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How to Make Money Through Social Media

This influencer breaks down his experience on building brands through social media.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Andrew Medal sits with Branden Hampton — a content, engagement and branding expert who helps individuals and brands maximize their online presence and brand equity — in Los Angeles to discuss how working with the Kardashians has influenced his work.

Click play to hear the conversation between Medal and Hampton.

Related: How Christopher ‘Drama’ Pfaff Used His MTV Fame to Build a Fashion Brand

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How Christopher ‘Drama’ Pfaff Used His MTV Fame to Build a Fashion Brand

Andrew Medal chats with the former reality TV star in Beverly Hills to learn about the transition from ‘Rob and Big’ to Young & Reckless.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Christopher “Drama” Pfaff is an entrepreneur, producer and reality TV star best known for his roles in the MTV reality shows Rob and Big and Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory.

Pfaff is also the founder and CEO of Young & Reckless Clothing. Young & Reckless is a street wear inspired clothing brand sold across the world. The brand can be seen worn on celebrities like Kevin Durant, Cassie, Justin Bieber, Meek Mill and Colin Kaepernick.

Related: How to Build a Famous Fashion Brand

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4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping the Future for Businesses Big And Small

Harness the power of artificial intelligence and reap a competitive advantage.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming not just a curious concept, but a business asset worthy of every entrepreneur’s attention. A. is making headway in topics from behavior-based email sequences and opt-in popups to savvy messaging bots and even internal employee satisfaction analysis (IBM says they can determine with 95 percent accuracy when a person is planning to quit),

You can use AI to increase customer retention, NPS, sales close rate and pre-qualify leads. It’s hard to know where AI will be in a decade or two. But, it’s already playing a big role in many business’ daily operations. It can play a big, beneficial role in your business as well, now and well into the future. Here are four ways.

1. Emotional analysis

Annette Zimmermann said in 2018, “By 2022, your personal device will know more about your emotional state than your own family.”

Emotion AI, also known as affective computing, is an iteration of AI capable of detecting human emotions and responding to those emotions accordingly. And while it’s not perfect yet, the technology is staggering. One study from the University of Ohio claims that AI is now better at detecting emotions than humans are — a remarkable feat considering our millions of years of evolution for that sorta thing.

I believe these emotionally intelligent bots transform your business operations, and this is why I have created an AI startup that is rooted in this technology.

Imagine being able to collect the emotions of a viewer watching a video online, or using email sales sequences, messaging bots, and even customer support telephone options that adapt automatically based on the users emotions. How would that change your business?

A study that analyzed 1400 case studies of top advertising campaigns over the last 30 years found that ads which triggered human emotions were about 100 percent more like to report “very large profit gains.”

What if you could trigger the right emotions at the right time?

2. Customer support

Efficiency is perhaps nowhere more important than in customer support — the place where people want answers and they want them right away. And while pleasing those needy customers might seem like a business revenue afterthought, it isn’t.

According to a report by Temkin, a moderate improvement in customer experience can massively improve revenue. In the study’s own words, “Our analysis shows that NPS is strongly correlated to customers’ willingness to spend more with tech vendors, try their new products and services, forgive them after a bad experience, and act as a reference for them with prospective clients.”

I’ve used companies like Forethought, for instance, who are leading the charge into customer support AI products with their flagship answer recommendation tool, Agatha Answers. Designed as a plug-in enterprise solution that can be installed in two days and improve customer support time-to-resolution by up to 30 percent, Agatha gained widespread attention as it propelled Forethought to victory at the 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield.

“Agatha Answers recommends answers to customer support tickets, decreases time to resolution, and increases agent productivity,” said Forethought Founder, Deon Nicholas during the TC competition. “Forethought uses AI to augment knowledge professionals.”

With 33 percent of Americans citing poor customer service experiences, reported by Business Insider, as the only motivation required to jump ship, clearly, AI has a significant role to play in the future of the customer service industry.

3. Sales and lead generation

AI is making big splashes in business-to-business (B2B) sales and lead generation. Harvard Business Review reports, for instance, that businesses which use AI can reduce call time by up to 70 percent and increase number of leads by 50 percent. Additionally, one source believes that 85 percent of sales-related tasks could be outsourced to the robots by 2020 (without a loss — and likely an improvement — in close rate).

Take LeadFuze, for example. This tool is an AI-based product focused on sales improvement, and finding the right customer segment and lead. It is the first and only lead generation software tool of its kind that combines data aggregation from multiple trusted sources while offering unlimited access and complete list building automation.

I use this product and it means that we spend less time on prospect research and contact gathering and more time on actual sales conversations. Insights-focused businesses, like LeadFuze, are projected to pull in more than $1.2 billion annually by 2020. And that’s for good reason — businesses like mine benefit from that kind of automated lead-generating intelligence.

4. Talent intelligence

Recruiting the right talent for your company can be a frustrating experience. Massive online search engines for jobs like Indeed or Monster can help source candidates, but many times, parsing the thousands of potential applicants is an exceptionally time-consuming task. Fortunately, AI products can offer some assistance.

According to a survey of 1,000 C-Level executives of large companies performed by Eightfold, 78 percent of surveyed businesses cite talent programs as “very important,” but only 44 percent say that the one they use is effective. Evidently, there is significant room for improvement with talent curation, something that Eightfold’s AI-based solution is intent on providing.

Called their “Talent Intelligence” platform, Eightfold’s AI product delivers a talent pipeline that reduces the time from engaged candidate to interview, curates relevant candidate lists, eliminates bias with blind screening, and drives attention with internal mobility among other features. All relevant data perspectives can be ported into a single interface, making the entire talent process much more manageable.

After all, the faster and easier you find the right people for your business, the bigger, more successful business you’ll be able to build.

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How to Build a Famous Fashion Brand

Andrew Medal sits with Dee Murthy at the Beverly Hills headquarters of Five Four Club.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Dee Murthy is co-Founder of Los Angeles-based, fashion membership Five Four Group and Young & Reckless. The e-commerce platform has a portfolio of brands that include New Republic by Mark McNairy, Grand AC and Oshenta.

Murthy is also a seasoned investor and partner at Queenbridge Venture Partners as well as partner in popular Las Vegas shoe store 12 AM RUN. He is a co-host with Chris ”Drama” Pfaff in weekly lifestyle podcast Group Chat in addition to his business ventures.

Related: How This Entrepreneur Used CrossFit to Build a Business

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How This Entrepreneur Used CrossFit to Build a Business

This Entrepreneur won the 2008 CrossFit Games, and now he runs over 20 gyms.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Few men have had the honor of being named the Fittest Man on Earth, but Jason Khalipa is one of them. The 2008 CrossFit Games champion has competed at the Games eight times and only once placed outside the top 10. He has won every regional competition he’s participated in. He’s not only proven his fitness prowess, but he’s also achieved great success as an entrepreneur with more than 20 gyms internationally.

Related: How These 2 Brothers Started a Company Together While Living in Different Cities

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7 Prolific Business Lessons Nipsey Hussle Gifted the World

Long live Nipsey the Great.

8 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw mixtape dropped in 2013, I was in the penitentiary serving a two- to five-year sentence. I had been following his music since 2008 when I first heard the song “Bullets Ain’t Got No Name,” and because I am a Socal native, it gave me pride to see him coming up. While in the joint, I found a way to purchase a smuggled bootleg compilation of Nipsey’s music and would bang the lyrics in my Discman on my prison rack while teaching myself to code with textbooks, or when I was getting tattooed.

On March 31, 2019, Nipsey was attacked by an envious gunman, and tragically passed away. His untimely demise has shocked his childhood community of Crenshaw and the world at large. Nipsey was more than a rapper. He was an entrepreneur, visionary and leader. He provided hope to so many people, including myself, who have had crazy pasts. He showed us it didn’t matter where we came from or what happened to us, we could still accomplish anything. He taught us that by betting on ourselves and keeping it real we can still make it to the top.

In 2018, before he dropped his Grammy-nominated and arguably the best album of the decade, Victory Lap, I sat with him to chop up life, music and his legacy. We met at his latest investment, Vector90, a coworking space in the heart of his hometown in Crenshaw. As a tribute to his legacy, my show Action & Ambition (hosted on the Entrepreneur Network) will be replaying the episode we did in 2018. You can catch it on our Facebook Watch Page.

Nip was a business savvy musical genius who gave back to his community in big ways. The world will no doubt feel his loss. In his honor, here are seven lessons we can take from his life and his legacy.

1. Never stop learning.

Nipsey was never one to stop learning. Maybe he built his business from a natural sense of savvy, but he also built it by listening and learning. He read a lot of books. In fact, his idea for his $100 mixtape, where he made only 1,000 copies, was born from the book Contagious by Jonah Berger. Anyone that knew him will tell you he was relentlessly focused on getting better in every way, and made a habit of personal development and growth.

“Told my mama I’mma gang bang graduate/ Pioneered the transition from this Crippin’ wasn’t easy n—a, but I mastered it/ That’s why I still deliver raps so passionate/ Built my own lane, ain’t no n—a ever hand me shit/ Slauson Ave., do you understand the averages?/ The fact I’m still standing speaks volumes to my savages.” (“Love?”)

2. Be prepared to do all the work.

Nipsey saw success because he was willing to do any work, no matter how menial it may have seemed at the time. Even as he soared further and further toward the top, he still maintained a willingness to do the tasks that others might consider to be below them. “Most people want to skip the process,” he said, “not knowing that when you skip steps, you miss the lessons.”

He took out the trash and swept the floors of his own studio. Starting out, he built his own basement recording studio to make sure that he could engineer and record his own music. Without this willingness to put in all types of work, he would not have learned what it would take to achieve the goals he set.

“My thing is that I don’t give no person that much power over my path that I’m walking. Not one person can make or break what I’m doing, except me or God.”

3. Make genuine connections.

Entrepreneurs know the importance of networking and making connections. For some, it’s a tedious process of trying to get in with important figures of a particular industry. It’s a game of kiss-ass. But for Nipsey, he focused on making genuine connections based on true talent. Relationships he formed with musicians such as Kendrick Lamar and Puffy were lasting and real. They were collaborations that meant something. But he also knew how to create genuine connections to the people who consumed his music. He’s always been the people’s king and it’s because he not only shared the good but his struggles too, which made him that much more relatable.

“If you sharing your success and not your struggle, you’s a fool.” (“U Don’t Got a Clue”)

4. Build your brand.

Nipsey understood his brand and what it represented. He was the one who built it and promoted it. He knew what he wanted to represent. His brand-based goals were clear. Nobody understands his brand like he did, and that’s part of the reason he was so successful.

“I never wanted to alienate my brand for business.” Nipsey said, “I always wanted to keep it authentic and keep it as pure as I could.”

5. It’s a marathon.

Some people want success to happen overnight. It doesn’t work like that. Nipsey, and artists like him, all knew that the road to success would be paved with long-ass hours and year after year of struggle. Talent wouldn’t cut it. A true desire to achieve success, whether as an artist or as an entrepreneur, means never approaching your work halfheartedly. Nipsey didn’t focus on immediate wealth. He didn’t want to churn out one hit single after another. He wanted to build and develop his own label. He focused on long-term wealth and a lasting reputation as an artist.

“I’m about seeing the long-term, seeing a vision, understanding nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and just sticking to your script long enough to make something real happen.”

6. Focus on what makes you passionate.

It’s easy for people to lose themselves in their desire for success in any industry, including both business and music. Fortunately, Nipsey knew himself and stayed true to that image and to his own story. He found fans that loved and related to him. He didn’t create a character or pursue something that just wasn’t him.

Like he said in Victory Lap, “Find your purpose or you wastin’ air.”

7. Remember the community that built you.

There is no doubt that Nipsey loved the community he came from. His childhood neighborhood is known for being violent and rough, one of the places where its residents try to leave and outsiders tend to avoid. Nipsey found success, but he never left that neighborhood behind. He invested in it, building playgrounds, helping children learn and offering residents opportunities for economic success.

Some of the most powerful words Nipsey sang were from the song “Dedication”“These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves with/ Ended up on shore to their amazement.”

He not only kept history in mind, but he also worked with the history of U.S. racism and acknowledged its impact on his music. He doesn’t forget the factors impacting his community and all the structural inequality they need to fight against.

Nipsey Hussle’s death is tragic. He was no doubt a brilliant self-made artist and visionary. He was smart and charitable, and he believed in his roots. He never wanted to take his achievements for granted and he wanted to give people the building blocks to create achievements of their own. Had he not seen such an early and tragic end, he would have certainly seen further successes. But he achieved what he wanted, saying in “Killer,” “And when I visualize success it look like right now/What was once gray skies is now white clouds.”

Yes, his life was cut too damn short. The loss is being felt around the world. Prayers to his family, real friends and all fans. But, as he would tell us all, the marathon continues. And, his legacy will live forever through his words, and the people he inspired on a regular through his lyrics and actions. Long live Nipsey and his hustle.

“Try to have more faith and less fear, try to express it to your peers, I’m talking about dreams / Better to do it and let it be seen, cause then it’s so clear.” (“Am I Gonna Make It”)

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5 Leadership Lessons CEOs Can Learn From Prison Shot Callers

Being on both sides of the cell door, I know there’s a lot that CEOs can learn from their prison counterparts.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As anyone who goes through the system will tell you, guards may watch the prison, but inmates run it. The prison system is based on a set of rules called “prison politics” that are endorsed and enforced by the inmates themselves, not the Department of Corrections. You can think of it as a sort of C-suite in the business world.

A shot caller, generally speaking, is the top leader in a prison system. Specifically, the shot caller is an inmate who, as so aptly named, calls the shots. In prison slang, it’s the inmate who “has the keys.” The highest ranking shot caller does so for his entire prison gang and race. Then there are shot callers for each housing unit, yard and so on all the way up.

What is a CEO? Basically the same thing, but instead of an orange jumpsuit, they sport a neutral colored (depending on seasonal trends) custom Armani suits with dollar sign cufflinks instead of wrist and feet shackles. I’m joking, but at the end of the day, both are leaders in their own right, albeit one may lead with violence while the other leads with 401k incentives.

Related: 13 Prison Slang Terms You Should Use With Co-Workers

But being on both sides of the cell door, I know there’s a lot that CEOs can learn from their prison counterparts.

1. Put work in and earn your cred.

While some CEOs might rise to the top because of nepotism, the truly good ones earned their title. In prison, only the truly good ones can rise to the top and get elected to be shot callers. Reputations need to be built in the office or in the prison yard. You don’t get named a shot caller if you have a bad rep, are untrustworthy and don’t work hard. You get named a shot caller after you’ve established your name.

2. How to maintain order.

Shot callers don’t just start brawls or order hits. They need to be diplomatic and negotiate with other groups and with individuals within and outside of the crew. It’s your job to back your buddies or your co-workers, but it’s also your job to try and keep the peace. In addition to working with their fellow inmates, shot callers also have to work with the other shot callers. This is an important lesson for effective CEOs and leaders too. Maintaining order and balance in a chaotic environment, whether on the prison yard or the pit of cubicles, is key to a successful culture.

3. Prove that you’re down.

In prison, proving that you’re “down” might mean doing some dirty deeds, like starting a riot or some sordid act unfit for office life. But as anyone who has ever climbed to the top knows, you gotta do the dirty work to get there. While a CEO might not need to earn respect through shows of violence or a reputation on the street, CEOs make it to the top by first doing the jobs nobody else will step up to do. It sets you apart as someone who is “down” to do what it takes to achieve success (I’m not talking anything illegal here).

4. Put the interests of the group above your own.

Some people want to become shot callers for the sake of their own ego, but they’re not likely to be successful if they do. It’s the same with CEOs. If they’re doing it purely for the money or the prestige, then the company will not be as well off as if they were doing it for the good of all involved. Decisions need to be made based on the good of the whole group, not for the good of one individual. It’s not all glamour, respect and (in the case of the CEO) a hefty paycheck. It’s a tough job that sometimes involves putting yourself last.

Related: The Many Pros and Fewer-Than-Expected Cons of Hiring Ex-Cons

5. Keep a level head.

When the rest of the prison is ready to boil, it’s a shot caller’s job to resolve the chaos. Sometimes shot callers need to make the decision to let a brawl happen or the riot to reach its pinnacle, but more often than not, the shot caller needs to maintain a sense of calm when the world around him is ready to rip itself apart. The ultimate duty of a shot caller is to keep order. The most successful shot callers are the ones who keep peace and have strong emotional stability to accomplish their big goal. They are the leaders that other inmates look up to, and in order to manage an entire prison yard, they need to be able to master themselves first.

Successful CEOs need to be great leaders. Shot callers are, inevitably, great leaders. The general public likes to dismiss the prison population, but the reality is that there is an entire world within those walls, and it takes somebody with strong leadership skills and some serious stamina to keep it running. The guards are there to guard, the wardens are there to keep the laws, but the real problem-solvers and go-getters of the prison system are the shot callers themselves. They’re the first responders. The prison diplomats. They’re the ones who call the real shots, and if you want to be a CEO with some true leadership skills, you can learn a thing or two from shot callers (just not the illegal shit).

Do you want to learn some other prison-based leadership and life hacks, but don’t want to put in that kind of time? Check out my upcoming book, Don’t Drop the Soap: The Wildest $#*t About Prison You Can’t Learn on Netflix.

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How Open Financial Tools and Services on the Blockchain Are an Enormous Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

The opportunity blockchain represents is just getting started.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Outside of all the consistent price speculation and novelty of cryptocurrencies, a compelling trend toward a more open and accessible financial ecosystem has materialized.

Underscoring this movement is the expansion of the infrastructure and regulation required to facilitate a transition toward open financial tools. From standardized identity protocols for KYC/AML (know your customer/anti money laundering) compliance to modular, open-source tools, the digital asset market is converging with traditional economic structures.

For entrepreneurs, the sheer scale of innovation in the sector is dizzying. The narrative of monetary sovereignty that cryptocurrencies have molded has coincided with broader trends toward data privacy and more accessible financial tools for the unbanked parts of the world. The potential for open, decentralized finance is enormous and has become one of the most convincing areas for attracting entrepreneurs.

The movement towards open finance and integrated financial services

Decentralized (i.e., open finance) is commonly defined as an interoperable financial system where the core beliefs revolve around increased accessibility, transparency, standardization and financial inclusion. The notion of wider access to financial tools is especially important.

According to the World Bank’s Global Findex, more than 2.5 billion people globally do not have access to formal bank accounts or other financial services. Cryptocurrencies have inherently lowered the barrier for accessing value storage and transfer mechanisms by removing intermediaries and creating a new class of assets outside of the existing financial system.

However, even assurances for open and censorship-resistant access to Bitcoin are weak and fragile in many areas of the world.

Parallel with the emergence of cryptocurrencies is the emphasis on open financial tools, either built directly on blockchains as open protocols or hybrid services for digital assets offered by commercial entities ingratiated with legacy systems. These projects expand on the concept of cryptocurrencies by building transparent and open financial instruments for creating and tapping into the power of digital assets.

One of the more compelling developments has been the rise of open financial tools — such as MakerDAO, Compound Finance and Dharma Protocol. These projects are open protocols that operate on the blockchain and provide secured lending services.

Secured lending currently constitutes the largest sector of open finance, but other areas such as security tokens and decentralized prediction markets are also gaining traction.

Despite the potential of open protocols, a wholesale transition to open financial instruments on blockchains is unlikely. Instead, the more prudent approach is a hybrid ecosystem of traditional financial services and businesses integrated with open protocols and digital assets.

The reality of an open financial system is only possible with the proper infrastructure and innovations in related spheres. Regulators and financial institutions in the U.S. are gradually warming to the notion of digital assets, but are looking for the right market maturity and infrastructure before diving in headfirst.

As startups have transitioned away from ICOs, a new focus has been placed on security tokens and transparent, regulatory-compliant digital assets. Similarly, models for ICOs have begun to strictly follow KYC/AML processes in an effort to provide assurances against their previous notoriety for fraudulent crowdfunding.

Increasing regulation, identity standardization and data sovereignty

With increasing regulatory oversight comes concerns about data privacy and security, as users traditionally need to duplicate personal data across various industries and markets to comply with KYC/AML processes. Within an open financial system, compliance with regulatory structures will be necessary, but initiatives are underway to make the process much more seamless — via standardization and enhanced data security.

Data sovereignty has coincided with the cryptocurrency narrative of monetary independence. Blockpass is a distributed KYC platform that is one of the primary companies pushing the transition to self-sovereign digital identities, and their work has some crucial implications in open financial systems.

“The issue is that a user’s digital identity is not private to them,” said Blockpass founder and CEO, Adam Vaziri. “Identity consists of the most sensitive information relating to an individual. This is not something that should be controlled by a corporation — it should be developed and controlled by the user.”

The duplication of identification data across myriad companies and industries lead to endemic, high-profile hacks (as reported by 01.Media), and improper use of data by financial institutions and tech companies.

Standardized identity protocols such as Blockpass enable users to store their data locally on their devices and can easily comply with KYC/AML processes across industries via attestations to the authenticity of their identity, without revealing unnecessary personal information. Their model is highly useful for financial service companies in the digital asset sector — such as exchanges — using their identity verification portal. Similarly, a new generation of ICOs and STOs are targeting regulatory-compliant launches.

A standardized and open financial ecosystem

The future landscape of an open financial system built on open protocols and hybrid financial services is an exciting proposition. For entrepreneurs, the rapidly expanding market presents some unprecedented opportunities for building in a cutting-edge field that is reshaping an outdated financial model.

As countries transition to cashless societies, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies provide a fundamental hedge against the privacy and censorship-prone abuses that come with an absence of cash. A hybrid system of open financial instruments and cryptocurrencies creates an environment where the billions of unbanked in the world can enter into the modern digital economy with monetary and data sovereignty on their side.

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How These 2 Brothers Started a Company Together While Living in Different Cities

This is the story of how theChive.com got started.

1 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Brothers John Resig and Leo Resig founded Chive Media Group and its flagship site, theChive.com, in November 2008, with no capital and a lot of hustle. Leo was living in Chicago (the “CHI” in “CHIVE”), and John was living in Venice (the “VE”).

With backgrounds in digital publishing and the financial backing from partner Doug Schaaf, the Resigs were able to turn a three-man project into the nationwide, 170-employee entertainment digital media company that Chive Media Group is today.

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4 Lessons That Most Successful Entrepreneurs Had to Learn the Hard Way

To help mitigate the impact of those speed bumps, here are four lessons that most successful entrepreneurs have learned the hard way, but maybe you don’t have to.

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The path to building a successful business is rarely a simple one.

But in the beginning, it seems simple enough: you’ll build an amazing product, market it and watch as people pull out their credit cards. Then you’ll hire people to take over menial tasks and you’ll move into the role of CEO, eventually delegating that as well and living on the beach in Bora Bora, sipping on a martini.

Of course, anyone who’s spent more than three months trying to build a business knows that isn’t the common story arc for a thriving startup. The truth is, building a business brings lots of unexpected twists — people quit, products fail, you burn out.

To help mitigate the impact of those speed bumps, here are four lessons that most successful entrepreneurs have learned the hard way, but maybe you don’t have to.

1. Your first idea is rarely your best idea.

When you launch, your product is a bit like a newborn baby. It’s delicate, fragile and the last thing you want to hear is that it’s ugly — or worse yet, to hear nothing at all. Unfortunately, the latter is often the case when an ambitious entrepreneur launches a product they love. Since your market doesn’t want to outright tell you that your product is terrible, they don’t say anything at all — they don’t interact with your content, they don’t click on your CTAs and they are quick to unsubscribe from your email list.

And that’s OK. More often than not, your first idea isn’t your best idea, but can segway into a profitable idea if you do everything in your power to understand your market and what they really need. It’s not about getting it right the first time, but about getting it right eventually. In the words of Eric Ries, which easily sums up what a lean startup is, “The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” By the way, if you haven’t read The Lean Startup yet, it’s a must for first-time entrepreneurs.

Lesson: Don’t get married to your ideas. Focus on the metrics that matter. Test everything before and during your building process.

2. Hiring the wrong person is more expensive than waiting for the right person.

When an amateur entrepreneur hires their first employee, it usually has more to do with how much they like the person and how cheap it costs to employ them than it does with how good that person is at their job.

It doesn’t seem like such a bad idea at first. But it only takes doing this a few times to find out that hiring people because they’re cheap or because you like them is a terrible idea. You’re better off hiring someone who’s good at the work they do even if they’re more expensive — over the long run, the higher performer will actually save you money. Red Adair put it best when he said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Lesson: Take your time when hiring. You may have heard this before, “hire slow and fire fast.” It’s applicable to this point. Only hire when you absolutely must, initially. If there are things you can do early on, do them. But also, if it’s best to hire and delegate to focus on cash-generating activities, do that too. This is when you’ll have to trust your gut.

3. Your mental health directly impacts your business’s success.

Entrepreneurship has a dark side — a side that’s riddled with mental health ailments. Statistically, entrepreneurs are twice as likely to struggle with depression and five times more likely to struggle with ADHD than their less ambitious counterparts.

You could make an argument, of course, that the entrepreneurial lifestyle has a tendency to attract those of us with chemical imbalances, but I think it’s equally likely that building a business creates (or at least aggravates) symptoms associated with depression, ADHD and even bipolar disorder.

And the more that you struggle, the more your business will struggle. I hit a workout recently with Austin Paulsen, the founder of AP Performance, and he explained, “It doesn’t take long to figure out that your own mental fortitude directly influences how quickly your business grows. I coach lots of people on their health and if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that a person’s health directly impacts their daily performance, at home and behind the desk.”

Lesson: Your mental and physical health is everything, and it’s not worth the cost of your success. Don’t fall into that trap. Be an entrepreneur focused on longevity and sustainability, which means you need to focus on your physical and mental health too. Eat healthily, exercise often and disconnect multiple times per week.  

4. The road to success can be a long one.

When you launch your business, dreams abound. You don’t just dream at night, either. During the day, you find yourself wondering distractedly what it might be like to make millions of dollars or to lead a team of genius-level employees.

And sure, for some businesses, that dream is a reality. But don’t get sucked into the media frenzy highlight reels. Building a company from the ground up takes time and work. Sometimes it will be a perfect storm and things will move faster, but be focused on the long term too.

Sometimes, the reality is far more boring, but also far more likely. A gradual slope upward that’s riddled with relatively uninteresting spikes and plummets. That’s how it’s supposed to be. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about entrepreneurship, it’s that you have to enjoy the journey. If you love it, then you’ll succeed.

Lesson: Be patient in your journey. Don’t compare yourself or company to others. And, focus on the things you can control. Entrepreneurship is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced, but it can also be the most volatile. Embrace your journey.

You’ll have lots of unexpected twists and turns along your entrepreneurial journey. You may be subjected to lawsuits from partners or customers, you may raise money and lose it all in the same day, you may grow sales or go bankrupt. 

Fortunately, you can learn from people who’ve already been there and done that. Successful entrepreneurs will act as your guiding light to help get you where you want to go. Find mentors, read books and network with your peers. By remembering the above four points, you’ll streamline your path to success and bypass a few of the lessons that most successful entrepreneurs had to learn the hard way.

Catch the third season of my Entrepreneur Network video series Action & Ambition on Friday, March 22. The entire reason I created the show is so that we could learn the backstories and journeys that other successful entrepreneurs have endured along their path to success.

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