Michael Bloomberg's Top 5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur (...it includes handing out free coffee...)

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It's pretty standard fare, but the idea of Michael Bloomberg buying coffee and handing it out for free to Merril Lynch employees makes me immediately think of that clown kid handing out free coffee to people in order to get a job.

Maybe he was onto something

Michael Bloomberg:

The following are some tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur based on my experience of building a company from the ground up, leading New York City as mayor, and founding a philanthropic organization.

1. Take risks.

Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure.

In 1981, at the age of 39, I was fired from the only full-time job I'd ever had - a job I loved.

But I never let myself look back, and the very next day I took a big risk and began my own company based on an unproven idea that nearly everyone thought would fail: making financial information available to people, right on their desktops. Remember, this was before people had desktops.

In 2001, when I was debating whether to run for mayor, most people advised me against it. They all were afraid I'd fail. But one person said: "If you can picture yourself giving a concession speech, then why not go for it?" That was the best advice I received - and I followed it.

In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail - and you must have the courage to go for it anyway.

2. Make your own luck.

Luck plays a part in success, but the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Whatever you choose to do, even if it's not the job of your dreams, always work hard at it. Be the first person at work in the morning and the last to leave at night. Hard work creates opportunities where your resume cannot.

3. Be persistent.

Persistence really does pay off.

When starting my company, I would go downtown and buy cups of coffee. Then I'd take the coffee up to Merrill Lynch - our target audience - and walk the hallways.

"Hi," I would say. "I'm Mike Bloomberg and I brought you a cup of coffee. Can I talk to you?"

Even if people were wondering who I was or where I came from, they still took the coffee.

And I kept coming back, day after day, working to build relationships with potential customers. I learned about the audience for our product and what they could really use.

Three years after starting Bloomberg LP, Merrill Lynch purchased 20 terminals and became our first customer.

4. Never stop learning.

The most powerful word in the English language is "Why." There is nothing so powerful as an open, inquiring mind. Whatever field you choose for starting a business - be a lifelong student.

The world is full of people who have stopped learning and who think they've got it all figured out. You've no doubt met some of them already - and you'll meet plenty more.

Their favorite word is "No." They will give you a million reasons why something can't be done or shouldn't be done.

Don't listen to them, don't be deterred by them, and don't become one of them. Not if you want to fulfill your potential - and not if you want to change the world for the better.

5. Give back.

You are ultimately responsible for your success and failure, but you only succeed if you share the reward with others.

At the end of the day, ask yourself: "Am I making a difference in the lives of others?"

My first charitable donation was a $5 check to my alma mater, Johns Hopkins, not long after I graduated. I was just scraping by back then, but I continued to give. And while the checks may be bigger today, they come with the same spirit. You don't have to be wealthy to give back. You can give back by getting involved and giving your time and talents. You just have to be committed to opening doors for others.

Comments (9)

Aug 15, 2013

I'm a pretty big fan of Michael Bloomberg. He didn't exactly claw his way up from the mean streets of New York a la Jay Z, but boy is he swimming in money now. Anywhos. This is the kind of Republican I can get along with - one who is Republican on the things that matter, and doesn't care about bullshit like preventing abortion.

Plus I actually approve of the soda ban. I mean, come on, people. What the hell is anyone supposed to do with a litre of soda?

Aug 15, 2013

Big fan of Michael and of number 4.

Aug 15, 2013
Angus Macgyver:

I'm a pretty big fan of Michael Bloomberg. He didn't exactly claw his way up from the mean streets of New York a la Jay Z, but boy is he swimming in money now. Anywhos. This is the kind of Republican I can get along with - one who is Republican on the things that matter, and doesn't care about bullshit like preventing abortion.

I'm a big Bloomberg fan as well.

Aug 15, 2013

I just wish Bloomberg access was not so darn expensive. It costs ~$1,000 more per month, per employee than FactSet so a lot of us get stuck with the cheap substitute.

Aug 15, 2013
Angus Macgyver:

I'm a pretty big fan of Michael Bloomberg. He didn't exactly claw his way up from the mean streets of New York a la Jay Z, but boy is he swimming in money now. Anywhos. This is the kind of Republican I can get along with - one who is Republican on the things that matter, and doesn't care about bullshit like preventing abortion.

Plus I actually approve of the soda ban. I mean, come on, people. What the hell is anyone supposed to do with a litre of soda?

Should it also be illegal to tie your left and right shoelaces together?

"Mr. Perkins poses an extreme risk to the market when drunk."

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Aug 15, 2013

awesome. Keep hustlin

Aug 16, 2013

Great advice, thanks for posting!

Aug 16, 2013

He forgot to list "get laid off with a multi-million dollar severance package" as step one in how to build a business empire.

Aug 15, 2013
Comment

"Mr. Perkins poses an extreme risk to the market when drunk."