14 of Elon Musk’s Best Secrets of Success
Elon Musk is not your ordinary Billionaire.
Unlike most Billionaire’s Elon has made billions of dollars multiple times with entirely different businesses.
Elon made his first fortune with a digital media company called Zip2 which sold to Compaq for $307 million in 1999 when Elon was just 27.
Not long after Zip2 was acquired Elon co-founded PayPal, which he ended up selling sold to eBay for $1.5 billion dollars in October of 2002.
Since then he has founded SpaceX, co-founded Tesla Motors, and become the chairman of SolarCity.
Currently Elon is worth $13.6 Billion dollars and that number is on the rise.
For the awesome impact on the world he is making Elon made the cover of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and his influence is only continuing to grow.
1. Work Like Hell
Elon Musk has a fierce work ethic.
When Elon and his brother co-founded the company that became PayPal they lived and slept in a small office, and showered at the local YMCA.
“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. This improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that… you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.” – ElonMusk
2. Don’t Just Follow The Trend
If you look at all of Elon’s businesses they solve huge problems in emerging markets where there is little competition.
When he co-founded PayPal they were for a time the only email money transferring solution in the world.
SpaceX is the first private company to send a spacecraft (Dragon) to the ISS.
Tesla is the worlds leading electric car company.
In his USC commencement speech Elon recommends: “Don’t just follow the trend” and his actions have certainly followed this advice.
To reap the greatest rewards focus on innovation rather than competition.
Strive to innovate to such a degree that there are no competitors. Elon’s Billionaire business partner Peter Thiel writes on this topic in his book Zero to One.
If you want to create and capture lasting value, look to innovate and create a monopoly.
Monopolies by definition transcend competition and are how the greatest business profits can be achieved.
3. Really Like What You Do
When you really like what you do it enables you to find the energy persist through the challenges that a growing business will undoubtedly face.
4. Take Risks
With greater risks, such as those needed to carve out a new niche, comes the potential for far greater rewards.
Musk poured so much of his money into SpaceX and Tesla that he had to borrow money from friends to cover his living expenses.
However the risk of pouring his money into those companies paid off.
Today SpaceX, Tesla, and Solar City are thriving and Elon is several billion dollars wealthier than he was before.
5. Don’t Fear Failure
In an interview Musk has stated that he originally thought Tesla would fail.
When asked why he would start a company that he didn’t think would be successful his answer was:
“If something is important enough you should try even if the probable outcome is failure.”
Elon wanted to get rid of the perception that electric cars are ugly and slow.
Although entirely changing the way the public perceives a product class is no easy task Musk has made it happen.
The Tesla Model S sedan topped Consumer Reports’ annual customer satisfaction ratings two years in a row.
6. Do Something Important
Success and satisfaction with your work are not all about making money.
Elon had more money than he needed at the age of 27 but he has pressed on, working like a madman because he recognizes the importance of his work, and changing the world in the process.
Elon recommends being bold and choosing to do something important.
Not only can working on important projects give you great financial rewards it can also provide the satisfaction that comes with knowing you are changing the world for the better.
7. Focus on Signal Over Noise
Tesla has never spent any money on advertising.
They focus instead on investing in R&D and design since these will help make the car as good as possible.
“I ask myself: Will this activity result in a better product or service? If not, I stop those efforts.”
8. Create a Superior Product
Create an amazing product and that is the strongest type of marketing there is.
Apple is another example of this. Although Apple certainly does not shy away from advertising that marketing would fall flat if their products were not high quality.
When media outlets start talking about how your product is the best in the world you’re on the right track.
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9. Be Ready to Learn New Skills
Don’t let what you don’t know stop you from tackling important endeavors.
Elon never owned a car company before, but that didn’t stop him from starting Tesla.
Elon was never a rocket scientist, but that didn’t stop him from starting SpaceX.
There are plenty of books out there and there is more information readily available than ever before so set your sights high because there is plenty of information online about how you can make it happen.
10. Seek Out Constructive Criticism
One success tip that many people likely avoid is seeking out criticism.
Noone likes hearing what they are potentially doing wrong but by seeking out this information from people you trust you gain valuable insight that you may be able to use to make improvements.
11. Be Unrelentingly Optimistic
Elon is known for setting impossible deadlines and making requests of his employees to cut costs by up to 90%.
A lot of the time these deadlines fail, but often they succeed.
Challenge yourself to think big and this will often yield big returns.
Seeking unreasonable levels of success is a strategy that can lead you to exceptional success.
12. Attract Great People
All a company is, is a group of people working together to create a product or service.
In his commencement speech at USC Elon Musk explained that if you are creating or joining a company the most important thing is to attract great people.
13. Strive to Be Significantly Better Than The Competition
Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, Elon says.
“They are going to buy the trusted brand unless there is a big difference.”
So if you want to set yourself apart from the competition don’t just try to be a bit better. Strivetobe significantly better.
14. Never Give Up
The SpaceX Falcon 1 launch vehicle made it through the first and most most dangerous stage – the one where it actually breaks away from Earth’s gravitational pull.
But the rocket faltered soon after and they lost communication. That was it: the mission failed.
The 300+ SpaceX employees in attendance were heartbroken – and fearing for their very livelihoods – when Musk stepped up to speak to the crowd.
Elon revealed that he had already secured further investment in SpaceX so they would be able to continue their mission in case of complications.
At the climax of his speech, he told his employees not what they should do, but what he was going to do: “For my part, I will never give up,” Musk said, “and I mean never.”