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Part of the series “Entrepreneurial Women Rocking The World”
After leaving my 18-year corporate marketing career and launching a practice as a marriage and family therapist and coach, I soon dreamed of yet another career transformation—to run my own successful business helping professional women thrive in their careers. That deep desire led me to launch my business, Ellia Communications, officially in 2007 and I never looked back. For me, running my own venture is a much stronger fit with my values, needs and goals than my corporate life was.
Through the years, I’ve spoken with scores of millionaires and conducted research on the traits and strategies to achieve great success (including hearing this tip: “you need on average 6 or 7 revenue streams to consistently earn a million in revenue,” etc.). And I’ve interviewed a good number of millionaires here on this Forbes.com blog and on my own Finding Brave podcast and personal blog.
What I’ve found, however, is that so much of the general advice out there online from so-called growth “experts” about what to do to reach top-level financial success is just not sound, in-depth or reality-based enough. It’s often full of platitudes and over-generalized hype about “getting over your fear” or scaling appropriately, but without the proven and practical advice that helps people get to that point.
To understand more about what it really takes to become a millionaire, I caught up with Jaime Masters, founder of Eventual Millionaire and OwnerBox. Masters is a business coach, author, and professional keynote speaker and has hosted one-on-one interviews with close to 500 millionaires and billionaires. She made her exit from the corporate world after finding herself $70,000 in debt and realizing that she hated her job. With an ambitious goal and a strategic plan, she was out of the debt and the job she hated in just 16 months. Now, Jaime helps business owners others find the freedom, money, and work they love.
Distilling the knowledge and advice from her weekly millionaire interviews, her bestselling book Eventual Millionaire: How Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup is a detailed account of the stories, motivations, and actionable steps millionaires use to create success.
Her work with millionaires has also garnered the attention of media giants, such as Yahoo Finance, Inc.com, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur, Time, CNN, Business Insider and more. In just one hour of speaking with Masters, I heard more useful business growth recommendations and finely-honed marketing strategies than I’ve heard in years of talking with other marketing consultants and entrepreneurial “experts.”
Here’s what Masters shares:
Kathy Caprino: What’s the biggest differentiator between business owners who struggle to scale to seven figures and never get there, to those who achieve net worth millionaire status?
Jaime Masters: In interviewing almost 500 millionaires, a few habits and thought patterns seemed to stick out. I think it’s a combination of two of them that really makes the most difference.
First, a “no matter what attitude,” where they don’t let any obstacle stop them from achieving the result. They hit MANY obstacles, but they have an attitude where they assume they are going to hit lots of obstacles and they have the resilience to say “I’m going to do this no matter what” and that extreme commitment even when conditions or other people are negative is huge.
They have learned the art of picking themselves up after something negative happens. They get back on track and keep their eye on their long-term vision. When one of the millionaires, Bobby, first started his business, he was trying to sell to a big chain store. He went to sixty stores in multiple states before he ever got a YES. I asked him, “what if you would have gotten a no for the 60th store?” He said, “I would have gone to 300.”
That is a no matter what, relentless, commitment to a goal.
Second, which goes along with that, is that they continually push the edge of their comfort zone. They love growth and learning. They want to be better and are willing to do things that make them feel anxious or unsure or fearful or uncomfortable and do it anyway.
By pushing themselves, they get better and grow. I’m sure the first store pitch Bobby did push him out of his comfort zone and probably wasn’t even very good. By that 60th store, his pitch was refined more and more. And as he pushed through, his comfort zone grew. The first five stores were probably way more anxiety-producing than the last five.
The comfort zone can grow when facing a fear becomes normalized. So the theme with millionaires is do that, over and over and over again. They keep pushing the edge of their comfort zone out farther and farther, and they can withstand so much more than someone who doesn’t.
Caprino: Are certain habits critical to millionaires?
Masters: They know themselves very well. They design their day to compensate for how they work. Some think a morning routine is critical, and they can’t live without it. Others know they need to preplan their activities based on how much energy they have and when. But the biggest thing is that they make what works best for them the habit.
How many times have you done something that’s worked then stop it? Keep it up! Small incremental things that you keep up with really add up.
Caprino: What’s something that anyone can do that millionaires in business say is super important?
Masters: A piece of advice that comes up over and over is that you need to level up your strengths. Most business owners aren’t able to figure out the top 1-3 things they are best in the world at. Take some time to figure out what that is, and then design your work life to be doing a lot more of that. That set of skills or abilities that no one else can touch. That’s what brings your highest value to your company.
There are quite a few ways to figure out what they are. I wrote about a few of them here. There are many assessments you can take to start to learn a bit more about yourself.
I’ve actually found one of the best ways is to ask your friends or employees. Because your strengths seem so natural to you, you may not even recognize them. Send a quick email (it’ll only take you about 10 minutes to write) asking for what they think your top three strengths are (you can specify personally or in business). They are probably not anything that you assume they will be either.
Then use that information. Look through your business or life and see where you can level up your strengths and find others to help you compensate for things you should give up, so you can make time for doing your best work.
Caprino: What separates companies that scale easier versus ones that don’t?
Masters: I’ve worked with hundreds of six and seven figure companies over the last ten years, and the first part that you need to nail—is product-market fit. I see too many people trying to put fancy marketing on a product that really doesn’t serve the customer in the way that they want.
There is a great new book out by my friend Ryan Levesque who I interviewed on my show too. It’s called Choose and it helps you pick the right market with specific factors. If you aren’t sure you have product-market fit yet, then check that book out.
But if you have that, then it’s the ability of the owner to hire well and get out of the way. When they can build systems, they trust enough that they can let go—everyone benefits. Otherwise, you have a micromanaging owner. The owner should have more time to level up on their greatest strengths but won’t have any time to if they can’t let go of things.
What will help that is the exercise above, when they have identified what they are good at, and what they are not good out (potentially some of the roles they are doing in their business) they will start to see where they are actually hurting the business instead of helping it by staying in the weeds.
Caprino: You’ve asked the same last question to almost 500 millionaires in business on the show. What is it and what’s the most common answer?
Masters: The question is:
“What is ONE action that listeners can take this week to help move them forward towards their goal of a million?”
The most common answer can be summed up like this:
Do the thing, you already know you should do, but you are too scared to do. It could be big or it could be small, but do that this week towards your end goal. And ideally, keep doing it over and over.
Caprino: What’s something that most of them don’t want to talk about?
I’ve become great friends with many of the people I interview, and I coach a lot of millionaires. The thing that most don’t mention in interviews is that everyone has problems. Whether it be in business (because you can always improve something, it’s a never-ending game) or in other areas of their lives, problems are part of the human condition. They doubt themselves too, they have fears and anxiety too, they don’t hit all of their goals, they make spelling mistakes (a lot).
Over 8 years ago when I started interviewing them, I used to put them on a pedestal thinking to myself, “They must have something special, or something I don’t.” They just kept up that forward motion for a long period of time and kept getting up when the world pushed them down. Anyone can do that.
For more information, visit Jaime Masters at EventualMillionaire.com.
May 17, 2019 at 07:10AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs