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12 Lessons from Nearly 10 Years

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by David Garland in David's Blog, General

Over the past 10 years between growing my own business (#938 on the 2017 Inc. Magazine 5000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies) and thousands of my customers/students who have created & grown successful online businesses…I’ve been thinking about the patterns that I see over and over and over again.

Meaning…what types of people are successful and what types of people aren’t?

A few observations:

1. Success comes in every shape and situation. I’ve seen people create successful businesses in every possibly crazy situation (and background/age/sex/gender/location/race/etc.). From a nearly homeless single Mom of 3 to an academic neuroscientist. Instead of a “woah is me” or “my situation isn’t good”… they make it work. Is it easy? Heck no. But they make it happen.

2. Excuse-makers and cynics need not apply. Excuse-makers and cynics, sorry, but it just ain’t going to happen. Instead of saying, “this won’t work” or “this won’t work for ME” …I can tell you without a doubt my most successful customers instead say, “How can I make this work for me and my situation?”

3. Not afraid of ACTUAL work. Sorry, but having a successful business is hard (if anyone says otherwise slowly back away and then run). There is work. Lots of work. And not just work for work’s sake. My most successful customers avoid things like lots of meetings (yuck!), joining 30 different mastermind groups and attending every conference under the sun. Instead, ready for this one, they actually work on their business (including a massive emphasis on sales and marketing).

4. Action Takers: Sure some decisions can be reckless (and that’s how you learn) but my most successful customers & students take action. Often in a split second, they learn to trust their gut (and is every decision the correct one…nope…but it is much better to learn that way then agonize over every decision for days, months or even years). Money (and business) loves speed. On the other hand, I know some people that are debating what microphone they are going to buy…for the past three years.

5. Stick-To-It-ness: Entrepreneurial ADD is real my friend. And it is deadly. When my most successful students and customers find something that works…they stick to it. They double and triple down. What happens? Long term success. Meanwhile, the ADD people are chasing the latest “opportunity of the moment” and drastically shifting their business all the time (and that doesn’t mean change and new things are bad but it does mean that once you find something that is working and working well…stick with it).

6. Try and Fail: Many people try things, everyone fails at some point. That’s just a fun fact. The question is what do you do after your 1st, 50th or 500th failure? Do you give up? Do you learn from it? My most successful customers aren’t afraid to keep learning and trying (in fact when my podcast comes back in March I’m going to be talking about in one of the first episodes all the things we tried in 2017 and what worked and what was an epic failure and why). Try, learn, diagnose what went wrong/right, try again.

7. Thick skin: There are lots of meanie jerk-a-saurus’ out there. They come in many shapes and forms and at some point, they will find you. What happens then? Sure it is human to be upset (I mean that’s normal) BUT I can tell you for a fact that my most successful customers and students don’t change what they are doing or how they are doing it because of meanies. Other people fold like a cheap deck chair at the first sign of criticism or get into fights with people on the Internet. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

8. Realizing they don’t know everything. There is that old saying that you never want to be the smartest person in the room. While we are all wonderful and smart (and so good looking!)…put ego aside when it comes to business. My most successful customers/students seek help and are willing to listen, learn and implement.

9. Team Builders. You can’t do everything yourself (even if you are good at something it might make more sense for someone else to do it so you can focus on other important things). You might start out that way but over time you will be so burned out and stressed out that you will (insert something not good). Not only do my most successful customers and students seek help to grow their business (employees/contractors/experts) they also realize their most valuable asset is time and creating a team creates leverage (and growth!).

10. Positive. Sure not EVERY positive person out there is successful (I mean there are some dreamers out in the clouds that don’t follow #11) but I can tell you I find VERY FEW (if ANY) negative people who are successful. However, positivity means nothing without…

11. Execution. Like the ole WWE wrestler, Bret “The Hitman” Hart aka “the excellence of execution” …that’s what it is all about. Sure successful entrepreneurs have great ideas (I mean duh!) but what they really do is execute. And they execute under all circumstances (not just when everything is perfect). My fitness trainer Ryan always says, if people just showed up to the gym when everything was perfect…it would be about twice a year.

12. Long term patience (but still moving quickly). I know it almost sounds like an oxymoron..move swift but be patient. Think long term. It’s not about overnight success, it is about putting the work and moving forward. My most successful customers and students have the patience to outlast everyone else while still executing day-to-day. Do you?

And that my friend is my mini-laundry-list of success. Not based on theory. Not based on “rah rah” chants. Not printed on a t-shirt. This is straight up from my experience and what I’ve seen from thousands of others.

Go get ‘em.


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8 Steps to Turning What You Already Know into a Successful Online Course

The 8 step process to the successful with online courses + free gifts for attending!

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