1. Who is your hero?
Richard Branson. I admire him for not only his business acumen, but also his positive social impact on the world, sense of adventure and belief that anything is possible.
2. What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Have confidence. There are too many young entrepreneurs going the easy route and doing things that have been done before. True innovation means having the confidence to do something crazy and having faith you’ll figure out a way to make it work.
3. What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
My biggest mistake was not trusting and listening to myself. When I have confidence in my intuition, things always work out. But early in my career I’d have a certain vision for my company and not see it through because I needed the approval of others. Entrepreneurs need not wait for approval!
4. What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Meditate and then write. Usually when I wake up I have a million ideas, so I jump out of bed but can’t figure out what to do first. Instead of aimlessly checking emails, I meditate to still my mind, which really helps me focus. Then I write for an hour or two while I have my coffee and breakfast. Being in a focused state helps spike my creativity tenfold.
5. What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Stay lean. If you are just getting started you need to find a way to cut expenses, both personal and business, as dramatically as possible. Don’t hire anyone yet; you just need to test to see if your business works. You can start a business with little or no money, so why would you spend more?
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Take a step back. We all become slaves to our business and our thoughts. I started a travel company so I could have the opportunity to take a step back more often and bring other awesome young people with me. I’m much more creative when I’m traveling and not stuck in the day-to-day operations in front of my computer. If a vacation isn’t in the cards, try taking a walk around the block or getting some exercise.
7. What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
My definition of success is happiness. Most people forget that entrepreneurship is a vehicle to have a fulfilling life and serve others through your product or service. Money and power are great, but if they aren’t making you happy, then what’s the point? You should have a clear cut goal of making yourself happy, doing something you enjoy, and that should include your personal life. Being stressed, overweight and in terrible health because you work too much should no longer be a badge of honor in the startup world.