“Success doesn’t happen overnight.”
This is a phrase that gets repeated in the business world all the time. But most people say it because they heard someone else say it—not because it’s something they’ve personally experienced. For me, success didn’t happen overnight, but even when it did happen, I lost it.
Back in the early dot-com era, I was hooked on technology. By the 10th grade, barely three years after getting my first personal computer, I was making almost $30,000 per month on the Internet: I was designing logos for clients I found online. I was building and managing some of the largest wrestling news websites on the web. I didn’t know there was a name for this kind of career path: “serial entrepreneur.” I just knew I loved computers, I loved watching wrestling shows, and I loved making money.
This is how I spent my entire young adulthood, all the way up to age 16. and 20s.
From there, I started building bigger and bigger ventures. I moved to building various online platforms across a wide variety of industries—specifically because I saw they were high traffic and had potential to generate significant revenue. And five years later, by the time I turned 21, I made my first million dollars.
For most people, this is where the story would end.
Instead, by age 27, I had lost everything. I’d made the mistake of blindly investing in my passions without really thinking about the consequences or risks. And the more I invested, the more I thought I was going to make back, and then the more money I lost. It was a vicious cycle, causing me to surround myself with the wrong people, make the wrong decisions, and ultimately cost me much more than just the money in my bank account—it cost me my health too.
Which is why you need to know, as an aspiring entrepreneur, that success is not a straight line. There will be ups. There will be downs. And the only thing that matters is whether you choose to keep going or not.
In order to do that, here are 3 important traits you need to master.
There’s a quote I live my life by, and it’s, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
In everything I’ve done as a serial entrepreneur, I have had that quote deeply rooted in my mindset. It’s a small reminder that there are no limits, any goal is achievable, and the only thing that truly matters is how badly you want to make things happen for yourself—regardless of what’s standing in your way.
There were plenty of times I wanted to give up on my own path as an entrepreneur. Nothing is more humbling than feeling like you’ve “made it” and then all of a sudden, sleeping on a friend’s couch and feeling like you’re worthless. But those are the moments where you have to maintain your focus, remind yourself of the bigger picture, and keep pushing forward. Had I given up the first time I experienced a big failure, I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today.
The road to success is a long path.
Which means you can only sacrifice things like your health for so long before the wear and tear of the grind starts to catch up with you. In my case, my own health problems were a big wake-up call.
I had experienced a lot of success in my 20s—to the point where I could have retired for the rest of my life, financially speaking. The problem was, I hadn’t learned what true success meant or felt like at that age. When I was younger, I thought it was all about the money. I thought it was all about going as hard as possible, and creating businesses that generated a ridiculous amount of passive income every month, for the rest of my life.
Now, being much older, I see success much differently.
What I might have gained in my younger years, financially, I really paid for in other ways. At age 21, I weighed over 450 pounds. I wore 6XL shirts. Department stores didn’t carry anything in my size, and the first time I stepped on a treadmill, I couldn’t even make it 60 seconds before feeling completely out of breath.
My original motivation to get fit was to be able to fit into a sports car that I had purchased and date an attractive girl. But as I started to get more and more into shape, I started to see fitness as a way of life—a routine, a daily habit, and a way to practice the same level of focus needed to achieve goals as an entrepreneur. I then used my fitness story to build businesses in the space, pointing to myself as my own case study. Today, I work with a wide range of celebrities, professional athletes, television personalities, and artists, and I attribute so many of these relationships to the fact that I paved the way by taking care of my own health, first.
I’ve always been a hustler.
Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to take control of my own life. I had a hard time believing school was going to be the thing that made me rich. I didn’t want to work for someone else. What got me excited, and what got me out of bed every morning, was the thought of doing something on my own. I had a drive to succeed, and no matter how much someone tried to take it away from me, they couldn’t. I knew what I was going to become, and I was willing to do whatever it took in order to make it happen.
This same mentality is the one you need to adopt for yourself.
You can’t give other people’s opinions of you an ounce of attention. You can’t listen to what other people think you should do, or who they think you should become. Life is all about answering those questions for yourself—and if you want to become someone truly influential, if you really want to make a difference in the world and become wildly successful, then it’s on you to push yourself. Harder than anyone else ever could.
It’s on you to take a hard look at your surroundings, and filter out any type of energy that is not going to support your growth.