What does it take to become a millionaire?
I posed that question to 52-year-old, self-made millionaire Bobby Genovese. With a net worth of over $200 million dollars, the venture capitalist seems like a pretty perfect person to offer up some valuable advice.
Raised by a single mom in Ontario and armed with only a Grade 9 education, Genovese left home at 16 years old to teach horse back riding. He quickly realized that the wealthy people were the ones who owned the horses, not the ones who worked the stables. So, with the intention to become one of the wealthy ones, Bobby moved to Vancouver and within 10 years he earned his first million.
Now for the "million dollar question." What are Bobby's secrets to having an overflowing bank account, thriving businesses with thousands of employees, a lear jet, vacation properties around the world, a yacht and a lavish lifestyle?
1. "Live positively. People waste so much time being negative. It takes way more energy to be negative than it does to be positive. Try to install a sense of fun in everything that you do."
2. "I never take no for an answer. If someone says no to me, they obviously didn't understand the question properly. So, I don't give up, I never give up until they understand that we all win. Sometimes it takes years and that's okay. "
3. "Show me the numbers and the growth. The worst pitch I ever heard was by a guy who wanted me to invest 700 thousand dollars in a company that cleaned the bottom of boats without taking them out of the water. Moral of the story, ensure that there is a need and logic behind your business."
4. "Never write a 5-page email. No one will ever read it. Keep emails to a maximum of 5 to 10 sentences. Short and to the point is the key, especially when you are pitching."
5. "Understand the competition and when it's time to let go. My biggest disappointment was buying 'Clearly Canadian Beverage Corporation.' I lost 7 million dollars trying to revive the brand and I learned that you can't compete with Coke or Pepsi."
6. "My best investment was buying the largest cremation company in North America, 'The Neptune Society.' It paid off beyond my wildest dreams. There is definitely truth behind the old adage that the only thing certain in life is 'death and taxes. So, find a company or idea that people cannot live without.'"
7. "I am a big believer in setting deadlines and goals. Create definitive timelines and when goals are not reached, find out what went wrong or what needs to change."
8. "I don't buy a company, I buy the team. So if there is a lot of staff turnover, it's is a giant red flag that the company may not have longevity. Create incentives to keep your team empowered and loyal. Work shouldn't always be serious, infuse a sense of fun."
9. "See the big picture at 30 thousand feet above. The biggest problems with entrepreneurs is they can't see the forest beyond the trees. As a leader, it's so important to see the big picture at all times. Take time to review the reality of the situation by removing the emotional attachments."
10. "To be a successful entrepreneur, you must understand that there is no such thing as work/ life balance. Be prepared to live in extremes and work smart not hard."
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