Transcript of the video : common traits of successful entrepreneurs
David Laroche: What are the common traits the people you interview have? What do they have that others don’t?
Andrew Warner: You know one thing that I admire about them is this sense that I will sometimes ask them about something that should have been painful, that they should have—well, I will give you an example. I talked to one entrepreneur about all the times that he was turned down by investors when he went out for funding. And I said, “Wasn’t that depressing? Didn’t that make you feel like you were nothing?” And he said, “Oh, no, Andrew. I wrote a spreadsheet that I shared with my co-founders with a list of all the investors who did not invest in us so that one day when we succeeded I could say, ‘look at the list of all the people who missed out.’” And the interesting thing to me about that is that’s an experience that many people have. They bring an idea into the world, and people who are more experienced than them say, “No, no, no.” That’s—right?
David Laroche: Right, that will not work.
Andrew Warner: Right, it will not work, and in their heads they keep thinking this is too small, why did I get into it? Well, when they are pitching other investors or customers, they think, well, this is a bad pitch, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this, maybe I shouldn’t even pitch again. Maybe I should go and try another idea. Same experience, they would have taken to the bottom. He took that experience and found a way to turn it so that it allows him to go to the top. That’s a distinction that’s really impressive, and I see it so many times in my interviews.
David Laroche: So, to sum up, do you think you, you don’t have to listen to people? How do you think you have to create your own perception? How can we develop the same trait?
Andrew Warner: I see what you mean. If you would have never listened to anyone and just said, okay, all these people are telling me there is something wrong. I am not going to listen to anybody. I am not going to listen to investors. I am not going to listen to my customers. I am not going to listen to my co-founders. He obviously would have, well, not obviously. He would have likely not done anything well, and not gone anywhere. But it’s choosing what you accept. How many times have you had a thought in your head that makes, that you don’t even want in there? I walked in here, and I saw all this equipment that you had. I could have walked in thinking, “What if I bomb? What if he spends all this time setting up his video cameras, and I stink so badly that he regrets even setting it up?” What if I walk in here and go, “Oh, for me, really? I didn’t do anything nearly big enough to deserve to be on camera.” And walked in with that attitude. You are experienced. Could you pick up on that if that was going on in my head? Could you pick up on that? Right? The person who is watching us is experienced enough in humanity to know if they would have seen me walk in with this insecurity who said, this guy is, I shouldn’t be watching. You know, what I said wouldn’t have resonated, it wouldn’t have been as powerful, they wouldn’t be listening this far. So you pick the thoughts in your head, and what’s interesting is that he picked the thoughts in his head, that I want to pick the thoughts in my head, and my guess is having studied you a little bit that you pick the thoughts that you want in your head.
David Laroche: Okay, so it’s, it’s the first thing. Do you see other things if we take three, three traits, what could be the second?
Andrew Warner: Okay, um, here’s another one that’s interesting. They are not afraid to sell. So I had a good friend of mine is Gagan Biyani, he comes over to my house for dinner with some friends. Someone says to him, “What is this new business that you have? Sprig? What is it?” And he pulls out his phone, and he says, “Can you take out your phone? Install it on your phone, and I will show it what it does.” And then he starts telling them, “You can order lunch,” excuse me, “You can order dinner to your house right from your phone using my new service.” Not afraid to sell, right? Where most people would have said, I am not going to sell to my friend.
David Laroche: Why? Why is they are not afraid to sell?
Andrew Warner: Because I think in some cases they think that what they have created is so great that they believe in it. I think in other cases they know that they have to sell in order to build a business. I think in still other cases is it’s they have to sell because otherwise they can’t get positive or negative feedback if they say, would you like this thing if I built it? You don’t really get good feedback. But if Gagan said here it is. Do you want to order dinner? He gets great feedback. So he did that to me via email. He said, “I know you have people over to your house. You can use this to have dinner for them.” I went and tried it, and I was able to go back to him and say, “I am worried about having dinner for 20 people at my house and I order from Sprig.” Now he got useful feedback. Someone who orders dinner for 20 people has different concerns than someone who orders dinner for just him and his wife, and he now he has useful feedback because he asked me. And if he just would have emailed me and said, hey, I know you do dinners. Would you ever use a service like this? I would have said, “Oh, yeah, Gagan. I love you. Of course, this is a great idea!” But because he asked me to actually pay, he got much more useful feedback.
David Laroche: And were you afraid to sell?
Andrew Warner: Was I afraid to sell? You know what? On and off in my life sometimes I am and sometimes I am not. I think with friends I am much more afraid to sell or was more afraid to sell, but I was more comfortable selling, especially in the first business that I had over the phone where people can’t see me, where I can just like, ask a question, and then bite my fist and just hold myself back because I am so embarrassed that I said, “Would you buy?” But they don’t see that I am doing that, and I get to sell.
David Laroche: But it, just to be sure to understand. It’s easier for you in face-to-face or by phone?
Andrew Warner: Today I think—today I don’t think it matters whether I do it face-to-face, by phone, via email.
David Laroche: So we have to learn—as an entrepreneur—we have to learn how to sell our own products, right?
Andrew Warner: I think so.
David Laroche: And so it is a very important thing because a lot of entrepreneurs think that they will have a selling force, and they will not have to—
Andrew Warner: Yes, I know, I know.
David Laroche: So is it working?
Andrew Warner: Is selling working?
David Laroche: Yeah, do you think an entrepreneur can avoid to develop this this kind of selling in having a team of selling, of salesmen.
Andrew Warner: I guess, maybe, a team of salespeople maybe could compensate, but it’s harder in the early days. Also, if you can’t sell your actual product, then do you really believe enough in it? If you can’t sell to customers, are you really going to be able to sell a co-founder on the idea that you have?
David Laroche: Okay.
Andrew Warner: You can’t sell—
David Laroche: You can’t sell to salesmen.
Andrew Warner: You can’t sell to anyone, right? Right, how are you going to sell to salespeople? How are you going to sell any of it? Plus, why would you want to? It’s like saying I am going to hire an outsourcer to have sex with my wife because I am a little afraid. No, you’ve got to learn to do it. This is part of the fun of business. Is that inappropriate for me to say?
David Laroche: Yeah.
Andrew Warner: Sex? Okay. It’s part of the fun of business. When you communicate what you’re doing and the other person is jiving with it, and you are expressing it in a way that they want to buy it, you feel their love for what you’ve built, and you want to build something that they are going to love even more, and that give and take is so much fun. I understand the challenge of it, but it’s so worth learning to do.
David Laroche: Right. I love this second key. It’s a new way, new content.
Andrew Warner: Yes.
David Laroche: And what could be the third, third one?
Andrew Warner: What could be the what?
David Laroche: The third difference.
Andrew Warner: Ah, the third thing, okay, so it’s, hmm—
David Laroche: It’s hard to choose a third.
Andrew Warner: It’s really hard to pick any one thing that’s, I don’t want to go with universals, but here’s something that I really admire. There’s some people that are really good at drawing others to them to just work with them, to want to help them out. Tim Ferris is like that. People who are high-end entrepreneurs admire his ideas so much that they will just want to go and work for him, even if it’s for free.
David Laroche: Yeah, I would love to know why and how.
Andrew Warner: Right. How you can go work for him for free?
David Laroche: It could be, but—
Andrew Warner: Or, why do people want to do it?
David Laroche: Yes, how to develop—how the people who follow us now can develop this kind of skill.
Andrew Warner: You know what?
David Laroche: Is it leadership?
Andrew Warner: I think it’s this—what I—I’ve been thinking about that same thing too. Why is it that some people want to work for free for others, and most people have a hard time finding anyone to help them out? I think back to when I was a kid, and I knocked on the door of Dale Carnegie and Associates and I said, “Can I please do anything to help here, to work here? I will do whatever it takes to work here.” I would have paid them to work there. And it was because I read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
David Laroche: I love this book.
Andrew Warner: Isn’t it amazing!
David Laroche: My favorite book.
Andrew Warner: It chang—mine too! It changed the way that I interact with people, and I wanted to work for them so that I can, so that I can be around their ideas more, so that I can embody their ideas in a way that I couldn’t if I was just reading a book. And so if I think about why would someone want to go work for Tim Ferris for free, or for my friend Noah Kagan for free, or for other entrepreneurs who I have interviewed for free, it’s because they have some idea, some process that the person wants to work for them wants to get and learn and embody themselves. So with Tim Ferris, he thinks in such a structured way, in such an organized way that I would want to work for him to understand how he processes things, so that I could be able to do it, right? How he hires people to do things that most people would spend forever doing. Again, my friend Noah Kagan, he’s such a good marketers, he’s such a good product developer that when I have a conversation with him and ask him a question about how to market, or how to create a better product, the ideas he gives me, the direction he gives me, the help he gives me changes everything for me, and I think, “All right, if I just have this conversation, and I am changed like that, imagine if I worked for him how much I would get from him,” and so I think that’s what it is.
David Laroche: It is if I work freely for him, I will get back not money, but experience and value.
Andrew Warner: I think so—and become more like that, the person that he is. But they are not the only ones, and it’s not always for free. How many people when Jason Freed says, “I am hiring.” How many people are dying to work for him at base camp? Formally known as 37 Signals. So many people—so many people would reach out to me asking for an introduction to Jason if they could, just so they could get a leg up in getting a job. Why? Because Jason Freed has a set of ideas that if you go and read his book, you’ll become better for them, but if you work for him, you’ll hopefully get even more of it. Sometimes it’s a book, sometimes it’s a blog, sometimes it’s just a way of operating that people gravitate towards.
David Laroche: I love these three keys, amazing!