hule spawns this podcast, so I'm tremendously biased, but that's a true story. I've never been able to use the like my protein powders that you mix with water 'cause I always think they taste absolutely awful. Up until Hule released their brand new protein flavor. The amazing thing about all of these proteins is there's 20 grams of protein. You get all of your vitamins and nutrients, 26 of those. And as Hule always is, it's nutritionally complete. And if you are someone that's trying to go a little bit lower on the calories, it's only 105 calories. So when I wake up in the morning, especially I've been working out a lot lately, come downstairs, quickly blend it together in my NutriBullet, drink it, it's 100 calories. And then my next sort of main meal 'cause I'm a breakfast skipper will be at lunchtime. Highly recommend it. And I shouldn't say this 'cause I don't have any approval to say this, but there's some amazing, amazing flavors coming in the ready to drink range that I've been lucky enough to try. And one of those is my new favorite flavor, so stay tuned.

How to overcome imposter syndrome. (13:10)

- Hey Stephen, hope all as well. So my question is with regards the imposter syndrome. Have you any feedback, what regards how to deal with that? Have you experienced it yourself? And just how to go about like getting out of that mindset and acknowledging that you are potentially just go to your role as far people think you are and you're not bluffing it or fluking it and so on? - Thank you. - So here's the thing, I think we all feel deep within us the same feeling anytime we're in a position that feels a little bit outside of our comfort zone. Sometimes that feels like a little bit of nerves in your chest, for example, when I go up on stage and I know there's 10,000 people behind the curtain, of course I feel that in my chest, of course I have that tingling, that sensation that they call butterflies. However, I don't interpret it as being fear, as being a signal to escape or to avoid the scenario. My interpretation, which has grown over time and our interpretations are influenced by our beliefs, the stories we tell ourselves, based on the evidence we have based on our experiences. And my evidence and my interpretation tells me that I'm ready, that this feeling is normal and I'm supposed to feel this way. People sometimes, because of their experiences and the evidence that's created and the stories that's made them believe about themselves, will tell themselves that that feeling is fear, that they should run, that they are ill-prepared, that that feeling is there because they aren't competent enough to complete this task. So what I'm saying is, we all get the feeling, but the story we tell ourselves is ultimately what creates what some people call imposter syndrome. For me, if you look at my life, I've kept myself one step outside of my zone of comfort for my entire life. Of course, I've never been a dragon on Dragon's Den. No one in their first year has been, I'm looking to my left and seeing Peter Jones, who's been there for 17 odd years, and Deb Ramiden to my right, who's been there for 15, I am new. However, I'm supposed to spend my life in situations where I am an imposter. That is the sign of growth. If I'm ever spending too long in a room or situation where I don't feel to some degree like an imposter, I am in the wrong room. And if I am to grow, and growth is an incredibly important part of being stimulated and motivated and being fulfilled, I have to change rooms. For me, in my life, I've spent my entire life trying to escape my zone of comfort and keeping myself one foot outside of that zone of comfort. When you do that, what you find is that zone of comfort expands. You take one more step and it expands again. Every person that's ever done anything for the first time, whether it's Ed Sheeran singing to a group of people before or Braco Bama doing one of his speeches or Usain Bolt running in a track, when they first started, they were inexperienced and incapable. So you should expect and welcome that feeling. It's a feeling you're supposed to have. If you're somebody who wants to spend your entire life growing and progressing and learning, which are all things conducive with fulfillment, you should always feel like an imposter. If you're not, I would assert that maybe, maybe you're playing it too safe. Maybe you aren't challenging yourself enough. So for me, what people call imposter syndrome is an evidence that you're in the wrong situation, one that you aren't supposed to be in. It's clear proof that you're in the right one. You're exactly where you're supposed to be. I'm supposed to spend my entire life doing things that make me feel somewhat like an imposter. That is the answer to a happy, fulfilling, progressful life where I'm striving forward, I'm trying things, I'm challenging myself, and I'm pursuing goals that are worthwhile. We should all feel imposter syndrome. So if you're not, then it's time to challenge yourself more. - Hi, Steve.

How to reach out to senior level people. (16:42)

My question to you is, starting off in an industry, in my case, healthcare and medicine, how do you approach someone at more senior level and at level that you want to be at? To ask them for mentorship, or to be able to help you along the journey that they've been on? Is there anything that you could say, do or offer them that would make them more inclined and taking you on board? Thank you so much. - The answers to these complex, especially professional questions, as it relates to asking people and progressing, are always so simple, yet we complicate them. And that would be my answer, genuinely. It would be the person you're speaking to, put yourself in their shoes. How busy are they? What are their interests? What do they want? What could you say to them, to make them give you something very precious to them, which is their time? And if you can't answer that question, it makes me slightly concerned because that's an inability to put yourselves in the shoes of somebody else. And that is life, that is sales, that is every single day, that is empathy. So say there's somebody at the top of my organization and I want them to mentor me, or there's someone even outside of my organization and I want them to be my mentor. The first thing I do, is if it really helps you, actually pretend to be them. Write it down on a piece of paper what their life looks like. Let's just do Steve Bartlett. You're asking Steve Bartlett to mentor you. So Steve Bartlett's day is he has an unlimited things that people are asking him to do. He's getting thousands of DMs on social media. They're all asking him for stuff, they're asking him for time to go for a coffee, to pick his brain, to put in his podcast, to speak at their event, to do their show, whatever it might be. So that's probably a really dumb place to join the noise. Super saturated, probably, you know, he's probably got a PA defending those inboxes. We're not gonna fucking try that. That would be a stupid thing to do. Let's find the least saturated channel. Probably, quite honestly, probably the post. Or probably, you know, look at his channel hierarchy. Probably Twitter, there's probably less people there. A channel where he's showing like he's responding more, but there's less people competing there for his time. So we might go for the post or for Twitter. So let's now pretend that you've got his attention. You've sent something in the post, you've written a tweet, you've written a Twitter DM, you've got his attention. Once you have his attention, you need to convert it. And to do that, you need to understand his psychological incentives. You have to know what I want. You have to solve a problem that I'm looking for. You have to appeal to my ego, you know, Steve, oh my God, I've listened to every single podcast, right? You have to understand the dynamics of my life. I know you have absolutely no time. I am this person, right? And that's an appeal you're making to maybe my empathy, to my care. I am this person, I'm 18 years old. One day I hope to, you know, build a business like Social Chain. Because I've listened to every single one of your podcasts, it would literally be my dream. If I could just stand in the background of one episode, one time, I promise I won't say a word. It would literally change my life, right? So what you've done there is you've appreciated, you're not asking me for much. You've appreciated the fact that I'm busy by saying I'm just gonna stand in the background, which means you're asking me for zilch, nothing. And then you might end up by saying, and off the back of it, my friend works at this newspaper or this magazine or has this blog, I'm gonna write a full transcript of my experience. This would be, and then again, you're telling me that I'm gonna get something in return, right? And then I look at it as a proposition. You've touched my ego, you've made me, you know, care through empathy, you've asked for nothing in return of my time, and you've offered me a reward, which is you're gonna put it somewhere, you're gonna write it somewhere, you're gonna help me by extending the reach. For me, that's kind of the broad structure of a perfect, cold email asking for something from someone that has no, you know, right to give it to you is incredibly busy and is being asked a lot. The worst possible case scenario, let me give you the worst possible case scenario. Hi, Steve, someone mentioned you the other day, which means that you don't know who I am and you've not bothered to do your own research. I want you to mentor me, let me know when to start. And then you've ended that with the, let me know when to start or whatever, which is a total presumption and sort of disrespect and disregard of my time and my ability to make that decision. And then, yeah, and also what you've done with that message because it's so short and ill-conceived, you've proven to me that you're lazy and that you're not creative and that you're probably not someone that's gonna bring much value to my life. And that's genuinely how it works in my life. I swear to God, I get DMs from young people. They literally say, r, letter r, space, there, any jobs going. You've perfectly ruled yourself out with that message of ever working for me ever because you've told me that you're both uncreative and lazy. In only a couple of words, it's a remarkable thing to achieve with such few amounts of words. You've told me you're lazy and uncreative. You will never work for anything that I do in my entire life if I ever see that message. It shows that you don't actually give a fuck either. Like you didn't even go on the website to see if there were jobs going. Or you didn't, you know, so that's the antithesis of creativity, attention to detail, care, and ultimately success. And, you know, for some fucking reason, people still do it.

Three things to look out for to know you’re on the right path to success. (21:54)

- What are the three things that you would look out for to know that you're on the right path for success? - So the first thing is definitely enjoyment. If you're not enjoying it, especially at an early stage when it's gonna be most difficult, then the chance of you being successful is somewhere below 1%. That is the single most important thing. Are you enjoying it? If the answer is no, then honestly you should quit because it's only gonna get more difficult. And the thing is we also tend to shy away from things we're not enjoying. We tend to procrastinate away from them because they create psychological discomfort. So if you're not enjoying it, you're probably also gonna do a pretty shitty job in it. It's hard to show up for something every single day that you're not enjoying. The second thing is at the very start of your business, there's not gonna be a ton of evidence that it's going well. There's probably not gonna be a ton of revenue, probably not gonna be a ton of users, but there will be evidence of progress, evidence that you're getting better, evidence that you're making marginal gains. And for me, and even with this podcast, I don't necessarily look for results today or more viewers or more downloads or more revenue. What I'm looking for is, is this thing getting 1% better week over week? Because it only then takes 100 weeks for us to be 100% better, and that means we're moving in the right direction. And lastly, I would say you're looking for some kind of validation of your hypothesis. So in the context of this podcast, my validation would be, am I getting feedback from people and from the data that they are enjoying the format and the concept? Are they coming back next week? There might not be thousands of people yet. They might just be 10. But are those 10 people inviting one more and making my audience 11 people? And there's always some evidence, even at the very, very start of your business, especially if you've built it in a lean way just to test your hypothesis, that your hypothesis is being validated, that your product does have market fit, that people are enjoying the content you're creating. And that can act as a tailwind to create belief, to create enjoyment and motivation, which will spur you on to carry on going. So to summarize, are you enjoying it? Are you making marginal gains, i.e. progress? And lastly, has your hypothesis shown some evidence that it is correct? Is their product market fit? Are people enjoying what you're making? Are they coming back again?

Sources Of Motivation

What gets you out of bed in the morning. (24:16)

Hey Stephen, the gang. Nice to cook up with you. My question is, I've been watching a lot of podcasts, a lot of your motivation does help me a lot. I've struggled over the years with anxiety, depression, I've gone through a bit of a bat a bit lately. I'm just wondering where you get your motivation from, what makes you tick and what makes you get out of bed every day. I'll get there, I'm looking for other avenues and you're inspiring me every day and just wanted to know really what motivates you and drives you. So it's kind of ironic that within your question lives the answer to your question. You said at the start of that, that you listen to this podcast, it gives you value and it's helped you. That's the reason why I get out of bed in the morning, purpose. And so for me, the thing that drives me in any sort of discipline or pursuit or ambition or hobby that I have, it's very, very simple and I've said this many times before. It has to be a worthwhile goal that it's challenging that I can pursue with people I love. And what you said about how this podcast has helped you is the reason it's worthwhile to me. Of course it's challenging. It takes tons of my time, the production takes a lot of effort but it's a worthwhile challenge. So it's one worth pursuing. And lastly, I get to do it with people that I actually love. And that's just a real fundamental thing about human beings because you can be pursuing a goal that means the world to you, a goal you love, a goal that feels incredibly worthwhile and meaningful. But if you're doing it with people that are toxic in a toxic environment, it then becomes unworthy. It loses its enjoyment. And the people you're pursuing a goal with are intrinsically attached to the motivation to pursue it. So the thing that gets me out of bed and the prism in which I make my decisions through in my life is, is this a worthwhile goal? Worth while is totally subjective. It's how it makes you feel inside here. Is it a challenge because the science says if something isn't challenging you, your motivation will decline. And are you doing it? Are you pursuing it surrounded by people you love? That'll make it way more enjoyable, way more sustainable pursuit. Thank you for all of your questions. And if you wanna put a question to me, the details on how to do that are down below in the description. I hope you enjoyed this new segment and I can't wait to answer your question next week.

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