Elon Musk’s Top Advice for Future Entrepreneurs
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is a successful serial entrepreneur. Despite being debatable, his recent $44 billion acquisition of Twitter demonstrated to the world exactly how far his billions can go.
The visionary businessman founded X.com, which later merged with Confinity to form PayPal, but he is most known for co-founding Tesla and SpaceX, a rocket company he hopes could one day enable humanity to live on other planets. Musk is also the co-founder of the nonprofit research organization OpenAI and the chairman of the solar panel manufacturing company SolarCity.
According to Forbes as of May 4, Elon Musk has a staggering net worth of $262.3 billion as a result of creative thinking and perseverance. It might be wise to take some cues from Musk’s playbook if you want to be successful in business. Over the past ten years, he has discovered the following:
1. Request for Remarks
Trial and error are a part of starting a business. Musk stressed the value of seeking guidance during a Google Hangout for entrepreneurs in August 2013 that was organized by Google.
Take as much criticism about whatever concept you have from as many people as you can, Musk advised. “Seek constructive criticism. Find out the issue from them. To identify the issue, you frequently need to pull it out in a subtle manner.”
2. Take constructive criticism in stride
Musk stated in the 2013 Google Hangout that receiving constructive criticism from others can be really helpful. Although receiving criticism might be difficult at times, it is necessary for learning. To thrive in business, you must learn to not take criticism personally.
Even if you’re not trying to lead a startup, this advice is still helpful. It might be challenging to identify mistakes when you’re too close to a project, so getting feedback from others can be really helpful.
3. Get Your Hands Dirty
Musk didn’t create Tesla while observing workers in a corner office. He clarified during the Google Hangout that co-founders and CEOs must contribute where necessary to keep the business afloat.
You have to perform a variety of duties and tasks that you may not find enjoyable or engaging on an intrinsic level, he said. “You must be willing to go above and above and put in whatever hours are necessary. Nothing is too simple. That mindset, in my opinion, is appropriate for a startup CEO.
When your business is first getting started, the CEO’s work may encompass anything from answering phones to cleaning the office kitchen—anything it’s but glamorous. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and start working.”
4. Discuss your differences
Although it’s critical that new hires embrace your vision, team members can occasionally drift apart. Although not ideal, this is not always a deal-breaker or a reason to fire the person from your team.
Musk advised talking to the employee and outlining the issue if they start acting in a way that goes against your corporate culture. He asserted that the individual will typically alter their behavior, but in the event that they don’t, you must be ready to let them go.
5. Employ based on cultural fit
Make sure new hires will work well with your team before bringing them on. Musk underlined the value of collaboration and setting clear expectations up front in the Google Hangout.
When someone joins the company, they should be fully committed to the company’s overarching objective, according to Musk. “I think it’s crucial that everyone understands exactly what the aim is,” he stated. They are joining the company because they believe in what the company is doing, not only because of the income or something similar, as long as that purpose is well defined and recognized.
6. Interview meaty questions
Candidates for employment at Tesla, SpaceX, or any of Musk’s businesses go through a rigorous hiring process. Musk feels that difficult interview questions reveal a candidate’s genuine fit for the role and that he is unlikely to be misled by an experienced interviewee.
Musk discussed the interview query that, despite its complexity, he thinks reveals the most about a candidate’s aptitude during the World Government Summit in Dubai in February 2017.
“Tell me about your life’s journey, the choices you took along the way, and the reasons behind those choices. Tell me about some of the problems you worked on and how you resolved them, too,” Musk added. “People who actually solved the problem know exactly how they did it – they know the minor details,”
Musk stressed the significance of the query, pointing out that applicants who are lying to get the job may only go so far before being exposed. As a result, you must do extensive research to choose the ideal candidate.
7. Don’t let cynics bring you down
Richard Branson praised Musk in a Time magazine piece he wrote about him after Musk was named to the list of the 100 most influential persons in the world in 2013.
Elon has “gone out and made real” whatever the doubters claimed couldn’t be done, Branson wrote. Even when doubters say his ideas won’t succeed, the Tesla CEO keeps creating because he is innovative.
8. Possess a vision
For many business people, including the late Steve Jobs, having a clear vision in addition to the capacity to inspire others is a sign of success.
Musk doesn’t waver when defending the price of Tesla shares or the necessity of colonizing Mars. Elon’s efforts to better our world while also creating spacecraft to assist us escape it present a conundrum, according to Branson. But genuine eyesight is binocular, and Elon Musk is unmistakably a man with multitasking abilities.
9. Eliminate Process
In a 2012 Wired interview, Musk stated, “I don’t believe in procedure. In fact, I see it as a terrible omen when a prospective employee tells me during an interview that “it’s all about the process.”
Though stunning if uttered by the majority of CEOs, it’s perhaps not all that odd for a man whose focus is on invention to enjoy experimenting. In fact, you might wish to abandon process in response to his logic.
The issue, he continued, is that process frequently takes the place of thought at large corporations. “You’re urged to act like a tiny cog in a large machine. It allows you to keep people who aren’t that smart or creative, to be honest.”
10. Don’t Think About Money
Musk told PBS in 2008, when he was already a successful businessman, that he didn’t co-found Tesla to make money. Instead, he established an electric vehicle company after realizing how important it was for the environment to change how cars are fueled.
So, he continued, “This is not about my own wealth accumulation. It’s just that, in my opinion, this is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately because, if we don’t, we’re in trouble.”
11. Be fervent in everything you do
If you’re not passionate about it, you won’t be successful whether you’re starting a business or taking a particular job. At the time of the PBS interview, Musk was already quite affluent, which may have helped him decide to start an electric car company for the correct reasons.
“I wouldn’t change my life if I got a lot of money tomorrow,” he stated. “There is nothing because I have purchased everything I need.”
12. Start now while you’re still young
According to Musk, it’s preferable to start constructing your firm as early as you can, even though it can take some time for it to be successful. In your youth, you are free to take chances and devote all of your energy to expanding your business without the burden of several obligations. But as you go through life, everything changes.
In a Forbes interview, Musk stated that “As you age, your responsibilities grow. Therefore, I would advise you to act courageously right now; you won’t regret it.”
13. Do it only if it feels right to you
Although it’s no secret that establishing a business is challenging, not everyone fully appreciates the amount of effort and patience required to get one off the ground. In fact, Musk advised in his business counsel, “The life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone.”
When Draper University students visited his Tesla factory, Musk said, “I think it’s incredibly difficult to start enterprises, it’s quite unpleasant. One of my friends had a great analogy for starting a business: It’s like chewing glass and gazing into the void. Only do it if you are wired to do it; don’t do it otherwise. Consider it in this way: If you need motivation, don’t do it.”
14. Be realistic
Running your own firm may seem beautiful, but Musk warns against getting sucked into the idealized portrayal of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. The difficult life of the “working” entrepreneur is sometimes minimized as a result of media portrayals of successful entrepreneurs and series like “Silicon Valley,” which follows a man as he builds a firm. In fact, a 2015–16 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey found that after their first five years, half of all enterprises fail.
Musk told the Draper University students, “First of all, being an entrepreneur has been overly glorified in movies and TV shows, but for the most part, operating a firm is challenging. The majority of us are either unprepared for it or are more intrigued by the notion of being an entrepreneur than by the actual effort required to become one.
15. Differentiate Your Brand
Consumers already have their go-to brands that they rely on for services because there are so many firms competing for their business in the market. So, according to Musk, your company needs to stand out in order to infringe on that market and entice customers to visit your budding enterprise.
Musk told Inc. that if you put yourself in the position of the consumer, you’ll always choose the well-known brand unless there is a significant difference. “If you’re entering anything where there is an existing marketplace, against large, entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs.”
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