7 Lessons On Business And Success You Won’t Learn In School

Business success lessons learned from school

Less than 3 years ago, frustrated by my lack of success, I made the decision to start reaching out to and learning from successful people.

There was just one problem: I barely knew any. So I did the only thing I could think of, and that was to start a blog.

With a blog as my platform, I started interviewing successful people. It took me over a year to find my groove (I had absolutely zero online marketing experience before doing this), but eventually the blog became a podcast, and the podcast became a community.

As I write this article, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing over 60 successful entrepreneurs from all over the world. Their collective stories and advice have rewarded me with an education on business and success unlike anything that is taught in a classroom.

Here are 7 important lessons on business and success I have learned from this journey:

1. Success is 90% failure.

Some people define success as doing everything right – as getting the result they want. They view failure as something to be avoided at all costs. They try to create a perfect plan, and they only take action if they are confident that their plan is going to work. They try to avoid failure, thinking that by avoiding failure they will achieve success.

One of the things I’ve learned from interviewing so many successful individuals is that they’ve all experienced failure, and their failures often preceded their successes. This led me to conclude that a person’s failures actually serve as the stepping stones to their successes. Therefore if you avoid failure, by default, you also avoid success.

Stop worrying about failure and stay focused on your results. When you get the result you want, you might call that success. When you don’t get the result you want, you get the feedback you need to change your strategy.

Don’t be afraid to take action with no promise of success. It’s better to take the wrong action and pivot than to not take any action at all. Expect 90% of what you try to not work. Sometimes you have to learn what doesn’t work in order to find what does.

2. Hire help. Great people are not as expensive as you think.

We live in a global, digitally connected economy. This means that we all have access to a global talent pool of incredibly skilled individuals for very competitive rates. Even if you’re not a business owner, do yourself a favor and hire help as soon as possible. You’d be amazed how much of your precious time you can get back if you leverage the time and expertise of others.

Whether for a specific project, or on a long term basis, it isn’t hard to find the right people for the job and it isn’t expensive either. I currently manage a full time virtual assistant and doing so takes only a few minutes of my time per week. I also hire contractors and freelancers for specific tasks and projects on a regular basis.

If you haven’t already, check out www.elance.com or www.odesk.com and see for yourself just how easy it is to find and hire great people. You’ll be glad you did.

3. Don’t get too attached to your ideas. Test them before you invest in them

I once met an individual who told me they had a ground breaking idea for a new business. There was just one problem: they refused to tell anybody what their idea was because they were scared someone would steal it. This person failed to recognize that ideas, by themselves, ideas have little value. The real value comes from execution.

There is no shortage of ideas in this world. Many of us have ideas on a daily basis. Are all of them good? Absolutely not. Until an idea is actually implemented, there is no way of knowing how valuable it really is.

Testing an idea on a small scale to see what result it creates is much wiser than investing time, energy and resources pursuing something only to discover that it doesn’t work. Let go of bad ideas early and quickly. More ideas will always come to you.

Ideas for entrepreneurs quotes

4. Stop networking. Start building relationships

In the context of business, networking is typically defined as “interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.” It’s a pretty straight forward definition, and yes, networking can yield many benefits. The problem is that most people haven’t been taught how to do it properly.

The typical approach to networking consists of attending conferences or events in your industry, delivering your “elevator pitch” to everyone you meet and giving out and/or collecting as many business cards as possible, hoping that those connections somehow turn into employment or business opportunities. This has become one of the least effective ways to build a strong network.

To build a strong network, shift your focus from collecting contacts to building relationships.

Become genuinely interested in the people you meet. Encourage them to talk about themselves. Ask them about their current projects, and find out if there are any challenges they are currently facing. Offer a helpful suggestion, idea, or an introduction to someone else who can help them. Give without any expectation of receiving. You’ll soon discover that when you selflessly add value to others, they will gladly return the favor at some point in the future.

5. Model other successful people but don’t try to be them

Regardless of which industry you’re in, there will likely be other people who are ahead of you and who you consider to be more successful than yourself. This is perfectly fine. In fact, one of the most efficient ways to succeed in any industry quickly is to learn the principles and model the strategies of those who are already successful. But always remember one thing: you are not them.

Learn and apply what has worked for others to see if it will work for you, but never try to be something that you’re not. Remember that you are unique. Do what feels true to you. Always be authentic. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to other people. No one succeeds overnight. We all must start from where we are and with what we have. Respect the journey that other people have travelled, but remember to stay focused on your own.

6. Results speak louder than credentials

I definitely respect the dedication of people who invest several years obtaining degrees and credentials to advance their careers, but the harsh reality is that credentials alone have almost no bearing on the level of success a person attains. In fact, many highly qualified individuals often find themselves without work or beginning careers in new industries for reasons that were beyond their control.

We live in a results-based economy. To ensure your success regardless of which industry you are in, you must acquire any and all skills that will enable you to get results. If you’re an entrepreneur, you must learn how to get results for your business. If you work for someone else, find out what result they want and help them get it.

Many of the successful entrepreneurs I have interviewed barely made it through high school and yet no one questions their intelligence or skills. Why? Because they have a track record of tangible, hard won results. A track record of positive results speaks louder than any credentials you print on a business card or a resume.

7. The journey is the reward.

The final lesson that I’d like to share with you is to enjoy the journey. The trouble with ambition is that it causes us to chase the future, often at the expense of appreciating the present. Pause and reflect often. Praise yourself for how far you’ve already come. Stay focused on the outcomes you want, and respect the process required to create them.

Set big goals not because of what you will get when you achieve the goal, but for what it will make of you in the process. The person you become as you achieve your goals is more valuable than the goal itself.

“The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” – Jim Rohn

12 Habits of People Who Always Fulfill Their Dreams

Extraordinarily motivated people are driven to go above and beyond; they are trusted by others, focused, and confident in their own abilities. They dream of endless possibilities and tend to be extremely satisfied with their lives. They are more likely to receive a raise or a dream project, maintain longer relationships, and get promoted or recruited more than their unmotivated peers.

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… These are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” – Confucius

Seeking and achieving your dreams means you are really living your life. Ready to get motivated and become all you can be? Try some or all of these habits of extraordinarily motivated people and perhaps you too will find the courage to live a life of fulfilled dreams.

1. They’re Internally Motivated

It is their intrinsic desire to be their best selves and succeed that drives their motivation. They are internally driven—not pushed—toward new adventures, the unfolding journey, and the possible outcomes—they relish challenging themselves, learning, and exploring.

2. They Don’t Waste Time Judging

They objectively observe the successes and mistakes of others and learn from them instead of judging or comparing themselves. They don’t waste their time with judgmental, gossipy people either.

3. They Are Humble

They are willing to admit they made a mistake and apologize. They encourage feedback from others and use it to take steps in the right direction.

4. They Look at the Upside

Instead of focusing on what’s not working and bad experiences—which so many of us tend to do—they instead focus on what is working and their successes. If they find themselves overthinking a miscalculation, they automatically flip a switch and think about those things they did do right.

5. They Are Authentic

They are true to themselves despite what others think—they don’t live their lives solely to please others.

6. They Push Beyond Their Comfort Zone

Extraordinarily motivated people face discomfort head on—they never choose the easy route—to get what they want. They push themselves out of their comfort zone and get rid of those annoying internal voices that say, “You are limited in what you can do.” They trust their abilities and know they will come out on top.

7. They Continue to Learn

They read a lot and are brilliant observers—they are always watching and searching for new, more efficient, and faster ways to achieve. They understand that in order to grow as a person, they must always continue to learn.

8. They Know What They Want

They have a clear vision of what they want their lives to look like and who they want to be. Their clarity comes with the wisdom to know what things to harness and what things to avoid. Their mottos are, “Never say never” and “Anything is possible.”

9. They Don’t Give Up

When they stumble over that proverbial bump in the road, they problem solve, come up with a plan, take action, and get past it. They understand that a sure way to lose a battle is to quit—which is not a part of their vocabulary or an option.

10. They Don’t Blame Others

They never blame others for their failures. They understand that ultimately they alone are in charge of their actions and choices and no other.

11. They Take Time for Themselves

They know that in order to stay motivated and on top of their game, they have to carve out time for themselves. Rewards of time away from it all and taking care of themselves are more important to them than material possessions.

12. They Surround Themselves With Motivators

Their friends are those who are trustworthy, positive, and supportive and who bring out the best in them unconditionally. Their friends help them take on the world side by side and, when needed, help them get back on their feet again.

Sky Inc Hangs Out with Maddie & Tae!

Lauren, Chelsea, Amber, Cameron, and Jonathan were treated VIP by our client while hanging with Maddie and Tae backstage! Maddie & Tae is an American country music duo composed of vocalists Maddie Marlow and Taylor Elizabeth Dye. Once a month Sky likes to do special incentives for employees to ensure recognition and team benefits.

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Check out Maddie & Tae’s most popular song: 

Jonathan Perry Visits New Orleans!

Today, Jonathan is back in the office after visiting two of our offices in New Orleans, Louisiana! He got to meet with business owners Christopher and Vinny and help plan weekly meetings and business plans for these two offices. Jonathan also had the privileged of running daily meetings and workshops for both of these offices while visiting.

While he is excited to be back here at Sky, Jonathan loves traveling. He will be traveling to the Bahamas in October for the company’s 2014 annual R&R retreat. Stay tuned for pictures!