I remember telling my Dad at at a young age how I would become a millionaire by 30. He gave me the non-sarcastic, yet mostly skeptical “I bet you will son.”
But shockingly, I did.
And while money seemed to be the focus during my early pursuit, it became my furthest concern over the past several years. I think success has a way of prioritizing what drives us.
Now, after building three seperate million dollar companies in the past 10 years, it has become clear to me that the drivers of wealth whether personal or business, come not from the tactics and strategies easily found in the pages of Fortune and Fast Company, but rather the timeless lessons our parents taught us as children. To not lie. To share. To be kind. To be comfortable with who you are.
In my new book People Over Profit, I share everything I have learned on my journey. My advice is not easy or quick. But, it’s more likely to work than the sea of get-rich-quick programs and weak business strategies that litter the internet.
1. Focus On Helping 1 Million People, Instead Of Making $1 Million Dollars
In my early twenties, My company was nowhere near seven figures. We were working out of my house, we had only three clients, an our website was embarrassing. Nevertheless, we were still landing new business and progress was being made.
For those first few years, my focus was fanatically centered on the bottom line. I managed our money with extreme detail and my drive was to do whatever it took to increase the number at the end of our profit report.
And then my heart changed. I realized success wasn’t fixing me. While I was making great money, I had no meaning. I wanted to figure out how to blend purpose and profit. I wanted to flip capitalism upside down. I wanted to ask the hard questions. So I shifted my motivation from financial success to impact success.
At that moment, I launched Sevenly, a company with a mission to give $7 to a worthy cause for every product we sold. My sights were set on feeding the hungry, rescuing girls caught in sex trafficking, caring for the orphan, and most importantly building a healthy business of love and respect.
“Building a million dollar company wasn’t even on my radar. It was just a result.”
In just three years, we had almost 50 employees, $6.5 million in revenue, and had given over $4 million to charities. Even more, we had built a passionate company. We cared for our staff and in return, they worked harder than any group of people I had ever seen. My main takeaway was this:
“See money not as the primary goal, but as a by-product of helping a million people.”
The research behind my book made this ultra clear: You’ll never become wealthy without helping people. It’s that simple. What massive problem can you get lost in? What human needs are begging for you to solve them? This is the entrance to building a million dollar company.
2. Quality Is Never An Accident.
Quality is a value that most business leaders will say is important, but they are frightened to death about actually committing to it. Why? Because increasing quality almost always means increasing prices or decreasing profit margins.
We worry that we won’t be able to capture the tens of millions of price-conscious consumers saturating the American marketplace. But to be honest, you should be more afraid of making subtle compromises in quality, or that you’ll end up selling your company’s soul for thirty pieces of silver.
“Never compromise. Quality tells customers, “If they care this much about the smallest details, then they must care about me.”
Building a million dollar company requires you to become maniacally focused on quality at every turn. As a business leader, you must be ruthlessly critical, not in a masochistic way, but in a manner that forces the company to improve every aspect of quality at all times.
In Chapter 9, I breakdown the level of quality into four critical categories: Physical quality, experiential quality, visual quality, and personal quality. Companies who can master these areas, run far ahead in their race to lead the market.
Remember, quality is its own reward, but quality also commands higher standards – and greater impact, greater pride of product, greater customer loyalty, a greater brand perception… all of which will drive you toward building a million dollar company.
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3. Tell The Truth Even When It’s The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do
The world is full of lies. Actually, that is an understatement. We’re bathing in lies. We buy lies. We eat lies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And most companies are the biggest lie factories around.
According to a recent survey of forty thousand Americans, 93 percent of employees lie “regularly and habitually in the workplace.” And it takes a toll on the company.
“We lie all the time, and it wears us out,” says Brad Blanton, executive psychotherapist at UCLA. “We manage our companies through a series of delusional clichés: ‘The customer is always right’; ‘I’m not angry’; ‘We’re proceeding according to plan.’ But at the core, we don’t buy any of it.”
In my book, I outline the characteristics of leaders who are bold enough to speak truth even when it’s the hardest thing they’ll ever do. To say the difficult things. To push through awkward or humiliation or confrontation.
Success is produced by those who are constitutionally incapable of accepting lies. They face reality when it’s hard. If the company is hurting and needs to lay folks off, they don’t ignore it. If a problem has risen up between two employees, they confront it. If their strategy isn’t working, they change it. If they lost the company money, they admit it.
Honesty is more than not lying. It’s truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.
4. If Your Blood Is Not Racing, It’s Not Right For You
I’ve met too many people who create businesses to make money. And then I’ve met people who create businesses to fuel their passion.
But there is a major difference here. One makes things because they want to make money; the more things they make, the more money they make. What they make doesn’t really matter that much to them – they’ll make anything as long as it pays.
The other wants to make money because it allows them to make more things their passionate about. They want to improve their product. They want to extend their line. The want to create another movement, invention, or app. They love what they make and they see making money as a way to do even more of what they love. They dream of building a company that creates the best products… and money just happens to be the way they can fuel their purpose.
While it’s very possible to find a meaningless product that can generate a million dollars, most million dollar leader learn that making money with what you love, is more important than make money to make money.
We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies. ~Walt Disney
Do you want to create a million dollar company? Maybe you’re a new entrepreneur or dreamer. Or maybe you own a small business already. If you’re looking for a practical guide with timeless principles than never fade, principles that push for a healthy type of success, one with integrity, honor, and respect, my book People Over Profit is for you. Consider my offer below.
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