I spend a few hours each week seeking out entrepreneurs. I normally block a time late at night when my wife and sons are sleeping and start digging. I hit up every platform possible searching for business people I’ve never heard about and who carry a powerful message. Most of the time, I come across some real wacks (isn’t it fascinating how many people online peddle advice with zero credibility, but I digress). In addition to all the questionable people out here, there is a significant number of real power players.
In the last few months of my searching, six extraordinary entrepreneurs have stood out. Most interesting, I’ve noticed commonality among them. Before we get to what key traits they share (and what we can learn from them), get to know the crew:
Gary Vaynerchuk – Social media beast. Hustle legitimately is in his DNA. Wrote two of my favorite books, one I credit with giving me the gusto to embrace Facebook and twitter in launching my matchmaking agency.
Issa Rae – Video content maven. Brilliant branding mind. I guarantee the masses will soon be saying “I want to be the next Issa Rae” (if they haven’t already).
Eddie Huang – A real business O.G. (and he’s only in his early 30s). Rebel with a cause. His Big Omaha talk is so good I made my 2 1/2 year-old son watch it (well not really but when he’s of age, it’s happening).
Maria Forleo – You can’t mention her name without also including the word energy! When I think “on FIRE” I think Maria Forleo. She launched what I consider one of the most phenomenally branded online platforms.
Devon Franklin – One of the kindest guys I’ve met. Bestselling author. Has a great “day job” but “moonlights” better than any. He’s also married to the woman my cousin has had a crush on for the last 5 years (sorry to put you out there Drew but I had to do it…lol).
Michael Hyatt – Former publishing CEO turned kick-ass-I-get-paid-big-time blogger. I blame him for my not sleeping this past week (I’m catching up on his last few years of blogs and video). He also taught me how to pack.
Here are the 6 habits I’ve learned by stalking these emerging business tycoons:
1) Have Subject Matter Expertise (SME)
When Devon sat down to write his first book, he could have written about anything, literally. His background is prolifically diverse (from being Will Smith’s intern to a current role as a Hollywood executive). However, he chose to write about the one subject that seemed to many as counter to his “movie” working environment – he wrote about “Faith”. The reason for selecting this as his book theme (and subject to grow his personal platform) was because he was proficient in it (years of studying, practicing, and eventually becoming an ordained minister).
Lesson 1: In the new age of content being King, don’t attempt to launch a business within a topic or category you know little about.
2) Teach With The Intent of Making Change
Every Tuesday morning when I get my weekly Maria Forleo email containing her post for the week, I know the content she delivers is going to be informative and most importantly, actionable.
Lesson 2: Whatever product or service your business produces know you’re also a creator of content! The best way to add value to your community is to impart on them knowledge they can immediately act upon.
3) Give, Give, Give
Gary Vaynerchuk is the king of giving. I recently read how someone tweeted him asking for Tabasco sauce and Gary tweeted back asking for an address and a few hours later several boxes of Tabasco arrived at the home of the person who asked. Now this story has been told countless times (countless +1 including my recounting) and as a result, Gary’s legend grows.
Lesson 3: When you give (first), you get! More on the importance of giving while networking here.
4) Offend People
If you’re scared, this new era of business is not for you. Just ask Eddie Huang. This guy called out and subsequently pissed off the all-powerful, almighty TED conference.
Lesson 4: Have the courage to live and conduct your business authentically. Operate within your truth.
5) Ask Selected People For Feedback Opposed To Listening To The Crowd
I recently joined Michael Hyatt’s email list and I love how after a few days of allowing the subscriber to become familiar with his work, an email is sent asking about specific feedback (and he acknowledges this is how he learns).
Lesson 5: Get insight from people who you specifically create for (otherwise, you’re getting feedback from people who don’t get it).
6) Try To Fail
Do a Google search for Issa Rae and you’ll have a hard time pinning down exactly what she “does.” You name it, she’s doing it: TV, web series, production, writing, and directing projects all at the same damn time. Do I believe she believes each will succeed, I don’t. However, I do believe she understands the value of what she will learn in each project and that ultimately attempting carries a lesson (and not trying carries nothing). Check out this interview I did with Issa, she explains more.
Lesson 6: Fail fast to succeed faster.
What other extraordinary entrepreneurs and habits did I miss? I’d love to add them to my list.