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8 Things We Can Learn from Elon Musk and Entrepreneurship

8 Things We Can Learn from Elon Musk and Entrepreneurship

Elon Musk was one of the founders of PayPal. Since that successful start-up exit he has been working to revolutionize the way we move, both here on the ground through Tesla, and in space through SpaceX. Here are eight things we can learn from Elon Musk and the spirit of entrepreneurship that drives him:

1. How to manage risk

The rockstar entrepreneur of our time, Mr. Musk has had to put his fortune on the line more than once making him an expert on risk.

On the subject of risk, he says: “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

2. How to prepare for the future

With insight into the technological future through his leadership with SpaceX, Musk has the ability to tell us what’s ahead of us unlike any other entrepreneur of our time.

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He says: “There’s a fundamental difference, if you look into the future, between a humanity that is a space-faring civilization, that’s out there exploring the stars … compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event.”

3. Have solid foundations for your ideas

Elon Musk has changed the way that we exchange money online. His ideas have proven themselves not just game-changers but revolutionary. His advice is simple …

Elon Musk says of ideas: “[Physics is] a good framework for thinking … Boil things down to their fundamental truths and reason up from there.”

4. How to choose a new hire

The most successful business owners in the world will tell you there is nothing more important than hiring right and firing fast. Because hiring the right people can make or break your company, Musk stresses to look past their talent and rely on your intuition.

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On hiring, Musk says: “[My biggest mistake is probably] weighing too much on someone’s talent and not someone’s personality. I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.”

5. How to persevere when things get hard

Sometimes the hardest part about being an entrepreneur is picking yourself up when you fall. Odds are, if you have started a business before or plan to in the future, not all of your ideas are going to succeed.

Musk has advice for you if you have doubts about whether you should proceed: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

    6. Be ambitious

    The hardest part of any journey is the first step. When it comes to ambition Musk states: “The first step is to establish that something is possible; then probability will occur.”

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    7. How to progress with purpose

    After your first step, there’s a long climb to the top of the mountain. Keeping the right foot ahead of you is not hard, it’s how you handle a phone call three months into your project when you have to answer yet another demand from your investors asking for results.

    Of making progress he says: “I came to the conclusion that we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask. Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.”

      8. Know what motivates you

      Keeping your eye on the ball is key. Always remaining true to your passions and the change that you would like to see in the world is how leaders are able to separate themselves from the herd.

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      On his motive, Musk says: “Going from PayPal, I thought: ‘Well, what are some of the other problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?’ Not from the perspective, ‘What’s the best way to make money?'”

       

      In his most recent venture, Zip2, Musk is taking on online education through how-to videos. By using the leadership of this trailblazer you can create something in your industry that is unparalleled. A good example of this is Mr. Checkout, which has created an innovative approach to distribution unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Apply these lessons to your own company and build something that the world couldn’t imagine.

      Featured photo credit: http://www.businessinsider.com/11-elon-musk-quotes-2013-9 via businessinsider.com

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      Joel Goldstein

      Entrepeneur

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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