20 Habits That Prevent You From Being a Millionaire

Most of us, including you, have bad habits that get in the way. If you are able to abandon the following habits, you must be able to understand that becoming a millionaire is not as far from reality an idea as you think. We all want to be.

For me, as for many other people, these 20 habits were what kept me from becoming a millionaire.

1. Sleep when you shouldn’t

If you wake up until noon and work 12 or more hours per day to make up for a late start. Here’s the thing. I understand perfect, because I struggled with it for years. We are not all active people in the morning. Me, I still stay in bed on cool, rainy mornings.

Successful people are known to wake up early, usually before everyone else at home, so they can get started early on to get work started, catch up on the news, answer emails, and exercise without sacrificing time. they spend with their family.

2. Neglecting your health

“When it comes to health, bad habits do harmful damage,” writes Thomas Corley in ” Change Your Habits, Change Your Life: Strategies that Transformed 177 Average People into Self-Made Millionaires .”

When you’re unhealthy, you’re tired, less productive, more stressed, and much more likely to get sick. How can you focus on building your health, if you fight those factors every day?

3. Don’t read

People with money invest the time and effort necessary to expand their knowledge, keep up with the news and trends within their industry, learn from others and take responsibility for continuing to innovate.

As Lipovsky wrote, reading brings different perspectives, allows you to gain various points of view that will in turn expand yours, giving you the necessary push to dream big and motivate you to never give up.

What Is Your Net Worth?

4. Rely on a single source of income

People with a lot of money have several sources of income. Which means that for those of us who aspire to wealth, we have to invest part of our income to pay off our debts, and reserve for retirement and invest.

This doesn’t mean you have to get a second job while waiting for results (not a bad idea until you have a better option). It could be something you’re passionate about, like writing about technology. You can do it through a blog and start earning a passive income through the market.

5. Not setting a budget

Everyone needs to create a budget and stick to it, but unfortunately, there are many people who do not. Since they can’t see if they are spending more than they are accurately earning, it often leads to financial problems. If you notice that this is your case, then you need to start reducing unnecessary expenses and you should talk to an advisor to claim you.

In fact, this is another habit discovered by millionaire authors such as: Thomas Stanley and William Danko after analyzing millionaire people for their book The Millionaire Next Door.

6. Don’t think ahead

“In my study, ninety-five percent of poor people did not save and most of them accumulated debt to subsidize their quality of life. Consequently, they do not have money either for the time of their retirement or for the their children’s education, or for the opportunities that come their way, “wrote Tom Corley in” Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. ”

Just like Corley says. “Not saving and spending more than you earn creates long-term poverty with no hope of escaping.”

7. Not paying attention to small expenses

You may think that spending $ 40 a day on a cup of coffee has no effect on your wallet. The same goes for that $ 500 gym membership you hardly ever use. But, despite the fact that in the scheme of things these are small expenses, believe it or not, they add up quickly.

I recently randomly checked my company’s credit card payments. I found that 35 percent of people who buy coffee at least 4 times a week or go to the cafeteria every day only pay the minimum on their credit card monthly.

Again, this is why a budget is so helpful. It helps you manage these small expenses so you can adjust and focus on the important things. Remember to only keep the subscriptions that you actually use.

8. Dating the wrong people

Replace the toxic and negative people in your life with those who are optimistic, motivating and supportive. “In life, you will only be successful if you surround yourself with the right people,” says Corley.

9. Postpone

It is one thing to say that you want to become a millionaire and quite another to start doing it. If you want to get out of financial stagnation, then you need to take action as soon as possible. If you sit down with a financial professional to adjust your budget, this would be a great step to start doing rather than talking.

10. Drink and gamble

“There’s nothing like getting rich quick”; “Financial success takes time, initiative and requires relentless effort”; “Those who gamble are deluded into thinking there is a shortcut to success,” Corley writes.

Instead, millionaires “get in the habit of pursuing their dreams and goals.”

On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption prevents you from becoming a millionaire since it damages your memory, the ability to think clearly and your health. That doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally have a glass of wine or beer. Don’t make drinking a habit.

How Many Millionaires Are in the U.S.?

11. Watching too much TV

“Rich people have small televisions and big libraries. Poor people have small libraries and big televisions,” Zig Ziglar once said.

Do not misunderstand. I like to watch Netflix from time to time. But, as in Corley’s discovery, the wealthy prefer to read, exercise, or educate themselves rather than waste time watching television. “Making productive use of time is a hallmark of millionaires.”

“Wasting time belongs to poor people,” says Corley.

12. Not finding a mentor

I’m sure if I had found a mentor years ago I would have gotten rich since then. Why do I believe it? I could have learned from the successes and mistakes of someone who has developed in those fields, their advice could have helped me to omit so many mistakes that I have experienced and instead I could have obtained some benefit.

Instead of going out to get a mentor, open your eyes, they are all around you. You can take the advice of a college professor or your parents.

13. Stay in your comfort zone

Taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone is unsettling. I understand. But until you take that leap, you will find financial success. This is a habit that worked very well for Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffet.

“The pursuit of wealth requires risk, most people do not, so they are not rich,” says Corley.

Rich vs. Wealthy: What’s the Difference?

14. Don’t ask questions

You don’t know everything. Put your ego aside for a moment. I hate being the bearer of bad news, but that’s a fact and it will keep you from being rich until you deal with it.

I learned the hard way that trying to guess the future leads to failure and poor decisions. If you are not sure about an investment or an idea for your business, do not hesitate to ask for feedback and advice.

15. Being consumed by failure

Entrepreneurs wear failure as a badge of honor. That doesn’t mean they enjoy or want to fail. Going out of business and losing almost everything is rubbish, but those bumps of life are necessary to become as strong as you can be.

Do not get confused. Failure is horrible. But you shouldn’t let that stop you. Take risks, and if you fail, learn from your mistakes and move on.

16. Not setting daily goals

One of the best habits I have adopted in recent years was writing my goals daily and first thing in the morning. This inspires and encourages me to achieve my goals.

I found that setting daily goals helps prioritize from the most important to the least important. For example, instead of looking for my $ 100 overdue bills, I focus on one or two of $ 1,500. Prioritizing means doing what really matters.

17. Thinking negatively

“Long-term success is only possible when you have a positive mindset,” Corley writes.

Here are some examples of the most common negative thoughts we have that most can overcome:

Doubting yourself. Training, education, and a mentor can change this thinking.

Believe that your goals cannot be achieved. Focus on reaching your daily goals and pushing yourself.

Have bad grades. No. Grades and learning difficulty do not determine success. Ask Richard Branson who overcame dyslexia.

The competition is too tough. You will never know until you try. And, in the worst case? Just turn around.

Lack of concentration. Living healthy and setting daily goals can keep you focused.

18. Don’t save

“A job will never make you rich. Nor will saving all your money in a piggy bank. So how do you build wealth?” Asks Brandon Turner, vice president of growth at BiggerPockets.com.

So how is it achieved? Through tangible assets such as a profitable business, a growing stock portfolio or investing in real estate law.

Remember, your car and toys are responsibilities that take away the income from your future wealth. Focus on acquiring things that will make you money in the long run.

19. Make excuses

Excuses were one of the biggest obstacles between me and wealth. Making excuses is easy when we are trying to understand why we have so much debt and if we don’t have a six-figure income. Saying that we want to “live in the moment” is an excuse not to work and create a better future. Stop making excuses and start working.

For example, don’t worry about saving when you’re drowning in debt. Pay first, and that way you can start saving and investing. If you’re not making enough money, find another source of income like selling things online or delivering pizzas. That won’t solve all your problems, but at least it’s a start to ditching excuses.

20. Failure to follow the 70/30 Rule.

Jim Rohn, one of the county’s leading business authority figures, has a simple formula for building your wealth.

“After paying your taxes, learn to live with 70 percent of your income for your necessities and luxuries”, “it is important to see how you allocate the remaining 30 percent after that.” Mentions Rohn.

Rohn suggests giving one third to charity, one third to equity investments and the last third to savings. You won’t notice anything at first, but “let five years go by and the differences will be noticeable. 10 years later, they will be completely solid.”

We recommend: 4 habits of millionaires that work for everyone.

John Rampton

By: John Rampton Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Source: 20 Habits That Prevent You From Being a Millionaire

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More Links:

Ready to Become a Millionaire?

Let’s be clear: This idea that wealthy people always live in mega-mansions and wear $500 jeans is a myth. Being successful with money is as simple as living a modest lifestyle that follows a few basic principles. The more of these habits you follow, the more successful you’ll be with money. Just ask Warren Buffett.

We’re here to tell you, building wealth has almost nothing to do with your income or background. We studied 10,000 U.S. millionaires—the largest study on millionaires ever conducted—and found that most of them don’t look the part. The majority live in normal, middle-class neighborhoods and drive modest cars.

So if you’re ready to get serious about wealth-building, talk with the financial professionals in our SmartVestor program. They’ll help you build a clear wealth-building plan and keep you focused on your way to becoming a millionaire. It’s up to you!

Find your SmartVestor Pro today!

How Entrepreneurs Can Maximize Their Brand Voice Through Video Marketing

How Entrepreneurs Can Maximize Their Brand Voice Through Video Marketing

Consumers and marketers alike have noticed a significant upward trend in video content over the last few years, but what does this trend look like practically? A recent report by Hubspot sheds light on some key figures: 85% of business people use video as a marketing tool, up from 61% just five years ago.

Perhaps the most important stat for marketers, though, is that 99% of those that use video content do so again the following year. Once video is deployed, the results speak for themselves.

That is, if you use the medium correctly. Video can take brand voice to new levels, but the form is not an easy one to master. If you want to get the most out of your video strategy, you’ll need to tread carefully. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Though video-embedded banner ads are becoming increasingly popular, the best destination for your video content is on platforms already based around video: YouTube, Tik Tok, Snapchat, Hulu, and so on. If users can seamlessly go from watching content of their choice to watch well-curated ads, they’re more likely to respond to what they’re seeing.

Experts say that YouTube Ads are the next “blue ocean,” a place where marketers can expect to make between four and five times their typical ROI. Consumers on platforms like YouTube are already primed for video content — it’s up to you to deliver it to them. And instead of waiting for those customers to find your videos organically, you can shortcut the process by targeting them using YouTube’s ad platform.

With so much excitement about the future of video, it can be tempting to jump in headfirst. An important thing to understand, though, is that users are already bombarded with more videos than they could ever hope to watch in their lifetimes. If you’re hoping to cut through all that noise, you’ll need to produce top-quality video content.

Related: Tell Me a Story: 4 Ways That Video Can Create Brand Fanatics — Maybe Even Your Brand Fanatics

Hootsuite has published a helpful guide for knowing what video formats and qualities work best for each platform, but your quest for great content needs to go beyond orientation and pixels. Make videos that you yourself would want to watch, videos that will stick with people after they watch.

It’s one thing to tell someone to make great videos, but actually demonstrating how is something else entirely. Step one is to make videos that have a fundamental respect for their viewers. Consumers know how valuable their time and attention are to you, and your content will have to earn it.

It’s important to keep in mind that over 70% of people feel that ads are more intrusive now than they were three years ago, according to consumer insights agency Kantar. Your video should blend in naturally with the content around it and should never explicitly sell your product. Instead, demonstrate your product’s value and emphasize some of its key elements – you can trust consumers to connect those dots on their own.

If you can land content on a platform that supports long-form content, lean hard into the storytelling aspect of things. Video is perhaps the best-suited of all marketing media towards storytelling, and consumers are ready to respond in turn: 55% of customers who love a brand’s story are willing to make a purchase according to researchers at the University of West Alabama.

Related: How Brand Storytelling Is The Missing Link To Building a Loyal Community of Followers

All of the information you’re hoping to share through video content can be molded into a narrative. Hoping to share product specs? Weave them into the story of the product’s conception and development. Want to promote a new discount? Show what went into making that price drop possible. Customers will recognize and respond to your efforts, meaning serious ROI down the line.

If all else fails, you have three simple commandments to follow: engage, educate, and energize. You engage potential customers by placing your video content in the right place at the right time, ensuring that your audience is exactly who and where you want them to be. You educate them with well-written content that is elegantly produced and contains information relevant to them. Most importantly, you energize them to engage with your brand further, securing a new relationship for your business.

While no two companies will want to produce the same content, following a few of these guidelines can go a long way in refining your output. 2021 is poised to show just how far video content has come, and every business worth its salt should ride that wave as far as it takes them.

Source: How Entrepreneurs Can Maximize Their Brand Voice Through Video Marketi

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In this video I’m going to share with you how to maximize your sales and traffic leveraging video. Do you want to generate more traffic and sales but you don’t want to wait a year before you have to see results through channels like SEO? The cool thing about video is you can see results faster than traditional SEO or most marketing channels out there. It’s one of the best channels I’ve created and, if you’ve noticed, I create more videos each week than I do text-based content. Today I’m going to share with you how to use video marketing in 2019 to maximize your reach and sales. __________________________________________ RESOURCES & LINKS: “YouTube Video SEO: How I Got Over 25,000 Subscribers on YouTube This Year | 5 Video Marketing Tips” (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el3CX… “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2019” (video): https://youtu.be/b-gwbVJqi9Y “How I Got 100,000 Subscribers in Less Than a Year” (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wR8I… “Content Creation Hacks to grow your Business Faster” (video): https://youtu.be/3x9AWh7g1YQ “Favorite Hack To Increase Website Traffic That You’re Not Doing” (video): https://youtu.be/WTWZQ_4_zNk “SEO in 2019 What Will And Won’t Work” (video): https://youtu.be/I0joqcqpiO4 “SEO For Beginners: 3 Powerful SEO Tips to Rank #1 on Google in 2019”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmB_T… “The 3 SEO Tools I Use Rank #1 on Google | Neil Patel” (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK-0I… ____________________________________________ ►Subscribe: https://goo.gl/ScRTwc to learn more secret SEO tips. Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neilkpatel/ Read more on my blog: https://neilpatel.com/blog
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Tesla Sends Bitcoin To Record High With $1.5bn Investment

Tesla has invested $1.5bn in bitcoin and plans to begin accepting it for payment in one of the highest-profile endorsements of the cryptocurrency sector by a major US company. The disclosure from the electric carmaker sent bitcoin rallying to a record high of $44,100, extending its 50 per cent surge so far this year.

Analysts have put the meteoric rally down to growing enthusiasm from institutional investors seeking returns in the era of low interest rates. In a regulatory filing on Monday, Tesla said it purchased the bitcoins after changing its investment policy last month to “diversify and maximise” returns on its cash. Line chart of $ per coin showing Bitcoin soars after Tesla reveals $1.5bn investment For years Tesla was short of cash as it invested heavily in developing its electric vehicles.

Although its finances have improved, the bitcoin investment still represents about 8 per cent of the $19.4bn it held in cash and liquid assets at the end of December, according to the filing. The group said it expected to accept bitcoin as a form of payment for its products, although initially on a “limited basis”, adding that it might sell the digital assets for hard currency once payments are processed.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, has been a vocal supporter of digital assets on social media, particularly about dogecoin, which he said was the “people’s crypto”. In December he wrote on Twitter that bitcoin was his “safeword” in an apparent joke. Robyn Denholm, an Australian telecoms executive who took over from Musk as chair of Tesla’s board in 2018, is head of the audit committee that signed off on the change to the company’s investment policy.

The change allows Tesla to invest “a portion” of its cash in “alternative reserve assets including digital assets [and] gold bullion”. Recommended John Gapper Electric vehicles need to arrive as fast as vaccines The carmaker is the latest consumer-facing company to venture into cryptocurrency markets, following PayPal. However, cryptocurrencies remain highly volatile and are risky to hold due to frequent hacking and fraud, as well as difficulties in transferring them to cash.

“We believe our bitcoin holdings are highly liquid. However, digital assets may be subject to volatile market prices, which may be unfavourable at the time when we want or need to liquidate them,” Tesla said on Monday. “[This] is a potential game-changing move for the use of bitcoin from a transactional perspective,” said Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.

Ives said the announcement from Tesla could prompt other companies to make similar decisions given the growing interest in digital currencies. “Investors and other industry watchers will be watching this closely to see if other corporations follow the lead of Tesla on this crypto path or on the other hand does it remain a contained few names that make this strategic jump around bitcoin.”

By: Eva Szalay

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How These Women Investors Crushed It In 2020

In an investment industry known for big egos, overconfident analysts and “activists” who routinely tell CEOs how to run their companies, investor Nancy Zevenbergen and her team of four portfolio managers differentiate themselves by simply listening.

Zevenbergen, 61, founder of $5.7 billion (assets) Zevenbergen Capital Investments, believes the crucial job of an investor in today’s economy is to uncover the next great entrepreneur or technological innovation early on. The style is about “optimism and a view toward what the future might be,” she says. According to Zevenbergen, her task is to be curious and “understand the ‘crazy’ visions of new leaders and become investors alongside them.” If she likes a company, her Seattle-based firm will load up and watch from the sidelines, tracking the business patiently and holding their shares so long as growth doesn’t stall. Rarely do they worry too much about valuation.

This humble approach to investing has yielded results that make Zevenbergen among the best investors in the world. She has stuck by mercurial Elon Musk and owned Tesla for about a decade; Tesla’s stock is up 730% this year, and is the top performing stock of the ten years. She discovered Ottawa, Canada-based ecommerce company Shopify and its founder CEO Tobi Lütke in late 2016 when it was trading below $50; it now trades for $1,170.

Last September, Zillow chief executive Rich Barton decided the real estate platform would begin buying homes, leading to complaints from skeptics who sent its shares cratering 20% to below $30. Zevenbergen’s team liked Barton’s experimentation and built a large position. Fifteen months later, Zillow now trades for $140.

Nancy Zeverbergen
Seattle-based Nancy Zevenbergen calls investing with a less than five-year time frame “truly speculative.” Case in point: She’s owned Amazon since it traded in the $60s and still holds shares after a 90-fold rise. Tim Pannell for Forbes

With stock-picks like these, Zevenbergen’s Innovative Growth Fund (SCATX) and Genea Fund (ZVGNX) are up a staggering 126% and 154%, respectively, in 2020. Of over 1,000 peer funds tracked by Morningstar, the two mutual funds rank in the top percentile. 

Zevenbergen created her firm from her living room in the late 1980s with just $500,000 in assets while she nursed a young child. Her flagship strategy has beaten the S&P 500 Index by around four percentage points annually since 1987, but 2020 was a watershed. Assets more than doubled soaring towards $6 billion, based on performance and inflows to her mutual funds.

Zevenbergen is not the only woman fund manager who has crushed competition in 2020. Forbes found at least a half a dozen firms led by women-led funds that have blown away their peers and drawn in tens of billions of dollars in assets collectively since the start of January.

Cathie Wood, founder of Ark Investments, had the best year of anyone. In 2014, Wood, 65, created Ark with the idea of packaging stock-picking into tax-efficient exchange traded funds, and focusing exclusively on breakthrough innovations in genomics, robotics, financial technology, autonomous driving, digital services, and artificial intelligence. 

Six years later, Ark manages nearly $44 billion in assets, up from just $300 million at the end of 2016. This year, Ark funds have pulled in over $10 billion in new assets, led by extraordinary returns. Her flagship Ark Innovation Fund (ARKK) has seen assets soar to $17 billion, fueled by a 154% gain in 2020 and a 46% average annual return over the past five years. Her $6 billion Ark Genomic revolution ETF is up even more this year. “I wanted individual investors to catch the wave,” says Wood of today’s enormous technological change. Her funds were designed for those “willing to step out and away from fixed income and into some of the most exciting stocks in history.”

Ark publishes its financial models, trading logs, and research to the investing public, and the firm’s analysts are happy to engage in discussion on Twitter, opening themselves to criticism and mockery. Wood’s $4,000 a share valuation of Tesla a year ago drew many scoffs on Wall Street. But her heady valuation was spot on. Short sellers have been burned by Tesla’s rise, while female investors like Zevenbergen and Wood have been patient bulls. On Friday, Tesla was added to the S&P 500 Index.

Female investing success in 2020 extends well beyond soaring growth stocks. Women-run funds are leading the way in everything from small cap stocks, to emerging market debt portfolios, dividend paying companies, and sustainable investments.

Amy Zhang, portfolio manager of the Alger Small Cap Focus Fund (AOFIX) and Mid Cap Focus Fund (AFOIX) was hired in 2015 to expand Alger’s presence in niche small and mid-cap stocks. When Zhang arrived at Alger, the Small Cap Focus Fund had just $16 million in assets. Now, after a 54% return in 2020 and a 30% annual average return over the past five years, Zhang’s Small Cap Focus Fund has $7.5 billion in assets.

Top holdings include refrigerated logistics upstart CryoPort and fast casual restaurant Wingstop. Her Mid Cap Focus Fund, launched in mid-2018, has attracted over $500 million in assets as it has soared by 84% in 2020, bolstered by casino operator Penn National Gaming and power equipment manufacturer Generac.

Long before sustainable investments became a prolific buzzword, Karina Funk, an MIT-educated engineer at Baltimore-based mutual fund giant Brown Advisory, was a pioneer in bringing sustainable investments mainstream. Funk, 48, a vegetarian who watches her carbon footprint by biking to work, launched the Brown Advisory Sustainable Growth Fund in June 2012, alongside David Powell, with a goal to back about 35 companies with products improving social and environmental sustainability, or efficient operating footprints.

Its focus on companies like Ball Corp. and American Tower has made it one of the best funds on the planet during down markets. Even in 2020, the fund has gained 38% despite its defensive posture, thanks to savvy picks like life sciences conglomerate Danaher and Etsy, which has empowered many small businesses during the pandemic. Funk can be a tough customer. She exited Facebook in the fall of 2018 due to data privacy concerns.

“Sustainability is a means, not an end in and of itself,” she told Forbes as part of a profile three years ago, when the fund’s assets were just $1.1 billion. “Our end goal is performance. We achieve that by finding fundamentally strong companies using sustainability strategies to get even better.” The fund’s assets have since soared to $4.6 billion.

Other female-led funds that have done well include Capital Group’s $128 billion American Funds New Perspective (ANWPX), led by a team of managers including Joanna Jonsson and Noriko Chen, and the $36 billion in assets JPMorgan Equity Income Fund (HLIEX), led by Clare Hart. The New Perspectives fund has beaten its benchmark by four percentage points annually over the past decade, while Hart’s Equity Income Fund has returned an annualized 11.65%, two percentage points annually above its benchmark, according to data from Morningstar.

Rebecca Irwin, Natasha Kuhikin and Kathleen McCarragher of the $1.3 billion in assets PGIM Jennison Focused Growth Fund (SPFAX) have returned 68% in 2020 and 25% over the past five years, ranking in the top decile of peer funds. At Alger, Ankur Crawford, co-manager of the Alger Spectra Fund (ASPIX) and Alger Capital Appreciation (ACCAX) has seen returns surpass 40% this year.

In fixed income, Tina Vandersteel of the $4.4 billion in assets GMO Emerging Country Debt Fund (GMCDX) has been able to outperform emerging market bond indices despite underweighting China and many Gulf-states due to her skepticism of the veracity of their economic data.

The bull market of 2020 is also creating new opportunities for female fund managers to shine. Two years ago, Julie Biel of Los Angeles-based Kayne Anderson Rudnick, was a rising star at the $30 billion (assets) firm and excited about the looming public offering of software company DocuSign. Known for investing in established businesses, Kayne had never participated in an IPO. Biel was late in her pregnancy as the IPO progressed and trying to win an allocation. She needed a doctor’s note to fly to the Bay Area to meet with DocuSign’s management. Kayne eventually won a large block of shares, quickly becoming one of its largest outside investors.

Biel also began to manage the firm’s KAR Small Mid- Sustainable Growth strategy around that time and made DocuSign the fund’s top holding. Its shares have risen 225% in 2020. This year, Biel’s fund has returned 42% through November. In December, Kayne decided to launch a mutual fund version, launching the strategy, called the Virtus KAR Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund (VIKSK), with Biel in charge.

Like Zevebergen and Wood, Biel is starting small and manages just $60 million. But the investment industry rewards performance above all, hinting at much larger things to come. Entering 2021, Biel’s portfolio is loaded with hidden gems like Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and MarketAxess that could grow for years to come. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

Antoine Gara

 Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

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These Decision Making Tactics Can Help You Formalize Your Process and Make Better Choices

Entrepreneurship is, in large part, reliant on decision making for success. After creating your business plan, you’ll have a blueprint for what you want your business to be and how you’re going to develop it; but moving forward, you’ll be faced with countless tough decisions. On a small level, how do you want to prioritize your day? How are you going to negotiate this deal? On a larger level, who are you going to hire for this position? How will you challenge this new competitor? How are you going to pivot the business to escape bankruptcy?

It’s no surprise that some of the best entrepreneurs also happen to be the best decision makers. They’re able to take any decision, big or small, and address it in a way that’s both objective and appropriate. That doesn’t mean they make the right call every time; we all make mistakes, and successful entrepreneurs are no different. But over time, their decisions tend to lead them in better directions.

Related: How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Better Business Decisions

So what actionable steps can you take to make smarter decisions in your business?

What is a smart decision?

First, we have to define what a “smart” decision is. Smarter decisions tend to have a few things in common:

  • Objectivity. Good decisions are objective, based on facts and logic.
  • Stoicism. Decisions shouldn’t be influenced by raw emotions (in most cases).
  • Full information. The more information you have, the better.
  • Alignment with goals and values. Good decisions should be aligned fully with your company’s goals and values.

How can you achieve these qualities in your decision making?

Reduce decision fatigue

Decision fatigue is a simple psychological concept that many of us underestimate, but the more decisions we make in a given period, the weaker our decision-making abilities become. Over time, we become bogged down with stress and distractions, and ultimately make worse decisions for ourselves and our businesses. This even occurs with tiny, seemingly inconsequential decisions.

Many famous entrepreneurs and leaders, including Barack Obama, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg, have strategies in place to reduce decision fatigue by stripping away unimportant decisions. For example, you might wear the same thing every day or have the same thing for breakfast. It may not seem like much, but over time, making fewer decisions each day can make you a better decision maker.

Get all the facts

As a leader, it’s important to be decisive, but it’s also important to have all the facts before you move forward with any decision. Are you sure that all the information you have is accurate? Are there any details you might be missing? What are the alternatives?

Related: Best Ways to Use Data in Making Decisions

Get to a neutral emotion

When it’s time to make a final decision, you have to remove emotion from the equation as much as possible. If you’re making an impulsive call about an emergency situation, this can be extremely difficult. However, there are a number of techniques that can help you, such as:

  • Walking away. Sometimes, moving to a different physical location is all it takes to shift your mindset. If you’ve ever experienced road rage, you know that as soon as you’re parked, away from the road and out of your car, the situation doesn’t seem so bad. Try walking away and thinking through your decision in another, less intense location.
  • Meditating. Many people swear by the power of meditation. Simply taking a few minutes to reflect on your own state of mind can be enough to dissolve the emotions that might otherwise influence your decision.
  • Considering the decision from an outside perspective. You can also get a better sense for the objective reality of the situation by considering it from an outsider’s perspective. A common trick is to make your decision as if you’re advising a friend: If one of your closest friends were in this position, what would you tell them to do? You’ll suddenly consider more variables, and you’ll feel more detached from the situation (in a good way).

Talk to other experts

While the final decision is yours, it can be helpful to learn about the perspectives of other experts in this area. Do you have employees or partners who can share their ideas and gut feelings? Do you know of mentors or experienced professionals you can call for some quick advice? If you don’t have anyone to personally contact, you can substitute reading or podcast listening; what do other experts have to say about this situation?

“Good” decisions and “bad” decisions aren’t defined by the outcomes to which they lead; instead, they’re defined by the process used by the person making them. You can make better decisions by reducing decision fatigue, getting more information, clearing yourself of emotion and talking to other experts. This doesn’t guarantee all your decisions will work out, but it will increase each decision’s likelihood of success.

By: Timothy Carter Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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What Do Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett All Have in Common?

Billionaire Eric Lefkofsky’s Tempus Raises $200 Million To Bring Personalized Medicine To New Diseases

On the surface, Eric Lefkofsky’s Tempus sounds much like every other AI-powered personalized medicine company. “We try to infuse as much data and technology as we can into the diagnosis itself,” Lefkofsky says, which could be said by the founder of any number of new healthcare companies.. But what makes Tempus different is that it is quickly branching out, moving from a focus on cancer to additional programs including mental health, infectious diseases, cardiology and soon diabetes. “We’re focused on those disease areas that are the most deadly,” Lefkofsky says. 

Now, the billionaire founder has an additional $200 million to reach that goal. The Chicago-based company announced the series G-2 round on Thursday, which includes a massive valuation of $8.1 billion. Lefkofsky, the founder of multiple companies including Groupon, also saw his net worth rise from the financing, from an estimated $3.2 billion to an estimated $4.2 billion.

Tempus is “trying to disrupt a very large industry that is very complex,” Lefkofsky says, “we’ve known it was going to cost a lot of money to see our business model to fruition.” 

In addition to investors Baillie Gifford, Franklin Templeton, Novo Holdings, and funds managed by T. Rowe Price, Lefkofsky, who has invested about $100 million of his own money into the company since inception, also contributed an undisclosed amount to the round. Google also participated as an investor, and Tempus says it will now store its deidentified patient data on Google Cloud. 

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“We are particularly attracted to companies that aim to solve fundamental and complex challenges within life sciences,” says Robert Ghenchev, a senior partner at Novo Holdings. “Tempus is, in many respects, the poster child for the kind of companies we like to support.” 

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Tempus, founded by Lefkofsky in 2015, is one of a new breed of personalized cancer diagnostic companies like Foundation Medicine and Guardant Health. The company’s main source of revenue comes from sequencing the genome of cancer patients’ tumors in order to help doctors decide which treatments would be most effective. “We generate a lot of molecular data about you as a patient,” Lefkofsky says. He estimates that Tempus has the data of about 1 in 3 cancer patients in the United States. 

But billing insurance companies for sequencing isn’t the only way the company makes money. Tempus also offers a service that matches eligible patients to clinical trials, and it licenses  de-identified patient data to other players in the oncology industry. That patient data, which includes images and clinical information, is “super important and valuable,” says Lefkofsky, who adds that such data sharing only occurs if patients consent. 

At first glance, precision oncology seems like a crowded market, but analysts say there is still plenty of room for companies to grow. “We’re just getting started in this market,” says Puneet Souda, a senior research analyst at SVB Leerink, “[and] what comes next is even larger.” Souda estimates that as the personalized oncology market expands from diagnostics to screening, another $30 billion or more will be available for companies to snatch up. And Tempus is already thinking ahead by moving into new therapeutic areas. 

While it’s not leaving cancer behind, Tempus has branched into other areas of precision medicine over the last year, including cardiology and mental health. The company now offers a service for psychiatrists to use a patient’s genetic information to determine the best treatments for major depressive disorder. 

In May, Lefkofsky also pushed the company to use its expertise to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The company now offers PCR tests for Covid-19, and has run over 1 million so far. The company also sequences other respiratory pathogens, such as the flu and soon pneumonia. As with cancer, Tempus will continue to make patient data accessible for others in the field— for a price. “Because we have one of the largest repositories of data in the world,” says Lefkofsky, “[it is imperative] that we make it available to anyone.” 

Lefkofsky plans to use capital from the latest funding round to continue Tempus’ expansion and grow its team. The company has hired about 700 since the start of the pandemic, he says, and currently has about 1,800 employees. He wouldn’t comment on exact figures, but while the company is not yet profitable he says Tempus has reached “significant scale in terms of revenue.” 

And why is he so sure that his company’s massive valuation isn’t over-inflated? “We benefit from two really exciting financial sector trends,” he says: complex genomic profiling and AI-driven health data. Right now, Lefkofsky estimates, about one-third of cancer patients have their tumors sequenced in three years. Soon, he says, that number will increase to two-thirds of patients getting their tumors sequenced multiple times a year. “The space itself is very exciting,” he says, “we think it will grow dramatically.” Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Leah Rosenbaum

Leah Rosenbaum

I am the assistant editor of healthcare and science at Forbes. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a Master’s of Journalism and a Master’s of Public Health, with a specialty in infectious disease. Before that, I was at Johns Hopkins University where I double-majored in writing and public health. I’ve written articles for STAT, Vice, Science News, HealthNewsReview and other publications. At Forbes, I cover all aspects of health, from disease outbreaks to biotech startups.

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Eric Lefkofsky

To impact the nearly 1.7 million Americans who will be newly diagnosed with cancer this year, Eric Lefkofsky, co-founder and CEO of Tempus, discusses with Matter CEO Steven Collens how he is applying his disruptive-technology expertise to create an operating system to battle cancer. (November 29, 2016)

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Black Women Were Among The Fastest-Growing Entrepreneurs—Then Covid Arrived

Sherika Wynter was on a roll. Since releasing an insulated luxury tote bag for professionals in 2018, and subsequently selling out three times, her Maryland-based research and development company Thomas & Wynter had been featured in British GQ and the International Business Times and on several local news segments.

She walked into February 2020 with more notches on her belt: a Google small-business award and a joint venture deal with a prominent Black law firm to create another product for professionals.

“We were growing exponentially,” says Wynter, a Black entrepreneur who, with cofounder Shallon Thomas, started the business in 2014.

As the coronavirus threat escalated in early March, their sales declined, nearly hitting zero by  April. That same month, Wynter laid off almost every member of her five-person team, save for one contract worker.

“Right now, we’re treading water and have applied for ten different grants with no success. It’s a little daunting, but we’re trying to carry the company on our backs,” Wynter says.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the pandemic has decimated small businesses and early-stage ventures, especially those owned by women and people of color. Black women sit at this juncture, bearing a disproportionate share of the virus’ impact.

For years, Black women have created new businesses at a rapid clip, far outpacing other racial and ethnic groups. But strong financial headwinds from the pandemic and a lack of access to new funding sources threaten to wipe out decades of economic progress, leaving Black female business owners in a state of perpetual uncertainty, waiting for relief they fear will never come.

Sherika Wynter of Thomas and Wynter
Sherika Wynter of Thomas & Wynter Research and Development. SW

The face of female entrepreneurship overall is becoming a lot less white. Black women represent 42% of new women-owned businesses—three times their share of the female population—and 36% of all Black-owned employer businesses.

High levels of educational attainment, coupled with overcoming barriers to corporate advancement, have prompted Black women to pursue entrepreneurship, where they’ve become a potent economic force. Majority Black women-owned firms grew 67% from 2007 to 2012, compared to 27% for all women, and 50% from 2014 to 2019, representing the highest growth rate of any female demographic during that time frame.

“There’s this assumption that entrepreneurship is a tech startup that’s venture-capital-funded because we see so much about Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. People discount informal entrepreneurship and part-time business creation, which creates a narrow view of entrepreneurship,” says Donna Kelley, who has led research on the rate of Black entrepreneurship and serves as a professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College.

But the decade-long boom in Black business creation masks deep inequities in access to the financial resources needed to create businesses that reach maturation, which is widely recognized as past the five-year mark. There are fewer established Black female business owners relative to their high rate of entrepreneurship, Kelley says. “This is persistent over time, which tells us that fewer of them are sustaining their businesses into maturity.” 

In America’s business ecosystem, it’s not uncommon for companies to operate in the red for years before becoming profitable. Their lasting power is often made possible because of outside investors or their ability to secure loans from commercial banking institutions or credit unions. But Black entrepreneurs have historically been locked out of these funding opportunities. 

“A commonality for Black people, especially women, is that it takes longer to obtain capital, and so they have to put in a lot more sweat equity,” says Laquita Blockson, director of social innovation at Agnes Scott College and co-investigator on a study about the success of African American women-led entrepreneurial ventures.

The lack of access to capital also dictates, in part, to which industries Black women flock. “If you don’t have the personal resources to get your business up and running, you may pick businesses that are easy to get off the ground, but that are crowded with competition for similar products and services, and less opportunity for differentiation,” Kelley says.

Many of those businesses are in industries that have been severely affected by the pandemic, with about 40% of revenue generated by Black-owned businesses in the hardest-hit sectors, including leisure, hospitality, transportation and retail. 

“Hair salons, catering, restaurants or anything related to events . . . all of that shut down, and so the success of business owners in those industries depends on how much they have in reserves or were able to get from the federal government—both of which pose challenges for Black entrepreneurs,” says Jeffrey Robinson, founding assistant director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School. 

When Sundrae Miller was forced to close the doors to her Adara Spa on March 26, she immediately sought out new funding sources. She received $2,300 under the Paycheck Protection Program, a $64,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and deferred her spa’s mortgage payment for one month. The Small Business Administration covered the next six months.

“That was my saving grace. If I hadn’t received that mortgage break, I’m afraid I’d be out of business,” says the Raleigh, North Carolina, resident.

Adara Spa reopened to the public on May 22, but business remains slow, and she fears a second state-mandated closure as winter approaches. In November, she’ll have to restart her mortgage payments.

Hunting for business grants has become like a full-time job for Miller, who often finds herself searching and applying for sources of capital until 2 a.m. She has applied for 21 grants to date, securing $23,000 from five of them. While the additional funding may seem sizable, Miller says she lost $20,000 each month her spa was closed and is losing $10,000 monthly since reopening at half-capacity. “I have a few grant applications out right now and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Okay, Lord, please let something come through,’” she says.

Little of the $670 billion PPP funding reached Black business owners, largely due to built-in structural limitations, such as stipulations around minimum headcounts and revenue requirements. When Wynter received a $1,000 PPP loan for her research and development company, she laughed. “They said, ‘Here’s a 30-year loan for $1,000,’ and I said, ‘What am I supposed to do with this?’ It was a slap in the face.”

Others had some success. The majority Black-owned architecture and engineering firm Sabir, Richardson & Weisberg (SRW) received a $150,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and a $280,000 PPP loan less than one month after applying for each.

“We usually have far under three months of runway. Without the PPP loan, we would have had to lay people off and not take a salary,” says Yvette Richardson, one of the company’s four partners, three of whom are Black. 

SRW, Sabir, Richardson & Weisberg
Yvette Richardson, on the far right, at SRW. Peek Photography, LLC

Access to capital is a major predictor of business success and Black entrepreneurs find it difficult to weather economic duress, reach scalability and pivot away from unsustainable business models without financial backing.

“A lot of Black businesses will not survive this pandemic without more help. That is the sobering truth,” says Asahi Pompey, president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Black business owners who apply for funding have a rejection rate three times higher than that of their white counterparts, according to a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses report that surveys participants in a program bearing the same name.

Some 43% of Black-owned businesses in Goldman Sachs’ entrepreneurial program say they are likely to lose their cash reserves by the end of 2020, versus 30% of the overall program’s population, and 31% say less than 25% of their pre-Covid revenue has returned, compared to 16% of the overall population. The report defines growth-oriented entrepreneurs as individuals with businesses that have revenues of around $150,000 and two to six employees.

“This data lays bare the structural inequities Black people face and that’s born out in their entrepreneurial endeavors,” Pompey says. Already, Covid-19 has shuttered 41% of Black-owned businesses, compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses.

Blockson warns that not only will Black female entrepreneurs find it difficult to survive this period of economic downturn, but also that those who temporarily close shop will find it far more challenging to reopen. 

“It will be a huge shock in the economic system, and it is raising alarms,” she says. “But I am also very hopeful and optimistic that this could be a great opportunity for those who are positioned for it and able to make a shift.”

Some Black businesses are getting creative and diversifying their offerings to stay afloat. SRW, for example, has sought out more healthcare projects and is dabbling in HVAC technology, anticipating the services clients will need as the demand for indoor ventilation systems grows. 

However, many small businesses aren’t easily adaptable without a massive infrastructure overhaul, which requires a significant financial investment. And most Black and women-led businesses only have a few weeks to a month of cash flow. 

“This is a critical moment in time that is going to set us on a trajectory that could certainly be problematic in terms of the state of Black businesses for years to come,” says Goldman Sachs’ Pompey.

When small businesses flourish, so do their communities, and Black business owners often intentionally locate themselves in Black and Brown spaces, acting as economic spigots in these neighborhoods. Their erasure comes with far-reaching consequences, including the loss of jobs, community development and new economic opportunities for residents of underserved areas.

Nearly 75% of Black business owners in Goldman Sachs’ survey say they recently mentored others in their communities, compared to 50% of white business owners.

“It’s not just that it’s a single business that shuttered. It’s that it’s a pillar of the community and someone who’s a leader or a mentor. The blast radius impact of the pandemic on Black communities is something that can’t be overstated,” Pompey says.

The pandemic’s paradoxical silver lining is that it has brought increased attention to revitalizing small businesses, which provide almost half of all jobs in the U.S. At the same time, a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement has generated an influx of support for Black-owned businesses and corporate grants that cater to Black entrepreneurs. 

Wynter is capitalizing on this surge in public interest and has seen a spike in online sales since the national reckoning on racial injustice began in June. Sales jumped from 7 orders in May to 87 in June, she says. “People have really been a free marketing mechanism for small businesses, which has been a blessing.”

Even still, she and her cofounder are wary about the longevity of their company. They tapped into their savings in September, putting a combined $8,000 into the business, and are raising new funds through a friends and family round.

“As a business owner, you plan and you try to bob and weave through things,” she says. “But there is no way to bob and weave this pandemic. You have to take its hits and hope that you don’t get knocked out.”Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Ruth Umoh

Ruth Umoh

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com

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Want Influence? Use Intelligent Curiosity

One of the most beneficial skills entrepreneurs can develop is how to apply intelligent curiosity to everyday situations. Even better is to develop situational awareness alongside the skill of intelligent curiosity. Situational awareness is commonly taught in law enforcement. It’s where you are consciously aware of what’s going on around you. It’s a 360-degree awareness of both threats and opportunities. An example of this strategy is to sit with your back to a wall or in a position where you can see everything and everyone around you.

With a high level of awareness, you are more prepared to recognize opportunities others will walk right past. However, “seeing” opportunities is not enough. Being curious enough to investigate those opportunities is where entrepreneurial success is often found. This is where the application of intelligent curiosity comes into play.

Intelligent curiosity is directed, focused, strategic, and intentional. It is not conventional curiosity where we find things to be “interesting.” It’s where we become deeply interested in not only what’s directly in front of us, but pay attention to the periphery — the edges around the focus of our desire that very likely impact or influence it. This is called edge learning, and intelligent curiosity is a key element of it.

Related: Curiosity Is the Key to Discovering Your Next Breakthrough Idea

As an example, an entrepreneur’s focus might be on the development of a single product or service. An edge learner widens their lens to see what other opportunities this product or service might create or what threats there may be against the development of the product or its need in the marketplace. This wide-angle lens creates situational awareness. Are there accessories that might make the product or service more useful such as protective cases for mobile phones? Are there other uses for the product that requires a different type of marketing? 

Proctor & Gamble launched Febreze as a spray that could remove bad smells such as cigarette smoke or pet odors from fabric. It bombed. People who live with bad smells every day aren’t often aware of them. Developers decided instead to add a perfume to the product and market it as a spray to be used after cleaning. Instead of an “odor eliminator,” it sold well as an “air freshener.”  

Those who develop and use intelligent curiosity are more successful entrepreneurs and they often become recognized as thought leaders. Having worked with and studied dozens of thought leaders in today’s marketplace, I’ve noted their high levels of intelligent curiosity. They’re always asking questions, seeking knowledge from everyone they encounter. No matter their industry or level of financial success, they’re always on the alert. They tune in to what I call their “frequency of greatness,” their ability to dial into the problems and solutions, and ask questions such as, “What caused that to happen?” “Why was that the best solution?” “Who or what was impacted by that situation and in what ways?” 

Legendary thought leaders like master sales trainer Tom Hopkins and business expert Sharon Lechter dispense volumes of wisdom to entrepreneurs worldwide, but when I first sat down with them, they wanted to know about my experiences and what I was focused on and why. They exercise intelligent curiosity in every encounter. Working with Tom taught me that he practices what he teaches, “When you’re speaking, you can only deliver what you already know. When you ask questions of others, you are learning — gaining new knowledge that allows you to better understand them and their needs.”

Implementing strategies of intelligent curiosity can help entrepreneurs more fully enjoy the roller coaster ride of business. It allows them to open their minds to new ideas, to pivot, transition and adapt as the marketplace requires. In fact, the edge learning skill of intelligent curiosity will lead them to celebrate the inevitable challenges or failures and capitalize on them. 

Rather than walking away from stumbling blocks, they’ll learn who put the blocks there and why. The knowledge gained from intelligent curiosity will help them to move the blocks out of the way, climb over them or, on some occasions, choose an entirely different path. 

As a former private investigator, intelligent curiosity was instrumental in my success. When I would get a case, I would work diligently to explore multiple avenues to get the answers I needed. I’d allow myself to fall down the occasional rabbit hole in doing so. Being open to many different possibilities helped me to uncover the truth. My law-enforcement background taught me to tune in to valuable information through my eyes and ears. I discovered more through listening and through what is known as kinesthetic sense — how our muscles and organs of our bodies react. Heightening awareness allows us to quickly understand much about how others are feeling and how they might react to situations.

Intelligent curiosity is a learnable skill; it requires a commitment to the craft and ongoing practice. But do not mistake it for an add-on or luxury skill. It’s vital to your success in all areas of life. It provides the insights necessary for envisioning innovation. It will help you recognize when to put ideas across, when to act and when not to act.  

Related: Cultivating Curiosity Is What Drives Innovation

Intelligent curiosity goes against the grain of our own tendencies because of the depths it can take us to. Our innate curiosity desires quick answers and simple solutions. But that is not often what’s required of success. More often, success is not a product of doing what everyone else would do — success is mutant behavior. You cannot follow normal processes and become largely successful. Those processes may work for a short time, but without constant innovation, they will inevitably become outdated and fail or fade over time. Intelligent curiosity drives people to act and think creatively, be more attentive and thereby create new ways of knowing. Ultimately, the results of intelligent curiosity are the origin of success. 

By: Lisa Patrick Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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The Billionaire Who Wanted to Die Broke Is Now Officially Broke

 Charles “Chuck” Feeney, 89, who cofounded airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers with Robert Miller in 1960 amassed billions while living a life of monk-like frugality. As a philanthropist, he pioneered the idea of Giving While Living—spending most of your fortune on big, hands-on charity bets instead of funding a foundation upon death. Since you can’t take it with you—why not give it all away, have control of where it goes, and see the results with your own eyes? 

“We learned a lot. We would do some things differently, but I am very satisfied. I feel very good about completing this on my watch,” Feeney tells Forbes. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it.” 

Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities, and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife’s retirement. In other words, he’s given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went at great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his secretive, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the  James Bond of Philanthropy

Feeney and Buffett
Chuck Feeney and Warren Buffett in 2011 ©Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Barbara Kinney

But Feeney has come in from the cold. The man who amassed a fortune selling luxury goods to tourist, and later launched private equity powerhouse General Atlantic, lives in an apartment in San Francisco that has the austerity of a freshman dorm room. When I visited a few years ago, inkjet-printed photos of friends and family hung from the walls over a plain, wooden table. On the table sat a small Lucite plaquethat read Congratulations to Chuck Feeney for $8 billion of philanthropic giving

That’s Feeney—understated profile, oversized impact. No longer a secret, his extreme charity and big-bet grants have won over the most influential entrepreneurs and philanthropists. His stark generosity and gutsy investments influenced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge in 2010—an aggressive campaign to convince the world’s wealthiest to give away at least half their fortunes before their deaths. “Chuck was a cornerstone in terms of inspiration for the Giving Pledge,” says Warren Buffett. “He’s a model for us all. It’s going to take me 12 years after my death to get done what he’s doing within his lifetime.”  

Feeney gave big money to big problems—whether bringing peace to Northern Ireland, modernizing Vietnam’s health care system, or spending $350 million to turn New York’s long-neglected Roosevelt Island into a technology hub. He didn’t wait to grant gifts after death or set up a legacy fund that annually tosses pennies at a $10 problem. He hunted for causes where he can have a dramatic impact and went all-in. 

In 2019, I worked with the Atlantic Philanthropies on a report titled Zero Is the Hero, which summarized Feeney’s decades of go-for-broke giving. While it contains hundreds of numbers, stats, and data points, Feeney summarized his mission a few sentences. “I see little reason to delay giving when so much good can be achieved through supporting worthwhile causes. Besides, it’s a lot more fun to give while you live than give while you’re dead.” 

Chuck Feeney signing documents
On September 14, 2020 Chuck Feeney–with wife Helga Feeney–signed documents in San Francisco marking the close of the Atlantic Philanthropies after four decades of global giving. The Atlantic Philanthropies

On September 14, 2020, Feeney completed his four-decade mission and signed the documents to shutter the Atlantic Philanthropies. The ceremony, which happened over Zoom with the Atlantic Philanthropies’ board, included video messages from Bill Gates and former California Governor Jerry Brown. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent an official letter from the U.S. Congress thanking Feeney for his work.

At its height, the Atlantic Philanthropies had 300-plus employees and ten global offices across seven time zones. The specific closure date was set years ago as part of his long-term plan to make high-risk, high-impact donations by setting a hard deadline to give away all his money and close shop. The 2020 expiration date added urgency and discipline. It gave the Atlantic Philanthropies the time to document its history, reflect on wins and losses, and create a strategy for other institutions to follow. As Feeney told me in 2019: “Our giving is based on the opportunities, not a plan to stay in business for a long time.”  

While his philanthropy is out of business, its influence reverberates worldwide thanks to its big bets on health, science, education, and social action. Where did $8 billion go? Feeney gave $3.7 billion to education including nearly $1 billion to his alma mater Cornell, which he attended on the G.I. Bill.More than $870 went to human rights and social change, like $62 million in grants to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. and $76 million for grassroots campaigns supporting the passage of Obamacare. He gave more than $700 million in gifts to health ranging from a $270 grant to improve public healthcare in Vietnam to a $176 million gift to the Global Brain Health Institute at University of California, San Francisco.  

One of Feeney’s final gifts, $350 million forCornell to build a technology campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island is a classic example of his giving philosophy. While notoriously frugal in his own life, Feeney was ready to spend big and go for broke when the value and potential impact outweigh the risk. 

FORBES spoke to Influential Philanthropists On How Chuck Feeney Changed Charity And Inspired Giving


warren-buffett

“Chuck’s been the model for us all. If you have the right heroes in life, you’re 90% of the way home. Chuck Feeney is a good hero to have.” WARREN BUFFETT: Chairman & CEO Berkshire Hathaway, The Gates Foundation, The Giving Pledge


laureen-powel-jobs

“Chuck Feeney is a true pioneer. Spending down his resources during his lifetime has inspired a generation of philanthropists, including me. And his dedication to anonymous giving—and focus on addressing the problems of the day—reflect the strength of his character and social conscience. We all follow in his footsteps.” LAUREEN POWEL JOBS: Founder and President, Emerson Collective


bill-gates

“Chuck created a path for other philanthropists to follow. I remember meeting him before starting the Giving Pledge. He told me we should encourage people not to give just 50%, but as much as possible during their lifetime. No one is a better example of that than Chuck. Many people talk to me about how he inspired them. It is truly amazing.” BILL GATES: Microsoft cofounder, The Gates Foundation, The Giving Pledge


sandford-weill

“Chuck took giving to a bigger extreme than anyone. There’s a lot of rich people, very few of them fly coach. He never spent the money on himself and gave everything away. A lot of people are now understanding the importance of giving it away, and the importance of being involved in the things you give your money to. But I don’t fly coach!” SANDY WEILL: Financier, Former Chairman of Weill Cornell Medicine


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“Chuck pioneered the model where giving finishes late in life, rather than starting. He was able to be more aggressive, he was able to take bigger risks and just get more enjoyment from his giving. There’s great power in giving while living. The longer the distance between the person who funded the philanthropy and the work, the greater the risk of it becoming bureaucratic and institutional—that’s the death knell for philanthropy.” JOHN ARNOLD: Former Hedgefund Manage, Founder of Arnold Ventures


PHOTO CREDITS: WARREN BUFFET, BILL GATES AND SANDY WEILL BY MARTIN SHOELLER FOR FORBES; LAUREEN POWEL JOBS BY BRIGITTE LACOMBE; JOHN ARNOLD: COURTESY OF ARNOLD VENTURES

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Steven Bertoni

Steven Bertoni

I lead Forbes’ CEO Network and cover the Forbes Under 30, technology, entrepreneurs, billionaires and Venture Capital. Podcast Host and Founder of the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit.

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The One Thing Every Successful Entrepreneur Does

Talking about how to handle failure as an entrepreneur might seem easy from a distance. But once you find yourself in that ugly rut, you might wish you never trundled the entrepreneurial path. Many compare the feeling to a bad break up, which is what it is.

I remember back in college, my project supervisor talked to me about the wonders of failure. He said failure is a ladder through which an entrepreneur can attain the next phase. As a naïve entrepreneur, I never really grasped the concept or realized how tormenting it would be.

Related: 10 Strategies for Entrepreneurs Dealing With Failure

I had an idea — a business model that I was convinced would be my ticket to financial freedom. It started with a formidable plan, a map to guide me to my dream. I remember the sleepless nights and how passionate that dream burned within me.

Every morning, I would wake up with a sparkle of hope and expectation, ready to play my part in this vast world. To me, time was the only barrier to my dream. If I could remain consistent and focused, I was confident I’d hit the gold, or so I thought.

But then I woke up one morning and discovered that my business had been hit. An algorithm update affected my website’s ranking, causing me to lose over 80% of my traffic in a week. My business was like a baby to me, and I was watching it go down the drain.

Years of hard work, resources and effort materialized to nothing. No doubt, it plunged me into the most profound depression I’ve ever known. I felt worthless, broken, hopeless, and, most of all, I felt like a failure.

Learning from failure

Every failure comes with a lesson, and it is up to you to identify these lessons and do things differently. By learning from each failure, you’re able to tell what works and what doesn’t. Through this new insight, you become wiser and more intelligent.

Related: 5 Ways Fear of Failure Can Ruin Your Business

Almost everyone knows the man that invented the light bulb, Thomas Edison. As you might have already known, he failed 10,000 times before finally pulling it off. In his words, “I have not failed 10,000 times – I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

When you think about it, it sounds insane. When others see failure as failure, some people see this frightening monster as their ladder to success. You must understand that failure doesn’t make you a failure. You only become a failure the minute you decide not to try again.

Getting back up

If you’ve never failed as an entrepreneur, you will never truly understand what it means to. It isn’t about reading tons of self-help books or listening to motivational speakers. If you’ve not dined with failure, your first time dealing with it won’t be pleasant.

At that moment, you will feel beaten, hopeless and depressed. Worst of all, you might lose faith in your capabilities as an entrepreneur. Doubt is most likely to creep in and you’ll start wondering if this path is really for you. 

When you get beaten down by failure, you might consider an easy alternative — giving up.

According to Henry Ford“Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

To get back up from blaming and feeling sorry for yourself, understand the role of failure. It is like you’re being told to try something different, to start again more intelligently.

There is always a reason for failure and a fix for it. Perhaps you didn’t pay attention to your business, finances, team or competitors. Or maybe you’ve been focused on quantity instead of quality.

When you successfully learn from failure, you will get back up like a fearless lone wolf with an undying dream. Try to remember why you choose to be an entrepreneur — that will compel you to keep going.

Related: Why Embracing Failure Is Good for Business

Understand it never ends

I’ve failed numerous times, and I have continued to fail to this day. While you can’t defeat failure, you can change your mindset about it. Instead of seeing it as a hideous monster fighting to end your dream, envision failure as your guide.

It is there to guide, groom, and teach you about what works and what doesn’t. In each failure, there are lessons to be learned and adjustments to make. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs neglect the lessons.

When that happens, you find yourself in a loop, making the same mistake without making headway. But when you learn and get back up, you become an unstoppable force ready to translate your dreams to reality.

By: Henry Ibeleme / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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