Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are all well-known names in the business world. But before they were moguls and titans of industry, these business leaders came from humbler beginnings.
Before Gates and Zuckerberg were billionaires, they were Harvard dropouts. Before Buffett was the Oracle of Omaha, he was the son of an Omaha stockbroker. Even the most successful business moguls started somewhere. If you want to follow in their footsteps, break free of these obstacles holding you back from becoming a business mogul.
1. You don’t set goals.
To become a mogul, it helps to look at what existing moguls have in common. One major factor in the success of business is setting goals and following through. While goal setting is often a solo exercise with little outside pressure to complete your goals, it is important to build goal setting into your life as an entrepreneur.
Some business owners find micro goals helpful, but I’m a bigger fan of setting fewer, larger goals so I don’t get distracted by the minutia of day-to-day business tasks. Every goal should be specific, measurable and attainable. It may be a goal like “earn X dollars in revenue next year” or “add X number of new clients by the end of the year.” In other cases, it may be a grander goal. We might think shooting for the moon is a pipe dream, but that is literally what Elon Musk is working on at Space X.
Every business and leader looks different, so find the goals that matter to your business and follow through until you can mark them complete.
2. You don’t know where your time goes.
How many hours per day do you spend on your inbox? How many are sucked away by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Email and social media marketing are an important part of many businesses, but they can also eat away at your schedule and prevent you from reaching those goals you set in the step above.
Using a calendar to schedule priorities and tasks for the day or week can help you avoid time vampires like social media. To go a step further, install an app like RescueTime to find out where every minute on the computer is going so you can better focus your energy during the work day.
Your priorities should be decided first, then put your time into those priorities. Don’t let distractions keep you from success.
3. You don’t think long term.
It is easy to forget about next year and five years from now when the bills are due this month and clients need your attention right away, but forgetting about the future means you won’t have a very good one.
Don’t let today’s tasks overshadow tomorrow’s successes. Moguls look at everything in the big picture. In 2013, Yahoo offered $1 billion to acquire Facebook. With a majority ownership in the company, Zuckerberg would have been instantly worth hundreds of million dollars had he said yes. But he turned the offer down, and is now worth $64 billion and is the sixth richest person in the world (as of this writing). Thanks to his long-term focus, he is going down in history as someone who created something that changed the world.
At least every six months, look at the long-term plan for your business and make adjustments as needed. Plan for one year, five years, and ten years in the future. Your plans will inevitably change over time, but keeping the long-term focus will help you stay on track for mogul-level success.
4. You don’t have an abundance mindset.
When you picture yourself in the future, what does it look like? Are you a mogul standing on top of the world? If not, it’s time to change your mindset. Millions of people live on a paycheck-to-paycheck mindset. They think in terms of what they can’t do because of their money and the many obstacles and problems in their life. If you think about it, you likely know someone or many someones who live thinking small.
To become a mogul, you have to think big. Long before the iPhone, Steve Jobs dedicated his time to the personal computer. Jobs once said that “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Do you think you can change the world? If not, you probably won’t do it.
One expression embodies this in a nutshell: If you shoot for the moon and miss, you will end up among the stars. But if you don’t shoot at all, you will never go far from where you started.
5. You don’t hustle.
No one accidentally became a billionaire sitting around watching TV and playing X-Box. While taking time off is important, you won’t go far without a hustle. Top business leaders often wake up early, go to bed late and work most hours in between.
In fact, most of the leaders mentioned in this article started their business from their home. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, started his company shipping books sold online from his garage. He did the heavy lifting, literally, to get his business off the ground.
Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a project idea in college. On top of his busy class schedule at Harvard and his membership in the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, Zuckerberg worked long hours into the night coding the first versions of TheFacebook.com. Now, you can’t go a day without hearing someone mention the world’s largest social network.
Get to work!
Success doesn’t happen on its own. If you have grand ambitions, it’s time to get to work making them a reality. If you set goals, follow through, and work hard, you are doing everything right to put yourself on the path to mogul level success.
Don’t let up and be prepared to pivot and change directions in your business. If you look toward the future, adapt and always stay ahead of meeting customer needs, you just might find yourself on the cover of Fortune magazine or the Wall Street Journal following in the footsteps of moguls before you. Now get back to work!
This article was originally written on July 28, 2017 and updated on February 2, 2021.