Tai Lopez was a self-made millionaire before the age of 30.
He is also an author and a member of MENSA: the high IQ society. Tai has read over 5000 books. We are discussing several great books like Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. He wishes no one ever had seen when he was on Bravo’s “The Millionaire Matchmaker.”
Tai Lopez is an avid reader. Check out some of the books Tai recommends:
- Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton. (One of my personal favorite business books.)
- Managing Oneself (Harvard Business Review Classics) by Peter Ferdinand Drucker.
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.
- The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time by Will Durant.
- Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Listen and learn from Tai what it takes to succeed in business:
Read Raw Transcript Now:
Intro: Hello everybody and welcome to the Success Harbor podcast with George Meszaros, where it’s all about making success happen for you.
Success Harbor: Hi Everyone. This is George Meszaros with Success Harbor and I have Tai Lopez with me. Tai is a self-made millionaire, an entrepreneur by his 20’s, an avid reader of over 5000 books which was noted when he was seen on Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker and fortunately his episode is the highest rated yet. Welcome Tai.
Tai Lopez: Thanks man. How are you?
Success Harbor: I’m great. It’s Friday and it’s beautiful out and just great to be here. Thanks for being here. You’ve been an entrepreneur for 18 years and started 12 multi-million dollar companies. Can you give our audience, our audience an idea of some of the companies that you have started?
Tai Lopez: Yes, so really what, what I like to do is, I’m an investor so you know, if you look at the 440 wealthiest, there’s 440 approximately, 44, 450, self-made billionaires. There’s more than that who inherit their money so, the largest category of wealthy people are investors. About 77 are self-made billionaires, are investors so that’s about double even the next closest second category so you know I started when I was a teenager. I started a long time ago. I didn’t start you know, late and I really started my first business when I was 5. I remember 4, I started a little tomato stand outside. I remember nobody would buy my tomatoes. I had a little 10 cent bag of cherry tomatoes then I realized lemonade worked better, which is one of the 25 cognizant biases, reward versus punishment. Most people don’t like tomatoes, at least cherry tomatoes. They like lemonade with sugar so that was my first business lesson and since then you know, it turns out that the businesses that, a lot of businesses I’ve started, been an investor in or I’ll co-start with people. So I like to be behind the scenes. I owned some of the biggest night clubs on the east coast. I sold them so they’ve changed names. I started a big investment company on the East Coast called; it used to be called Legacy Life Group. I basically have sometimes I exit the businesses that I’m in, so that’s still around. My business partner and close friend John Dewar runs that. It’s called LLG Financial and now I invest, you know, I own some of the largest dating sites as an investor, big net worths of dating sites, not necessarily Match.com although I work with, in that space, the social space. But now I, I try to get. What I like to do is I travel around the world, and, and I find the best person in any industry and I talk them into doing a 50/50 business with me. So I just bought a business in Romania, 50 percent. I’m looking at one of the large universities in Europe wants me to buy a large percentage. I don’t want to say the name because I’m under a NDA but they’re a pretty well-known university that’s doing some for profit stuff outside of Europe. I am, you know, I have, done real estate investment company.
Success Harbor: So how do you decide on these ideas? There are so many ideas and so many opportunists so what makes you say no to some and yes to others?
Tai Lopez: Well, okay, here’s the deal. Humans have what’s called bounded rationality, so you must always constrain your choice potential by some level of bounds. So I put a boundary around what I feel confident in you know, and so now over time you know, it started out, one of my first businesses with Joel Salaton in agriculture. For about ten years I was very focused on organic agriculture, grass-fed, the whole paleo movement before it was even the paleo movement, I was involved in. And that was something that came out of my natural interest , curiosity at that time of my life. I spent two and a half years with the Amish, did lots of different stuff and from there I decided that I needed to understand money because most humans, most of us are destined to spend most of our time acquiring money, resources so I decided, why don’t I get into becoming a financial advisor because then even at the worst case scenario, even if I didn’t like that industry I would learn about money in order to help me in whatever I wanted to do. So I focused on that. I became a certified financial planner, CHFCC, all those things we did. I was one of the first guys to market financial products online. In 2001 Google Adwords merged and so it’s been a progression of things that are. I think I talked about this, we can talk about this later but I call this business destiny. You know there’s four concentric circles. You got to find where they intersect and those circles are what you grew up around, what you’ve been doing the last ten years, what 3rd party people that don’t know you have always complimented you on and lastly, what you have natural energy around. So when I was younger, I was a little more erratic and random. I did what I had energy and as I have gotten a little experienced, I’ve been able to become more and more focused. And now I ‘m mainly focused on spreading good ideas with mass media. So I’m interested in, I live in Hollywood Hills Hollywood so I’m interested in the entertainment industry and mass media and TV and movies and internet, radio, magazines, books, anything that I can take a message and spread it to a lot of people quickly. And so, now I’m focused on basically education based things. So most of my investments if I’m going to be invading or finance I’m going to be in the business, of business teaching people how to understand you know financial planning. If I’m going to be in the dating world, instead of, you know, being maybe, owning dating sites, I’m taking those dating sites and making them more educational, learning about social and romance. If I’m going to be in the health space instead of actually manufacturing a physical product like a vitamin, I’d rather be in the business of selling education, some education stuff, but I want to blend it and meld it with, you know, I want to meld and blend that with entertainment, so I call it you know, edutainment. People on a scale of 1 to 10 and a textbook is a 10. I like to read textbooks. Textbooks, most people don’t, you know. A 1 is the Kardashian show. You come out dumber from it so my blend is you know, how can I blend 1 through 10 in some way where it’s not too textbook-y and it’s not too minus entertainment. So that’s what I’m working on now and that’s my goal and all, anyone listening to this, the sooner and younger you narrow down the focus because creating immense wealth or creating immense impact, whatever your goal is whether it’s money or to be the next Mahatma Gandhi or Mohamed or Martin Luther King Jr., you know, Dalai Llama, whatever that might be, the way you’re going to get there is with planning and execution. It’s that simple, those two things. But planning is immensely difficult. Zig Zigler says, you know, spend 30 hours on your plan. I think that’s a gross understatement. Sometimes it takes me a year to make a plan. But you know what, no matter how long it takes, it’s better to make a good plan to get really good at a the wrong thing. Joe Sandler, one of my mentors said, “Hey dude.” He said, “Worst thing in the world is someone who’s good at the wrong thing. Most people are good at the wrong thing. You must never be good at the wrong thing.” So what you got to do you must figure out what is your destiny when it comes to and I’m assuming we’re primarily talking here about business. But I think everybody here has 4 destinies. You have a health destiny. Some people are naturally built like big body builders. Some people are built like skinny, you know, endurance runners. Find your destiny and pursue it in health. When it comes to wealth, some of you are destined to, you know, I say this, four levels of wealth, there is scarcity, that’s what most people are in. That’s when you make according to Daniel Connerman, the great noble prize winning economist spoke of happiness under in the modern world. You know, if you make under 80,000 or so you’ll experience deprival and a level of unhappiness that it is can be seen on a brain scan so most people are in scarcity. The average American makes 50 grand or less. And so you got to get to a position, of at least, the next level from scarcity is financial independence. That’s level two, anywhere from an 80 to lets say 150 grand. Now if you live in a, if you live in Romania, you don’t need to make this much. I’m talking about, you got to look at the parody. What it means, the market, where you live. For some of you, if you live in the UK, you need to make more because the pound is the beast and expensive there so then you got to get level 3, which is, or you can move to level 3 which is prosperity and prosperity you know is generally let’s say whatever, 150 grand, a million dollars and then beyond that is the final and fourth step which is wealth and impact, and not everybody is destined like Jon Wooden, the great UCLA coach, basketball coach said, he said look man, he said, “God only made one cream of Doulleger Park. God only made one Michael Jordan. God only made one Bill Gates. You do not have to, you should mentor under them and mimic them to the extent that you can, but you may not have the exact capacity that they have in those areas but it’s not a competition with others. It’s a competition with potential. The greatest tragedy of our times are not religious wars, they’re not strive, they’re not divorce, they’re not hunger, although all of those things are, you know, nasty. What, the true tragedy of our time, of our lives, and of your life will be wasted potential because time is elusive. Time is the thing that even great physicists don’t understand. My grandfather was an astrophysicist and he talked about Albert Einstein said if you go at the speed of light, you would, time would begin to slow down but if you go faster than the speed of light, potentially you could reverse time and go back in time but he said, Einstein said the problem is that as you get, approach the speed of light, mass becomes infinite and you become more or closer to infinity and you become heavier and heavier. So as far as we know, it’s going to be hard to ever reverse time so you got one shot. Maybe reincarnation is true, maybe heaven is true but you don’t know. All I know is you’re probably here now and you better not waste your potential because one day you will look back and if you want to be unhappy you can do what Charlie Monger says, “Before you try what will make you happy, focus on an inversion and invert, invert, invert.” What will make you unhappy? Memories of wasted potential.
Success Harbor: So in one of your videos on YouTube, you talk about, one time when you walked in to someone’s office telling the person I will work for free as long as you show me how to make money. Would you recommend that approach to others and why aren’t more people doing that, especially earlier on before they started something on their own?
Tai Lopez: Well recently I put out this, you know, PDF info graphic called the 67 Steps To Becoming A Millionaire. You see things on 3 steps on how to become a millionaire which I think is naïve. I think it takes a hell of a lot more than 3 so I’ve got a couple 100 written down but I think there are 67 concentrated ones that will create wealth for you and prosperity and whatever it is that you may want to be doing and so I think the number 1 of those 67 will answer your question. So most people I call it, you got to have , I call it, “get arrested humility.” The ability to be so interested in what you do in terms of pursuing mentors, ideas from other people that you’re willing to get arrested. The guy who started ACME. He was basically arrested by, I can’t, I forget if it was Bill Gates or, or Steve Jobs office persistently saying, “Hey, you got to help me. You got to listen to me” and they eventually had police, it wasn’t police, they had security remove him. Right. You’ve got to have that level of humility that you’re willing to say I don’t know and I’m willing to, you know, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to do that. And most people aren’t. They are very, very, very proud. You know the great billionaire, maybe the greatest business man of our time, Sam Walton, made 160 billion dollars personal net worth for himself and his family with Wal-Mart back, and this is what I call ‘get arrested level in humility.’ He was down in Brazil. This is after he was the richest man in America, after he started the empire of Wal-Mart and he was down visiting some friends and while he was down there, he was, his friends in Sao Paolo got a call, he’d been arrested, come bail him out of jail. They go down to the jail and they’re like, “What are you doing arresting this, this 60 or 70 year old billionaire from America? Brazilian jails are a dangerous place to be for anybody and for sure for him.” And they said we thought he was crazy. He was crawling around on his hands and knees in all these stores and they asked him why were you crawling around? And he said, I was measuring how wide the aisles were in these stores were because I was trying to see if these Brazilians knew something that I didn’t know. Think of that for a second, the level of humility to make a billion dollar, but yet say, maybe somebody knows something I don’t. People are too damn proud. They’re insanely proud for no good reason. I asked, one of the 67 steps is, from where does the pride come from? Where does your pride come from? Most people have pride not based on any, any actual accomplishment or if they do have an accomplishment, it only sounds great to them because they’re friends are losers or I don’t want to be judgmental, but they hang out with people who had done worst than them. Man, don’t have so much pride, you know. Whenever I get proud I think about my best friend who’s making a million dollars a day right now with his business. Seven years he built a company he’s going to sell for a billion dollars. Whenever I get cocky, I think about him. Whenever I get cocky, I think about you know Mahatma Gandhi changing the world, Daniel Lewin by 31, Steve Jobs, I mean Bill Gates by my age were much more, much more accomplished. So whoever is listening to this, whether you make million dollars a year then you better be comparing yourself with men who make and women who make a million dollars a day. They’re out there my friend. You think you’re good at basketball, that just means you play on the wrong court. Go play down on the UCLA summer games when you’d be playing against you know pro basketball players. You won’t feel so good then. Compare yourself to Michael Jordan. I call it the law of 33 percent. You don’t need to beat yourself down. Right. You know, I call it the law of 33 percent. Hang out with people, 33 percent of your time should be with people who are below you. You can mentor them and they’ll also make you have high self-esteem when you realize that other people are doing worse than you. Then you can also spend 33 percent around people on your level. Like Mahatma Gandhi says in his autobiography I just read . I read a book a day and I try to read from all types of greats and he said, “On the rise to the top you will often feel lonely.” So you need friends who are on the same path as you but not ahead or behind. Those will be the people you connect with, and lastly, find and this is the hard step, people 20 to 30 years ahead of you. If you find men, this is the path humans learn, not by visual, audio. They learn not by kinesthetic. They learn by osmosis. Osmosis, as things rub off on you. You must have the right people rubbing off on you. The beauty of mass media, in books and YouTube and airplanes where you can fly around the world, when I was in my teens I took a little bit of money I had saved and I travelled around the world, been to 51 countries and I went to, you know, I remember I took a plane trip to Tazmania, an island off Australia, rented a car, drove across from Lancashire to a little village on the other side of Tazmania and I was literally about as far off as you can ever be on a planet. I was in the south of New Zealand, at a place that said, 30 miles south from here is Antarctica, but I was looking for people full with answers right. You’ve got to have the humility to spend all your money learning from others. Forget the hype that you learn from within. You don’t learn from within. Did you learn English from within? No. Somebody taught you. Did you learn to drive from within? No. Somebody taught you. Did you learn basketball, did you learn social skills? No. Everything is taught. If you and I were left on an island, it would be like Lord of the Flies. We would be killing each other with spears and not talking; we’d be grunting. In the same way, elevate the mind and you will accomplish what you want and you will do it by learning. The great influential impact people, I was just reading Jean Jacques Rousseau from the 1700’s this morning. It’s a story by Willanera Grant, the great gale historians and they said you know, Jean Jacques Rousseau, he ran, he worked on a paint of volume, a work and he read 200, I think it wasn’t Rousseau, maybe it was Voltaire, I forget. But before he wrote his book, he read 200 books on the subject so that he could write a good book. Most people are out there spouting their own opinions without downloading the consciousness of great people in their minds.
Success Harbor: So I want to get a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed. When most business’ fail, you know, there are people that can, who are just serial entrepreneurs. They can succeed almost every time. Nobody succeeds every time but they just know how to go from one success to the next to the next and those people that can’t get there, why do they fail? What are some of those, what’s missing? What’s missing? Is it a mindset or is it skills or is it being, not respecting the business to do their homework? What do you think is some of the biggest reasons some people fail repeatedly?
Tai Lopez: Well you guys would like, you should have everybody, it’s free on my site TaiLopez.com, have them download my 67 things. The answer is I put together 67 vile. If you violate these 67 principles, you will very high likelihood be a massive failure and so if you can follow frameworks of thought, you will do much better. Now if you’re asking me what’s the most important, you know I, there’s a handful of highly important things in my experience and like I said the first one is people who are not humble enough generally fail. People who try to build too much off their own ideas, often fail. Okay so that’s one of the 67. Other things, if you want the full list they can get it on my site. It’s free I just give it away. I’ll give you a handful. Other times,
Success Harbor: So trying to be original is a bad thing in your opinion?
Tai Lopez: Well it depends on your definition of original. Let me give you an example
Success Harbor: Okay
Tai Lopez: Are you original in how you speak English? The answer is yes and no. You formulate words and recombine them in the order that is in your brain but where did you learn the foundational building blocks of the word “the”, the word “a”, the word “and”, the word “house”? Those were taught to you and they are construction. Victinstyne, the great philosopher speaks on this. Your reality is a construction of the words that you use but you were taught the words so what you do is you use other people’s thoughts as the foundational steps and then you recombine them over time but I will tell you man, most people, do you know how hard it is to come up with an amazing idea that hasn’t been thought up? Why? Why do you need that? My mentor Alan Nation told me and this is a very accomplished, one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He said to me, “Tai, I never had an original idea in my mind. I just read a book a day of smart people. That’s where I got this idea back when I was a teenager. Reading.” And this is the normative pattern. Find me a great world changing person who doesn’t read. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates both said that if they could, they were asked what’s the number one super power you wish you had and they said, “To read a book a day, I mean to be the fastest reader in the world.” To be the fastest reader in the world whereas you know I always talk about rich friends, poor friends. I’ve got rich, very rich friends, that book by Kawasaki, poor, Rich Dad Poor Dad. I didn’t have a rich dad. I had a poor dad, but I have rich friends and poor friends now. I’ve some of the wealthiest that are my friends but I have my old school friends. I don’t base my friendships on how much money someone makes so I have all my friends back who are just regular people and I’ll tell you the difference between my rich and poor friend. The difference between my poor people are what I call, skinny fat. Every heard of the term skinny fat? It means somebody who appears skinny but if you grab their skin they’re kind of flabby. Most people are humble cocky. They appear to be humble on the outside yeah yeah, yeah, but if you look at their actions, they’re never learning. They’re secretly think that one day they’ll wake up with the next great idea that makes them great. It won’t happen. Read Nicholas Tesla. People think he’s a self-made man. He had a photographic memory. He had a mathematician. He read an immense amount of books. He had a mathematician mentor. He went to university and learnt from some of the top people. Victinstyne, the greatest thinker of modern times. He went and tracked down Bertram Russell. For 3 months he haunted the great, you know, Bertram Russell was the great philosopher at that time and he went. Victinstyne went as a young kid and pursued Bertram Russell and said, and Bertram Russell thought he was crazy. So he had pursued and said, I need to learn from the best. That must be your attitude. We’ll never get along. I never get along with any person that tries to tell me how they’re going to learn the answer within. I’ll give you an example. Somebody. The Dalai Llama was mentored by who? He was mentored by Gandhi and Gandhi had a mentor. It’s a series of passing down of knowledge. Why do you want to do it yourself? Most people are mistaken, massively mistaken understanding that the way that you learn is through mistakes so I was going to tell you the other reason that people fail is that most people are trying to learn from their own mistakes. That’s a long hard path that’s going to take you 30 years. You only learn from mistakes that is true but, but, but, but, but, you learn much quicker through other people’s mistakes. Who do you want to be? Someone who spends 30 years learning through your own trial and error? You want to be somebody who has to discover that the world is flat versus round? I already, it didn’t take me more than one minute to realize that the world is not flat. I read, I built upon other people’s works. I didn’t spend my life, I could’ve spent ten years, travelling the globe and trying to go to space and mathematically proving it. Why? So why are people going, “Hey Tai. Well I want to do it my way, the original.” And I’m like, well then you want to be poor my friend. That’s your choice and I’m happy for people who want to be, who want to be poor. That doesn’t bother me at all.
Success Harbor: So, so you credit 90 percent of your success to five of your mentors, 3 millionaires and 2 billionaires? What were some of the most important things that you learnt from your mentors that you can share now?
Tai Lopez: Well a lot of this, a lot of this 67 steps that I have is from the compilation you know from travelling the 51 countries and learning from people like that okay. So that, that’s step one. I mean I’ve been mentored by all the books that I read. That’s extremely important for me to, to learn through these books and the most important thing are in that 67 steps. There are things from understanding, like you must control your mind, you live in a world where we’re bombarded by too much stimulus. Robin Dunbar, the available, I mean Robert Dunbar, the great anthropologist said, “We really evolved only to be in groups of 150.” Okay. And hold on one second, let me close this door. I have all my assistants here talking. Sorry about that
Success Harbor: Alright
Tai Lopez: So you’ve got this 67 steps right and I think there’s about 2 or 300 I just didn’t want to bombard people. So some of the big ones is, one of my mentors, I was about 18 years old, my mentor, he was a guy named Mike. He was one of the wealthiest men in Ireland and we were on this farm in Mississippi and he, he, he was telling me that. I brought up somebody that I looked up to and I was like, “Oh this person you know blah, blah, blah and this person da dee dee.” And he looked at me and said, “But Tai is he worth a damn? Was, is he worth a damn?” And at the end of the day the three most important lessons I learnt from mentors is number 1, the “worth a damn” factor. What’s your worth of damn factor? And worth a damn is a set of massive intangibles. It’s hard to define but I call it awareness. People who are aware. Like this Amish guy, I lived with the Amish for 2 and a half years and an Amish guy told me, “You know Tai, there are three kinds of people in the world. One watches things happen, one makes things happen and the last wonders what happened. Most people wonder what happened. You must never wonder what happened. You must make things happen.” So, that’s the first one.
Success Harbor: So
Tai Lopez: So that’s the first one. Sorry.
Success Harbor: No go ahead
Tai Lopez: The second one that you must do, okay, you must then what I talked about a little earlier. You must have massive levels of humility and the next, the 3rd one which I haven’t gotten to is what Charles Darwin said. Charles Darwin said, “It’s not the most intelligent. It’s not the strongest that survive. It’s the most adaptable.” The most adaptable. You must be adaptable. Right so most people don’t read the obvious signs of their life. They do not read that their life is crappy and they won’t admit it. That can’t be you. That cannot be you so those 3 things and there are 64 other main things. There’s cognitive biases, misaiming bias in essence, bias availability, association bias, papilogan response. You, contient fairness. There’s systems that I, 6 sigma perfection levels that you have to work on. It’s really a recipe, an overall recipe that you must master. It’s different for different people, Okay?
Success Harbor: Can you share your five percent rule to a 7 or 8 figure income? I read a little bit about it on your site I believe. I don’t know if you can go into that a little bit.
Tai Lopez: So, so, okay, so the law of 5 percent. I used to date this girl that almost won American Idol. She was one of the best singers. She made it to the final rounds of American Idol and she was on a scale of 1 to 100 of singing, you know, just to audition and get on American Idol you have to be in a stadium of 15,000 people to make it okay and she did. And then she made it, and Simon liked her and so on, but the thing and this is the tricky, nasty, thing about success, on a scale of 1 to 100, okay, she’s a scale, on a scale of 1 to 100, the world no longer rewards 85’s or 90’s or 92’s or 93’s. The world rewards 95’s to 100’s. That’s the hard part. That’s the hard part. How can you become that last 5 percent? That’s what you have to figure out. Okay.
Success Harbor: Hmm mmm
Tai Lopez: So that’s what the law of 5 percent says.
Success Harbor: You also talk about a, an infinite cash injection method you pioneered to keep a constant cash flow coming into your business. Can you share that?
Tai Lopez: Yes so there’s three factors of production out there in the world. There’s classic if you study economics. Number 1, it is, well it’s land, labor and capital. So, most entrepreneurs are focused on land. That’s the position that you need. That’s networking and who you know and so on, okay. Number 2, labor. Most entrepreneurs are extremely focused on their own skill levels. “Hey Tai. I’m good at that and the other thing,” okay. But lastly and the one that’s most often forgotten by most entrepreneurs is capital. We live in a capitalistic society. You probably need capital. Richard Bronson, if you read his great autobiography, Screw It Let’s Do It, what he says is without capital you’re done. He acquired massive amounts of capital. That must be what you do as an investor. Now when I say massive it will be different amounts for different people. For some that’s 10,000 dollars and for some people that’s that is you know, I don’t know, 50 million dollars. So, that, but, make no mistake, capital is the fuel that you must bring into your business and so I’ve pioneered various, I have this academy that I do and I, I give away almost 80 percent of what I do for free but there’s a few things. I have this academy for highly engaging, it’s a private mentorship and I teach this whole system. I’ll explain some of it. I mean I teach 5 hours on it in the system I can’t teach at all now but I’ll lose my voice. But the basic system is you want to create an ongoing source of capital that’s not always you know profits for your business. For some people thats shares, for some people that’s debt. But I like some creative strategies like franchising. I just read the book Grinding, Grinding it out with Ray A Croft. Amazing book if you’ve never read that and his trick was very simple. He created a franchising system. He licensed it from the McDonald brothers but they are, another very humble guy and he went out there and licensed this business to other people. So he was able to bring in large sums of cash in that way and so for some people you will do it through a form of franchising or licensing as I call it which it can be extremely you know, extremely effective. For some of you it’s licensing if you’re a more software business. If you, for some people I find that what works best is a system of debt. Sam Walton built an empire on debt. Debt is nasty though. You should only use debt, if you do decide to use it, when you already have a proven system that you can pretty much, Walton was borrowing money once he knew the numbers and what would sell you know. So he didn’t use debt to furnish his initial business. You must be very, very careful, very, very careful about using debt. So those are, infinite, and I’ve got some things that are more advanced that you can do but the main place to start first is listening. You must come into a place mentally where you understand that you probably will need capital at some level. Sometimes if you’re lucky enough you can use reinvested profits as your capital source but you may want to diversify the flow of money that comes into your business.
Success Harbor: So how should we imitate entrepreneurs that are way ahead of us? So you mentioned that maybe you have a third of the people you interact, you kind of help out and then the rest of the people should be ahead of you so you can learn from them and they can possibly influence you. So what can we do to imitate or learn from these entrepreneurs that are kind of way ahead of us or at least a few steps ahead of us in the game?
Tai Lopez: You mean how can you get them to do what? How?
Success Harbor: Well what I look for, if I look at Mark Cuban you know, I didn’t really, I can read a book about him or whatever, but he’s a billionaire so maybe he’s not the best example. Let’s suppose somebody makes 100 million dollars so that’s a substantial business, what do I, what do we want to learn from them? What do you think is the most valuable things that we can learn from them? Is it more about just the general outlook on life or do we want to get, try to get tactical you know in terms in terms of trying to imitate what they do?
Tai Lopez: I think, I mean go the most humble path, like Alan Nation taught me. The secret to life is ignoring 99 percent of people but when you find the one person listen to everything they say. So I was actually reading a book called The Republic, which is by Plato, this morning and he talked about this concept of listening to one or 2 people at a time. And remember it’s not a cult following. Over time you’ll accumulate people in your life but listen to them you know. And so, think it’s better to, what I recommend people do, I find, it’s very simple. You go out and you identify your destiny and you find somebody 20 years ahead in your exact destiny. That’s the best type of mentor. So if you want to do a hotel business, don’t get mentored by a guy who owns a sushi restaurant. Right? You can have them on your board of advisors. I teach in my academy on my site, tailopez.com, I got a little link there, but I teach there about the difference between a board of advisors and actual mentors. Mentors need to be in what you’re doing so that you can emulate them very, very closely okay? So if you could do that you know that’s the first path. So you brought up whether the Rich or Richard Branson or whoever it might be, you know, you may make a mistake of following somebody who has you know, really no experience. Just because somebody is successful in something doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to lead you down a different path for a different type of business so they can be on your board of advisors and give you generalized advice, okay. But in general you know they should be on your board of advisors. They give you big picture advice and then you find mentors that you can really follow around, maybe work for, whatever it might be you know.
Success Harbor: Yeah. Many entrepreneurs spend their days putting out fires instead of being strategic. It’s almost like they’re operating in crisis mode, most of the time. What do you think they, you know, why do you think they choose that path, I mean and what can we do to avoid it, to build a business that doesn’t operate in crisis mode most of the time? What’s, what’s going wrong in their business?
Tai Lopez: Well, it’s hard to diagnose. It’s funny. There are only a few ways to succeed but there are a hell of a lot of ways to fail so the people can be failing for anything. Like Charlie Monger says, if you really want to fail, have a lot of slough and unreliability. Some people have slough, they are lazy as hell. Some people are unreliable. They’re good one day and not good the other. They should read the book Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker. Other people are going too fast of a track you know. It took Pablo Picasso a long time to become Picasso. They call it the 10 dark years, the 15 dark years where nobody knows your name. Wray Crawford before he became the richest man in America spent 30 years selling paper cups. Bill Gates started at 12 and wasn’t a billionaire until 31. Buffet started at 7 and wasn’t a billionaire until 57, 50 years so some people’s timelines are so short and they’re like “I’m failing” and I’m like you’re not failing my friend, you’re going through the normal and normative growth patterns of any biological organism and business in a sense is like a baby. Alan Nation told me, said, “It’s like a baby. The first year it keeps you up all night, crying. The second year it’s a brat. The third year, fourth year it finally you know, you can sleep through the night but eventually if you take care of that baby, it’ll take care of you. So some people have a baby business and are treating it like a grown adult going. You know, there’s a big lie out there in especially in the Internet entrepreneur world. I’m not sure where it started but I think some of it started within the four hour work week as much as I like Ferris’, his general ideas, they’re massive, massive mistakes in it that are causing people to go, “Well I’m going to start a scale up business and this and that”. It’s a bunch of BS. It’s not true. You can’t find many examples. You can find a few statistical aberrations but its aberrations. So I think most people, especially maybe your audience specifically, is simply, okay, is just simply poorly timing and they have a poor framework dude. I mean, I told you it’s about planning and execution so most people have the crappiest plan ever. They build their plan off some internet nonsense that they read somewhere. It’s a weak plan. I mean what do you expect from a weak plan. What if my plan when I broke my ankle was to put you know, wave a voodoo doll over my ankle to get better? You follow a crap plan and you’re going to have a hell of a lot of problems with your broken ankle. You want to follow a good plan and most good plans are carefully, methodically done. When I broke my ankle playing basketball at UCLA a couple of years ago, I wanted an expert. Somebody spent 30 years, and built upon an accumulated body of medicinal knowledge at the hospital to fix my ankle. You know. That’s what I wanted.
Success Harbor: So most people handle failure badly. What do you think, why do you think that happens? You know, I think you’ve talked about this. I don’t know if it’s one of the videos on YouTube or maybe on your site, you know how 70 percent quit after the first failure and another 20 percent quit after the second and 90-95 quit after the third, you know, and the average millionaire fails about 3 times before they actually make it. So what can we do to condition ourselves, because you know, when you’re a baby and you try to walk, I mean you fail a million times a day and yet you keep going
Tai Lopez: Yeah but
Success Harbor: What breaks, what breaks in us that as we grown up? Well I don’t even know when that happens. You know you fail and you take it personally and a lot of times it really ruins people.
Tai Lopez: Well look, there’s two ways I can answer that. There’s some people that answer that by saying the education system has trained us to see things as black and white. I think there’s some there. I think there’s some religion and traditional morality but I think, you know, so I could go down that path and talk about that. Let me take you to a little different place before we even talk about that. There’s a good interview by Warren Buffet and JayZ. I think it was for Forbes magazine or something and basically what they said was just very fascinating was. Well Buffet says, Buffet had a mentor named Benjamin Graham, one of the foundational guys who taught people to understand the stock market and what he said was “What you want to do is never fail, make a big failure. Okay, so when you’re walking as a, a baby your mom does not let you walk close to a cliff. When my mom was a little girl my grandmother said she disappeared at 2 years old through the back door and my grandmother found her across like a pier with a fifty foot drop off to shark infested waters in Panama. You don’t want that for your kid or for your life. Right. So you can have mistakes but they can be little ones. What you need to be trying to do is get on first base. Everybody is trying to get on home base, with the first hit. Don’t be a fool. Make a lot, a lot, a lot of first base hits and the next thing you know, you’ve scored a lot of runs. So really, most of us have bought into the lie that you need to make a ton of mistakes. Joel Sods had told me the first day I was there he said, “Tai, I have one rule. You’re not allowed to make any mistakes.” What he was saying was limit, put risk prevention. In stock market you put options on it right. You put options on it to protect yourself from down side.” Don’t go all out with your first business. Everyone I meet wants to make a million dollars but I’m like have you ever made 100 thousand consistently? Don’t tell me about your million dollar plan. I had a guy come to me one time and say, ”I want to go to lunch with you. I’ve got the next billion dollar plan.” And I said well depending on how you answer this one question, I’m going to tell you if I’m going to go to lunch with you. Have you ever started a million dollar business? He said no. Did you ever start a 100 thousand dollar business? No. Fifty thousand? No. Then why are you talking about a billion? You’re too cocky my friend. It took Warren Buffet 50 years to become a billionaire. He has a 155 IQ. It was measured by the Winter Warden. It was mentioned by one of the greatest people of all times in the financial area and and it took him 50 years but you’re sitting here telling me you’ve got the next billion dollar idea? I feel like saying get out of my face my friend. I can’t handle it. I don’t want your bad vibes. Now, he meant well and I didn’t say that to him but that’s what I naturally feel. So most entrepreneurs out there I’m like, hey man if it took Bill Gates 19 years and from age 30 Bill Gates said “I never took one day off”, ten years he used to sleep and you know not take a shower and sleep at the office in his cubicle writing code. If it took him and he’s got a 155 IQ as well, are you smarter than Bill Gates my friend? Because if you think you are and you’re working for 19 years like he worked and you’re still having problems making money then you can come talk to me. But everybody wants, this is what my TED talk was about. Everybody wants but not everybody’s willing to do what you have to do to get what you want.
Success Harbor: So what businesses are exciting to you? Where do you see the greatest opportunists today in 2014? If you’re starting something or if you’re advising somebody to start a business, where do you see the great opportunities now?
Tai Lopez: Well I don’t buy into that. I hate opportunistic stuff. I tell people you can disagree with me as much as you want but you got to have facts. So when I state strong opinions I’ll try to back them up with facts. If you look at the wealthiest people in the world, 44 self-made billionaires, there’s no consistent pattern except maybe investors that continually wins the game of business. They’re all over the place. There’s a yogurt billionaire. There’s a billionaire who, Sara Blakely needed spanks. She made tights and made a billion dollars. There’s people from tech, real estate but they’re not dominating that thing. They’re all over this so I tell people, quit with the opportunistic stuff. You will not create wealth with the next big opportunity. For every story of Instagram where they stumbled into a billion dollars or multibillion dollar business, there’s 10,000 failures. You don’t want to play a hand of cards that wins 1 out of 10,000. You want to play a hand of cards that wins 1 out of 2 or 2 out of 3 and the hand that wins 2 out of 3 in a consistent pattern of world impactful changing people as people who follow what I talked about in the beginning, business destiny. What’s your natural destiny? Go down that path. Opportunities will arise over time and you will make money if you’re suited. But remember the law of 5 percent. If you’re trying to just jump in, like me I suck at construction. I did it. I know how to build a house but you will never want to live in a house that I built. I have no interest in it and the doors will be crooked because I don’t like building so if I was to pursue and say there was a ton of money in real estate and I’m going to get into a construction company, I would be a fool. You never want to be a fool. All these people out there, is the blind leading the blind. Don’t be that person. Remember if you don’t know who the sucker is, you’re the sucker. What you need to do is first get massive levels of clarity. You should be able to say in a few words what you want to do. Warren Buffet at 2 years old, I mean 7 years old, I want to allocate capital. I met Steven Spielberg. He said around 7 years old I went to an Indiana Jones, private screening here, in Hollywood and he was talking there at the beginning before the movie. It was the 30th anniversary of Indiana Jones and he said, at like 7 or 8, I was playing with camera lens. I already knew what I wanted to do. Bill Gates at 12, there’s there is a pattern, now you may be listening to this and you’re fifty years old. Well you can never, you better get this down now, faster. Most people are like well I’m already 50 years. Well it doesn’t matter. The laws of business don’t change just because your life is out of whack. So what you got to do is figure out what you should do immediately. Immediately. You know.
Success Harbor: Yeah
Tai Lopez: Yeah
Success Harbor: You know, I just basically have one or two more questions. I know we went over a little bit than you know, I said about a half an hour so I appreciate your, you being here. What do you think is the biggest time waster for people in business, people that want to be entrepreneurs or people that are trying to be entrepreneurs?
Tai Lopez: Oh that’s easy. Getting good at the wrong thing. Getting good at the wrong thing is the tragedy of our time. Everybody wakes up and goes to work and 99 percent of those people are getting good at something they don’t like. Don’t get good at something you don’t like. Why? Let somebody else be good at that because they probably like it. So that’s the biggest time waster without a doubt. Without a doubt.
Success Harbor: Any last word of wisdom to share about building a business, or growing or taking your business to the next level before we call this?
Tai Lopez: I would probably say the biggest thing that you could do. I mean take the philosophy of what Chief de Kumsa says, “Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all thinks in your life.” Focus on an end game that you want. Right. So the end game and then work your way in reverse. Figure out where you want to be at 70 and then go okay, if I want to be there at 70, what does my life have to look like at 60. Then say to get there at 60, what does my life have to look like at 50. And then move your way back to your present age, work your way in reverse. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talks about end game. The end game. Be an investor and not a consumer.
Success Harbor: Well Tai, thanks very much for coming on online on Success Harbor to share your story, to share your wisdom. How can people connect with you or find out more about you or or where should they go?
Tai Lopez: So I just launched a podcast. If you guys could do me a favor. I rarely ask other people for failure, I, for a favor, I just launched a podcast and it gets in new and noteworthy if I get enough ratings and stuff so if you go to my podcast on iTunes get your blackberry and go to the Tai Lopez show, The Grand Theory of Everything. It’s me talking, a little bit of babbling, hopefully a little bit of good news and good wisdom in there, what I’ve learnt from other people and I’ll pass it on and just leave me a rating, subscribe. That’s the first way. Second way and maybe even better than that, is my site, TaiLopez.com. I’ve got this 67 Steps PDF. Check it out. Join my book of the day newsletter. You should be reading a book a day but if you can’t do it, let someone else do it for you. So I read a book a day and I put out a free summary. A million and a half people from 40 countries are on there. So if you go to TaiLopez.com there’s a little place to join our pop up you’ll see and you can get the 67 Steps plus free, my book of the day club. Some of you, those people who are really interested and want to join my private mentor program. It’s not very expensive. It goes white to black belt. It starts out very inexpensive and that’s there’s a link on millionaire mentor. I’m on Twitter, I just passed 170,000 followers the other day on Twitter. It’s under TaiLopez. You can see my lifestyle and what I’m trying to do. It’s @tailopez and the number 1,@tailopez1, and then on Facebook I’m on TaiLopez Official, YouTube. I meet stuff in different channels. My YouTube has some unique stuff but I, you can go to my website, Tailopez.com and go from there but leave me a podcast thing if you guys don’t mind. A little review there and subscribe, hopefully I can get five stars. Maybe, I don’t deserve it. Give me what you think is fair. I’m not going to tell you what to rate me but
Success Harbor: So check out check out Tai’s podcast on iTunes. Check out TaiLopez.com. Tai thank you.
Tai Lopez: 67 Steps I just put that out. It’s pretty cool and 67 Steps, it’s a PDF and I’ve recorded like 3 or 4 videos that are about an hour long where I go through the 67 steps. I can’t do all 67 in the videos. I do them all in the academy but you can get, like I said, I give away around 90 percent of everything I do for free. Seventy, ninety so yeah, check that out.
Success Harbor: Okay Tai. Thank you again. Thanks for listening and maybe you’ll come back again in a year and tell us how everything is going now.
Tai Lopez: Awesome
Success Harbor: Thank you
Tai Lopez: Thank you my friend. Stay strong.