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-So I'm going to review some of the most effective ways that I've heard entrepreneurs tell me that they've learned. I just want to have you maybe give me a little examples, and maybe talk about how you might have learned, and maybe some things that you think are effective for the entrepreneur who has maybe just left their job, and now they're working for the landscaper, or maybe they're thinking about it.
One is, we have technical colleges. Then we have self help books, autobiographies, biographies, meeting with mentors, online training like this, or Lynda.com or Digital-Tutors, a lot of great platforms out there, going back to college, seminars, audio books, talking to ultra poor people and your excuse-making cousin Vinny.
So as far as on this list of nine things here, have you gone back to technical college to learn skills you need to start your business and to get business education?
-Haven't done that.
-You haven't done that. What about self help books?
-I like self help books. I think, you know, especially getting a recommendation from somebody that you trust, not everybody's a big reader, but it's important to be a reader, and reading books that are going to get you somewhere. One of the things that I do, and that I really like to do is, I like to watch documentaries.
And there are a ton of them, like on Netflix and things like that, when you're choosing a movie, rather than always choosing just the top new release. There's nothing wrong with that from time to time, but to watch a documentary about somebody who's been successful, even people from 200 and 300 years ago, that's great, but there are so many things out there about companies and how they've grown, and they're interesting. They're entertaining, and they're fun to watch, and you can take notes and learn a lot from that.
-I'm going to go off road for just a second here, but if you can focus your attention on this sign over here. It looks like it's Austin Powers, but it's not. From Virgin, it's from Richard Branson here. And if you look at it here, he says-- this is from his book.
He says, "I drew up lists and lists of people to call, and slowly worked my way down them. Most of them rejected the idea of paying for advertising an unpublished magazine, but gradually I began to see ways to attract their attention. I would call up National Westminster Bank and tell them that Lloyd's Bank had just taken out a full page advertisement. Would they want to advertise alongside Lloyd's Bank?"
And that's Richard Branson's story. I know, for me, hearing about how he started Virgin Records, in that case, he was starting a newspaper called "The Student." He dropped out of high school. He's like 16 years old, and he started a newspaper, but he couldn't write and he didn't have any writers working for him, and so he decided, I'm going to sell ads first.
And I know, reading his story, I thought, well, if he could start-- if he's dyslexic, and he could be a high school dropout, and he could start a newspaper-- his first interview was Mick Jagger, by the way-- if he could do that, well, certainly I could do a business.
So you watch autobiographies, or you watch these documentaries, and then you kind of pull from their life a few principles. Is there any one in particular you watched, just as an example, where you thought, man, that was a really neat, neat documentary, or I've learned something from that one.
-Well, I mean, there are so many. I love documentaries about history, even some of the dudes like Thomas Jefferson, and Lincoln, and things like that.
-George Washington. Wasn't that one a good one?
-George Washington's a great one. There's a number of them out there. But there are even 30 minute documentaries on, like, Chipotle, how those guys got started. Apple. All the different companies that we respect today, you can see, even just on a digital movie Netflix, you can see how they got started.
-So you go on Netflix.
-It's easy. You can get them anywhere nowadays. And another thing is podcasts. Rather than-- I used to listen to talk radio and realized that's kind of wasting my time. And there's nothing wrong with listening to music and that kind of thing, but it's such a great use of your time in the car if you're traveling, just to turn on a podcast from somebody that you trust, you know that what they're saying is credible. That's a great way to continue learning how to take it to the next level.
-One of the things I've notice, though, as I'm studying these successful people, every single one of them watches documentaries. They all read self help books. But they basically all are studying successful people, and they're only focusing on what they can control. And I've noticed, almost none of them watch the news, because they can't control the weather or the murder that happened in your city.
Almost none of them spend a whole lot of time listening to talk radio about things they can't control. It seems like they're all focused on actively engaged in learning what they need to know to grow. Some other ones here is meeting mentors. I know in my life, that's been huge, where you and I had a chance to spend a whole day with the guy who started Hobby Lobby. Mr. Green. Awesome.
-Is there any mentors that you've maybe reached out to, or maybe even meet with, Mr. Green. Is there anyone maybe you've met and you go, man, that helped kind of change the way I'm thinking about my life.
-Well, I mean, that meeting with Mr. Green, I mean, that's a name that everybody can recognize, Hobby Lobby, and that's a big deal. But for me, I watch just people in my town, people that I see, that I come across, and I look for opportunities to meet them and just to ask them questions.
And there's people all over the country, all over the world, that are successful that aren't big names, and you can just figure out ways just to go up and talk to them. Just spend five minutes with them and ask them meaningful questions. And successful people, they like to talk about things they control, because a lot of conversation and small talk is, again, things that people can't control.
And successful people, typically, they'll do it, but they don't like to do that. If you're talking about business with them or about how they've been successful, they'll jump on an opportunity to do that.
-Now I have found when you reach out to a mentor, you want to have your questions prepared.
-I know that I specifically cold call-- I'll just give you an example. Let me grab this here. I cold called Chet Cadieux. He used to run QuickTrip, or he actually is the head of QuickTrip gas stations right now. It's like, if you'd have a QuickTrip in your city you'll know what I'm talking about. It's by far one of the nicest convenience store experiences you're ever going to have, and there's everybody else.
Well, I met him, and I'm going Chet, Mr. Cadieux, what time do you wake up every day? And he's like, well, and then he tells me-- like 5:30, I think it was. And I said, well what books should I read that will change the way I do business? And he's like, well, there's The Service Profit Chain here. This is a case study by Harvard. And then this is the Value Profit Chain. He lays out these books.
And these books have these unbelievable charts-- and you can see all the notes I took from this thing. And this book changed my life. Well then I found out-- your dad went to Harvard-- and I found out that your dad actually had this professor, Mr. Heskett. And I was going, what?
So I think it's important, because I was in an apartment at the time and was financially struggling when I first reached out to mentors. And they would say well, read the Service Profit Chain. Well I don't know about you, but I've never heard of this book. I don't know anybody else who's probably heard of this book. The cover looks like they spent about $7 on the cover design.
But it just changed my life. And I think it's phenomenal. So meeting mentors is big.
Online training-- do you do any online training? Do you watch any online type of school, maybe, to learn things?
-Yeah, I do a little bit. I do that. I mean, if you're here and you're watching Thrive then you're wanting to learn, you're wanting to get to the next level. So these kind of things are not going to be completely foreign to you, that you obviously care about taking it to the next level. So there's so many opportunities out there to learn. Now more than ever has there ever been an opportunity to learn.
-Well, here's what I want to ask you. I read an article yesterday that one of our staffers sent me. But Google, the proportion of college graduates they're hiring, it's never been lower, the number of college graduates. So out of, like, for every 100 people they hire, they're hiring less and less college graduates, and they're hiring more and more people that have a discernible skill.
I've even heard people who went back to college and just got an MBA because they got laid off five years ago. And now they hear on 2014, they have an MBA, they just went back to college, and they still cannot find a job. You have chosen not to go back to college.
-And again, you've switched careers. You went from accounting to landscaping to ministry to commercial real estate. Why did you not go back to college to get into ministry, or back to college to go into commercial real estate.
-Well, everyone's a little different. I like variety. I like to do multiple things, and I like to figure out ways to make money doing things that I like to do. So I mean, there's a place for college. I mean, if you want to be a doctor and that's what you want to do the rest of your life, you've got to go to college. You want to be a lawyer or a nurse-- for me, none of the things that I want to do and I've seen in my future are things that require a degree. It's usually owning a business of my own that I don't see as necessarily a trade.
And so, again, it's trading time. How valuable is my time, and how quickly can I learn that skill without spending a lot of money and spending a lot of time? I can't necessarily control how long that it's going to take for somebody to give me a lecture and what I can get out of that. But I know that if I can read a book, I can read a book quickly and learn maybe a semester's worth of information in a day.
-But you did go back and get almost a certification for commercial real estate. You have to get a license, right?
-Sure. I got a license for commercial real estate. It didn't teach me anything that ultimately-- three days on the job, I learned more in that time about how to actually do a commercial real estate transaction than I did in the time it took me to study and take for the exam. But you have to have some of those certifications.
I mean, I have a college degree. I went to college, and there's a time and a place for it. But looking back in those three years what I could have learned, I've learned more in the last three years than I did in the three years it took me to graduate from a university. So there's such greater ways to learn faster than just at a university.
-And I want to hammer this home. If you're watching this right now and you are in an apartment-- I had an apartment, my wife and I had an apartment. We didn't have air conditioning in Tulsa. It's like 100 degrees. If you're feeling alone-- my apartment smelled like cat pee because we didn't have enough money to really do a/c so it was hot, and then we had a cat that would pee. It was just crazy. It smelled like cat pee. It was hot.
Maybe you're in the hood. Maybe you're in the ghetto. Maybe you're in a rough environment. Maybe you're in a nice neighborhood. I don't know where you are watching this right now. But no matter where you are, you can have access to these tools. You can do it. I mean, you can do it.
-I lived in India for a year and the people there have the tools in order to learn the things that they need to learn. So if they can do it, we can do it.
-What about seminars? There's a lot of people I know who love to go to seminars. They say, I'm going to a seminar here. I'm going to a seminar there. I'll be going to a seminar next week. I'm going to-- do you go to seminars?
-I've been to seminars. It's, again, how quickly am I going to get that information? Is it going to waste three or four days? Am I only going to get just a couple of nuggets that I could get out of one chapter of a book? I think it just depends on the seminar.
-OK, I will say this. For me, personally, I love seminars if it's a specific focus, if I can get something out of it. But I don't like the seminar where I go and they're going to try to sell me the next thing to get me to go to the next seminar, to the-- I don't like seminars where it's about general ideas, like become more ambitious,. Become more motivated. I have a real hard time with that seminar.
Mine more is like learn everything you need to know how to sell more commercial real estate. OK, I'm going to that seminar. So, anyway, just making sure you are getting the best use your time. Audio books-- and then I wrote down that this isn't one here I just I think it's important we talk about this. Talking to your ultra-poor, excuse-making cousin Vinny.
I don't even know if you have a cousin Vinny. And I'm sorry if you do have a cousin Vinny. But I know that poor people love to give tips on how to become successful. People, as a general, I have an opinion on everything.
So, as an example, I am not really in shape or out of shape. I'm just a shape. So if you were to come to me and say, what are some fitness tips? Don't listen to what I'm saying, because you need to find someone who's bluff? And ask them or somebody who's in great shape and say, how did you get in great shape?
Or you go to someone who's financially successful and say, how did you become financially successful? But do you-- what do you do when you have like a family member, or you have a person who's an acquaintance from college, or someone you know who starts giving you tips. Like, Braxton, you should invest in gold. Or you should buy this. Or you need to go back to college. Or how do you deal with those tips that come from the opinions that are unwanted from other people.
-I think you just use common sense wisdom when a lot of times we can learn. Everybody's had experience learning, whether it be business or life, what not to do from somebody else. A lot of times you leave a situation, you're like, that's not what I'm going to do because look at the fruit or the outcome of what happens in that particular person's life. It's not worth our time spending a whole lot of time just dogging those people. But it's also worth our time to go, I'm going to learn something from that person that doesn't know what they're doing just as much as I'm going to learn from people that do know what they're doing.
-Probably the best example ever is there's a person I met at a conference who's been divorced three times. And I'm not a perfect husband. And, in fact, my wife is an angel, which is how I've been able to stay married. But she's awesome. I know your wife's great too. But this person's been divorced three times and was giving me unbelievably specific bad advice.
They're like, what you want to do is you just got to tell your wife how you-- you just got to tell her that she has a role. And I'm just like, really? How long have you been married? Well, I've been divorced three times. Let me tell you some things. And he's just going on and on about all these terrible tips, and telling me to tell my wife this, and tell her that.
And I think it's important, because if you're watching this right now, you have a crazy cousin Vinny. You have maybe a dad, a mom, a cousin. Somebody's giving you bad advice right now. And if you are not careful, you will take that bad advice. Bad advice number one I hear all time-- you should never take a pay cut. You should never go from $37,000 a year salary to $22,000 a year. You should never leave the security of the big firm to go work for the small landscaping business.
-Bad advice, yeah.
-You should never do that. You should never, ever, ever start your own business unless you have something to fall back on.
-Bad advice. You know, the rich get richer. You now, it's how it is. You just need to tak a salary. You hear these things. So it's important that we're very aware of that.
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