Today, I spoke to Robert Kiyosaki, who is the author of the popular classic and international bestselling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. He has sold tens of millions of copies of his books and his latest book is called, Conspiracy of The Rich. In this interview, Robert explains why now is the best time to be an entrepreneur, how aspiring entrepreneurs can get started today, characteristics of an entrepreneur and much more.
Is now the best time (in this economy) to be an entrepreneur?
Well because the number one reason is because the economy needs jobs. The government can’t create jobs, only entrepreneurs can. There is an international needs for more entrepreneurs than ever before. But also, when the economy is down, it means the old guys are dying and the new guys can come on. And plus, you have the web now. The web is creating more entrepreneurs than ever before. When I was just starting out we didn’t even have cell phones.
How can an aspiring entrepreneur with an idea start to build a business these days?
The number one thing is that it takes guts and it takes good advisers. You have to be careful who you take advice from. Most people are not entrepreneurs, so if you ask them if you should start a business, absolutely they would say no. So the benefit I had was my rich dad and all he told me that I was going to screw up a number of times and he would be there to guide me after I screwed up. Whereas my poor dad, who was an employee who said not to do it because it was too risky.
What are the top three characteristics all entrepreneurs have?
I started my entrepreneurial career in 1974. If I knew how much I didn’t know, I would never had started. So the number one characteristic is you gotta have guts, you gotta to be humble and you gotta learn quickly because there’s no path. It’s constant learning. I’m still learning today at my age, especially with the new social media coming out and all that. I’m scrambling to work faster. So if you don’t’ have that capability of being humble and learning, you’re toast because the world is changing too fast.
How important has branding been for you and your company? How have you leveraged the Rich Dad brand to create an empire?
If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity. The brand sells before you good and bad, so branding is essential. If you’re not a brand, you’re a commodity and if you’re a commodity you have to charge less. It is harder. I learned about branding when I was working with the rock bands like Duran Duran, Iron Maiden, Boy George and the Police. It was really easy to open doors with a brand, but it was really tough if you’re a no name brand band.
What role has social media played in your life (Twitter, Facebook, etc) as an entrepreneur?
Well I said I’m an old guy and I’m into it but I spend probably $200,000 a month on social media. I have to hire kids basically, 20 year old guys, to do it for me. I have two different sets of web teams and all that, it’s crucial. It’s the whole new frontier, its fun.
What are your daily habits that have made (and keep) you successful?
I think the number one thing is focus. Success is not possible without sacrifice and I’m willing to focus and sacrifice. I’m not that bright and I don’t learn that quickly so I have to block out a lot of stuff and just focus on a few things. That goes against what most financial advisers say to do is to diversify. I don’t diversify, I focus. I started on a plan and I still work on a plan since 74 to now, that’s 35 years. I build companies and I invest my money, so I get richer and richer and richer.
Can you learn how to be an entrepreneur at college or do you need to figure it out for yourself?
I’ve taught entrepreneurial classes in college and it’s a different breed of cat. The number one skill that made me an entrepreneur I learned in Vietnam where I learned a very valuable lesson in life as a gunship pilot. The lesson is that there’s no second place. Either you go home or they go home, or you both don’t go home. Once I understood it gave me a different kind of drive. There’s no second place and I live my life that way. If you don’t have that and you’re willing to settle for second place, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. Combat War zones are very hostile environments and entrepreneurship is a very hostile environment.
Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad – USA Today’s #1 Money Book and international runaway bestseller – is an investor, entrepreneur and educator whose perspectives on money and investing fly in the face of conventional wisdom. Rich Dad Poor Dad ranks as the longest-running bestseller on all four of the lists that report to Publisher’s Weekly – The New York Times, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today – and has held a top spot on the famed New York Times list for over five years. Translated into 45 languages and available in 90 countries, the Rich Dad series has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. In 2005, Robert was inducted into the Amazon.com Hall of Fame as one of that that bookseller’s Top 25 Authors. Robert writes a bi-weekly column – ‘Why the Rich Are Getting Richer’ – for Yahoo! Finance and a monthly column titled ‘Rich Returns’ for Entrepreneur magazine. His latest book is called Conspiracy of The Rich: The 8 New Rules of Money.