30 Days Of Genius: Mark Cuban
Who doesn’t want to get advice from Mark Cuban? This blog is designed to answer common questions with the spirit of Mark Cuban, using answers given to Chase Jarvis during his 30 Days Of Genius series. I went through the interview, pulled out the nuggets, and am serving them on a silver platter for you. Cutting out the stuff you don’t need (because it takes up time, and you will read the time is THE most valuable commodity), and I am handing you the gems.
Look for a blog for all 30 Days of Genius episodes as they are being released on iTunes.
What should I do for a living?
Make sure it is something you love to do, and something you are actually good at. You can love basketball, but if you are short or can’t shoot, it’s time to find a new sport.
The best place to start looking is where you are already spending your time. What do you spend most of your time on? What “itch” do you need to scratch? What do you enjoy learning about? A very important thing to understand is that you need to LOVE learning. The worst situation to be in is when you are in a meeting and someone knows more about your industry and your company than you do. If that happens, you lose, or you will soon. Business is cutthroat. Everyone is out to kick your ass. If you don’t love learning about a particular industry, that is a sure fire way to know it is not the industry for you. Business is the ultimate sport. It is 24–7, 365, and extremely competitive. There is no off-season. You have to be driven in whatever you choose to do, or you will lose. A lack of drive in your particular industry is a red flag. Be self-aware enough to recognize that. Don’t fall in love with someone else’s story, write you own. You may not be Michael Jordan, but you could be Magic Johnson.
Please don’t try to be the next Mark Cuban, or the next Zucks, you need to be the next you. YOU are already spending time on things YOU enjoy. YOU know what you are good at. YOU know what you suck at. YOU know how you think, and YOU know how you work. Focus on what you are good at and then team up with people who compliment your strengths with their strengths. Again, be self-aware enough to recognize that.
Everyone talks about passion. Don’t follow your passion, follow your effort. Get out there and do things, work hard. There are things you may be great at that you don’t even know about because you haven’t tried yet. Get your hardhat on and start grinding. I didn’t love computers until I started coding, and that is the foundation of everything I have done. What if I hadn’t sat down to figure that out? What are you missing out on?
As you learn, and continue to learn, you will start to see combinations of things, new ways of doing things, and that’s when you know you have something good. You will combine everything you are learning and crunch it together with everything you already know to make something new or better. I am always looking for what I already do, and how I can combine that with businesses I bring in to create something bigger or better.
All of this learning and hard work is molding you and helping you discover what you are wired to do, and that’s the goal isn’t it? Putting yourself in the best position to win? That’s what I thought. After you figure out what you are wired to do, you can stop lying to yourself about whatever story you have been tell yourself, and that’s when you can really sell yourself. You will know what you are good at, and you will know what you can sell. You were wired to do A, B or C, and you can get paid to do it.
Being in this position will help you be successful because: you are already drawn to it, you are busting your ass, and those things are vital to success because you have to be able to work tired. You have to be able to go the extra mile in meetings, in learning, in preparing, and in delivering. Being wired for it means all of those things are just a little bit easier for you than the person who isn’t.
Remember this formula: Learning + Hustle/Grinding/Hardwork = Success.
Because you work hard, you will out work the competition. Because you are learning, you will out create the competition. That’s what it is all about. Either you want to win, or you don’t. If you’re napping, I am going to kick your ass. And everyone else out there is looking for a way to kick your ass. Always remember that. Always be working. Always be grinding. Because when you aren’t, someone else is.
With all the learning, and all the grinding, you will be more prepared, and preparation is what allows you to mitigate your risk. Being an entrepreneur (a successful one) is not about taking risks. It’s about going all in and working your ass off. It is about having goals, then putting things that help you reach those goals on the top of your list, and discarding the rest. Self-awareness, once again, is key. Time is the one thing you can never own. Make sure you are spending your time on things that matter: your family, your business, your knowledge, your health. All the other stuff is taking away time from your goals. You can never get back yesterday. You can’t re-do right now. Make the difference while you can right now.
Money and Small Businesses
Avoid raising money at all costs. I know it sounds crazy, but if you are taking money you are already failing because you aren’t able to do it on your own. Live like a student. Work lean. Stay Hungry, Stay Smart. You don’t need to be a $100 millionaire, you need to reach your goals.
You focus should be, in this order: sweat equity, customer equity, Kickstarter (some other fundraiser) equity, then venture capital money. People walk away from great businesses all the time with very little because of the fundraising. It is better to work lean, live lean, and build slow, then take on money, take on people you need to listen to, and lose your company.
Remember, venture capital money = failure.
I know what you are going to ask, how do I know when I am on the something? When I first started streaming, I got a call from the Aleutian Islands. When people are calling from a place you can’t even find on a map, that’s when you know you have something.
“Out work. Out last. Out hustle.”
Mark Cuban Links
Chase Jarvis Links