One of the things I’ve seen in the past two decades of being in business is that just because you’re working for yourself doesn’t mean you’re not broke. I’ve seen lots of ‘Starving Artist’ entrepreneurs.
Why do I use that term… ‘starving artist’? Well, my friend Jeff Goins (who recently blew up the Tropical Think Tank event stage!) has a new book out called Real Artists Don’t Starve, and it’s not just for artists! Jeff gave me a pre-release copy when we were together for TTT17 and I devoured it. In it, he teaches you that everyone who has a gift to share is an ‘artist’.
And that definitely includes entrepreneurs! And let’s face it, we don’t want to end up broke as an entrepreneur, do we?
Side Note: If you fancy grabbing a copy of the book, to celebrate it’s launch, Jeff is giving away lots of cool bonuses, so just pre-order the book before June 6, which you can get at dontstarve.com.
As I went from page to page, section to section, there were a few things that stood out to me, that I could see directly associated themselves with entrepreneurs and people building personal brands… so, here I am – breaking ’em down for you to learn from quickly!
Don’t try to be Original
Now, I know I always say that originality is a major key to success – if you know me, you know I’m talking about simply being YOU 9as you’re a 100% original version of you, right?!). However… instead of coming up with one great “original” idea, build on what other people have already done. Being original can be expensive. Instead, just take something – an idea, a model, whatever – that somebody has already proven, and do it differently… (not just better!).
Steve Jobs started Apple by borrowing from the ideas of other companies like Xerox and building on them to make them even better. The best, most innovative companies in the world do this.
Own your Work
Often in business, I see entrepreneurs selling off too much of their company to an investor or partner and quickly diluting their stake in exchange for a little bit of money. Don’t do this! The last thing you should give up is ownership of your company.
Sometimes, it makes sense to give away a little bit of equity to someone in exchange for something more valuable, but this should never be the first step. Once you give away parts of your company, you don’t get that back. Money is renewable; equity is not.
This is what John Lasseter learned when he left Disney to help start Pixar and was soon offered a job back at Disney for triple his salary. He turned it down. Why? Because he’d rather take a short-term pay cut to retain more freedom and ownership of his work.
In the end, Pixar ended up selling to Disney for $7.4 billion. Today, John Lasseter is worth $100 million.
It pays to not sell out too soon.
Diversify your Income
You’ve probably heard that the average millionaire has over seven different income streams. The way most successful business owners grow a successful company is not by offering one product or service. Typically, it’s done with multiple offerings. Again, the idea of ending up broke as an entrepreneur isn’t one that you’re likely to want to entertain.
In my case, I run events, speak and write, and sell online products including a membership site. I don’t think you should spread yourself too thin, but having multiple income-generating projects reduces your risk and is a lot more fun than just doing the same thing all day, every day.
And sometimes, the way that you make your money is not how you would expect. Who ever thought Dr. Dre would make a fortune selling headphones? Or that McDonald’s would become one of the largest real estate companies in the world?
In order to succeed, you have to be open to new opportunities, even if those opportunities are unexpected. As Jeff says, “Don’t be a jack of all trades, become a master of some.”
Now, for more insights, be sure to check out Jeff’s new book – I reckon you’re going to love it!