The Best Business Advice I Ever Got, From the Most Successful Entrepreneur in the World.
(that’s me on the bottom left)
This post is not about Richard Branson. Or Steve Jobs.
It’s not about Elon Musk or Bill Gates either.
But it is about the most successful entrepreneur in the world.
It’s about my father.
He’s no multi-millionaire, he’s not on the Forbes Top 100.
He’s a 61 year old father of 3, a husband, chemical engineer,
sales director, consultant and owner of his own business.
He is an easily distracted, ADHD savant, a tall, lovable, good-looking
nerd with a warm heart, a slight spanish accent and an incredible gift
for listening. I have never met a single human being on this earth who
does not like him.
And he is one of the most successful entrepreneurs I know.
Not because he’s a celebrity or has money coming out of his ears,
but because of what he embodies in his life and his business.
And through this, he has taught me some of the most important lessons
a business owner and a human being needs to know.
Here are the top 4 life & business lessons from my father,
one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world:
1. Don’t sell your soul to make the sale.
My father has been in sales for 30 years and has done business
in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America.
He’s seen people do all sorts of things to get the sale.
One of the most notable stories he ever told me came from when he
was doing business in Asia.
It was standard practice to “woo” the potential client by taking them
out to a fantastic dinner to get the client to sign on with you.
My father did this as well, but several times he lost sales to competitors
because after dinner was over, some of his competitors would take
potential clients to the red light district and pay for a night of sexcapades
with underage girls from the sex trade.
I’ve only seen and heard my father cry 5 times in my entire life.
One of those times was after he was lured by one of his competitors,
to an underground sex club filled with young, underage girls
from the sex trade.
His competitor was angry that my father didn’t purchase sex for his
clients like he did, so he decided to trick my father and tell him he was
“taking him to dinner”. To see if he could get him to fall.
He took him to a restaurant with a back room where women sat in
bleachers with numbers on them. You could pick which “number” you
wanted to take into a separate room with you, depending on what you
wanted to do with them.
Girls the same age as his daughters.
Probably not there out of their own volition, with lifeless eyes.
He was only there for a few minutes, the few minutes it took him to
realize where he was and get out of there.
But it affected him enough to call my mother crying at 4am, upset
about what he had seen.
When he returned home, he told me about it.
“Never compromise your values just to get the sale”, he said.
On that trip he literally lost tens of thousands in sales to competitors
who had taken the easy way out by buying prostitutes and lap dances
for their potential (and very often married and not in open relationships) clients.
He was counting on those sales.
At the time my mother was no longer working and he had an entire
family to feed and support. Every penny counted.
But he explained to me that it didn’t matter.
First, because he knew that compromising your values to get a quick
sale was not a long-term sustainable practice.
He explained to me that in the long run, it was impossible to keep those
clients long term. Eventually, the client would come to resent his
competitors because of the tactics they had used to close the deal.
They would see his competitors as desperate to make the sale.
Deep down we eventually find it hard to respect people who only had
their own interests at heart and who disregarded our well-being just to
close the deal.
And if you compromised your values to make the sale, you won’t be able
to live with yourself after a while. The truth always comes out.
The second reason why my father wasn’t worried about losing those
sales is the second lesson I learned from him…
2. Value is the only sustainable strategy
Even though my father lost a lot of money at first by not compromising
on his values when selling to clients, he always seemed very calm
Because he knew that value and offering a high quality product/service
was what mattered most.
While his competitors were off buying prostitutes for clients to close the
sale or using surreptitious tactics to edge the competition out, my
father focused on none of those things.
He merely focused on selling and delivering the most high quality
product on the market.
He knew that his competitors used their quick fix tactics because
deep down inside, they knew their product was inferior to the one my
father was selling. So they had to cover it up with a lot of extra “stuff”
and diversion tactics in order to close the deal.
My father knew he had time on his side.
Eventually, the client he had lost to the competitor would find out that
the product or service my father’s competitor was offering was
Almost every single client he “lost” ended up switching over to my father.
Some people took a few years, but it always ended up that way.
When it comes to life and business, it’s the value you offer to the people
around you that creates long term, lucrative relationships.
Take it from my father, who has now surpassed all of his competitors.
3. Believe wholeheartedly in what you offer
My father is a true entrepreneur.
He has worked as a consultant selling everything from paint solvents to
toys. He has started several successful businesses.
I have never heard him be anything less than passionate about what he
On a road trip with him, I once stayed up until 2 am listening to him talk
about how much he loves the particular organic compounds that he sells
to paint companies.
He went on and on about how incredible their formulas are and how he
knows they are the best available on the market.
I know nothing about being a chemical engineer and don’t spend time
reading up on the composition of paint, but I was mesmerized listening
to him. And I wanted to buy what he was offering.
Because he was genuinely excited about and truly believed in what
he was selling.
I have a hunch that is the reason why my father’s sales regions have
always become the highest grossing in any company for which he does
consulting work. He’s sought after for it.
If you don’t believe in what you’re offering, people won’t either.
If you’re having trouble selling something you’ve created, maybe it’s
time to check in with your belief — tap into why you are offering what you
If you don’t feel passionate about something, whether it be in life or
business, chuck it and go back to the drawing board.
In the long run this will save you a lot of misery (and money).
4. Treat your clients like human beings.
One of the reasons my father never participated in taking clients on
sex-capades to close sales like his competitors is that many of them
were married and had families (and they were not in open relationships).
He never wanted to participate in something that would cause pain to
them or their loved ones in the long run, even if it meant that it would
take longer to close the sale. He saw potential clients as human beings,
not just another notch in a sales record.
My father also treats all of his clients like respected family friends.
I have so many memories of clients and colleagues who happened to be
in town, coming over to have a home cooked dinner with our family.
After dinner, my father would take them out onto the dock with some
Cuban cigars and red wine in hand to talk with them about life, late into
Many times they would open up to my father about their lives, seek out
advice and get things off their chest they had been holding in for way
It’s why my father’s clients stay with him for so long and why he has
great customer loyalty records.
Because he builds real relationships.
They become long lasting, fruitful relationships which benefit not only
each other, but the world.
Let’s get this straight:
Your clients are the reason you are in business.
Your friends and family bring beautiful meaning and connection into your
life. Cherish them.
On your way to world domination, don’t forget your tribe.
All of the people who have shared on social media about you, who have
“liked” your posts, who have commented on your blog…
All of the times your mother has talked you up to her friends or
embarrassingly tried to set you up with someone…
All of the times a friend has sat with you during one of your freak-outs…
Is the reason why you have a business (and meaningful life) in the first
place. Those people didn’t have to do that. They took time out of their
just-as-busy life for you.
Don’t forget that.
So what is “success?”
I read an article once that talked about the top regrets of the dying.
The ones I most remember are:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself”
“I wish I had stayed more in touch with my friends”
My father may not be a billionaire.
He may not be famous.
But to me, he is the most successful entrepreneur in the world.
Because he taught me that success is not about how many notches
you get on your belt, how many accolades you get or even how much
money you make.
Success is about living your life aligned with your truth, treating people
with love, compassion and kindness, creating connections and providing so much value to the world around you that you end up leaving it a better place than you found it.
If you focus on that, you will be successful.
If you don’t believe me, here’s the “proof”:
My father has ended up building several high multi-six-figure businesses on these four principles and is about to sell one of the company’s he built for several million dollars.
All while leaving behind a legacy of well nourished people and companies
that will flourish long after he has left this earth.
Whoever said nice guys finish last was wrong.
(me with my father)
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