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35 Secrets of Entrepreneurial Success From 35 Of Today’s Best Entrepreneurs

On Wall Street they have this concept of a rainmaker.

You know the type, popularized through movies like “Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps”, and others.

You can learn a lot, perhaps the core essentials of an industry, by studying its rainmakers, and comparing what they say and what they do.

Take politics, for instance.

Now, in that field, the top players almost always say one thing and do another. Maybe that’s how to win in that messed up field.

What about entrepreneurship?

This is naturally the field I care about most because the Hackishword Hackers are quintessential entrepreneurs.

The brilliant Moussa Sarr and myself are doing a lot of entrepreneurial work with startups, you can check out UnicornPoach and some other secret stuff that we are not allowed to disclose.

Learning from the best is definitely one of the things I’ve had in my sights for a long time.

Working with startups is hard work, and starting a business from scratch prompts you to answer over and over again why you do what you do. Money? Passion? Fame? Notoriety? Boredom?

How can you bring together your competing motives to actually synthesize something solid that a good section of society will feel passionately enough about to let you lead them on a journey whose destination even you, the entrepreneur, are only vaguely knowledgeable about?

It’s a tall order, especially if it’s your first time being an entrepreneur.

So I thought I’d share with you some of the best nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom I’ve come across from some of the best entrepreneurs and maybe you’ll take away some good lessons in the process.


Tony Robbins

Quite simply, the secret of success is modeling those who are successful. You can learn from the best. Whatever you need to do, find a guy or group of people who have accomplished that goal, and copy them. Study them, find out what it is that they do that makes them achieve those sorts of results, and do the same for yourself. One good way to get started on the goal of making it big in Nashville, you know, is actually getting on the bus and heading to Nashville in the first place!


Jack Ma

Success, without a doubt, is hard, hard work. So there is no substitute for persistence. Once you hit on a good idea, be as persistent as a bed bug, it typically takes a long time to see the results of all your hard work. Hitting the good idea is the easy part, seeing it through to completion is the part of champions.

Gary Vaynerchuk

You have to be willing to hustle harder than 99.9% of the planet. Hustle when other people are at the football game and at happy hour and partying. Hustle til you make it. If you’re an entrepreneur there’s no other way.


Elon Musk

Think from first principles. Challenge the status quo. Don’t accept good enough. Always seek for criticism. I know this sounds harsh but you have to do it, from your friends, from anyone who has good knowledge about what you are trying to do.


Moussa Sarr

Always do intellectual stuff. Challenge yourself. Each day do one thing harder than the previous day. Learn learn learn. Learning is underestimated, but in the accomplishment of any great thing, you can be sure while everybody else was merely watching, the eventual winner was doing a whole lot of learning.


Paul Graham

Ship the code and actually go out there! So many so-called entrepreneurs get in the comfort zone of just working endlessly on a product that no-one ever sees, and this is a surefire way to sabotage your own success.


Amy Hoy

Take baby steps and actually launch. So many people get stuck trying to build the “perfect” thing. The entrepreneurs who win are the people who are willing to throw caution to the wind, and just release their tiniest possible product to the market, and then learn from the market’s reactions.


Warren Buffet

You have to be willing to swim against the tide. Just because everybody else is doing it one way doesn’t mean you have to do it that way. In fact, to achieve entrepreneurial success, you often have to rewire your brain in the opposite direction.


Daniel DiPiazza

Be willing to hustle. Success has very few shortcuts, and the way to get there is really to do massive amounts of work. Every day, don’t stop. Come out and hustle and give your A-game, every single day. It doesn’t matter you don’t feel 100% on that day. You’re fighting in the most brutal league, and that’s the A-League, so be willing to hustle.

Zed Shaw

A lot of people talk about code, write about code, think about code, and even daydream about code — everything, that is, except code. You don’t really need anyone to tell you that’s the entirely wrong approach to getting work and startups done do you? Get the code written. Write code! Then more code! Yeah, you heard that right. If you don’t actually write code, we’ll simply stop paying attention to you right now. A good place to begin would be “Learn Code the Hard Way.”


Chris Guillebeau

Think long and hard about what makes you unique, then build a business around that. There is something powerful about having a unique story that sticks in the minds of people. Be aware though that most people you tell your story to won’t care either way. That doesn’t matter, because your job is to find the 5% of the population who care about the story you’re trying to tell.


Steve Jobs

History is made by those who take their chances. If you’re actually too weak, too wimpy, and too scared to stand up and make your point, you might as well give up before you begin. To change the world, you’ve got to actually be brave and bold enough to try. If you don’t succeed, at least you’ll know you tried it, and it didn’t work.


Bill Gates

Dedicate yourself to your work. If you are actually trying to make a contribution to the world, you had better become a master of whatever industry you’re trying to go into. Don’t rest until you have totally mastered it. You have to have a deep drive to see things through to their ultimate conclusion. If you’re making an operating system, might as well make it the operating system the entire world runs on. That sort of mindset.

Donald Trump

Pay particular attention to the things that matter, and spend very little time on the things that don’t matter nearly as much. If you go into business but you’re not actually willing to do the homework and read the fine print of your deals and check out potential partners, you’ll have a hard time keeping your shirt on your back. So immerse yourself totally. In business, as in a deal, it’s all or nothing.


Brian Tracy

Be committed to learning a ton of new skills if you are going to try entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur is a guy who takes the shortest path possible to learning the most practical skills to make his business a success. Every skill you have to learn, is learnable. So take the time. Read books, talk to experts, watch documentaries, invest in yourself.


Yaro Starak

Learn from other smart people around. Quite often, people think you have to stay in one job all your life, working a 9 to 5, not realizing it’s your life, and other people have found alternative ways of making a contribution. But it’s a learning process, and one good way to shorten the curve is to learn from others around you. Learn from people who have already walked the path and made it work for them.


Lewis Howes

Don’t accept the limitations that you might have placed on yourself. Just because you haven’t achieved your childhood goal doesn’t mean you cannot achieve what matters to you in life. You have to just very consciously define what true success means to you, come up with the goals that align with who you really are, and go for that. You’ll find more success on that path than you ever dreamed possible.


Glen Allsop

The value of hard work cannot be overemphasized. Frequently, people set goals that are not big enough because they’re not willing to stretch themselves. To be successful, however, you really have to be bold, go for the big, crazy goals that everyone else is afraid of, and you will see wonderful things begin to happen.


Dan Kennedy

What trips up many entrepreneurs, quite often, is simply a lack of knowledge about marketing. Before you are even in the business of doing what you do for a living, you are first and foremost in the business of marketing what you do for a living. Subtle disctinction, and, sadly, many entrepreneurs have missed this crucial piece of knowledge. Make a serious and concerted study of marketing if you want to actually have a good time while you make a go at running your own business.



Optimize for programmer happiness. Making a good product starts with the actual process through which you get to the product eventually. And if you are being miserable all the way to the actual product, chances are, your users are gona be miserable as well using it. So begin with yourself. What makes you happy? Why are you doing what you are doing? Optimize for programmer happiness to begin with. You can’t go wrong with that.


Rob Walling

Doing a startup or being an entrepreneur does not necessarily mean being a venture-backed company, and spending hundreds of thousands on your offices and initial hires. You’ve got to be willing to begin small. Bootstrap! Too often, entrepreneurs hold themselves back because in their mind they cannot proceed unless they have the reassuring hand of YCombinator or the latest popular incubator on board. You can do better than that.


Steve Wozniak

It’s no secret that Steve Wozniak and the Wright Brothers are our favorite entrepreneurs here at The Hackishword Hackers, With Elon Musk and Steve Jobs close behind. So this means get your Wozniak on and get hustling, much fun awaits! And oh, learn some electronics while you’re at it!


Mark Anastasi

To make it as an entrepreneur, you need to implement faster than the ordinary person. Speed of implementation is absolutely essential because those who implement faster get to fail faster, and as a side-effect, get to figure out much faster what doesn’t work, and try more things and find out faster what actually works! As an entrepreneur, if you are not implementing, you’re falling behind!


Naomi Dunford

Marketing is important for any entrepreneur to grow their business. Marketing comes in so many flavors though, so you have a wide selection of tools and techniques you can use to your liking. These include, serious, very consistent blogging, serious very consistent public outreach, serious very consistent podcasting, and a dozen or more such approaches. If you don’t like some of them, pick the others. If you don’t like any of them, however, now you’ve got a major problem in trying to make it as an entrepreneur.



Be your own man and don’t depend on anybody. Dependence dulls the mind and kills the creativity. Besides, when you are working for someone else, you are at their mercy. You can lose your job any time. You can fall out with people. Same with creditors. If you owe people money, they can call the shots in your life. That’s no place to be if you’re serious about entrepreneurship. Go out there on your own dime and hustle your way to the top. Or die trying!


Steve Ballmer

Do it with passion. If your employees and your followers can’t feel the passion, if you can’t fire up the troops to want to take on the world with you, you’ve lost half the battle before you even began. Your passion for your products, for your business, for your customers, and for the people who work for you must be core facets of your business if you are to compete against world class competition in the marketplace of ideas.


Peter Diamandis

Embrace the opportunities available to you now. It’s all too easy to get bogged down looking at challenges and seeing the difficulty in every opportunity. Instead, if you decide to act now, you can have a hand in crafting the future and making it a much better place than the past ever was. And that only happens if you decide to take action today.


Seth Godin

Choose yourself. I mean, what are you waiting for? You can be lost in the crowd, no-one noticing you, and hesitant to take action because you have not yet been picked, no-one has written you back, they didn’t call you, they didn’t open the doors for you. If you accept those doors slammed shut in your face, you will limit your God-given potential. Instead, go out there and start doing stuff like you already picked yourself and that’s all that counts! You’ll have a lot more fun too!


Grant Cardone

People don’t take nearly enough action. What you should really be doing is taking 10X the action. Come up with massive goals 10X the size of your normal everyday goals, then take 10X the action you think it will take. That’s how you achieve major breakthroughs, that’s how you change your life in the course of a single year.


Sean Ogle

Today the possibilities with entrepreneurship are really broad and varied. It makes less and less sense to work in a cubicle in a normal job. So if you are up for a little adventure, you should really just make a go for it, become location independent, explore the world and build a business while you are doing it. In the process you will make new friends, learn new languages and build something you can be proud of.


Steve Pavlina

We all have some sort of skills that can be applied in an entrepreneurial bent. If you know some code, you can be quite dangerous, for example. But also if you know business skills, coaching, whatever. You just need to make the decision and contribute value to someone else’s life in a way they are willing to pay you for it, and you’re in business.


Benjamin P. Hardy.

There’s a term called “Slip-stream time-hacking”, which is all about finding the slip-stream. In the slip-stream, time moves a whole lot slower because you, the person, are moving a whole lot faster. So a person who is moving 5 times as fast, can get 5 times as many things done than the person who is moving at the normal speed. So you essentially gain 4 days for every one that you use up. Once you start exploring the possibilities and applying slip-stream time-hacking to your own entrepreneurial adventures, you will make more progress, faster, than you ever thought possible.


Lisa Sasevich

Entrepreneurial success often comes down to if you can make the sale, and this is a key area that can help an entrepreneur in today’s environment. You have to know how to get your audience to trust you and your solution to their problem, and give them a reason why you are the ideal person to guide them. How you position yourself, as an authority, or just another sales guy, can really make or break the sale. Spend some time learning about the sales process so you can be more effective right off the bat.


Joanna Penn

Fight resistance and get things done. Your work often won’t be sharply defined whilst it’s in the process of emerging. You need to just slog it through those times and trust that the final result will be worth it. This applies in writing as much as in marketing or developing any product for the market.

Richard Branson

You need a little flair and lots of drive if you’re gonna do this. The drive, to make it through the tough parts, and long nights of work releasing your latest product, and the flair to make things fun again and lighten up. It helps if you enjoy what you are doing and if you can commit to your ideas for the long term.

Tony Montana

10 Top Things I Learned About Digital Marketing , Content Marketing, SEO and PPC in 2015

Digital marketing is in a state of flux today. Brands are unsure what to do to set themselves apart with all the proliferation of tools and techniques on the market.

Are you a digital marketer? Are you trying to grow your brand’s reach on social media? Below, I summarize some of the very best tips on digital marketing from my research and experiences in 2015.

I had some good experience on a blog of mine at HackishWord in 2014. The blog was an attempt to curate some of the funny and useful content from the web, trying to generate traffic so I could make a killing off traffic numbers, ads and product referrals.

I did not quite take over the world, but my link-building efforts have continued to bring in traffic into 2015, even when I abandoned the effort and focused on building other products.

To take advantage of search engines like Google today, you will need to adapt your approach to SEO. In a word, you need “rich content” more than ever before.

A link-builder in 2015 is still going to contribute a lot of value to an online marketing team. He or she just needs to be armed with a prolific Content-Production team that can put out impressive stuff as fast as the link builder can find linkers interested in linking to it.

Digital Marketing

1: SEO still works, sort of

Some SEOs say link building is dead. Here’s what you need to know. Link building is definitely not dead. Build as many legitimate links as you can. Google is still paying attention to links. I figured this out from my experiences and what other people’s experiences has proven to me. I mean, how could they not? Links are here to stay. The reason why Wikipedia has so many other sites linking to it is because it genuinely holds a treasure-trove of legitimate content, and even if Google were to stop ranking them, all that mind-share that Wikipedia has is not going to go away.

Get a clue? Yes, you too can be the next Wikipedia. Note what this does not mean. I’m not saying go chasing link farms. But if posting great, on-topic content in your industry is going to induce thousands of other sites to link to you, do all you can to chase those opportunities.

2. PPC is big now, and will only get bigger

The gains from SEO and “free” traffic can make a big difference to the profitability of businesses that have small marketing budgets. With heightened competition in the marketplace, time-saving solutions like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and other paid acquisition PPC channels are proving their genius more and more.

If you’re in charge of a digital marketing campaign in 2015’s market, you should ideally have some budget allocated to PPC and not rely on organic traffic alone. This gambit can jump-start your marketing, with massive results for your brand or business.

3. Data analytics is more critical than ever

The funny thing about analytics is that few organizations have an appropriate handle on the analytics that would benefit their business the most. Imagine a brand focused on impressions and what the numbers say about their impressions, when really they should be focusing on less quantitative and more qualitative data about the perception of value that their brand has with their target market. My advice is: think outside the box and don’t parrot the same analytics as everyone else. Just because it works for Samsung doesn’t mean it’s going to work for Sam’s Super Electronics.

4. Most data analytics is not up to snuff. There will be a revolution in the market

The tools marketers use are rather clunky, our approaches sometimes pedestrian and immature, especially so in the digital context. Take Google Analytics, for instance. The whole ecosystem is still so clunky and unwieldy that better and simpler analytics tools and approaches are going to rise and replace the old stuff. You can just take a look at the masses of data analytics startups now starting up to get a measure of the scale of this revolution that is waiting in the wings. Where some good value could be added would be in trying to do something orders of magnitudes better than the current state of the art, and that’s where a lot of these efforts will most likely fail.

5. Marketers need to see beyond the hype and focus on essentials

Focus on essentials to stay on track. When you’ve got 50+ social media channels with a vast mind-share, and each with a different mode of engagement, a different approach to talking to your market, and a plethora of off-topic data and slightly-relevant information flooding your analytics, it’s no wonder many brands and marketing teams are kind of adrift in the new marketing landscape. So what are you going to do? You need to know what makes your brand tick. What are the key marketing essentials your brand needs to reach the right people? And now might be the best time to bring on board strategic marketers who can pilot a marketing product through the murky waters of digital in 2015 and beyond.

6. Story-Telling Is Still Hard, and What Brands Should Be Focusing On

Listen, marketing in 2015 is hard, if it was easy, every business left and right would be thriving and finding its right market at the press of a button. And there’s a ton of tools all selling buttons that promise to deliver that exact utopia, but that day is not here yet. Until that happens, you need to get your hands on the digital marketing talent most suited to your products and market focus, and you need a sensible approach to the market. But most of all, you need to become good at telling stories that resonate with your audience, and coming up with innovative ways to deliver those stories.

7. Content Promotion, done right, can make or break a product

Don’t just make content. If you make a million-dollar video promo of your brand and product, and no-one ever sees that video, guess what? That’s a million dollars down the drain! So, before you make and produce content, always think: Promotion! Promotion! Promotion!

To promote content, you need a vast digital footprint, so invest in that, if that means partnerships with publishing channels, promotion of your own publishing channels, unscalable things like building relationships on social media, maybe you need to scale your team up so you can do unscalable things. Just make sure your efforts leave you in a place where you can promote to millions.

8. Social media is good for engaging customers and fans, but innovations are needed to monetize your online fanbase

A lot of companies and brands have discovered that just investing in social media alone without thinking about how you monetize your online fanbase can be a costly proposition. What does this mean for you as a marketer? It means you can’t just be social, bring your business and financial goals to the wine-and-dine. Send people to carefully thought-out landing pages, makes sales pitches to appropriate leads, in other words, do the actual hard work of selling to your fanbase, don’t just leave it to chance.

9. All brands and market segments are not created equal

This is huge, and took me a while to discover. There are brands and sections of the market you absolutely don’t want to be a part of. And there are market segments where anything from a dead cow to a Ferrari will sell, sometimes surprisingly. So people that get market and segmentation and strategy will have a leg up on the hordes who take whatever the market gives them unquestioningly. If you’re not getting the results you want from the market, go back and examine the fundamentals. Are your target customers there? Is the value to the end customer there? Who is doing the buying? Why are they not buying? Do they buy a similar product, at a similar price point? What are their objections to your value proposition? Maybe try a different market segment, or a different market altogether!

10. Try a lot of different approaches, there’s such a huge opportunity in digital marketing that Gun-Slinging experimenters are bound to hit upon a successful approach sooner than the slow and careful Method People.

That’s the science and un-science of it! In marketing, you’ve got to be ready to experiment, sometimes with wildly off-road and off-the-books techniques. I mean, dead cows and Ferraris? Yeah, unless you try something different, you’re never going to know. And if you don’t know, then you don’t know.

The market is going to reward those who dare to try bold new approaches, and who experiment and tinker with marketing approaches in a multitude of different ways.