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The Elon Musk Way: From Small Startup Entrepreneur to Tech Mogul

By: SmallBizClub


The Elon Musk Way

Elon Musk. It’s a name that’s sure to be remembered for generations to come. The reason why his name isn’t in history books yet is because said history is currently being written. Born in South Africa, he showed from an early age that he had an interest in accumulating knowledge, engaging in reading sessions as long as ten hours a day.

He moved to Canada, the native country of his mother, when he was 18 to attend college He founded Zip2, his first startup tech company, only six years later, and then gradually proceeded to change the world. He co-founded PayPal, got rich(er) after selling it to eBay, then used that money to invest in other areas—such as rocket science. Either way, from the founder of a small company to an electric car and rocket builder (partnered with NASA), he surely must have done something very right.

Key to Musk’s Success

You may argue that Elon Musk is an extraordinary case and that he can’t be used as a realistic goal for those who, well, aren’t (or don’t think they are). But he more or less debunked this illusion at the 2014 USC when he gave the attendees some valuable tips about the key to his success. His #1 advice was to be really hardworking, following up with the example of his starting days.

Starting in the world of entrepreneurship is difficult as it is, but to sacrifice so much of your personal life, to sleep on couches, to shower wherever you can, and to pretty much breathe your work, this is taking it to a whole different level. It’s definitely not a coincidence.

Overlap Tasks

In other words, multitasking might save you a lot of time. And if you’re pulling 18-hour days, you surely need to save up on that time. If you’re already drowning in paperwork, there is no reason why you shouldn’t quickly go through all of your piled up e-mails and give answers to all of them. In a sense, you may say that this is the behavior of a workaholic, but we’ve already established that you do need to work hard even by traditional standards.

Musk has admitted that not even his supposed breaks are without some sort of usefulness. Naturally, when you’re just starting up, this point is more vital than ever. Setting the foundation for anything is the most difficult part. So, if you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of this difficult situation, just remember that you might be able to loosen up as you climb the ladder. After all, you’ll also have experience to back you up.

The Right People

Another thing that Musk brought up at the conference was the importance of the collective that stands behind you. Even with all the ideas and brilliance in the world, it’s virtually impossible to manage everything all by yourself. The key to building a stable and successful company is to fill it with people who are willing to invest as much effort in it as you. Find people of quality, who you can resonate with, who can contribute to the development of the business, and who will stick by you through anything.

Marketing Ditch

This could be a controversial point of view, but it is all about Elon Musk’s story of success. As CEO of Tesla, he’s made a point of the fact that he doesn’t like to invest in advertising, preferring to gear funds towards perfecting the product. He even went out of his way to call out the companies who do the opposite, believing that they put their money in the wrong place.

Fresh Opinions

No product is perfect. Just when you think you have the perfect idea, you release it to the world and then you learn later that there are plenty of flaws to it. It’s vital to keep an open mind to criticism and to make yourself the worst critic. Musk keeps a tight circle of trusted advisers around him who give him feedback with changes that could be made.

Even if you’ve checked off all of the things earlier mentioned, it can be a little bit hurtful to see people bash something that you’ve worked so incredibly hard for. But you can’t appease everybody and you need to constantly freshen up ideas and struggle to better yourself.

If you want to follow in Elon Musk’s footsteps, you need to be willing to sacrifice a lot, especially leisure time. You need to be ready to invest a lot intellectually as well as financially, and make risky decisions. Gather the right people around you and things might suddenly be a lot easier.

Author: Amanda Wilks is a Boston University graduate and a Contributing Editor at Job Application Center. She has a great interest in everything related to career-building, job-seeking, and entrepreneurship and loves helping people reach their true potential.

Published: July 14, 2016

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SmallBizClub.com is dedicated to providing small businesses and entrepreneurs the information and resources they need to start, run, and grow their businesses. The publication was founded by successful entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. We bring you the most insightful thinking from industry leaders, veteran business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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